Best Marijuana Vaporizer

Last updated: Sep., 2017
Marjiuana Vaporizers
Marijuana vaporizers here (left to right): Crafty, Grasshopper, VapCap, Firefly 2, and PAX 3.

Hello. My name is Chad, and I think vaporization is the best way to use marijuana. Marijuana vaporization is healthier, safer, and provides greater variety than other consumption methods, such as edibles and concentrates. Vaping technology is always evolving. There are over 2,290 different marijuana strains to try – it's the new wine. Thousands are using this wonderful medicine to increase productivity, creativity, improve mood, and reduce chronic pain. Legalization is occurring. It's all very exciting.

I've gone through a ton of reviews to find the best marijuana vaporizer for most recreational and medical marijuana users. My opinions are based on corroborative reviews from experienced cannabis users. I run this site as a hobby. I hope my research can save you time and money.

Hear me out:

Now, let's focus on vaporizers, or vapes, as they're sometimes called. There's a number of them on the market and some are far better than others. I'm always looking for the best.

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Let's look at the contenders...

PAX 3, by PAX Labs, $274.99
Firefly 2, by Firefly, $329.95
DaVinci IQ, by DaVinci, $274.99
Launch Box, by Magic Flight, $119
Grasshopper, by Hopper Labs, $200+
Solo II, by Arizer, $249.99
Crafty, by STORZ & BICKEL, $279

Each vaporizer above has a few things in common. Each one has a receptacle for cannabis, a mouthpiece for inhalation, and a battery for heating. Listed prices are from manufacturer websites and are subject to change.

Next, let's examine what makes a good vaporizer and score each one along the way. At the end, you'll see the winners.

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Next, let's score each one across 10 categories...

1. Heat method

Conduction vs. Convection Vaporizers

Vaporizers use either convection or conduction heat technology. Convection is better. Many users say convection provides full-flavored, healthier vapor. That's because convection heats herbs more evenly without direct contact. Only the air is heated, which heats the herbs. Very few portable devices offer convection because it's difficult to engineer in a small form factor. In comparison, conduction is not as good. It's like your stovetop. Your herbs make direct contact with a heating surface. There's a chance for combustion, and you won't want that unhealthy smoke. You may also have to periodically stir the chamber of a conduction vaporizer to ensure thorough heating.

Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
4/5
Mostly convection. Heater doesn't touch herbs.
DaVinci IQ
0/5
Conduction
Firefly 2
5/5
Convection
Grasshopper
5/5
Convection
Launch Box
0/5
Conduction
PAX 3
0/5
Conduction
Solo II
2.5/5
Hybrid convection/conduction

2. Heat time

4:20 Marijuana Time

Who likes to wait? That's especially true if you're using your vaporizer during a workday, where time is everything. Also, faster heating means less time exposing a potentially conspicuous device.

Manufacturer-advertised heat times may differ from the real-world user results provided below.

Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
1/5
1.5 to 2.5 minutes
DaVinci IQ
2.5/5
15 to 60 seconds
Firefly 2
5/5
5 seconds or less
Grasshopper
5/5
5 seconds or less
Launch Box
5/5
5 seconds or less
PAX 3
4.25/5
15 to 30 seconds
Solo II
4/5
20 to 28 seconds

3. Vaporization

Crafty oven
Crafty oven.
  1. Strong extraction of active compounds
  2. Vaporizer keeps up with natural inhalation
  3. Vapor path retains herb's natural flavor
  4. Adequate oven size (>= 0.3 g) for more hits and fewer refills
  5. Partially filled oven provides same experience as a full oven
  6. Moderate or cool vapor temperature for easy inhalation
  7. Vapor path is isolated from other components
  8. Oven does not require stirring or shaking
  9. Can produce big clouds
Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
4.5/5
Known for large, milky clouds, smooth, flavorful (conduction/convection) vapor, good airflow, and no plastic taste. Vapor path materials could be better: plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel are used. Works best with tightly packed, finely ground herb. Minimum fill capacity of 50% is recommended. Suitable for group sessions.
DaVinci IQ
4.35/5
Vapor quality is almost as good as a convection unit. To maximize flavor, the vapor path is entirely zirconia-based ceramic. No other vaporizer offers this. A full oven with tightly packed herbs works best. Vapor is dense, cool and pleasant – no hot hits. Provides a mostly even cook. Occasional stir can help. Suitable for group sessions.
Firefly 2
3.8/5
Known for the best, cleanest tasting vapor as compared to all other portable vaporizers. Provides nicely cooled vapor. Air path uses Gorilla Glass. However, there's a learning curve for proper inhalation, which makes the experience less natural and inconsistent. Performance is not as good with a small amount of herb. More stirring is required than other devices. Oven size is only 0.15 g. Best for individual use.
Grasshopper
4.5/5
Vapor quality is said to be excellent for many, although a few folks report a metallic taste. Vapor path material is allegedly stainless steel. Vapor may be warm/harsh due to the short vapor path. There are unconfirmed reports on whether the air path is totally isolated from the battery and electronics. If the battery is not isolated, there's a very small chance a malfunctioning battery may vent toxic gas. The oven can contain up to 0.3 g. Best for individual use.
Launch Box
3.65/5
Vapor quality is not as good as other options. Capable of dense clouds, but requires practice. Herb combustion is possible if not careful. The glass tube pathway and vapor can get hot because you physically apply the battery, which controls the heat. The device needs to be shaken for even vaporization. The finer the grind and the dryer the herb, the better. Users report oven capacity at about 0.2 g. Best for individual use.
PAX 3
3.9/5
Smooth, cool, satisfying vapor, but the flavor is not as good as with the DaVinci IQ, Crafty, or full-convection vaporizers. This is partially due to the stainless steel vapor path. Oven stirring is not required but can produce a couple extra hits. Inhalation is not as natural as it could be – there's a learning curve to the draw speed and timing. Clouds are rich, but may not be as big as the competition. A minimum 50% fill is recommended. The half-pack oven lid is said to increase performance for less material. Suitable for group sessions.
Solo II
3.65/5
Solid flavor and smooth vapor. The oven uses ceramic and stainless steel. Nice borosilicate glass vapor path. Tube length adequately cools vapor. Capable of very large clouds, but there's some inhalation resistance. Note a plastic "factory" smell may initially be present, but it's fixed with repeated use. The occasional stir helps. Can only contain about 0.15 g of material. Suitable for group sessions with under four people. There's been some controversy regarding the air path passing through the electronics, which is potentially unhealthy. An Arizer tech stated, in very specific terms, that all materials are completely safe. Unfortunately, there's no reputable third-party organization that tests cannabis vaporizer air pathways for harmful substances.

4. Temperature controls

Cannabis temperature guide
Different temps = different effects. Interesting stuff.

Did you know that specific temperatures release different types of cannabis compounds? That's one of the benefits of vaping – you control the temp, which means you control the effects! If your vaporizer is set too hot, you can get too much smoke (remember, combustion = toxins). Lower settings are best for medical users who want to avoid the "high" of THC (which is released at greater temps). Look at this detailed temperature guide or download the PDF version for printing. Furthermore, check out this cannabinoid effects chart from Royal Queen Seeds or download the PDF printable version. To prevent combustion/smoke/toxins for novice users, I think vaporizers should be designed to initially use an upper limit of around 400°F (204°C), which can be adjusted later.

  1. Can accurately meet indicated temperatures
  2. Adjustable ranges between 300°F (149°C) and 400°F (204°C)
  3. First-use temperature setting is < 400°F (204°C)
  4. Adequate temperature display, lighting, or another indicator
  5. Ergonomic/accessible
Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
4/5
Only two temperature settings are achievable via the device itself: "basic" at 356°F (180°C) and "booster" at 383°F (195°C). Inconveniently, the app must be used to reach temperatures ranging from 104°F (40°C) to 410°F (210°C). The app must also be used to customize the basic and booster temperature modes. The LED display is really just a light that indicates readiness with red and green colors. The on/off switch, also used for switching between the two temperatures, is a bit out of the way near the bottom-end of the unit.
DaVinci IQ
4.6/5
Device powers up into "smart path" mode, allowing selection among four pre-configured temperature ranges. The first smart path ranges from 350°F (177°C) to 370°F (188°C). The fourth smart path ranges from 410°F (210°C) to 430°F (221°F). The precision mode allows custom control over heating temperature. Controls are conveniently centered on the unit's side. The device blinks and vibrates. It's possible to dim the temperature display, toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and switch to the battery-conserving standby mode.
Firefly 2
3.8/5
Heat settings, including profiles and precise tuning, can only be changed via the mobile app. There are no temperature controls on the device itself. Also unfortunate, the app's power tuning feature (used for fine temperature control) only provides percentages. Do you know what 111% temperature is? I don't either. An indication of the temperature in degrees would be better. The device uses Green LED indicates the device is ready. A 400°F (204°C) max default is applied, which is good.
Grasshopper
4/5
A rotary dial on top of the device provides fine temperature control. Each small notch indicates a 20°C (68°F) change. Would be better if each notch clicked into place, but it's easy to get a feel for the dial. There's no digital indicator of the temperature – use mental math. Most users keep it around the 3.5 mark. A blue LED indicates the desired temperature has been reached.
Launch Box
1.6/5
The Launch Box is an analog approach to vaping, so it doesn't score very well here. You apply the battery until vapor forms. The longer you apply, the hotter it gets. There's no temperature indicator or buttons to press. It's all look and feel and requires practice. Probably not the best choice for medical users or those who want to access specific cannabinoids.
PAX 3
4/5
There's no immediate temperature indicator. To check and set the heat mode, hold down the button on the top, then push repeatedly to cycle among five modes. Colored light shining through the device's logo indicates the mode. To set, shake the device or hold down the power button for two seconds. The app must be used to find temps in degrees, fine adjustment, configuring the custom (fifth) mode, and customizing lighting options. Min. temp is unfortunately high at 360°F (182°C).
Solo II
5/5
Full on-screen OLED temp indicator displays in Fahrenheit and Celsius. Easily accessible buttons allow fine control of temps from 122°F (50°C) to 422°F (217°C). Screen brightness and audio beeps can be adjusted. Straightforward. No app required. Unfortunately, no custom profiles, but it will remember the last temp used. Possibly the best option for users with sight or hand dexterity issues, such as arthritis or Parkinson's.

5. Design

Grasshopper vaporizer components
A disassembled Grasshopper – the standard stainless steel version.

Vaporizers are often used multiple times every day, so it's important to invest in something that looks good and gets the job done. Note that failure rate is not considered here. There's another section for that.

  1. Visually pleasing, stylish, does not look cheap
  2. Premium materials, clean fit and finish
  3. Looks new despite daily use
  4. No annoying design problems
Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
2.75/5
I can appreciate utilitarian design, but this looks like a CPU heatsink and a juice box had a baby. My girlfriend would be embarrassed to use this when out and about. The all-plastic exterior, filled with crevices, provides a good grip. Most users say it holds up well over time. Serial number area is known to wear off, so write it down. Newer models have plastic ridges on the side of the bowl that may improve durability and the seal. Be careful – oven wall stainless steel can become scratched because of tools or use of the screen. Some users (with potentially defective units) report considerable heat on the outside of the device. The sixty-second auto shut-off may occur when the device is in use, as its use detection may not be reliable. Components are expected to degrade over time – STORZ & BICKEL sells a "CRAFTY Wear & Tear Set."
DaVinci IQ
3.9/5
In my opinion, it's the best looking portable vaporizer other than the Grasshopper. It's modern and compact. The oven may not close flush and is easily stained. Scratches/scuffs can be quite visible. Shiny metal coating near oven can chip away with use. Some units are said to get too hot to handle, perhaps due to battery coming in contact with the aluminum casing. The heat may cause the device to shut off unexpectedly and even interfere with its Bluetooth connection. Some users have reported cracks in the ceramic chamber. The pearl (the ball that helps back down herb) has been known to detach. It's difficult to clean the gunk buildup in the between the back of the oven and the flavor chamber.
Firefly 2
3.4/5
Attention Power Rangers – the Firefly 2 cannot be used to summon zords. Looks more like a child's toy (a kazoo, particularly) than the other options. Great color choices, though. Wish the device was a bit smaller. The lid must be free of debris to ensure a proper seal, and this may labor some users. If your Firefly 2 is not producing decent vapor, try pinching the lid with your fingers to improve the seal. If you still have poor vapor production, you may also want to check if you have a rubber ring on the neck of the mouthpiece. If it's missing, order a pack of mouthpieces. The pack should include a ring, which will improve the seal and may significantly help vapor issues. Some units exhibit a "flashing red light" issue, where the device shuts off. Cold weather may impact reliability, so store it in a temperate place. The mouthpiece is said to be finicky with difficulty staying in place. Oven holes can become clogged if not cleaned. Don't clean the top lid with alcohol, as the rubble seal may get damaged.
Grasshopper
4.4/5
Sleek, no-gimmick, all-metal design. When in use, it looks like you're sucking on a pen, but that's a trade-off for the stealth factor. The main design issues are related to heat. Firstly, the device's tip and vapor can get too hot. You can work around this a bit by turning the Grasshopper off between hits. Also, the silicon mouthpiece or the performance front-end may help. The clicking end of the unit may get hot. Overall, the Grasshopper doesn't get unbearably hot (like some Crafty and DaVinci IQ units). The Grasshopper can overheat and flash red and blue lights, in which case, you'll have to wait for it to cool down. The charger's design is attractive. Because of the force required, be careful separating and applying the magnetic charger. The clip (used for attaching to your shirt, for example) has been known to scratch the Grasshopper's body. The stainless steel version may show more scratches than the titanium version.
Launch Box
3.75/5
It's like holding a rustic, Scandinavian studio apartment in the palm of your hand. Over 10 glass and wood options are available on the product website. Nice small form factor. Glass mouthpiece may be fall out because of shallow hole design. Plexiglas cover will turn dark over oven hole. An uncomfortable amount of force may be required to hold the battery in place for heating, but this can be circumvented (at your own risk) by removing the rubber washer. The power adapters have gone through a couple revisions. The wooden 2.0 power adapter was faulty. Currently, the plastic 2.1 charger is offered. Version 2.4 was in testing but allegedly was faulty, lacked a power button (which many users liked), and was discontinued. Overall, the MFLB offers a simple design that holds up well over time.
PAX 3
3.5/5
Looks like one of those small metal mint cases, which is okay. Most people don't like the shine on the PAX 3. Makes it look a bit cheap and shows off all your fingerprints. Hopefully, they come out with a matte version and a color range different than the iPhone. The device stays surprisingly cool considering its compact size. Flat mouthpiece works better than raised one for cooler aggressive draws. The app can be used to lock the device. A locked PAX 3 is a problem if your phone dies. Some users have reported errors during the app update process, which can usually be resolved by following specific steps. Magnets on packing lids have been known to break. Charging dock magnet is rather weak. Fairly easy to scratch.
Solo II
3.75/5
The Solo II looks like a Chinese gadget used to control a middle school PA system. Arizer and Solo II logos look like they belong to a line of adult products from the 80s. Font used in OLED display also looks outdated. Long stem planted in the middle of the device, although functional, is reminiscent of Alfalfa. On the plus side, it does not get hot. Has a reputation for ruggedness. Stem could be designed better to improve airflow. Turn on time takes several seconds. Buttons are rattly, but responsive. Fairly scratch resistant. Overall build quality is solid.

6. Battery

DaVinci IQ battery
The DaVinci's battery is the red thing. Look at the nice flat, braided USB power cable.

All of the vaporizers listed below use batteries. Mainly, batteries provide power to the heating and lighting elements. Battery life is influenced by temperature settings, herb type, and how tightly the oven is packed. Look for a vaporizer that can be used repeatedly throughout the day without recharging. A swappable battery means that you can plug in a fresh one instead of waiting for a depleted one to recharge. Generally, vaporizer batteries are fickle and a common point of failure. Over time, battery performance will degrade. That's why it's really important to pick one that lets you install/swap new batteries vs. one that requires a manufacturer return.

  1. Long battery life
  2. Fast-charging
  3. Swappable
  4. Vaporizer is usable while recharging
Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
1.45/5
  • Battery life: about 30 min.
  • Charge time: about 2 hours
  • Swappable: No
  • Usable while charging: *Yes
For new units, each charge should last for about three bowls (approximately 30 minutes). Over time, your use may drop to 2.5 bowls or less. *Can be used while charging, but the battery will drain faster than it charges. To get a new battery, you have to send your Craft to STORZ & BICKEL and pay $75 to $120. You may also have to pay a labor fee and shipping. Yes, the rates need clarification and consistency. By the way, don't charge the battery while it's hot. After use, give it time to cool down. Store the battery at 20% to 80% capacity at a temperature around 68°F (20°C). There's a bunch of other information on the Crafty support page.
DaVinci IQ
2.2/5
  • Battery life: about 50 to 90 min.
  • Charge time: about 1.5 to 4 hours
  • Swappable: No
  • Usable while charging: Yes
Note the considerable charge time variation from user reports. Using a NiteCore-i2 charger may significantly speed up charging. Disable Bluetooth for longer battery life. Batteries are about $10.95 each. The battery indicator (via the light display on the device) can be inaccurate.
Firefly 2
2.45/5
  • Battery life: 45 to 60 min.
  • Charge time: about 80% in 20 min., 100% in 90 min.
  • Swappable: Yes
  • Usable while charging: No
Remember, this is an on-demand convection vaporizer, so the battery is used differently. With the Firefly 2, you tend to take a few quick draws here and there, and go about your business rather than sitting down for full sessions, like with the Crafty. Expect about five bowls per charge, with six to eight draws each. The battery should last for about 20 draws, minimum. Remember, the Firefly 2's bowl size (0.15 g) is smaller than other vaporizers. An extra battery is included. The dock lets you charge only one battery at a time. Conserve battery life by avoiding the touch sensors when it's not in use.
Grasshopper
3.55/5
  • Battery life: about 45 to 75 min.
  • Charge time: about 1 hour
  • Swappable: Yes
  • Usable while charging: *Yes
Like the Firefly 2, the Grasshopper is an on-demand convection vaporizer that's intended to be used intermittently. Battery life is mediocre – three to four bowls (0.3 g) are possible before a charge is necessary. *The Grasshopper drains faster than it charges. Batteries can be purchased from Hopper Labs directly for $7 each. Just like the other vaporizers, your battery will eventually not hold a charge. The battery is said to last about 200 charges. Users recommend purchasing at least one extra, but you'll probably end up ordering them on a regular basis. Turn off the device between hits to conserve power. Avoid cold temperatures to prevent extra heating drain. If the battery is below 40°F (4°C), warm it in your hands first. Although a third-party charger like the NiteCore may charge faster, the Grasshopper's overall reliability may be reduced.
Launch Box
1.6/5
  • Battery life: about 5 min.
  • Charge time: about *4 hours
  • Swappable: Yes
  • Usable while charging: No
Very short battery life. You'll need to always keep multiple batters with you. One to two trenches per battery is common. Some users report three or more. Users report good experiences with these Powerex 2700mAh batteries. One of the benefits of this device is that common 2000+ mAh NiMH AA batteries will work. It's worth noting that more powerful batteries will heat herbs faster, so adjust your use approach accordingly. *The included charger will recharge in four hours, but faster chargers are available. An extra battery and a charger are included. Magic Flight has a large battery information page.
PAX 3
1.35/5
  • Battery life: about 1 to 1.5 hours
  • Charge time: about 1.5 hours
  • Swappable: No
  • Usable while charging: No
Users report about five to six sessions per charge. Because the battery is not swappable, you'll have to ship your device away to resolve battery problems. Pax Labs is reportedly charging some folks $125 for a battery replacement. The weak charging dock magnet means you may have to use a rubber band to secure the device to the charger. Remember, a cold battery will not last as long. If you're unable to charge, try pushing in the two copper circles on the back of the device. Like other devices, the wall charger will be faster than USB.
Solo II
2.75/5
  • Battery life: 2 to 3 hours
  • Charge time: about 3 hours
  • Swappable: No
  • Usable while charging: Yes
When used while charging, the Solo II, unlike other vaporizers, can actually gain a charge. Note that it must be first charged for about 10 minutes first. As usual, avoid cold temperatures. If you're not going to use it for a month or so, leave the battery partially charged.

7. Failure rate

Chinese vaporizer assembly
A vaporizer manufacturer ALD Group in Guangdong, China.

Vaporizers create hot temperatures in small spaces near sensitive electronics. There's a lot that can go wrong. Some models fail more than others. To define failure, we're talking about the inability to function as intended; usually inoperable. It can take weeks for a warranty replacement to arrive. That's why having a backup vaporizer is a good idea, especially for medical users. It's worth noting that proper cleaning and care can drastically improve reliability.

Actual failure rates are difficult to determine because they are known only by manufacturers, who are incentivized to keep this information private. We only see user reports. It's possible these reports are from a loud minority of users, but on the other hand, if there's a large number of people saying the same thing, maybe there's a reason why.

Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
2.5/5
While the durability of the device is pretty good, Crafty vapes are known for a slightly above average rate of failure. Failure is usually indicated by a blinking yellow light and a message on the app or a red light accompanied by an inability to heat up. Troubles tend to arise with over 110 hours of usage. Very few unlucky users reported three or more RMAs. A replacement takes about two weeks to arrive. The return process is non-communicative but usually hassle-free. As a nice touch, users have reported additional screens and O-rings included in returns. In some cases, a brand new unit in-box was provided. One user reported success in purchasing a brand new Crafty from a retailer every time his Crafty failed. When the new Crafty arrived, he sent back the non-working one to S&B for a full refund. This way, he always worked with a brand new unit and did not have to wait on S&B.
DaVinci IQ
3.5/5
Relatively few instances of failure. Those I found mentioned devices not charging, not heating up, becoming too hot to hold, batteries draining within 10 minutes, or cracks in the ceramic chamber (as mentioned in the design section). The RMA process is said to take two weeks to two months, depending on how soon customer support responds. There's a DaVinci support rep that hangs out in a popular vaping forum. He can help expedite requests. DaVinci has a reputation for poor customer support, but that's covered in a different section. A new unit may be provided if the warranty unit is unrepairable. They may be more willing to charge you shipping costs compared to other companies.
Firefly 2
2.5/5
Firefly has been hesitant in issuing RMAs. Perhaps this is because they know how finicky their device is and the special technique it requires. There's a tendency to imply it's the user's fault. In some cases, they say there's nothing wrong with problematic units. If they say your device has no defects and is working as intended, you are charged a $30 servicing fee and shipping. If there is a defect, they will replace or repair the unit at no cost. There are many instances where users are unsatisfied with the vapor production and give up on the device, considering it an expensive paperweight. Flashing lights, inability to charge or heat up, burnt herbs, inability to draw air through – these are all failure indicators. Before sending in your unit, make sure it's clean and in tip top shape, as the warranty will be null and void if they feel the device was misused. Firefly claims that each unit received at their Service Center goes through a thorough 20-point inspection process to diagnose any issues.
Grasshopper
1/5
The Grasshopper has a notorious high rate of failure. Failure is usually indicated by flashing red and blue lights. The Grasshopper was created out of a crowdfunding project, which promised features beyond those of any other dry herb vaporizer. The design continues to be incrementally tweaked. Some users have reported sending the unit back to Hopper Labs for repairs around 10 times. Some have received returned devices that contain scratches or dents that were not originally present. Some say their devices work for a short while, then eventually fail. Other users report no problems despite years of daily use. A couple of tips to keep the device working: don't drop the batteries in – slide them in gradually (at an angle), keep the air holes clean of plant matter and pocket lint. For what it's worth, I contacted Hopper Labs, and Trevor (one of the founders) responded directly, stating that the current failure rate of new units (as of June 2017) is < 10%. He also said they've adopted new QC steps to catch issues before devices are sent to customers. I question this, because since my last communication with Trevor, people have reported units that have been DOA. Publicly, Hopper Labs says the number one priority is reducing the failure rate to .1% or less. How feasible this is anyone's guess. Note that unlike other vaporizers, the Grasshopper only seems to be available directly from Hopper Labs. Third-party retailers no longer seem to carry them. Perhaps this is due to too many problems, frequent inventory variability, low third-party profit margins, or Hopper Labs simply wanting direct control over sales and support.
Launch Box
4/5
Power adapter failures are most common. Users have reported going through more than five power adapters. As mentioned previously, the 2.1 power adapter is currently offered, which addresses issues with version 2.0. Despite the device itself having a lifetime warranty, the 2.1 power adapter has a 90-day warranty. This seems to legitimize the power adapter concerns. There have been a small number of reports of the screen failing after a couple years of use. The devices are said to be handmade, with over 70 inspection steps in final quality control. Overall, there are very few instances of the Launch Box (itself) failing. Many users report working units years after original purchase.
PAX 3
4.5/5
Very few failure reports. Failure to turn on is the most common. For a warranty claim, it's best to use live chat or email. There's a PAX 3 rep that hangs out on a couple of forums, who may assist further if the traditional support route isn't working. Avoid the phone option – it's said to be slower. It can take up to 10 days for support to respond to a ticket. Then it may take two weeks for the repaired or replacement unit to arrive. Before sending your device away for service, avoid warranty problems by making sure the device is as clean as possible.
Solo II
5/5
I could only find one failure report, which describes a Solo II shutting down with an error message soon after starting up. The Solo II has been out for over four months (at the time of writing this), which is plenty of time to come across comments or posts about failures. Therefore, it's only fair to score this with 5/5. Support is provided through email. They will need the serial number and a copy of the sales receipt. The weakest component may be the battery. The Arizer website indicates a one-year warranty for the battery, whereas a lifetime warranty is provided for the heating element. In addition, the Solo II's support page is very detailed in how the battery should be handled.

8. Warranty

Warranty scan
Beware of counterfeit products, as they won't be eligible for warranty repairs.

There's a decent chance that at some point, you'll have to send in your vaporizer for repairs. In most cases, if the device is defective, a warranty ensures free repair or replacement. If it's your fault, even if it's an accident, the warranty won't apply (except with the Magic Flight). You'll want a device with a long warranty that covers as many trouble areas as possible. I prefer a five-year warranty, minimum. You'll probably move on to a new vaporizer by then.

When shipping your device out, make sure to get tracking with signature confirmation. Also, remember to also properly clean your device and use one or more airtight containers or packaging methods.

Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
1/5
  • Length: 2 years
Defects due to normal use or wear are not covered. Parts subject to wear such as batteries, screens, and similar are also not covered.
DaVinci IQ
4/5
  • Length: 10 years
Does not cover components of the device associated with wear and tear, such as the batteries, hinges, mouthpiece, etc. Does not cover issues caused by cleaning negligence. Proof of purchase is required for warranty repairs. Keep your receipt. Don't buy from eBay or Craigslist, as your purchase will not be covered.
Firefly 2
1/5
  • Length: 2 years
Warranty covers defects in material and/or workmanship within two years from purchase date. The lid gasket and batteries are not covered. Cosmetic damage may nullify your warranty, as will problems arising from cleaning negligence. You're responsible for all shipping costs. Keep your receipt! The warranty is transferable to a new owner.
Grasshopper
5/5
  • Length: lifetime
To receive warranty service, you muster register your device on Grasshopper's website. If it's already been registered or set up under another account, no service. No further warranty details are made available on the public site.
Launch Box
5/5
  • Length: lifetime
The warranty also covers modified and accidentally broken devices. The orange indicator light is not covered, but it's not a big deal as it's used as a training wheel until you get the hang of using the device. Make sure the serial number, embedded on the device itself, is legible. The warranty is transferable to the current owner/user. To get service, you'll need to send Magic Flight a picture of the serial number.
PAX 3
4/5
  • Length: 10 years
Make sure you're purchasing from an authorized dealer, or the warranty may not apply. Warranty covers typical defects in materials and workmanship. Not transferable to new owners. Misuse and regular damage are not covered.
Solo II
2.5/5
  • Length: 1 year to lifetime*
*A lifetime warranty is provided for the heating element. One year for the battery. And two years for everything else. The two-year warranty covers defect in materials or workmanship. It's good to see the battery is somewhat covered, unlike other devices. Glass components are not covered. Proof of purchase is required. Accidents, misuse, and abuse are not covered.

9. Customer support

Customer service representative
Show me your superior communication skills.

Even if you have the best warranty in the world, if your customer support is horrible, I won't want your product. I need to be able to easily get in touch. Honest, direct, expedient, and polite communication should be expected. Keep me in the loop. It also helps if you reach out to the community on social media, but one contact method shouldn't be any more reliable than the next. If I call your phone number or send an email, I expect the same support quality and turnaround time.

When contacting customer support, they may try to renege on the warranty or repair. Do your homework ahead of time. Find other instances of the same problem and where support stepped in to help. You can mention that you're active in online vaporizer forums and you want to provide a good review. Don't threaten or come off too crass, though.

Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
2.5/5
Support experience varies considerably, from prompt responses with a detailed explanation to no communication whatsoever. UK support said to be better than US support. Inconsistencies are said to occur among agents. Your battery will likely need to be replaced at some point. Expect reluctance and surprise fees.
DaVinci IQ
2/5
Many users report difficulty getting in contact with DaVinci. No response or significant delay is common. Online ticket or phone support – makes no difference. If they don't respond, seek out the DaVinci support person on the FC forum. He's may be able to "bump" your ticket or check the status.
Firefly 2
2/5
May take several days (4+) for a response and even more time to review the request and confirm that you should send it. Users report then waiting nearly a month or longer before a repaired or replaced unit arrives.
Grasshopper
4/5
A quick and courteous experience is common. Use the website or email them. No phone support. Support is active on Reddit, and may offer better service through Reddit private message.
Launch Box
4.5/5
Reports speak of compassionate customer service via phone and email. No consistent major complaints. Website clearly states hours of operation and outlines how support works. Expect 24 to 48 hours for a response.
PAX 3
3.5/5
Good, helpful experiences on average. Missing or delayed responses are reported by few. An online support ticket system is used. No phone number is offered. Support hours are clearly stated.
Solo II
3/5
Reports range from great to bad. In bad cases, users say Arizer hesitates to provide support. An Arizer support rep may spend a good deal of time trying to find fault with your device to prevent warranty service. Other users report no hassle whatsoever. The fastest way to reach them is via email (service@arizer.com).

10. Stealth

A PAX 3 vaporizer being placed into a purse.
The PAX 3 is easily concealed.

Stealth is achieved via a small form factor or disguisable design (i.e. a pen) and suppression of cannabis odor (both in use and idle). Regardless of the stealthy design, you're still going to hold an object to your mouth and puff it. Perhaps the best stealth design resembles a conventional electronic cigarette. Regarding odors, I am only considering those present when the vaporizer is not in use. Scoring based on in-use odor is unfair because each device is used differently.

A stealthy vaporizer is important for several reasons. For example, even if your state allows recreational marijuana, public consumption is probably illegal. California's fines range from $100 to $250. Colorado enforces a similar $100 fine. Always check local laws. Secondly, in cannabis-illegal states, a stealthy vaporizer may prevent visual discovery during a paraphernalia search. Note that a trained canine's olfactory abilities have no trouble detecting cannabis. Finally, you may have reasons to hide your medical needs or hobbies from friends or family. Always clean your vaporizer to prevent residual odors and store it in a smell-proof case.

Be careful – vaporizers such as the Crafty, PAX 3, DaVinci IQ, and Firefly 2 communicate with a mobile app via Bluetooth. It's possible for someone nearby to discover your concealed vaporizer when accessing their phone's Bluetooth settings. If possible, disable the vaporizer's Bluetooth.

Product
Score
Comment
Crafty
1.5/5
It's odd-looking and will protrude a bit from your hand. One of the most noticeable. It's not as smelly as the others, though. Bluetooth is said to turn off if no connection is made within 10 minutes of powering on. An app update made available on Sep. 6, 2017 allows you to disable Bluetooth entirely, though the update may not work for older Craftys.
DaVinci IQ
3.5/5
Produces an average amount of smell. Small design fits in the hand nicely, but will probably stick out a bit. Sort of looks like a music player. Bluetooth broadcasts 24/7, so disable it.
Firefly 2
2/5
Herbs are visible through the glass. Unusual design, thickness, and horizontal use make it quite noticeable. In terms of smell, it's possibly the stealthiest. Could not find any information about Bluetooth pervasiveness, so tread carefully.
Grasshopper
4.5/5
One of the least smelly. It truly looks like a pen. A reduction in diameter would make it a tad stealthier.
Launch Box
2.5/5
One of the smelliest. Wood components may harbor odors. Made to fit in the palm, but the battery and optional mouthpiece protrude.
PAX 3
3.5/5
Reported to be smellier than the DaVinci IQ. It's small, but longer than the IQ, so it may stick out a bit. As mentioned previously, it looks like a mint container. Use the flat mouthpiece for increased stealth. Could not find any information about Bluetooth pervasiveness, so tread carefully.
Solo II
1/5
The Solo II is the largest of the portable vaporizers reviewed here. When the mouthpiece is detached, maybe the Solo II can pass for a kitchen tool or music calibration equipment. Not much discussion about odors. Clean the mouthpiece regularly, though, because there's plenty of photos showing residue.
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Finally, the conclusion and winners...

First, a word about the rating system. I try to fairly compare vaporizers using the ten attributes listed above. Note that not every attribute is mathematically quantifiable. Scores are based on subjective human reports, which vary. Not every device will exhibit the same performance characteristics, good or bad. Product users tend to be more vocal with complaints. Therefore, my ratings tend to be harsher than others. To decide the winners, I simply add up all of the attribute scores for each product. Consider the scores to reflect "best all-around vaporizer." The scores are not weighted because my priorities may be different than yours. What you consider most important (e.g. failure rate) may differ from others' preferences. In such instances, I recommend finding what's most important to you and comparing each vaporizer based on the research above.

Note that current award designations are subject to change at any time as new products become available and are reviewed. Check back every so often. Award winners may use the award images (svg) freely and in perpetuity, including on websites, packaging, etc. I can be reached via email at chad@plantvapor.com.

Best Vape Award
Grasshopper
Score: 8.2/10
Grasshopper Vaporizer 1 Grasshopper Vaporizer 2 Purchase the Grasshopper

Best Vape AwardThe Grasshopper vaporizer by Hopper Labs is the clear first-place winner. This best-in-class portable battery-powered vape stands out for its sleek design, portability, stealthiness, very fast heat time, and great vapor quality. For cooling purposes, I recommend purchasing the titanium version with the Performance Front-end (PFE) accessory. I also recommend picking up at least three extra batteries. Unfortunately, there's a chance your device may fail. To avoid some issues, clean it properly and regularly. The Grasshopper's reliability needs significant improvement and is continuously addressed by Hopper Labs. A backup vaporizer is highly recommended until this young company irons out all the bugs in its product line. That said, it comes with a lifetime warranty. The customer support is dedicated and will work with you to get a replacement unit as soon as possible if the need arises.

Great Vape Award
Solo II
Score: 6.6/10
Arizer Solo II Vaporizer 1 Arizer Solo II Vaporizer 2 Purchase the Solo II

Great Vape AwardThe Solo II is the best portable vaporizer for home medical use because of its bright OLED display, easy-to-use controls, graspable size, rugged build, and excellent vapor quality. I consider it to be semi-portable, as it's too big to fit comfortably in a regular pocket. Vaporization uses both convection and conduction. While charging, the Solo II is fully operational and can actually gain a charge. That's a big plus for forgetful folks or those who need scheduled medication. There are very few instances of the device failing, so it's a great primary or backup vaporizer option. The warranty and battery charging speed could be better. The vapor path may mix with internal electronics, but Arizer claims the air pathway is completely safe. Many users attest to clean vapor quality. After purchasing, be sure to take it through a dry run to get rid of any plastic taste or odor. Get a black mouthpiece because the regular clear one will easily look dirty.

Great Vape Award
PAX 3
Score: 6.5/10
Purchase the PAX 3

Great Vape AwardThe PAX 3 is currently the best full-conduction vaporizer available. It provides satisfying vapor, a compact build, looks nice in the hand, stays cool during use, has a lengthy 10-year warranty, and customer support is generally good. Considering the PAX 3's popularity, there are few failure reports. The various heat modes will get the job done for most users. As with any vaporizer, battery performance will degrade over time. With enough use, you'll have to send in your PAX 3 for battery replacement (possibly at cost). The charging dock's loose grip on the PAX 3 needs improvement. Although it's not a part of the rating criteria, many users like the PAX 3's ability to also vaporize extracts (also called concentrates). Beware of fakes – only purchase from authorized dealers, as linked to here.

All Scores
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