The Best Dry Herb Portable Vaporizers for 2023
Finding the best portable vaporizer can be overwhelming with so many options available. That’s where my colleague, Michael Ladek, and I come in. As enthusiasts with a deep passion for vaping technology, we’ve dedicated ourselves to sifting through the market’s offerings. Our goal? To pinpoint devices that excel in performance, ease of use, and vapor quality. The selections we’ve made aren’t just personal favorites; they’re also recognized and celebrated in the wider vaping community. Michael and I have crafted this guide to streamline your search, drawing from our expertise to ensure you land a top-notch vaporizer. And hey, if you’ve got thoughts on our top pick or want to share your own favorites, jump into the comments section. We love hearing from you and it’s a great spot for some lively vape talk!
Our top pick
Best Portable Vaporizers 2023
|Crafty+||Best Overall Vaporizer|
|Mighty +||Best Battery Life|
|Davinci IQC||Best Smart Vaporizer|
|Airvape Legacy Pro||Best New Vaporizer|
|Tinymight 2||Good Flavor and Swappable Batteries|
|Dynavap M||Best Modularity and Customizability|
|Arizer Solo 2||Most Efficient|
|Firefly 2+||Best Vapor Quality|
|Pax Plus||Best Design|
|Healthy Rips Fury Edge||Best Under $150|
|Xmax V3 Pro||Solid Choice for Those on a Tight Budget (Under $100)|
|Utillian 722||Best for Discreet Use|
|G Pen Elite 2||Best for Precision Temperature Control|
|G Pen Dash||Best Under $60|
Portable Dry Herb Vaporizer Specs Face-Off
Approx. 300°F – 340°F (149°C – 171°C)
122°F – 428°F (50°C – 220°C)
200°F – 420°F (93°C – 215°C)
360F – 420F
(182°C – 215.56°C)
320°F – 430°F (160°C – 221°C)
212°F (100°C) – 428°F (220°C)
356°F (180°C) – 410°F (210°C)
200°F (93°C) – 430°F (221°C)
375°F (190°C), 401°F (205°C), 428°F (220°C)
You know that vaporizers work, but maybe you’re wondering how they work. Or perhaps you’d like to know all the things we considered to end up with the products on our list. If you want to learn more about those little magical devices, we’ve got you covered.
How do Vaporizers work?
We all know that smoking works thanks to Prometheus’ gift to humankind (AKA: fire). By burning herbs (like tobacco and marijuana), we can inhale the produced smoke, containing some of their active ingredients (like Nicotine and THC). The problem, though, is that this way, we also inhale many nasty chemicals that can be vastly detrimental to our health. That’s where vaping enters the scene.
Some fine folks realized that you don’t have to burn the materials we’re using if you want to inhale “the good stuff” contained within. You can merely heat them to the point where those substances are released. This helps avoid the production of unwanted chemical substances, like Arsenic, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, and Formaldehyde, released during combustion. And that’s how vaping was born.
Thus, vaping – and vaporizing – refers to the process of heating materials “just enough” to produce vapor instead of smoke. You still get all the benefits, by the way, and there are even studies showing that vaping can be more potent than smoking the same material.
Some devices specialize in vaporizing dry herbs and aren’t compatible with other materials. You may find tips and tricks online for many of them showing how to use them with concentrates instead of dry herbs, but the official (and our) advice is to avoid it.
Concentrates may at the very least make a mess of their vaporization chamber (“oven”), or, at worst, liquefy, find their way inside them, and wreck havoc on their internals. In a worst-case scenario, this could lead to a short and make them go kaboom. In short, “use your device as you’re supposed to.”
Vaporizing concentrates (also known as “wax”) usually calls for another type of atomizer. Those devices are generally easier to clean (because concentrates make, by default, more of a mess compared to dry herbs). They usually rely less on heated air and more on contact with a heated area (see Convection VS Conduction VS Hybrid Heating) to produce vapor.
The term “concentrates” usually refers to processed marijuana or hash extracts. It is apt since their THC content is much higher. For that reason, new users would better avoid them, or at least take it very slowly. Whereas vaporizing herbs can release from 10% to 25% of THC, vaporizing concentrates sees that number jump to 70% – 80%.
Also referred to as “hookah pens,” oil vaporizers are closer to the more popular vaping gear used to vaporize liquids. Instead of Nicotine, though, they specialize in HTC.
Although both oil and liquid vaporizers work similarly, they differ in size. Oil vaporizers are usually smaller and use thicker liquids.
Most people vape to quit Nicotine, not to get high. Thus, the most popular type of device – and the one prominently referred to as “vaping gear” – is all about Nicotine. Instead of heating herbs or wax-like materials, though, they use liquids infused with Nicotine.
You can find liquids with THC instead of Nicotine, but that isn’t yet as popular as using dry herbs in a vaporizer explicitly designed for that purpose.
3-in-1 Vaporizers: Herbs, Oils, Dabs
As their name states, 3-in-1 vaporizers don’t specialize in a specific material and can vaporize herbs, concentrates, and oils. Usually, though, this means that they underperform when in direct comparison with devices specializing in the material used.
If you want to smoke a cigarette, you first have to light it up. Similarly, to vape a material using a vaporizer, the device heats it in its vaporization chamber/oven. Newer devices can be ready to go in seconds. However, older models, and primarily conduction-only ones, could take minutes to get up to speed.
Sessions Per Charge
You might see many people using the term “Sessions per Charge” when talking about vaporizers and how long their charge may last. However, this is a useless metric since it’s not constants that define it, but variables.
This sounded vague, so allow us to explain.
Let’s say that two people are vaping on two identical and fully charged vaporizers. Let’s also assume that the device supposedly offers five sessions per charge. If “a session” was based on constants, a single charge should last the same amount of time for both. The problem, though, is that we humans aren’t identical, and each of us prefers different things.
So, the same term, “session,” might translate to ten 5-second puffs at full power for one person but three 2-second puffs at low power for another. The first person would have been vaping at max power for a total time of over 50 seconds, while the second would have used their device at low power for less than 10 seconds. Each of those “sessions” would have vastly different demands from the device’s battery. With no definition of what “a session” constitutes, their meaning varies from person to person. Thus, they can’t be trusted as a metric of a device’s uptime.
Convection VS Conduction VS Hybrid Heating
There are two different approaches through which vaporizers produce vapor by heating a material: convection and conduction.
Convection vaporizers force a stream of hot air on the material.
Conduction vaporizers heat the surface that is in contact with the material.
Both approaches don’t burn the material with fire, and the second, conduction, is the older of the two. Today, on its own, it’s considered suboptimal since it can cook the material that is directly in contact with the heated surface.
Many modern vaporizers use a hybrid approach, utilizing both methods to achieve optimal results. Conduction has the benefit of being quicker, while convection is less wasteful since it doesn’t cook the material. Convection also tends to produce more flavorful and potent results. Hybrid vaporizers usually start with conduction to heat the material to a level before vapor production. Then, they finish the process with convection, for that final stretch that leads to vapor production.
The Right Temperatures
Most vaporizers work within a specific temperature range, which usually begins at 320° F and go up to something less than 450° F. Lower temperatures would hardly produce any vapor. Higher would risk combustion of the material.
All vaporizers worth considering give the user control over the operating temperature, but they are not equal. Some offer a limited number of temperature presets, while others allow granular control. The best are more accurate and precise and can also account for temperature fluctuations, resulting in a smoother vaping experience.
Pens VS Portable VS Desktop
Another way to categorize vaporizers is by their size and portability combination.
Pens are the most compact of the bunch and are primarily used for vaping oils. Their small size also means that they come with a small battery but pack enough power to vaporize at least one pre-filled oil cartridge or re-filled tank. Combined with how oils are easier to turn into vapor, they can usually last you the whole day.
Portable vaporizers are larger devices and are mainly designed for vaporizing herbs and concentrates. They also have more powerful batteries, but producing vapor from solids also demands much more power. With mild use, they can get you through the day, but many heavier users find they have to recharge theirs once or twice per day.
Finally, desktop vaporizers are, as their name states, not meant for taking out and around. They are designed to stay at one spot and use a wall socket as their power source.
Ease of Use
The more features a device offers, the more it allows you to customize the vaping experience to your liking. At the same time, though, more features add to a device’s complexity. Finding the optimal balance between features and ease of use is a matter of personal preference, and one person’s favorite vaporizer might be another’s worst nightmare.
For example, those who love the simplicity of vaporizers like the Pax would probably hate something like the IQ, deeming it overly complicated. However, both are top choices for different types of users, depending on their preferences and priorities.
It’s worth noting that “ease-of-use” doesn’t only have to do with the way you use a vaporizer when vaping but also with its maintenance. Some devices allow you to take out the whole vaporization chamber, wash it, dry it, and return to using them. Others expect you to disassemble a contraption into smaller parts and clean them individually.
Flavor is quite significant for a great vaping experience. Some devices produce excellent flavor, thanks to their use of quality materials in their vaporization chamber, coils, and air path, as well as their accurate temperature control. Others can’t help but mute the flavor, and since that happens for precisely the same reasons, the only “fix” is an upgrade.
More vapor and thick fluffy clouds might feel more fulfilling, but they can also give you away when you’re trying to be stealthy. The amount of vapor produced depends on many different factors, like the material used in the vaporizer, the amount of airflow, and the device’s power setting.
One vaporizer might feel closer to a cigarette-smoking experience, another to a hookah, and another allow you to adjust it to your liking. In most cases, devices designed from the get-go for a particular type of airflow are better at it. Still, adjustable options are more versatile and allow you to switch styles at will.
Usually, reduced airflow translates to better flavor and a more pronounced hit, but many people prefer to “breathe in” their vapor.
Battery Life & Charging
Some vaporizers look like behemoths compared to more compact options because of the larger, more powerful batteries inside them. Such batteries might need more time for a full recharge but also grant the device extended uptime.
Modern devices use newer batteries and smarter charging circuits, which can significantly speed up the charging process.
Paying more for a vaporizer doesn’t guarantee that it’s made from higher quality materials. You can find high-end models made primarily out of plastic. It also doesn’t mean you will get the best possible vaping experience, for the technology improves, and newer mid-level models have caught up on past top performers.
In most cases, though, you do get what you pay for, and you shouldn’t expect a $50 device to dethrone a $350 one.
Although vaping can have side effects, its source is always the material used and not the device or process itself. For example, you can get a buzz from Nicotine or a high from THC, but you would feel the same if you smoked the same materials instead of vaping them.
With vaping, though, the experience might be somewhat different. Vaping doesn’t cause the “throat hit” off smoking because it lacks combustion. It also feels smoother and lighter during inhalation. Studies have also shown that it can be more potent when vaping cannabis, and even more so when using concentrates high on THC.
Although vaping doesn’t smell as much or as bad as smoking, it still produces distinct odors – especially when vaping weed. If you are considering switching from smoking to vape weed undetected, don’t.
If smoking cannabis is illegal where you live, so is vaping it. It’s the same as with Nicotine, where a “No Smoking” sign in most cases refers to both smoking and vaping, even if it doesn’t expressly state so.
It’s also worth noting that if you were thinking of switching to vaping cannabis because you’ve heard it doesn’t show up in any tests, again, don’t. It does. Drug tests check for the existence of substances in your body, not for how they found their way there.
We hope you’ve found your first or next vaporizer among our choices. If not, we tried to provide all the information you might need to locate the best one for you. We’d love it if you told us which you went for and if you are happy with your choice, in our comments section below.