As a smoker, you have the alternative to use an electronic or butane-powered device which does not burn herbs: it vaporizes them. This is becoming a very popular way to smoke since one is not producing smoke at all, while still enjoying the same things.

These are the flavor of smoking, the behavior of smoking, and the nicotine jolt. Vaporizers can also heat other materials besides tobacco such as aromatic herbs, oils, or waxes, while some devices are designed to work with e liquid as well.

Top 5 Portable Dry Herb Vaporizers

This is a market of growing interest and intrigue; one where vaporizer manufacturers are striving to overcome problems like herbal combustion, heavy products, and size considerations. A vaporizer that truly vaporizes could be too heavy or big to feel truly portable, but several companies have overcome that issue to create good-looking, efficient machines, all of them rechargeable and under $300. My picks to make it to the top 5 portable dry herb vaporizers are the Pax V.2, Arizer Solo, Firefly, Quick Draw 3000, and Davinci Ascent.

Version 2.0: the New PAX

With a deeper herb chamber and longer-lasting battery charge, vapers get more for their money from this second version of the famous PAX than they did from the bigger V.1. A magnetic lid keeps herbs in check at the bottom. Its power button is located beneath your mouthpiece. Measuring just 3.87″, V.2 is smaller than its already compact predecessor.

Pax 2

Select one of 4 heat settings and recharge the batter at a magnetic charging dock. Vapor is plentiful and tasty. The rechargeable one-piece PAX, available in 4 colors, features a tough anodized shell and sells for $280.



The Firefly

Its deceptive elegance will fool onlookers until you put the Firefly into your mouth. It must not be a fancy cell phone after all. Aircraft-grade aluminum makes it light, durable, and clean. Through the quartz crystal window and grilles at the top and sides, you can see heat rising, glowing red. Convection heating raises the temperature to 400F, circulating heat so herbs are efficiently vaporized.


You only need to wait 10 seconds after pressing the “on” switch to start puffing. The battery is removable and rechargeable. Your vapor path is revealed by removing a magnetic lid. This and the battery lid are both replaceable if you damage or lose them. Cleaning couldn’t be easier: you can reveal the entire pathway and see everything.



Arizer Solo

Here is another rechargeable, compact, battery-operated device. Vapers should enjoy roughly 3 hours with every charge and will see how hot their vapor is getting according to a string of lights along the front corresponding with each of 7 temperatures. An automatic shut-off feature prevents overheating and neglect.

Arizer Solo

Since consumers are prone to wander off and forget what they are doing, the Solo could be left running and wasting power, maybe even catch on fire, except it won’t because of that thoughtful safety feature. Place herbs into their ceramic chamber for a healthy, flavorful experience.



Davinci Ascent

This is one of the few digitally controlled portable vaporizers and among the rare examples of portable devices with an all-glass pathway. Glass is completely inert for safety and taste. You can remove the glass mouthpiece or use it to cool vapor a bit more before you inhale.

DaVinci Ascent

Read battery charge levels and temperature on an OLED screen. At the bottom, an herb chamber swings out so you have full access to the ceramic bowl that contains your herbs. Clean, remove, refill: it’s all easy to do when you can see the entire thing. Batteries are rechargeable and replaceable.



Quick Draw 300

The nearest thing to the Quick Draw 300 is a V2 Pro Series device and you could say this is a knock-off. Made in China, the Quick Draw is quickly winning over the vaping world and selling out as soon as it hits e-commerce shelves.

Quick Draw 300

For around $140, you can own the Deluxe version which processes all materials, but the standard one is an herb pen. It looks like one solid piece because of the chamber you slot your cartridge into, thus connecting with a magnetic vaporizer. The base of each cartridge is encoded to tell this base what cartridge is being loaded. Heat rises to the right temperature automatically to create tasty vapor from your herbs.



Top 5 Desktop Devices

A desktop vaporizer is one which has to be plugged in the entire time you use it. You have to sit it on a table or you can hold the device but only carry it as far as its cable will let you go. They are sometimes more expensive than handheld items, especially the very best desktop vaporizers available.

The following list includes a couple of handheld devices which are powered by mains electricity. Prices range from affordable to astronomical. My list is comprised of:

• the best for less
• the very best, money no object
• items falling between those two categories

All of the following products have been tried and tested by real people and have also been the subjects of professional reviews available over the internet.

Volcano Vaporizer by Storz and Bickel

Volcano Vaporizer

When Storz & Bickel from Germany released their Volcano desktop herbal vaporizer, I wonder if they knew what a stir it would cause in the burgeoning industry. Did they predict the high volume of sales, enduring popularity of their vaporizer, and fanfare from gadget gurus? Today there are two versions, version one referred to as the Classic to distinguish it from the Digital.

A Volcano Classic is cheaper than the Digital because it utilizes analog controls (a dial rather than buttons) but it is the same machine in most ways. Temperature range is 226F to 446F. This is a forced air balloon delivery system: you fill a balloon with hot vapor then inhale slowly from the base of the balloon. The balloon can be passed around between friends for up to 8 hours. After that time your vapor will become stale, but it’s nice to know you don’t have to waste herbal vapor if you suddenly do not fancy a puff.

Utilizing this system, I get the impression the first audience Volcano had in mind suffered from breathing problems resulting from smoking or were using medical marijuana to deal with pain related to a chronic illness. With the Digital Volcano your range is wider: 106F to 446F with greater precision. Also, choose the Solid Valve (you need to build a balloon) or Easy Valve (all put together) to go with your equipment.


Arizer Extreme Q

Extreme Q

Choose this device and you will pay a lot less money for a dual-purpose machine. Although not as high-tech as the Volcano with a build quality slightly less impressive, you are still getting a great machine with lots of fans. Operate a balloon or whip-style system from the comfort of your easy chair. It is even possible to set temperature using a remote control. Instead of paying around $500+, the Arizer is priced about $240. It’s a lot lighter than a Volcano but not portable.


Silver Surfer

Black SSV

Seventh Floor released this device in response to comments about their Da Buddha: a vertical system which needed tweaking. Their Silver Surfer can be used in two ways: as a hands-free direct draw unit or using the regular whip style. If you go for hands-free, you will still have to remove the lid and stir occasionally, but hands-free vaping is convenient if you vape and knit or read or whatever you like to do. The fancier your device gets, the more expensive it becomes. A simple silver product costs over $200, but add color and it will cost you a few dollars more; or go for engravings and attachments and watch the price soar to over $400.


The Plenty

The Plenty Vaporizer

I love Storz and Bickel for the durability and reliability of their machines. Everything I said about the reputation of a Volcano is true of their handheld Plenty except that it’s an odd-looking device. A curly cooling system cools vapor before you inhale, so it’s smooth, not harsh. Use a rotating dial to change temperature and read your values on a regular gauge.




This is the very best machine you can buy if you’ve got over $700 to drop on a vaporizer. It’s a multi-purpose, all-in-one machine able to contain all the goods: tubing, mouthpieces, and more. Use it with a balloon, or direct draw whip; even hands-free. The Herbalizer will even talk to you. NASA engineers designed this clamshell which is completely self-contained and uses motion sensors to determine when you aren’t using it anymore, or to shut-off if it is resting unevenly and could fall.


Brands of Vaporizers

The major brands customers see online these days include Atmos, Storz & Bickel, DaVinci, and Arizer. They include Vapor Brothers, Magic Flight, Vapor Blunt, Grenco Science, and White Rhino. Notable models are the Magic Flight Launch Box, Pinnacle Pro, Dube, Transporter, RX, and Solo. The Volcano has been a benchmark in desktop vaporizers for many years, particularly balloon-delivery models. The Silver Surfer by 7th Floor set style standards while matching performance expectations.

Types of Heating

There are two ways to heat your materials: conduction or convection. Another way to think of them is direct or indirect heat. Conduction vaporizers apply heat directly to the material to be vaporized so you have to move them around. This way, all the material is warmed up and it does not burn.

Convection is a much safer and more efficient way to heat herbs, etc. as it circulates all around materials and does not inadvertently cause dry plant particles to burn. You will often read reviews where consumers found it difficult to stop their portable herbal vaporizer from burning plant material and that it took precise timing to prevent combustion.

Vapor Delivery Methods

Consumers might draw vapor directly through a mouthpiece or straw which connects them to the vapor pathway. Their vapor is dense and flavorful. When drawn through a water tube, which cools the vapor, it is often smoother but still full of flavor. Vapers who can breathe easily will usually choose this method to enjoy the richest experience.

Vapers whose lungs are damaged by asthma or another lung disease can’t draw as easily and benefit from a more helpful system. With balloon delivery, a bag fills with vapor. The user seals it then takes gulps of vapor, pinching the bottom to keep vapor in. Balloon bags are great for sharing. What vaping experts find, however, is that some of the flavor is lost this way. It is also a more fiddly method of vaping and bags need to be replaced regularly, adding to costs.

Extreme QDesktop Models

Models like the Vapor Brothers Box Mod, Volcano, and Arizer Extreme Q are all desktop vaping devices. They are for plugging in and sitting down in the comfort of one’s home.

Advantages include larger chambers or bowls for loading lots of material at once and they never run out of power unless there is interruption to delivery from the grid.

These are frequently considered “social” devices; better for sharing vapor. The Silver Surfer and Da Buddha are just two more examples.

While the Plenty by Storz & Bickel is a handheld vaporizer, it is not portable. You have to plug it in, but the vapor it produces is lovely and cooled by a coil system built into this odd-looking but effective orange and black device.

Portable Models

If you can recharge a battery or replace a butane canister instead of plugging your vaporizer in, you’ve got a convenient method of vaping on the go. Portable vaporizers include one-piece items (the cartridge is built in) and pen vapes (two-part models that screw together).

Pen vapes are popular for their size and similarity to e cigs. If you are using wax and want to be discrete, few people will give you a second look. If you are using herbs, there are special cartridges which fit onto vape pen batteries and the material is hidden.

These devices are really small so the obvious hurdle is refilling: you’ve got to do it all the time. Also, there is no way to organize something this size for convection heating. Herbs are typically burned, not vaporized.

A larger vaporizer like the Firefly or DaVinci Ascent provides the means of vaping for longer on a single charge and filling less frequently for more relaxed vaping. They also cost more than vape pens by $100 or more, but the quality of their vapor and electronics makes the investment worthwhile.

A Firefly battery is also removable and the lid is magnetic, so you can fill, empty, and clean without poking around in the dark. The bottom of an Ascent rotates outward providing the same convenience.

Material Matters

Inside and outside your vaporizer, various materials have been used. They include stainless steel or aluminum, possibly other metal alloys, hardened plastic, perhaps silicone, and often glass. Inside you will find the chamber is made from glass, ceramics, or stainless steel. While ceramics and glass are best, the benefits of using these neutral materials are undermined if the pathway is intersected by lead-based soldering, plastic, or other materials that give off fumes when heated.

You can’t be too careful about this issue. While herbs, etc. produce fewer toxins as vapor than as cigarette smoke, the release of toxic fumes into vapor complicates the question of their relative safety. Consider the materials used in the making of your device and plan to spend more for quality. The Ascent is a glass-on-glass system, for instance.

Paying for Vapor

How much you pay is often an indication of the quality you can expect from a vaporizer. Many affordable and fairly good models have been released, but if you’re paying $40, don’t expect your item to last more than a few months.

Invest $400 in a unit and you should have an excellent machine on your hands, but it might not be any better than one priced $250. Research the market fully and ask yourself what matters.

Do you have to take this item with you? Must it be wireless? What materials are you going to use? Then, click on “live chat” with experts at a trustworthy online vapor store and discuss your options.