What are Vaporizers?

Smoking has changed a lot over the last few years; most notably, the fact that you no longer need to "smoke" at all. Whether you still like your tobacco or something a little greener, vaporizer technology is here to get you where you need to go. All vaporizers aren't created equal, however. In fact, there are actually several types of vaporizer you might find yourself trying out, not to mention all the differences between brands.

Going at all of this alone can be kind of overwhelming, so we've put together this simple guide to vaporizers you can use to pick the gear that's right for you. Today, we'll be focusing on the cannabis side of things. Without further ado, let's jump into our overview and help you find some of the best desktop/handheld vaporizers on the market.

Dry Cannabis

A dry cannabis vaporizer is probably the product most similar to what you might be used to, mostly because it doesn't vaporize anything at all. Dry vaporizers heat up your cannabis either through convection heating or normal combustion, the end result being that the herb gets lit and you get smoke.

One of the biggest advantages of a dry cannabis vape is its convenience compared to more traditional smoking methods. Like other vapes, you won't need to spend money on paper or clean a whole bong whenever you want to smoke. What cleaning or maintenance you will have to do is pretty minor all things considered. As for downsides, they'll really depend on what you end up buying. Some vaporizers have temperature control features to help regulate the heat while others don't, and the time it takes for the herb to burn varies anywhere from a few seconds to a whole minute. You'll also need to give it a little time to cool off before you put it away somewhere.

If this sounds like something you could get behind, you'll have a lot of brands to choose from. Pax is a good way to start off given their reputation for variety and user-friendliness. The always reliable Yocan has a nice selection all on its own with both the HIT and Vane. For the more experienced, you can try the Storz & Bickel Volcano that comes with its own herb grinder, though it's not exactly something you can shove in your pocket (we'll talk more about that a little later).


A vaporizer that uses extract oil/wax is probably what you initially pictured when you started reading. Unlike the dry herb vapes, extract vaporizers really do create vapor by using a battery to heat a special cannabis concentrate that you inhale like smoke. In this way, the biggest change in how you use this product from other forms of vaping is simply the medium, as extract vapes are commonly available in pen form (though box mods are also a good choice if you like something a little bigger in your hand).

That said, there are some other key differences that help extra vaping stand out. For starters, you don't need to worry about grinding any dry herbs, so that's pretty convenient. The oil used in extract vapes also comes in a ton of different flavors, meaning you don't have to settle for just the standard herb taste. Additionally, the biggest drawback for these vapes would simply be user error. Filling your vape with the oil can be a bit precarious if you're inexperienced, especially since it stains like nothing else. So long as you're careful, though, it shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Just like with the dry herb vapes, you can find a ton of brands offering great extract vaporizers. Pulsar's APX Volt is a solid box that comes in a number of colors with some cool safety features. The Yocan Evolve Plus is another great item and happens to be a bestseller thanks to its slim and stylish design that almost invokes a cigar style. iKrusher's VFire is another pen-type vape that's easy to use for first timers and has a low price point to match.


Unlike the other entries on this list, a desktop vaporizer isn't something you can just shove in your pocket and take with you. Like the name implies desktop vaporizers are a bit bigger and are meant to be placed on a flat surface when in use. In this way, they're not too dissimilar to a hookah, so you can get a good idea of what to expect if you've ever used one of those before.

Like a hookah, it's also pretty great for sharing. Depending on the vaporizer you get, some might even have multiple places to smoke from at the same time. They also have a leg up in versatility, as there are desktop vapes made to use dry herb and extract with some even being able to do both. The fact that desktop vaporizers are so much bigger and more complex than the pen or box-style vapes also means that additional features like precision temperature control and the like are more often to come standard. The biggest downside is, obviously, the lack of portability compared to the other two types of vape mentioned here. That said, if you're planning for a night in, this shouldn't really be a problem.

Desktop vapes have just as much variety as any other, so it shouldn't be a surprise that you've got plenty to choose from here. Like we alluded to before, the Storz & Bickel Volcano is actually a desktop dry herb vape, the classic being just the herb while the hybrid model can use both herb and extract. Dr. Dabber is also another quality buy with their Boost Evo with its convenient temperature sensor and regulator plus fun RGB light modes. They also make the Switch (no, not that one), unique in that it actually can overcome the major setback of desktops by switching to portable mode.

All in all, there's really no wrong way to vape. Depending on what you're looking for, though, you might have your sights set on one or more of these three major types of vaporizers. Use what you've learned here to smoke with confidence, and if you're looking for a store to help you do that, Lighter USA has your back.