Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide
Dry Herb Vaporizer
Buying a weed vaporizer can be pretty challenging for new buyers or frequent users alike. Some vapes look like walkie talkies, some look like remote controls, while others resemble big sharpie markers (we're looking at you G Pen Elite). While Health Canada won't officially recommend vaping as a healthy way to consume cannabis, there are studies that point to the benefits of this method vs. smoking. The only official weed vaporizers to get a Medical Device Licence from the government are The Mighty vaporizer and the Volcano vaporizer- Medic Versions.
Most users enjoy the pure flavour, smoothness, coolness and convenience of vapes. From my own personal experience, you will stop burning your weed as soon as you purchase you first product. The task, however, is to choose the right vaporizer for you.
Why buy a weed vaporizer?
There are many reasons that you should switch from combustion to vaporization.
- Vaporized marijuana is a safer way of consuming vs. smoking a joint. It has been estimated that 95% of what is produced is vapour. So, basically water, air, and cannabinoids
- Vapour smoke doesn't smell skunky like smoking, so you can keep your sessions private without getting those annoying stares
- Vaping costs less than smoking because you don't use as much material. By vaping you will get twice as much compounds out of each session
- You can re-use your vaped weed. Already Been Vaped (ABV) weed is the term used for the leftover material in your chamber after vaping. It still contains cannabinoids, so you can use it in edibles afterwards
- More convenient than rolling joints. With a vape you can just carry around your bud, and device. No need for papers, trays, or tips.
A vaporizer is a must for any regular user of cannabis.
There are 5 key factors that should be considered when looking at the right choice. We are going to cover them here and recommend the best vape by type of user.
One of the most popular factors is budget. You really need to start here if you want to make the proper decision. Similar to buying a car, you need to narrow it done to how much you are willing to spend. If you don't do this, you will probably end up going too low and eventually wind up with two vaporizers. Typical ranges are below.
Entry Level: 0-$85 CAD
You can get a decent level butane vape in this level. It will be difficult to get a great battery powered one in this bracket.
Now we are talking. There are some great products with basic features in this category i.e. degree level temperature setting.
This is the goldilocks zone for most users. A lot of the industry leading products are in this price level. The Arizer line up starts at the high end of this band.
Premium: $250 and up
If you have decided that vape is your consumption method, start here. Great, high quality vapes start here. Most of the Storz and Bickel line up is in this area and it is not a bad place to start. Most products will last at least 10 years, so at $25 a year these are a deal.
Number of Participants
It may surprise you, but some users share their weed! Seriously though, there are units out there that have larger chambers, and the battery power to pass around. Also, desktop vapes are better suited for group sessions due to their extraction speed and ability to handle large volumes of herb.
How much herb do you use in a week? Some users vaporize dry herb every day, some just once a week. The ease of use, battery level, charging time and chamber size all play a role here.
This is where portability and style come in. Do you use it primarly at home, garage, out in public? There are great portable and desktop vaporizers out there, so choosing one over the other will not limit your experience.
Some devices are better than others at extracting the terpenes out of the weed. Terpenes are the cannabinoids that give cannabis it's smell and flavour. Vapor quality is another key factor in selecting the right product. I find that the draw resistance, ability to change the temperature by degree, and how far the vapor has to travel the main drivers of vapour quality and taste.
Conduction Vaporizer vs. Convection Vaporizer
The method used to heat your material is another factor to consider when looking for an herb vaporizer. Conduction heating is a process that heats the dry flower by warming up the chamber. For this to work the weed has to be in contact with the sides of the bowl in order for vaporization to occur. On the other hand convection heating reaches vaporization by passing hot air through herb and around it. Conduction vapes are generally cheaper, heat up faster and are more available in the marketplace. Convection vaporizers use your weed more efficiently, are pricier, and generally produce better flavour.
So what is the best dry herb vaporizer?
Choosing the right vaporizer is like buying a car. There are lots of models and brands out there and everyone has their opinion. Some vapes are designed for connoisseurs and some are designed for the user who just wants to go into their garage and get high. We will take a look at a few vapes and recommend the best by usage.
Who should buy this: A vaporizer connoisseur with a big budget
The Mighty is made by Storz and Bickel and has a general consensus of being the highest performing vape in the industry. Despite being four years old, the Mighty is still king. The vapour quality is top notch and is similar to other expensive desktop vaporizers. Users have compared this to a portable Volcano.
The operation of the device is really simple and gives you ultimate temperature control. The LED screen on the front displays the temperature you have selected and the up/down buttons let you control the level down to the degree.
The industry leading vapor production is due to the Mighty's hybrid conduction/convection heating element. This is German engineering at it's best.
A recent update has given the Mighty are two hour life span which heavy users will appreciate. It also has pass through charging which means you can puff away while the unit is charging.
The Mighty is not the most portable vape on the market, but it will last you a long time and comes with a 10 year warranty. As a bonus, it is a dual vaporizer that does both dry herbs and concentrates.
Who should buy this: Occasional user, on the go
Davinci released the MIQRO as a follow up to the Davinci IQ. The MIQRO is one of the smallest vaporizers in the industry measuring 3 inches by 1.3 inches. Due to its size, the unit only weighs 104 oz.
Although the MIQRO is 33% smaller than the IQ, it doesn't sacrifice taste. The vape has the same vapour path as the IQ, which provides distance between the chamber and the mouthpiece providing a nice cool rip.
The bowl size average at .25 grams, but a great feature is the adjustable pearl located within the chamber. The Davinci pearl allows you to customize your session to consume smaller amounts. As a conduction vaporizer, all of the material inside the chamber will be used as soon as you activate the device. This means that if you only want a few puffs, you will be wasting your weed. The pearl gives you the flexibility to only use a little herb at a time without sacrificing performance.
The Explorer Kit provides the user with an extra battery, carrying case, XL can and glove to protect your unit from scratches and dents.
Arizer Solo 2
Who should buy this: Users looking for an affordable vaporizer, but can't decide whether or not to buy a portable vaporizer or desktop vaporizer
The Solo could arguably be considered a connoisseur vaporizer as many long time users appreciate the vapor quality, exact temperature control and stem selection that it provides.
The Solo 2 comes with two glass stem tubes, measuring 90mm and 110mm. Glass stems provide some additional distance for the vapour to travel providing the user with a cooler draw. If you prefer hard hitting vapour and big clouds, then use the shorter glass stem. You can also heat soak your stems by leaving them in the Solo 2 as it heats up. This will produce even bigger clouds and give you some variety on a session by session basis.
The real feature that stands out and makes this comparable to a desktop vape is the ability to handle a large amount of product. The 3 hour battery life is one of the longest out there and should last your 20 sessions. The glass stems also enable quick reloads as you just have to dip your stem into the weed.
From a build perspective you will notice how sturdy the Solo is when you pick it up for the first time. It's oval shape design sits nicely in the palm of your hand. It is about the same height as a beer can, only slimmer. Because of the size, weight and glass tubes, this is more of a home vape. But it does bridge the gap between a desktop vape and portable vape.
Who should buy this: Users who are looking for an innovative, stylish option
The Pax 3 vaporizer is one of the coolest looking options around. Along with Volcano and Mighty, the Pax 3 has earned top shelf brand name recognition since release due to its size, ease of use and style.
Not many vapes can compete with the Pax when it comes to heating time. Once the unit is turned on, it only takes 10-15 seconds to reach the desired temperature level. It is that quick!
Pax labs has also added a mobile phone app as part of the package. The app allows you to maximize your temperature control and adjust by increments of a single degree. Another cool function of this feature is the game mode that has 3 small built in games that are fun in groups.
Experts will recommend you purchase the Complete Kit as it contains the concentrate insert and half pack oven lid.
It is these types of innovations that keeps the Pax at the top of the heap.
Magic Flight Launch Box
Who should by this: Smokers who love pipes or users who want to stand out from a crowd
The Magic Flight Launch Box Vaporizer (MFLB for short) is a one of a kind on demand vape.
If you are a smoker who loves to throw a little weed in your pipe or bong then you will love the MFLB. On demand vapes only activate when the user is drawing on the mouthpiece. It is as close to a one hitter as you can get.
The MFLB is ready for vaporization in 5 seconds making it a thoroughbred compared to other session vaporizers. Portability is not an issue as the MFLB uses rechargeable batteries that allows you to take it to spots where no outlets exist. It is a great option for camping.
The Launch Box is a handmade wooden vaporizer with minimal moving parts. The box has a metal trench in the bottom that is covered by a plastic shield to lock in the vapour. On the sides, there are two holes, one for the battery which is pressed in to turn it on and a secondary hole that holds the straw. When the battery makes contract with the inside, an orange light glows to let you know the heat is working.