How to Choose a Vaporizer: Portable or Desktop?

June 18, 2018

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. 

Saving Note: Use discount code 'keepitclassy' to get 10% off your next purchase. Order here.

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

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. 

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


Portable Vaporizers


If you're interested in a portable vaporizer, there are few features that you'd want to consider, keep in mind though the level of importance of every feature may vary from a person to another based on her or his needs. 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.

Here are what you need to consider in a portable vaporizer:

  • 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. 

What parts of a portable vape need replacement over time?

So if you were trying to purchase a long-lasting portable vape, one of the things you may have thought off is the parts of the vape: which have a short life span that will render the vape obsolete after some years.

Most of the portables vaporizers die because of some electronics problem of some sort, which is predict, replace or plan for. Then there are the broken plastic components (cases, covers,etc). Generally speaking, they're hard to find and manufacturers mostly don't sell them. 

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

With that being said, basically, if you maintain/clean your vaporizers well and regularly, the only thing that you may need to replace over time is the battery. Some vaporizers' batteries can be replaced easily, like focusvape or Boundless. A 18650 LG generic battery can work just fine and easily switched. However, some vaporizers manufacturers, especially the better known brands, have followed Apple's business model. They decided to seal the vaporizer and won't give the consumer access to exchange the battery; in that case, you will need to contact the manufacturer and ship the device to them, like The Mighty, The Crafty and The Pax.

If you don't like the headache of running your vaporizer on a battery, which may die on you in the middle of the evening while hanging out with your buddies because you forgot to charge it, you could eliminate the battery all together and get a DynaVap vaporizer. Very budget friendly and will last you forever. The only downside is that you have to carry a small lighter with it, but you can always have one of those pouches

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: 

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

    Also, 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. 

    Go back to the main article: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Your First Marijuana Vaporizer.

    Ayad Maher is a Cannabis Industry Entrepreneur, Blogger & Activist. eCommerce Specialist and Owner of a 420 Life Style Company; Monroe Blvd and 421Store.

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