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How to Choose a Vaporizer: Portable or Desktop?

May 15, 2018

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By Ayad Maher

Besides getting high, what do you hope to get out of your vaporizer? Since different vaporizers suit different lifestyles, narrowing down your chosen vaporizer style further to match your needs based on how you like to consume, what you like to consume (wax, dry herb, etc.), where and when, is a key. 

Keep in mind, the most important thing in any vaporizers is the process of extracting the major Cannabinoid components (THC and CBD). This process is directly related multiple factors, the heating design, how the airflow is constructed in the vaporizer bowl and heat distribution. With that said, don't rely on the vaporizer specifications, try to look more into people's reviews and what they think. 

Best place where you find very informative vaporizers enthusiasts is this subreddit. Or you can reach out to me here and I will answer all your questions. 

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

Portable Vaporizers

Personally, I started with just wanting something portable and discrete and at the same time powerful. There are literally hundreds of different devices that are called "portable" and are quite "discrete," but not necessarily powerful.  

If you're interested in a portable vaporizer, here are the important features you'd want to consider, level of importance, however, varies from a person to another.

  • Small enough to fit in your pocket, but remember, portability is a relative term

  • Good battery life, and that depends on how many times you can hit the vaporizer before you need to recharge

  • Removable/replaceable battery, which is important to some people. It allows you to get an extra battery, just in case your vaporizers die on you. 

  • Quick Charge time, this never been a problem for me. I'm a pretty organized guy and I have a good sense when my vaporizer is running out of juice, no pun intended. I also don't use my vaporizer as often as some other people do. So I always sure to charge my vaporizer over night, then I'm good to go the rest of the day. 

  • Use the vaporizer while charging. This point is more important for convection vaporizers because they need more power comparing to conduction vaporizers. Check our post about the difference between conduction and convection vaporizers here

  • A large internal bowl can also be very useful especially on the go. This feature can be nice so I won't need to pack it every 30 minutes. Again, it depends on how much you smoke and how often you need to take a hit. 

  • The maximum temperature the vaporizer can provide. Check leafly article about How to Customize Your Cannabis High With Temperature

Other considerations you may want to look at:

  • Is the mouth piece made of rubber, plastic, metal or glass? Metal and glass would be the best choices, the rubber and plastic, on the other hand, can produce undesirable flavor. 
  • Heating time, Some devices take as little 10 seconds and some take a minute or two.
  • What about the quality of the vape and the taste? Generally speaking, desktop vaporizers will produce a more accurate vape taste and provide, what so called, a “true vaping” experience.
  • Do you want a device to be used with only cannabis dry herbs, oils, or concentrates? Or are you wanting a device that can handle all types?
  • Conduction or convection? Again, check our post about the difference between conduction and convection vaporizers here

Here is list the most discreet portable dry herb vaporizers and vape pens in the market. They provide a quick and easy hit without attracting the stares of passersby, so you can consume your cannabis products in peace. BUT still look over your shoulders before you take a hit. We don't condone illegal activities, but smoking weed in public is still illegal even in those states where it's recreationally legal. 

Why a desktop vaporizer?

Honestly, the bigger the vaporizer is, the harder it hits. So if discretion and portability are not a concern, or you’re looking for a device for home use that has more power, a better quality vape, and can become your primary consumption tool, a desktop vaporizer would be a better choice. Most of the desktop vaporizers need to be plugged into the wall, and that provide them a stable power supply, which makes those devices, comparing to their portable cousins, powerful and consistent when it comes to vapor quality and performance. Also it's a lot more suitable to longer sessions and to be shared with a group of people; like a hookah. 

Because of the big size, desktop vaporizer manufacturers were able to pack them up with a variety of complex features that so hard to fit in a portable vape, therefore, desktop vaporizers are irresistible for stoners who're looking for a stationary device for smoking weed.

When it comes to cost, desktop vaporizers are usually much more expensive than portable units.

There are two main styles for a desktop vaporizer, a Whip Style vaporizer and a Forced Air style? What’s the difference you ask? Well…

      • A whip style vaporizer uses a piece of tubing called a “whip” for the consumer to inhale vapors from.
      • A forced air vaporizer is a bit more advanced and utilizes a fan and hot air that is blown into a balloon bag or whip attachment. The vapor is then consumed from the bag or attachment.
      • In addition to the whip and forced air, there are products that are multi-functional and some new types that even go outside of these versions; though the whip, forced air, and multi-functional are the most common.

    Like the portable vaporizers, the desktop versions come in many shapes and sizes to meet all consumers’ needs. 

    These are my top picks for best desktop vaporizer: 

    One other thing to consider when purchasing either a desktop or a portable vaporizer: Conduction or Convection - Two Main Types of Vaporizers



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