Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide

August 08, 2023

How to choose a vaporizer for weed?

Dry Herb Vaporizer Buying Guide

Purchasing a vaporizer can feel like a complex decision, particularly if you're a newcomer to the concept. It represents an important investment that warrants careful consideration, as the goal is to avoid ending up with a subpar product that malfunctions. This comprehensive guide to buying vaporizers is tailored to individuals in pursuit of their initial dry herb vaporizer. It's important to acknowledge that there isn't a definitive "best" dry herb vaporizer for cannabis, as preferences within this industry are inherently subjective and dependent on individual consumer tastes.

For those embarking on their journey into the realm of cannabis, welcome. You might find yourself wondering about the functionality of a vaporizer (even seasoned enthusiasts might have questions). Here's a quick review:

A vaporizer serves as a device designed to extract specific compounds from dry herbs, concentrates, or e-liquids, all without subjecting the substance to combustion. Instead, it applies an optimal level of heat to vaporize these compounds, avoiding the use of an open flame. This controlled heat allows for the inhalation of THC and CBD, which constitute the primary components of cannabis.

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

If you haven't tried vaporizing cannabis yet, there are several reasons to think about, which we'll discuss. Vaporizers are often seen as a "healthier" choice and are known for being more discreet. While there isn't one clear-cut reason to switch, it's worth knowing that whatever reason you have is a good one. In this context, many people who use marijuana are choosing vaporizers to get high for various reasons.

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

Is Vaping Harmful?


Vaping is generally less harmful than smoking weed. Safety depends on various factors, including:

1. Convection vs. conduction heating methods.
2. The type of material used in the vaporizer.
3. The temperature at which the herb is vaporized.
4. The potential presence of pesticides or other chemicals in the herb.

Remember, even excessive exposure to oxygen can lead to cell oxidation, so be cautious when inhaling anything unusual. While vaping isn't a completely "healthy" way to use cannabis, it's a better option than smoking.

In Germany, both vaping marijuana and consuming edibles are considered safe choices. Surprisingly, the medical version of The Mighty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickle is even covered by national health insurance. However, the psychological risks like addiction and anxiety associated with vaping are similar to smoking, as both involve cannabis consumption.

Navigating Your First Dry Herb Vaporizer

Tips and Insights for a Confident Choice

The journey of finding your first vaporizer might seem overwhelming and potentially costly if you're not adequately prepared. A couple of years back, I went through this journey myself, and I made some wrong turns along the way, ending up with the wrong vaporizer and wasting $150. It was a frustrating and confusing experience that almost made me want to give up on the whole process; it felt like going back to high school!

Today's market offers a wide variety of new and unique vaporizers. So, how can you navigate through this sea of options and discover the perfect vape for yourself? We're here to assist you in your quest for the right vape by offering helpful tips and advice. We'll also break down the fundamental types and characteristics of common vaporizers. Unlike my experience, you won't be alone in your search!

Choosing Your First Vaporizer

A Comprehensive Guide to Making Informed Decisions

Before you delve into the specific details like brand names and prices, it's crucial to go through this guide and get acquainted with the basics of vaporizers. Understanding what to look for when purchasing your first one is essential. This guide will furnish you with the following insights:

  • Available technologies
  • Pros and cons of vaporizing weed
  • Identifying a vaporizer that suits your lifestyle
  • Key considerations before making a purchase
  • Budget considerations (we'll address this last because finding a vaporizer that fits your needs is more important than opting for the cheapest available)

Asking yourself the following questions will assist you in selecting the "right" vaporizer or at least enable you to pose informed queries to your local smoke shop representative (you can also feel free to ask me any questions here):

  1. How many individuals will be using the vaporizer? Is it exclusively for personal use or shared among roommates? For me, my vaporizer is solely for personal use. When I'm with others, I opt for a desktop vaporizer or my old bong/bowl.
  2. How frequently do you partake in smoking during the day? What's your typical session hit count?
  3. Do you need a portable device or one solely for home use? Is discretion a priority?
  4. What's your level of experience with vaping? Similarly, how comfortable are you with vaping?
  5. Battery-powered vs. butane-operated portable vaporizers: Battery-powered ones obviously require charging. For those of us who smoke frequently, this kind of vaporizer might not be the most efficient. On the other hand, butane-operated vaporizers require a learning curve but deliver more robust extraction power.
  6. Replaceable batteries vs. non-replaceable batteries.
  7. How much are you willing to spend? There's no single correct answer, unfortunately. Sometimes a higher budget equates to better quality, but that's not always the case. My suggestion is to start with a budget of $80 or more. Anything less than $80 might lead to disappointment.

First, Vape vs. Smoking? And how high can it get you? 

Vaporizers are a relatively modern way to consume dry herbs (such as cannabis and tobacco), concentrates, and essential oils. Within the vaping community, there's a belief that vaporizers offer a cleaner experience, are more suitable for social situations due to minimal odor, and can provide more controlled and pure effects.

The sensation you get from vaporizing dry herbs can be distinct from the usual methods of smoking like bongs, bowls, and joints. Notably, this feeling varies individually. For instance, my personal experience involves alternating between phases of exclusively smoking blunts for a month, followed by a switch to vaping, specifically dry herb vaping, when I grow weary of blunts. This pattern is comparable to having a preferred food that you enjoy for a certain period and then transitioning to something different, only to eventually return to the original choice.

When vaporizing, the high might feel smoother and more controlled compared to traditional smoking methods, which can sometimes be harsher on the throat and lungs. The vapor produced by vaporizers contains fewer toxins and potentially harmful compounds than smoke from combustion. This cleaner experience, combined with the ability to adjust temperature settings and the absence of intense smoke odor, contributes to the growing popularity of vaporizers among those seeking a more customized and discreet way of consuming dry herbs.

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

Portable Vaporizer vs. Desktop Vaporizer?

The choice between a portable dry herb vaporizer and a desktop dry herb vaporizer depends on your preferences and usage scenarios. Here's a breakdown of the key differences:
  • Portable Dry Herb Vaporizer: A portable dry herb vaporizer is designed for on-the-go use. It's compact, lightweight, and usually battery-powered, allowing you to vaporize your chosen herbs anywhere you like. This type of vaporizer is convenient for outdoor activities, travel, or discreet use. However, due to its smaller size, portable vaporizers might have limited battery life and chamber capacity compared to desktop models.

  • Desktop Dry Herb Vaporizer: Desktop dry herb vaporizers are larger and meant to stay in one place, typically at home. They're known for their superior vapor production and advanced features. These vaporizers are often plugged into an electrical outlet, ensuring a consistent and reliable power source. Desktop models have larger chambers that can hold more dry herb, allowing for longer sessions. They also tend to have more precise temperature control and better airflow, resulting in more efficient extraction and a potentially smoother vapor.

If you value portability and convenience, a portable dry herb vaporizer might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if vapor quality, session length, and advanced features are more important, a desktop dry herb vaporizer could be the better option. Consider your lifestyle, usage habits, and desired vapor experience when making your decision.

Related article: Portable vs Desktop Vaporizers for weed, Which One You Should Get? 

Conduction or Convection vaporizers?


When choosing between conduction and convection dry herb vaporizers, it's important to understand their fundamental differences and how they affect your vaping experience.

  • Conduction Dry Herb Vaporizers: In conduction vaporizers, the dry herb, oil, or wax is heated by making direct contact with a hot surface. While this method is straightforward, it can sometimes lead to uneven heating, resulting in taste and quality issues. To address this, some vaporizers feature a ceramic bowl (oven) that helps mitigate inconsistencies.

A drawback of conduction vaporizers is that they can continue cooking your herb even when not in use. After a session, the herb may continue to heat up, potentially leading to wasteful burning.

  • Convection Dry Herb Vaporizers: Convection vaporizers work by heating the herb, oil, or wax using warm air generated in a separate compartment. This heated air is then passed through the bowl containing the product. Convection vaporizers tend to provide more even heating, resulting in a smoother vapor and better taste. Moreover, they are often considered safer than conduction vaporizers, as there's no direct contact between the heating element and the product.

Conduction vaporizers offer a straightforward heating process but can have issues with inconsistent heating and waste. Convection vaporizers use hot air for more even and controlled heating, leading to a better overall vaporizing experience. When making a choice, consider factors such as vapor quality, efficiency, and your personal preferences.

Related article: Dry Herb Vaporizers: Exploring Conduction, Convection, and Hybrid Heating Methods

Maintaining/cleaning your vaporizer

We want to make things clear and not take up too much of your time discussing vaporizer cleaning. Most vaporizers are quite simple to clean, so you don't need to decide which one to get based on how easy it is to clean. However, if cleaning ease is a significant concern for you, then the Arizer vaporizers are a great choice. Cleaning them is incredibly straightforward – you just need to immerse the stem in isopropyl alcohol (ISO) liquid or warm water, and you're done!

In my previous mention, I highlighted that, in my experience, none of the vaporizers have been particularly challenging to clean. So, my suggestion is not to overthink the cleaning aspect when making your decision. Remember, vaporizers are generally user-friendly in this regard. The Arizer vaporizers stand out for their easy cleaning process, but in the grand scheme of things, all vaporizers are designed to be convenient to clean. Therefore, focus on other factors like performance, features, and your personal preferences when selecting a vaporizer.

Comparing Vaporizer Smells: Oil Cartridges, Concentrates, and Dry Herb

To start, vaporizers are much less noticeable than smoking. Let me explain this in simpler terms.

  • Oil Cartridges: When you use a vaporizer for marijuana, there is still a smell, but oil cartridges, or 510 thread cartridge, have nothing to do with the type of vaporizers we are talking about here. They do have though the least noticeable smell. To read more of about them, please check out this post.

  • Concentrates/Wax: Concentrates create less smell overall compared to dry herb. The smell is also different and might not raise as much attention. Remember, there are many types of concentrates, and each could have a different smell, so it's hard to make a general statement. One important thing to note: a small amount of concentrate can have a strong effect, so be careful not to use more than you really need. Using too much might make you need more over time. Use them slowly to make them last.

  • Bud/Dry Herb: Vaping dry herb might make a bit more smell, but it's still much less and goes away faster than smoking it. You can light incense or let fresh air in to clear the smell in a few minutes. The smell also doesn't stick to clothes or fabrics.

If you're worried about the smell, you can use a gadget to blow the vapor through that removes the smell. A cheaper option is to use a paper towel roll with dryer sheets inside.

    Finally, What’s Your Budget?

    I want to share my experience of budgeting and selecting a vaporizer so that it might help you when you're ready to buy your own. At first, I thought I could get a vaporizer for under $100 because I'm used to smoking from a glass pipe and didn't plan on using the device extensively.

    I started my research looking for vaporizers under $100. But as I looked further, I realized that there were many options in different price ranges. Desktop vaporizers were too big and costly, around $300, so I focused on portable ones.

    However, the more I explored the portable vaporizers under $100, the more I realized that reviews were mixed, and many users mentioned a lack of flavor.

    Taste was important to me, so I decided to increase my budget for a better experience ($200+). I aimed for a vaporizer that was both discreet and provided great flavor.

    Glass stem for a better taste: During my research, I stumbled upon a comment suggesting a vaporizer with glass tubing for better taste. This was a game-changer since I love my glass pipe.

    My budget increased also to accommodate a glass vaporizer with excellent taste. After much searching, I finally found a vaporizer that ticked all the boxes for me, even though it was slightly over my initial budget. The device not only satisfied my original requirements but also came with a convenient carrying case.

    Throughout this process, I learned that vaporizers offer more than just discretion; they offer a top-notch experience. I realized the value of having a vaporizer beyond a single trip. It's become a regular part of my routine, delivering great taste, quick heating, long battery life, easy maintenance, and an overall fantastic experience.

    A quick tip: When you've narrowed down your options, compare similar vaporizers using online reviews. These comparisons can provide valuable insights from industry experts who have hands-on experience with different products.

    Remember, stick to your budget and don't feel pressured to spend more than you're comfortable with. Feel free to reach out to me if you need advice on finding the best vaporizer within your budget. I'm here to help as a consultant, not a salesperson

    Eventually I got the ArGo. I've been using it for years, and I can't be happier. 

    Related article: Arizer ArGo Portable Vaporizer Review: Pocket-Sized Power and Performance

    Wrapping Up

    Choosing the right vaporizer might take some time, but it's definitely worth the effort. Spending the time to find the perfect fit for you will save you money and give you the experience you're looking for.

    I recommend checking out this subreddit about vaping; they have an amazing and extremely helpful community. Personally, I gained a lot of knowledge from it.

    A final point to remember: vaping is a personal journey. People have various preferences – some like rolled marijuana, others prefer small wooden bowls, some enjoy larger bubblers, and some even opt for wax heated with a torch. When you look at different devices, you'll come across positive and negative reviews for each. Trust your instincts, stick to your criteria for what you want from your device, and remember that you understand your own needs better than anyone else. Find the vaporizer that suits YOU!

    Stay toasty my friends!

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