Marijuana sales could hit $20 billion by 2020, with help from the ever-growing vaporizer market.
Vaping is an alternative to smoking that involves inhaling vapor from an electronic device. Some research suggests vaping is less harmful than lighting up because it doesn’t require igniting a material and inhaling carcinogens and toxins along with it.
But as the industry heats up, so does the competition. These days, there’s a range of devices to fit every consumer’s needs — whether they prioritize ease of use, portability, or style.
With so many options out there, Business Insider set out to find the very best vaporizers.
We put together a panel of industry experts and asked them for recommendations in six categories: best for the beginner, the user-on-the-go, the user who blazes at home, the marijuana concentrates fan, the buyer on a budget, and the techie. We used their responses as well as anecdotal evidence and our own personal experiences to come up with the list below.
For the beginner: Alchemy Vaporizer Pen by Dark Heart
Price: ~$40 per replacement cartridge
Taking a hit from a vape pen is often as intuitive as placing your lips on it and inhaling.
“I recommend beginners start off with vape pens since they are inexpensive and super easy to use,” says David Hua, cofounder and CEO of medical marijuana company Meadow.
Hua is a fan of the Alchemy Vaporizer Pen, which uses cartridges filled with potent marijuana oil. The company behind the device names each botanical-infused pod after the effect it cultivates: “Relax” contains a soothing blend of lavender, chamomile, and an indica strain to calm the senses, while “Awaken” uses citrus, mint, and a sativa strain to invigorate the user.
“These experience-based oils are especially helpful for those who are new to cannabis and don’t yet know the effects of particular strains,” Hua says.
Dark Heart’s cartridges also work with most generic pens, which retail for about $10.
For the on-the-go user: The Mighty by Storz & Bickel
The Mighty by Storz and Bickel might look like an old-school walkie-talkie more than a vaporizer, but the portable device has merits where it counts.
Max Simon, CEO and founder of Green Flower Media, says the Mighty offers the “highest quality in terms of functionality and precision.”
Joe Dolce, author of “Brave New Weed,” agrees: “The Mighty is not the most beautiful, inexpensive, or easily concealed vaporizer on the market, but it delivers the most generous and flavorful vape hit with low draw resistance of any I’ve tried.”
Experienced users will enjoy the precision temperature control, which allows them to ramp up the effects of specific terpenes (oils) and cannabinoids (chemical compounds), Dolce explains. Plus, rich vapor flavor and a long-lasting battery make the Mighty a top performer.
The Volcano Classic takes the cake in the tabletop vaporizer category. Really, what else could?
The device debuted in the mid-2000s and quickly amassed fans for delivering heavy hits with consistency and durability.
Manufactured by hand in Germany, the Volcano Classic works by heating up loose-leaf material packed into a chamber, which causes an attached balloon to fill with vapor. The user closes a valve that seals the balloon, removes the bag, and inhales from it to get high.
“The bags this vaporizer fills are a hit at any social event,” writes Brandon Siddall, head budtender at top marijuana dispensary Caliva, and Adam Smith, purchasing manager, in an email. “But on a nice, low setting with just a little material, they are also perfect for a solo relaxation session after work.”
For the marijuana concentrates fan: VapeXhale EVO by VapeXhale
The VapeXhale EVO is one of the best do-everything vaporizers on the market.
Developed by Seibo Shen, a mixed martial arts fighter and serial entrepreneur, the EVO is a convective vaporizer designed to be used with both raw flower and concentrates (a waxy or butter-like substance that contains highly concentrated amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in weed).
“The VapeXhale EVO is the best vaporizer I’ve tried,” says Eugene Monroe, a former NFL player and cannabis activist. “It’s easy to use and effective at vaporizing without risk of combustion,” or lighting the marijuana on fire.
The convection technology passes hot air through the user’s marijuana, rather than putting it in direct contact with a heat source. David Hua, cofounder and CEO of Meadow, says this, combined with the glass core, creates optimum heat and moisture conditions for vaping.
For the buyer on a budget: Launch Box by Magic-Flight
If you’re a marijuana user on a budget, look no further than the Magic-Flight Launch Box. It’s a user-friendly vaporizer designed to be used with raw flower both at home and on-the-go, and is cheaper than most high-tech vapes.
Professional budtenders call the Launch Box a “deal and a half.”
“This odd little vaporizer has great vapor quality, looks beautiful, and is powered by a unique rechargeable battery,” writes Brandon Siddall, head budtender at Caliva, and Adam Smith, purchasing manager, in an email.
The Launch Box product line uses cover lids made from cherry, walnut, and maple woods. Some feature metallic embellishments and engravings. For $129, users sacrifice little in quality.
The brushed aluminum body (which weighs less than an iPhone) features clean lines and sensors in the mouthpiece that activate the device. It monitors the oven temperature four times per second, allowing for a smooth hit of loose-leaf tobacco or marijuana. The Pax 3 also handles concentrates.
“The Pax line is about as sleek and technologically advanced as portable vaporizers get,” saysBrandon Siddall, head budtender at Caliva, and Adam Smith, purchasing manager
The Pax 3 also pairs over Bluetooth to a smartphone app that allows users to customize the LED light colors, change the brightness, and adjust the temperature for the perfect hit.