Weed culture is stronger than ever at the moment. US states are legalizing Marijuana at an incredible rate. With this increase in legal spaces for cannabis to exist in, the culture around it thrives on the back of this.
This means that we’re currently in an age where:
- We have the greatest choice of strains and cultivars we’ve ever had
- We have access to a myriad ways of smoking, eating and otherwise consuming cannabis
- Most importantly, a legal space allows for more scientific study than was previously allowed.
As a result, it’s no surprise that vapes, specifically dry herb vaporizers have taken over the cannabis community by storm. Many a daily smoker swears by them, and they’ve replaced many a stoner’s ‘everyday kit’ in a simple, healthy and fashionable way.
There is, however, a lot that goes into a dry herb vape, and there are a lot of similarities and differences between them. If you’re unfamiliar, it can be quite difficult to tell what’s good, and what’s a gimmick. To assist, we’ve put this guide together to help you choose the best of the best when it comes to dry herb vaporizers. We’ve added pros and cons for each, as well as a short run-down of their features, so that you can find the best daily driver for you.
Let’s take a look.
What is a Dry Herb Vaporizer?
A dry herb vaporizer is just that. It takes dry herb (ie. bud, or the part of the ganja plant that one smokes), and vaporizes it. What is vaporization, you ask? Well, first we need to understand that it’s different from combustion, or burning, which is what happens when you light a joint, pipe or bong.
When weed is combusted, that heat turns the inactive THCa into THC, which can be inhaled to gain an intoxicating effect. This process of converting the acidic cannabinoid into a consumable one is called decarboxylation and is the same reason you need to heat your weed before making brownies.
There’s a little catch here though – THCa and CBDa become decarboxylated at a temperature of around 200℉, but combustion occurs at a much higher temperature. Which shows us that you don’t really need to burn weed to gain effect from it – heating is enough. This is where dry herb vapes work their magic.
Why Buy a Dry Herb Vaporizer?
The main reason that people are opting for dry herb vapes over papers and bongs is health. We’ve all had it drilled into us how unhealthy smoking is, yet some of us choose to overlook this facet of smoking weed. Carcinogens are created when most things are burned, and cannabis is not an exception.
While cigarettes create more carcinogens than weed, you’re still exposing your lungs to harmful particles when smoking weed, and if you’re someone with lung or breathing issues, this could be very, very dangerous. The idea with vapes, is that you’re inhaling only the cannabinoids and terpenes you want to consume (terpenes being the flavouring oils found naturally in cannabis and other plants).
This way, you’re having the healthiest ‘smoke’ (if you can even call it that) possible, without many of the harmful side effects of inhaling burning organic matter. It’s the same reason many use a CBD vape instead of smoking CBD bud.
The other reason people buy vapes, and it’s certainly less of a conscious one, is that they can be inconspicuous. Say you’re waiting for your train home from work at the station – it’s a lot easier to take a few drags from what looks like an e-cigarette, than it is to light up a whole joint right then and there. The same goes for being around people who aren’t into the smell of cannabis smoke, or don’t want their children seeing someone smoke a joint.
They’re compact, easy to prepare ahead of time, and most take very little prep time, if any at all, before they can be used.
Best Dry Herb Vapes Reviewed
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular vapes currently available. Some are portable, some are in pen form, and some are tabletop – but they’re all dry herb vaporizers. They get the same job done, albeit a little differently, with a few differences in features, style, and customization options.
We’ve also included some handy pros and cons to each one so that you can compare them at a glance, as well as a $-$$$ rating so you can have some idea of the price. Let’s get into it.
PAX 3 Review
If you know any of the vapes on this list, it’s likely going to be the PAX you’ve heard of. They were one of the first brands to make dry herb vapes popular, in addition to going on to create the massively popular JUUL e-cigarette. As you can imagine, the PAX 3 is the third generation of their classic line of vapes, and it comes with some pretty great features that they’ve fine-tuned over the years.
On the outside, the PAX 3 has a metal finish with an LED ‘X’ which indicates power and heating levels, as well as a vibration feedback, which tells you when the vape is ready to use. It’s got four temperature settings, all within the common ranges for vaping (with the lowest being more of a head high, and the highest closer to a body high), as well as the ability to connect via BlueTooth to a mobile app where one can change temperatures degree-by-degree.
This level of heat and temperature customization isn’t only handy from a cannabinoid/terpene point of view. The PAX 3 comes with a couple of cool extras – namely a “half-pack” oven lid for smaller sessions, screens and a maintenance kit, and some mouthpieces.
The coolest extra, however, is the concentrate insert, which can be filled with shatter, dab or most other types of cannabis extract, and inserted into the dry flower chamber, turning the PAX 3 into a dabbing pen. It’s here that the temperature controls, and ability to save settings, really come in handy, allowing you to tailor your sessions to gain the exact effects you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a well-made, reliable and quality dry herb vape, which isn’t only stylish but is also super functional, refined and made to last, then the PAX 3 is one of your best options.
- Can be used with concentrates
- Mobile app for temperature adjustment
- None we could find
DaVinci IQ Review
The Da Vinci IQ is another well-built and tastefully designed dry herb vaporizer that’s one of the longest standers in the weed vape market. The vape itself is made from sandblasted anodized aluminium, and comes in four metal-shade finishes. The front of the IQ is littered with small LEDs, which indicate temperature and battery information in real time so that you always know where you’re at in your session.
With temperatures ranging from the low two-hundreds to the mid/high four-hundreds, and four temperature settings, there’s a lot of control available here. While there’s also a BlueTooth mobile app which allows individual degree changes, as well as stats and session tracking, the four pre-built temperature settings are great for getting varying degrees of an effect, from a light head high to a sleepy-time body high.
In addition, the Da Vinci IQ features an energy saving mode, allowing you to get the best out of a session where you may not have prepared properly in terms of battery, as well as an on-demand hit, allowing you to get a huge, big rip in seconds. This is great for those medicating for pain management, sleep or appetite, as it allows you to get a nice big dose of THC / CBD instantly, with near zero effort.
Lastly, there’s the nifty addition of an extended mouthpiece which doubles as a water tool adapter. This means you can hook up your IQ to your favourite bong, or other rig, for an even smoother smoking experience. The IQ is a quality option that’s already become a strong competitor with the PAX, being well-built, precision controlled, and best of all: stylish.
- Mobile app for temperature adjustment
- On-demand hit feature
- Can’t be used with concentrates
If you’ve ever seen a video of a cannabis social lounge from legal areas of Canada or Colorado, it’s almost definite you’ve seen the Volcano before. And you’d know if you had, because they’re kinda hard to miss. They’re like the grandparents of devices like the PAX or MFLB.
Volcanoes are table-top dry herb vaporizers. Tall, with a metallic finish, and undeniably volcano-shaped, it’s thanks to the Volcano that dry herb vaping has taken off with as much popularity as it has. Volcano was one of the first products aimed at getting a healthier smoke, moving away from using papers and tobacco with cannabis, and is designed so that one could use it as easily in a session with a group of friends at a party, as one could if they were bed-ridden or suffering from MS or Parkinsons.
If a portable dry herb vape can be compared to an e-cigarette, then the volcano feels more like a coffee machine. It’s a household item, meant to be purchased for years and years of use. It’s got a totally customizable temperature adjustment using a small screen on the front of the device.
You simply clip your bag / balloon on top (this is where the vaporized cannabinoids end up), dial in your settings and wait while the volcano fills your bag up. Then, you can take puffs or ‘sip’ from the mouthpiece on the bag, like you would any old joint or pipe. This is a pretty weird and different way of doing things, but it’s almost normal these days, since the Volcano has been around for so long.
The idea of coming home, turning on your Volcano, and bringing your ready-to-use bag out to the garden or to the couch for a little session is a really nice one. If you like the sound of that, then the Volcano might just be the dry herb vaporizer for you.
- Super smooth hit when cooled in bag
- Great build quality
- Not portable
Arizer Argo Review
The Arizer Go or ArGo is a great compact little vape from Arizer (who are pretty well known and trusted in the dry herb vape community), designed as somewhat of a competitor to the PAX / IQ style of vapes.
It’s got a small black box form factor, with a clear glass tube as a mouthpiece. It has a small LED screen which displays temperature and battery readings, as well as three buttons which are used to operate it. These buttons also have individual-degree adjustment options, which is a bonus when compared to other vapes that require a mobile app for such fine-tuning.
To fill up the vape, you simply remove the mouthpiece which has a notched chamber at the bottom (or hidden) end. Once filled, click it back into place, and vape away. This mouthpiece is also hideable when the vape is not in use, allowing the vape to reduce its size to a simple, small and inconspicuous black box.
The ArGo features a replaceable with pass-through USB charging, and a full charge will allow for 90 minutes of continuous vaporization, or 8-9 bowls worth (not that most people would need more than two). It’s also really easy to take apart and clean, compared to say, the PAX which takes a fair bit of fiddling to get the chamber fully clean.
If you’re looking for a simple, reliable and subtle dry herb vaporizer, the ArGo might just be the one for you. It’s well-built, and while it’s not got any pre-set temperature settings or mobile app, it can be fine-tuned a lot more than many vapes which do.
- Easy to clean
- Great battery life
- Not as small in form factor as its competitors
G Pen Nova Review
While G-Pen was, for a time, regarded as a company that kept missing the mark with dry herb vapes, they’ve officially come full circle. The G Pen Nova is a prime example of a company that now knows what they’re doing – and they’re doing it well.
The G Pen Nova is a simple dry herb vape with a small chamber. It’s got a form factor quite similar to an e-cigarette or a dab pen, with a rubber-tipped mouthpiece to prevent your lips from getting burnt when the chamber heats up – all wrapped up in a sleek matte black finish. Thanks to the design of the pen, you can also fit most store-bought THC or CBD cartridges where the chamber connects to the battery.
The G Pen Nova has three temp settings, as well as an ‘extended draw’ setting for taking super long pulls. The chamber has a ceramic heating element and quartz bowl, and is designed as such so that it can be used with both dry herb and concentrates.
There’s an auto-heat mode for thicker concentrates too, so that they can be heated appropriately before they’re vaporized. Finally, the Nova also comes with a dabbing tool to load the concentrate, or shuffle the dry herbs around in the bowl.
If you’re wanting an all-in-one for your dry herb and concentrates, that’s sleek, simple and fits easily in your pocket and looks just like an e-cig, then this is the one for you.
- Can be used with concentrates
- Fits most store-bought carts
- Only three heat settings
Can you Smell a Dry Herb Vape?
In short – yes. One should still be cautious when using a vape, it doesn’t mean that suddenly no one will be able to tell you’re using cannabis. There is, however, a big difference in smell. The smoke from a joint or a bong is far more pungent, and travels a lot further, with a very specific smell.
The aroma from a dry herb vape is a lot closer to something like the smell of cannabis being cooked or extracted. It’s got the same notes that those more experienced will recognize, but it’s not the same pungent smell as someone burning up in public.
You’re now spoilt for choice as to which dry herb vaporizer to buy, and you’ve got a good idea of what’s going on in terms of features, settings and abilities. Just make sure to trust your gut, and pick the one that’s going to work best for you, for whatever situations you’re going to find yourself in.
Happy vaping, and may your sessions be fully-charged and plentiful.