With vaporizers, you generally get what you pay for--with a few exceptions. For example, the Pulsar APX is a very reasonable priced portable vaporizer that performs better than its price tag suggests. Generally speaking, if you’re buying an affordable vape, you’re not going to enjoy the same advanced features, premium materials, and performance heating systems as pricier units.
Breakdown of Affordable Prices
Each type of vaporizer has a different price range. The cheapest portable vaporizer is much less expensive than the cheapest desktop vape, for example. Here’s a general idea of what “affordable” really means in regards to each category of vaporizer.
Portable: $60 to $80
Vape pen: $20 to $50
Desktop: $200 to $300
eNail: $150 to $200
Mod: $40 to $60
While you can’t say in absolute terms that price is always equal to quality, cheaper vapes are generally not quite as sophisticated and functional as higher end units. There are still some gems in the lower price range that offer a great vaping experience, but in most cases you’re going to pay less at the expense of a little quality. Let’s unpack what quality means when shopping for the best vaporizer.
Precise Temperature Control
Every type of vaping material has its own ideal temperature for vaporization. There’s a thermal sweetspot at which a certain strain or concentrate vaporizes without nearing the point of combustion at which harmful, unpleasant-tasting, and foul-smelling smoke is created. Precise Temperature Control enables you to zero in on these golden temperatures. While most desktop vaporizers, regardless of their price, offer this capability, the majority of portable vaporizers, especially cheaper ones, are limited to single temperatures or a number of presets. Units like the G Pen Elite offer precision temperature control, but at a higher price.
The material out of which a vaporizer is constructed plays a key role in the unit’s vapor production. An inert, low-temp vapor path, for example, delivers cooler, more flavorful vapor than one made of material which reacts chemically to heat. It’s not easy to find a cheap vape with a high-quality borosilicate glass vapor path, a rare quality found in costlier units like the Firefly 2.
The heating element of an atomizer can also dictate the character of your vapor. Quartz rod atomizers heat “slower and lower” than hotter-burning ceramic heating elements, delivering smoother, flavor-rich vapor. While most vaporizers under $50 don’t feature quartz, the Source Orb Slim does.
As vaporization grows in popularity, manufacturers are racing to release the latest, greatest vaporizer. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of innovation as vaporizers evolve into advanced devices. Leading portable vaporizers like the DaVinci IQ, PAX 3, and Firefly 2 all feature bluetooth functionality, enabling users to manage their vaping sessions from the convenience of their smartphone. This isn’t the kind of feature you’ll find in a more modestly priced vape. Of course, maybe advanced features like smartphone compatibility aren’t important to you anyway.
The final word on buying a cheap vape always comes down to your preferences and whether the unit you’re looking at meets them. Every vaporizer has its own perks and downsides. It’s certainly possible to find an affordable unit like the Pulsar APX or the Vapor Brothers desktop vaporizer that will leave you and your wallet happy. Check out our affordable vaporizers to find the unit that’s right for you and your budget.