People vape for a variety of reasons. Some do it for the taste. Some vape because it is more affordable than smoking. Others like the odor and feel that vaporizers are safe to use. Due to the pleasant odors, vaporizers lend themselves well to indoor use – unlike cigarettes.
Some users claim that vaping helps them quit smoking. Interestingly, some people have found value in vaping regarding social image.
According to a 2015 study by unnamed scientists, that looked at Twitter trends, by 2015, the majority of people vaped for social image reasons.
Only around 30% vaped to quit smoking.
There are five truths about vaping that everyone should know.
- Vaporizers are addictive. According to Johns Hopkins University’s Michael Blaha, vaping is as addictive as smoking.
- Vaping is increasingly popular among youngsters. It may act as an easy on-ramp to smoking.
- Portable vaporizers can help you quit smoking. They may not be the most ideal tool for this purpose, however.
- Vaping is not good for your heart and lungs.
- Vaping is not as harmful as smoking. It is still not particularly safe though.
In this article, we are taking a look at the best desktop and portable vaporizers. We are assessing these devices based on several factors such as:
- User preference.
- Quality of vapor.
- The method of heating.
- The possibility/lack thereof, to select the temperature.
The Best Portable Vaporizers of 2021
The Mighty – King of the Vaporizer Scene Since 2014
The Mighty, from Storz & Bickel, has been the undisputed champion of the industry for some time now. Having gone through a revision in 2018, it gained additional battery life and an almost cult-like following.
What has been the key to the Mighty’s success?
It is a dry herb vaporizer, that is easy to use. The Mighty works well with relatively finely ground herb.
- The Mighty lets users adjust its temperature from 40 degrees centigrade (104 °F) to 210 degrees (410 °F). The device lacks a dedicated concentrate mode, however.
- It only takes the Mighty about 90 seconds to warm up.
- The hybrid heating system does wonders for your vapor.
- The vapor quality of the Mighty is unparalleled. This does not apply to concentrates. With these, the Mighty is merely OK.
- Improved battery life lets the Mighty deliver 8-10 sessions on a single charge.
The battery of the Mighty is not removable. After a few years of use, it will inevitably fail to hold a charge.
Further on the downside, portability is not one of the strengths of this unit. Given its respectable size, the Mighty is not very discreet either. It is, however, easy and very quick to load.
The Mighty will set you back by $350, but its users will tell you that it is worth every penny…
Arizer Solo 2 – Arizer’s Best Vaporizer Yet
The Arizer Solo 2 is the updated version of Arizer’s most popular vaporizer, the Solo.
Unlike its predecessor, the Solo 2 comes with an LED screen and precise temperature control. The device also features a menu, which lets users control several parameters.
The unique feature of the vaporizer is its all-glass vapor way. The kit comes with two glass aroma tubes and a glass aroma dish. One tube is longer, the other is shorter. Users load the herb right into these aroma tubes, which they then insert into the unit.
The control buttons are located below the LED display. Through these buttons, Arizer Solo 2 users can set the precise temperature level. The temperature range of the device is 50-220 °C (122-428 °F). This should be enough for full-spectrum vaping.
Users can customize the Arizer Solo 2 through its menu. The menu structure is:
- Four volume settings (Off/Low/Medium/High).
- Session timer settings (from 5 to 15 minutes).
- Temperature (Fahrenheit or Celsius).
- Three levels of screen brightness (Low/Medium/High).
- Start-up Timer (4, 6 or 8 seconds).
You can start the device by pressing and holding its M button. After the startup timer counts down to 0, the vaporizer starts up.
The vapor quality of the Arizer Solo 2 is outstanding. The device costs $184.99, meaning that it is very affordable.
The Arizer Solo 2 offers three hours of battery time.
Crafty+ – The Little Cousin of The Mighty
Crafty+ is the successor of Storz & Bickel’s popular Crafty portable vaporizer. As such, it does not alter much in regards to how it works. Why tinker with something that works fine?
It does, however, up the ante a bit in regards to technology. The new unit has three temperature settings. Users can cycle through these settings through the single button used to turn on the unit.
The Crafty+ comes with a handy app. Its users can program two temperature settings through this app. In addition to these two settings, the unit will also heat up to its maximum temperature quickly, when the user presses the button three times in quick succession.
The full temperature range of the vaporizer is 40-210 °C (104-410 °F).
Like its predecessor, the Crafty+ is a dry herb vaporizer. It does not do so well with concentrates. Its dry herb vapor quality is excellent, however. It has handily trumped its predecessor in this regard, thanks to its new heating technology.
The battery of the Crafty+ is one of its main strengths. A 1.5 hrs worth of charge, will now last you anywhere from five to nine sessions. This device boasts twice the battery life of its predecessor.
With this extended battery life, the relatively small size of the Crafty+ has earned it new praises on the portability front. The Crafty+ will set you back $279.
Arizer Air 2 – Precise Temperature Control
Arizer Air 2 is the successor of the Arizer Air. The main difference between the two devices is that the former allows for precise temperature control. The latter had five predefined temperature settings instead.
The Arizer Air 2 achieves this type of control through three buttons (+, -, m – menu) and a small digital screen which presents all the essential information. By using the + and – buttons, users can select their desired temperature, right down to the degree.
Other than the digital screen and the temperature control, the Arizer 2 is just like its predecessor. The same battery powers it, with the difference that the Arizer 2’s has a higher capacity. The battery is removable and that is certainly a plus.
One full charge should last you about six sessions.
The device comes with two glass aroma tubes and a glass aroma dish. One of the tubes carries a tip, the other one does not. Users load the herb right into the end of the tubes. They then insert that end into the device. The vapor path is thus all-glass.
The Arizer Air 2 works best with dry herb. The vapor quality it produces is very good. The portability of the vaporizer is good. Battery life is its only limiting factor.
Arizer ArGo – True Portability from Arizer
Like most of its “stablemates,” the Arizer Go, or ArGo, uses an all-glass vapor path to preserve the quality of your vapor. It is a small-size, highly portable device, which fits into the palm of your hand and allows for preloading. This way, it lets you vape with unparalleled discreetness.
The ArGo costs $184.99, about as much as some of its bigger cousins. What do you get for that money?
- The ArGo comes with two aroma tubes. You load the herb into the dish at the end of the aroma tube and then insert the tube almost all the way into the vaporizer.
- Digital display for precise temperature control.
- Conduction heating.
- All-glass vapor way.
- Battery life of about 90 minutes.
You can set the temperature of the Arizer Go through the control buttons. The maximum temperature is 220 °C (428 °F). You should not use the ArGo with concentrate. It works best with dry herb.
The quality of the vapor that it produces is good. Be aware, however, that a proper session with the Arizer Go may last as much as 15 minutes.
This vaporizer will likely not produce massive clouds, of the sort you might expect from some of its larger cousins.
Apollo Airvape X – An Upgraded XS
The Apollo Airvape X is a very quaint device, that is easy to handle. The learning curve does not exist for this vaporizer. The successor of the Airvape XS, the Airvape X ups the game on every level.
It features a larger heating chamber, a magnetically attached mouthpiece, and outstanding design.
Its other features are impressive as well. It offers:
- Precise temperature control. Users can adjust the temperature with the help of a couple of buttons and an LCD screen.
- Hybrid heating. The device employs convection as well as conduction.
- The possibility to vape concentrate with the help of dedicated pads.
- Outstanding lifetime warranty. This does not cover battery degradation.
- Haptic feedback.
The temperature range that the Airvape X covers, is decent. Users can set any temperature from 93 °C to 220 °C (199-428 °F). The impressive bit about this device is that it can hit its set temperature in just 20 seconds.
The vapor path of the Airvape X is very short. That said, its vapor quality is still great. The ceramic airflow box is probably responsible for keeping the vapor in such great shape.
The cost of the Airvape X is $179.
DaVinci IQ2 – Smart Path/precision Temperature Control
The DaVinci IQ2 is a portable vaporizer focused on temperature control. It gives its users an impressive number of options in this regard. It also controls airflow, giving users yet another way to tweak the quality of the vapor they inhale.
With a 10-year warranty, this vaping system offers several attractive/innovative features.
- The bottom of the unit features an airflow-controlling system. The more you restrict the airflow, the denser the resulting vapor will be.
- Smart Path and precision temperature control.
- Conduction heating.
- Vapor path made of ceramic zirconia for better cooling.
- App-based dosage control.
What exactly is Smart Path/precision temperature control? Smart Path translates to four preset temperature settings. Each of these settings starts at the preset temperature and gradually increases the temperature by 20 °C (68 °F) as your session wears on.
The precision temperature control allows users to set their desired vaping temperature by the degree. The maximum temperature the DaVinci IQ2 can reach is 222 °C (432 °F).
The quality of the vapor the IQ2 delivers is decent. It is not the best in the market. High-end performers such as the Zeus Arc outdo it. We also have to keep in mind that this is a conduction vaporizer. All that considered, however, the IQ2’s vapor quality is good.
Pax 3 – The Champion of Portability
Like its predecessor, the Pax 2, the Pax 3 looks like a tube of lipstick. It comes with conduction heating and stainless steel vapor path, which dampens the quality of the vapor quite a bit.
That said, the Pax 3 costs some $249.99, so it is not even on the cheaper end of the portable vaporizer spectrum.
What do you get for that price?
- The Pax 3 features haptic feedback.
- It comes with four preset temperature settings.
- The battery will last for about 90 minutes on a proper charge.
- A Bluetooth app allows for additional settings.
The Pax 3 kit includes several accessories. One such accessory is the concentrate canister. With a maximum temperature of just 215 °C (419 °F), however, the unit is barely suited for the vaping of concentrate.
As mentioned, the Pax 3 features four preset temperature levels. These are 182 °C (360 °F), 193 °C (379 °F), 204 °C (399 °F), and 215 °C (419 °F). Users can now add a 5th, custom setting. This setting has to be in the 182 °C to 215 °C interval too, though.
The Pax 3 works best with dry herb. The flavor of its vapor suffers a bit due to its conduction heating and stainless steel vapor ways. That said, it is smooth and rich enough to be enjoyable.
FireFly 2+ – Improving on Its Predecessor
The FireFly 2+ is the successor of the FireFly 2. As such, it seeks to improve on some of its predecessor’s shortcomings.
The FireFly 2 offered a mediocre vaping experience, mostly due to its draw restriction. It was not exactly the most user-friendly vaporizer either.
Taking a draw from the FireFly 2+ is still quite an exercise in coordination. The device heats up extremely quickly. The convection heater of the vaporizer heats up within a few seconds. This is one of the strengths of this device.
To take a draw, place your thumb and index finger on the two sensors on both sides of the vaporizer. This commences the heating process. Keep your fingers there and wait for the LED light to stop blinking. Once it turns solid, you are ready to draw. Remember to keep your fingers in place on the sensors while you draw. Only release them when you are done.
Your draws should be steady and around 10 seconds long.
The problem is that resistance/restriction is still too strong.
The FireFly 2+ comes with:
- Improved airflow (which still leaves room for further improvement).
- On-demand heating is battery-friendly.
- Bluetooth app.
- The battery of the device is removable. Thus, you can replace it. You do not have to shelf the whole contraption once the battery inevitably loses its performance.
- The air path of the FireFly 2+ is isolated.
Arizer Air – Focus on Portability
Costing $114.99, Arizer’s Air is a budget vaporizer. Do not let that fool you, however. This little guy offers an all-glass vapor path, a removable battery, and five temperature settings. It is simple to operate. All this explains why it is still one of Arizer’s most popular vaporizers.
The accessories you get with the Air include a silicone case, as well as a glass aroma tube, an aroma dish, and a stirring tool among others.
The unit has a single control button. With it, you can turn the device on and off, and you can select your temperature setting.
Load your herb into the glass aroma tube and insert it into the device. Wait until the LED light stops blinking on your selected temperature level and start vaping. The session length is 10 minutes. The device automatically turns off at the end of the session.
The five supported temperature levels are 180 °C (356 °F), 190 °C (374 °F), 200 °C (392 °F), 205 °C (401 °F), and 210 °C (410 °F).
Due to the glass stem, which cools the vapor before you inhale it, the quality of the vapor the Arizer Air delivers is good. This is a major factor in the popularity of the device.
While its size is great in regards to portability, the battery life of the Arizer Air is underwhelming. It should last you two sessions on a full charge.
Linx Gaia – An All-quartz Heating Chamber
Costing just $159.99, the Linx Gaia comes packed with interesting and attractive features. For a relatively low-cost vaporizer, it features an all-quartz chamber and a glass mouth-piece to preserve the quality of the vapor-flavor.
Its other features are:
- Convection/conduction hybrid heating.
- Precise temperature setting.
- Digital display.
- Many accessories, such as a mouthpiece cap, a steel packing tool, a cleaning brush and a handful of screens.
What benefits does the Linx Gaia’s main selling point, the quartz heating chamber, offer?
Metallic heating chambers taint the quality and flavor of the vapor to some degree. This is the reason why more expensive vaporizers use ceramic chambers instead. Ceramics tend to alter the taste a little as well, however.
The Linx Gaia’s all-quartz chamber, coupled with the glass mouth-piece, offers superb, untainted flavor and vapor quality.
The device allows for a precise temperature setting in the 93 °C to 220 °C (199-428 °F) range. Lower temperatures favor taste. Higher temperatures deliver more consistent clouds.
The unit uses convection heating. That said, the sidewalls of the chamber do heat up though, adding some conduction to the mix. The unit cooks the herb very evenly, however. You will not have to stir it.
Utillian 721 – Lower Price-range, High-end Features
As mentioned, Utillian 721 is the predecessor of Utillian 722. As such, it is more modest features-wise. It is still one of the best selling products of the manufacturer, however.
Utillian 721 costs $124.99, so it is more budget-friendly. Its budget-friendly nature does not come to the detriment of quality though. The device won the Best Vaporizer award at O’Cannabiz 2019. It is also quite probably the world’s most affordable convection vaporizer.
Simplicity and vapor quality are the main strengths of this vaporizer. To load the aluminum heating chamber, all you need to do is to remove a magnetic cap. The vaporizer comes with a built-in, swivel mouth-piece.
Turning on the device is as simple as clicking its only button five times. Clicking it twice afterward will allow you to cycle through the temperature options. The highest available temperature is 210 °C (410 °F), marked by the red light. When the light at the top of the unit stops blinking, it has reached the set temperature.
- The green light means 170 °C (338 °F)
- Blue corresponds to 180 °C (356 °F)
- Purple means 190 °C (374 °F)
- Red is the maximum 210 °C (410 °F) setting
The Utillian 721 comes with several accessories, such as O-rings, screens, a pair of tweezers, a cleaning brush and a Zeus bolt-grinder.
By pressing and holding the button, you will trigger “enhanced” mode. In this mode, the device bumps up the temperature by five degrees on each setting-level.
The Best Desktop Vaporizers of 2021
Desktop vaporizers represent an entirely different category. With the size factor not acting as a restriction, manufacturers can adopt various creative technical solutions to improve the quality of the vapor.
Volcano Hybrid – Improving on Perfection
You should never tinker with something that works and is successful…unless you make it better. That is exactly what Storz & Bickel’s Volcano Hybrid vaporizer accomplishes, over the well-known and appreciated Volcano Classic.
The most recent version of the Volcano heats up faster. It is also simpler to use and it supports a direct-draw whip.
For $699, the Volcano Hybrid gives you:
- Hybrid convection heating.
- Precise control of temperature, coupled with a digital display.
- Bluetooth app.
- The well-known and liked balloon inflation system.
The supported temperature range of the Volcano Hybrid is 40-230 °C (104-446 °F). Users can adjust the temperature through the Bluetooth app, or directly on the unit.
The unit comes with a balloon chamber and a direct whip chamber. Make sure you remove the balloon chamber from your unit when you are not using it.
The vapor quality the Volcano Hybrid produces is “legendary.” It is potent, its taste is superb, and the device fully extracts the herb.
Older versions of Volcano relied exclusively on convection heating. The heating chamber of the Hybrid comes with a stainless steel element that adds a conduction heating factor to the equation.
Volcano Classic – Bested, But Still in Contention
Though the Volcano Hybrid may have outdone it, the Volcano Classic is still one of the best desktop vaporizers. Its vapor quality is still one of the best in the industry and its analog controls have turned it into something of an industry classic.
For $479, the cost of a new Volcano Classic unit, you get:
- Convection heating.
- Eight temperature setting levels.
- The possibility to vape simultaneously for as many as three people.
- Balloon option only.
- Stainless steel heating chamber.
The device supports eight temperature settings, as follows:
- 130 °C (266 °F)
- 142 °C (288 °F)
- 154 °C (310 °F)
- 166 °C (330 °F)
- 178 °C (352 °F)
- 190 °C (374 °F)
- 202 °C (396 °F)
- 214 °C (417 °F)
- 226 °C (439 °F)
Most users set the dial to levels 7-8.
Besides its classic status, a strong selling point of the Volcano Classic is the fact that it supports group vaping sessions.
The device takes quite a bit to warm up. When it is ready to go, however, it will fill a balloon attached through the Easy Valve system in 30 seconds.
The quality of the vapor the Volcano Classic produces is only second perhaps to the vapor of the Volcano Hybrid.
Arizer Extreme Q – A Budget Desktop Vaporizer?
As desktop vaporizers go, a $169.99 device, such as the Arizer Extreme Q, is indeed a rather cheap solution.
That said, the Extreme Q is far from a haphazard answer to Storz & Bickel’s Volcano line.
It is a massively popular desktop device, which has taken the direct whip solution into the mainstream. In this regard, it may have been the inspiration for the addition of the whip to the Volcano Hybrid.
For its attractive price, the Extreme Q offers:
- An attractive digital display to go with precise temperature control.
- Convection heating.
- Many glass components.
- A sleek and attractive design.
- Options for balloon and whip attachments.
- Remote controller.
Like its Storz & Bickel peers, the Extreme Q can accommodate three people. The vapor way of the device is all glass. The heating element is ceramic, so in this regard, the device may even be the Volcano’s superior.
Users can adjust the Extreme Q’s temperature between 50 °C and 260 °C (122-500 °F). Given its glass and ceramic components, the vapor quality of the Extreme Q is outstanding.
The heating chamber accommodates large quantities of herb. For multi-person sessions, the balloon is the way to go.
Plenty – Plenty of Cool Vapor
The most obvious feature of Storz & Bickel’s handheld stationary is the long, spiraling metal tube leading up to the user’s mouth. The purpose of the tube is to cool the vapor and it does a great job at that.
By every measure, the Plenty is a very quirky desktop vaporizer. In addition to its trademark metallic coil, it also sports an analog thermometer.
Costing some $249, the Plenty is not cheap, but as desktop vaporizers go, it is not particularly expensive either. Its price is an accurate reflection of the vaping experience it offers.
For this price, Plenty owners get:
- Convection-heated chamber.
- Plenty liquid pads.
- A single button to set temperature and turn the device on/off.
- Extra mouthpieces, tubes, and a cleaning brush.
The maximum temperature of the Plenty is 202 °C (396 °F). It takes about two minutes for the device to heat up to the set temperature.
The Plenty supports two-people vaping sessions.
The vapor quality of the device is great. It is important to keep your screens clean. Clean screens make a noticeable difference in the quality of the vapor.
Please note that many users have found the Mighty’s vapor quality slightly superior to that of the Plenty.
Storz & Bickel have always set the desktop vaporizer benchmark. Their Volcano Hybrid has kept them at the top of the pops. Arizer has made a strong statement with their Extreme Q, however.