As vaping accessories go, the new Aspire Degerm drip-tip sterilizer is a little sci-fi to say the least – the question is, does it work?
First up – what exactly is it?
In a nutshell it’s a device that allegedly completely cleans your drip tip of all bacteria using UV light.
Sounds cool and as to if this is the case we shall of course see.
Please note, the opinions in this review are mine alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the EcigClick team.
I decided the best way to review the Degerm, is obviously to test how well it kills germs.
However surface bacteria testing kits are way above my budget, and furthermore, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, testing labs are a little bit busy, and they are fairly pricey too.
Does the Science Stand Up?
With all of that in mind, this review will consist at looking at the device and what Aspire claim about it.
Then we will go on to look at the science behind UV sterilization and see if it backs up what Aspire claim about the technology.
Aspire is a Chinese vape brand that was established in 2013. They claim they have “always been a pioneer for innovation of vaping products”, that’s a statement in which I’m sure many vapers across the world would agree with.
The claim is also backed up by the 24 patent certificates that Aspire proudly display on their website.
During the pandemic a lot of vape companies have tried to do their bit in one way or another. Many companies started to dispense hand sanitizer in bottles that are designed for e-liquid, which for obvious reason, became a little bit controversial.
I feel Aspire’s Degrem is a step in the right direction, although with vape shops across the UK forcibly closed during the lock down and social distancing in place, I have to wonder if the device will become a bit more useful when the lock down is over.
Aspire Degerm Drip-Tip Sterilizer – Specs and Features
Lets take a look at the device in more detail:
- Size: 70 x 32 x 29mm
- Inner depth: ~20mm
- Weight: 25.3g
- Battery: 400mAh (internal)
- Charging: USB-C
- UV Light: UV-C 253.7NM
- Battery level Indicator
- 360 degrees sterilization
- 30 seconds usage.
- Claim: Kills 99.9% of bacteria
Design and Build Quality
On the outside the device looks a bit like a mini torch.
It’s based on a oval shape with a flat surface on either side, and the entire build is pretty smooth with a matt like finish.
On one side of the device is a USB-C port with “Degerm” printed just above the base.
The Aspire logo is on the opposite side of the device with the operation button just above it.
The button is a white silicone / rubber material that lights up as the indicator.
The protection cap looks like it is a part of the device, it doubles up as a rubber base for the device to stand on. More importantly it’s easy to remove, even for someone someone like me, who has no nails.
Inside the device the UV light is in the centre with 2 small Phillips screws at either side.
Looking around the inside of the Degerm it’s clear that the 4 screws are holding the device inside the shell because you can see the around the edge.
This also screams out, that the system is probably not very water proof, so you really ought to dry your drip tip before putting it into the system.
The Degerm is equipped with a 400mAh internal battery, although that doesn’t sound like much, you have to remember it’s only using a small amount of power with each use.
The impressively bright LED Indicator displays the current battery level by changing the Indicators colour as follows:
- Green Light = above 3.65V
- Blue Light = 3.3V – 3.65V
- Red Light = Less than 3.3V
How To Use The Aspire Degerm Drip-Tip Sterilizer
Caution: UV can be harmful to eyes and Skin, DO NOT expose your eyes or body to the rays emitting from the bottom of the device while in operation.
Using the Aspire Degerm couldn’t be simpler, here’s the button operations:
- On/Off = press the button 5 times
- Start= Press the button 3 times
I recommend wiping the drip tip before using the Degerm.
It is Important to remember that it is the Aspire Degerm, not the Aspire Cleaner.
If there is dirt on your drip tip before using the device, there will still be dirt on your drip tip after using the system.
To clean a removable drip tip:
- Remove the protection cap from the Degerm
- Put drip tip inside
- Replace the protection cap
- Make sure the Degerm is the correct way up (Protection cap at the bottom)
- Turn on
- Wait until the light stops flashing.
To clean a built in drip tip:
- Remove the protection cap from the Degerm
- Turn on
- Place the Degerm over the drip tip
- Wait until the indicator light stops flashing.
Aspire’s website suggests the Degerm can also be used on surfaces like your phone. I personally think this will be less effective.
- Remove the protection cap from the Degerm
- Turn on
- Place the Degerm over the surface
- Slowly move the Dergerm over the surface for 30 seconds.
Aspire Degerm Drip-Tip Sterilizer – the Company’s Claims
The outright claim about this accessory is “Degerm sterilizers kill 99.9% of bacteria in 30 seconds.”.
On the Aspire website they explain that International Genome Research shows the human saliva contains over 600 different microbial bacteria.
I had absolutely no idea what microbial meant, according to the Cambridge dictionary it is to do with microbes “very small living things, especially ones that cause disease”.
That certainly doesn’t sound good.
But never fear, Aspire reckons they’ve got our backs, with their “very high-level UV disinfection rays”.
Is it me or does that sound like something from a sci-fi movie?
Aspire’s website then goes onto claim, these disinfection rays sterilize with a 360-degree orientation and then they claim, “any bacteria will be wiped out in 30 seconds”.
The website also shows some, not very clear, certificates and states that the Degerm is certified by microbiology experts. When tested in a lab the results showed, the accessory efficiently sterilizes and disinfects drip tips.
It’s not often, in this day and age that manufactures talk about their products life span, however Aspire do just that, claiming the Degerms button has been tested 50,000 times and the device was “perfectly serviceable” for “nearly” 20,000 times.
We are also provided with the image below and told that the Degerm uses UV-C 253.7 NM… We’ll see what that means in a moment.
Aspire Degerm Drip-Tip Sterilizer – One Size Fits All
I tested the Aspire Degerm out with 3 different drip tips.
As expected it fitted the 510 and 810 drip tips without a problem. However my go to atomizer is the VGOD Elite, it has a built in drip tip that screws off. The diameter of the drip tip (and the RDA) is 24mm.
For some reason the Degerm doesn’t fit over it. However I haven’t got my calibrate to check the devices width.
So I unscrewed the drip tip and put it inside. It wasn’t a perfect fit, but thanks to the flexibility of the protection cap, I could easily hold it closed.
A Look At UV – What Exactly Is UVC?
I’ll try and keep this short and simple. UV (UltraViolet) it’s a type of electromagnetic radiation.
All radiation fits on the electromagnetic spectrum, the colourful bar we saw above.
The spectrum gets all deep and science like but basically put, the spectrum orders the radiation waves by their wave length (measured in NM – nanometres).
At one end is radio waves, in the middle is visible light and at the other end is X-rays, followed by Gamma Rays (which are often used to kill cancer cells).
UV is usually divided into 3 bands
- UV-A (315–400 NM)
- UV-B (280–315 NM)
- UV-C (180–280 NM)
It seems to get a bit complicated when looking up “which is the most harmful?” because most sources talk about human/animal health.
However UVC has the highest energy level and UVA has the lowest.
This is why UVC is the best UV for killing bacteria and viruses.
What Else Uses UV sterilisation?
UV sterilization isn’t a new idea, it’s been around for a while.
While drying your hands in a public toilet, you may have noticed that some hand dryers shine a light onto your hand, I always thought that was so you can see any water still present on your hand, that’s not the case. Some hand dryers use UV. However I should stress, not all dryers that have a light are using UV.
Other uses include:
- Aquariums / water Disinfectant
- Air Disinfectant
- Laboratory Hygiene
- Food and Beverage Hygiene
To The Point Does UV Work?
At the moment I can’t test how efficient the Aspire Degerm is.
Luckily for us UV sterilization has come under a lot of testing in the past.
I did intend to display a table of research results which shows what dosage you need you to kill a certain virus.
However calculating the given dosage isn’t a simple task and depends of a lot of factors, so I decided I couldn’t really make that information directly relative to the Aspire Degerm.
At a few points in the hours I’ve spent researching UV, I have read a few times that it has been used for disinfection in hospitals since the mid-20th century.
Tests do show that UV-C (at all frequencies) is capable of killing Viruses, bacteria, mold and spores, and yes that does include Corvid-19, as well as SARS, MERS-Cov and E-coli.
There has been a lot of hand held lamps commercially available, that are designed to kill surface bacteria. Most of which don’t perform very well when they have been put to the test impartially.
Like the one seen on this Fox 4 Now YouTube Video from 2012:
However, there is a big difference between the Aspire Degerm and the hand held lamps.
The Degerm is primarily designed for using on drip tips, while they are enclosed in the system or resting directly onto the system.
Look at it like this, you put your drip tip into the Degerm, put the lid on and start it up.
After 30 seconds the bacteria on your drip tip will have been exposed to the UV-C for 30 seconds.
Now imagine you were cleaning your kitchen side with a lamp. There is a lot of factors here, how close do you hold the lamp to the surface? How much of the surface is being affected at any one time?
If your kitchen side is 1x2m and you slowly swipe the lamp across the surface for 1 minute, I’m thinking unless you have a 1x1m lamp that will not be 30 seconds of exposure to each port of the surface.
It is also important to remember that regardless of anything, it does not kill 100% of germs. However with this in mind you also have to remember, no disinfectant kills 100% of germs.
The only thing left to ask is, does the Aspire Degerm actually use UVC? Again I haven’t got the resources to rest this.
I’m fairly confident it uses UV, and I trust Aspire when they say it is UVC.
Why would a renowned E-cigarette brand release an accessory and lie about it? It would be detrimental to their in regards to their brand reputation and legal battles…
Aspire Degerm Drip-Tip Sterilizer – Conclusion
After hours of research, I’ve decided to trust in Aspires Degerm.
I trust it’s ability to clean removable drip tips far more than I trust it to kill anything else, purely because you can close the system with the drip tip inside.
Again, it is important to remember that it is the Aspire Degerm, not the Aspire Cleaner. If there is dirt on your drip tip before using the device, there will still be dirt on your drip tip after using the system.
Would I buy one?
Not really, I don’t often share my vape, I’m not particularly fussy about germs when I do because I only share it with people that I know.
In the same way I only let the people I know have some of my drink. I expect them to be respectful enough to tell me if they’re not very well in anyway.
Although I know it’s not just about viruses.
Additionally, when I go to expos I use disposable drip tips and in my shop I provide disposable drip tips.
I do think they are pretty cool and futuristic.
Should you buy an Aspire Degerm drip-tip sterilizer? Each to their own.
From what I know they’re not expensive (please look up prices independently as they are subject change).
I know a lot of people that are very particular when it comes to germs and I imagine there will be more people like that after the current coronavirus outbreak.
If you are one of those people, I know of no reason not to buy one.
Please do comment down below, it would be super interesting to know your opinions.