Over the last decade, vaporizers have evolved from a niche smoking-cessation aid into an ever-evolving sub-culture all its own. While e-liquid vapes still hold a substantial size of the market, there has been notable growth in the adoption of concentrate & dry-herb vaporizers among medical and recreational marijuana enthusiasts. These vaporizers have come a long way from earlier whip-style desktop designs, featuring a wide array of forms and functions. While desktop vaporizers, such as the market-leading Volcano, continue to offer users the most bang for their buck, smaller portable vaporizers have emerged as a practical option for the average enthusiast. Many in the community consider vaping to be more pleasant and less harmful than smoking, leading to a growing shift in thought regarding vaporizers in the general public.
This growth and evolution aren’t without their downsides, as the explosion of vaporizers on the market has led to a certain degree of saturation. An extensive collection of products from an array of manufacturers offering a variety of functionality can become overwhelming for a new enthusiast on the hunt for that perfect vape. Thankfully the seasoned experts here at CocktailNerd.com have compiled a comprehensive guide to help clear through the clutter to help guide you to that ideal vape.
Some visitors may have noticed our “The Best Portable Vaporizers of 2018” article and might believe we're being a tad redundant here. But while that list focused solely on e-liquid vaporizers, the following offers a comprehensive look at the best concentrate & dry-herb vaporizers available today, not only portable vaporizers but also high-end desktop models. In the following guide, we’re going to go over some the greatest vapes available on the market, including our picks for the best high-end, budget, and value vaporizers of 2018. Our team has also included extensive reviews covering another six top desktop vaporizers available today. We’ve packaged all of this with an in-depth overview and guide to help educate and give you the knowledge necessary to help you find that perfect vaporizer.
Our Top Vaporizer Devices
Best Desktop Vaporizer
There are few vaporizers on the market that are as highly-regarded and respected as the Volcano, with many enthusiasts considering it simply one of the greatest vaporizers ever made. Volcano vaporizers are renowned for consistently delivering users the highest quality vaping experience possible. While countless manufacturers have attempted to imitate the superior vaping experience offered by the Volcano, none have been able to replicate successfully. Quite the impressive feat when you consider the Volcano has dominated the market for almost two decades.
A pinnacle of German engineering, Storz & Bickel’s flagship product is beloved the world over for its superior design and functionality. Their attention to detail is without comparison, from their revolutionary “Easy Valve” system down to the choice of metal used to form the heating element. A precision-crafted aluminum core produces an even distribution of vapor, while a wide range of temperature control helps to ensure that your vapor stays free of combustible byproducts and impurities. The device comes in two varieties, the “Volcano Classic” featuring analog temperature control with an adjustable range of 266-446 degrees Fahrenheit, and the “Volcano Digit” featuring digital temperature controls with an adjustable range of 104-446 degrees Fahrenheit.
This wide range of temperature adjustment is perfect for the enthusiast searching for unparalleled customization and control over their vaping experience. Their standard kit features one Volcano Vaporizer, two air filters, a high-quality grinder, and a user's manual to help you get started. In addition to that, Storz & Bickel also offers users the Easy Valve Starter Set featuring one Easy Valve adapter, four reusable balloons, a screen set, filling chamber, liquid pad, and a cleaning brush for easy maintenance.
If you’re ready to elevate yourself and your vaping experience to the next level, no other vaporizer can contend with the power of the Volcano. With almost two decades of near uncontested market dominance, the Volcano has proven itself to be the tried and tested choice, representing the true pinnacle of vaporizing technology. The analog “Volcano Classic” will cost users about $479.99, while the digital “Volcano Digit” runs an extra $120, at a somewhat hefty $599.99. While a tad bit pricey, you’re paying for top-of-the-line quality, with some of the most precise temperature control available, and even a power-saving mode that will automatically power down after a half hour of inactivity. Featuring unrivaled performance and simple, intuitive design the Volcano offers users the ultimate in customization and ease of use, making it the perfect choice for enthusiasts of all levels in search of the ultimate in high-end desktop vaporizers.
Best Portable Vaporizer
Prohibited In The 5th Degree
Prohibited in the 5th Degree has indeed stood out this year, earning our top honor for Best Portable Vaporizer. I was an instant fan after having the pleasure of being able to review it back in June, with the 5th Degree's unique styling and design being a sight to behold. The latest and greatest from Prohibited offers a fantastic value, coming standard with cartridges for both dry-herbs and concentrates, instead of forcing you to buy one or the other. The Prohibited line focuses on offering the best possible weed vaping experience. As a result, they don't currently offer e-liquid cartridges. So be sure to look elsewhere if you're in the market for a nicotine vaporizer.
Included in your complete kit is a Prohibited in the 5th Degree Vaporizer, one dry-herb cartridge, one concentrate cartridge, magnetic micro USB cable/adapter, and a set of maintenance tools. Prohibited incorporated magnetic connections into the device, allowing you to quickly and easily swap between cartridges on the fly. The 5th degree automatically detects which is loaded and adjusts the output to the optimal settings. Each one offers three distinct temperature settings to fit your preferences.
Prohibited understands what their loyal fanbase wants, so they delivered one of the single greatest dry-herb and concentrate vaporizers to hit the market in some time. They’re even continuing to expand your vaping experience with two new attachments set to launch over the coming months. The dabber and e-rig attachments will vastly extend the functionality of your 5th Degree beyond other portable vaporizers available. In addition to that, Prohibited has an extra portable version dubbed the 4th Degree hitting stores later this year. It’s no wonder why Prohibited has quickly ascended to the apex of Vaporizer Creators. When you’re as passionate about your products as Prohibited, the results often speak for themselves.
Best Value Vaporizer
V2 Pro Series 3X Vaporizer
The V2 Pro Series 3X offers users a wide variety of features and compatibility all for the delightfully low price of $99.99, earning our nod for Best Value Vaporizer of 2018. V2 continues its commitment to innovation with this incredible addition to its already well-established portfolio. The Pro Series 3X has changed the face of portable vaporizing with its unmatched design, power, and value.
While primarily designed for use with e-liquids, coming standard with a Series 3 PG ceramic cartridge and a Series 3X cartridge, that doesn’t mean they neglected its compatibility with other substances. The Pro Series 3X offers expandability to become a full 3-in-1 vaporizer with the purchase the dry herb and concentrate cartridges. It’s no waste when used for other materials either, the high-quality vaporizer ensures a satisfying and consistent vapor with dry herbs, and especially concentrates. The vaporizer automatically adjusts output to the desired settings based on whichever cartridge you insert, while still leaving you the option to adjust things further.
Your complete kit features the V2 Pro Series 3X Vaporizer, two different e-liquid cartridges, three different atomizers (0.9 sub-ohm, 1.2 ohms, and 1.5 ohms), a micro USB cable with adapter, as well as a manual to help you get started. The 3-in-1 functionality makes it an incredible value on its own, coupled with the low price makes the V2 Pro Series 3X the hands-down choice for the best value vaporizer of 2018.
Portable Vaporizer Reviews
V2 Pro Series 7X
The Pro Series 7X is the latest iteration of V2s critically acclaimed Pro Series line of vaporizers. This powerhouse has been overhauled from the ground up, improving on previous iterations in nearly every way. They’ve amped up the battery from 1800mAh to 2300mAh while increasing power output to 40W and 6V. It's also a 3-in-1 device that comes standard with all three cartridges included, so you’re not left stranded. It even features magnetic connections for simple on-the-fly swapping.
The Pro Series 7X by V2 offers support for Bluetooth connectivity so you can control the device from your phone or tablet through V2’s app. Even if your device isn’t compatible, all the same options and functionality are accessible directly through the vaporizer itself. The V2 helps keep you informed with LED indicators, haptic feedback, and even gesture-activated responses to notify you of your remaining charge.
The full kit includes the V2 Pro Series 7X Vaporizer, one e-liquid cartridge, one dry herb cartridge, one concentrate cartridge, a micro USB charging cable with adapter, and cleaning tools for easy maintenance. V2 offers all of this for about $200, delivering high-end quality and versatility at a mid-market price. The Pro Series 7X by V2 makes an excellent vaporizer for the user looking for convenient portability matched with unmatched versatility and value.
PAX Vapor continues to advance vaping with their 2-in-1 PAX3 portable vaporizer. The PAX3 has been optimized to produce exceptional flavor and vapor through either dry-herb or concentrate cartridges. This vaporizer offers a quicker heat up time compared with the PAX2, needing only about 15 seconds to reach the optimal temperature. The device provides a durable build crafted from the highest quality materials available, coming together in a futuristic and sleek compact form.
While offering support for both dry-herbs and concentrates, the PAX3 provides unique functionality for herbal blends with its Half-Pack Oven Lid. After loading your desired amount of herb into the cartridge merely engage the fire button, and the PAX3 will automatically adjust to the optimal settings. The device offers users both haptic feedback and a traditional LED to notify you when the vaporizer has reached the correct temperature.
Your complete PAX3 kit comes with one concentrate insert, one dry herb insert, a micro USB charging cable with dock, and a 2500mAh battery for extended vaping sessions. As a bonus, you’ll receive additional mouthpieces, extra screens, as well as a multi-tool for easy cleaning and maintenance. PAX Vapor’s commitment to high-quality design and degree of functionality make the PAX3 the perfect vaporizer for anyone looking turn heads on the go.
The DaVinci IQ is simply one of the best dry-herb vaporizers available, hands down. While there are devices that may offer more versatility on this list, none can touch the DaVinci regarding the quality of dry-herb vapor. It's capable of producing rich, flavorful vapor, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, even at higher temperatures. But even at lower temperatures, you’ll still create quite robust clouds. Its unique ceramic zirconia heating element is both extremely durable and exceptional at dissipating heat, ensuring you’ll never need to worry about your device getting too hot again.
The IQ by DaVinci features enhanced Bluetooth support through the use of an app. That allows for complete control of the device, from the brightness of the LEDs to selecting the current smart path. An exciting feature exclusive to DaVinci, each path features their unique settings which can adjust from within the app. The app itself is worth taking note off, with quick connectivity and snappy responsiveness packed into a beautiful and intuitive design. The vaporizer takes about a minute to reach optimal temperature but has a longer running time than most other devices allowing you to enjoy for more extended sessions.
Included with your DaVinci IQ is a carrying case, keychain tool, chimney brush, alcohol wipes, 10mm adapter, and a micro USB charging cable. As an added value, they're even including a grinder for a limited time. While the $274.99 price tag runs a bit on the higher end for portable vaporizers, DaVinci’s clear commitment to quality and consistency make this vaporizer well worth the purchase. If you’re looking for the best in highly portable dry-herb technology, look no further than the IQ by DaVinci.
The Crafty Vaporizer is the latest innovation from the critically acclaimed creators of the beloved Volcano, Storz & Bickel. A seemingly simple vaporizer, sporting a single fire button on its body, there is more than meets the eye with the Crafty. The Crafty is one of the most excellent dry-herb vaporizers regarding overall performance and value, even extending its functionality with an included concentrate pad.
One of the devices strongest selling points is its unrivaled ease of use and consistency. While other vaporizers often have you considering the perfect ratio of material to airspace, the Crafty seemingly works like a charm no matter how you fill your chamber. The vaporizer offers a wide range of settings that can adjust through the connected app, including changing modes and temperature adjustment. While not quite as concealable as some of the smaller vaporizers on this list, it’s portable enough that it can be used almost anywhere.
Included with your purchase are a wide range of parts and tools. In addition to the Crafty Vaporizer and micro USB charging cable, you’ll receive a set of spare seal rings, three additional screens, a concentrate pad, one grinder, a dosing capsule, cleaning brush, and instruction manual to help you get started. It’s worth noting that the battery isn’t user-replaceable, so make sure you charge it properly to maintain optimal battery health. While the $279.00 price runs a bit high, you can be assured with a Storz & Bickel product that’ll you’ll be receiving one of the highest quality devices available anywhere.
The Summit+ by Vapium is an incredible vaporizer with a focus on durability. This vaporizer was designed from the ground up for vaping on the go, ensuring functionality in all types of conditions. Everything you need for portable vaping is included with the Summit+, even featuring an integrated stir tool that slides out of the body. Rain and snow aren’t a problem as the Summit+ is encased in an ultrasonic-welded dual-injection high-impact polycarbonate housing and has been engineered to be splashproof.
The Summit+ features LED indicators to notify you of your batteries remaining charge, as well as the currently set temperature. This vaporizer offers temperature control that can be adjusted between eight different settings, with a range of 330 to 440 degrees Fahrenheit. The device provides support for USB-C, allowing rapid charging of the 3300mAh battery through a port on the side. The Summit+ can be paired with smartphones and tablets over Bluetooth through an app allowing for precise temperature control, power boosting functionality, as well as a session timer, so you don’t waste energy or material.
The Summit+ offers an advanced airway that runs the length of the device, allowing continuous airflow and producing smooth, satisfying vapor. You can rest easy with your investment as Vapium offers users a two-year limited warranty. At only $149.99, the Summit+ makes the perfect vaporizer for anyone looking to take their vaping sessions on the go in even the harshest of conditions. Vapium's commitment to quality ensures your device will be delivering incredible performance for years to come.
Storz & Bickel, creators of the Volcano and previously reviewed Crafty delivers the latest progression in their legacy of innovation with the Mighty vaporizer. A standout innovation featured in the Mighty is its unique combination of hot air convection blended with supplemental conduction heating. That creates an unmatched quality of vapor that you’ll fall in love with after the first pull. The device's reasonably large chamber was crafted for use with dry herbs, but the included liquid pads extend the device's functionality for use with concentrates as well.
I’d also like to mention their flippable mouthpiece, not only providing robust flavor but also keeping the temperature in check to avoid hot pulls. The Mighty features dual battery design allowing all day use, even those extended sessions for the heaviest vapers. The minimalist LED panel displays essential information, while simple plus and minus buttons allow you to select your desired temperature quickly. The Mighty even offers pass-through capability, allowing you to use the device still while it's plugged in and charging.
Included with your purchase is your Mighty Vaporizer, one power adapter, a set of spare seal rings, three additional screens, a liquid pad with filling aid, a grinder, a dosing capsule, a cleaning brush for easy maintenance, and a user's manual to help you get started. At $349.00 the Mighty comes in as one of the most expensive vaporizers on our list, but with the Storz & Bickel name, you can rest assured you have one of the best portable vaporizers ever to grace the market.
The Firefly 2 Vaporizer is the successor to the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Firefly. The Firefly 2 features a rapidly heating convection element that can be adjusted through the use of a companion app available for iOS and Android. The vaporizer offers simple modular design makes maintenance a breeze, allowing you to waste less time cleaning and give you more time to blow those clouds.
While a remarkable dry-herb vaporizer, the Firefly 2 continues to push the boundaries of innovation by including steel pads which allow the use of concentrates without the hassle of having to switch between cartridges. It hosts a convection heating element with a glass chamber that heats within about 5 seconds. The heating element can be adjusted between 340-420 degrees Fahrenheit by using the companion app, allowing for complete control of your vaping experience. This little vape is remarkably efficient, with as little as 0.15 in the chamber giving you about 5 or 6 exceptionally smooth pulls. Just note that this device doesn’t feature any integrated stirring device, so you may want to agitate the chamber between draws to ensure you’re getting the most out of each hit.
With the complete kit, you’ll receive a Firefly 2 Vaporizer, two rechargeable batteries, micro USB charging dock with cable, three stainless steel concentrates pads and a cleaning kit for your convenience. Crafted with Apple-inspired design, this sleek vaporizer offers premium build quality with exceptional performance. While it’s $300+ price tag is nothing to scoff at, Firefly made no compromises to deliver you the highest quality pen available. For serious concentrate enthusiasts looking to upgrade to one of the most premium portable vaporizers available, the Firefly 2 is the obvious choice.
Magic Flight Launch Box
Something entirely different than anything on our list is the community-beloved Magic Flight Launch Box. Unlike traditional cartridge-based portable vaporizers, the MFLB is a unique one-hitter, designed for use with both dry-herbs and concentrates. Handcrafted with care in sunny San Diego, Magic Flight delivers exceptional quality and performance packed into a beautiful little wooden box.
This delightfully low-tech analog device has been handcrafted from wood and glass while being powered by included rechargeable AA batteries. A single battery is capable of producing dozens of clouds, ensuring daylong performance to all but the heaviest of power users. There’s a simple heating element located in a brass lined hole containing two bars where a screen is attached, the battery heats the bars and then vaporizes your preferred material placed on the screen.
Magic Flights complete kit features one launch box, two rechargeable batteries/charger, a decorative storage tin, a glass draw stem, a cleaning brush for easy maintenance, and a manual to help you get started. At only $119.00 it’s one of the more affordable choices on our list, but don’t mistake affordability as a lack of quality, the launch box easily exceeds any and all expectations. The Magic Flight Launch Box makes the perfect choice for the enthusiast looking to for the ultimate in low-tech on-the-go dabbing.
Arizer Solo II
Arizer went back to the drawing board and somehow managed to improve everything the community loved about the original Solo. The Solo II heats up twice as fast as before, while still allowing about 20 cycles per charge. This increased efficiency even extends to the battery life, with Arizer claiming the device will “last long into the night.”
The Solo II features an intuitive panel that displays any pertinent information while basic controls deliver ease of use. Simply hold the power button for five seconds to engage the heat up cycle, then after a short while, the digital panel will notify you the vaporizer is ready to go. The device even offers an all-glass air path, ensuring purer taste than almost any other portable vaporizer on the market. One of the most significant features of the Solo sequel is it’s incredibly simple maintenance. Thanks to the all-glass airway being the only piece that comes in contact with your material, it’s the only piece you need to clean.
In addition to the Solo II vaporizer, the complete kit features two glass tubes, an aromatherapy dish, a stirring tool, travel pouch, and a charger. They’ve even tossed in some Lavender essential oil so you can test it’s aromatherapy capability if you’d like. At $249.99 the Arizer Solo II marks a considerable investment, but the unbeatable quality and incredibly simple maintenance help justify the price.
Desktop Vaporizer Reviews
Arizer V-Tower Vaporizer
Representing a pinnacle in Canadian vaporizing technology and innovation, the V-Tower is Arizer’s solution to the flood of mediocre whip-style desktop vaporizers that have saturated the market over the last decade. It is consistently one of the highest rated vaporizers on the market, delivering users a premium vaping experience without the premium price. Compared to some of its competitors with heftier price-tags, the V-Tower offers uncompromised performance with elegant design all at a paltry $139.99.
The V-Tower is priced comparatively to low-end budget devices while offering performance rivaling some of the highest-end vaporizers available. The V-Tower provides digital controls that can be fine-tuned within a range of 122-500 degrees Fahrenheit giving users precise control over their vaping experience, as well as an automatic power-down timer to help save power when not in use. The vape also boasts an intuitive cone-styled chamber, simply pack the chamber then set the temperature and in no time you’re ready for an extended vaping session.
Arizer’s V-Tower gives users additional value by offering quite the inclusive starting kit. You’ll receive a V-Tower Vaporizer, one glass cyclone bowl, one glass elbow adapter, a 3-foot silicone whip, a glass aromatherapy dish with a sample of aromatic botanicals, alongside bonus screens and cleaning tools. All of this combined with dominant performance delivered at a very wallet-friendly $139.99 make the V-Tower by Arizer our Best Budget Vaporizer of 2018.
Arizer Extreme Q
The innovative and multifunctional Extreme Q vaporizer is the latest iteration from Arizer based on the popular Extreme platform. A name synonymous with quality, Arizer cements its legacy of producing some of the highest-quality vaporizers on the market, taking two of our three highest honors this year. This device features recent innovations such as forced-air technology to go along with the more conventional direct-draw. The forced-air mode being compatible with both the included whip and balloon bags gives users plenty of versatility and customization over their vaping experience. This vaporizer also offers users the ability to adjust settings on the fly thanks to its included remote. While uncommon among more contemporary models, this remote gives users convenience that other vaporizers just don't match.
This powerhouse of a vaporizer seamlessly blends inspired design with top of the line performance. The device offers adjustable temperature control that can be fine-tuned within one-degree increments ranging from 122-500 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring a superior vaping experience. Arizer continues to provide users with unrivaled value by featuring plenty of attachments and extras. The complete kit features your Extreme Q vaporizer, remote, two glass cyclone bowls, a direct-draw 3-foot silicone whip, an all-glass mini whip, two reusable balloons, a glass stir tool, glass aromatherapy dish, and even more!
The Arizer Extreme Q is an incredible feature-packed vaporizer offering plenty of extras and cutting-edge convenience. The unmatched additional value combined with its dominant performance and very reasonable price of $199.99 easily earn our coveted Best Value vaporizer honor. There’s never been a better time to invest in taking your vaping experience to the next level, if you’re looking for top-of-the-line features at a bottom-line price, the Extreme Q by Arizer is the perfect vaporizer for you.
The Plenty Vaporizer
Storz & Bickel have continued to push the limits of vaping technology and innovation with their compact Plenty vaporizer. It's easily one of the greatest direct-draw vaporizers available today. Taking lessons learned from their flagship Volcano model, this device features the same high-quality construction and innovation then packs it into a very streamlined form. That makes it the perfect choice for users seeking the same impeccable vaporizing experience offered by the Volcano, all for nearly half the price.
The Plenty vaporizer features seven pre-set temperature levels, so you may need to experiment a bit to create that perfect vaping experience for you. This vape features a truly unique design, resembling a power drill more than a traditional vaporizer. Once you begin using the Plenty, you’ll quickly realize every aspect of this vaporizer was designed from the ground-up for optimum performance. For example, this vaporizer features a precision-crafted metal whip that resembles a spring as opposed to the more traditional silicone and glass designs of competitors. This whip carefully and efficiently cools the vapor as it passes through before you inhale, keeping it fresh even during the most extended sessions.
Storz & Bickel should be lauded for this innovation in ergonomic design, opting for the ultimate in convenience and comfort while disregarding modern conventional design. Their keen attention to detail and nearly two decades of experience come together in a compelling and revolutionary form. A complete kit loaded with plenty of extras comes at a pretty reasonable $249.99 price considering the quality. The Plenty is the perfect vape for the user aspiring for Volcano quality without paying the usual Volcano price.
Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer
The Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer brings an updated take on the more classic box-style design found in other desktop vaporizers. It features a beautiful LCD digital display showing you only the most pertinent information regarding your vape, including the designated temperature, current temperature, and an automatic power-down timer. This sturdy little vaporizer blends modern innovation with classic design, delivering you the best of both worlds in desktop vaporizers.
Operation is a breeze, just set your desired vaping temperature and allow the heating element to warm up. While you wait for the vaporizer to hit your desired temperature, you should fill the chamber of the ground-glass wand with your finely ground dry-herb blend. Place the wand over the glass heating cover, and begin to draw from the mouthpiece. The ground-glass whip allows for a perfect air-tight seal, giving users smooth pulls while vaping.
The Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer offers a simple kit that features all the essentials you’ll need to get set up and started without any frivolous bells and whistles. This slim package allows them to offer you this powerful vape at an incredibly low $99.99. If you’re a connoisseur of direct-draw vapes or merely a fan of the old-school designs featured in classic box-style vaporizers, the Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer delivers high-level performance at near bargain-bin pricing.
The Silver Surfer by 7th Floor offers users one of the most straightforward, yet elegant designs available on the market today. Formerly the premier name in whip-style desktop vaporizers, the new brands, and devices flooding the market over the last several years have eaten away at some of that market share. Regardless, the Silver Surfer blends strong performance and intuitive design packed into a minimal compact form,
The vaporizer hosts a ceramic heating element that delivers even convection heating featuring a glass-on-glass design to ensure the purest vapor possible. The Silver Surfer offers users a more extensive choice in their vaping experience with support for both dry-herb blends and concentrates such as waxes or oils. That offers users valuable versatility and customization, a definite leg up on competitors.
Crafted with care in Colorado from the creative outlet 7th Floor, the Silver Surfer vaporizer packs a powerful vaping experience into a gorgeous minimalistic body. While a $270 price point may be pretty standard for mid-range desktop vaporizers, the Silver Surfer delivers a high-quality vaping experience that’s anything but "mid-range." If you’re in the market for a simple and versatile vaporizer, preferring whip-style designs over balloons, the Silver Surfer continues to remain a premier choice for enthusiasts of all levels.
The Herbalizer has quickly become one of the most popular vaporizers among weed enthusiasts in the vaping community. Drawing inspiration from recent innovations, the Herbalizer combines some of the top functionality available on the market into a compact clamshell design. This multi-functional vaporizer offers users versatility and choice with support for both concentrates and dry-herbs. This vaporizer boasts some of the shortest heating times we’ve ever seen, only taking about five seconds to heat up thoroughly.
A multi-functional vaporizer, the kit comes standard with support for both whips or balloon bags. The Herbalizer features adjustable temperature control that can be tuned between 290-445 degrees Fahrenheit and even includes an aromatherapy setting for use with essential oils. Offering a unique form unlike anything else on the market, this vaporizers clam-shell design allows for extra storage and portability.
One of the highest-end vapes available, the complete kit offers everything you need including The Herbalizer, a 3-foot silicone whip, magnetic bowlhead, stash box, two aroma pads, two extra bowl screens, grinder card, cleaning tools, and much more. That is one of the pricer vaporizers on this list, coming in at the fairly steep $599, but the Herbalizer delivers performance and convenience that can’t be touched by other devices in its class. If you have the funding, The Herbalizer makes one of the most excellent vaporizers you can buy. A perfect choice for the power-user enthusiast looking to take their vaping experience to its highest levels.
Vapir Rise 2.0
Vapir holds one of the longest-running legacies in the game, producing high-end vaporizers consistently since the 90’s and earning a well-deserved reputation synonymous with quality. Their latest vape, The Rise 2.0, was built from the ground up for ease of use right out the box, and even includes a couple of features not seen in competitors. Its one of the few vaporizers available to use a HEPA filter, perfect for the conscious connoisseur concerned about microparticles and other impurities.
It boasts maximum power output of 420 degrees Fahrenheit but features the ability the be adjusted within specific temperature ranges. A multi-functional vaporizer that supports both dry-herbs and concentrates, the vapor can be drawn into their unique balloon bag, or through traditional whips. Another great feature is its ‘Vape Socially’ multi-user attachment, allowing up to four users to enjoy the blend at once. For those who frequently entertain, this device is perfect for you.
The Vapir Rise 2.0 was crafted from the finest materials available, boasting better durability than any vaporizer available. Priced at a reasonable $249.99, the Vapir Rise 2.0 offers mid-range pricing with high-end functionality. Perfect for the social vaper looking to share their vaping experience with friends.
Da Buddha Vaporizer
Da Buddha Vaporizer by 7th Floor is essentially the budget-conscious alternative to the popular Silver Surfer Vaporizer, retaining much of the same functionality at a much more attractive price-point. That was achieved by streamlining the design and having a clear focus on merely replicating the experience of the Silver Surfer. This vaporizer retains the Surfers beautiful aluminum body and ceramic heating element, without any bells and whistles that drive the cost up.
Da Buddha continues to offer adjustable temperature control, but without defined notches. Make sure you tweak the settings to your liking to find out what helps to produce that perfect cloud. But the vaporizer wand uses the same ground-glass design as the Surfer, allowing for an airtight seal. This vaporizer is remarkably efficient at heating dry-herb blends, only requiring a meager half gram to fill the chamber.
7th Floor has streamlined their complete kit, so the device doesn’t feature a ton of frivolous extras, instead just including everything you need to get set up. That includes 3-feet of silicone tubing, the ground-glass wand, replacement screens, and user manual to help you get started. Da Buddha comes in at a reasonable $249.99, making it a fantastic choice for the enthusiast looking to get a taste of the high-end desktop vaporizer market without having to break the bank.
Introduction To Vaporizers
The following comprehensive guide has been designed to make you an informed consumer confident in the hunt for the perfect vaporizer. First off we'll make sure you understand everything you need to know about vaporizers and how they work. Then we’ll go over the different types of vaporizers their ideal temperatures. Several other topics will be covered, including the smell compared with smoking. After that, we want to take some time to address some of the most common concerns smokers have before making a switch.
To round things out, we've got an in-depth analysis of portable and desktop vaporizers. We'll make sure you understand what makes each type unique and who would benefit the most from having that style. We hope we’ll be able to answer any and all questions you may have to leave you informed and confident in the search for the perfect vaporizer.
General Vaporizer Info
What is a vaporizer?
A vaporizer can be any electronic device which heats up material to convert it to vapor. In this case, we’re talking about marijuana vaporizers, which heat either the dried herbs or concentrated forms of THC such as oil and wax. The vaporizing process allows for efficient and safe ingestion of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, without the harmful combustion. These devices have skyrocketed in popularity due to their enhanced flavor and potency.
The majority of vaporizers feature either conduction or convection heating elements. The critical difference between the two heating methods is that convection requires placing the material on an intermediary which is then heated, as opposed to conduction which puts the material directly onto the heating element. Convection heating used to be the standard, as older models commonly had problems accidentally combusting the material with conduction heating. While convection is still used these days, conduction has become the primary choice for manufacturers since improved technology allows for much more precise temperature control.
We often get asked if marijuana vaporizers are legal. The bottom line is that the vaporizers are perfectly legal, but precisely how legal weed is where you live varies greatly. While marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, If you’re in one of the growing number of states where weed has been legalized for either medical or recreational use, then you’re mostly in the clear. But always be sure to refer to several reputable online resources to make sure of its legal status wherever you live, as well as anywhere you visit.
Optimal Vaping Temperature
Temperature is a huge deal when it comes to the quality of your vaping experience. Giving too little or too much heat will lead to undesirable results and should be avoided at all costs. That starts with having a solid understanding of the optimal ranges that are vital to producing a consistently excellent vapor. In general between 370 and 410 degrees, Fahrenheit is the optimal range for any material you’re trying to vape. The higher end of this spectrum provides richer vapor as well as improving potency, while the lower end allows richer flavor but isn’t as potent. If you go beyond this range in either direction, it's likely you’re just wasting your material. Extremely high temperatures can lead to a harsh vapor or even combustion, and extremely low temperatures don’t do much of anything.
Another critical point to note to help improve efficiency is how you’re packing your material. You want to try to keep the chamber reasonably loose when using dry-herbs to help ensure a consistent experience. Another good tip is to stir your dry herbs between pulls to help provide even heating. Concentrates can be more forgiving, but it's still important that you avoid using too much. If nothing else, you're going to waste some in the cleanup. The ranges noted above may change slightly depending on how much material you’re vaporizing. If you’ve filled your chamber to the brim, you could adjust a bit higher, while if you’re trying to conserve yet still looking for superior flavor, it may worth lowering the temperature.
Types of Vaporizers
While there are countless types of vaporizers, a significant portion can be placed into one of three categories: vape pens, portable vaporizers, and desktop vaporizers. These models tend to focus on marijuana vaporizing, where cig-a-likes and box mods are primarily for e-liquid vaping.
Vape pens are designed to be compact and have a strong tendency to resemble pens (hence their namesake). They’ve quickly emerged over the last five years as the trendy choice among both e-liquid and marijuana vaping enthusiasts. We’ve already compiled our 2018 guide to the best vape pens, so if you think they're what you need, check that out. Portable vaporizers and desktop vaporizers, on the other hand, are higher quality devices usually aimed exclusively at marijuana vaping.
Similar to vape pens, portable vaporizers were created with on-the-go vaping in mind. The critical difference between these two devices is their size and functionality. Pens have very slim and simple designs, where portable vaporizers can be larger and often even resemble box mods. This added capacity and functionality tend to go a long way, with pretty much any portable vaporizer able to outmatch anything considered a true vape pen.
On the other hand, desktop vaporizers are much larger devices and are usually meant to be kept at home. This increased size allows them to offer a much more comprehensive range of features than their portable counterparts. These added features and improved quality do come at a cost, however, with desktop models often priced significantly higher than their mobile counterparts. Let's now breakdown portable and desktop vaporizers further. Alternatively, if you’re interested in a vape pen, be sure to check out our 2018 guide to the best devices available.
Is there a smell when using a Vaporizer?
One of our most frequently asked questions is whether or not vaping marijuana produces a smell, and the most honest answer is it depends. Your choice of material and device settings always has the most significant impact on the level of scent. For example, if you’re vaping dry-herbs at a high temperature, then people directly around you will likely be able to smell a vague weed smell. On the other hand, if you vape concentrates at a low temperature, the scent is virtually undetectable.
The aroma produced by vaping, even though it’s noticeable, is relatively different than the aroma of marijuana smoke. So no matter how you vape weed, it won't smell nearly as much as smoking it. Smoke, in general, has a much stronger and overpowering scent that tends to linger. Even at its most noticeable, the smell of vapor will dissipate much faster rate than smoke. If you’re trying to enjoy inconspicuously, you can mitigate any scent further by vaping outdoors (or at least by a window), or through the help of incense or air freshener.
Are there Health Concerns?/ Are there side effects with vaping compared to smoking weed?
Another question we get asked often is if the danger of vaping is similar to smoking? The short answer is no, but the fuller answer is that while we can't be entirely sure yet, most of the available evidence points to it being much safer than smoking. Marijuana consumption isn’t anything new, but vaporizing as a method is. Researchers haven't had time to conduct enough long-term studies to be positive, but a fastly growing number of peer-reviewed articles are finding that vaping is around 95% safer than smoking. However, when it comes to the differences between smoking and vaping marijuana, very little has been tested.
Of course, this means that there isn't any evidence suggesting that vaping is more dangerous either. Since we lack studies focusing exclusively on marijuana, it's not easy to for sure, but it stands to reason that vaping weed is similarly safer than smoking it, simply because there is so much evidence concluding that vaping nicotine is safer than smoking cigarettes. We don’t know for certain if nicotine vaping is harmless, but it’s still generally agreed upon that vapor is less harmful than smoke. Further supporting vaping over smoking is the lack of adverse side effects when compared to smoking weed. The key difference hailed by former smokers is the clean and potent high consistently produced.
Determining what type of vaporizer to go with
If you don’t know where to start when trying to figure out which type of vaporizer is best for you, a great question to ask is how you’re going to be vaping most? Are you someone who likes to stay at home and relax, or are you always out on the town? Anyone who primarily is going to be vaping at home should take a closer look at desktop models, while those on the go might want to opt for a portable vaporizer. It’s a good idea to look into durable, portable models, especially if you’re into high impact activities. While portable vaporizers tend to have fewer bells and whistles, these days they’re still very efficient and worth the purchase.
Now we're going to take a close look at the specifics of portable and desktop vaporizers
What is a portable vaporizer?
They're called portable vaporizers simply because they are easily taken on the go. While cig-a-likes and vape pens fall under this definition, we’re going to focus more on portable marijuana vaporizers in this next section. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small pen-like tubes to more extensive rigs that bear a resemblance to box mods.
These devices tend to be powered by batteries, although there are models out there that are powered by butane. In fact, butane powered vapes have gained plenty of popularity thanks to the rise of concentrates. At the end of the day what all these devices have in common is their portability. They can be brought anywhere in a pocket or an included carrying case. Portable vaporizers are the perfect choice for the vaping enthusiast on the go.
Types of mediums used
Portable vaporizers are primarily designed for use with marijuana, offering support for either dry-herbs or concentrates. Most manufacturers have agreed that multifunctional devices are where the market is heading and provide support for both dry-herbs and concentrates. Manufacturers accomplish this through either a specialized cartridge or in some cases by including a concentrate pad that allows dry-herb chambers to handle the liquidy material.
The most versatile of portable vaporizers are 3-in-1 devices that even have support for e-liquids. Those devices offer an e-liquid chamber that functions as a tank. The vast array of choices and options can make it challenging to find the perfect vaporizer for you, that's why you need to decide which type of material is going to be used the most. Don’t worry if you’re unsure, as plenty of vaporizers support both dry-herbs and concentrates with the correct cartridge or accessory.
Portability vs. Functionality
The biggest concession needing to be made between portable and desktop vaporizers is the choice between power and portability. In general, a compact vaporizer will always offer portability but may lack the control and features found in more extensive desktop models. That is important to keep in mind when searching for that perfect kit. If your primary focus is having the greatest vaping experience possible, you probably want to opt for the desktop vaporizers which tend to offer more features and versatility. If you want a reliable mix of portability and power, any of the portable vaporizers we reviewed make a phenomenal choice.
The last important point to consider with portable vaporizers is their power source. As we discussed earlier, there are two main ways portable vaporizers are powered. Most use batteries, while some use butane. Battery powered devices are similar to traditional vaporizers have atomizers that heat up when engaged, which turns the material into a vapor. This kind of device is pervasive and should be easily recognizable to anyone with experience around vaporizers.
The other type of power source is butane, which operates entirely differently. Butane powered vaporizers use take advantage of convection heating. They require a butane torch to heat up a glass or titanium nozzle leading to a chamber holding dry-herbs or concentrates. This type of vaporizer has emerged as a popular choice for concentrate connoisseurs, as they provide an exceptionally clean hit without needing to worry about charged batteries. No matter what you choose, you can be assured that the vaporizers featured on our list have been hand-picked and extensively tested to ensure they’re the most excellent devices available.
What is a Desktop Vaporizer?
Desktop vaporizers continue to be the go-to solution for the most serious vaping enthusiasts. While most models are designed to be plugged into the wall, some newer models also feature car charging adapters. These more extensive devices come available in a much wider variety of styles than any other type.
As you could imagine thanks to their tethered nature, they’re called desktop vaporizers because most are designed to be placed on a tabletop during use. While the dramatic rise of portable vaping over the last decade has eclipsed some of their growth, there has still been a dramatic improvement in the efficiency of desktop models over the past several years. Manufacturers have modified and expanded these devices as much as any other vaporizer type, even more so if you factor in the vast array of available sizes.
Since they come in so many distinct styles, it can become overwhelming when trying to find the perfect desktop vaporizer for you. That's why it's a good idea to first understand the differences between significant functionality types, such as whip-style and forced-air drawing. To ensure you understand everything you need to know, we’ll go through each category comprehensively to help you in your search for that perfect vape.
What are desktop vaporizers best suited for?
Desktop vaporizers are the preferred option among vaping enthusiasts who are seeking the highest-quality experience available. While box mods and vape pens have seen incredible strides in innovation over the last couple of years, they can’t truly compare to the high-quality experience provided by Desktop Vaporizers. With this higher-quality tends to come a higher price-point, with some models reaching as high as $700. However, for the typical vaping enthusiast currently unsatisfied with their current vaping experience, a desktop vaporizer may be the solution to all your problems. These vaporizers continue to time and time again offer users significantly higher potency and efficacy over more common portable devices.
How do Desktop Vaporizers Work?
Like all vaporizers, desktop vaporizers utilize either convection or conduction heating to vaporize your material. That's true whether you prefer dry-herb blends or concentrates such as oil and wax. Older models of desktop vaporizers tend to feature convection heating, requiring the material to be in direct contact with the heating element. Whereas more contemporary models feature conduction heating, passing heated air over the material as opposed to requiring direct contact with the heating element itself. Either method is a perfectly viable option, but each offers their unique pros and cons.
Convection offers the more traditional way of vaporizing material, emerging in the earliest days of desktop vaporizing. These earlier vaporizers commonly had issues with combusting your material instead of vaporizing it, or at the very least providing uneven heating of your dry-herb blend. However, innovations over the years have practically eliminated these concerns in all but the cheapest of knock-offs. There are plenty of enthusiasts in the vaping community who prefer the taste offered by modern convection devices over conduction.
Conduction tends to be featured more frequently in modern vaporizers than convection heating. This tends to be due to the unrivaled temperature control and customization offered by conduction heating. While you can adjust the temperature of a traditional convection vaporizer, conduction heating provides users greater precision and control over their vaping experience. Conduction also tends to present a lower risk of any accidental combustion of your material, although with more modern and higher-quality vaporizers this problem has been virtually phased out.
Types of Vaporizers
Desktop vaporizers tend to come in two quite distinct styles, the more traditional whip-style, and the more modern forced-air. In general, these are the most common forms of desktop vaporizers available. Both types of desktop vaporizer come in a variety of styles, all offering their own set of functionality.
The whip-style desktop vaporizer emerged as one of the earliest commercially available vaporizers, hitting the market over 15 years ago. These primarily consist of a boxed heating element, a glass wand, surgical grade tubing, and a mouthpiece. With modest roots, these are often considered to be some of the more simplistic vapes available. However, modern models tend to boast much of the same functionality found in more advanced devices, such as adjustable temperature control.
Most whip-style desktop vaporizers favor convection heating over conduction heating. With these vapes your dry-herb blend is typically loaded into the chamber of the wand, which is then secured directly to the heating element, providing an airtight seal. While there are plenty of vaporizers that feature more traditional design, manufacturers have been pushing the boundaries of form and functionality, creating more extensive and unique devices. Whip-style desktop vaporizers continue to remain an ideal choice for vaping enthusiasts seeking high-quality performance without having over-complicated functionality.
Forced-Air desktop vaporizers continue to be the preferred choice for a high-end vaping experience. The name forced-air is derived from its internal fans that force a stream of evenly-heated air consistently over the material. These vaporizers tend to feed directly into a plastic bag, earning the nickname “balloon bag” devices. Whether you’re using a whip or balloon setup, these vaporizers produce a smooth vapor that doesn’t put any strain on your lungs.
These vaporizers tend to favor conduction heating, allowing the user more precise temperature control. A cartridge is loaded with your preference of either concentrates or dry-herb blends, which is then loaded directly into the desktop vaporizer. A plastic bag is attached to the top of the vaporizer to catch the vapor as it’s produced. Once you’ve dialed in your preferred settings such as the temperature and fan speed, the heating element begins to rapidly heat the material and force the vapor into the bag. After the cycle is complete, you just remove the bag, attach a mouthpiece, and you’re good to go.
There are plenty of modern devices that are hybrids, supporting both whip and balloon functionality. Commonly known as multi-functional vaporizers, these vapes offer users the highest level of versatility and are heated through conduction almost exclusively. Typical multi-functional desktop vaporizers tend to be forced-air vaporizers, although these are perfectly efficient and capable of using a whip.
With more traditional whip-style desktop vaporizers, the user has to manually draw from the whip to produce any vapor, whereas multi-functional vaporizers provide a consistent stream of vapor with very little effort thanks to its forced-air design. Plenty of contemporary models offer the user an option to toggle between forced-air or traditional draw when using a whip attachment.
Controlling The Temperature
Another fundamental difference between the three common types of desktop vaporizers is the devices temperature control method. Two of the major types are both digital and analog. Many advanced vaporizers feature digital controls, while simpler models tend to opt for analog. Regardless of preference, precision control over the temperature is key to having the best vaping experience possible. Be careful when tweaking your settings, however, as too much power may lead to combustion of your material, leading to the potential inhalation of harmful byproducts. While this is less common in modern vaporizers, it’s still something to be aware of and avoid.
Digital units tend to feature simple plus and minus buttons that correspond to the display on the device, with some even showing the target temperature alongside the current temperature. Some offer precise temperature control that can be adjusted to within a single degree, and as such these devices tend to be much more accurate than analog ones. Of course, this higher degree of functionality tends to come with a higher price tag to match. But these vaporizers continue to remain the much more popular choice regardless of the higher cost. The ability to precisely adjust the temperature control has a direct effect on the quality and consistency of your vaping experience.
Analog vaporizers are still fantastic options, especially for the budget conscious connoisseur. As opposed to built-in buttons, these vapes tend to use a knob to set the desired temperature. Plenty of these offer labeled notches for precise control, however, it’s important to note that some don’t, so be sure to keep this in mind when shopping around. More streamlined models don’t offer temperature control in any capacity, instead relying on a simple on/off switch to power the heating element. However, don’t be fooled by this relative lack of precision, these devices routinely produce a quality vapor that is unmatched by even expensive portable vaporizers.
Final Selling Points / Summary
There is plenty to consider when searching the market for that perfect portable or desktop vaporizer. These devices offer more flexibility in their designs over simple pen vaporizers, and as such manufacturers are continually pushing the boundaries of innovation to distinguish themselves from the competition. With so much variety in the market, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of what’s available and what you’re looking for out of your vaping experience to help guide you to that perfect vaporizer. The expert staff at CN have carefully curated this list and formed this guide to help guide you and take some of the confusion out of trying to distinguish between all these features and devices. It’s important to note that no single vaporizer is going to be perfect for everyone, so it’s essential to figure out what you want out of your vaping experience to find the perfect one for you.
Portable and Desktop Vaporizers are the highest grade vaporizers available on the market. While these devices tend to have higher prices over simpler pens and cig-a-likes, the quality of the vaping experience cannot be matched. If you’re a serious enthusiast or simply want to elevate your vaping to the next level, there’s no better choice than a high-quality portable or desktop vaporizer. The combination of raw power, unique styling, and the broad range of functionality is unparalleled.
We went over our top picks for the Best Desktop Vaporizer: the Volcano, the Best Portable Vaporizer: the Prohibited in the 5th Degree, and the Best Value Vaporizer: the V2 Pro Series 3X. These three top-of-the-line devices should help set a good bar to help you compare against other models. Alongside our top mentions, we also featured an additional eight desktop vaporizers and nine portable ones that the seasoned staff here at CN wholeheartedly recommend. We’ve carefully tested everything featured on this list, for maybe a bit too long, to deliver some of the most comprehensive information and reviews available.
We hope we’ve covered anything you may need or want to know regarding portable and desktop vaporizers in our comprehensive guide. However, if you happen to find yourself with any questions at all, feel free to send it our way via Facebook or Twitter, or drop a comment below. Our expert staff and keen community are happy to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.
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