Sometimes you just don’t want to be tied down. You want to be able to vape wherever and whenever you please. You need something small, something discreet, something that delivers the hit and doesn’t make a peep.
If you want to use your vaporizer on the go, at parties, in public, or just like the freedom of a smaller unit, a portable vaporizer is for you. The most diverse range of vaporizer products, portables range from high-tech to extremely simple in design and function.
Portable vaporizers also range exponentially in quality. They’re the biggest fad in the industry right now and there are countless imitations and cheap knock-off products, which means you could be ripped off big time if you don’t do your research.
With so many options that vary so widely in function and quality, a portable vaporizer that delivers quality vapour, nice hits and ticks all the boxes in terms of efficiency and design is like finding the Holy Grail. You may search far and wide, but the moment that you find that perfect palm-sized machine is a glorious one.
Take the following article as a guide to help you on your quest to finding your perfect portable vaporizer.
Perfect for the urban vaper, battery-operated devices charge the unit at the wall or come with rechargeable batteries so you can “pack and go” when out and about. They vary quite a bit in size, design, charging times, simplicity and discretion, so this is a category that requires some serious thinking-over before you go splashing cash on the best looking or most talked-up unit.
Luckily we’ve done the work for you, and we take our research very seriously. We’ve put battery-operated units through the ringer, tested each one, separated them into categories, and named a Best in Show for each class. If it stands up to our scrutiny, you know it’s good.
You want good vapour and nice hits. Either you’ve experienced the quality of a tabletop unit, or you’re a connoisseur who believes that quality is everything when it comes to the vaporization experience. Casual or discreet vapers may be able to skimp on quality over design or novelty, but if you intend to use your battery-operated vape daily and want true satisfaction, you’re going to want something that can deliver a hit comparable to the best tabletop units.
Best in Show: The Arizer Solo
Our quality rating: 72%
For a portable unit that produces exceptional vapour, you really can’t go past the Arizer Solo. This device offers ease of temperature control and uses passive convection to heat your herbs quickly and evenly. It has consistent temperature control that precisely regulates heat, and also incorporates an auto shutoff function that will switch the device off after 12 minutes sitting idle. Very handy if you forget to turn it off!
The Solo has a ceramic heating element combined with a glass draw stem, stainless steel herb chamber and a special, heat insulating coating to ensure superb temperature consistency. The ability of the Solo to maintain an even temperature with very little fluctuation is what makes it so efficient at extracting the most from your herbs. It heats fast and uses 7 pre-set temperatures for simple operation. Just turn it on, select your temperature, wait for it to heat, and then load your herbs and draw. It’s an extremely simple unit to operate right out of the box. With a very small window for error and potent vapour, the Solo is about as good as it gets for a portable and will effortlessly produce a great hit every time. You barely have to do a thing!
If you want satisfying vapour from an extremely simple machine, the Solo is a fantastic choice.
Runner Up: The Pax
Our quality rating: 71%
The Pax by Ploom is sleek, stylish and super discreet. With a durable anodized aluminium finish in a range of colours and a simple LED temperature indication light, the Pax is another vaporizer that’s minimal in design but produces great results. Small enough to fit in your pocket, the Pax is one of the most portable loose leaf vaporizers around that also delivers excellent vapour quality through a medical-grade stainless steel air chamber and laser welded stainless steel air path. The vapour produced by this unit can reach a comparable standard to the Solo, but it can take a little user skill and practice to master the perfect technique.
The Pax is all about economy, with a smartly designed automated shutoff function that can detect when your device is sitting idle and turn it off to conserve power. It will even detect when you pick it up again, and re-engage heat so you can get straight back to using it! The Pax has an analogue temperature control that works with three heat settings – low, medium, and high – that can be adjusted by removing the mouthpiece and pressing the glowing white button inside to cycle through the temperature options. The Pax has one simple indication light that flashes different colours to show you when it’s heating, charging, idle, and what temperature setting it’s on. With a charge time of 2 hours and the ability to heat up in less than a minute, the Pax really is as simple as charge, pack, and go!
While the Solo is best in show for vapour quality, the glass stem is a serious drawback when it comes to portability (though there is a wooden stem available.)
Units like the Pax and the DaVinci Ascent provide more flexibility, with both being pocket-sized, discreet in appearance, and able to be used with a car charger that makes it easy to keep your unit with you during a busy day. These units also fair well in the portability department, as all portable vaporizers should, but what if you want something even smaller, even more pocketable that you don’t have to plug in when your battery runs dead?
Best in Show: The Magic Flight Launch Box
If you want a super tiny unit, the Magic Flight Launch Box scores major points for portability. On the lower end of the price spectrum, the MFLB uses rechargeable Glyph batteries and heats up fast to get you from loading to vaping in a matter of seconds. This vaporizer truly is palm sized; you can almost completely conceal it with a closed fist! The pyrex cover snaps into place and can be held shut with a travel elastic, so you can fill the trench with herbs before you step out and vape on the go. It also comes with two batteries with the option to purchase spares, so you always have a fresh battery on hand. Even with both batteries and the acrylic stem, the whole thing will fit in your pocket without a problem. Vaping with the MFLB is a little more primitive than a button-operated unit, as the vapour quality relies a lot on user technique. However, with a little practice, you’ll have your pilot’s license in no time. Preparing for takeoff in 3, 2, 1…
When you need to vape in stealth mode, you want a device that won’t give anything away. It needs to be silent, odourless, and inconspicuous in appearance so you can vape virtually anywhere without drawing the attention of nosy onlookers. A vaporizer that ticks all of these boxes while still giving a good quality vapour hit is the ultimate goal here. The Magic Flight Launch Box is the preferred choice of many for a discreet vaporizer, but let’s face it, it’s not the most inconspicuous option. This may be fine in certain circles, but there are just some situations that require a little more finesse.
Best in Show: The Pax
The Pax scores points again for looking like some kind of obscure mp3 player. Its small stature and nondescript design work in favour of discretion, while the simple and silent operation is great for when you want to vape undetected. The Pax will fit easily in your pocket and requires no draw stems or anything remotely sinister looking to operate. You can fill the oven before you step out, which negates the need to carry herbs separately.
Runner Up: The DaVinci Ascent
About the size of an older model smartphone, the Ascent isn’t likely to draw too much attention when charging in your home, car, or office and can even be used without extending the draw stem for extra discretion. Some vapers have reported issues with finely ground herb falling through the grate at the bottom, and this same grill has been known to leak a small amount of vapour at certain angles. These small annoyances aside, the Ascent is a pretty stealthy machine. It looks nothing like a vaporizer, which is precisely why we like it!
Why We DON’T Recommend The Puffit
Perhaps THE most unassuming vape on the market is the Puffit by Discreet Vape. It looks like your standard inhaler for asthmatics and gets top points for being a master of disguise, but sacrifices unforgivably on vapour quality. Getting good performance from this vaporizer is tricky, and those who’ve tried other models are likely to be disappointed. Battery life is notoriously short-lived and you always run the risk of getting only a few hits before the unit dies. The other drawback is that it can produce a noticeable plastic taste, and the mouthpiece gets burning hot without the silicone heating cover.
Ultimately, the Puffit is made from cheap materials and performs like it, too. Being able to sneak your vaporizer into a concert or a bar might appeal, but you still want a good experience while you’re there. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The new Puffit X attempts to work out some of these kinks and boasts a title as the World’s first forced-air portable vaporizer. It uses an internal fan to heat your herbs with convection, but we’ve found vapour quality to be only slightly improved from the original model, if at all. It does have additional improvements, like half the charging time, a funnel attachment for easy loading and an improved Vape Enhancement Tool, whatever that means. So, if you must buy a Puffit, this one still delivers on discretion but is likely to have fewer usability issues than the first.
For the outdoorsy types who are all go, go, go. If you enjoy the great outdoors or don’t like having to charge a battery, a butane or flame-operated vaporizer will give you nice vapours with minimal fuss. These units are perfect for extended camping trips where recharging a battery isn’t an option.
They’re often also small in size and some models still score points for discretion if that’s a factor for you. Portable vaporizers that don’t use batteries use either butane gas or the heat from a flame such as a lighter to heat your herbs. They’re extremely convenient and often the cheaper options when compared to more high-tech battery devices.
Butane vaporizers can be used anywhere without the need for electricity or a flame. Wherever you are, as long as you have a can of butane gas (available from hardware stores and Super Cheap Auto) you can refill your vaporizer and keep vaping until your heart’s content!
The WISPR is a newer version of the Iolite, so has a few extra enhancements, namely the viewing chamber that allows you to see how much butane is left and a simplified operating switch. It should be noted that both tend to produce a hissing sound and a slight gas smell while the heater is on, but this shouldn’t affect the taste of your herbs in any way.
Flame-Operated : The VaporGenie Range
Flame vaporizers require only two things: herbs and a lighter! The most inexpensive option when it comes to vaporizing, a flame-operated unit will use the heat from a flame to warm the heat chamber and vaporize your herbs. We stock a range of VaporGenie products, the leading name in flame-operated vaporizers. VaporGenies range from classic wooden pipes to aluminium pipes and a stainless steel coil bat, which all have very similar operation.
The classic VaporGenie is our best-selling VG pipe. It looks like a fairly typical combustion pipe, but believe it or not this thing is a vaporizer, despite the fact that you use a lighter to heat it. The VaporGenie’s body is solid wood that’s been sanded down to a smooth finish and sealed with a food grade varnish. It’s available in a range of colours and there are no harsh chemicals, plastics or glues used in its construction. It has two main parts, the bottom being a normal pipe with a bowl and screen, and a spherical top piece, which is where the magic really happens. This mysterious cylindrical chasm contains a ceramic flame-filter that has hundreds of tiny holes to let air pass through your herbs when you inhale. So, yeah, it’s basically a pipe with screens and a ceramic heat filter.
Using it is as simple as it looks. Just load your herbs into the chamber, screw the top piece on and ignite your lighter over the hole to heat the chamber while you draw. This is not the most user-friendly design; the lighter can get hot and burn your fingers in that position and it can be tiresome having to light every time you need a draw. That said, it is a neat little vape and comes in a classy hand carved walnut version, which looks like something Santa Claus might use.
We hope this has been helpful for those of you still looking for your perfect portable vaporizer. With this information in mind, you’re well on your way to finding a unit that works for you. This is about personal preference, after all! If you’re still not sure which one is right for you, you can check out our Buyer’s Guide, find out what makes a good vaporizer or read some of our showdowns to see how some specific models stand up to their competition. As always, you can drop us a line if you have a query. We’d love to hear from you!