One of the best reasons to start vaporizing in 2014 is that a lot of incredible portable vaporizers have reached the market recently. Unlike smoking, vaping doesn’t create a big cloud of bad odor, and the significantly lighter vape smell dissipates rapidly, making a lot of people interested in what portable vape is best. In this guide to portable vaporizers, we’ll look at budget-friendly vapes (under $50), mid-range (under $100) and high-end vapes, and even a couple of covert vaporizers for the ultimate in on-the-go discretion.
With so many vapes on the market, it’s important to remember that--no matter what a friend or any vape seller’s website tells you--there is really no one right vaporizer that suits everyone. “Good” and “bad” are often a matter of personal preference. For one person, a vaporizer that’s finicky to use, but easy to clean may be better than the other way around, while for another, ease of use may be the single most important factor. Don’t buy based on hype, but rather after thinking about what features matter to you.
Here are some questions you may want to ask before starting to read this guide:
Do I want to use a vaporizer that uses oils? Waxes? Herbs? Or do I want versatility--one that can do all three? Do I want to pick a temperature and change it freely? How often am I okay with cleaning my vaporizer? Do I want a vape that is friendly for new users, or one with more advanced features that requires some finesse and knowhow? Do I care about what shape my vaporizer is (some people prefer “pen vaporizers” that are small, cylindrical, and handheld)?
I’ll tell you about my personal favorites (and why I love them) in other posts, but this guide is designed to help you find the vape that’s right for you, not me! Thought about some of the things you want in a vaporizer? Great! Let’s get on with the guide.
Portable Vaporizers for the Budget-Conscious (Affordable Portable Vapes Under $50)
While vaporizers can cost hundreds of dollars, not everyone has that much--or wants to spend it on their first try with a portable vape. A few years ago, it would have been impossible to find any portable vaporizers worth buying for less than $50, but two companies today are changing that.
Atmos and Pulsar, both of which also make vaporizers in higher price ranges, have both recently added budget starter models to their lineups. Both the Atmos Bullet-2-Go and the Pulsar Buck Naked are pen-style vapes that pack vaping value into a small package. Bonus: both are USB-chargeable, so you’ve got power anywhere you can bring a laptop.
The Atmos Bullet-2-Go Vaporizer is small, and can vaporize both dried herbs and concentrated herb forms like wax and oil. While herbs are a no-go for the Pulsar Buck Naked, it can take waxes/oils and also includes a tank for liquid “e-juices.” This means the Buck Naked is the better choice for people using a vaporizer to stop smoking. The Buck Naked is slightly longer and substantially thicker than Atmos’s tiny Bullet-2-Go, giving the Atmos an edge with smaller hands. Both are capable of heating their chambers to vaping temperatures within 10-15 seconds.
Of course, as with any budget-level product, there are bells and whistles you just don’t get with these two companies’ starter products. While the heating elements on both products are fine, they’re not perfect--some temperature gradient is to be expected. They also both have only one heat setting, and the look of the Buck Naked in particular is a bit “plastic-y” compared to its more expensive relatives. Even so, for someone trying vaping for the first time or who is saving their pennies toward a Volcano, these portable vapes offer a great option.
Mid-Range Portable Vaporizers: Combining Value and Features ($50-100)
A number of high-quality pen vaporizers are offered in the $50-100 price range. Buyers who prefer pen-style vapes are likely to be satisfied with how many brands and models they have to choose from. The Atmos Junior Portable Vaporizer, a smaller version of the company’s high-end Atmos Rx pen, is for herbs and waxy oils only.
To set themselves apart from the crowd, most pen vape manufacturers add unique features. The White Rhino “W” Vape Pen, for instance, offers a range of color choices as well as an oil cartridge in a funnel shape that makes it easier (and less sticky!) to load and unload oils or waxes. The G Pen and its smaller cousin, G Pen Micro Vaporizer have been making their name with great reliability, smooth pulls, and celebrity endorsements from the likes of Snoop Dogg (a man who undoubtedly knows his vapes).
The Cloud 2.0 Portable Vaporizer distinguishes itself with its choice of materials: no plastic pieces like many other vapes in the same price range--everything is metal or ceramic. For the health-conscious vaping enthusiast, that makes the Cloud a stand-out pen. It’s also very beginner-friendly, with single-button operation and even new vape users reporting great results.
E-juice vape-heads have a clear choice in this price range: the Blaze Vape Pen, which comes with two color-coded, fully separate vaporizing and atomizing units so you can keep your e-juices separate--essential when you have multiple e-juices to use.
This price range also starts to include some non-pen style vaporizers. The Palm Original Portable Vaporizer is similar to (but slightly cheaper than) the popular Magic Flight Launch Box (which we’ll talk about more in the next section). One of its most unique features is that it is compatible with “flavor tips” that give your vapor flavors like mint or berry. Like the MFLB, the airway is completely glass.
The Eclipse Vaporizer has one of the most ergonomic designs on the market, but with an interesting change-up: rather than using a battery-powered heating element, you use a standard torch lighter to vaporize the herbs in a recyclable chamber. More eco-friendly than many of the other portable vapes on offer, it may still prove tricky for people new to vaporizing.
High-End Portable Vaporizers: The Art of Vaping ($100+)
The latest and the greatest Haze Dual Bowl Portable Vaporizer offer users the dry herb and wax/oil/e-liquid experience within the same session. This ultra-versatile unit offers removable batteries, less than 60 seconds heat up time to the highest heat setting, pre-pack dry herb option, conduction and convection vaporization on demand, all packed into one single unit. The Haze Portable Vaporizer is the prime candidate for one of the best vaporizer choices of 2015.
While a couple of the best pen-style vaporizers on the market are in this price range, including the Atmos Raw(RX), and Trippy Stix pens--all of which offer great heating elements, solid construction, easy portability, and no-muss no-fuss operation--the beauty of being willing to spend more than a benjamin on your next portable vaporizer is that you can choose from a range of vapes that look, well...nothing like the pen-style portables you might be used to, and offer a range of features that pens just can’t.
For instance, the DaVinci Portable Vaporizer works with herbs or oils, has a discreet storage chamber for storing herbs for later use without heating them and losing potency, and--best of all--offers a digital temperature control and readout so you can adjust the temperature to exactly what you want. If you’re a vaping control freak (like me), this alone should make the DaVinci shoot to the top of your wish list.
Another portable vaporizer with a digital temperature control is the Vapir NO2 Portable Vaporizer. This vape gives good value for the money even at a price point of just under $200, creating clouds of thick vapor with no smoky burn.
The Arizer Solo offers vapers a unit with 7 heat settings, a gorgeous form factor, and clean vapor hits that simply can’t be beaten anywhere in the portable market. The Mac to the DaVinci’s PC, the Solo hits the design sweet spot, and is more beginner-friendly (though it lacks the digital thermal readout offered by the DaVinci or Vapir NO2--or, for that matter, Arizer’s tabletop vaporizers, the Extreme Q and V-Tower.).
Among first of the new portable vaporizers (and, today, still a favorite with many users) is the Magic Flight Launch Box (MFLB) Vaporizer. Made from natural materials (no plastic here!), the MFLB has another advantage: with heating times of less than five seconds from cold to vaping, it’s the fastest vaporizer you can buy at any price.
Super Discreet Vaporizers: Covert Vaping Agents
Many people who use vaporizers want to be as discreet as possible. In my personal experience, there are two types of discretion. Some users want a vaporizer that they can use, even in public, without anyone knowing that they’re vaporizing. For these vape users, absolutely nothing on the market beats the PUFFiT Portable Vaporizer. The PUFFiT looks almost exactly like an asthma inhaler, making it easy to take on-the-go or use discreetly, even in a crowded environment or one with people hostile to vape users. With 8 temperature levels, the PUFFiT gives great user control in a form factor that lets you maintain your privacy.
Other users have no plans to use their vape in public--they just want something that doesn’t look out of place in their home or apartment. If you’re looking for a vape that guests won’t know is a vape, try the IOLITE Wispr Portable Vaporizer. Looking a lot like a gorgeous handheld radio with Art Deco style elements, the Wispr is both beautiful and totally discreet, all while offering a unique flameless butane heater that never makes the handheld unit feel hot to the touch.
Last Minute Thoughts
When you choose a vape, it’s good to let your intuition be your guide. If you have your heart set on a particular model based on a feature or a gorgeous design choice, you’ll probably be happier with that model than another that someone else liked or thought was “better.” It can be easy to give in to hype, but remember that the only best vaporizer of 2014 is the vape that makes you happiest--not the one that is trendiest.