The past twelve months have seen the release of some seriously awesome units – and with the year coming to a close, we’ve decided to countdown our picks for the Top 10 Vaporizers released in 2015.
NOTE: The Crafty was released in late 2014, which is why it does not appear on this list.
10) Vapor Cup (Portable // Herbs) $249.99
Our biggest surprise performer of the year doesn’t look like a vaporizer at all. Instead, coming to you in the form of a handy travel mug is our pick for the most discreet vaporizer released this year: the Vapor Cup. Designed to be the ultimate undercover herbal vape for public sessions, the Vapor Cup is more than some silly novelty; it’s the real deal. While it’s obviously not a unit you can stick in your pocket and carry around with you, the upside of the VC outweigh its portability limits.
Performance, build quality and battery life are all well above average – and the option to choose between included glass, plastic or rubber “straw” mouthpieces add to the great overall versatility of the unit. Precise temperature control, replaceable Li-ion battery, and a cool blue backlit digital display are all great features to boot. If you find yourself often dealing with nosy onlookers while you’re trying to vape, the Vapor Cup may be the solution to your predicament.
The Vapor Cup is available through this preferred retailer.
9) Arizer Air (Portable // Herbs) $239.00
The Air is essentially a slimmed down version of one of our favorite portable vaporizers of all-time, the Arizer Solo. Like the Solo before it, the Air gets extremely high marks for build quality and vapor production. Five preset heat settings (356°-410°F) are easily selectable by way of ▲/▼ buttons, and are indicated by different color LED lights. This unit is powered by a removable 18650 Li-ion battery, allowing you to keep backups charged and ready.
Our biggest gripe about the Air is with the draw-stems. Two are included: one long all-glass stem, and another shorter stem with a removable plastic tip. While we appreciate the use of glass from a taste standpoint, we’ve found fragility to be an issue when removing/inserting the stems, as well as during transit (which limits overall portability). With that said, the positives of this little guy greatly outweigh the negatives. Backed by a lifetime warranty, the Air is a solid investment at around $240.
You can get the Arizer Air from one of our preferred online retailers.
8) Vapium Summit (Portable // Herbs) $149.99
Originally released as the Mark 1 in 2014, but re-branded and re-released by Vapium in early 2015, the Summit is billed as a vaporizer that’s built to operate in extreme conditions, and we’ve found it to do just that. True to its name, the Summit is an ideal little portable to bring up to the mountain with you on weekend snowboarding trips. Its rugged, durable design allows you to throw it in your bag and go.
Eight selectable temperature settings give you a lot of options, and a magnetic tethered chamber cap is a nifty little feature that comes in handy on the chairlift. Little things like a backlit mountain logo on the power button, haptic vibration notification and a rubber chamber grip add to this unit’s overall appeal. Vapor production is above average for a conduction vape, and draw resistance is better than most. The Summit is a phenomenal value for under $150, and out-performs every other unit at that price point.
The Summit can be purchased from this trusted retailer.
7) Haze Dual V3 (Portable // Herbs & Wax) $249.00
The Haze has been around for awhile now, but the latest V3 model was just recently released, and features some really nice improvements from the previous version. The Haze was the first (and is maybe still the only?) dual-chamber vaporizer, which means it has dedicated chambers for both herbs and wax.
While previous models utilized “multi-purpose” cans, the new V3 uses new specialized cans (one for herbs, one for wax), which we feel help improve performance. Additionally, the Haze comes with two different types of screens; a conduction screen and a convection screen – which give you more control over the type of vaporization experience you’re looking for.
The biggest improvement with the V3 is the redesigned mouthpiece. The Haze’s draw-stem retracts and is stored inside the unit itself, which lends itself well to overall portability. However, with previous models of the Haze, we always found sliding the mouthpiece out from its housing to be a bit tricky – but the redesign seems to have done the trick, as we’ve encountered no issues with sticking with the new V3.
Haze also improved the latch mechanism on the battery door (something else that we had some issues with in the past), and also integrated a more precise temperature regulator which eliminates issues related to altitude, humidity, air pressure and external temperature. For $250, the Haze is a very versatile, well crafted portable vaporizer.
Grab the Haze V3 from one of our preferred online vape shops.
6) Goboof Alfa (Portable // Herbs) $199.99
Goboof is new company based out of Ireland that really impressed us with their inaugural release: the Alfa. If you’re a vape enthusiast that places a premium on portability, then this is the unit for you. Smaller and slimmer than a deck of cards, the Alfa is the without a doubt the most pocket-friendly portable we’ve come across. It utilizes a short, “snub-nosed” silicone mouthpiece which is removable.
The Alfa’s herb chamber features a heating-pin that runs through the middle of the oven, which is reminiscent of old Iolite units (there’s apparently a connection between one of the founders of Goboof and Iolite, which explains the similarity in oven design). While this helps to heat herbs more evenly, it will also definitely cause combustion as it’s based more on conduction.
The thing that we really love most about the Alfa other than its design and portability are the versatile heating options you can choose from. Selectable by way of a unique rotary dial, the Alfa allows you to select between three preset heat settings, as well as two advanced settings that Goboof bills as “Smart Puff Technology.”
By selecting Automatic Heat-By-Puff (A/P), your herbs are gradually heated after each detected puff. Starting 374°F, the temperature increases three degrees after each puff until internal temperature reaches 446°F. By selecting the Automatic Heat-By-Time (A/T) setting, your herbs are gradually heated from the 374°F to the 446°F over a time period of twenty minutes. There’s certainly a lot to love about this little vape.
The Alfa is available through this trusted online retailer.
5) Zephyr Ion (Desktop // Herbs) $359.00
Originally released way back in 2010, the Ion isn’t necessarily a new unit. However, the latest version which came out this year adds whip-draw capability, which now puts the Ion in the dual-function forced air category. The Ion is the only desktop unit to appear on our list. While it seems like there’s a new portable vaporizer coming out every week, new desktops don’t get released all that often. With that said, when a new (or improved) desktop does come around, we definitely take note.
The thing that’s always drawn us to the Zephyr Ion is its design. It’s got a much more modern, sleeker look than any other dual-function desktop on the market (with the exception of the Herbailizer which, according to reports, is no longer a viable company). We don’t want to say that the Ion was designed to be idiot proof, but that seems to be the approach that was taken by its designers. To be honest, it sort of reminds us of one of those cell phones made for senior citizens – in a good way though! A massive LCD screen displays temperature, which is lit orange until set temperature is reached, and then changes to green.
We really like the valve system that the Ion utilizes. While it doesn’t feel quite as natural or comfortable as the Volcano’s solid or easy valve on your lips, it’s very functional and slips on and off of the unit with ease. Although the balloon bags fill quickly and are easy to work with, it’s the added dimension of forced air whip-draw versatility that really make the Zephyr Ion a winner in our book. With the internal fan activated in whip mode, vapor pours out of the Ion at a furious pace, and is ideal for group sessions.
Something that may be overlooked by some that we greatly appreciate is the Ion’s filling basket which has a rubber grip so you can handle when hot. Priced significantly less than the Volcano Digital, the Zephyr Ion provides a lot of bang for your buck.
The Zephyr Ion can be purchased through this trusted online retailer.
4) Grasshopper (Portable // Herbs) $150.00
OK. So even though it looks like the Grasshopper won’t be officially released until February of 2016, units have already been shipping to early Indiegogo backers and reviewers (we happen to be both) for some time now. Since we, as well as many others, have been fortunate enough to get our hands on one, we figured we’d include it on this list.
Crowdfunding is an awesome tool being used more and more by vape manufacturers who are hoping to raise funds and awareness for projects that otherwise might have trouble getting off the ground (we’re very much looking forward to the Evoke). Since being announced back in 2013, Grasshopper has raised over $350,000 from supporters looking for a better way to vaporize. While it may look like a conduction pen vape, the Grasshopper is anything but. This is a true vaporizer that features precise temperature control, stellar craftsmanship and superb build quality.
The thing people are going to love most about the Grasshopper is its on-demand functionality. Once you ‘click’ the power button, the selected temperature is reached in under five seconds, which seems impossible – but true. How can that be? Well, the Grasshopper is powered by a 45 watt heating element, which is a TON of power is such a small unit.
To fully appreciate that statement, it’s important to realize that the Mighty from Storz & Bickel (which is one of the largest portables on the market) is powered by a lesser 30 watt heater. Couple the Grasshopper’s unprecedented power with its three hour battery life and pen-sized portability – and you’ve got the makings of something really special.
The Grasshopper is currently only available for Pre-order through the manufacturer.
3) Vaporfection miVape (Portable // Herbs & Wax) $259.00
As the old adage goes: good things come to those who wait. We found that statement to certainly hold true in regards to the long awaited and eagerly anticipated miVape from Vaporfection. Announced way back in 2011, many (us included) were beginning to write the miVape off as vaporware, and that it would never end up seeing the light of day.
Even after its initial release over the summer, production halted as an issue with the temperature regulation software was causing units to run hot. Vaporfection has since recalled and replaced those faulty units, and the official reviews have been rolling in.
At first glance, the miVape isn’t necessarily going to blow anybody away. It’s not the “sexiest” looking portable, and the build quality leaves a little to be desired. However, when it comes to pure performance and sheer vapor quality, the miVape is second to none.
True vaporization requires unmitigated convection heating, and while it may not be 100%, no other portable comes closer to achieving this than the miVape. Featuring a unique, patented all quartz crystal glass heating chamber and airpath – the miVape is able to deliver the truest tasting vapor we’ve ever experienced.
In order to vaporize using convection heating, air must be heated to the point where it’s hot enough to create vapor, but cool enough so that combustion or burning doesn’t occur. After several trial and error sessions experimenting with different temperatures and herb amount, we finally found the miVape’s sweet spot, and boy is it sweet!
While there’s definitely a learning curve, true vapor connoisseurs will appreciate the miVape’s ability to deliver pure, unadulterated vapor. Precise temperature control, digital display, removable Li-ion battery and a highly portable self-contained design round out the reasons why we love the miVape.
2) PAX 2 (Portable // Herbs) $279.99
Even if you’ve never vaped (shit, even if you’ve never smoked), you’ve more than likely heard the name PAX before. Arguably the most popular and “coolest” portable vaporizer on the planet, Ploom outdid themselves with the release of the PAX 2 this past Spring. Featuring a design that’s 25% smaller, 10% lighter and 30% more powerful than the original – the ‘2’ is much improved and well-equipped for the hectic grab-and-go lifestyle of most millennials (which is who they’re targeting for the most part).
Perhaps the biggest draw of the PAX 2 is its eye-catching, modern styling. Since the launch of the original, Ploom has done an amazing job positioning the PAX as “fashion’s vaporizer.” Regardless of how you feel about the PAX 2 from a performance standpoint, you absolutely cannot deny its visual appeal. Its traversed brush anodized aluminum body looks dead sexy, and is highlighted by the signature LED backlit ‘X’ that displays a satisfying light show of purples, pinks and blues when in ‘party mode.’
However, more important than looks is functionality – and the PAX 2 is definitely no slouch in that department. Being a conduction-based unit, . the ‘2’ has the ability to produce large, smooth vapor clouds from the very first draw (something that is becoming increasingly more important to consumers in today’s world where instant gratification is expected).
This unit also boasts advanced lip and motion sensing technology, which allows the PAX 2 to automatically lower its internal temperature during a session in between draws, as to not cook your herbs unnessarily. Once the unit detects your lips pressed up against the mouthpiece, it quickly heats back up to temp. While a feature like this is tough to quantify, the improved taste, efficiency and vapor production of the ‘2’ seem to be evidence said technology at work.
As the most expensive portable on our list ($280), some might view the PAX 2 as overpriced. However, when you take into consideration its ease of use, enhanced durability, distinct visual appeal, pocket-sized portability and first-class performance (not to mention an industry leading 10 year warranty) – it becomes pretty clear that the PAX 2 is well worth the cost of admission, if you’re so inclined.
The PAX 2 is now available through our preferred online vaporizer shop.
1) Vapir Prima (Portable // Herbs & Wax) $259.99
Those expecting to see the PAX 2 at the number one spot on our list may be surprised to see the Vapir Prima here instead. However, before you get your fanboy panties up in a bunch – hear us out.
As we mentioned in our official review, previous portable offerings from Vapir have never really appealed to us. The NO2 and Oxygen Mini are, well, hideous. While we appreciate Vapir’s attempt at thinking outside the box when it came to their designs, they seemed to have completely missed the mark with the aforementioned units, and in doing so caused many to write them off completely. With that said, when rumors started to swirl that Vapir had a new portable in the works, we weren’t necessarily chomping at the bit to get our hands on one. However, when the Prima showed up at our door, we began to question everything we thought we knew about Vapir.
To start, the Prima looks fantastic. If the PAX 2 and the Vapium Summit had a vape-child, the Prima is what would pop out of the birth chamber. Simple, clean and contemporary; the Prima’s design was almost certainly modeled after the PAX – and while its brushed aluminum body is definitely reminiscent, the look of the Prima is unequivocally its own.
The next thing that stands about this unit is its craftsmanship and build quality. The Prima feels extremely well made and durable. Larger and heavier than the PAX 2, the Prima is roughly the size of the Crafty, and feels very natural and comfortable in your hand. Without trying to be overly complimentary, I don’t think Vapir could have possibly done a better job with the Prima’s build and design.
Now, onto performance, where the Prima really shines. It’s operates similar to the Crafty in the sense that it uses a combination of conduction and convection, but seems like more conduction than convection. Because of this, you get plenty of vapor from the first draw, and sustained vapor production throughout the session. We found the vapor to be very smooth and very plentiful. In fact, we’d put the Prima ahead of the Crafty/Mighty in vapor production – something we weren’t expecting. Taste leaves a little to desired, but still better than 90% of portables.
We were just as impressed with the Prima’s performance with wax. Again, similar to the Crafty in the sense that you load wax onto a mesh liquid pad which is then inserted into the chamber. Vapor production is great, and you really get the true taste of your concentrates.
Not to be overlooked is the Prima’s removable Li-ion battery. Vapir sells replacements/backups for $50, which is a little on the pricey side. However, the ability to be able to switch out a dead battery for a fully charged backup is nice, and something can’t do with the majority of units the Prima competes with.
In addition, Vapir has also released a power kit for the Prima for only $60. The power kit contains a direct adapter and power supply, which allows you to vape at home without having to worry about battery life. An official water kit will also be released soon (we’re guessing closer to the holidays), which we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on already.
The PAX 2 may be sexier, the miVape may produce cleaner, better tasting vapor, and the Grasshopper may be more portable – but none of the aforementioned portables score higher all-around in the categories of design, build quality, performance, portability and overall value as the Vaporizer Review Vaporizer of the Year: Vapir Prima.