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 THCHemp 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.
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.
Vaping and Social Justice Reform
Speaking of legalization, getting high continues to be something of a political act, not just in terms of fighting for legality, but in terms of fighting for social justice in the cannabis industry. Even as it booms, the industry is rife with inequality, serving the well-funded startups and venture capitalists more than it does the grassroots efforts that made cannabis legit. Buy a real nice vape for yourself, then make the effort to purchase product from dispensaries and companies that fight for incarcerated people locked up for nonviolent drug offenses, invest in the BIPOC communities that are being boxed out of the industry, or fund political initiatives to end the so-called war on drugs, which has long given police an excuse to target people of color.
We figure you just want to vape, but vape smartly. Here are 14 of the best—and best-looking—weed vaporizers you can get right now. Pair one with quality flower, concentrate, or oil, and get to it.
Portable dry herb vaporizers are small personal devices designed for vaporizing marijuana or legal high CBD strains. They have an internal oven that heats up cannabis at precise temperatures to produce vapor. Vaping dry herb a few years back would have required a much larger desktop unit, which meant learning how to vape weed involved being stationary. These days, there are so many great pocket-sized vapes and weed pens, giving you the freedom to vaporize your dank nugs anywhere you go. There are quite a few benefits of vaping versus smoking weed.
Some of these vapes are all-in-one units that are capable of vaporizing dry herb and waxy concentrates. Finding the right one for you can be very confusing, with literally over hundreds of options to choose from. Here are the best portable weed vapes currently available right now based on years of reviews and research.
The PAX quickly became the iPhone of portable weed vaporizers. Now It has more airflow, faster heat-up times and a Bluetooth app for dialing in your exact temperatures. The PAX 3 is a compact and stylish all-in-one device capable of vaporizing dry herb and herbal extracts. It’s a durable and dependable daily driver.
Arizer Solo II
The Solo II has an ergonomic design that feels great in the hand. It has a bright screen, a menu system for adjusting your settings and is constructed of quality materials. The Solo heats up fast and delivers great flavor due to an all-glass vapor path. It has a durable feel and is covered under a two-year warranty.
The Firefly 2+ builds on the success of the Firefly 2. It now has a larger battery capacity, an innovative new airflow system, and its signature on-demand convection heating system. The Firefly 2+ is extremely portable, efficient and good and minimizing strong odors. Ideal for solo sessions and micro-dosing.
The DaVinci IQ allows you to dial in precise temperature control settings. It also has a 51-light grid display and simple to use interface. The device is powered by replaceable 18650s, so you can swap them without missing a beat. Its vapor path is made entirely of ceramic zirconia for thicker clouds and even heating.
The AirVape X is a stealthy dry herb vaporizer. It features a large medical-grade ceramic herb chamber, magnetic lid and an upgraded thermal-resistant mouthpiece. It only weighs 3.2 ounces and has a comfortable ergonomic design with precise temp control functionality. It’s powered by a 1300 mAh battery.
The Gaia is a luxurious all in one portable solution for vaporizing dry herb. It features an all quartz chamber that utilizes convection heating for effective vaporization. It heats up within 40 seconds and is made from top-quality materials. The Linx Gaia has a 2200 mAh battery and fits in the palm of your hand.
Kandypens K-Vape Pro
The K-Vape Pro is the next generation of Kandypens dry herb vaporizers. It utilizes convection/conduction hybrid heating technology to provide the best of both worlds. The K-Vape Pro features four temperature settings, a half-gram ceramic heating chamber and comes with a lifetime warranty, so you’re set for life.