Vaporizing is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to smoking, but many people don’t know the first thing about choosing a good vaporizer. If you are looking to get yourself a new vaporizer and want to make sure you get the perfect one for your needs, then keep reading this guide because we’re going to go over all of the most important parts of choosing one.

If you aren’t sure if vaporizing is right for you, consider some of the main reasons that people make the switch from combustion-based inhalation methods to vaporizers:

  • They’re more efficient
  • They cause less throat and lung irritation
  • The flavor is better
  • Studies suggest vaporizers help you avoid harmful by-products of combustion
  • There’s less odor

Now that we have gone over why you may want one, let’s get to the first decision you’ll have to make…

Stationary or Portable?

There are two categories of vaporizers: stationary units (also called desktops) and portables. While the main difference between the two types is obvious, it’s important to consider all of the things you are getting or giving up by choosing one over the other.

The Benefits of a Stationary Vaporizer

Stationary units are meant to be used in one place (usually at home), which means that there doesn’t have to be a huge focus on maintaining a small overall size with the design. This allows the manufacturers to put a premium on overall vapor quality, so you can reasonably expect a stationary vaporizer to outperform a portable.

Here are some of the reasons you may choose a stationary vaporizer:

  • You plan to do all you vaporizing at home
  • You want the highest vapor quality possible
  • You want bigger heating chambers so you can use more herb at one time

The Benefits of Portables

Portables allow you to take your vaporizer with you wherever you go. The vast majority run off battery power, but more and more are popping up that find creative ways to use lighters without combusting your herb. Portables vary wildly in overall quality, and many top-tier options offer outstanding vapor quality despite the small size.

Consider a portable if:

  • You want to be able to take your vaporizer on-the-go
  • You need something discreet
  • You want an option that doesn’t run off power

Other Features to Look For

While choosing whether you want a stationary or portable vaporizer is difficult, it’s far from the last thing you’ll have to think about. We’ll go over a few things to look for regardless of what type of vaporizer you plan on getting, then give you some additional things to think about that are specific to desktops and portables.

Generally speaking, there are three main things to consider in any vaporizer:

  1. Vapor quality
  2. Manufacturing quality
  3. Easy of use

Vapor Quality

This is probably the factor that will affect your enjoyment the most. Good vapor should be flavorful, smooth and enjoyable. The problem is that there are many bad units out there that will deliver low quality vapor that is harsh on the throat and lungs.

It should come as no surprise that every manufacturer claims that their vaporizers produce the outstanding vapor, but these are just marketing claims. Don’t trust these. Make sure you read reviews on every product you consider and see what other people have to say. Luckily for you, we’ve got reviews on every major vaporizer on the market, and each one has a section on vapor quality!

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One thing that you should find out about any vaporizer you consider is what type of vaporization it relies on to create the vapor. There are two methods, convection and conduction. Convection-based heating involves having hot air drawn through your material. This leads to a very even extraction and decreases the risk of combustion. Conduction heating involves a heated surface causing vapor creation, but this method runs a greater risk of combustion if the surface gets too hot. 

To get the best vapor quality possible, look for units that offer either a blend of both styles or convection-only heating like the Utillian 720.

Manufacturing Quality

Manufacturing quality is important because it has a lot to do with how long your vaporizer will last. Spending an extra $25 to $50 now can easily save you more money in the future if you end up with a better unit. There’s a pretty direct correlation between the amount you spend and the overall quality of the vaporizer you end up with, but always check reviews first to make sure you don’t end up with something known for poor craftsmanship.

What materials are used has a lot to do with the manufacturing quality. Glass is great for vapor pathways and mouthpieces because it is the least likely to alter the flavor and it also is easy to clean. Metals like stainless steel are very durable, though they sometimes affect the flavor. There is nothing inherently wrong with plastics or silicon, but always make sure they are food-grade if the vapor comes in contact with them. This is yet another area where it makes sense to check reviews to see if people have reported problems affecting taste or vapor quality.

Ease of Use

Vaporizers range from one-button designs with no options to hugely complicated contraptions that can take days to figure out. The more complex options tend to include more features and offer more versatility, but you may want to forego all of that if you struggle with technology.

If you want a stationary vaporizer…

If you’ve decided that you want to get a stationary unit, there are two more things for you to consider:

  • Inhalation method
  • Reach

Inhalation Method

Most stationary vaporizers feature whips, balloons or both as their method of inhalation. Whips are simply tubes made of from a food-grade PVC material that connect to the heating chamber on one end and to a mouthpiece on the other.

Balloons are exactly what they sound like, bags that fill up with vapor that can then be passed around while people take draws of from them. Balloons tend to be better for bigger groups because they allow the vapor to easily be passed to everyone.

There are also vaporizers that don’t offer either of these options. Some have metal or glass mouthpiece and look more like a plugged in portable. The Plenty by Storz and Bickel is a good example of this. Out of all of these, whips are the most common. If you don’t know what to choose, look for something that offers multiple styles in one unit like the Arizer Extreme Q.

Reach

Reach is another important thing to consider with stationary units. Some units have a very small reach and can only be used within a few feet of where they are plugged in. Other units have long cords and handheld bases, allowing you to move around with it or pass it amongst friends. As mentioned earlier, vaporizers that include balloons as an inhalation method are a great way to increase the reach of an otherwise immobile unit.

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If you want a portable vaporizer…

The two most important features to focus on with portables are:

  • Battery life
  • Temperature flexibility

Battery Life

The average battery life for portables is between 1.5 and 2 hours of use. Anything in that range is good, and anything above it is great. If you get a unit that offers less than this, you may end up frustrated with how frequently you have to recharge it.

If you really want to decrease charging frequency, look for units that offer removeable batteries like the Arizer Air or Da Vinci IQ. If your portable has a removeable battery, you’re able to get extras to quickly swap in as soon as one runs out of juice.

For those of you that want to avoid batteries altogether, there are options like the Vapman that are heated by a torch but still offer true vaporization without combustion. Units like these are great for camping trips or other situations where you may not have access to power.

ZEUS Smite Plus Vaporizer digital display

Temperature Flexibility

While desktops tend to offer very wide ranges for temperature settings, some portables don’t offer any flexibility at all. Others have huge ranges that allow you to control the temperature down to the degree. We recommend looking for units that offer at least 4-5 presets throughout the vaporization range to ensure you are able to find the perfect temperature level for your preferences.

Final Tips

The biggest thing you need to know about getting a vaporizer outside of what has already been covered is the fact that you need to get a good grinder to go along with it. Because the material isn’t actually being combusted, it is imperative to finely grind it to get the most surface area possible.

A good grinder will last you a very long time and greatly improve your experience, so look for options that are specifically calibrated for optimal extraction like the grinders made by ZEUS.

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There are many other accessories that you can get to further improve your experiences as well. Once you get your base unit, you’ll want to see what types of things you can get for it to make it even better. Many people like getting adapters for water pipe compatibility, and there are also devices like the Iceborn that pass all your vapor over ice to make it extra refreshing.

Hopefully this has given you a good intro and helped you get ready to make a decision about what vaporizer to buy. We always recommending picking up your unit from Vaporizera, they offer free shipping over $100 and a free Zeus Gift with the purchase of a vaporizer. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment here or send us a message.

 

About The Author

Profile photo of Dan C
Senior Content Specialist
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Dan is a writer with a massive vaporizer collection who loves video games, superhero movies, finding new music, comic and regular books and critically deconstructing those things until he wonders why he liked them in the first place. He's also a pragmatic fitness enthusiast who believes that the best actions you can take in your daily life are those that help you reach your goals, and that naps are the most lofty, but also the most noble goal one can have.

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