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Portables give you the mobility to enjoy dry herb where you please. But what if you value vapor quality over portability, or simply prefer taking hits at home?
For the true connoisseurs, a desktop vaporizer, also known as a tabletop unit, is the better choice. Their heating systems are more efficient than smaller devices, extracting from dry herb the best flavor and potency, leaving out harmful irritants in the process. Across the board, tabletop units offer helpful features like precision temperature that give you dynamic control over your vapor. They also make sharing easier, making them a welcome addition to any party.
These stationary devices are for indoor use, perfect for those who don’t partake on-the-go. While you can’t carry desktop vaporizers in your pocket, you can count on them to deliver incredibly pure, smooth, and flavorful draws from the comfort of your home.
While more research is needed to better understand the benefits of desktop vaporizers, a few key studies have shed light on the subject:
2004 - Researchers tested the vapor of the Volcano desktop vaporizer against the output of a smoking device. They found the Volcano’s vapor consisted of 95% THC. In contrast, smoke contained 88% non-cannabinoids, suggesting that vaporization is not only more potent, but cleaner than smoking.
2014 - Around 100 participants were observed vaping and smoking at separate times. Their reactions were recorded to help gain insight into which method of consumption delivered a more potent hit. The majority reported that vaping was better than smoking in the potency department. They also told researchers they would continue vaping after the study.
2015 - Vaping was found to be an excellent way to introduce THC into the bloodstream.
The bottom line is desktop vaporizers offer better vapor quality and potency than smoking because they don’t burn dry herb. Let’s break down exactly how these nifty tools use just the right amount of heat to turn cannabinoids found in dry herb into smooth and pure-tasting vapor.
Operating a desktop vaporizer is easy. You load the chamber, power up, choose a temperature, then take a hit once the unit has heated up. While the user experience is simple, the inner workings of the device are advanced. Digital interfaces, precision temperature and convection heating are hallmarks of desktop vaping.
Desktop vaporizers are quick and easy to use thanks to their digital control interfaces. Generally, a device will feature a bright and clear LED screen. Rubber or plastic buttons on the control board are pressed to make adjustments, while information displayed on the screen reflects changes as they are made in real time.
Digital controls are intuitive with a minimal learning curve. Most tabletop units feature “up” and “down” or “+” and “-” buttons that enable you to choose a precise temperature, which will be reflected on the screen in real time. Depending on the device, you can also turn on the forced air fan that propels vapor for easier hits, and switch between fan speeds.
With these advanced controls, desktop vaporizers give you more command over your sessions. Setting up temperature or fan speed takes just seconds, making for a seamless on-demand experience. The Arizer Extreme Q even comes with a remote control so you can start a session away from the device.
While portable units generally feature preset temperatures, desktop vaporizers allow you to pinpoint any temp within a wide range. Because you can choose a specific degree, you can customize your vapor clouds in terms of flavor, aroma, and density on a more granular level. For smaller, tastier hits, stick with the lower temps. For large clouds, choose a higher temperature. You can explore any temperature in between, discovering the vapor profile to match your preferences.
Because a desktop vaporizer has a larger build than portable devices, there’s more room for advanced technology. The Herbalizer, for instance, features an internal microprocessor that remembers the temperature you last used, all the while correcting temperature every millisecond to ensure the most precise heating.
While temperature ranges vary between devices, the general range hovers around 104F to 446. This allows you to zero in on the best temps for specific strains of dry herb or vapor profiles. Most desktop vaporizers can reach these temperatures in seconds, allowing you to take quick hits whenever you like.
While portable units generally have conduction heating systems, most desktop vaporizers use convection, a technical term for the process of heating materials with hot air. Rather than heat dry herb against the hot walls of the chamber, which causes a degree of combustion, tabletop units spew heated air into every nook and cranny between pieces of dry herb, thoroughly vaporizing the bowl. This heating style is widely considered the best because it delivers smoother, purer, and more flavorful vapor, and also makes use of all your dry herb so nothing is wasted.
Convection sounds more complicated than it is. When a convection unit is powered up, the heating element begins warming the surrounding air. Either the pressure of the user’s inhalation, or an in-built fan propels this hot air through the air path. As it fills the chamber, the air travels in between each granule of dry herb, touching every millimeter of open surface area. The resulting hits are more smooth, clean-tasting, and powerful than those delivered by a conduction unit.
Convection heating has two advantages that the alternative, conduction, does not. The vapor comes out cleaner and more flavorful, and none of the dry herb is incinerated, which saves you money in the long run since you’re getting the most out of every bit. That’s why investing in a more expensive desktop vaporizer can pay off in the long run and give you more enjoyment each session.
Unlike portable units, a desktop vaporizer can feature up to three ways to inhale--whip tubing, balloon bag or steamroller. Each method offers its own advantages with one common quality. They cool hits, making for smoother inhales. When choosing a tabletop device, take into account whether you’ll be sharing, taking hits while walking around the house, wanting smoother rips, or looking for more flavor, since each method offers something different.
Whip-style vaping involves taking hits through a silicone rubber tube. This is one of the most popular ways to use a desktop vaporizer. Each whip usually features a wand, a glass piece that connects the whip tubing to the device. Whips and wands can vary in size and materials used. While wands generally last for long periods, whip tubing must be replaced eventually. Maintaining and replacing whip tubes is cheap and easy, making them a better choice for those on a budget or in search of a hassle-free user experience.
Designed for those who want to enjoy vapor with zero harshness, desktop vaporizers with whips deliver comfortable hits. As vapor travels through the length of the tubing, its temperature decreases. By the time the hit reaches the user’s mouth, it has become cooler, making it easier to inhale. That’s why those who are sensitive to harsh hits prefer whip-style desktop units. The vapor path is multiple feet longer than the average air path of a portable vaporizer, which makes a profound difference on the smoothness of each rip. Whips are made of silicone, vinyl or a combination of both that is completely safe and does not rub off on the natural flavors and aromas of dry herb. This material is also easy to clean.
Choosing a desktop vaporizer with a whip ensures smoother hits and a simple user experience that does not pose difficult maintenance or repairs.
For those who don’t want to be tethered to their desktop vaporizer, balloon-bag style allows you to fill food safe nylon bags that can be carried around and sipped from for hours. The most popular balloon bag device is the Volcano, which features a valve on the balloon bag that connects to the heating chamber. A fan inside the device propels hot air through the herb chamber to create vapor, which is then spouted into the balloon bag.
Balloon bags are ideal for social gatherings because they can be passed around the room. It’s also fairly easy to take a hit of any size, big or small. The hits are cool and comfortable. As vapor collects in a balloon bag, it begins matching the room temperature, cooling down so each rip is smoother. Hits are taken through the same valve that connects to the vaporizer for filling.
Balloon bags are low-maintenance and last quite long before needing replacement. Vapor inside a balloon bag will be good for hours before dissipating, and a single bag will stay usable for up to 100 sessions. Operating a desktop vaporizer with balloon bags is easy to do, making it a good choice for beginners and those who prefer simplicity.
Whips and balloon-bags both offer cooler, smoother hits, but neither can compete with the steamroller. This glass pipe extends the vapor path to give each hit more time to cool off. The resulting rips are much more comfortable. Those who seek the smoothest hits possible opt for steamroller pipes, but they’re hard to come by. The most popular option is the Herbalizer steamroller, compatible with the Herbalizer device.
Steamrolling with a desktop vaporizer is easy. The user simply fits the steamroller pipe onto the vapor outlet of the device. Rubber grips on the outlet create a snug, threadless fit. This 9 inch pipe features a carb hole which can be closed off with your finger to ensure the entire chamber is cleared during your hit.
Opting for a desktop vaporizer with a steamroller attachment reduces harshness. But for an even smoother experience, you can go with a bubbler. The Vapir Rise, for example, is compatible with a glass bubbler attachment that moisture-conditions each hit. As vapor is propelled through the bubbler, the hit passes through the water chamber, diffusing into bubbles. At this point, vapor meets wetness and moisture attaches to your hit. At the same time, irritants collect in the water and are left behind as the vapor bubbles upward to break the surface. By the time you take a hit, it will be purer and more comfortable.
Steamrollers and bubblers are well worth the investment for those who want the smoothest hits possible.
Portables offer mobility. Vape pens offer stealth. But desktop vaporizers offer the best vapor quality. They also boast powerful features that aren’t always available in wireless devices. These stationary powerhouses are ideal for flavor chasers, fans of “true vaporization”, and those who only vape at home.
These devices are larger and more powerful than portable units, extracting incredibly smooth and potent vapor from dry herb using advanced technologies. Although they are stationary, their larger builds leave more room for bigger, better systems with powerful heating elements, isolated vapor paths, air filters, and fans. The resulting vapor is purer than the draws delivered by portable units.
For those who want more than just direct draws, desktop vaporizers offer multiple ways to take hits. Whether you vape on-the-go with a balloon bag or sip smooth rips from a whip tube, the options are all there. Tabletop units also make sharing easier; some, like the Vapir Rise, even feature multi-user attachments so up to 4 people can take hits at the same time. While some desktop devices only feature one inhalation method, others offer multiple, expanding the potential of your vaping sessions.
Portable units run on batteries with limited capacities. That means they’ll run out of juice eventually, and their output will be smaller, too. A desktop vaporizer, on the other hand, is plugged into a wall outlet, giving it unlimited energy to power a larger heating system. This translates directly into higher vapor quality. It also makes for a more convenient vaping experience. You won’t have to wait for the device to charge in order to take a hit.
There are four essential questions to ask yourself when searching for the best desktop vaporizer. This will ensure the device you choose meets your unique preferences so you can enjoy a more relaxing and fulfilling vaping experience.
If a manufacturer truly has faith in the quality of their product, they will give it a longer warranty. This means they know there will be a low rate of defects. That means the longer a warranty, the more you know you can trust a desktop vaporizer. Make sure to read the warranty policy of any desktop vaporizer you’re thinking of purchasing. We list warranty length at the top of each product page to keep you informed.
If you’ve got limited resources but still want to enjoy excellent hits, an affordable desktop vaporizer is the right choice. They’re not as expensive, but they’ll still offer better vapor production than most portables. If you do have some money and are wondering whether to go affordable or splurge, investing in a more expensive tabletop vape will translate in higher quality, better vapor production, and seamless user experience.
Some desktop vaporizers offer only one way to inhale, whether it’s whip-style, balloon-bag, or steamroller. Some units, like the Herbalizer, offer all three. You want to understand what each of these methods offers before making a choice. Whips offer smooth and dense direct hits. Balloon bags allow you to take hits while you’re away from the device. And bubblers deliver smoother, moisture-conditioned rips.
Do you prefer easier hits? A desktop vaporizer with a forced-air option will propel each hit through the vapor path using a high speed fan, making it easier to take big draws. You won’t have to force the air up the vapor path with just the pressure of your inhalation. Some units feature fan speeds so you can control the size and draw resistance of each rip.