A portable dry herb vaporizer is a total game-changer compared with more traditional methods of consuming cannabis like smoking joints. They're more discreet, produce very little smell, and are easier on your lungs to boot. You also save money because vaporizing gives you stronger effects from the same amount of herb.
But there are so many vaporizers on the market, it's not easy to know where to begin. We'll break it down for you, first looking at what features you might want in a new vaporizer. Then we'll compare the most popular and advanced vapes and track down the best portable vaporizer. We'll also look at differences in heating technology and how that affects vapor quality, flavor, and convenience. Let's do this!
What to Look For in a Portable Vaporizer
Most folks that are new to vaping choose to go with a portable vape: they're cheaper, and way more versatile. A giant desktop vaporizer like Storz & Bickel's Volcano produces amazing vapor, but it's expensive, and meant for home use. For some users a desktop vape can be a perfect fit: our post about how to choose between a portable and desktop vaporizer can help you decide.
The most important feature that you'll want in a vaporizer is accurate temperature settings. If your vaporizer can't reliably heat up your herb, your sessions will be mediocre and you'll waste bud. The device needs to have enough power to heat the material in the bowl, and fast, while still fitting in your pocket.
Build quality and the device's material components are crucial. To ensure great flavor, you also want a heating chamber and vapor path made of high-grade materials like stainless steel, ceramic, and glass, that won't change the taste of your dry herbs. When you take a draw, you want smooth, tasty hits of the pure flavor of your weed strain.
Features like heat up time, battery life, and cleaning are important too. Ease of cleaning is one area where many portability-focused vapes fall short. When you postpone cleaning because it's not easy enough, the vapor path of your unit will become clogged. If your device has bad airflow, you'll draw poorly, and deliver mediocre hits. The flavor will also become terrible. Once you notice a lot of draw resistance, it's cleaning time.
A portable vaporizer should also have easy-to-use temperature controls. An easy-to-read display is helpful too, especially in low-light settings. How easy it is to control temperature settings might seem less important than core performance, but if you're investing in a dry herb vaporizer, you'll probably want to use it a lot. A small inconvenience now can become annoying in the long term, session after session. Quality is important, but so is ease of use.
Precise temperature control and vapor quality
Vaporizers work best when they can heat up your herb to an exact temperature, heating the herb evenly and extracting the most THC and CBD from your weed. If your vape can't be precise about temperature control and heats your herb unevenly, you're going to end up wasting some of your stash.
You get what you pay for with a dry herb vape, and the cheapest portable vaporizers are underpowered, and don't get as much flavor or effects out of the herb. If you're only going to vaporize rarely and don't care about being efficient with your cannabis, this might not matter, but for others, it's a top concern.
Battery life and ease of use
Vaporizers are worthless when their batteries are dead, and you don't want the experience of your vape dying on you just when you're about to have a perfect session in the great outdoors. Most devices charge via USB, while some have replaceable batteries. Recharging speeds can vary quite a bit too.
Size is also a key factor. You want a device that's compact enough to meet your needs, but not one that's made compromises to achieve its small size. You probably also want to consider the design of the vaporizer - it's more exciting to have a vape that you think looks cool, and that's fun to hold.
Dry herb vapes aren't always easy to clean. And although that might seem minor, if you don't feel motivated to regularly clean your vaporizer, you're going to end up with worse, less effective vapor. And you'll waste some herb.
Another drawback to portable dry herb vapes is that it's not always convenient to reload them when you want to have another bowl. You're dealing with hot parts, and packing the bowl with herb when you're outside or in a public location isn't easy, or discreet. An oven-swapping vaporizer like Furna lets you load up multiple ovens in advance, letting you instantly reload whenever you want.
The Best Portable Dry Herb Vaporizers (2021)
It wasn't always the case, but in 2021 there are ton of excellent portable dry herb vaporizers out there, although they still all have advantages and disadvantages. In terms of the best of the best, the Mighty vaporizer by Storz & Bickel, the Furna, and the Davinci IQ2 consistently get top reviews.
The PAX 3 vaporizer by Pax labs is probably the most popular conduction vape, although it's not always easy to control it. You need to use an app to access some settings, and using the app might not always be convenient. It has good power and quality vapor, but low ease of use when it comes to maintenance and cleaning. The Crafty is also a solid choice that's a bit more affordable, and less powerful, than the Mighty.
At a slightly lower price point, you can also find decent vapes, but they have more disadvantages and deliver lower vapor quality than those top five. The Arizer Solo II, DaVinci Miqro, Firefly 2, the Boundless CFX (and Boundless CF) are all satisfactory if you're looking for a more affordable device.
Older models like the DaVinci IQ, and PAX 2 might also be worth considering, but you'll miss out on the features and better battery life of the IQ2 and PAX 3. It could just be better value to upgrade, despite the higher price.
If you're thinking of going with one of these mid-market devices, or a Solo II or Firefly 2, you really might as well go that last mile and get a Mighty, Furna, Crafty, or PAX 3, which provide more power and better value over the long-term. Ultimately you're going to save money, because your weed budget won't have to be as high compared with combustion methods like smoking.
The Arizer Air and Argo are also popular inexpensive choices, but their battery life leaves a lot to be desired compared with the Arizer Solo II (or Arizer Solo 2, for non-Romans). Most of the ultra-cheap vapes aren't worth considering, but the DynaVap VapCap is a good price if a one-hitter-style vape appeals to you. It doesn't use a battery, though; instead, you heat it with a lighter.
Conduction, convection: which is better for a portable vaporizer?
Vapes can use one of two heating methods. A conduction vaporizer will heat the herbs in the chamber directly beside the heating element, while a convection vaporizer heats the air around the chamber. Most portable vapes that make use of a convection heating system actually use hybrid heating, combining both convection and conduction.
Both styles can produce great vapor, and convection tends to heat your herb slightly more evenly. Some people claim that convection delivers better vapor quality, but as long as you grind your herb and pack your bowl correctly, conduction vapes will also deliver powerful, reliable vapor. Just pay attention to airflow and regular cleaning of the vapor path to keep your sessions smooth.
The Mighty is probably the best hybrid vaporizer, while its little sibling the Crafty, and the Firefly 2 also have their proponents. But there are also drawbacks to convection vaping: they're bigger and less convenient to carry around, take longer to heat up, and have lower battery life. The Mighty might be an excellent vape, but its size makes it better suited to carrying around the house. It's not small enough to fit in your pocket for a hike. Still, they offer great performance and consistency, even if they're not pocketable.
The Most Convenient Portable Vaporizer
The Mighty, IQ2, and Crafty are all great vaporizers, but Furna edges them all out when it comes to portability. Furna's oven swapping technology means you can have the best possible vaping experience when using it on the go. No need to awkwardly clean out the chamber and reload your vape in public - instead, do it at home, then easily swap ovens whenever you like.
It also has the best battery life of all, managing 15-20 sessions per charge. In comparison, the Crafty doesn't have great battery life, and it's also a bit bulky. The Mighty is even bigger. They both also take longer to heat up because they use convection heating.
Furna has a highly durable build quality, and the mouthpiece can be flipped inwards anytime you like, making the device a solid brick shape. This makes it more resilient, more compact, and keeps lint and other materials out of your mouthpiece. It has an isolated air path, delicious and consistent vapor production, and a lightning-fast heat up time. There isn't much of a learning curve, it's simple to use, cleaning it is a breeze, and the controls are intuitive.
And you're not just limited to dry herb with Furna. You can also get a concentrate oven that can be swapped in just as easily. Some other dry herb vaporizers let you make use of concentrates, but it's a lot more awkward and potentially messy than just swapping in a concentrate oven. Check out Furna to learn more about the most convenient vaporizer out there.