I use to smoke dry herb. Not that there is anything wrong with that… I still have my old original ProtoPipe that I bought on February 6, 1996. How do I remember the date? It was the day after my official discharge from the Air Force. I loved smoking. That changed since I discovered (for a second time) vaping. I did try it years and years ago, but it just didn’t work. I figured I was done with it, but Florida had other plans for me.

Anyway, this year I decided to give it another chance, and boy howdy I’m glad I did. The technology behind this stuff is amazing! Now me being me (anal as hell) didn’t half-ass anything on my search for my one perfect vaporizer. Before going into this further I should inform the readers that as a guitarist I should have just instantly called bullshit on myself for ever thinking I could stop at just one.

Firefly 2 Vaporizer
This is a higher-end portable vaporizer called the Firefly 2

We have a term for what I experienced on my vaporizer search, it is called G.A.S. (gear access syndrome). I guess gas always arises when it’s least expected (Ha! I made a fart pun). Anyway, at some point things got crazy. It became an obsession. While I do have to admit that this insanity led me to some very excellent vaporizers, it also came at a great cost, and by that I actually mean cost. It was expensive!!!

I’m hoping to share my experiences so that anyone who does have the insane concentration and will to actually read the entire ravings and rantings of a man who is medicated off of his ass to be rewarded by my experiences. There are things I wish I knew to ask from the start.

I want to start with the things I did right on my search.

Homework:

Educating yourself is always the first thing to do when starting something new. It’s not just about watching opinions on YouTube and reading stuff in forums. Everyone has different opinions on everything. What’s important is finding like minded people to listen to. This is where knowing what questions to ask comes in. The people you want to listen to doesn’t just say “I love this”, or “I hate that”. A good person to pay attention to tells you what they love about a product, and what they hate about it. So far I’ve learned while some vaporizers have everything I want, they also have something I hate. Again, right questions to ask. If they are only telling you good things or bad things, look elsewhere for knowledge. If they don’t even say what they love or hate about the vaporizers, then that’s just less than useless.

Crafty Vaporizer
The Crafty vaporizer by Storz & Bickel, an all-time best seller.

Buy used or lease when possible:

I was very fortunate. Every vaporizer I wanted to try I was able to buy used. This provided me the opportunity to try a lot of high quality vaporizers, for a fraction of the cost. It also allowed me to sell what I didn’t like at no loss in money. Once I narrowed in on what I wanted then I upgraded to new so I could be protected by a warranty.

Now for the things I learned

Just because something is inexpensive doesn’t mean it sucks. My first vaporizer was a proprietary unit sold by one of my local dispensaries for $50.00. In my mind it just had to suck. It was too cheap and I didn’t see those huge vapor clouds like I saw on YouTube. I went out and immediately bought two more expensive vaporizers. What I learned was they sucked and my cheap vape was actually excellent.

Now to completely mess with you, most inexpensive vaporizers do in fact suck great big donkey dick. There are some vapes that are just a right of passage, and some because they looked too good to be true.

I don’t want to make this a product review so I am going to refrain from giving specific examples of the former and latter for now.

I also learned that if I see a vaporizer that does lots and lots of things (especially at the lower cost stuff), it will most likely be awful at everything. There are exceptions of course, but few and again it comes back to homework, trusting the right opinions, and knowing what to ask.

Glass Vape
This glass vaporizer has a very simple design, yet it functions very well.

Now all this is what led me to learning the questions I needed to ask. Don’t get me wrong, trial and error worked well, but I was very fortunate in finding deals. It’s not only about finding the features you want, it’s at least equal to if not more important to find out about what you aren’t willing to live with.

Some questions I know to ask now.

1. Do I want a desktop or portable vaporizer? There is no reason not to want both, but it can be very expensive. For myself I only vape at home so I would think I would want a desktop. Then I thought about it more. I move from room to room in my condo so portable is actually my best move.

1a. If desktop do I want a balloon?

1b. If desktop do I want a whip?

1c. That is all I know about desktops. Well that and with all the balloons and whips I’m guessing it will a crazy freaky party!

1d. If portable, is it pocket-able?

1e. Can I use it on the fly without things like stirring?

1f. Are there capsules available for loading on the go?

2. Do I want an On-Demand or Session vaporizer?

2a. What are the benefits of each?

2b. What are the detrimentals?

2c. Do I have control of the shred of my herb? Different vaporizers require different grinding.

2d. Do I have flavorful herb? One of the best benefits of on-demand is the flavor. If you don’t have access to good tasting herb then yuck! For this I am going to reference the Firefly 2. That thing delivers on flavor! That to me is it’s greatest achievement. That being said, if the herb isn’t tasty then that’s pretty right up in your face as well. To me the Firefly 2 is the Grey Poupon of the vaporizer market. If a limo approached me asking for a vaporizer, I would fully expect them to ask me for a Firefly 2. I would respond “but of course”. Any young folk in the house have any idea what I’m talking about?

Dynavap
The popular VapCap vaporizer from Dynavap (no batteries)

2e. What is the percentage of the active ingredient in your herb? For this I am going to bring up my Ghost MV1. Because the crucible is so small THC content is very important. Weed that contains 15% thc is going to be a VERY different experience than weed that contains 25%. For low thc herb it will require a lot more reloads, and some people have problems loading the Ghost.

2f. Can I wait a full minute or two for warmup, or do I need this in 5 to 10 seconds?

3. Are changeable batteries necessary for me?

3a. If the batteries are removable how much are they for extras? Is there an external charger necessary?

3b. If they aren’t removable is there a plan to be able to replace it one day?

3c. Do I need a battery? Okay, I promised no review, but damn you Dynavap and your amazing lil vaporizers!!! One day the xl titanium Omnivap will be mine, but y’all have no idea how much on vaporizers I’ve already spent.

4. Bowl/Crucible size

It’s pretty self explanatory. Vaping is different than smoking. With smoking you can throw in as much or as little as you want. If you do prefer to go big, what happens if you want to pack light? Are there doohickeys that allow you to load light.

5. Why is this cheaper if it has all the same features?

Again self explanatory, but there is always a reason. I’m going to compare my Mighty vs my FlowerMate HybridX to use as an example. Both have direct temperature control so what makes the Mighty so special? In this case it’s the control of the set temp that is important to me. The Mighty shows what it’s set at, and what the temp actually is. The HybridX shows what it’s set at, but if you decide to play with the temp set you soon realize it’s much hotter than it should be because it has terrible control of the temp as well as a burnt taste. Also when the HybridX says it’s at temp, it’s not. Most of the time it’s not even close. The heating element may be at a certain temp, but the bowl isn’t even close. When my Mighty says it’s ready to go, it’s ready to go.

6. What is the reputation of customer service?

7. Is there a learning curve?

Watch lots of videos!!! Don’t give up!!! Shall we discuss the Ghost MV1? For 35 hours I hated the thing. I really hated it! At hour 36 I had my “eureka” moment and I did a complete 180. If this was my first vaporizer I would have given up. Things that effect this vape, herb shred, herb potency, herb moisture, her pack, weird battery behavior, power cycle rotations, constant cleaning, setting proper draw resistance, et al. I think what got me most was moisture content. I learned to prepare the day before to ensure the herb is dry enough to maximize the enjoyment of my vaping time.

Best Herb Grinder
A fine grind consistency is ideal for dry herb vaporizers

Have a good grinder!!!

This is a mere example of the questions to know to ask. I’m still learning there’s a whole lot more. It all comes down to who you trust for their opinion. It’s about not only asking what someone likes about their vaporizer, it’s also about what they dislike/hate about it. It’s a trade off, and it’s okay.

Will we all end up with 1 perfect vaporizer? Oh god I hope so, but for now I have (1) number one, (2) number twos, and a bunch of stuff in case the batteries all die in everything else.

Good luck everyone and always share your experiences!