Over the past few years, the popularity of portable vaporizers has gone through the roof. As a result of the increased demand, the supply has also gone through the roof. Today, it almost feels as though with every passing week there is a new portable vaporizer technology being released. If you are keen and curious, you cannot help but wonder if it is just a marketing ruse or if there are any truths behind the claims made by the various companies and brands.
But even more important, how do you get to choose the very best portable vaporizer on the market. But contrary to what you might have heard or read, there isn’t a best portable vaporizer. You just get what you pay for. Additionally, individual portable vaporizers come with their different set of strengths and weaknesses as well as designs to match the different consumer desires and preferences.
But before we get into the details of the different pros and cons of each portable vaporizer on the market, here is a brief on how to choose the right portable vaporizer.
Tips To Consider Before Buying Portable Vaporizers
Before you spend your hard earned money on a portable vaporizer, you should consider its durability. While we would like to consider most vaporizers as being classy, strong and durable, the harsh truth is that most have poor designs. So much so that they cannot withstand constant day-to-day use.
But on the other hand, there are vaporizers on the market that are known for their durability. Some can last for a whopping five years or even longer, it depends on their use. The material used in their construction, as well as the technology incorporated, plays a significant role in improving the durability of a portable vaporizer.
Functionality and Portability
Yes, this is an essential factor to consider as well. The fact that you are looking to purchase a portable vaporizer means that at the very least you expect it to be portable. Carrying it around should be easy. For those who are always on the go, this is an important consideration. Consider its size and measurements. With regards to this, ask yourself several questions. One of which is if the unit fits in your pocket or not. If it cannot, then it is straight out bulky.
Moving on, you also should consider the functionality of the portable vaporizer. It should provide you with the services and functions listed. Additionally, having smart features including a 3-level temperature setting makes it more appealing to newbies in using vaporizers.
Vaporizers use two vaporizing technologies. The first is conduction and the second convection. Conduction is a method in which the heating elements are in contact with the dry herbs in the vaporizer while in the conventional mechanism, hot air passes through the dry herbs to produce vapor. Given the size of the portable vaporizers, most feature conduction vaporizers as opposed to convection as this requires some significant amount of space.
At this point, we should point out that the heat emitted in a device determines the taste of the vapor. Sure many factors determine the flavor but none the less, the heating method and its efficiency are at the top of the list. Luckily, very few, if any, portable vaporizers have issues with combustion. As such, quality vapor and smoke are produced.
Ease of Use and Simplicity
When it comes to portable vaporizers, simplicity is king. You obviously want a unit that is easy to use and that will not have you racking your brain trying to figure out heads or tails of it. Luckily, most portable vaporizers are simple and most importantly, feature easy to use design. They are accompanied by manuals which makes them easier to use.
Before you purchase a portable vaporizer, make sure it requires only a few steps to get it started. These steps should include an initial recharge, adding dry herbs to its chamber, turning the device on and selecting one of the preset heat settings.
Now that you know what to consider when making the choice, we can proceed to review some of the top portable vaporizers on the market today. Here is our comprehensive list of the vaporizers we have used and believe are worth featuring on the list.
Our Top Best Portable Vaporizers 2018
1. The Crafty Vaporizer
The Crafty Vaporizer is one of the top portable hybrid vaporizers on the market today. It is designed by Storz and Bickel, one of the leading vaporizer manufacturers in the world. Storz and Bickel is the same company that has produced the Mighty potable vaporizer (still covered in this list).
The Crafty vaporizer is a high ranking portable vaporizer in the market. It is best known for its high vapor quality, discretion, design, and portability. With all that it has going on a vaporizing newbie can use it with great ease and seem like a pro at the craft.
This is not something that can be said about other vaporizers in the market. Those who have used this vaporizer give it high ratings and reviews. But if you are wondering if the vaporizer is hyped too much and has got nothing to offer, this detailed review of the unit will help put things into perspective and clear any doubts.
Portability and Size
The Crafty Portable Vaporizer is designed to be compact. It measures about 2.2 inches wide, 1.3 inches deep and 4.3 inches tall. The best part is that it only weighs 136 grams. With these miniature dimensions, the unit can comfortably fit in your hand and in your jeans pocket, purse or even hoody pockets. While its portability cannot be matched to that of the Pax 3 given its slight bulkiness, it is overall a unit that you would love to have, is clean and easy to use.
Temperature Options and Heating Elements
The Crafty vaporizer features two temperature settings. The first is the default setting and the second is the Boost setting. The default setting has its temperature set at 356 Fahrenheit while the boost has a temperature setting of 383 Fahrenheit. But even with their predetermined temperature settings, the two can also be altered in a temperature ranging from 104 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit using the Crafty App.
Now the question is, how fast does the unit take to heat up? The heating element is quite impressive. It can heat from 0 to 356 degrees Fahrenheit in just 2 minutes. While this might not be the fastest heating time, the temperature proves to be slightly more consistent with the long and aggressive draws. Once it is done heating up, the Crafty portable vaporizer provides a haptic feedback. The vibrations may be weird at first, but you fast get used to them and start appreciating it.
How to Use the Unit And Its Chamber Size
The Crafty vaporizer’s chamber holds an impressive amount of dry herb. This is usually 0.25 grams of dry herb at a go. If you are working with super fine ground herb, you can even squeeze in about 0.3 grams of the herb. However, you should bear in mind that the more dry herb you squeeze in, the higher the drawing resistance will be.
It is worth pointing out that the Crafty portable vaporizer is one of the most consistent portable vaporizers there is. It allows you to pack the chamber half full, tight, loose, or full pack (whichever you prefer) and you still will get the same consistent results. This is a great feature especially since most vaporizers only work best when their chambers are fully packed.
The Crafty Vaporizer features a cooling unit at its top. This cooing unit is designed to cool the hot vapor coming from the heating element before it gets to your lips. In comparison to other portable vaporizers, the Crafty vaporizer features the coolest and the smoothest vapor there is.
The Crafty is powered by a single Lithium-Ion internal and rechargeable battery. The battery can last up to 45 minutes with average use. This translates to roughly about four vaping sessions. Once it runs out of charge, it recharges in about 2 hours. While it is recharging, it provides a partial pass. This means that the unit allows you to continue vaping after the unit gets to 20% of charge.
It is true. The battery life on the Crafty vaporizer is not the best we have seen on portable vaporizers. But on the plus side, the unit features a USB charging system which adds a new dimension to its portability. With this feature, you can recharge the unit practically anywhere you wish. You even can invest in an external battery pack for about $20, and you will be great to go.
The Crafty portable vaporizer comes with several accessories including replacement seals and screens and a brush. Along with the vaporizer, you also get a filling aid and a grinder which makes the loading process a breeze.
The filling aid connects to the top side of the unit. You place your herbs at the top, and it funnels the herbs into the Crafty chambers. It reduces the chances of spillage and increases convenience and ease of use.
2. The Firefly 2 Vaporizer
This is a second generation portable vaporizer from Firefly. Firefly, the company, and reputable brand was created back in 2012. Over the decade it has been in operation, the company has garnered great popularity and following.
The Firefly 2 has been a game changer with its fast heating times. The unit heats up in a whopping 3-5 seconds. In comparison to its predecessor, the Firefly 2 has improved on most aspects including the battery life, weight, and overall size. For a tasty and clean vapor, consider the Firefly 2.
Enough with the backstory, let’s get into the review of the unit.
Discreetness, Portability, and Size
Compared to the original FireFly the FireFly 2 is 55% lighter and is 33% smaller. The unit now looks more like the Crafty Portable Vaporizer reviewed above. With regards to its body composition, the manufacturing company favored the use of magnesium alloy compared to a stainless steel body.
I should point out that at first glance, the unit is not the most inconspicuous there is. However, the almost instant heat up for the quick sessions and the reduced smell makes the unit easy to use.
Vapor Path and a Heater
The Firefly 2 features a heater and a borosilicate glass bowl. The heater is rated 50 watts. In addition to this, the heater comes with six different temperature settings. 5 of these settings are dedicated for perfect use with dry herbs while one set is dedicated for use with the concentrates. The heater can get 400 degrees Fahrenheit in just 3 seconds and 420 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 5 seconds.
The borosilicate bowl is designed to retain most of the heat. While testing the unit, we could place the index finger inside the chamber and set it to the concentrate temperature setting and hold the trigger for about 10 seconds before the finger starts feeling any warmth from the heating element. This glass bowl makes the unit efficient. Why? Well, the heating elements only heat up the dry herbs or the concentrates while one draws the vapor.
At the bottom of the unit is a 55-hole pattern. These holes are designed to increase the airflow into the unit. With the increased airflow, it is easy to draw from the unit, and the dry herbs burn with great ease.
The Firefly 2 makes use of an application that runs on both Android and iOS. The App connects to the Firefly 2 through Bluetooth technology. Through this App, you can alter the temperature as you please, check on the battery life and play around with some other portable vaporizer settings.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Truth be told, with most vaporizers, using them is a breeze. But cleaning is always a challenge. With the Firefly 2, you get to enjoy the best of both. The unit is not only easy to use but also easy to clean as well as maintain. Actually, of all the units we tested and reviewed, the Firefly 2 was by far the easiest unit to clean.
The unit went for a pretty long time before cleaning. And during this time, it did not deteriorate in performance. It did, however, get some gunk build up on the window which was pretty unsightly.
The Firefly 2 does not feature a screen inside the borosilicate bowl. Instead, it comes with some paper towels laced with some isopropyl alcohol. These paper towels do a great job in wiping the gunk from the bowl. The towels also work great with regards to wiping down the vapor path, the lid, and the vaporizer body. Overall, the cleaning process may take less than 60 seconds to compete.
The Firefly 2 runs on batteries. Upon purchase, you get two batteries you can swap when one dies out. This is an extremely cool addition especially since there are very few portable vaporizers that come with more than one battery. Also, the Firefly 2 kit comes complete with a cleaning kit which includes a multi-sided brush, toothpick tools, and some Isopropyl alcohol wipes. In addition to this, the unit also features concentrate pads and a USB charging dock.
With the Firefly predecessor (the original unit), the battery life was, for the most part, the largest drawback. Not only did the Firefly 1 have a short battery life, but it also featured some quality problems which translated in the batteries degrading faster than they ought to.
With the Firefly 2, the battery life has greatly improved as has the heating efficiency. With the Firefly 2, we got about six bowls for every charge with each bowl having about 6-8 draws lasting about 45 seconds. Working with concentrates, the battery life significantly dipped.
But overall, the performance of the battery is impeccable. The fact that the unit comes with two swappable batteries adds to the unit’s convenience. With the two batteries, you can get about 50 minutes of vaping from the Firefly 2. The batteries are rechargeable and can be recharged using the external Firefly charger.
3. Grasshopper Vaporizer
This is the very first portable vaporizer to be created using funds acquired from crowdfunding. While it took the Hoppers Labs a significant amount of time to get to where they are today, the wait and journey have borne fruits. Today, they produce one of the best portable vaporizers available on the market. This, in our eyes, is more than great and commendable progress.
Once you purchase the Grasshopper, the very first thing that you will notice and that will possibly blow your mind is the speed at which the unit heats up. It takes seconds to get to optimal heating capacity after clicking the button. There are very few if any vaporizers that will get their heating element to optimal temperatures as fast as the Grasshopper unit. With such heating efficiency, the unit needs to be regulated. For this, it features a spinning dial on its back. This allows the users to adjust the temperatures ranging from 266 degrees Fahrenheit to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overall the unit features a slim and sleek design. The weight is similar to that of a regular pen. With regards to weight, it is by far one of the lightest there is. It weighs only 65 grams which is downright incredible. This is approximately 30 grams lighter compared to the Pax 3.
Portability, Weight, and Size
This is by far the smallest and concealable vaporizers on the market. The unit mimics the design and loo of a pen. The clip it features makes it even easier to carry around as it enables one to clip it to shorts or jeans pockets. The dimensions of the Grasshopper are 5.6 inches long and 0.55 inches wide.
The unit comes with two design models. One model is made from stainless steel while another is made from titanium. The steel model weighs 65 grams while the titanium model weighs just 56 grams. There is a significant weight difference between the two models. Because of this, there are those that prefer the Titanium model. But on the other hand, there are those that are still loyal to the heavier steel model. They maintain that the additional weight makes the unit easier to handle and slightly more comfortable.
But aside from the weight difference, the two also differ in the fact that the titanium model catches fewer scratches than the steel model.
Mouth Piece and Heating
This unit makes use of a powerful heating element with a 45-watt rating. How is this impressive? Well, let’s put things into perspective to give you some understanding of what this rating means. The Mighty portable vaporizer is a huge unit and features a 30-watt heater. The Grasshopper is smaller in comparison and has a more powerful heater. This heater enables it to heat in just 5 seconds or less providing you with the heat you deserve for a great vaping experience.
With the fast heating element, the mouthpiece is bound to get hot in the process and after prolonged usage. Turning the unit on and off while vaping will help to control the temperature of the mouthpiece in the process. The said mouthpiece is made from silicone. It is fitted on the end of the unit and helps in keeping the lips cool during the vaping process. Its size is perfect for use with a 14mm water pipe.
I am not one to use a silicone mouthpiece while vaping especially when I am doing so through the glass. I, however, acknowledge that there are individuals who love using the silicone mouthpiece and as such it comes in handy.
While there are very few portable vaporizers that are strong enough to support the long and aggressive draws, the Grasshopper excels in this light. You can draw as hard as you would like and it will produce quality vapor with every draw.
I love this unit just because a couple of aggressive hits are enough to get me medicated in several minutes. This makes the Grasshopper Vaporizer perfect for individuals who are always on the go.
Grind Preference and Chamber
The chamber has a great size in comparison to the overall size of the vape pen. In the chamber, you can comfortably fit about 0.3 grams of fine grind. However, I only packed it with 0.2 grams or 0.1 grams. Yes, even when not full, the Grasshopper works with great efficiency.
With this vaporizer, you can vape a full bowl in a couple of draws. But you have to have the lung-power for it. And the best part is that the unit cooks the herbs evenly. As such, you do not need to stir the herbs in the chamber.
Charging Options and Battery System
The batteries charge for about 60 minutes. But so that you have a consistent vape, you should invest in a couple of batteries. The charger that comes with the unit has a cool design an can charge through USB technology.
Along with the Grasshopper vaporizer, the unit also comes with a mouthpiece guard, a USB charger and an extra screen for the mouthpiece. The unit also comes with an impressive Performance Front End which doubles as the water pipe adapter. This increases the airflow which I loved. Sure it is not exactly a necessary part of the unit but all the same, it improves the vaping experience.
4. The Davinci IQ
Davinci first launched a vaporizer back in 2012. This was a rest success, and in 2013, they provided a follow up of the same which they named the Ascent. Towards the end of last year, they launched the Davinci IQ. The unit comes with a completely different design, feature a smart path technology, a vapor path, mouthpieces and a zirconia ceramic bowl.
This unit is available in copper, blue, stealth and gunmetal colors.
Portability and size
Here is the thing. Before you even get your hands on the Davinci IQ, you know that it is small. This is from the images doing rounds on the internet. But even with this foreknowledge, I guarantee that when you finally have it in your hands, you will still be shocked at its small design and lightweight nature. The unit feels rather durable and solid which is great.
Overall, the unit weighs a total of 145 grams. This is not the lightest on the list as there are other units like the Pax 3 which weigh 95 grams and the Grasshopper vaporizer weighs an impressive 55 grams.
While the unit is slightly heavier than some of the units we have reviewed, it is pretty sizeable and features a great shape making it easier to pocket it discreetly while on the road.
The weight of this unit is a testament to the overall quality. When you finally get your hands on the unit, you will understand this. My general feeling is that if the unit were to be made any lighter, it would feel cheap. People would start worrying about dropping the unit.
The buttons on the unit are sturdy and all work as they are supposed to they are nice to touch. The finish of the casing is impressive. I personally love the zirconia ceramic.
Flavor Chamber, Mouthpieces, and Accessories
Depending on the unit you purchase, you will get different accessories. For instance, with the collector’s edition, you get the vaporizer in a wooden box. Inside the box is a t-shirt, a Davinci glass jar, a nice carrying case branded Davinci and the IQ vaporizer.
For the standard unit, the vaporizer features a rechargeable 3500mAh battery, a zirconia flavor chamber, a USB charging cable, and two mouthpieces. One of the mouthpieces is extended while the other is recessed.
Speaking of which, the Zirconia Ceramic mouthpieces are constructed from ceramic zirconia. Aside from being easy to clean and extremely durable, they feature an excellent flavor. During the testing period, I preferred using the recessed mouthpiece as this allowed me great convenience and use while on the move. With the recessed mouthpiece, you can conceal the vaporizer with ease.
I also used the raised mouthpiece but this was more for when I was chilling behind closed doors. The raised mouthpiece is perfect and provides a perfect seal against the 14mm male or the 10mm female glass.
The flavor chamber, on the other hand, is placed smack dab on the vapor path but before the flavorful vapor can get to the lips. The herbs can be loaded into the chamber in chunks. Working with chunks, the unit will only heat up partially. This will provide the unit with just enough heat to extract the flavor but not cook the herbs.
While the first few draws with these chunks are great, the awesomeness is short lived as the resistance builds up pretty fast. After about eight sessions, you will have to empty the chamber and clean it. The herbs will still be green but will be significantly reduced with regards to vibrancy.
It is also important to note that the flavor chamber of this particular unit is designed to help cool and smoothen the vapor before it reaches the lips. It does this by increasing the space that the vapor has to travel before getting to your expectant lips. Additionally, the unit seems to be useful in reducing the cleaning frequency. It does this by absorbing much of the vapor that condenses during the process, and that would have otherwise found their way to the mouthpiece.
Heating, Quality and Temperature Options
Overall, the quality of the Davinci IQ is through the roof. Of the units that I tried and tested, it is by far the unit that produced the best vapor. The vapor path is made from ceramic zirconia. It helps to provide flavored and cool vapor.
The heater on this unit packs excellent power. It can produce a dense vapor without getting overwhelmed or overpowered when one takes some long aggressive draws back to back. Additionally, this unit proves very efficient while working with herbs.
With regards to the temperature, the unit features a temperature range from 250 degrees Fahrenheit to 430 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is sufficient to provide you with the required temperatures in just 45 seconds. The heating element features three temperature options. You can use the precision mode to pick an exact temperature you might have in mind or choose any of the four smart paths that are fully customizable. There is also a boost mode to ramp up the temperature as you please.
What are smart paths you ask? While the term may seem complicated, it is pretty simple and straightforward. Smart paths are simply pre-programmed temperature settings that increase in ten minutes with 20 degrees increments.
Each of these preset temperatures can be programmed to meet your preference through the app. I preferred smart paths 1 and 2. These two were the best in providing thick clouds and delivering the best taste. The temperatures 3 and 4 still provide thick and larger clouds, but I love the taste better in the medium and low-temperature settings.
This temperature mode allows the setting of a precise temperature and maintaining it for a full 10-minute session. The temperature can be altered at any time.
To activate this mode, you need to press down on the dedicated button and hold. You will notice that the temperature will rise slowly to the maximum temperature. The temperature continues to rise provided the designated button is held down. Releasing the button will see the temperature start to drop.
This mode will help you get some juice for a particular draw.
Having an app is an interesting addition to this portable vaporizer. However, you should note that while it is useful and convenient, you still can access some of the Davinci IQ features without the app.
That said, some applications cannot be customized without the app. these include the vibration alerts, the smart path sessions, the total time of usage, the average session length, average temperature and the favorite path. So, yes, the decision to use or not to use the app solely lies on you. But if you want some cool additions and customization with the vaporizer, you should use the IQ app.
Maintenance and Cleaning
The unit is simple to clean. After every session, you should empty the bowl and blow or brush the chamber. This will help to keep the unit generally clean and ensure you clean less often.
Of all the arts of the vaporizer, however, the flavor chamber is probably one that needs lots of cleaning. Good thing it is easy to clean. Just slide the chamber from its compartment and soak it in isopropyl alcohol. Leave it for a few minutes and then soak it.
The mouthpieces also need a thorough cleaning. But like the flavor chamber, all you need to do is pop out the unit and soak it in some isopropyl alcohol.
This unit comes with a rechargeable battery with 3500mAh. This battery can last for a maximum of 80 minutes with average use. The battery is replaceable and can be recharged to full capacity in just 4 hours.
5. Pax 3 Vaporizer
This is a unique portable concentrate and dry herb vaporizer by the PAX Labs. It features an elegant look and feel; it is easy to use, is discreet and highly portable.
Quality, Portability, and Size
In all honesty, the Pax 3 does not feature a state of the art flavor line or replaceable batteries. However, in general, its portability, size, battery life, ease of use and quality has made the Pax 3 a popular portable vaping unit. With regards to dimensions, the Pax 3 is similar to the Pax 2.
A great addition to the Pax 3 is haptic feedback. The vibration levels are minimal but noticeable nonetheless.
With the Pax 3, instead of a single chamber lid, there are a total of 3. These include the original chamber lid for the full-size oven, a half pack lid, and a concentrate insert. Adding to these are mouthpieces. The mouthpieces include a raised mouthpiece and a flat mouthpiece.
Heating and Temperature Options
The Pax 3 has a fast heating time. Its predecessor took between 45 and 60 seconds to heat up to its highest capacity, but the Pax 3 has now been improved and can do it in less than 15 seconds. With this heating rate, the Pax 3 is one of the fastest heating vaporizers on the market.
Now do not get it wrong, the Pax 3 does not beat the Grasshopper or the Firefly 2 with on-demand heating for individual draws. It does, however, beat the hands down with regards to the being the fastest heating unit.
As for the temperature options, the unit features 4 heat settings. These include the temperature 1, 2, 3 and 4. These options have temperature ratings at 360 F, 380F, 400F and 420F respectively. Additionally, they each have color codes in the following order; 1 green LED, 2 Yellow LED, 3 Orange LED and 4 Red LEDs.
Battery and Specs
Compared to its predecessor, the Pax 3 has 17% additional battery capacity. At 3500 mAh, this is way better compared to the 3000mAh for the Pax 2. This charge can last you up to an impressive 110 minutes which translates to about 140 – 180 draws for every charge.
Your vaping experience should not be limited to the confines of your home. With these portable vaporizers, you can vape at work discreetly. And with their strength and power, you are bound to have a great vaping experience.
The reviews above are designed to help you choose the best portable vaporizer for your needs. You can rely on the information provided above.