Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide

October 16, 2018

How to choose a vaporizer for weed?

Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide

Buying a vaporizer can be daunting, especially your first one. It's an investment that you need to be careful about, because you don’t want to end up with a crappy one that breaks. This vape buying guide will provide you with all the info you need to know before buying your first dry herb vaporizer. Keep in mind, there is no best dry herb vaporizer for weed, because like everything else in this industry, it’s all relative to your preferences as a consumer.

If you’re new to the world of cannabis, hi, welcome. You might be asking what a vaporizer is (even some experienced smokers don’t know, so here’s a quick refresher):

A vaporizer is a device used to extract certain compounds out of dry herbs, concentrates, or e-liquids without burning the substance itself, exposing it to just the right amount of heat to vaporize those compounds before combustion. So there’s no actual flame, but just enough heat for you to inhale THC and CBD, the main components of cannabis. 

Related article: Marijuana Effects: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!

If you’ve never smoked with a vaporizer before, there are a lot of reasons to consider it that we’ll be discussing. Vaporizers are typically thought to be “healthier,” as well as more discrete. There’s not one good reason to switch, however, so whatever the reason is for you, it’s a good one! Many marijuana consumers are turning to vaporizers for their high for a multitude of reasons. 

Saving Note: Use discount code '421Store' to get 25% off your next purchase. Order here.

Related article: What Are the Benefits Of Vaping Weed? 7 Reasons To Vape Weed Instead Of Smoking It.

Is Vaping Harmful?


Vaping is typically less harmful than smoking a blunt (or joint, or whatever you want to call it). A lot of factors determine safety, however, such as: 

  • Convection vs. conduction
  • The type of material used in the vaporizer
  • The temperature you used to vaporize the herb
  • Inhaling pesticides or other chemicals in the herb
  • etc.

Even large amounts of oxygen may cause cell oxidation, so keep in mind that inhaling anything abnormal can be harmful. We can’t say that vaping is a completely “healthy” way to ingest cannabis, however, it is better than smoking it. 

In Germany, vaping marijuana and edibles are both considered safe options. Actually, believe it or not, the medicinal version of The Mighty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickle is even covered under national health insurance. The psychological risk (addiction, anxiety etc.) of vaping, however, is similar to smoking, since you’re still consuming cannabis. 

Vaping marijuana is most likely a safer method compared to smoking, but isn’t as safe as edibles. As long as you trust your herb and where it came from, then you should be good to go.  

On a Mission To Buy a Vaporizer


The process of finding your first vaporizer can be daunting (and sometimes expensive) if you’re not prepared. A couple of years ago I took this voyage alone and got lost several times along the way--I ended up getting the wrong vaporizer and $150 went down the drain. The whole thing became frustrating and confusing and I almost gave up on the entire process; it was like high school all over again!

On the market today, there are a ton of new and unique vaporizers. So how can you narrow the field and ultimately find the perfect vape for you? We are here to help you on your vape selection voyage by providing tips and tricks, along with breaking down some of the basic types and qualities of common vaporizers. Unlike me, you will not be alone in your search!   

Vaporizer Decision Process


Before you jump into the specifics (brands names, prices, etc.), it's very important to read this guide and familiarize yourself with the concept of vaporizers, and what you need to look for when you purchase your first one. This guide will provide you with the following information:

  • The available technologies
  • The ups and downs of smoking weed with a vaporizer 
  • What type of vaporizer will suit your lifestyle
  • What you need to look for before purchasing one
  • How much you need to spend (we’ll be talking about this last since it’s more important to find a vaporizer that suits your needs, rather than the cheapest one on the market)

Answering the following questions will help you to choose the "right" vaporizer, or at least to be able to ask educated questions to your local smoke shop rep (you can also ask me any question by reaching out here).

  • How many people will be using the vaporizer? Is it for personal use, or are you sharing it with your roommates? My vaporizer is for personal use only. When I'm with people, I use either a desktop vaporizer, or my old bong or bowl. 
  • How frequently do you smoke in a day? How many hits do you need to take per session?
  • Do you want it to be portable, or for home use only? Does it need to be discrete? 
  • What’s your experience level with vaping? That being said, what’s your comfort level with vaping?
  • Batteries vs butane operated portable vaporizers; battery-operated vaporizers will need, obviously, charging. For some of us who smoke frequently, this kind of vaporizer can be "inefficient." Butane operated vaporizers, on the other hand, take a little learning curve, but have more muscle to get the extraction going.
  • Replaceable batteries vs. non-replaceable batteries.
  • How much are you wanting to pay? There is no right answer for this, sorry! Sometimes the more you're willing to pay, the better, but that's not always the case. My suggestion is to start by setting aside $80+. Anything less than $80 will probably be a disappointment.

A quick reminder: if you have any questions (or if you'd like a discount on a vaporizer of your choice) please reach out to me here.

First, Vape vs. Smoking? And how high can it get you? 


Vaporizers are a relatively new way of consuming dry herbs (cannabis, tobacco, etc.), concentrates, and/or essential oils. For those in the vape community, it’s believed that vaporizers provide a much cleaner experience, are better in social settings since there is “almost” no smell, and the effects can be much more controllable and "pure."

The type of high you get from vaping your dry herb can be different comparing to the common smoking methods (bong, bowl, joints, etc.). It's also different from one person to another. I personally go through phases; I’ll smoke blunts straight for a month, then get sick of it and start vaping (mostly dry herb vaping). It’s like having a favorite food for a few months, then moving on to a different one, then back again.

Related article: Wax vs. Dry Herb Vaporizers: What’s better?

Portable Vaporizer vs. Desktop Vaporizer?


Besides getting high, what do you hope to get out of your vaporizer? Since different vaporizers suit different lifestyles, it’s important to match your vaporizer to your needs based on how you like to consume, what you like to consume (wax, dry herb, etc.), as well as where and when you like to consume.

Keep in mind that the most important thing in any vaporizer is the process of extracting the major cannabinoid components (THC and CBD). This process is directly related to multiple factors, including the heating design, how the airflow is constructed in the vaporizer bowl, and heat distribution. With that being said, don't rely on the objective vaporizer specifications--try to look more into people's reviews and what they think. Size matters, too; think about whether you’d want a portable or desktop vaporizer 

Conduction or Convection vaporizers?


Conduction: the dry herb, oil, or wax is heated up by coming into contact with something that is already hot. This method can sometimes cause inconsistent heating through the product which can cause taste and quality issues. However, a vaporizer that has a ceramic bowl (the oven), might solve some of those issues.

One of the downsides about conduction vaporizers is that they cook off some of your bud even while idle; after you use it, the herb may keep burning, which makes the method a bit wasteful.

Convection: the herb, oil, or wax is heated through hot air that’s been warmed in a separate compartment. That hot air is then filtered through the bowl whether the product is. Convection vaporizers typically heat the product more evenly, and they’re thought to be safer than conduction vaporizers. That being said, there’s always more detail, so be sure to check out our article here. 

Maintaining/cleaning your vaporizer


We won't waste your time with this-vaporizers are all fairly easy to clean, so don’t choose one based on convenience of cleaning. If it really matters, though, the Arizer vaporizers, are super easy to clean. All you have to do is dip the stem in ISO liquid or warm water and you're good to go! In general, as I mentioned earlier, I've never found any of the vapes much of a problem to clean, so don’t think too hard about it. 

If you’re still curious, you can read more about how to clean your vaporizer here.

The Smell


First off, all vaporizers are considerably more discreet than smoking. Let me elaborate a bit.

  1. Oil Cartridges. When you consume marijuana with a vaporizer, it still smells. Oil cartridges, however, smell the least. That being said, they are also much more expensive. 

  2. Concentrates/Wax. Concentrates produce less smell overall compared to dry herb. It also smells very different, and will probably set off less alarm bells. Keep in mind, there are so many different forms of concentrate, and each might smell differently, so it is difficult to make a generic statement. Important note: a tiny bit of concentrate goes a long way, and you might find yourself using more than you really need to, which may pump up your tolerance level over time. Be sure to exercise restraint to get the most out of your concentrates. Concentrates can be as cost-effective as flower, or they can cost more--it depends upon how much you use. Pacing yourself is the key.

  3. Bud/Dry Herb: Vaping dry herb can be the loudest, but it still smells significantly less and dissipates much faster compared to smoking it. You can light an incense candle or air out the room in just a few minutes. The smell also does not stick to clothing or other fabrics. What you can also do, if you’re nervous about the smell, is get a gizmo that you exhale the smoke/vapor through that will eliminate the smell. A more budget-friendly option would be a paper towel roll stuffed with dryer sheets.

    Finally, What’s Your Budget?


    via giphy.com

    I’ve saved budget for the end because I personally found that once I answered the above questions and discovered my “must haves”, I realized that I needed to pay a little more than anticipated. My process is laid out below--keep this story in mind when you plan on purchasing your first vaporizer!

    • Narrow your budget based on your must-haves. I started by thinking that what I wanted would cost me less than 100 dollars. I mean come on, I’m a glass pipe smoker, not a vape guy, so I can get by with an economical device. I was also getting my device for a special occasion and didn’t see myself using it beyond that week. I started my research there--vaporizers under 100 dollars. Immediately desktop versions were knocked off my list because of their size and cost, with the most affordable being around 300 dollars. I thought ‘ok, I’m fine with that, those are too big for my needs anyway. This should be easy…’ boy, was I wrong. 

    • There are MANY vaporizers in each price range. Once I got into the ‘portable vaporizer under 100 dollars’ list, I realized that there are a lot of options out there and some of the products seem pretty good based on reviews. I picked a few names and began a web search for them to see what bloggers and YouTubers were saying about the product. What I found was that a lot of them were kinda hit-or-miss and a lot of the reviews mentioned a lack of flavor from their vaped herb. Taste matters to me, so I realized I would have to pay a little more for a product I could enjoy. 

    • Budget increase for taste. Next, I expanded my research to include the best tasting, inconspicuous, marijuana/dry herb portable vaporizer (I stuck with the dry herb because I didn’t know I had a choice at this point). There were quite a few options within my budget, so I thought I was done… wrong!

    When I read a review of any product, I like to read the comments below the review also. To me, it’s important to read both the positive and the negative ones. In one of those comments my mind was officially blown along with my budget. One person mentioned that the device being reviewed was good, but had the reviewer tried another vaporizer that had glass tubing rather than the plastic--I love my glass pipe, so this was a game changer for me. Were glass vaporizers in my budget? Well… no, but they were close.

    • Taste AND Glass, bump up that budget! I dove back into my research to find a good glass vaporizer that would also allow me to taste my product. I scoured the internet so much that it felt like a never ending circle. Finally, I found a device that felt like it was made just for me! It was a touch over budget, but I was 100% satisfied because it met all my must-haves (and also came with a cool little carrying case).

    One important thing that I learned through this process was that vaporizers are about more than just being able to consume discreetly. They are full of technology and can provide a fantastic experience. I concluded that having a vaporizer for that one trip was no longer important when I realized all of the great qualities I could get in a device--instead of only using it for a week, it’s become part of my routine. It provides fantastic taste, heats up pretty quickly, has a great battery life, is easy to clean, and is an overall perfect product for me. And there’s one out there for you, too!

    Quick Tip: after finally narrowing down my search to a glass tube, among other little specifics that I decided I wanted, I realized that I had two or three that were at the top of my list. What I found was that there are a LOT of reviews that actually compare similar devices to each other. These reviews, and the comments included, proved to be extremely useful in my search. All I had to do was put vaporizer name A versus vaporizer name B into a web search and, presto, there it was (obviously insert real names of products for generic names listed above). These reviews are usually written by those in the industry with a familiarity with various products, so listen to them!

    Once you set your budget, don't cross it. And, again, please reach out to me here, I can talk prices with you to get you the best vaporizer for your budget. I consider myself a consultant, not a salesman, so don’t worry about being pressured into buying the highest-end vaporizer.

    Wrapping Up

    Even though selecting your vaporizer can be time-consuming, it’s worth it in the end. Taking the time and care to find the perfect one for you will ultimately save you money, and give you the experience you want. 

    I encourage you to check out this subreddit about vaping; they have a fantastic and very (very) helpful community. I personally learned a lot from it.

    One Last Note: vaping is a very individual experience. Some people like their marijuana rolled up, some like it packed in small wooden bowls, some like it in large bubblers, and even others like it in a wax form heated with a torch. When researching devices, you will find both positive and negative reviews for every product. Go with your gut, stick to your list of what you want from your device, and remember that you know yourself and your needs better than anybody else. Get the one for YOU!

    Stay toasty my friends!