Not any better than a Reg Barber but equivalent to use. I like the funky blue plastic.
Positive Product Points
It's a solid 58mm tamper with a flat bottom. It has a good heft to it and fits my 58mm filter basket perfectly.
Negative Product Points
None really unless it offends your sense of aesthetics. The handle is a hard transparent plastic rather than hardwood.
I've been using the solid aluminum tamper I bought from 1st Line when I got Miss Silvia. That one isn't a full 58mm and I've only been about 90% satisfied with my tamping. The new lava tamp is better. It feels nice and solid. The handle feels good in my hand. It's ergonomically much better than my old one.
I like the look of the clear plastic handle. You can get it in purple or blue. I went for the blue. The body itself is solid steel. It is comparable to the well known tampers made with hardwood handles.
I'm struggling to express how much better the tamping is with this style of tamper. It's like I learned to walk with my shoes tied together and just got a new pair that isn't. (Okay, probably not the best simile.) The tamp went in smoothly and left a really textbook looking basket. I think my shots will be much more consistent.
Ordered it from Espresso Parts Northwest. It was out of stock at the time so it took about two weeks before I got it in my hot little hands. No complaints though, EPNW emailed me the next day to let me know. It was worth the wait.