With the plethora of portable vaporizer options available for purchase, consumers can be overwhelmed easily. There are so many vaporizers available in different shapes and sizes, designed for different substances and vary tremendously in features and quality. Sometimes it seems easier to pick one at random than sort through everything available to find the best portable vaporizer. That’s why we’re here -- to clear up any confusion and recommend the best portable vaporizers for you.
One of the biggest points of confusion is the difference between dry herb vaporizers, e-liquid/oil, and wax vape pens. We’ll break down how these vapes differ and recommend the best vaporizers in each category.
Figuring this out is a no-brainer when you’re shopping for a vaporizer. Determining this early on will significantly narrow your search for the ultimate vaporizer. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a particular substance to vape -- and the vaporizer with which to vape them.
The first vaporizers were dry herb vaporizers and these continue to be popular today. There are many advantages to vaping dry herbs, the first being convenience. Wax and oil are often difficult to find in many places so if you don’t have access to these products, a dry herb vape is your best bet.
Since dry herb vaporizershave been around a while and are so popular, there are far more dry herb vapes than any other type. Additionally, technology is constantly improving. Dry herb vapes used to be not-so-portable, bulky desktop units. Now, most portable dry herb vapes can easily fit in the palm of your hand. There are great economical options as well as the latest and greatest if you don’t mind dropping a couple Benjamins.
There are two main types of portable dry herb vaporizers: combustion and convection. Convection vapes work likes an oven - the heating element is separated from the dry herb chamber and hot air is passed over the herbs. This is considered true vaporization. Combustion vapes use direct contact between the herbs and the heating element, burning the herbs. The more affordable options are combustion vapes, like the Yocan Evolve D or the AGO Dry Herb Vape. You can add glass filters to either vape pen to get closer to true vaporization if you prefer vapor over smoke but don’t want to spend too much. Convection vapes tend to be more expensive and can range from around $60 - $300. As you go up in price, vapes tend to have better build quality and more features. The Titan 2 is one of the best budget options in this category. It’s simple, yet effective and can still be set to the exact degree, just like the $300 vapes. You can also add the option to add on oil canisters so you can vape oil in addition to dry herbs. The E-CLIPSE is a step up from the Titan 2 and totally worth it if you’re willing to spend a little extra. It fits in the palm of your hand and the ceramic chamber ensures the purest flavor. It is light, heats up quickly and easy to use. The E-CLIPSE is definitely the best mid-range dry herb vaporizer.
If you have the budget for it, there are a few high-end vapes that will blow you away. The DaVinci IQ Vaporizer is one of our personal favorite. In addition to its top-quality build, clean design and portability, the DaVinci IQ uses SMART technology to elevate your vaping experience. This portable dry herb vaporizer can be controlled by an app on your smartphone. Set unique, personal profiles to enjoy the ultimate vape experience and get the most out of your herbs. If you don’t care about the novelty of controlling your vape through your iPhone, the Firefly 2 is another excellent high-end vape. It vapes both herbs and concentrates effortlessly and is ready in only three seconds. Just like the DaVinci IQ, the Firefly 2 provides clean, pure flavor so you can really enjoy premium herbs at their best. The Firefly 2 also has a more natural look and we won’t judge you if you base your choice off aesthetics. The DaVinci IQ and Firefly 2 are the two best dry herb vapes on the market and we promise you won’t be disappointed with either.
While dry herb vaporizers are the classic vaporizers, wax (or shatter) vape pens have been increasingly popular in the last couple years. One reason for this is convenience. For those who prefer to vape throughout the day, it can be a hassle to have to tote around a bag of dry herbs. Shatter or wax is a highly concentrated herbal extract which makes it much easier to transport. Most users carry their wax or shatter in a portable dab container but some wax pens even include a built-in dab jar. The Yocan Evolve Plus and Evolve Plus XL both have one of these built-in dab jars at the base. They are completely sealed and coated with silicone so your wax doesn’t stick to the jar. The Evolve Plus XL actually took it a step further and has a dual-compartment dab jar so you can travel with two different concentrates and not worry about them mixing. Both these pens, along with the original, more compact Yocan Evolve wax pen, use quartz coils that sit in a ceramic dish. These provide excellent flavor and quick heating. The Evolve and Evolve Plus use dual-quartz coils whereas the Evolve Plus XL uses quad-coils. If you want a wax pen that really packs a punch, go with the quad-coil Evolve Plus XL or Yocan Pandon.
If you want a wax pen, but prefer something compact and easy to use, the Saber is the best wax vape for you. It’s slim, about the size of an actual pen and features all magnetic connections. The magnetic connections make the Saber the easiest wax vape pen to load, clean, and just about everything else. It comes with two types of atomizers, a single quartz rod coil and another doughnut ceramic coil. Both these provide excellent flavor and vapor but some users simply prefer one over the other.
This category contains two very different types of vaporizers but we’re going to keep them together as there is some overlap. The two substances in this category are herbal oil extracts and e-liquid or e-juice tobacco extract. Most herbal oil extracts come in pre-filled cartridges and have standard 510 threading. This allows them to attach to most vape batteries or box mods. These can be as simple as a stylus vape pen battery or one of our other standard 510 thread batteries. These have no temperature control and simply heat up as they are used. These batteries are sufficient for most users. However, some users want more control over the temperature of their vapor. For this, you need a box mod. The most compact, convenient and overall best option for these users is the SteamCloud Mini 2.0. As a bonus, it includes a wax atomizer so you enjoy wax, shatter, and sauce in addition to herbal oil extracts. The SteamCloud Mini 2.0 has three variable voltage settings so you can choose from low, medium or high temperature. The low, temperature will result in cool, smooth, and extremely tasty vapor but won’t be quite as strong as a hotter vapor. The medium setting will provide an average vapor that’s full-bodied, yet not too harsh. The high setting will really give you big clouds but this could burn out some pre-filled atomizers so we’d recommend only using this setting on oil atomizers designed for higher voltage.
E-liquids are another substance entirely. These substances are meant for consumers who would like to get the tobacco taste but prefer the smoothness of vapor. To vape e-liquids, you can use most 510 thread batteries or box mod vape batteries. Many e-liquid users prefer box mods because it gives them more control over the density of the vapor. Some of the best box mod vaporizers for e-liquid are the Kangertech vape and the Kamry 30W box mod. The Kamry is suitable for most users but the Kangertech goes all the way up to 50W, making it ideal for those looking to make massive clouds.
Though vaporizing dry herbs, wax or shatter, and e-liquids are all very different, most box mod vaporizers can be used to vaporize any substance given the right attachment. Most box mods will come with a refillable e-juice atomizer but you can find replacements or extras in our store. To vape dry herbs, you can add a dry herb 510 attachment like the Yocan 94F. Wax atomizers like the Yocan Cerum can be attached to vape ultra-concentrated extracts such as wax, shatter, and sauce.
We mentioned before the two main methods for vaping dry herbs are combustion and convection but we’ll take a quick look at some major differences between these methods.
Combustion occurs when the dry herbs come into direct contact with the heating element, often referred to as a vape coil. The herbs are essentially burned so as to produce smoke. This method doesn’t provide the health benefits typically associated with vaping. The Atmos Jr. vape pen is one example of a simple combustion vape. The Yocan 94F is a 510 attachment that can be used with 510 batteries and box mods to combust herbs.
The second method of dry herb vaporization is known as convection. This occurs when the dry herbs are placed in a chamber separated from the heating element. As you inhale, hot air is passed through an airway and through the herbs. The hot air pulls the essential compounds out of the dry herbs without burning plant material. This creates a vapor cooler than smoke and void of many carcinogens found in smoke. This is referred to as true vaporization and is healthier than smoking.
Convection technology itself has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, convection vaporizers are more discreet because they do not produce a strong odor, are healthier and provide the best taste. On the other hand, convection vapes tend to be significantly more expensive than combustion oven vape pens.
Convection ovens are typically made out of one of two materials. The less expensive option is stainless steel. The Titan 2 is the best stainless steel dry herb vape. The second material is ceramic, a step up from stainless steel in terms of performance and flavor. All mid-range and high-end dry herb vaporizers use a ceramic herb chamber. Ceramic maintains more even heating and also provides better flavor than stainless steel. If you use the two side-by-side, you’ll notice a slight metallic flavor with stainless steel. However, ceramic gives off no additional taste, so you can enjoy the pure flavor of your dry herbs. The E-CLIPSE is the most affordable ceramic convection dry herb vape. This is a great vaporizer and the best option without spending a lot of money. However, the Firefly 2 and DaVinci IQ are built with the highest quality materials and have been designed with the ultimate user experience in mind. They heat quickly and provide the best overall vaping experience. If you want to learn more about convection and combustion vaporizers, read our blog post called combustion vs convection vs conduction vaporizers.
Wax pens have their own kind of wax atomizers, many of which vary in their strength, size, and lifespan.
On the lower end of the pricing totem pole sits the wick coil. These vape coils feature a wick coil that vaporizes well but tends to affect the taste of shatter or wax.
The two most common coil types are ceramic coils and quartz rod coils. Both these options provide a very similar vaping experience and provide a pure, clean flavor. Ceramic heats slightly slower (a matter of seconds) but it maintains its temperature longer. Some users claim they better vapor from ceramic but in practice, there’s not much difference.
The most widely available option when it comes to wax atomizers are quartz rod coils. Quartz is one of the best materials out of which to construct a wax coil -- it is lightweight, conducts heat quickly, and is efficient in that it vaporizes almost all of the wax that is placed into the atomizer. The Saber Vape Pen is a fully magnetic wax pen that comes with both dual quartz coils and a ceramic doughnut coil so you can try both options. It also features variable voltage so you can set it low to get the most flavor from your shatter or wax. Or you can turn it up to get bigger, thicker clouds. But to get really thick, dab-rig like rips, you need a slightly stronger vape. The Yocan Pandon and Yocan Evolve Plus XL feature quad-quartz coils which really rip. Besides using a wax pen for vaping shatter, you can take dabs of shatter or wax from a dab rig. Dabbing wax using a dab rig is another method of wax vaporization but many user prefer vaping wax as wax pens are much more portable than dab rigs.
E-liquid vaporizers work differently. Most e-liquid atomizers, also known as e-liquid tanks, are 510-threaded, which means they can be used with any 510-threaded box mod. This provides convenience and customization to consumers. One example of this is the Kangertech box mod. The SteamCloud and Kamry 30 Watt Box Mod also allow you to use any e-liquid tank, but the main difference between these three box mod batteries is the wattage limit. The Kamry box mod has a maximum output of 30 watts, the SteamCloud reaches 40 watts, and the Kangertech Box Mod is capable of a 50-watt output.
However, you should always check the limits of each atomizer before setting a high wattage on a box mod. Box mods have exorbitantly more power than vape batteries and can burn out an atomizer easily. Therefore, it is safest to NOT go above the suggested wattage of each atomizer - anything more than that and you run the risk of damaging your atomizer.
Most atomizers and tanks are interchangeable because they feature the same threading at their connection point. The industry standard is 510 threading and most 510 thread vaporizers, batteries, and accessories can be used together.
Atmos and AGO Vapes use a different type of threading. This kind of threading is inherent to Atmos and AGO G5 products, such as the AGO G5 Jr. or the Atmos Rx. These products can’t be used with 510 thread products.
The third kind of threading is eGo threading, which looks similar to Atmos threading and 510 threading but can’t be used with either.
To Sum Up: Vaporizers for dry herbs, waxes and shatter, oils, and e-liquids have a multitude of uses and are able to cater to the wide variety of vapers. Most vaporizers are specifically designed for one substance, but there are 510 threaded batteries and box mods that can be modified to vape multiple substances. These are ideal for consumers who enjoy dry herbs, wax, shatter and other concentrates. Box mods are also ideal for e-liquid users. To read more vape reviews and guides, go to our Vaporizer Learning Center. If you already know what kind of vaporizers you're interested in, then checkout vapevetstore.com.
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