Herbal vaporizing has come a long way over the last few decades, stemming from humble beginnings with simple devices such as “Eagle” Bill Amato's famous glass bulb, emerging into more complex devices packed with advanced technology and modern design such as the contemporary Volcano by Storz & Bickel. While desktop vaporizers like the Volcano tend to offer users the most value, smaller portable vaporizers have become a practical option for your on-the-go enthusiast. Vaporizing has a growing positive reputation among the public at large over the last few years, generally being considered a less harmful alternative to smoking.
Of course, this growth isn’t without its cons, as new devices continually debut and have lead to a somewhat overpopulated marketplace. An exhaustive amount of new products from a variety of companies, all with different functionality, can make it slightly confusing for the newer user searching for their best fit. Luckily the experts here at CocktailNerd have been tirelessly reviewing the greatest devices the market has to offer to bring you the most in-depth and unbiased reviews around. We’ve wrapped all this up with a comprehensive buyers guide aimed at helping you find that perfect vape of your own.
The following is a comprehensive overview of the most celebrated dry-herb and concentrate vaporizers available on the market today. We’re going to start off by going over our top picks for the Best Desktop, Best Portable, and Best Value vaporizers of 2018. Next, we’re going to dive into some comprehensive reviews of other fantastic desktop and portable vaporizers. Then finally we’re going to wrap it all up with a buyers guide to help leave you feeling informed and confident when you finally go out and look the perfect vape to call your own.
Our Top Vaporizers
Best Desktop Vaporizer
Many refer to the Volcano by Storz & Bickel as the greatest vaporizer ever made. The Volcano is renowned the world over for offering the highest quality vaping experience available. Plenty of companies attempt to replicate the top-of-the-line vaping produced by the Volcano, yet none have been able to recreate it successfully. This fact is made all the more impactful considering the Volcano has been the dominant market leader for almost twenty years now.
Storz & Bickel are pioneers in the field of vaporizer technology, with their flagship device loved for its unrivaled quality and performance. From its “Easy Valve” system down to the metal used in the heating element, the Volcano’s attention to detail and quality is unmatched. Their engineered aluminum core evenly distributes the vapor, while precise temperature control ensures your vapor stays free of combustible byproducts. Storz & Bickel offers two varieties of their flagship vaporizer, the “Volcano Classic” featuring analog temperature control with a range of 266-446 degrees Fahrenheit, and the “Volcano Digit” featuring digital temperature control with a range of 104-446 degrees Fahrenheit. This range of precise temperature control is perfect for the enthusiast searching for the greatest customization over the quality of their vapor and experience.
Your basic kit will include the Volcano Vaporizer, two air filters, a high-quality grinder, and user's manual to help get you set up. Storz & Bickel also offers users the Easy Valve Starter Set featuring one Easy Valve adapter, four reusable balloons, a screen set, a filling chamber, a liquid pad for concentrates, and a cleaning brush for easy maintenance. Users who are looking to elevate to the next level of vaping need look no further than the Volcano.
The analog “Volcano Classic” will cost users about $479.99, while the digital “Volcano Digit” runs an extra $120, coming in at a hefty $599.99. This top-of-the-line price tag delivers top-of-the-line quality, however, providing users a sleek design and unrivaled performance. Storz & Bickel’s flagship Volcano is the perfect choice for anyone who will settle for nothing less than the pinnacle of vaporizing technology.
Best Portable Vaporizer
Prohibited In The 5th Degree
Prohibited in the 5th Degree is easily one greatest 2-in-1 vaporizers available, emerging as a powerhouse brand in its own right. The latest and greatest from VMR offer users the best of herbal vaporizers, coming with both dry-herb and concentrate cartridges rather than leaving you stranded to buy an additional one. As the Prohibited line is solely focused on herbal vaporizing, the 5th degree doesn’t offer support for e-liquid cartridges. Users looking for a 3-in-1 device may want to consider another VMR device, the V2 Pro Series 3, which we review further below.
Included with your Prohibited in the 5th Degree Vaporizer is one dry-herb cartridge, one concentrate cartridge, a magnetic micro USB cable/adapter, and a set of maintenance tools. Prohibited implemented magnetic connection, allowing quick swapping between cartridges. The 5th degree detects the specific cartridge loaded, and adjusts the output to the optimal range. Each one offers three different temperature settings, giving you plenty of options. VMR has been carefully listening to their loyal fans feedback, delivering possibly the most excellent 2-in-1 vaporizer to hit the market in years.
Prohibited is even set to expand over the course of the coming year. The recently released dabber by Prohibited and soon to be released e-rig attachments significantly extend the functionality of your device, well beyond other portable vaporizers. Prohibited is even set to offer an extra compact model named the 4th Degree that should be hitting shelves later in the year. VMR delivers the greatest in portable vaporizing with the Prohibited in the 5th Degree 2-in-1 vaporizer, perfect for the on-the-go herbal enthusiast.
Best Value Vaporizer
V2 Pro Series 3X
The V2 Pro Series 3X delivers an array of features with 3-in-1 functionality all for only $99, quickly giving it our Best Value Vaporizer of 2018 rank. VMR continues to innovate with this recent iteration to their well-established V2 line of vaporizers. The Pro Series 3X offers users unmatched functionality in a streamlined form, all for an unbeatable price point.
The V2 Pro Series 3X is an exceptional e-liquid vaporizer and comes standard with both a Series 3X and a Series 3 PG ceramic cartridge. The device is also expandable to a full 3-in-1 vaporizer through the purchase of the offered dry herb and concentrates cartridges. The vaporizer automatically adjusts the output to the optimal settings based on the selected cartridge, while still allowing you to fine-tune the settings for the perfect vaping experience.
The complete kit includes 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 charging cable with adapter, as well as a user manual to help you get set up. The 3-in-1 functionality coupled with an incredibly low price make the V2 Pro Series 3X the Best Value Vaporizer of 2018.
Portable Vaporizer Reviews
V2 Pro Series 7X
VMR yet again delivers innovation with the Pro Series 7, the latest entry in the V2 Pro Series line of vaporizers. They ended up going back to the drawing board, improving on prior designs in pretty much every way. This advanced vaporizer has been engineered from the ground up to be a powerhouse of a device. The battery is now larger, going up from 1800mAh to 2300mAh. That allowed them to raise the power outputs to 40W and 6V. The Pro Series 7 is a 3-in-1 vaporizer that comes standard with all three cartridges included, a much-appreciated rarity in the industry. The Pro Series 7 even features magnetic connections for quick swapping between your cartridges and safe break-away charging.
The V2 Pro Series 7 allows you to control your vaporizer through an app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. Although if your device isn’t compatible, or you just prefer not to use the app, all the same controls and functionality are built directly into the device itself. The Pro Series 7 also notifies you of your remaining charge through LED indicators, haptic-feedback, and even gesture-activated responses.
The complete 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 simple maintenance. V2 offers this entire package for about $200, delivering recent innovations in portable vaporizing at an impressive value. The Pro Series 7X by V2 is the perfect vaporizer for the enthusiast looking for unmatched versatility and performance crammed into a slim form.
PAX Vapor brings you the 2-in-1 PAX3 portable vaporizer, optimized to produce an exceptionally flavorful vapor no matter if you’re using dry-herb or concentrate cartridges. This beautiful little vaporizer heats much more quickly than the PAX2, reaching the optimal temperature in about 15 seconds. This vaporizer is remarkably durable, crafted from the highest quality materials available brought together in a sleek, compact form.
While the PAX3 supports both dry-herbs and concentrates, it offers unique support in helping to conserve herbal blends through its Half-Pack Oven Lid. This device couldn’t be simpler, just load the desired amount of herb into the cartridge and engage the fire button, the PAX3 will automatically adjust to the optimal settings, and you’re free to chase those clouds. The vaporizer will notify you through an LED indicator and haptic response when the device has reached the optimal temperature. You can also fine-tune these settings through the use of an additional app on your smartphone.
The complete PAX3 kit features one concentrate insert, one dry herb insert, a micro USB charging cable with dock, and a 2500mAh battery. Included as a bonus are some additional mouthpieces, extra screens, as well as a multi-tool for simple maintenance. PAX Vapor offers powerful 3-in-1 functionality in a gorgeous slim case, making it an excellent choice for the on-the-go vaper looking to turn some heads.
Some vaporizers can do lots of things, but few can do dry herbs as well as the DaVinci IQ. This vaporizer is capable of producing incredibly rich and flavorful vapor, unlike anything seen in other vapes. It retains exceptional quality at higher temperatures, and even at lower temperatures, you still produce rich and robust clouds.
The DaVinci features a ceramic zirconia heating element that is both incredibly durable and great at dissipating heat, ensuring you don't have to worry about your device overheating again. While this vaporizer takes around a minute to reach the correct temperature, it features a longer running time as opposed to most other vaporizers, giving you extended sessions.
The IQ by DaVinci allows enhanced device control through the use of a smartphone app, connected via Bluetooth. The app allows for complete customization of your device from LED brightness to selecting the current smart path. A unique feature of the DaVinci IQ, each track offers their custom settings that can be adjusted from within the app. The quality of the app mirrors the quality of the device, delivering rapid responsiveness packed into an elegant and intuitive design.
Included alongside the DaVinci IQ vaporizer are a carrying case, a grinder, a keychain tool, a cleaning brush, alcohol wipes, a 10mm adapter, and a micro USB charging cable. We do recognize that $274.99 is on the higher-end of portable vaporizers, but the DaVinci IQ delivers one of the single most excellent dry-herb vaporizing experiences available. If you’re on the lookout for the best in mobile dry-herb technology, the DaVinci IQ is the perfect choice for you.
The Crafty portable vaporizer stems from a legacy of innovation beginning back in 2000 when inventor Markus Storz first brought us the Volcano desktop vaporizer. Since then, German outfit Storz & Bickel have continued to innovate both desktop and portable vaporizers with an influential line of high-end devices. They continue their unrivaled legacy with the latest addition to their portable portfolio, the Crafty Vaporizer.
The Crafty portable vaporizers offer dominant performance and tremendous ease of use, allowing you to focus on chasing that perfect cloud instead of searching for the optimal settings. The Crafty is a remarkably efficient device, ensuring you won't need to under-pack your cartridge, simply to mitigate waste. You can modify a wide range of settings such as changing output modes and adjusting the temperature through the use of an additional app. While it may not be small enough to fit in your pocket easily, it’s still plenty compact enough to fit into any small bag without any issue.
Storz & Bickel have included plenty of extra parts and tools for added value. Alongside your Crafty portable vaporizer and micro USB charging cable, you’ll also receive a grinder, a set of spare seal rings, three additional screens, a concentrate pad, a dosing capsule, a cleaning brush, and instruction manual to help you get set up. Just as a side note, the Crafty features an internal battery that isn’t easily user replaceable, so be sure to properly charge and discharge between uses to ensure optimal battery health. The device does run on the higher end of pricing for portable vaporizers coming in at $279, but with the innovators at Storz & Bickel it, you can rest assured you’re getting one of the best portable vaporizers on the market.
Vapium offers users a quite durable and powerful portable vaporizer with their new SUMMIT+. It was built from the ground up to deliver the ultimate in compact vaporizing, with a particular focus on exceptional performance in any weather. The Summit+ provides everything you need for the ultimate portable vaping experience, all the way down to the inclusion of an integrated stir tool that slides from the body. The Summit+ is the first IPS4-rated splashproof device, encased in a high-impact polycarbonate housing and is engineered to hold up in the even the harshest of environments.
The Summit+ offers adjustable temperature control within a range of 330 to 440 degrees Fahrenheit featuring eight customizable settings. The vaporizer allows for rapid charging of its 3300mAh battery through a USB-C port on the side of the device. LED indicators notify you of your batteries remaining charge as well as the currently set temperature. The Summit+ offers precise temperature control, power boosting functionality, and other many extra features through the use of their Bluetooth connected app.
The Summit+ improves the quality of its vapor by featuring a unique airway running the length of the vaporizer, allowing for continuous airflow and producing a smooth yet rich vapor. Vapium delivers users ease of mind, standing behind the quality of their devices by offering a two-year limited warranty. At only $149.99, the Summit+ makes the perfect vaporizer for the adventurous enthusiast looking to brave the harshest of terrain. With Vapium's commitment to quality, you can feel confident that your device will be delivering incredible quality and performance for many years to come.
German powerhouse Storz & Bickel continue to push the limits of innovation with their latest creation, the Mighty portable vaporizer. A standout feature implemented in the Mighty is a combination of hot air convection blended with supplemental conduction heating, producing a remarkable quality of vapor. While the vaporizer was crafted for use with dry-herbs in mind, the included liquid pads extend the functionality of your device to allow the use of concentrates too.
Another standout is the implementation of a flippable mouthpiece, which not only provides robust flavor but helps to keep the residual temperature down to help prevent burnt lips. Power-users will appreciate the dual-battery design, allowing for all-day use. An LED panel displays vital information while plus and minus buttons allow quick temperature selection. The Mighty offers pass-through charging so you can still use the device even when it’s plugged in.
The complete kit will feature your Mighty Vaporizer, a grinder, a set of seal rings, three additional screens, a liquid pad with a filling aid, a dosing capsule, a power adapter, a cleaning brush for simple maintenance, and a user's manual to help you get set up. While coming in at a mighty $349 may make the Mighty the priciest portable vaporizer on our list, it’s tremendous power and ease of use backed by the Storz & Bickel name ensure you’re getting one of the most exceptional portable vaporizers ever produced.
The Firefly 2 Vaporizer is the innovative brainchild of a former Apple design manager and former Microsoft engineering consultant. It's also the successor to the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Firefly portable vaporizer. The Firefly 2 features convection heating which can be adjusted through a companion app available for both iOS and Android devices. This beautiful vaporizer is built with a simple modular design that makes maintenance easy, giving you more time to vape rather than clean.
While a remarkable dry-herb vaporizer in its right, the Firefly 2 includes additional steel pads that allow for the use of concentrate. The device hosts a convection heating element connected to a glass chamber that rapidly heats in about 5 seconds flat. The Firefly 2 features temperature control that can be adjusted between 340-420 degrees Fahrenheit through use of the companion app, giving users complete control over their vaping experience. For such a compact vaporizer the Firefly 2 is remarkably efficient, needing as little as 0.15 in the chamber to produce around 5 or 6 exceptionally smooth pulls.
Your complete kit includes the Firefly 2 Vaporizer, two rechargeable batteries, three stainless steel concentrates pads, a micro USB charging dock with cable, and a cleaning kit for your convenience. This sleek vaporizer offers simple Apple-inspired design while delivering powerful performance, all in an incredibly compact form. While coming in at nearly $330 can be considered a bit steep, you can feel confident knowing Firefly vapor cut no corners and made no compromises to deliver you one of the most excellent portable vaporizers ever crafted.
Magic Flight Launch Box
A unique offering on our list is the fan-favorite Magic Flight Launch Box. This device is a one-hitter as opposed to more traditional cartridge-based portable vaporizers and is designed to be used with both dry-herbs and concentrates. Every Magic Flight Launch Box has been hand-crafted in San Diego with the utmost care and attention to detail. The result is a beautiful little wooden box that delivers powerful performance in an eye-catching way.
Magic Flight boasts a rustic charm with their unique little vaporizers. Each Launch Box is painstakingly crafted by hand from wood and glass, with an aphorism by philosopher Forrest Landry carved into the back of each device. The MFLB is powered by rechargeable AA batteries that come included with the device. A single battery is capable of almost daylong use, making it an excellent choice for our heavier vapers who appreciate the extra style in their vape. It hosts a simple heating element: a brass lined hole contain two bars connected by a screen, the battery heats the bars then vaporizes whichever preferred material you placed on the screen.
Magic Flight gives you a Launch Box, two rechargeable batteries/charger, a glass draw stem, a cleaning brush for simple maintenance, and a manual to help you get set up. At only $120, the Magic Flight delivers high-end performance for lower-end pricing. This delightful little low-fi device is much loved in our ever-growing community; If you don’t believe us when we tell you this is one of the best inventions for your money, feel free to ask any of them.
Arizer Solo II
Six years ago Arizer launched the original Solo and received plenty of feedback from fans and critics alike. Plenty of it was positive, and much of it constructive. Arizer went back to the drawing board to deliver the ultimate portable device with the Solo II. This vaporizer heats up twice as quick as the previous model and still manages to allow for about 20 cycles per charge.
The Solo II by Arizer is an intuitive device allowing for ease of use, featuring a simple display and basic controls. The operation is simple, press the power button five times to begin warming the device, after a brief moment the display with notify you that the vaporizer is ready. The Solo II features an all-glass airway to ensure a purer flavor than competing vaporizers. Probably the best feature of the Arizer Solo II is just how easy it is to keep clean. That is accomplished via the all-glass airway, which is the only piece of the whole device that comes in direct contact with any material. So that means it’s the only piece you’ll ever need to clean.
Alongside your Solo II vaporizer, you’ll also receive a travel pouch, two glass tubes, a stirring tool, an aromatherapy dish, and a charger. Arizer even includes a sample of oil for you to test the aromatherapy dish if you’re into that sort of thing. While $250 is quite a sizeable purchase, this vaporizer is a no-brainer for any fan of the original looking to make an upgrade.
Desktop Vaporizer Reviews
Arizer V-Tower Vaporizer
Canadian creation house Arizer delivers their answer to uninspired whip-style devices with their V-Tower desktop vaporizer. Since its inception, the V-Tower has consistently been one of the most beloved vaporizers among fans and critics alike, consistently earning industry awards, mentions on community top ten lists, and a slew of five-star ratings coming from its growing fanbase.
The V-Tower offers users high-end performance with low-end pricing at only $140. The device provides adjustable temperature control with a range of 122-500 degrees Fahrenheit. The V-Tower attempts to conserve power through the use of automatic shut down when it detects the device isn’t in use. The vaporizer also features a cone-style chamber that is simple to pack, freeing you to focus on chasing clouds.
Arizer offers users a complete kit featuring a V-Tower Vaporizer, one glass cyclone bowl, one glass elbow adapter, a 3-foot silicone whip, and a glass aromatherapy dish with a bonus sample of aromatic botanicals. They’ve even included bonus screens and cleaning tools for simple maintenance. Arizer delivers top of the line performance at budget-friendly pricing, making it an excellent choice for someone looking to experience some of the best of what desktop vaporizing has to offer without breaking the bank.
Arizer Extreme Q
The Extreme Q is the latest iteration of the famous Extreme line of vaporizers by Arizer. The Q offers users a unique pull by combining forced-air and direct-draw methods. The forced-air method is compatible with the included whip and balloon bags, providing choice over how you want to enjoy your vaping session. The Extreme Q even offers users extra convenience by adding a remote so you can toggle your devices many settings at your leisure.
This powerful vaporizer has temperature control that can be adjusted in single digit increments ranging from 122 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, Arizer provides its users additional value by offering a variety of attachments and extras. The total kit includes features the Extreme Q vaporizer, your remote, two reusable balloons, two glass cyclone bowls, a 3-foot silicone whip, an all-glass mini whip, a glass stir tool, glass aromatherapy dish, and even more extras all at a very reasonable price point.
Arizer offers users incredible value and unmatched convenience at an incredible $200. You’re not going to find this sort of performance with these fantastic extras at this value price with any other desktop vaporizer. The Arizer Extreme Q is an excellent choice for the savvy enthusiast looking to get the most bang for their buck.
The Plenty Vaporizer
A name synonymous with quality, Storz & Bickel routinely push the boundaries of innovation, this time delivering one of the best direct-draw devices ever to hit the market with their Plenty desktop vaporizer. Drawing inspiration from their flagship Volcano, the Plenty takes the same high-end design and packs it into a slimline form. This vaporizer manages to deliver similar quality performance at almost half the price.
The Plenty was built from the ground-up to deliver high-end performance and features unique design resembling a power tool more than a traditional vape. Featuring a metal whip as opposed to silicone or glass designs used by competitors, this whip carefully cools the vapor as it passes through the device. The Plenty features seven pre-set temperatures, so some adjustment may be needed to find the right settings for you.
Storz & Bickel commended for disregarding conventional design in favor of the ultimate in ergonomic design and comfort. They offer a complete feature packed kit that comes in at about $250, which is pretty reasonable considering it manages to deliver quality comparable to that of the Volcano at less than half the price.
Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer
The Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer is a modern take on the classic box-style desktop vaporizers. Featuring a simple LCD panel that displays the desired temperature, the current temperature, and even includes an automatic timer to power down the device when it’s not in use. This powerful vaporizer delivers modern innovation in a familiar form, bringing you the best of the old and new in the world of desktop vapes.
The Easy Vape Pop vaporizer couldn’t be, well, easier. Just set the desired vaping temperature, then while waiting for the heating element to warm, fill the chamber of the wand with your dry-herb blend. All you need to do then is place the wand over the glass heating cover and begin to draw from the mouthpiece; the ground-glass whip delivers an air-tight seal ensuring smooth pulls.
The Easy Vape Pop Vaporizer comes with a simple kit featuring the essentials you’ll need to get set up without needing much else. Streamlining their package allows them to offer you this powerful desktop vaporizer at an incredible $100. The Easy Vape Pop is an excellent choice for both fans of direct-draw vaporizers and old-school box vaporizer design.
Colorado-based 7th Floor Vapes offers users intuitive design in elegant form with their Silver Surfer desktop vaporizer. They were once an undeniable forerunner of whip-style desktop vaporizers, but a wave of new devices has taken away some of that former glory. Regardless, 7th Floor Vapes stands strong and continues to prove they still have what it takes to lead in the modern era.
The Silver Surfer vaporizer managers to pack a powerful vaping experience into a refined minimalist body that was handcrafted by a team of glass-blowing artisans. The device features a ceramic heating element that delivers even convection heating, while glass-on-glass design ensures the purest vapor possible. The Silver Surfer is also a 2-in-1 device optimized for both dry-herbs and concentrates.
While $270 is a pretty standard price, the Silver Surfer is anything but standard. 7th floor delivers a beautiful and unique handcrafted design with blown glass accents. The Silver Surfer offers modern performance and power with simple, intuitive controls, making it a great choice for the user valuing style over exhaustive functionality.
The Herbalizer has become quite the fan favorite among our recreational and medical enthusiasts in the community, managing to combine some of the top functionality available today and packing it into a compact clamshell. The Herbalizer is a multi-functional vaporizer that offers support for both dry-herbs and concentrates. The device heats up in about five seconds flat, providing one of the quickest warm-up times we’ve seen to date.
The Herbalizer is a multi-functional vaporizer that supports both whips or balloon bags. The vaporizer has adjustable temperature controls that can be tuned between 290-445 degrees Fahrenheit. The Herbalizer features a pretty unique clamshell design that allows the user to wrap up their whip and store it in the case itself for added portability.
As one of the greatest desktop vaporizers on the market, you’re given an all-inclusive kit containing The Herbalizer, a 3-foot silicone whip, a magnetic bowlhead, a stash box, two extra bowl screens, a grinder card, some cleaning tools for easy maintenance, and even more extras. That is one of the highest priced devices on our list at $600, but the Herbalizer delivers portability and performance that outmatch any competitors. If you have the money, the Herbalizer is easily one of the most exceptional vaporizers you could ever buy, period.
Vapir Rise 2.0
Vapir has a legacy of greatness, steadily producing high-quality vaporizers since the late 90’s. Their newest Rise 2.0 was designed for out of the box convenience; boasting features not seen in many competitors. For example, the Rise 2.0 boasts the use of a HEPA filter similar to that found in medical facilities, making the perfect choice for the user concerned about any impurities.
The Vapir Rise 2.0 is a multifunctional vaporizer which supports both dry-herbs and concentrates. The vapor can either be drawn into a balloon bag or through traditional whips. The Rise 2.0 features the ‘Vape Socially’ multi-user attachment allowing up to four users enjoy at once. For vapers who frequently entertain and believe that sharing is caring, the Rise 2.0 is perfect for you.
The Rise 2.0 by Vapir features incredible durability and performance at a notable value. Reasonably priced around $250, this vaporizer offers users a mid-range price with high-end function. The Vapir Rise 2.0 is the of the best social vaping experiences available, great for the enthusiast that frequently entertains.
Da Buddha Vaporizer
7th Floor Vapes engineered Da Buddha vaporizer as the cost-conscious alternative to the popular Silver Surfer Vaporizer. They achieved this through a clear and direct focus on replicating the experience provided by the Silver Surfer at as affordable of a price point as possible. This vaporizer retains the Surfers beautiful aluminum body, ceramic heating element, and glass-on-glass design while streamlining production methods to drive costs down.
Da Buddha has managed to capture the same durability, convenience, and quality offered by the Silver Surfer, even featuring the same adjustable temperature control simply without defined notches. The wand features the same ground-glass design as the Surfer, allowing for an airtight seal. Da Buddha is remarkably efficient with dry-herbs needing less than a half gram to be efficiently filled.
7th Floor has streamlined their kit only including the essentials; this features 3-feet of silicone tubing, the ground-glass wand, replacement screens, and user manual to help you get set up. Da Buddha comes in at a very reasonable $190, making the perfect choice for enthusiasts who have been dying to try the Silver Surfer but can’t shell out the massive funds required.
Introduction to Vaporizers
The experts here at CocktailNerd have spent the last several months painstakingly testing and researching some of the best vaporizers on the market today to bring you the most comprehensive buyers guide around. We’re going to start you off with a working knowledge of vaporizers and how they function. Next, we’ll go over the types of vaporizers and their ideal temperature ranges. We’re also going to go over some common questions from our users, such as “does vaping smell?” as well as address some of the most common concerns smokers have before making a switch.
To bring it all together, we’re including an in-depth analysis of portable and desktop vaporizers. This guide is designed so you’ll be able to quickly and adequately distinguish between the different kinds of vaporizers as well as what features benefit what type of user. Our intent and hope is to leave you feeling well informed and extremely confident as you head out into the vast marketplace in search of that perfect vaporizer to call your own.
General Vaporizer Info
What is a vaporizer?
A vaporizer is any device that heats something to convert it to vapor. For our guide, we’re going to be focusing on herbal vaporizing, both dry-herb and concentrates. The process of vaporization allows for efficient ingestion of THC, the active ingredient in Cannabis, without any of the harmful byproducts of combustion. These types of vaporizers have gained massive popularity among enthusiasts in the community for their enhanced potency and flavor.
The vast majority of vaporizers feature either conduction or convection heating, the difference between them is convection requires placing material on an intermediary, as opposed to conduction which places the material directly onto the heating element. Convection heating once reigned supreme as older devices using conduction often wound up combusting their material. While convection is still reasonably common, improvements in conduction heating, such as precise temperature control, have allowed it to emerge as the new standard.
We’re often asked by our users if herbal vaporizers are legal. While the vaporizers themselves are absolutely legal, the legality of cannabis and its extracts differ greatly across the nation. Marijuana is legal for medical use in 29 states as well as the District of Columbia, and legal for recreational use in 9 states, but keep in mind that marijuana is still illegal on the federal level regardless. Be sure to consult reputable online sources for information concerning the legality of cannabis where you live and anywhere you plan on traveling.
Optimal Vaping Temperature
Temperature is easily one of the most important factors when it comes to overall vapor quality, and too high or too low heat will produce undesirable vapor. Remember that between 370 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature range for any substance you’re attempting to vaporize. The lower end of this spectrum produces rich flavor, while the higher end produces rich vapor. Note that going beyond this range will waste your material, low temperatures won’t provide any effects and high temperatures may burn your material.
Another important factor regarding vapor quality and efficient use of materials is the way you’re packing your vaporizer. Make sure you’re packing the chamber fairly loose when using dry-herbs to provide consistent and even heating which produces the richest vapor. We also recommend stirring your dry herbs between pulls to help ensure even heating. While concentrates are a little easier to load, you’ll still want to avoid using too much if for no other reason than to avoid wasting some during cleanup.
Types of Vaporizers
Vaporizers are a term for devices that produce vapor. These can range from those Vick's menthol steam vaporizers your mom used when you were sick, to Blu cig-a-likes found in every store, all the way to bulky desktop units that easily get you and five buddies stoned. For our purposes we’re going to go over the three primary classes of vaporizers in the world of herbal vaporizing; desktop vaporizers, portable vaporizers, and vape pens.
Vape Pens are compact pen-like vaporizers built for discreet on the go vaping. While initially designed for use with e-liquids, there are plenty of modern vape pens constructed with dry-herb and concentrates vaping in mind. If these nimble little vaporizers sound appealing to you be sure to check out our recent Best Vape Pens of 2018 list and find the perfect one that’s right for you. While Vape Pens tend to offer a particular focus on e-liquid support, desktop and portable vaporizers tend to focus exclusively on dry-herbs and concentrates.
While both vape pens and portable vaporizers were designed with on the go vaping in mind, there’s a fairly significant difference in functionality and size between these devices. Vape pens feature a more basic slim design, and portable vaporizers run a bit larger and are usually more complicated. The capacity and functionality afforded by this larger size allow portable vaporizers to outperform any device calling itself a vape pen.
Desktop vaporizers are much larger and more complicated devices that often require being plugged into an outlet to operate. As opposed to compact portable vaporizers, the increased space and functionality afforded by these larger designs give these devices some of the highest quality vaping experiences possible. This high-end function does come with high-end pricing, however, with desktop vaporizers often costing substantially more than portable ones.
Is there a smell when using a Vaporizer?
Users often ask us if there’s any noticeable odor produced when vaping cannabis, and honestly, the answer isn’t that clear-cut: the type of material you’re vaping and the temperature you’re vaping it at is going to have the most significant impact on any odor produced. For example, vaping dry-herb at a higher temperature will produce an abundant vapor that will likely cause the immediate area to smell briefly. However, vaping concentrates at a lower temperature will produce a faint vapor with virtually no distinct smell.
In general, the aroma produced by the vapor is very different to the smell created by smoke. Even the most noticeable of vapor will dissipate much faster and be less overpowering than a small amount of smoke, as vapor is less dense. A byproduct of combustion when smoking are microparticles and other particulates that tend to linger on fabrics and surfaces, luckily there’s no combustion when properly vaporizing so this shouldn’t be a worry for our savvier enthusiasts. Enthusiasts looking to vape inconspicuously may want to consider either vaping away from the concerned area (walks are always a great option) or masking any odor produced through either air-freshener or incense.
Are there Health Concerns?/ Are there side effects with vaping compared to smoking weed?
Users also often ask us if there are any known health concerns or side effects to vaping that are similar to those of smoking? While there isn’t enough information available to be able to say conclusively one way or the other, there is a growing trove of research that has shown vaping to be less harmful than smoking. While humans have been smoking hashish and marijuana for hundreds if not thousands of years, vaporizing is an incredibly modern method of consumption only existing for a few decades.
While there hasn’t been enough time to assert any health benefits conclusively, there is a growing body of research that indicates inhaling vapor is at least significantly less harmful than inhaling smoke and combustible byproducts. Although there is a limited amount of research specific to cannabis vaporizing, with the wealth of evidence that concludes vaping nicotine is a less harmful option as opposed to smoking cigarettes, one could extend similar logic to vaping cannabis as opposed to smoking it. A fundamental difference of cannabis vaporizing championed by former smokers is the rich flavor and enhanced potency produced by vaporizing marijuana.
Determining what type of vaporizer to go with
A natural starting point in the search for your perfect vaporizer is figuring out where you’re going to be enjoying your device the most. Do you mostly enjoy your herbs in the comfort of your own home, or are you someone looking to take your herbs on the go? Portable vaporizers are the perfect option for our enthusiast on the go, while desktop vaporizers are an ideal fit in anyone's home. When searching for a portable vaporizer, be sure to keep durability in mind. Whereas if you’re looking for a desktop model, be sure to take advantage of the advanced functionality afforded by these larger devices.
Now we're going to take a close look at the specifics of portable and desktop vaporizers
What is a portable vaporizer?
Portable vaporizers tend to be hand-held devices powered by batteries as opposed to being plugged into an outlet like desktop units. While vape pens and cig-a-likes also fall under this definition, our guide offers a strict focus on herbal vaporizing. Portable vaporizers come in a variety of forms providing an array of functionality, ranging from small pen-like vapes to devices that could be confused with a box mod.
Most portable vaporizers are powered by either internal or removable batteries, although there are a growing number of devices that are powered by butane instead. Butane powered vaporizers have grown tremendously in popularity over the last few years thanks in large part to increasing use of concentrates rather than dry-herbs. All these devices share remarkable portability, able to be carried in a bag, or being slim enough to slide directly into your pocket. Portable vaporizers make the perfect tool for our vaper that’s always on the go.
Types of mediums used
Portable vaporizers tend to have a focus on herbal vaporizing with support for dry-herbs and concentrates. Companies achieve this functionality through either interchangeable cartridges or steel pads placed in the dry-herb chamber to add support for concentrates. These multifunctional devices have grown immensely in popularity over the last few years thanks in large part to increasing consensus regarding the benefits of vaporizing. There are even versatile 3-in-1 devices that offer an e-liquid chamber, so you can also vape your favorite nicotine juice.
We do understand that all these options can seem a little confusing, so it's a good idea to consider your preferred material when it comes to finding that perfect vaporizer. Devices are fine-tuned for specific materials, even ones that are multi-functional tend to work best with one type. However, you don’t need to panic if you’re unsure, as the growth of multifunctional devices and additional accessories have eased this burden tremendously.
Portability vs. Functionality
One of the most significant differences between the types of vaporizers and concessions you’re going to have to make in your final purchasing decision is the battle between power and portability. A good rule of thumb is that more compact vaporizers offer better portability but tend to lack the features found in larger models. So if you’re focusing on producing the best vaping experience, you may want to opt for a desktop vaporizer offering greater functionality. If you’re focusing on vaping on the go, you may want to opt for a portable vaporizer instead. There are exceptions to the rule with some overperforming standouts, but these devices often have a heftier price tag to match.
As we went over previously, most portable vaporizers are powered by batteries, while some devices are powered by butane instead. Battery powered vaporizers operate similarly to more traditional vaporizers and have atomizers which heat when engaged turning your material into a vapor. These devices are the most common and should be familiar to anyone with any prior knowledge or experience with vaporizers.
Butane powered vaporizers operate with convection heating using a butane torch to heat a glass or titanium rod that leads to a chamber holding your dry-herbs or concentrates. This form of vaporizer has become quite the popular choice among our concentrates fans as they manage to provide hit after hit without needing to worrying about charged batteries.
What is a Desktop Vaporizer?
Desktop vaporizers are the preferred option for enthusiasts looking to take their vaporizing experience to its absolute limits. These powerful devices offer the greatest variety in styling and functionality over any other type of vaporizer. Thanks in part to their tethered nature, they’ve earned the name desktop vaporizers because most are made to be left on a table.
There has been plenty in innovation in the field of desktop vaporizers despite the growing market for portable devices. Manufacturers have continued to push these vaporizers to their limits and even bring them places they’ve never been before. The only real drawback to these devices is their overall lack of portability, with their higher power consumption necessitating being plugged into an outlet, although there are a growing number of models that feature car chargers.
With so many desktop vaporizers and their vast array of functionality, it can seem overwhelming trying to find the perfect vaporizer. A good starting point is having a basic understanding of desktop vaporizer functionality, such as the differences between whip-style and forced-air drawing. We’re going to cover all the functionality of desktop vaporizers and anything else you may need to know in the following comprehensive guide.
What are desktop vaporizers best suited for?
While vape pens and other portable vaporizers have experienced tremendous innovation over the last decade, they often don’t compare with the top-of-the-line experience delivered through desktop vaporizers. These devices offer power and functionality that generally can’t be replicated in hand-held form. Your average vaping enthusiast looking to elevate their vaping experience to the next level needs to consider a desktop vaporizer, these devices consistently deliver the most exceptional experience possible.
How do Desktop Vaporizers Work?
Desktop vaporizers use either convection or conduction heating methods to vaporize your material. Older desktop vaporizers used to exclusively feature convection heating, where the material is placed directly onto the heating element. More modern models feature conduction heating, where heated air is merely passed over the herbs or concentrates. While both methods work just fine, they each have their perks and drawbacks.
Convection is the traditional method of vaporizing, as it was once the standard. Older vaporizers frequently had issues with uneven heating and in some cases even combusting material. Thankfully, innovations over the last decade have basically eliminated these concerns. Convection heating tends to produce a different flavor to conduction, with many enthusiasts in the community preferring it over the latter.
Conduction is a more modern method of vaporizing, proving popular among newer devices. While older models were often unreliable, modern conduction heating offers unrivaled temperature control. While convection heating elements can also be adjusted, conduction heating elements provide users with greater precision over their vaping experience. Recent innovations in both methods have essentially eliminated the risk of any accidental combustion.
Types of Vaporizers
Desktop vaporizers are usually offered in two styles, the traditional whip-style, and the modern forced-air. These two are the most common styles of desktop vaporizers and are going to be the focus of our guide. Both of these forms come with their varieties and offer unique functionality.
The whip-style desktop vaporizer emerged almost two decades ago and has remained a favorite of the community since. These simpler devices primarily consist of a boxed heating element, a glass wand, extended tubing, and a mouthpiece. While these devices stem from humble beginnings and are simplistic by design, modern models feature recent innovations such as adjustable temperature control.
Most whip-style desktop vaporizers tend to use convection heating, loading the chamber of the wand with your desired material and placing it directly onto the heating element itself. Manufacturers have been beginning to push the limits of whip-style vaporizers over the last several years, creating some truly unique and compelling devices. Whip-style desktop vaporizers are the perfect choice for enthusiasts seeking high-end performance with simple functionality.
Forced-Air desktop vaporizers have emerged as the preferred choice for enthusiasts seeking the greatest vaping experience possible. These devices use internal fans that run over the heating element producing a stream of evenly-heated air that flows across the material. Forced-air devices tend to feed into detachable balloons rather than hoses or whips and deliver a potent vapor that’s surprisingly smooth.
Most forced-air desktop vaporizers use conduction heating allowing for precise temperature control. With these devices, you load a cartridge with either dry-herbs or concentrates, and then load the cartridge directly into the vaporizer itself. Attach a bag to the top of the device, set your desired temperature, and allow the bag to fill with vapor. Once full, detach the bag from the device, attach a mouthpiece to the bag, and you’re ready to ascend to the next level of vaping.
There are modern desktop vaporizers that are hybrids of the two, offering support for both balloons and whips. These multifunctional vaporizers are conduction heated forced-air devices. Multifunctional vaporizers provide a constant stream of vapor thanks to their forced-air design, as opposed to whip-style models where you have to draw manually. Some contemporary devices offer users the option to toggle between traditional or forced-air drawing when a whip is in use. Multifunctional vaporizers are favored by enthusiasts who enjoy choice over their vaping experience and don’t want to get locked into a single method.
Controlling The Temperature
One of the most critical factors regarding overall vapor quality is temperature control. The two types of temperature controls are digital and analog. Advanced vaporizers tend to favor digital controls, while simpler devices tend to prefer analog. When adjusting your controls be sure to be mindful of the temperature ranges we covered previously, as anything too high may combust your material, and anything too low will simply waste your time.
Digital vaporizers feature simple controls that correspond to a display on the device. These vapes tend to offer more precise temperature control but also tend to cost more. This increased pricing doesn’t seem to have any impact on popularity as users understand the ability to adjust the temperature precisely has a direct effect on the quality of their vaping experience.
Analog vaporizers are an excellent option for fans of low-fi devices or our more budget-conscious enthusiasts. These simpler vapes use a knob to set the desired temperature as opposed to button controls. Most models offer labeled notches for precise control although we should note that some don’t, so keep this in mind when shopping around. Some streamlined devices don’t provide any temperature control and instead rely on a simple on/off switch to power the heating element. While very simple, these devices are still capable of producing some incredibly high-quality vapor.
Final Points Summary
There’s plenty of information to take in when scouring the internet to find your perfect portable or desktop vaporizer. With such a diverse marketplace it’s essential to have a solid understanding of your needs and wants when searching for that perfect device. We at CocktailNerd have spent months researching and compiling our results to bring you this extensive guide, and we hope we’ve left you feeling informed and confident in the hunt for your ultimate vape. Just be sure to keep in mind that no single device is going to be perfect for everyone, be sure to consider your own practical needs and situation before committing to a final purchase.
Both desktop and portable vaporizers offer users the best vaping experiences possible. Serious enthusiasts looking to upgrade from cheaper pens and take their vaping experience to the next level should invest in a desktop or portable vaporizer immediately. These devices offer power and functionality with an experience that just can’t be matched by inferior pens.
For the top honors of 2018, we reviewed our 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 high-end models are a perfect starting point to guide you, and we’ve still included an additional eight desktop and nine portable vaporizer reviews to help you find that ideal vaporizer. All of our reviews have been painstakingly researched and tested to deliver you the most comprehensive short guide we could assemble.
We hope we’ve left you feeling well informed and educated as a consumer, ready to go out and conquer the market in search of that perfect vaporizer. If you have any questions or want to point out something you think we missed, feel free to reach out to us on either Facebook or Twitter, or just drop a comment down below. The knowledgeable staff and community here at CocktailNerd will be happy to answer any and every question you may have.
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