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Portable herbal vaporizers are compact, handheld units that enable "on-the-go" consumption of dry herb and wax concentrates. These devices are growing ever more popular as a way to vape in a discreet, convenient manner. But there's more to them than portability. They harness great power inside their stealthy-sized frames with high capacity batteries, advanced heating systems, and temperature control capabilities. The surprisingly feature-rich nature of these compact units makes them one of the most popular types of handheld vapes.
With high demand for better, faster units, manufacturers have focused their efforts on perfecting the portable vaporizer. As a result, these devices grow more advanced all the time. Recently the introduction of mobile app controls, convection heating systems, precision temperature control, and sleeker, more solid designs have elevated these units to a new level of sophistication. Models like the PAX 3, DaVinci IQ, and Firefly 2 are currently at the forefront of the industry, featuring cutting edge controls, heating systems and designs.
In short, handheld vapes are for those who want portability with no shortage of vapor quality.
When looking for a new vaporizer, it's important to note that handheld units offer a different experience from desktop and pen-style devices. A portable unit strikes a balance between great vapor production and portability, while desktop and pen devices focus mostly on vapor quality and compactness, respectively.
Portable herbal vaporizers range in size, but are generally pocket-friendly. While desktop units must be plugged into a power source during use, making them extra powerful, handheld devices feature a rechargeable, often replaceable battery that takes only a couple hours to replenish. This makes them similar to the vape pen, a smaller, extra compact device. The average handheld unit can offer hours of continuous vaping on a full charge, and most devices are charged via USB, making it easier to power up from a variety of power sources at a faster rate. The portable nature of these devices makes them popular with commuters. You can take a hit of smooth, delicious vapor, pocket the device, and go about your day. But they are also ideal for home use, as they are easy to use, clean, and carry around the house, but still offer excellent vapor production.
With a compact size, the handheld vape is a discreet way to enjoy dry herb. Many of these devices can be concealed in your hand during use, and carried in your pocket or bag with no hassle. Some super compact portable vaporizers like the Magic Flight Launch Box are incredibly pocket-friendly while still delivering big, tasty clouds. Bluetooth-enabled devices also allow you to choose your temperatures via smartphone so you can keep the unit in your pocket until you have an opportunity to vape discreetly. Portable units enable you to enjoy dry herb or wax concentrates outdoors without drawing attention to your sessions.
Don't let the small size fool you. These compact units pack power with high capacity batteries and efficient heating systems. While super slender vape pens have little room for advanced heating technology, portable units are just big enough to incorporate high-powered heating elements, isolated air paths, spacious chambers, and more. Portable vaporizers can even feature all-glass vapor paths that preserve the natural flavor, aromas, and benefits of dry herb while cooling each hit as it travels toward your palette.
There are two main heating styles: Conduction and Convection. Both offer their own unique advantages. Your choice of heating style may depend on your preferences for cloud size, density, purity, and flavor. Most portable vaporizers feature conduction heating, in which herb is heated by the hot walls of the chamber, while others like the Firefly 2 offer convection systems that thoroughly and evenly vaporize materials with hot air. Hybrid units feature both heating styles for a more well-rounded vapor profile.
Portable vapes with conduction systems heat materials faster. They also tend to be more affordable. Because the herb that's in contact with the heating element will grow hotter faster than the rest of the load, we recommend stirring the bowl in-between hits.
Convection vaporizers send hot air flowing through the chamber to heat the bowl evenly and thoroughly. This heating style minimizes combustion to prevent smoky tastes and harshness while maximizing flavor, aroma, and medicinal benefits.
Hybrid conduction/convection units utilize both styles to offer the best of both worlds. These devices heat fast using conduction chambers while still delivering smoother, flavor-rich vapor with convection heating.
Most handheld vapes either feature preset temperatures--a set of three to five temps to choose from--or precision temp control, which enables you to pinpoint an exact temperature down to the degree. Both heating styles have their own perks, and choosing the right one for you depends on your lifestyle and preferences.
Portable units that offer preset temps generally feature a single button control. For this reason they are technically easier to use than precision temp controlled units. Users simply click the button to power up and toggle temperature. Generally, five clicks powers the unit on, three clicks cycles to the next temp setting. Presets are usually optimized for the most popular vapor profiles. Lower temps create smaller, more flavorful sips, while the higher settings create bigger, more robust clouds. Portable units with preset temperatures are ideal for those who want to take quick hits on-the-fly without fiddling with the controls. But they lack the ability to zero in on a precise temperature that is ideal for your vaping style, dry herb strain, or waxy oil concentrate.
Precision temperature control allows you to choose down to the degree the best temp for your vaping style. These units usually feature "up" and "down" buttons for toggling through a wide range of heat settings. With more temperature options, users can explore different vapor profiles and customize their sessions based on their preference for flavor, size, and density. These devices also enable you to hone in on the most effective temperature for unlocking active compounds from specific strains of dry herb or concentrates. Most precision temperature vaporizers feature LED displays so you can choose temperature and monitor the progress of your heating.
There's more to handheld units than the hits they deliver. A device may look great and produce excellent vapor production, but it also needs to meet other requirements you might have. When choosing the best portable vaporizer, you want to consider the following factors:
Most portable units are designed for dry herb consumption, but some units like the Vivant Dabox are meant for waxy oil concentrates. Whether you prefer to vape herb or wax, make sure the unit you purchase is compatible. You can use our Vaporizer Buyer's Guide to find your ideal unit based on Type and Materials.
The price of most handheld units is a reflection of their quality. Investing in a pricier one will pay off. You'll get higher grade materials, better vapor quality, and more features. That said, there are plenty of cheap portable vaporizers that offer quality at a reasonable price. Notable examples include the Pulsar APX and the Atmos Jump.
Battery strength--usually measured in milliamps (mAh)--varies among handheld vaporizers. You want to find a battery that suits your needs. If you're always on your feet with no time to charge, you want a higher capacity battery with a longer life, bearing in mind that larger batteries often take longer to charge. If you want a shorter charge time, go with a smaller capacity battery. The strength of a battery can also dictate its temperature range, as stronger batteries can reach higher temps faster.
A great way to assess the value of a portable vaporizer is looking at its warranty. Often times, the longer the unit's warranty, the more faith the manufacturer has in its quality. KandyPens, for example, guarantees a lifetime warranty on its batteries, while PAX products feature an impressive 10 year warranty. Finding a portable vape with a warranty also protects your investment in the event of damages, although warranties vary between devices.
Materials matter. Heating chambers made of ceramic are more efficient at vaporizing dry herb without causing combustion. Glass mouthpieces preserve the natural flavors of vapor while cooling each hit. Make sure to research the materials used in the chamber, vapor path and mouthpiece of a portable vaporizer.
Inhale slowly and lightly to prevent herb from being sucked up into the mouthpiece, unwanted cooling of the chamber, and weak hits.
Cleaning your device will ensure longer life and better performance. We feature a variety of cleaning tools and supplies in our warehouse.
When loading your handheld vape, grind your dry herb finely and pack the chamber tightly for optimal vapor production.
Not a big fan of vaping outdoors? You might want to settle for a desktop vaporizer instead. You'll lose the portability since desktop units need plug-in power sources, but you'll get better vapor production in return.