Vaporizers come in varying sizes and shapes, colors and configurations. They use convection or conduction, electricity or oil, batteries or a cord, forced air or direct draw. The three materials one can use in a vaporizer are waxes, essential oils, and dry herbs. But not all vaporizers are compatible with all three. When it comes time to find dry herb vaporizers, you might need some help locating the right device from a huge selection.
What are Herbs?
Dry herbs are any plant materials that you have to shred or grind before placing them inside a heating chamber. They include tobacco, which is frequently consumed in this format. Many smokers switch to vaporizers to reduce the amount of chemicals they consume. The biggest dangers of smoking come from the smoke, but vaporizers don’t create smoke.
At least, the good ones don’t. You can find low-quality units that accidentally burn herbs, but choose something that has an automatic shut-off feature and you should be safe. Also, watch out for units that are known to produce fumes caused by the proximity of plastic to the heating chamber or a poor seal between the heat and outer body.
What Heats Your Herbs?
Your herbs are heated by an oven which either sits below the herbs, heating them directly, or blows hot air around them. This oven makes your device really hot to the touch if it hasn’t been well built. Well-insulated machines (like those made by Arizer) feature double walls. Others, like the Volcano by S&B, come with cooling coils to dissipate heat up to your mouth so it arrives cool and smooth. Hot vapor is harsh-tasting and less flavorful.
How hot does the oven become? Well, it’s not hot enough to cause a fire (combustion) which would also create smoke and ash, but 200F to 400F is still pretty warm. Certain parts of a vaporizer could burn your fingers.
Dry Herb Vaporizers
Some of the devices in your search will be portable; others are table-bound. Select a company that provides guidance. It will ask you what you want to vaporize: herbs, waxes, or oils. Choose the size of device you want: a tabletop or portable mod. From these criteria, the website will produce a selection for you to peruse. You can also indicate a price range, but don’t set it below $80 or so: this would lead you to cheap stuff that doesn’t work for long.
The Short List
Here is a list of products you might want to consider, but it is not comprehensive. Many more models are out there, waiting to be explored; too many to talk about in a single article. These four form a starting point for personal research. They include the Atmos RX, Vapir Rise, Sonic, and Viva La Vape. I included a pen style device, box mod, tabletop, and a handheld unit.
Atmos has taken off in a big way. Their products sell out quickly so be alert to new shipments and pounce when they come in. Considering they cost just $119, these are excellent pen-style devices small enough to conceal but pleasingly powerful. Choose Green, Silver, or Blue. Although this is an herbal vaporizer, it also works with concentrates.
The glass screen inside can be removed for thorough cleaning, a ritual you will want to perform regularly no matter which item you buy. A clean machine works best.
The package contains a mesh filter, glass screen, and a mouthpiece. It comes with a charging kit for the battery, packing and cleaning tools, a ceramic filter, and a chamber connector plus a few other odds and ends.
Here is one important element of the Atmos RX and any other vaporizer: a ceramic heating chamber. Ceramics are neutral, meaning they do not impart any flavor onto the materials you are vaping.
The same goes for glass, but stainless steel can leave you with a metallic tang. The Atmos RX heats in no more than 5 seconds and shuts off automatically if you leave it heating up for a long time.
A tabletop unit offers constant power and a focus for gatherings. In this case, up to 4 people can vape at the same time with the multi-user adapter. It’s an excellent feature since vaporizing is a social habit.
A big touchpad control base features big, obvious instructions for setting the temperature or fan speed. A large oval screen shows the temperature. Another excellent aspect of the Vapir Rise (a $250 device) is its HEPA filter for purifying vapor.
Use the Vapir Rise with a balloon for assisted delivery or choose the direct-draw method.
Although portable like the Atmos Raw, the Sonic is not as discrete. To make up for its slightly larger size, the Sonic is designed to resemble a small transistor radio with an antenna (mouthpiece) and built-in speaker (vent).
This is a beautiful-looking device with soft edges and a lovely screen. It has a technological look that will appeal to electronics nerds, but also an elegant appearance which non-vapers will be curious about.
The long-life rechargeable battery is built-in and charges on a wall adapter, not a USB, so it has to be charged from a wall plug. The herbal chamber is easy to fill.
Box mods are basic in shape but functional. They also lend themselves to cloning, so beware phonies.
They cost $20 (not $70 like the Viva La Vape Revolt) and fall apart or catch fire fairly quickly. The Viva La Vape Revolt won’t do that if you buy the genuine article from a genuine retailer.
Polymer housing is inexpensive but solid. Use a hands-free whip to vape while reading or filling-in a crossword puzzle. This unit uses glass-on-glass configuration to create clean vapor and also features digital controls.
The Volcano or The Plenty by Storz and Bickel, a Davinci Ascent, or the Firefly would also be good investments for the discerning vaper. All of these are quality products widely reviewed by experts in the field of vaping. The Volcano uses balloon delivery, but the others are direct draw items.