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

March 30, 2023

Identifying the aspects that fit your cannabis consumption choices is essential when choosing a vaporizer. Examining design, materials, and properties can assist you in pinpointing the most suitable device for dry herb, wax, or any other materials. Ensuring that you get a device which adapts to your lifestyle and usage frequency ensures a splendid experience.

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

Keen in mind, it is essential to consider how a vaporizer is designed to extract key Cannabinoid components (THC and CBD) when selecting a product. Factors such as the heating design, bowl airflow, and heat distribution can all impact the extraction process. Therefore, it is important to read product reviews in addition to examining the device specifications.

Portable Vaporizers vs. Desktop Vaporizers

Portable Vaporizers


If you are researching a portable vaporizer, think about the features that appeal to you the most. Every user has different requirements, and for me, portability and discretion were essential, as well as a powerful output. However, many devices labeled as "portable" and "discrete" may not offer adequate power.

Here is 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.
  • Passthrough charging (using the vaporizer while charging). This point is more important for convection vaporizers because they need more power compared 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 that the vaporizer can provide. Check Leafly’s article about How to Customize Your Cannabis High With Temperature

Other considerations you may want to look at:

  • Is the mouthpiece 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 vapor quality and 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 do you want 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 a list of the most discreet portable dry herb vaporizers in the market currently. 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. 

    Desktop Vaporizers

    Truthfully, the more bigger the vaporizer, the more intense the hit. Therefore, if portability and concealment are not necessary, or you need a more robust device for home use with higher quality vape, then a desktop vaporizer is the optimal solution.

    Most desktop vaporizers require to be plugged into an electric outlet for operation, but this makes them more consistent with regards to vapor quality and strength. It is also the best option for extended vaping sessions or sharing with a crowd in a 'hookah-style' manner.

    Desktop vaporizers are attractive to marijuana enthusiasts seeking a stationary solution due to the large size that enables the inclusion of a wide range of advanced features difficult to fit in a portable vape.

    When it comes to cost, desktop vaporizers are usually more expensive than their portable counterparts.

    There are two main styles for a desktop vaporizer, a Whip Style vaporizer and Forced Air style. What’s the difference you may 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/hybrid 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.

    Here is what you need to consider for a desktop vaporizer:

    • Are you homebound most of the time? Staying in one place?
    • Do you have big groups of friends? (4+)
    • Do you like to partake often/a lot at a time?
    • Are you coming from smoking and miss big cloud production?

    If your answers to those questions are 'yes', then I believe a desktop vaporizer would be perfect for you. 

    These are my top picks for best desktop vaporizer:  


    I generally opt for a desktop vaporizer over a portable one for my own use due to the advantages that come with a stationary model; I'm a homebody who wants to enjoy frequent sessions, and the performance of a portable vaporizer tends to suffer over time with heavy use.

    Desktops offer superior longevity, stronger performance, and greater power efficiency compared to portables like the Underdog and Arizer EQ. Nonetheless, I use and appreciate my portables for their convenience. Nevertheless, desktops are not flawless and certain advantages of portables can't be matched.

    Palm-Size vaporizers offer a notable level of flexibility. When hosting a large session, I carry my desktop model, but when I'm out and about or getting together with a couple of people, I prefer portables.

    They are also convenient as they don't need to be connected to a wall to be used. Additionally, I don't have to wait for them to fire up, so I can have a quick session right away.

    There’s pros and cons to both, and I will reflect on them in the following section.

    Desktop dry herb vaprizers PROS and CONS

    • Long, hard-hitting sessions
    • (If bags) Better to pass around for large sessions
    • Large vapor production, with less harsh, flavorful hits (whip or bag)


    • Tethered to an electrical outlet, if the power is out, so is the vape
    • Electrical and battery components are mostly irreplaceable and can fail after long-term use
    • Longer heat up times (for most vapes)

    Portable dry herb vaporizers PROS and CONS


    • Portable, not tethered to a wall and on-the-go ready
    • Discreet, easier to hide
    • Decent flavor (better with glass options)
    • Easy to pass around to friends
    • (If applicable) Replaceable batteries
    • Faster heat up times (for some vaporizers)


    • Restricted airflow, sometimes harsher hits
    • Shorter sessions/auto shutoff timer
    • Shorter lifespan (especially true for non-replaceable battery vapes)
    • For some vaporizers (such as the MFLB), have a higher learning curve
    • (If no passthrough charging) Waiting for the vaporizer to charge



    When considering whether a desktop or portable vaporizer suits you best, ask yourself:

    • Am I an active person who prefers to partake outside the home?
    • Is my typical session with friends or solo?

    Desktops may be the better option for stationary users looking for big hits with no sesh timers and plentiful airflow. Portable vaporizers, meanwhile, are great for those who crave on-the-go smoking with little setup hassle, but with a sesh timer to regulate themselves and a slightly restricted airflow.

    Whatever you pick, I hope it is an enjoyable experience for you. Happy vaping!

    The best place you can find very informative vaporizer enthusiasts is this subreddit. Or you can reach out to me here, and I will answer any questions.

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

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