There is an overwhelming number of ways to vape nowadays.
Yes, there are ubiquitous oil pen batteries that every concentrate aficionado has received as a piece of free dispensary swag, but there are also higher-end, limited-edition, artist series vape batteries with a style and personality all their own. There are handheld flower vaporizers that cost hundreds of dollars and perform multiple functions, and dry-herb, one-hitter vaporizers available for a fraction of the price. There are sleek, rechargeable dab rigs that elegantly harmonize with contemporary countertop tech at a number of price points, and there are slimline dab straws so discreet that users can slip them into their pencil protectors with no fanfare whatsoever.
The options might overwhelm even a consummate professional, never mind a newbie who’s never smoked a Volcano. With that in mind, we tested a variety of oil, flower and concentrate vaporizers at a range of price points so we could recommend this assortment of extraordinary devices just in time for users to level up their summer vape game.
PERSONAL OIL VAPES
For the Low-Maintenance, Spartan Smoker: KandyPen Slim ($20)
Instead of keeping a collection of freebie pen batteries to gather dust in your stash box until they meet their end at the bottom of a trash can, why not ditch the budget giveaways and invest in a high-quality vape pen with a lifetime warranty? KandyPens has a full suite of vaporizers, but the slim pens are arguably its best value. These functionally decorative batteries operate by draw alone, no button or warm-up necessary, and though they lack temp controls, the heating element does provide a consistent hit, regardless of the cart. Bonus: They come in enough colors and styles to match a wide range of vape aesthetics.
Get it from: kandypens.com
For the Contemporary Strain Connoisseurs: Pax Era Life ($35)
This pared-down version of Pax’s Era Pro may not feature all the app capabilities of its predecessor, but its radical simplicity makes up for all the gratuitous bells and whistles it lacks. Pax partners with only the highest-rated farms for its proprietary oil pods, guaranteeing superb quality. The Pax Era Life functions with three distinct heat settings that can be navigated by popping the Pax cart in and out of its housing. The device is activated by inhale and charges with a micro USB. Pro tip: If you bring yours to an Oregrown store, they will laser-engrave it for you at no charge.
Get it from: pax.com
ELECTRIC FLOWER VAPES
For the Single Toker on a Budget: G Pen Dash ($70)
Of all the devices tested, the G Pen Dash might take top honors. Not only is this device discreet, ergonomic and easy to use, it’s an absolute bargain. Typically, even handheld flower vaporizers start at over $100. That this charmingly compact instrument costs less than a half-ounce of top-shelf and still delivers silky sheer hits is remarkable. Despite a convoluted button routine requiring users to tap five times to start, and three more to lock into one of three low temps, and a heating chamber that holds less than a gram, this palm-sized unit is a must for anyone who feels priced out of the flower vaporizer market and also digs having a whole bowl to themselves.
For the Tech Evangelist/Stoner Showoff: Airvape X ($140)
This top of the line handheld vaporizer features a 1.3-inch display that lights up to show battery life, precise temp and an adjustable auto-shutoff timer. The Airvape X is a lightweight, ultra-thin dry herb vape that also arrives with a pad insert so that the device can be used with concentrates, but the appeal of this unit lies almost entirely in how efficiently it vaporizes ground flower. Airvape X’s temperature scale is free to adjust anywhere between 200 and 428 degrees, so smokers can find the precise level of toastiness they prefer and stick to that exact temp—no fumbling with dials or compromising on a preset temperature. This not only ensures a consistent hit, it enables users to explore exactly what a perfect hit tastes like to them.
Get it from: airvapeusa.com
For the Puffco Defector: G Pen Roam ($200)
Most gold standard e-rigs cost upward of $250, but for a few bucks less, users can get a handheld e-rig experience that is just as debilitating. When we tested the Roam, for example, we found it just as efficient and easy to use as its higher-priced counterparts. Added bonus: It’s spill proof. The Roam is essentially an electric water pipe with a self-contained, borosilicate glass hydrotube that snaps shut to prevent splashback. Its quartz housing heats up fast, holds heat evenly and delivers super-smooth inhales. Its tabletop appeal is increased by the handful of colorful limited-edition variations of the device, of which 1% of profits goes to a specific, color-coded charity.
For the Flashy Flower Power Dabber: Dr. Dabber Boost Evo ($400)
The Dr. Dabber Boost Evo is extraordinary for a few reasons. It supplies 150 hits on a single charge, with 25 distinct heat settings, some preset for peak flavor, others for peak effects. It reaches temp in approximately four seconds and, with the flip of switch, goes from oil rig to flower vaporizer. Inside those 25 distinct heat presets are temperatures chosen for ultra-rich oils or super-dense flower. In addition, the patent-pending induction heating tech is completely sealed off from the electronics of the device. According to the company, users could pour water directly into the heating element (not that we would—on purpose, anyway) and the water would simply boil off. The Boost Evo’s vibe is that it was designed by weed geeks for weed geeks. And as a certified weed geek myself, I think they nailed it.
Get it from: drdabber.com
For the On-the-Go Dabber: Little Dipper Vaporizer ($30)
Before dabs became an omnipresent consumption method, they were relegated to industry insiders who would use glass straws to inhale the vapor from concentrates heated up on titanium plates—or, in a more recent iteration, glass straws with the tips heated by torch. The spirit of that act, minus the freebasing sensibilities, is present in Dip Devices’ Little Dipper, a modern, electric version of the classic dabbing tradition that ditches the torch for a triple-setting, mobile hit that slides easily into a back pocket. The Little Dipper has the appearance of a bulky vape pen with a mouthpiece at one end and a vaporizing tip on the other. The tip is protected by a cap that pops off just like an ink pen. Users then press a button on the housing to power up the vaporizing tip during use and, while hovering the tip around a container of concentrate, simply draw vapor from the mouthpiece. It’s a simple, affordable, efficient and clean method of mobile dabbing that is so much more socially acceptable than its predecessor.
Get it from: dipdevices.com
For the Noncommittal Pothead: Lookah Seahorse Pro Electric Dab Straw Kit ($60)
Committing to any device whose cost is more than negligible can be a feat, but the Lookah Seahorse is the stoner multitool that smothers any fear of commitment by performing the functions of a dab straw, bong attachment, and even a standard vape pen battery. Users can easily attach the device to their water pipes to create an instant e-rig by using an included attachment hose, and the unit also functions with everyday 510-thread vape carts. It may be small enough to fit in a pocket, but the housings are flamboyant enough to be attention-worthy, and with multiple temperature settings, users can explore the flavors and effects of various temps.
Get it from: lookah.com