Vaporizers can be the safest, purest, most effective way to smoke weed. Medicinally or recreationally. And now thanks to portable vaporizers or vape pens they’re probably the most convenient way too. Unlike bulky tabletop models or a hookah, they just slip in your pocket—you can take them anywhere. But there are a lot to choose from! So to make your choice a bit easier, here’s our pick of the 5 best portable vaporizers for weed. Plus a few useful accessories.
Already convinced of the benefits of vaping? Already know the difference between vape pens for dry herb/buds and pens that take cartridges or concentrate?
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Table of Contents
- 1 Why vape your weed instead of smoking it?
- 2 Types of portable vaporizer
- 3 The top 5 best portable vaporizers for weed
- 4 How to use a vaporizer
- 5 Other types of vaporizers
- 6 Accessories for use with your vaporizer
- 7 Prep your own weed for vaping
- 8 More reasons why vaping beats smoking
- 9 Famous vapers
- 10 Make edibles with already-vaped weed
Why vape your weed instead of smoking it?
There are lots of reasons why switching to a vaporizer is a great idea:
- Vaporized marijuana is heated, not burned, so there’s almost no carcinogens going to your lungs—vape “smoke” is about 95% pure vapor
- Vaporized pot is way more powerful than smoke from a joint—it’s full of cannabinoids like THC
- Less smoke from a burning joint means less chance of lung cancer, emphysema, and other nasty things
- Vaping is safer for your mouth, too, so you avoid mouth cancers and dental problems from smoking
- Vape smoke doesn’t smell like a burning blunt so you can keep it on the down low, and some users says it tastes a lot better
- If you vape buds instead of wax or oil, you can reuse the bud to make brownies and other goodies
- Vaping costs less than smoking
So what kind of vaporizer is best for enjoying marijuana? Although there are many kinds for tobacco, not all of those work well for pot. But we’ve come a long way from needing those big, bulky tabletop models. We’ll take a look at the best portable vaporizers for weed below.
Types of portable vaporizer
Vape Pens that use a cartomizer or a clearomizer
If you want a strong high, get a vape pen that is an oil vaporizer. They heat up marijuana that’s been packaged as an essential oil cartridge. Those cartridges are the cartomizers and clearomizers.
The main ingredient in these cartridges is Butane Hash Oil, BHO, or “dabs.” This is a product you’ll see at medical marijuana dispensaries. Common vape pen brands are Firefly, Quickdraw M1, and Dr. Dabber Ghost. They are all available here and there are often discounts or promotions.
Wax cartridges are filled with solid marijuana concentrate, also known as budder, errl, and shatter. The Atmos Magna Vaporizer is a lower-cost pen that melts the wax in these cartridges so the vapor can be inhaled.
A word of caution: Always check the ingredients of cartridges. Specifically, there is some concern over the safety of inhaling vaporized propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. Both of these are sometimes used as thinning agents in cartridges. However, the FDA has yet to test the short or long term safety of inhaling them in vaporized form.
Vape Pens that can vaporize buds or dry herb
A premium vape pen that can handle both extracts and herb is the Ploom PAX 3. It takes 15 seconds to heat up for your first draw. It lights up a discreet green X and vibrates to let you know it’s ready. Then every additional inhalation is ready instantaneously.
You can switch from BHO or wax concentrate to loose leaf herb by swapping out the insert at the bottom. You can use the PAX app on your phone to set the temperature you want. For example, 338° F is ideal for vaporizing cannabis to get the maximum amount of THC from it.
The PAX 3 comes in a sleek, brushed steel tube and it’s made from medical grade materials. It runs off a rechargeable battery and has a 10-year warranty.
The top 5 best portable vaporizers for weed
PAX 3 Portable Vaporizer from Ploom
Our all-around top pick is the PAX 3 from Ploom. We love it because we can enjoy buds or oil, depending on our mood and availability. It’s not as fast as our second place vaporizer below, but it has other advantages like a longer warranty, medical grade components, and a much more discreet way of heating weed. Plus, it vibrates and looks cool.
Firefly 2 Portable Vaporizer
Number two is the Firefly 2 made for vaping herb, not concentrates. [CORRECTION: The Firefly 2 actually has 5 settings for dry herb and one for wax concentrates.] It’s gotten rave reviews from a lot of well-known sites, it has a 2-year warranty, and it comes in a bunch of different colors.
While we don’t love the way the weed is loaded all exposed on the top side, and we think it looks like we’re smoking a USB flash drive, the Firefly 2 has certain advantages. We like the particulate filter in the mouthpiece and we like that the Firefly 2 is ready to smoke in just three seconds. If you install the free app on your phone, you can control the vaping temperature just like you can with the PAX 3 from Ploom.
DaVinci Ascent Portable Vaporizer
Number 3 is the DaVinci Ascent, although we may also recommend the DaVinci IQ once we can get our hands on it to try. The Ascent has a 3-hour rechargeable battery. Oh yes, this is a vape pen for serious smokers.
Besides the long battery life, we like that the Ascent has an all-glass vapor path and precise temperature control right on the pen itself—no app needed. Finally, like the PAX 3, the Ascent can vape both herbs and oil so you don’t need two vaporizers.
G Pen Elite Portable Vaporizer from Grenco Science
Number 4 is the G Pen Elite from Grenco. It’s for herbs only, but it has wide range of temperatures to choose from 200 to 428 ° F. It has a discreet chamber for heating weed and a rechargeable battery.
The G Pen Elite is very popular because it offers a lot of value for less money than other brands with similar vaporizers. It comes with a 1-year warranty on the electronic parts.
K-Vape Model 2.0 Portable Vaporizer from KandyPens
Number 5 is the K-Vape Model 2.0 from KandyPens. It heats herbs, not concentrates, at the temperature of your choice between 360-420 ° F. The older model had an anodized aluminum heating chamber that holds the weed, but this model got smarter and uses stainless steel. You can stick up to 6 grams in it. The outside of the K-Vape is matte-black rubber, and it’s BPA-free. It is a good beginner’s model that comes with a lifetime warranty, but veterans will love it too.
It has a rechargeable battery that can last up to 4 hours. The K-Vape shuts down by itself if it isn’t used for 5 minutes in a row.
How to use a vaporizer
Plug it in
All of our top five have rechargeable batteries. Yes, they arrive with some charge in them, enough for a few hits, but please do take the time to put them on the charger for a few hours. On the bright side, any vape pen that uses lithium-ion batteries can be topped off at any time. You don’t need to run down the battery first.
Read the directions
Just to be sure you’re not doing it wrong, check out the quick start guide. Read it twice if you’re already buzzed.
Burn out the factory leftovers
Take your fully-charged pen outside and let it rip, empty, on the highest heat setting for about a minute. That should clear out any residue from the factory.
Load it up
Fill your new vaporizer with ground-up herb or pop in a cartridge.
Heat it up
Depending on the model you bought, you might have to wait three to thirty seconds for your first hit. Your vaporizer will let you know with a light or a vibration when it’s ready to smoke.
This isn’t a joint, this is a much more powerful delivery system. Puff gently a few times if you’ve never used one before. The vapor is almost pure cannabis “smoke” and will get you higher faster than smoking does. You don’t need to hold it in to get the most from it.
Clean it up
Every pen pulls apart for cleaning, some better than others. Check the directions that you read back in step 2.
Other types of vaporizers
Other than portable vape pens, you can get high with a number of other kinds of vaporizers.
Medical marijuana users often have tabletop vaporizers that run off electricity. They might have a mouthpiece like a nebulizer or a bag that fills with vapor. The cost of a good tabletop vaporizer may be three or four times what a good vape pen costs.
Hookahs are technically vaporizers, although they aren’t nearly as convenient to carry around in a pocket as a vape pen is. Plus, you need charcoal and water to do it right. Hookahs filter the vapor through the water but that doesn’t stop all the toxins from entering your lungs. You can breathe in a lot of carbon monoxide with a hookah and that can make you super sick. Vaporizers are much safer.
Bongs are not vaporizers as they burn the herb.
Accessories for use with your vaporizer
While you can’t buy weed vaporizers and e-cigarettes online at some major retail sites, you can purchase certain accessories. Here are some useful things to make vaping easier and more fun.
Vapes and Wires Hard Carrying Case for Vape Pens
This 3.5 by 7.5-inch zippered case has three mesh pockets and two elastic bands to secure and protect your vape pen, grinder, and other accessories.
VaporVaultz Box Mod Case for Vaping Accessory Storage
This gear case has a combination lock on it to keep children or other uninvited individuals out of your smokes. It measures 5 by 10 inches. The elastic bands and internal zippered pocket are large enough to hold mods, too.
Platinum Grinders #1 Best Herb Grinder
This 4-piece grinder is made from aircraft-grade alumimum and built to last. The diamond cutting teeth make quick work of grinding up herbs. The neodymium magnets keep it shut tight so your weed stays fresh inside.
Prep your own weed for vaping
Second, harvest it and let it dry. If you have a significant quantity, you may want to use a bud trimming machine instead of doing it all by hand.
Third, grind it up.
One last note: please don’t make hash oil (BHO or dabs) at home. You have to use flammable solvents to create it and the process Is dangerous. Leave the boom to someone else.
More reasons why vaping beats smoking
- Hack hack cough cough phlegm. Aren’t you tired of that?
- Running around with Glade or Febreeze or lighting candles before your parents come home.
- Not having a match or a lighter when you need one.
- Worrying about lung cancer and other health problems.
- Not being able to smoke when you want because you’re in the wrong place.
In short, it cuts out the little annoyances. And even though there’s a lot of noise about vaping, it’s medically proven to be safer than smoking.
In 2010, twenty weed smokers who toked on a frequent basis switched to vaping for one month. What happened? They got healthier. Every pot smoker in this government-sponsored medical study was able to breathe easier by the end of the month of vaping instead of smoking.
Photo credit: The Nominant.
There’s a whole lot of them! Whoopi Goldberg vapes weed to help control her glaucoma and headaches. Another famous vaper is Leonardo DiCaprio, caught in the act of vaping at the Oscars. You may also see Miley Cyrus, Robert Pattinson, Rihanna, Matt Damon, George Clooney, and possibly Morgan Freeman.
Make edibles with already-vaped weed
Use the weed you just vaporized to make a base ingredient for treats to continue the high. You’ll need the following ingredients and tools:
- ½-ounce weed from your vaporizer
- ½-cup of oil (olive, coconut, or canola) or ½-cup of unsalted butter
- Medium-size sauce pan
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Cheesecloth for straining, or a coffee filter
- Container for storing what you’ve made
Make a sort of tea bag with the weed inside the cheesecloth or coffee filter. Put the oil or butter in the sauce pan with the bag.
Heat this mixture on low until it starts to simmer or bubble just a little bit. Keep it going while you stir it off and on for 20 minutes.
Let it cool a bit and squeeze all the oil or butter out of the bag. Pour your new special oil into a container.