Vaping weed doesn’t reek. There’s no smoke to tear up your throat. And unless you make a spectacle of it, dubbing yourself that asshole, it’s subtle. Those who vape their cannabis often do so because the dosage is easier to control—chalk that up to the wonders of technology—and the effects feel less jolting than more traditional means of getting high. (Although, folks who don’t regularly partake might find vaping to be more intense than smoking, according to one study.) To be fair, you do lose that transformative experience of coughing your esophagus out over a poorly wrapped joint or getting so high off of one rip from a communal bong that the stars fall to Earth and the moon waves hello. Hey, sacrifices must be made.
Vapes make dry herb, concentrate, or oil hot enough to activate the THC that sets you sailing, but not so hot the cannabis combusts into smoke, defeating the entire purpose of vaping. To broadly summarize the tech in the least boring way possible, there are two kinds of vaporizer heating systems used to extract high-making chemicals and flavor from cannabis: one that uses conduction heating and one that uses convection heating.
2021 has now begun and we’re looking forward to the new releases that come out this year. Nothing big has been released yet but we’ll definitely update this page when we see anything exciting come out!
Conduction vs. Convection heating
Conduction heating puts your weed in direct contact with the vape’s heating element—like its coils—often getting you a faster heat time. However, if your product is too close to the heating element for too long, it’ll burn. (Simply shifting it around in the vape’s chamber is an easy fix.) Convection vapes tend to be more finicky and more expensive, but oftentimes are worth it for the vapor alone, especially if you prefer using dry herb. With these, the weed product doesn’t come into direct contact with the heating element. Instead, very hot air from the heating element circulates through the vape with every pull, indirectly vaporizing the product. On one hand, your product won’t combust, and the vapor is more even and flavorful. On the other, convection vapes can take longer to fire up, so patience is a virtue. These days, vapes can stick to one type of heating system or the other, but many market themselves as neither or both.
Vaping vs. Smoking
If you’re here, you’re likely already sold on vaping cannabis in one of its forms. But we’d be negligent to not quickly run through the science of weed vaping. Going the smoke-free route with a vaporizer is considered “likely less harmful than smoking” marijuana, because smoke itself is bad for your lungs. You know, the whole Joe Camel thing. The CDC has linked lung illness and some deaths to vape products with THC—remember the vape outcry of 2019?—but the big asterisk is that the THC products to blame were for the most part acquired from bootleg, black market sources. The lesson here is: Don’t be an idiot about where you get your oil. And because, annoyingly, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, hard-hitting research about vaping it remains scarce in these early days of legalization.
Best portable vaporizers
- Arizer Solo 2
- Firefly 2+
- Pax 3
- Healthy Rips Fury Edge
- Davinci IQ2/MIQRO
- Arizer ArGo
- XMAX Starry V3
- Boundless CF/CFX
Although the Mighty has been available for almost four years now it still reigns as the best portable dry herb vaporizer. Its vapor quality is on par with high end desktop vaporizers which is really saying something. The pulls are smooth and flavorful which is exactly what you’re looking for in a good portable vaporizer.
The Arizer Solo 2 is the follow up to the mega popular Solo. Arizer is a world renowned brand for a reason: they make stellar dry herb vaporizers that work well for a fair price. The main reason the Solo 2 comes in second is because of its impressive battery life. When fully charged it runs for almost three hours non stop without needing a charge. That’s probably the longest battery life of any portable vaporizer you can find in 2021.
When the original Firefly hit the market it blew a lot of people’s minds. It’s a convection herb vaporizer that heats up in a couple seconds that has cool, thick vapor. There were a few complaints around the size, lack of temperature control and battery life though.They fixed that up in the second version. The Firefly 2 is over 30% smaller, 50% lighter, with advanced temperature controls and has a much improved battery life. You can now pick from six temperature settings between 338° and 437° Fahrenheit which let’s you get the perfect vapor density. Just make sure you have a smart phone because that’s all controlled by the Firefly app!
The best thing about the Pax 3 is probably it’s size. There are smaller vaporizers available, but Pax has really nailed it with the perfect size for activities. It’s awesome for hikes, skateboarding, snowboarding or anything else outdoors. It weighs only 93 grams which is pretty insane for all of the technology they pack in to it.
Healthy Rips entered the fray a few years ago with the Fury vaporizer. They promised to deliver food-grade air paths that use convection technology to heat the herb, and they’ve delivered. While their first few vaporizers were great, they’ve released a true winner in the Fury Edge.
The Crafty+ is the nimble little brother of the Mighty that’s sitting up at the #1 spot. Depending who you talk to, and what you’re looking for, the Crafty+ could take the top spot as the best portable vaporizer.
Davinci has been making vaporizers for over five years now. They started off with the original Davinci Vaporizer and followed it up with the solid David Ascent. Their third product is certainly their best portable vaporizer yet.
The ArGo is short for Arizer Go. It’s Arizer’s first truly portable vaporizer since the mouthpiece retracts back in to the unit. All of Arizer’s ‘portable’ vaporizers have glass pieces which means you can’t throw them in your pocket or bag—that’s not the case with the ArGo.
The XMAX Starry is the cheapest vaporizer on this list, but it doesn’t perform like the cheapest. It’s an awesome little vaporizer that is perfect for beginners looking for a starter, or veterans looking for a super portable unit.
Boundless has released a couple cheap products that have taken the dry herb vaporizer world by storm. The CF/CFX are essentially a poor man’s Crafty/Mighty: they are hybrid convection, they look similar and they have similar sizes. Considering they’re half the price of their Volcano counterparts—the CF/CFX are pretty impressive.