Portable vaporizers are defined by two things: that they’re portable and they vaporize. Pretty straight forward, right? Well, while that is true, the world of portable vapes actually encompasses a wide range of different units.
Some are better than others, some are more portable than others, and the price range varies a lot from one unit to the next. Not to mention, the best portable vape for one person might not be the best for another.
That’s why we wanted to write this guide. A lot of people, especially those who are new to vaping, have no idea where to start. They know they want a portable unit, but with all the choices out there, they are left with more questions than answers and don’t know which one to buy.
Before we get into it, we need to mention that this guide is strictly for more traditional portable vaporizers and does not include vape pens. Yes pens are portable, but because they serve a slightly different function, they have their own category and we wrote a totally separate pen vaporizer buyer’s guide for those who want a pen.
If you’re unsure which one you need (pen vs traditional portable), here’s a very basic rundown:
- Traditional portables are mostly for dry herb, with only a few of them having the capability to do multiple materials like dry herb and concentrates.
- Vape pens are mostly for concentrates and e-juice, with very few of them being able to properly vape dry herb.
So really, it depends on what material you plan on consuming the most.
If you want something for your concentrates, check out our pen guide here. If you mostly smoke dry herb, keep reading this guide.
The first thing you need to consider is how much money you want to spend. Once you have a budget in mind, it’s easier to start narrowing your choices down.
We’ve broken this guide up into 3 different sections:
- High-end portable vaporizers: If budget is no concern, these are the best of the best and we definitely recommend grabbing one of these.
- Mid-range portable vaporizers: Want something middle of the road without spending too much? These are for you. Not quite as good as the high ends, but better than the beginners.
- Entry level portable vaporizers: If you just want something cheap that produces decent vapor, this is the category for you. Not nearly as good as the high ends or mid-range, but still pretty good units nonetheless.
We also want to mention that these units are in no particular order other than by their particular categories. For example, the first vape listed under the High End category isn’t necessarily better than the 3rd one we have listed. They are just numbered for organizational purposes.
It’s up to the user to decide which one suits him or her best, so check out all the ones we have listed and this guide should help you make a decision.
High-End Portable Vaporizers:
The units in this category are the absolute best portable vaporizers on the market in our opinion. Yeah you will spend a little more for them, but if you’re serious about vaping, you want the highest quality vapor, and you don’t mind spending a little more, you definitely want to go with one of these models.
1. The Firefly 2 Portable Vaporizer – $329.95 from Firefly’s website
We just got our hands on a Firefly 2 a couple weeks ago, and after extensive testing, we feel this is easily one of, if not the best portable vaporizers on the market.
While the original Firefly did have some issues, especially in terms of battery life, the new Firefly 2 has completely turned things around and improved on the original in every way.
The Firefly 2 is 55% lighter, 33% smaller, has some of the best tasting vapor out of any portable (and even better than many desktops), charges insanely quickly, and is very easy to carry around due to its size.
It also has replaceable batteries and comes with 2 of them in the box, so you can always have one charged and ready to go.
Another cool feature about the Firefly 2 is the smartphone app that allows you to dial in your temperature, similar to the way the Crafty works.
The efficiency of the Firefly 2 is another aspect that we love. You only need to load up around 0.1-0.2g of your herb (go with a coarse grind instead of a fine grind), and that should be plenty to get you where you want to be.
The Firefly 2 is also capable of doing concentrates, and it does them very well, unlike some other portables who only have the concentrate capacity as an afterthought. You can tell Firefly put the same amount of dedication and quality into the concentrate experience as they did the dry herb experience.
While the Firefly 2 is certainly at the top end of the price range for portable vapes, we feel it’s worth every penny.
This is especially true if you’re looking for a portable that excels at both dry herbs and concentrates – think of it as getting 2 vaporizers in one since you won’t have to buy a separate unit for both materials.
All in all, we’re super excited about the Firefly 2. If you have the cash, get one. You can thank us after!
2. The Pax 3 Portable Vaporizer – $274.99 from Pax’s official website
The Pax 3 by Pax Labs, the Apple product of the vaporizer world, has a price tag to match an Apple product. This unit is featured in three colors, which are black, silver, and gold.
The Pax 3 currently comes in at $274.99 and is only available from a few vendors.
It is highly recommended that you buy from a licensed distributor, because Pax will NOT offer a warranty unless bought from a licensed dealer (this is due to the company not being able to secure a patent for their design, leading to Chinese companies making near identical copies). If you don’t buy from a reputable merchant, it is probably fake (we recommend buying it directly from PAX’s website to avoid any issues).
This vaporizer is small, sleek, and highly portable. It is shorter than the height of a smartphone and half as wide (but it is twice as thick). This makes the unit easily pocket-able and easy to transport.
The way this unit works is you load the oven on the bottom with your material of choice, pop the oven lid back on, then push the top of the mouthpiece to turn the unit on.
Then, you’ll see a pulsing purple light, which indicates that the unit is on. To change the temperature setting , you simply hold down the mouth piece, which will bring you to the temp settings, and then you just click through to change.
To get back to the heating setting, just hold down the top of the mouthpiece again until the purple LED lights return.
The PAX Logo on the front consists of 4 flower petals, and this how you figure out which heat setting you’re on.
The heat settings are as follows:
- Temperature 1 ~ 360F (1 Green Petal)
- Temperature 2 ~ 380F (2 Yellow Petals)
- Temperature 3 ~ 400F (3 Orange Petals)
- Temperature 4 ~ 420F (4 Red Petals)
- Temperature 5 ~ Custom (4 Blue Petals)
I would like to briefly talk about the 5th heat setting in which you can set your own desired temperature via the smartphone application. This allows you to finely adjust the temperature in 1 degree increments. This is great for a medical user trying to dial in the effects of their medicine.
The smartphone application also allows you to activate special heating profiles that drastically change the vaping experience.
Boost Mode – This eliminates a lot of the cooling down in-between hits. It keeps the oven hotter for longer, allowing you to achieve much greater vapor production. This is very ideal for the concentrate insert, where you’re looking for the most heat possible to vaporize your oil.
Efficiency Mode – This mode gradually increases the temperature over a session, promoting the optimal efficiency of your herb.
Stealth Mode – This mode cools down the PAX 3 faster while in use, cutting down on the odor typically associated with conduction heating vaporizers.
Flavor Mode – This mode makes the PAX 3 a conduction on-demand heating vaporizer. What this mean is the PAX 3 will only heat your herb when you are pulling air through it. Clouds won’t be as dense, but you will get the maximum flavor and smoothness from the device.
These heating profiles aren’t necessary to the PAX 3 experience and serve as extra features to an already awesome package. If you don’t like the idea of connecting your vape to your phone and managing it through the app, it’s good to note that it’s completely optional and not required.
There’s no real “technique” to hitting this vape, you just take a long, slow draw and you’re done. The best way to hit it is to passively inhale; just breath in slowly, versus sucking hard as you would through a pipe. There is some draw resistance with this vape, but it helps to aid vapor production.
The PAX 3 also has one of the largest ovens on the vaporizer market, (20% deeper in the Pax 3 than the original PAX) and it needs to be packed tightly with up to .4-.5 grams of herb to work optimally. This is good for someone vaping in a group or someone with a higher tolerance.
PAX Labs also includes a “half pack oven lid.”
This lid fills in a lot of the space in the oven, allowing you to load less herb while still maintaining optimal efficiency. This is ideal for someone who will be vaping solo; you can load about .2 of ground herb to fully load the oven with this lid.
PAX Labs also included a new concentrate insert with the PAX 3.
A small dab will give you a good session on average. The session won’t last as long and you won’t get as many draws as you would if you load herb into the oven, but I found each hit you got with the concentrate insert packed a significantly harder punch than vapor produced for dry herb.
Overall, this is the best stealth vape on the market. If stealth and “not looking suspicious” are a must for your vaporizer needs, and you want something a little more high-tech, the Pax 3 is unparalleled. If you don’t mind spending the extra cash, it’s well worth it and you won’t be disappointed.
It’s good to note that the Pax 3 can be a pretty smelly vape on heat up, so stick to the lower settings when vaping in public.
3. Arizer Air Portable Vaporizer – $169.95 from Planet of the Vapes (best deal by far – many other sites charge $250+)
Next up in the high end category we have the Arizer Air, the powerhouse of the portable vaporizer world. The unit (pictured above) is about as thick as a pill bottle, and about twice as tall.
The body is made from aluminum (which is extremely light and durable) and it is really simple to use. To turn it on, you simply hold down the up and down buttons until the top of the two lights blinks. Then, the top light will glow blue, which is the lowest temperature setting. Once the lower begins to blink, the unit is heating.
To change the temp setting, all you have to do is push the up arrow until you reach your desired setting. The different settings are:
- Level 1 (Blue) – 180°C / 356°F
- Level 2 (White) – 190°C / 374°F
- Level 3 (Green) – 200°C / 392°F
- Level 4 (Orange) – 205°C / 401°F
- Level 5 (Red) – 210°C / 410°F
As far as vapor quality goes, this unit is awesome. You can pack as little as 0.1 grams, and it vapes all of it efficiently and fully. The vapor is flavorful, dense, but not too hot, which is surprising for how short the stem is.
The Arizer Air is the best portable vape you can get for the money. It far surpasses it’s predecessor, the Solo, in both a smaller size and a more user friendly platform. The only downside of this vape is the battery life, which can be made totally irrelevant with an extra battery or two.
Here’s our video demo of the Air portable vaporizer so you can see it in action:
The Crafty and the Mighty are the new portable vapes from Storz&Bickel. They have the quality of a desktop vape (better than some desktops in fact), but in an easily portable package.
If you have the money, GET ONE OF THESE! Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.
There are three main differences between these two vapes: the battery life, the size, and how you change the temperature.
The battery life of the Crafty is about 45 minutes, and the Mighty is about twice that at 90 minutes or so.
The Crafty is about the size of an iPhone 5, and about twice as thick. The Mighty is much larger, being bigger than an iPhone 6+ and roughly three times as thick.
Changing the Temperature:
This is the biggest difference between the two. The Mighty is the easiest to change, because the temp changing interface is on the front of the unit.
The Crafty has a really cool way to change the temperature. There are two pre-programmed settings initially with the unit: Standard and Boost Mode.
The standard temperature is 356 F (180 C). Boost mode, which you activate by tapping the power button twice, bumps it up to 383 F (195 C).
Now the cool part we were talking about is you can actually use a cell phone app that Storz&Bickel came up with to get to many other temperatures (available for both iPhone and Android).
This really allows you to dial in the perfect temperature for you.
And the best part about the app and this vape is it will remember your temperature setting for next time, so you don’t have to mess around with the app every time you want to use it.
Overall, these are the two best portables on the market. It’s basically like having a high end desktop in the palm of your hand.
How to know which one is best for you?
We did a full head-to-head comparison of the Crafty and the Mighty here if you want to check it out, but if you’re looking for the cliff notes, here’s what we got:
If portability is your main concern, go with the Crafty. It’s smaller and more portable than the Mighty is.
If you mostly vape at home and you want a portable style unit with no cords that packs the same punch as many of the desktop units, go with the Mighty.
5. The Haze V3 Portable Vaporizer – $249.99 from Haze’s official website
The Haze V3 is a newcomer to this list. After trying it out recently, there was no way we weren’t going to include it here. It’s that good.
Out of all the portables in the high-end category, the Haze V3 is the only one that can vape all of your materials including dry herb, concentrates, and e-liquids. Not only that, but it is amazing at both dry herbs and concentrates, and performs decently well for e-liquids, too.
If that wasn’t enough, you can also choose between both convection and conduction for your dry herbs, allowing you to dial in the perfect vape experience for you at the time.
Relaxing and want to enjoy your herbs with great flavor? Just toss in the convection insert or the new dry herb canister.
In a hurry and want to extract your vapor quickly and be on your way? The conduction insert will do just that.
As for concentrates, the concentrate cart gives some of the purest flavor of ANY vape on the market. You don’t have to worry about the throat-burn or coughing you get from some other concentrate units out there.
Regarding battery life, the Haze V3 comes with 2 rechargeable batteries, each one lasting about 4 full sessions. So you can have one in your unit as you’re using it, and the other one fully charged and ready to go just in case the first one dies out. Then, just swap the batteries, recharge the dead one, and repeat.
The backup battery is a great feature and ensures you should never be left with a dead unit (unless you forget to charge the backup of course).
A lot of times, units that are multi-functional are usually average at each function. That’s not the case with the Haze V3 though. This portable vaporizer truly excels in both the dry herb and concentrate category, and isn’t bad at doing e-liquids either.
If you want a portable vape that gives you the option to do all of your materials, as well as the option to choose between convection and conduction, there isn’t a better unit out there. Buy the Haze V3, you won’t be disappointed.
Mid-Range Portable Vaporizers:
Do you want solid vapor and something that you don’t have to worry about shelling out close to $300? Well, these Mid-Range Portable Vaporizers are going to be just for you.
These vapes offer above average, quality vapor that can hang with some of the “big guys”, but don’t cost an arm and a leg.
1. The Boundless CFX – $169 from Planet of the Vapes
First off for these mid-range portable vapes is the Boundless CFX, a conduction vaporizer. A newcomer to the market, but one who surely has already made a name for itself.
The CFX offers an insanely quick heatup time of around 20 seconds, can be controlled by single degree increments from 100F – 430F, and has a snazzy looking 1.77″ OLED display.
Oh, did I mention it vibrates at temp? Yeah, it does that too.
This device certainly feels very premium and enthusiast oriented.
Powering this vape is a pretty large 2500mAh battery that will last upward of 10x 5 minute sessions, and offers a quick charge feature that will take it from empty to full in 30 minutes.
If you don’t feel like utilizing the AC/DC wall adapter to quick charge your device, you can charge with up to a 2.0 amp micro USB charger.
The oven can be minimally packed, maybe 0.07g even, and produces tasty, satisfying vapor for your session. You can also fit 0.2 grams of coarse ground/fluffy herb in the oven for an intense, cloud producing session.
The vapor quality is above average for this conduction vaporizer and it performs fantastically at this price point.
The Boundless CFX is definitely our new favorite portable vaporizer in the mid-range category.
2. The Boundless CF – $129 from Planet of the Vapes
Want all the performance of the CFX, but you don’t care about the bells and whistles like the OLED screen, single degree temp control, vibration, and extra battery? The Boundless CF is perfect for you.
At an even more attractive price, the Boundless CF gives you the same quality vape that its older brother, the CFX does (which is awesome for this price level).
The CF is also smaller than the Boundless CFX, so it could be considered more stealthy or portable as well.
Same oven and performance, the temp scale just starts at 355F and continues in 15F increments to 370F, 385F, 400F, and 415F.
The integrated 1500mAh battery and the same 2.0 amp ready micro USB charging port as the CFX power this small powerhouse.
Battery life is around 8 sessions per charge.
The best way to describe the differences between the CFX and the CF is the CFX is geared toward vaporizing enthusiasts, while the CF is for those who just want function and don’t care a ton about form and “extras”.
3. The Alfa by Goboof – $199 from Vapor Nation
Do you feel that you need to be able to hide things a little bit easier and want something with stealth while maintaining performance? General fans of espionage, spies, or black turtle necks?
Then go with the Alfa by Goboof.
Pretend spy movies aside, this vaporizer has a very small footprint and can easily be concealed or pocketed. Its minimal black body houses a unique oven with a vertical pin to increase efficiency when it is vaping your herb, and a temp adjustment dial that offers a few neat features.
You have 3 manual temp selections: Low (374°F), Mid ( 410°F), High (428°F) and two auto temp selections.
A/P (auto-puff), the first auto temp selection, slowly raises the temperature after each puff you take between 374F and 428F, giving a nice, flavorful and slow building session with each draw.
The A/T (auto-time) raises the temperature slowly in the same range over 20 minutes.
The Alfa is a good out and about vape that can stay very inconspicuous with its size but doesn’t sacrifice performance to do so. We really like this one.
Entry Level Portable Vaporizers:
Entry level units are vaporizers that you get if you just want to try vaping, but don’t want to break the bank. Most people who are new to portable vapes like to start here to get a feel for it before spending money on a higher end unit.
The three we recommend all cost less than $120, so they are very affordable but still produce good quality vapor. These are models that will get you into vaping, but you will probably upgrade from them down the road once you decide vaping is for you.
1. The Flowermate Mini – $85 from Planet of the Vapes
The Flowermate line of vapes has become a staple in the vaporizing community for their reliability, ease of use, and adequate performance, especially for beginners.
The Flowermate Mini portable vaporizer will provide a satisfactory and pleasant experience to someone who may just be starting out vaporizing herb.
The simplistic operation and design of this vape has made this extremely adaptable to those who haven’t ever even tried a vaporizer before.
Click the button 5 times to turn it on and it will begin auto heating to the first of three temps, displayed in blue (385F). Hold that same button down for a few seconds to change between medium (400F) and high (415F), and the light surrounding the button will change to Purple and Red, respectively.
The included glass mouthpiece and loads of optional accessories offered make this vape something you can hold onto and make your own as well.
The oven holds roughly 0.2g of very finely ground herb and will produce optimal performance this way. The finer the grind, usually the better it performs.
The session lasts 5 minutes before the unit auto shuts off, and you can usually get 75 minutes of vaporizing time per charge. Charging is easy as well, as it is a micro USB port.
A neat feature of the FM Mini is that it can actually double as a portable battery bank via the USB power output it has on top.
Cellphone about to die and you have this on you? As long as you have the proper cable and your device can be charged with a USB port, you’re set with this vaporizer.
The vapor quality on the FM Mini is slightly above average for similar, entry level portables, making this a widely recommended and used vape. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend over $100, this is one of the best portable vaporizers you can buy.
2. The SOURCE Ghost Portable Vaporizer – $99 from SOURCE Vapes (use coupon code ‘MOON’ to save an extra 10%)
The SOURCE Ghost is a great 3-in-1 vaporizer to hit the market in late 2014. The unit can vaporize e-liquid, concentrates, and dry herb.
Even though it only costs $99.99 (~$90 with our coupon code), we feel the Ghost performs almost as good as a mid-range unit does.
With three temp settings, ranging from 374° F to 446° F, you really get a full range of vaping with this unit. The device only has one simple button, and to turn it on you only have to click it three times. With it’s simple button, you can change temperatures easily by just holding down the button until the light changes from blue (374° F) to green (410° F), and green to red (446° F).
Overall, the Ghost is a great unit, and you can purchase it for less than some of the units in our entry-level category.
*If you use coupon code ‘MOON’ while checking out, you will save an additional 10% on the unit, which brings it down to about $90.*
3. Vapor Genie – $55 from Vapor Nation
Next up, we have the most affordable vape on the market right now, the Vapor Genie. This unit sells for about $55, and it’s so affordable because it runs off a lighter flame to vaporize.
The way this vaporizer works is you unscrew the top which holds the ceramic filter that regulates temperature. Then you load up your herbs (around 0.3-0.4 grams is good, you don’t want to pack it too tightly), screw the top back on, and you’re ready to go! Now you take a lighter and hold it close to the ceramic filter but not too close. This filter is what heats up from the flame and vaporizes your material.
Because the flame controls the temperature, you will have to learn the technique of how to draw and how close to hold the flame to the filter to correctly vaporize your material. You will need to work at it, but you should get it down in no time. If you have any trouble, there are lots of good videos on YouTube that show you how to best hit the Vapor Genie.
The upside to this vape is that you never need to charge it, but the downsides are that you have a bit of a learning curve with how to use it and that it’s a bit on the larger side, so you may need a bag to carry it.
If you are looking for a cheap vape to help transition from smoking to vaporizing, the Vapor Genie is perfect for you.
4. Magic Flight Launch Box or MFLB – $119 from Vape World
Another great entry level vape is the Magic Flight Launch Box (MFLB). If you’ve been researching portable vapes for any amount of time, you’re bound to have come across this one. It is one of the smallest (and simplest) units on the market, and it is perfect if you need to be stealthy.
The MFLB is three pieces: the box itself (which holds the heating screen), the batteries (which are specific to the MFLB, and you need to use the kind that come with it or take the covering off other ones), and the glass or acrylic stem (you choose when buying the unit).
The unit also comes in a variety of wood types and has different patterns that can be put on the acrylic shield, so it is a very customizable unit.
This unit is powered by the battery, which heats the trench to vaporize your herb. The trench holds around 0.2-0.3 grams, optimally. There will be a learning curve with this vape as well, with draw technique and with how long to hold the battery down. However, it’s not all that complicated and you will catch on very quickly.
The video below should help with that. At around 3:20 he goes over how to hit it correctly, and I highly recommend watching this to help with your technique. You don’t need a whip like he has, but this is the correct way to hit it to avoid burning material:
Now, this unit does cost a bit more than the Vapor Genie coming in at around $119 if you buy it new, but it’s a better unit than the Vapor Genie is.
Another thing to keep in mind is most people tend to keep this vaporizer for as long as they vape, so this won’t be something you buy and get rid of down the road once you upgrade. A lot of people use their MFLB when they need something quick and stealthy on the go and they have other units for other situations.
Another thing I really like about the MFLB is how versatile it is for being a cheaper unit. You can get some extra accessories like a whip attachment and even a water piece whip that lets you hook it up to your water pipe.
Overall, the MFLB is a great vape that will do its job. If you need to be discrete and stealthy, and don’t mind a bit of a learning curve, no unit will suit you better. It’s a very good deal at only $119.
To wrap things up, there are a lot of portable vaporizers on the market and they each have their pros and cons. For most people, price is the main factor when considering which model they want to buy.
If money isn’t really a concern and you want the best of the best, choose any of the 4 high-level units mentioned in this article depending on which one you feel would be the best fit for your situation.
The Firefly 2 is, in our opinion, the best portable vaporizer you can get. It’s just a bit more expensive than the others. If you have the cash, definitely go with the Firefly 2.
The Crafty is a very close second to the Firefly 2. It’s hard to pick a true winner between them, and we’re sure you will be happy with either one. If you want something high end but the Firefly 2 isn’t up your alley, get the Crafty.
If you want a portable that is phenomenal at doing both dry herb and concentrates, that allows you to choose between convection and conduction, and that is also a decent e-liquid vaporizer, you will want to buy the Haze V3.
The Arizer Air is another outstanding vape that produces very high quality vapor. It’s not quite as stealthy as the Pax 2, but it’s around $100 less and the vapor quality is just as good.
The Pax 2 is a very high-tech unit that is simple to use and is extremely easy to conceal in public. The hits might not be as strong as something like the Crafty, but it’s by far the most portable and discrete of the group.
The Mighty is also one of the best you can get, and it’s great if you want a home vape without dealing with cords. It’s a little tougher to carry around in public though.
If you want a portable vape that is almost as good as the high end units, but that is middle of the road in terms of price, you won’t be disappointed with either the Boundless CFX, Boundless CF, or Alfa.
If you’re brand new to vaping and want to just get a feel for it before spending a lot of money, choose from one of the entry level portable units.
The Flowermate Mini is probably the best one in the entry level category, but the The MFLB and Vapor Genie are also solid choices. Keep in mind that the Vapor Genie is butane powered though, so it runs off a lighter and not electronically like the others.
If you want a multi-purpose vape for a very affordable price, the SOURCE Ghost is by far the best choice, especially since it’s a mid-range vaporizer with an entry-level price tag and can do herbs, concentrates, and e-liquids.
We hope you found this guide useful and it’s helped you narrow down which portable vaporizer is best for you. If you want to see more detailed reviews of each portable unit individually, check out our in-depth portable vaporizer reviews here.
Any questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!