FreeMax Maxus 100W kit
Freemax continues apace with its updated 2020 lineup with something of a rarity in the current market, two new full blown kits! Having recently looked at their updated pod systems, the MaxPod and the AutoPod50, which were both very impressive, I was definitely looking forward to seeing what they could achieve at the other end of the market so today we’re looking at the FreeMax Maxus 100W kit, but don’t worry the review for the FreeMax Maxus 200W is on its way soon as well.
The FreeMax Maxus 100W kit includes the 21700 compatible Maxus 100W single battery box mod, and the Fireluke 3 tank which is an evolution of the popular Fireluke 2 and Fireluke M sub-ohm tank series. As we’ve come to expect from Freemax, the new Maxus series is full of innovative new features and I was particularly interested in testing out the new SmartLoad Tech battery management so let's dive down and see what’s on offer here.
The FreeMax Maxus 100W kit comes in an outer sleeve with a prominent picture of the kit in your chosen colour on the front, a list of kit contents and specifications on the back, and the usual social media links and scratch ‘n’ sniff authentication code on the sides. Inside this is a blue box with large “Maxus 100W” branding on the front and once again there are convenient finger cutouts on the lid to aid in removing the lid.
Once opened you’re presented with the Maxus 100W mod and the included Fireluke 3 tank along with some spare o-rings for the tank, there’s no spare glass despite the obvious space for one and I’m not sure if this is because this is the TPD edition or if it’s down to the fact that this is from the trial production run sent out to reviewers which sometimes have minor accessories missing. Underneath this, you’ll find a second box which contains your paperwork, a usb-c cable, a second coil for the Fireluke 3, and finally an 18650 battery adapter.
- Size 90.2 x 37.5 x 28 mm
- Weight 146g
- Supports 21700/20700/18650 battery with SmartLoad Tech
- 5volt / 2amp charging
- Modes Power/VPC/Bypass/TC
- Output 0.7-7.5volts / 5-100 watts
- Resistance range 0.1-3.0Ω
The FreeMax Maxus 100W is a fairly compact single 21700 battery mod, it’s not the smallest one in my collection but it’s not far off and it feels very comfortable in the hand. Styling wise, it reminds me of the Voopoo Drag series with bold resin panels on one side and a screen printed design on the other. Those resin panels are going to be a little divisive as they all come with that 50/50 diagonal split with two very contrasting colours. Mine is the black-red variety which I was very pleased with as some of the other colour combinations are, how can I put this politely……. LOUD!! With six colour options available though you should find something to suit your tastes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of the options tend to sell out a lot faster than the others.
Up top, the 510 plate is centred which is always good to see as it affords greater flexibility on the size of atomizer you can comfortably fit. Having said that, although the Maxus 100W is 28mm wide there is a slightly beveled edge along the sides so anything larger than about 26mm will overhang, anything under that looks great though. The 510 plate is raised just a hair off the mod which protects the top of the mod from the dreaded atty rash but can lead to apparent “gapping” which I know others dislike. Personally I’d rather have the paintwork protected so I consider this to be a plus, especially as I’ve already noticed some slight wear around the areas where my rings catch on the chassis and battery door which makes me a little concerned about the long term durability of the black paintwork.
The back of the Maxus 100W is plain and on the bottom you find some ventilation for the board along with a convenient finger cutout to remove the side panel allowing access to the battery compartment. The side panel is held in place with two large magnets, there is a tiny bit of movement in the panel in all directions but it’s no worse than many other mods that use a similar design and you’re in no danger of the panel falling off.
The battery compartment is neatly laid out and there’s a battery ribbon to help with battery removal. I found the ribbon to be a touch too long on mine but this was quickly remedied with a pair of scissors and a lighter! There’s a spring loaded battery contact at the top and a fixed contact on the bottom. One thing you may have noticed though is the lack of any battery orientation labels, this is because the Maxus 100W utilizes Freemax’s new “SmartLoad Tech - Load At Will” and it’s rather a neat party trick… it doesn’t matter which way round you put the battery, the SmartLoad Tech will work out what you’ve done and allow safe operation of the mod either way!
I tested the Maxus 100W with a range of 21700 batteries and found that whilst a Samsung 30T fits perfectly, and a Molicell P42a just about fits with a tight squeeze, oversized batteries from Avatar and Vapcell were a definite no go. This says more about the variability in 21700 batteries than it does about the Maxus 100W though, and of course 20700s and 18650s (with an adapter) cause no issues.
The front panel has a bright led screen nestled between the power and up/down controls and although it’s not the biggest screen I’ve seen, the information is clearly laid out and I can (just about) manage to read it without having to automatically reach for my glasses. It’s fairly bright too and I was still able to read it outside in the usually bright sunshine we’ve been experiencing recently. All the buttons are super clicky and need a decent amount of pressure to activate, so much so I haven’t felt the need to use the control lock feature (pressing both +/- locks power adjustability). There’s absolutely zero button rattle either. The menu utilises a series of nested menus which are all clearly laid out and it’s a doddle to navigate around to the features you want, I barely had to look in the manual. Finally at the bottom of the front panel there’s a USB-C port for charging and in my test the Maxus 100W charged at about 1.85 amps and remained cool whilst charging.
The Maxus 100W has a full featured board with all the modes and safety features you would ever need, and power delivery seemed consistent throughout. For the temperature control (TC) test I broke out my faithful Serpent Mini and I have to say it looked like a good match which was surprising as 22mm tanks frequently look out of place on modern mods. The Maxus 100W also performed well in TC mode with a consistent vape, although it did benefit from manually adjusting the wattage. Once the vape was virtually non-existent, I examined the wick which was bone dry so a broad pass on the TC mode from me. If you want to enter a manual TCR setting, I was also impressed that this displays a list of suggested values for common TC wires, a nice touch and something I don’t recall seeing previously. Additionally, if you’re in power mode and you put on a new tank the Maxus 100W will suggest TC mode if it detects a TC coil. I’ve found this feature to be a bit hit and miss though.
Maxus 100W Pros
- Compact 21700 mod
- SmartLoad Tech - install your battery in either orientation
- Clear screen and well laid out menu
- Good power delivery and working TC
Maxus 100w Cons
- Some of the colour combinations are a bit “out there”
- Paint may not be durable
- Slight movement on battery door
@Freemaxtech have contacted me to say they have taken note of the movement in the battery door on some of the trial production run and are adjusting the mould so this shouldn’t occur with the retail production runs.
FreeMax Fireluke 3 Tank
- Size 49 x 27.5mm
- Weight 48.5g
- 2ml Capacity (TPD) [3ml/5ml in non-tpd regions]
- FM coiltech 4.0 coils (SS904L mesh + tea fibre cotton)
The Fireluke 3 tank included in the kit is an evolution of the of the popular Fireluke 2 and Fireluke M sub-ohm tank series with Freemax’s updated FM Coiltech 4.0 coils which utilise military grade SS904L mesh and tea fiber cottonfFormula which was also used in their recent AutoPod50 kit. It’s a standard sub-ohm tank design which I’m sure we’re all familiar with by now which breaks down into five parts as you can see above. The “resin version” is included in the kit, this time it features resin inlays in a metal chassis rather than the chunky full resin designs seen previously, and I think it looks all the better for it especially in the grey edition seen here.
The specifications say the tank is 27.5mm wide but I think that may include the bubble glass which isn’t included here, as I measure it to be closer to 25.5mm. Up top is a standard 810 drip tip with double o-rings, but there’s also an o-ring in the catch cup so standard 810 drip tips without an o-ring also work. There’s a reasonably sized fill hole revealed by pressing the top cap from the area with the Freemax logo and red dot. Freemax have beefed up this area with three ball bearings to ensure that the top shouldn’t come open in your pockets. Obviously in this TPD edition there’s only a 2ml capacity which means you're going to be filling this up quite frequently, hopefully bubble glasses will be made available separately later.
Two coils are included in the kit, a 0.2Ω X2 dual coil and a 0.15Ω X1 single coil and both feature a honeycomb mesh style design. Three other coils are available as well and you can find more information on those on the Fireluke 3 page.
The 0.2Ω dual mesh is rated for 40 to 80 watts. At 40 watts I found it to be a rather anemic vape which was very cool and a little lacking in flavour even with the airflow cut almost all the way down. The airflow verges on the edge of a whistle if closed beyond ¾ as well. This really needs 50W+ to produce good flavour and a bit of heat, however it was getting too warm for my tastes by 70W and it seems to struggle a little beyond that. I found that this coil performed best anywhere in the 50 to 65 watt range.
The 0.15Ω single mesh coil is also rated for 40 to 80 watts, and at the 40 watts it was still a rather anemic vape as with the 0.2Ω coil. This really needs 55W+ to start producing good flavour but only really starts to pop at the 60W mark, and I was able to push past the suggested 80W to 85W before I began to detect the start of a dry hit. Flavour is fantastic anywhere in the 60 to 80 watt range, but as you’d expect this is going to guzzle through eliquid at a rate of knots
Both the coils use Freemax’s latest coiltech 4.0 SS904L technology but having recently tested the AutoPod50, which also uses SS904L coils, I believe the swap from kanthal in previous Fireluke releases may have had unintended consequences for some users. I’ve been avoiding nichrome coils for the last seven months as I worked out by a process of elimination that they were causing large, painful, mouth ulcers, most likely due to the high nickel content (80%). With the AutoPod50 I hadn’t noticed any problems whilst I was doing the review but with continued use beyond that, I suddenly found myself with mouth ulcers again! I wondered if it could be the SS904L that was causing the problem, even though I’m fine with ss316 (10~12% nickel), and a little google-fu shows that SS904L has a much higher nickel content at 23~28% which I suspect may be the culprit here, so these coils may not be the best choice for you if you have a nickel allergy/intolerance.
As you might imagine, this has left me more than a little hesitant to continue using these coils, but don’t worry because there is a solution as the Fireluke 3 is compatible with all previous Fireluke 2 and Fireluke M coils.
- Good looks, I particularly like the resin inserts
- Good performance from the coils
- Compatible with previous Fireluke coils (Kanthal)
- Three ball bearing system on top reduces chances of opening in pockets
Fireluke 3 Cons
- SS904L coils may not be suitable for those with nickel allergies
- Airflow can be noisy
Freemax have outdone themselves again here. Some of the available colour combinations might not appeal to everyone, and I’m not sure about the durability of the paint, but the Maxus 100W is a really nice and feature packed single 21700 mod. The Fireluke 3 tank also performs well as you would expect from Freemax with their long standing expertise and innovation in mesh coil technologies, and I think this provides a great visual update to the previous Fireluke range.