New to vaporizing? New to this site? I’ve spelled out everything you need to get started
Finding the right vaporizer can be hard. There are so many right choices and just as many wrong ones. No one vaporizer will be the right fit for every use. This is why I have a difficult time rating vaporizers on sliding scale (e.g 1 – 10). You’ll instead see phrases like these,
“This is the right vaporizer for going camping, or on a hike.”
“A good vaporizer for use around the house, near the charger.”
Let’s explore the basics of vaporizing.
What to look for when choosing a vaporizer
In order to find a vaporizer that best suits your lifestyle ask yourself a few questions about how frequently you’re looking to use your future vaporizer, and where primarily do you plan on using it. Will you be using the vaporizer in the comfort of your home most frequently, all the time? Would you like to have the option to take the vaporizer on-the-go with you when you’re out and about, or when traveling?
There are many different styles of vaporizers available that can deliver a full and satisfying vapor, but the differences between the vapes are apparent in form factor, size of the vaporizer, herb chamber sizes, battery capacities, and many other categories. Finding the right vaporizer is about finding a vaporizer that can deliver the hits, while also suiting your lifestyle.
Types of Vaporizers
Vaporizers fall into three major categories.
Desktop Vaporizers generally sit on a desk or tabletop and plug into an outlet for power. These vaporizers are generally on the larger/heaver side of the vaping spectrum and tend to give the thicker and stronger hits more reliably. Of course, this varies on a per vaporizer basis. Prices range from the low $100s to the mid $700s, as with anything you can find more expensive offerings if you go looking.
Portable Vaporizers are battery or externally powered (such as butane torch). These are usually pocketable and tend to be more discrete. The cost averages at around $200 for a reliable dry herb portable vaporizer from a reputable source. The high-end portable vaporizers cost in the high $400s. You will usually get what you pay for: some portable vaporizers can perform as well, if not better, than some desktop vaporizers.
Pen Vaporizer These vaporizers are exclusively for oil/wax/shatter/extract etc… I’m not overly thrilled with pen vaporizers as a whole, I see them as a necessary evil. I generally stick to a few choice brands for my pen vaporizers because I trust their quality control. Cheap generic pens scare me, I can taste something that isn’t vapor…
King’s Portable Vape Recommendations
Mighty – I would recommend the Mighty with no hesitation as my top choice portable vaporizer. It may not be the best fit for every situation because it’s larger than most portable vapes, but that extra size gives it room to house a second battery and an easy-to-read screen. Despite its larger size, it’s still pocketable but it’ll bulge out, once again, it’s not discreet but still portable. Size aside, the Mighty is an outstanding vaporizer. The heating process is predominantly convection, with a slight touch of conduction. The vapor from the Mighty is high quality and doesn’t introduce any new smells or tastes that aren’t already present in the herbs being vaporized. In other words
Where to buy Vaporizers
I’ve run the gambit buying my vaporizers online, in-store, from trade shows, craigslist, the list goes on and on.
The best choice is always to buy a vaporizer from an authorized retailer for that vaporizer. Otherwise you risk voiding your warranty before your vaporizer even shows up.
Brick and mortar stores can be hit or miss. My local shops only carry higher profit margin, lower quality knock-off vaporizers. However, shops I visited while in Amsterdam had an impressive collection of current generation vaporizers.
That being said, your best bet for buying a vaporizer is online. These are the shops that I recommend to my readers, I’ve used them in the past and I can vouch for all of them.
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Don’t know where to start looking?
This list is a great place to start your hunt. This isn’t a comprehensive list, rather it’s meant get you started and build out a feel for what kind of vaporizers are available.
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- VapeXhale Cloud Evo (Price: $449 | Review): Great taste, thick hits. Designed to be used with water pipes. Great for glass collectors. Large selection of specialty glass available. Optional accessory for use with concentrates.
- Vaporbrothers VB1 (Price: ~$184 | Review): Original box vaporizer. Uses a whip or glass mouthpiece. Analog temperature dial. Lifetime warranty, long reputation.
- Volcano (Price: $420+ | Review): Old school standard. Digital and analog available. Bag vaporizer. Long reputation. Made in Germany.
- Pax 3 (Price: $249 | Review): Third generation Pax vaporizer. An improvement on the original mainstream portable that has earned it’s solid reputation. Discreet design. Small, easy to use, requires cleaning from time to time. 10 year warranty. Internal battery powered. (Caution: Many knock-offs available)
- DaVinci IQ (Price: $249 | Review): Thick hits. Looks like an older-gen piece of tech. Glass airpath in a portable. Internal battery powered.
- DaVinci MIQRO (Price: $149 | Review): The newest and smallest member of the DaVinci vaporizer family. DaVinci IQ performance in a smaller package with a smaller battery, great for being discreet, but limited to about two long session per battery charge.
- Mighty (Price: $349 | Review): My personal go-to portable for short to long term travel. The Mighty offers the performance of a desktop vaporizer in a convenient hand-held size. Large battery capacity means the Mighty will deliver multiple long sessions back to back without needing to be charged.
- Ghost MV1 (Price: $295 | Review): On-demand convection vaporizer with an easy to swap battery.
Getting a good grinder is important to me. It’s one thing to use a crummy gas station grinder (true story) in a time of need. I wouldn’t use the same grinder at home. The grinders range in price by size and number of pieces.
Types of Grinders
- 2-piece: Straightforward grinder with no gimmicks. No option to store herb in grinder. Getting herb out from between teeth can be tricky, it’s best to dump the herb out of the grinder onto a surface first.
- 4-piece: Sometimes called triple-chamber, the 4-piece grinder has a grinding chamber, holding chamber, and a pollen catcher on the very bottom. Middle chamber holds herb, easy access. Bottom pollen chamber will fill over time, can later be combined with herbs for an intensified experience. I save it up and mix a bunch in with some herb from time to time.
Grinders to consider:
Cleaning and Maintenance Kit
Keeping a vaporizer clean is easy. Cleaning a filthy vaporizer is not. I keep this stuff handy to keep my vapes clean. If you’re mostly dealing with concentrates, which can be very messy, keeping Alcohol Wipes (Alcohol Prep Pads) handy is a monumental quality-of-life improvement.
- 99% Isopropyl Alcohol: I use 99%, I’m sure 91% is fine too… I still use 99%
- Alcohol Wipes: Alcohol wipes are a must-have item in my household
- Pipe Cleaners: They come in handy. You can make small tools by twisting them around each other. Usually used with alcohol.
- Brush: Great for cleaning glassware.
For short term storage, a clear glass container such as a mason jar is fine. For longer term storage I’d highly recommend a storage solution that blocks air and light from reaching your herbs. These are the containers I’ve tried and recommend.