Welcome to our desktop vaporizer buyer’s guide for 2016! If you’re in the market for a desktop vaporizer and you’re unsure of which one to buy, this updated guide will help you narrow it down and find the perfect unit for your scenario.
Who are desktop vaporizers best suited for?
Desktop vapes are on the larger side, and they pack a punch when it comes to vapor production – much more than their portable counterparts. Since these units do need to be plugged in to function, they are perfect for the person that likes to get strong hits from their vapor, enjoys their medicine at home, and doesn’t plan on bringing the unit out of the house too often.
Some units do come with car adapters so you can use them while in the car, but just be careful nobody sees you if you’re in a state where it’s illegal. 😛
These vaporizers will be ordered from entry-level to high-end vaporizers, and this guide will cover efficiency, features, how they work, type of desktop unit, and price.
Entry-level Desktop Vaporizers:
First up in the entry levels is the Extreme Q 4.0 by Arizer. This multipurpose vaporizer can do both whips and bags, making it a “jack-of-all-trades” vape. However, because it can do these two very different types of vaporization, it isn’t necessarily “the best” at either one.
An interesting thing about this vape is that it uses a remote instead of switches, giving it a more hands-free experience. As far as use goes, you simply start up the unit by hitting the power button on the remote and choosing your temperature setting. A good thing to keep in mind is that the temperature you set it at will be slightly lower than the temperature reaching your material, so set it slightly higher than you would normally vape at.
The LCD display will read that you reached your desired temperature in 20 seconds, but you will get better results if you wait a minute of two after it reaches the temp you set.
After you wait the minute or two, you can place your material into the glass Cyclone bowl, and place that into the top of the unit. Then you attach the glass elbow into the whip and place that into the Cyclone bowl, and you are ready to vape! (Check out the image below for a close-up).
The process for using balloons is very similar to using the unit with a whip. Basically, you just take the piece that is pictured below and place that on top of the bowl instead of the whip piece. Then, you take the balloon and attach it to the tube, turn your fan on high and wait for the bag to fill (should take about 90 seconds).
Once it is full, you simply turn the fan off and take hits off your bag. Between hits you will need to put your finger onto the top, as these bags don’t have a valve to keep the vapor in like the Volcano does.
*Also, many people claim to get better vaporization when they place their herbs into the glass elbow instead of the bowl. Check out our video review to see a full demonstration of the Extreme Q including the elbow packing trick:
Who should buy the Extreme Q?
Basically, if you are just wanting to get into vaping, but don’t want to break the bank figuring out which method of vaporization you like the most between whip and bag vapes, the Extreme Q is definitely for you. Or maybe you like both whip and bag style vaporizers but don’t want to buy a separate unit for each, the Extreme Q is perfect for that too.
It comes in at only $159.95 from Planet of the Vapes.
2. herbalAire – $199.99 from Vapor Nation with Free Shipping and a Free Grinder
For the next entry-level vape, we look to the herbalAire H2.2 by herbalAire. The unit (pictured above) is a fairly small unit, but very powerful. You do not have to grind your material with this vaporizer, as you have to do with nearly all other vapes. This is one of the major pros of buying this unit.
There are two different versions of the herbalAire, one with a dial and one with an LCD display (pictured below). The dial operated unit is called the herbalAire H2.2 and the unit with the LCD display is called the herbalAire Elite.
Both types of this unit can be used with a bag, a whip, and you can even take draws directly from the unit itself. And this unit can be directly hooked up to a waterpipe right out of the box, while most other units need a separate (and usually expensive) attachment.
However, just like the Extreme Q, this unit has its drawbacks because it can do it all. The bags with this unit have to be filled by hooking up an external pump to it. The pump does come with your purchase which is nice, but this makes the bags not a great option because they take a little more time to get setup.
The whip and the direct draw work well enough, but the temperatures run on the hot side usually; 350⁰F is a good place to start.
The way the herbalAire works is very simple. You simply turn the dial (on the H2.2) to your desired temp, then load the “crucible” (it’s shaped like a thimble) and pop in the mouthpiece (it will be loose, but the material expands while hot to make a tight seal). Then you either pop in the whip or the straw to fit the bags and you are ready to go.
The vapor from this unit is very pure and potent, and it is a very good whip vape.
Who should buy the herbalAire?
If you want a vaporizer that can do both bags and whips, but that can also hook up to water pipes easier than the Extreme Q, the herbalAire is a good choice.
At a fairly cheap price of $200, it is very hard to beat this unit. If you want a vaporizer with very little maintenance that is easy to use and can do it all, the herbalAire is for you. If you want to compare these two side by side, check out our comparison review.
3. Vapir Rise 2.0 – $249.99 from Vapor Nation
The Vapir Rise 2.0 is the absolute best desktop vaporizer for groups. Like the Extreme Q and the HerbalAire, this is a multi-use vape, meaning that it can do bags, whips, and direct draw. This vape boasts the biggest chamber in our entry level, holding easily over a gram of material.
It goes all the way up to 420°F, and it vaporizes all of your herbs very efficiently. This vape can also do concentrates, which gives it a leg up over the other entry level vapes. Loading the unit is really easy too. All you have to do is fill up the bowl, pop it into the adapter, and hook on either the single user or the multi-use adapter.
This vape also becomes that ultimate group vape when you hook up the multi-user adaptor. This lets four people vape at once, giving a “hookah” experience. This is definitely the best part of the vaporizer. After you hook it into the unit, you activate the heater, and in about a minute the unit has reached temperature and is ready to vape. The fan activates when you heat it, but you can turn it off whenever you want (unlike the original version).
If you’re looking for a group vape, you need to look no further than the Vapir Rise 2.0. It performs better than any other vape I’ve tried in a group setting because of its large capacity and the fact that it can use up to four hoses at once. There really is no better group vape out there.
Here is our video review so you can see exactly how the Vapir Rise 2.0 works:
Mid-level Desktop Vaporizers:
1. Silver Surfer – $269.99 from Vapor Nation w/ Free Grinder and Free Shipping
The first vaporizer option in mid-level vapes is the Silver Surfer by 7th Floor, which is made in Colorado. This is a whip operated vape that is highly customizable, and comes with a three year warranty on the electrical components. With a wide range of colors and a custom glass knob, this vape is very easy on the eyes (however, the glass parts only have a 30 day warranty).
The way this unit works is really very simple. You plug the unit in and turn the knob all the way up for about two minutes to get the heater going. You’ll see the orange glow of the ceramic heater, and then you should turn it down to about the 12 o’clock position (between 12 and 3 will be your ideal temp range). Then you insert the wand (pictured below) and begin to draw. If you like to draw quickly, you will probably like a higher heat setting, and the opposite goes if you like to do a slow, steady draw. The perfect setting will vary from person to person, so just experiment with it.
The wand is glass with a food grade vinyl whip. This, along with the ceramic heater, give this vape very good flavor. The whip comes with your choice of either: a standard glass connection, which you have to hold up to the heating cover, ground glass, which can attach to the unit and stay in so you don’t have to hold it, and spherical ground glass, which is similar to the regular ground glass.
The only real con of this vaporizer is that you have to either hold the wand to the heater or you have to stir it 3-4 times in one session. The only other con that I can think of is that there is no exact temperature numbers, but the dial works just fine and allows you to easily adjust the temperature.
It is also worth noting that 7th Floor makes another vaporizer called “Da Buddha”, which is slightly cheaper than the Silver Surfer. But, the heating cover is not slanted downwards, leading to material falling into the heating element more often. The Buddha is an alright vaporizer, but it didn’t make this particular list for that reason.
Who should buy the Silver Surfer?
If you like whip style vapes and want something that is customizable with different colors, designs, and whip options, the Silver Surfer is the unit for you. It’s easy to use and overall, the Silver Surfer is a great vaporizer at a price that doesn’t break the bank too much. It costs around $270 from Vapor Nation and is worth every penny.
2. Plenty Vaporizer – $299 from Vapor Nation + Free Grinder and Free Shipping
Next up is the Plenty vaporizer by Storz and Bickel. Aside from looking a bit like a power tool, this is actually one of the best vaporizers on the market. Storz and Bickel is the same company that makes the Volcano, which is arguably the best vaporizer on the market, so you know you are getting a quality product.
With a fairly large chamber, and with the ability to be handheld, this is a very impressive unit that is good for personal use and for groups as well. To load, you simply unscrew the coil and the coil base from the unit, then unscrew the base to open the herb chamber. After loading your herbs of choice, you screw the base back onto the coil, reattach it to the unit and begin to vape.
With 7 heat settings, you really need to experiment to dial in your perfect temperature range. Starting at 4 and moving up from there is a good place to start.
To be quite honest, the only thing that is not entirely spectacular about this unit is how it looks, which is like some kind of weird drill with a big spring attached. However, the odd looks serve a purpose.
The “spring” is actually a cooling coil, which cools the vapor down substantially before it gets to your mouth. This means that you will be able to handle more vapor than with other units because it is cooler and won’t irritate your throat as much as hotter vapor would.
The power tool-like handle also makes this unit easy to hold, a big plus when passing around in groups. Being able to pass around a direct draw vape like the Plenty makes it very group friendly.
Who should buy the Plenty?
If you just want something simple to use that’s very efficient, and don’t mind the “power tool” look, the Plenty is definitely for you. It’s extremely simple to use and the cooling coil is a nice feature that allows you to take in more vapor than you can with other units. Being one of the best vaporizers you can buy, you can’t go wrong with the Plenty if you can get past the odd looks.
It comes in at around $299 from Vapor Nation.
High-level Desktop Vaporizers:
1. VapeXhale Cloud EVO – $449.99 from Vapor Nation with Free Shipping and a handful of other free gifts
The first of the three top vaporizers you can get (if you have the money) is the the VapeXhale Cloud EVO. This unit is impressive, and it has a price to match, with the starting price coming in at $450.
An interesting aspect about this unit is that it was made to be used with a water pipe, and several options for them are available when you purchase this vape. It normally comes with a dry tube at no extra cost, (unlike the water pipe options) which is pictured below.
It is actually very easy to operate this vaporizer. You simply plug it in and turn the temperature dial to the 12 o’clock position, then wait around fifteen minutes. Ten minutes is the minimum you should wait, and you will get better vapor if you wait about fifteen minutes for the unit to heat up.
After the time has passed, you simply load your material of choice into the EZ Load bowl, pop the cap back on and insert it into the top of the unit. Then, you attach your tube of choice and begin vaping.
Here is our video demonstration so you can see it in action (we’re using a water pipe here):
Who should buy the VapeXhale Cloud EVO?
If you normally vape through a water pipe, this unit is perfect for you. If you are new to vaping through water or don’t necessarily want to pay extra for the water pipe, you can stick with the dry tube and upgrade later and it still works just as well.
Overall, this is the best direct draw vaporizer that you can get, especially if you like vaping through water.
The Volcano vaporizer is arguably the best and most well-known vaporizer on the market. This vaporizer is made by Storz and Bickel, and retails for $479 for the classic (dial temperature settings) and $599 for the digital temp readout model. Each comes with a nice three year warranty.
This vaporizer is also very easy to use. You simply hit the orange switch on the front and wait two or three minutes until the unit reaches optimal temperature, at which the orange light would turn off. This means that the unit is ready to vaporize.
Once you reach optimal temperature, you place your herb chamber on top of the unit, then you snap either the solid valve or the easy valve (see below for a description of each bag type) on top and activate your fan.
The bags fill in around 30 seconds, and once they are full you turn off the fan and begin to draw. You should get around 5 draws from each bag. When you load about 0.1 grams into the chamber, you can get around 5 bags with one load, so this is an extremely efficient unit that will make your herb last much longer than other vaporizers.
This is the easy-valve for the unit. You cannot replace this bag, but it is easy to use. You simply take out the mouth piece, fill the bag, and pop the mouth piece back in and you are ready to go. You push down on the black part to open the valve, otherwise it is closed, which means none of your vapor will escape unless you want it to.
The easy-valve kit comes with five easy-valve bags, each of which lasts about two months of heavy use. These bags are for people who enjoy things that are simple to use and can be thrown away when you are done with it.
This is the solid valve. The great thing about the solid valve set is that you can replace the bags with any food safe sized bags you want. This means that you could have a one foot bag, or a ten foot bag if you felt like it. This kit is more for the people who like to take things apart and customize it themselves.
Who should buy the Volcano?
If you want the best, most efficient, and best tasting vaporizer on the market, go with the Volcano. While it’s definitely one of the most expensive of all the vaporizers, in my opinion, it’s well worth the cost especially since it will make your herb last much longer. Even though it’s a big up-front cost, you will be saving a ton of money on herb in the long run. Remember, 0.1 can get you around 5 bags worth of vape which will keep you baked for a while.
The Herbalizer is the newest desktop model on the market, but it is quickly becoming known as the best vape you can get. It uses a hydrogen bulb instead of a normal heating element, so it’s heat-up time is just a few seconds compared to the 15 minutes of some desktops.
It is also the first multi-use vape that performs flawlessly in each category. The unit can use whips, balloons, and direct draw (all vaportherapy mode), as well as a mode that most vaporizers cant do: aromatherapy mode.
To turn it on, all you have to do is open the device. When you open the unit, it splits into two separate internal parts: one for aroma therapy and one for normal vaporization (see the picture below, top compartment is for aromatherapy, bottom section is for vaportherapy). The top compartment can also be used for storage, as there is a lot of space up there.
What you first have to do when you turn the vape on is select which mode you want to use. Unless you do a lot of aromatherapy, you will mostly be using vaportherapy to vaporize your herbs.
Now, with vaportherapy mode, there are only two of the three settings you will use. You will either attach a whip and use the whip mode, or you can use the fan to fill up a balloon.
There is a third mode, called freestyle mode, which basically is just hooking the device up like you are going to fill a balloon, then not putting the balloon on and turning the fan on. I see this as kind of a waste, but if you want to just fill a room with vapor you can do that if you want to. To activate either mode, you load the chamber with your herb, select vaportherapy mode, choose either whip or bag mode, and set your temperature. Then, attach either your whip or bag and you are ready to vape.
In terms of vapor quality, it is equal with the best on the market. It has the pure taste of the Volcano and the Cloud Evo, but the Herbalizer can do what the others can’t all in one unit. If you want the top quality that does it all, go with the Herbalizer over any other.
To wrap things up…
All of the vaporizers mentioned on this list are great units. It’s up to you to determine which one is best for your particular situation.
If you want the ability to do everything, but want to save a bit of money, the herbalAire at around $200 the Extreme Q at $159.95 or the Vapir Rise 2.0 at $249.99 are probably your best bet. Our favorite of the 3 is probably the Vapir Rise 2.0 since they made so many improvements in the new model over the old one. It’s by far the best out of the 3 for group sessions.
If you want something that looks stylish and is customizable, the Silver Surfer is a great choice.
If you want pure simplicity and a great vape without getting into the high-end price range, go with the Plenty.
We hope this guide was helpful and you now have a better idea of which desktop vaporizer is best for you. If you want more info on any particular unit mentioned here, be sure to check out our in-depth reviews that we did for each individual model.
Have questions for us? We’d be glad to help. Let us know in the comments below.