Moving forward into a brand new year is always exciting. As an avid vape user, and professional reviewer, it’s an especially important time for me, since the beginning of every year is when I sit down and catalog the multitude of both old devices and the new up and coming units that I’ve tested. Compiling a guide of the top devices each year is a lengthy process that involves comparing and contrasting each specific vaporizer’s cost, portability, build, cloud quality, and battery life. For simplicity sake, this list will exclude vape pens, and cover only box mod portable vaporizers.
Furthermore, we are currently in March 2019, and this guide will be broken down into sections based off price in order to make it easier for consumers doing a quick info search. Additionally, please note that the list may change and be updated through-out the year because 2019 has just kicked off, and I imagine that we will be seeing some new vapes breaking into the market. The guide will begin with best high-end vapes and feature the top economic units at the bottom. Each section will cover the highlights of the individual product, along with any negatives discovered. Without further ado:
The Premium Products
(Retail Value from $200 to $400)
At the top of the list, is the king of kings, and retainer of the 2018 best portable vape title, the Mighty. Storz N Bickel is a Germany-based company that is renowned worldwide and is responsible for the creation of the number one desktop vape, the Volcano. Therefore, it’s no surprise that their ultra-portable, Mighty also takes the cake when it comes to functionality, build, and quality. With a price tag of $379, it is one of the most expensive portable units around, but the cloud quality easily justified the expenditure in my mind.
The Mighty Pros: Pretty much everything! The Mighty boasts a perfect, strong build, compatibility with dry herb and concentrates, the use of hybrid heating for fast yet supremely delicious vapor, precision digital temperature control, a large oven with 0.3 grams herb capacity, haptic feedback, a dual lithium battery pack and low draw resistance. In my opinion, it’s the Rolls Royce of portable vapes, and the vapor quality is so good that it puts some desktop devices to shame.
The Mighty Cons: The price! The truth of the matter is you get what you pay for. The Mighty is a very high-end device, and it will break the bank for budget conscious customers. I had to save about two weeks for mine, and while this may be a deal breaker for some, I think serious vape enthusiasts will realize it’s worth every penny. Also of note, the Mighty is not very discreet, if consumers want a more stealthy device, try the sister product, the Crafty, which is substantially smaller.
Next in best premium products category is the divine and highly adored Davinci IQ. This petite beaut is techy and sleek yet produces dense clouds that are mind blowing. It also manages to jam pack a large number of features, such as my favorite mode (boost mode!), which makes it ideal for customers that enjoy custom experiences. The retail value is standing strong at $274.95, which is pricey but very doable.
The Davinci IQ Pros: So what I love the most is the features, built-in mouthpiece, swappable batteries and the vapor quality. The Davinci IQ has four different smart paths (350, 370, 390 & 410 degrees Fahrenheit) which is simple to operate and when combined with boost mode (the ability to stay at max temp) creates killer rips. Additionally, the mouth-piece is built in and feels cool to the lips always, and the unit utilized a ceramic oven paired with a zirconium air path for consistently awesome herb taste. The removable and swappable 18650 mAH batteries were awesome since I frequently vape in the car, and I felt the unit was stealthy enough to enjoy anywhere.
The Davinci IQ Cons: I wasn’t a huge fan of the phone app. I felt it was buggy and had issues pairing with my device (it would shut my IQ down!). The Davinci IQ vaporizer, by itself, I love, but the phone app doesn’t get any kudos from me. (Update: the phone app developer response as of January 2019 is bugs are being updated & a new updated version will be available later in the year.) Also, this tidbit isn’t bad per say, but the Davinci IQ is only compatible with dry herb so dabber fans are going to want to pick a different device.
Coming in third on the best of 2019 is the Boundless Tera. Anyone that has read my previous reviews of the various Boundless products probably already knows that I’m a major fan of the company. However, I swear the Boundless Tera really does deserve its place as one the top portable vapes. It currently sells at the reasonable price of $219.00 and it’s built like a brick house, complete with superb vapor quality due to its full convection heating.The Boundless Tera Pros: It’s all about the excellent vapor quality! The Tera is compatible with both waxes and dry herbs, but it really shines with dry herb. The combination of convection heating with an open airflow is on point, especially when paired with the glass mouthpiece or the water pipe adapter. I also am obsessed with the build of this device, it’s literally a beast. It’s not concealable in the slightest, but it feels good to grip it. Also, the Boundless Tera gets props for its swappable dual 18650 batteries and rapid heat up time of thirty seconds.
The Boundless Tera Cons: So users that want to be discreet need to run away, and never look back. The Boundless Tera is constructed for sturdiness, and power hits. It’s pretty conspicuous and although it’s easy to throw in a purse or bag, it’s impossible not to notice someone using the Tera. I personally love the design, but again, not for everyone.
The Mid-End Vapes
(Retail Value from $105 to $199)
Anything below two hundred dollars is typically considered a mid-range device. This category was a hard decision since there many decent units out there, and I ended up having to retest a good portion of the vaporizers just to be 100% sure. That being said, the first runner up for the best mid-end unit is doubtlessly the, Davinci Miqro. The Davinci Miqro manages to steal many of the aspects that I love from IQ and place in a smaller package.The Davinci Miqro Pros: It’s so stealthy but still extremely tasty! The Davinci Miqro is 33% more compact than the IQ, but they kept the ceramic heating chamber with the zirconia vapor path, which makes it a complete win. It also has the same smart paths that I liked from the IQ , my beloved boost mode, and an 18650 mAH single swappable battery which serves to cancel out the Miqro’s rather short battery life of thirty minutes.
The Davinci Miqro Cons: The heat up time was disappointing for me. The Davinci IQ gets herb hot in less than twenty seconds, while the Miqro takes around forty five seconds to reach temperature. Consumers that are lacking in patience may see this as a no-no. Additionally, the bowl is smaller than the IQ and it seems to be geared towards micro-dosing. This is not a bad thing necessarily; however, consumers that want denser, heavier clouds may want to consider spending more and going with the IQ. Also, please note both the Davinci IQ & Miqro are only used with dry herb.
The next item on the list is the Boundless CFX, which gets high honors and a good ranking for its stellar performance and ability to pack a punch. It currently sells at the reasonable price of $219.00 and it’s built like a brick house, complete with superb vapor quality due to its full convection heating.
The Boundless CFX Pros: Like most Boundless products, this unit’s main appeal is its dense, thick and flavorful cloud production. The overall craftsmanship of the CFX is fantastic- the device itself is made of stainless steel with a plastic-silicone exterior, the heating chamber is derived from pure ceramic, and the unit utilizes an isolated vapor path. Additionally, it has precision temperature control with a wide range from 100 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit, compatibility with waxes & dry herb, a twenty second heat up time, and an extra large oven for consumers that like joint or lengthier sessions.
The Boundless CFX Cons: Only two things really, and one mini detail. Number one being that it can be difficult to clean the mouthpiece since it’s a pain to get the screen exposed, and lastly that it’s not discreet in the slightest. As far as minor details are concerned, be mindful when packing the CFX oven- users should not overload the heating chamber and consider using a medium grind in order to make sure the herb cooks evenly.
Closing the best mid-range vapes of 2019 section is the Boundless CF. This particular vape retails at the super affordable price of $109, and it boasts pretty superb clouds, as well as effortless usage. The best way to think of the Boundless CF is as a small step down from the CFX. It’s a similar product without the bells and whistles.
The Boundless CF Pros: The CF is easy to use; it has great functionality and it can be best described as a powerful yet simple vape. The build is attractive and rather similar to the CFX without the digital display screen. The unit also features five pre-set temperatures, hybrid heating for enhanced flavor, and a huge oven capacity of 0.5 grams. I also must say the vapor quality is very good for the price range, and the device is compatible with wax as well as dry herb.
The Boundless CF Cons: The battery life is average, and it takes over two hours to get a completely full charge via the USB charger. Granted, this isn’t terrible, but for someone like myself, you’ll end up purchasing an external battery pack. The more expensive sister unit, the CFX has the AC wall outlet plug in for charging so getting downgraded to a simple usb charger was a bit irritating. At the end of the day, I recommend spending just a bit extra for the CFX if the plan is for heavy usage.
The Economic Units
(Retail Value from $50 to $100)
This last section is dedicated to units strictly one hundred dollars and below. High quality, low budget vaporizers is a competitive niche, and what I found is popularity does not necessarily correlate to quality levels. For example, a lot of customers aren’t familiar with the Starry XMax, which is the first budget-friendly vape to get accolades as one of the best of 2019. The Starry XMax is pretty much a hidden gem and I actually think it works better than the over-hyped, mid-end unit, the Pax 3
The Starry Xmax V3 Pros: This vape succeeds in giving users precision temperature control, haptic feedback, a stealthy build with a unique anodized aluminum design, a magnetic mouthpiece, and delicious clouds due to its ceramic heating chamber and vapor-path. It also features a single swappable 18650 mah battery with close to an hour and half of usage time with a full charge. The price of this bad boy is $99, which is a complete steal for everything users are getting here, and version 3’s release was just announced for January 2019.
The Starry Xmax Cons: I honestly can’t think about any major pitfalls with consideration to the price of this unit. It’s pretty much le crème de le crop when it comes to high quality, budget vaporizers.
And drum-roll! The grand finale for my best budget vapes of 2019 is the Boundless CFC Lite. I feel almost shameful for promoting so many Boundless units, but quality is quality, and I can’t ignore the facts. The CFC lite is going to be available to the public in March of this year and it is currently sporting an extremely low price tag of $64.95, making it even cheaper than the very popular Pulsar APX V2.The Boundless CFC Lite Pros: It’s incredibly discreet with the typical boundless construction of a ceramic oven and isolated airpath for max herb flavor. It also sports three different pre-set temperatures, a fast heat up time, and a removable/replaceable battery for increased portability. I tested the unit at all three temps to get a feel for the device- the vapor quality is pretty good with this unit, and users will be able to get heavy hits.
The Boundless CFC Lite Cons: I understand the idea of being as economic as possible, but for about $15 or $20 more, consumers could upgrade to a CFC 2.0 and have full temperature control, a larger oven, and even better vapor quality. Sometimes it feels like Boundless is competing with itself, and having to many decisions is harder on consumers. Also while the design is discreet, it doesn’t have the same feel as its sister units, which I missed.