Buying a vaporizer might seem easy at first, but can quickly get overwhelming. Vaporizing is not like lighting a match, and you can spend as much or as little time and thought on it as you want. Tonight Tory and Jerry go over the basics of choosing a vaporizer, what to think about, and offer their favorite recommendations.
Set your budget and expectations
First things first – set your budget. And then expect to go over it once you see all that’s out there! There’s nothing wrong with that if you can afford it. This should be fun! If you think you’re gonna get the best vape ever for $100, you’re in for a surprise. There are good vapes for that or less, but they all have limitations. Vaporizing opens up options that smoking can’t deliver, and the more you now about them, and yourself, the better pick you’ll make.
Are you a heavy toker, medical patient, or the occasional user? Do you like big, monster rips, or gentle sips that slowly ramp up? Some vapes are better for sippers, and other for rippers. In general, conduction vapes are better for sippers and people with limited lung capacity/power, while convection vapes are better for big, long rips.
Do you mostly vaporize alone or with friends? Hybrid vapes are easy to use, and therefore easier to share.
Are you primarily vaporizing dry herbs, concentrates, or both? Most vapes are great at one or the other. There are very few vaporizers that excel at both. If you mostly vape flowers and only expect to have concentrates occasionally, consider a hybrid vaporizer with a stainless steel pad for the extracts.
Do you mostly vape at home, or out and about? Heavy hitters will find what they want at home with a plug-in vaporizer. If this is you, don’t fall for a cheap portable and think you’re gonna enjoy it. Portable have come a long way, though, and there are a lot of satisfying choices out there, especially in the upper price ranges.
Things to prioritize
Once you’ve settled in on a price range, and figured out what kind of a user you are, it’s time to think about the vape and the vapor. Think about how you feel about these things, and list them in order of importance: taste, potency, efficiency, discretion, size/portability, battery life, price. Size and battery life are for those who know they want a portable vape.
Taste is subjective, or personal, and everyone will have a different opinion, but there are some basics that universally affect taste. Look for a vape with inert materials that won’t mute the herbal flavors – like glass, ceramic and stainless steel – when it comes to the heater and vapor path. Plastics are fine as long as they aren’t heated, so pay attention to where they’re located. Since taste is important to you, make sure your pick has come up with a way to cool the vapor before hitting the back of your throat. And don’t forget to do a burnoff before your first session!
How strong do you need it? There will always be those who debate over what kind of heating is best, but everyone can agree that more weed equals more effects. If you’re a heavy user looking to take down a lot of herb quickly, look for the big bowls, like a Volcano, PAX, or CFX/CF. Those can all hold more than 1/3 of a gram, and the Volcano can easily hold half a gram, without flexing. There are others out there – those just came to mind first.
Are you a miser, or rolling in weed? Most vapes will line up right down the middle, but some are better than others at plowing through a stash. Conduction vaporizers are typically less efficient than hybrid or convection vapes, so keep that in mind. A few vapes, like VapCaps and the E-Nano, are excellent at stretching it a long way. Figure out how much herb you can and will go through, and pick wisely!
Do you need to hide your consumption? Whether it’s going to a festival, or avoiding unwanted company, there are always times we want to toke without any attention. Luckily there are some really good, small vapes out there that can still deliver a punch. Look for something with a quick heat up time, that fits in one hand, and is electric (torches stand out). If you want something discreet and easy to share, The Crafty+ is about as big as I’d like for sneaking around, and the POTV ONE is really small. Both suffer from a shorter battery life, due to the small size.
Does it need to be portable? Then size matters. Can it fit in a pocket or purse? Does it need to be even smaller? Keep in mind that smaller vapes usually come with a shorter feature list, or are priced higher to reflect the tech. They also get hotter – that heat’s gotta go somewhere. The smallest vapes are usually conduction vapes, so they sacrifice taste and efficiency for that dinky footprint.
Don’t get a vape that won’t go as far as you do! If you can get by for a couple days on a single charge, then just about any battery life will do. But if you vape all day, or like to power the party, you’d better get something with a lot of juice, or at least with replaceable batteries. If you get something you can swap out the batteries on, make sure they’re standard batteries, like 18560’s. Proprietary batteries suck – they’re usually expensive and won’t be there if the company goes under.
We’re gonna end where we started, because at the end of the day, it all comes down to the bills. When I got my first vape I was desperate for a $600 Volcano, but after a lot of research, settled on a $300 Extreme Q – that was a long time ago! Those vapes are cheaper today, and I now have both, but I’m glad I stayed within my means with that first purchase. If you do the research and get good advice, you can find the perfect vape for your style and situation. Below is a list of vapes we like to recommend. Let us know what you like to recommend, and why, in the comments. Good luck!
Some of our favorite recommendations
Dr. Dabber Switch
7th Floor Vapes