Vaporizer Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Vaporizer

Two men sitting on at the table laughing and a vaporizer on the table

Vaping is renowned for its many benefits, especially flavour and health. Check out our guide to the best vaporizers. We explore the differences between many of today’s most popular styles of vaporizers to help you make the right choice!

The recent surge in vaping has left many cannabis consumers wondering if it’s time to look for an alternative consumption method. Of course, with any new development, potential users face plenty of questions before they even consider making a purchase.

  • What are they?
  • How do they work?
  • What’s the best type to suit my lifestyle?

The benefits of vaporizing compared to smoking are readily apparent; they are discreet, highly differentiated for various uses, and, best of all, allow consumers to avoid inhaling potentially dangerous smoke. 

Given all that, it’s little surprise that long-term cannabis smokers are now looking towards safer, alternative methods like vaporizers. Let’s dive into the world of vaporizers, analysing how they work, the different types available, and which style might suit you best.

A brief history of vaporizing

Vaporizing is the act of heating plant matter to the point that it releases the active ingredients without burning the plant matter. Of course, cannabis isn’t the only plant that can be vaporized, but it’s the one we’re concerned with here.

Despite its recent rise in popularity, the technique of vaporizing, as opposed to combusting, goes back centuries. The Scythians, an ancient group of nomads, would drop cannabis seeds onto red hot stones in both daily life and ceremonial practice. In the Middle East, hookahs have been used for over 1,500 years; this is where hot coals are placed above-dried plant matter (or hashish) and the heated air drawn over it.

Three papers with drafts of first electronic cigarette and vaporizer patents

Even modern concepts of vaporization, such as the portable vape pen, actually date back nearly 100 years. The first electronic cigarette patent was filed in 1927, while the first conceptualisation of a modern-day portable vaporizer was conceived in 1960. 

Of course, we’ve come a long way from throwing some seeds onto hot stones. Modern-day vaporizers employ various methods to heat your cannabis flower and ensure you get the most enjoyment out of every puff. 

Types of vaporizers

Classifying the many types of vaporizers as new can be challenging, and more innovative designs continue to hit the market. Fortunately, we can use a few broad categories to separate them, such as the type of heating used for vaporization, the portability of the device, or even the components necessary for their use. 

One of the most significant differences between vaporizers is the heating element. Two popular heating methods common in today’s vaporizers are conduction and convection. However, many popular vaporizer manufacturers like Storz and Bickel, and Pax, combine the two in a hybrid model. So, let’s examine the benefits and drawbacks of each!


Conduction heating is achieved by placing plant matter or concentrates directly onto a heated surface. The heat applied is not sufficient to cause combustion but hot enough to release the vapours of the material. Remember the ancient Scythians throwing hemp seed on red hot rocks? It’s the same idea. 

Three types of vaporizers – conduction, convection, and hybrid vaporizer

In vaporizers, conduction is achieved by incorporating a chamber, commonly referred to as an “oven,” within the device. Typically made of stainless steel, ceramic, or other heat-conductive material, the chamber is filled with dry herb or concentrate. When powered on, the device will heat this chamber using a heating element below, bringing the chamber to the desired temperature and releasing vapour from your material. Vapour is then carried along the vapour path to the mouthpiece, where it can be consumed.  

Many portable vaporizers are powered via conduction. Conduction offers several benefits that make it ideal for portability, such as fast heating times and precise temperature control. Conduction vapes have some drawbacks, though, due to the necessary contact between the plant matter and the heating chamber. In a larger chamber, this can lead to some herbs not receiving adequate heat for vaporization, which may lead to waste and a limited terpene profile.

So, let’s look at some of the best conduction vaporizers available!

PAX 3 

Black PAX 3 vaporizer against the white background

A brilliant example of a portable conduction vape is the PAX 3, the newest development from PAX Labs. Incorporating a deep, narrow chamber, the PAX 3 ensures that all material placed within is heated evenly, leaving behind no waste. 

In addition, the PAX 3 boasts a slew of accessories and functions! Check out their unique concentrate container, multiple mouthpieces, and the ability to connect to the PAX app for optimal control of your device. With a pocket-sized, sleek design, and heat-up times under 22 seconds, the PAX 3 makes a perfect companion for those looking to vape on the go. 

DaVinci IQ2 

Black DaVinci IQ2 vaporizer against the white background

The DaVinci IQ2 is another high-quality portable conduction vaporizer. Featuring a glass-lined oven and glass and zirconia ceramic airpath, the DaVinci IQ 2 ensures your vapour never touches anything unsavoury. 

App connectivity unlocks the DaVinci IQ2’s power, enabling you to track your dosage per pull and session. The IQ2 is quick and discreet for those looking to take their vape with them, featuring heat-up times of under one minute. Compatible with dry herb or cannabis extracts, the IQ2 is another brilliant fusion of design and technology.


Convection vaporizers work similarly to the oven in your kitchen. However, rather than expose your dried flower in direct contact with a heating element, convection heats the air around it, heating the plant matter evenly. This is achieved by positioning the heating chamber within the device to allow for ample airflow. The warm air is pushed through the herb and then channelled to a mouthpiece, where it is inhaled.

Convection heating possesses some distinct advantages over conduction heating, not the least of which is flavour. The heated air from a convection vape tends to retain the terpene profile of the original plant matter better than any other form of vaporization. Convection vapour also tends to be less harsh, making these devices a favourite among connoisseurs.

However, along with the high-quality vapour comes a hefty price tag. Unfortunately, convection vaporizers are one of the priciest options and are often not portable. 


Volcano vaporizer against the white background

One of the most popular convection models is the legendary Volcano, a desktop, non-portable vaporizer. The Volcano vaporizer, available in a digital or analogue model, is among the most famed convection vaporizers. Acclaimed for its ultra-pure vapour and extraordinary flavour, this modern-day marvel stands alone as the premier convection vape. 


Many vaporizer producers have turned their attention to hybrid designs incorporating conduction and convection. These hybrid designs allow for portability and optimal usage while ensuring an exceptionally smooth flavour.

Hybrid devices feature a combined heating element and chamber. The flow of the heated air, combined with the conduction heating, allows simultaneous conduction with ample airflow, aesthetically pleasing flavour and consistency.

Compared to conduction and convention vaporizers, hybrids can heat up faster.

Conduction vaporizers often need the dried flower to be moved around for optimal usage, and convection vapes usually take a while to reach the desired temperature. These hybrid models are rapidly gaining popularity by offering convection-quality vapour at a much lower cost than most convection vaporizers. They are renowned for their portability and price.

Here are a few of the more popular hybrid vaporizers currently available. 


Black Crafty+ vaporizer against the white background

The Crafty+ is a portable vaporizer by Storz & Bickel which combines convection and conduction to provide even, efficient heating. Boasting impressive power and performance, the device’s small profile and battery power make it perfect for taking on the go. 

Thanks to the conduction element, the Crafty+ can be ready in less than 60 seconds while offering users the enhanced flavour and smoother vapour of a convection device. In addition, the Crafty+ features app controllability, allowing users to adjust settings from their smartphone. 


Black Mighty vaporizer against the white background

The Mighty vaporizer is produced by the same manufacturer as the Crafty+ but boasts additional upgrades. The more notable traits are increased battery life and a larger-sized filling chamber. 

This device features a large LED display that allows users to set temperatures directly on the device. The two lithium-ion batteries can be recharged, but the device can also be plugged directly into power and used as a desktop vaporizer. 


Plenty vaporizer against the white background

The Plenty looks like something you’d find in the tool section, but despite its appearance, it is a powerful hybrid vaporizer! However, due to its size, it is primarily a desktop vaporizer.

This device utilises a similar hybrid convection-conduction heating as the Crafty+ and has a wide temperature range from 266 to 395°C. The Plenty’s stainless steel whip serves to cool vapour as it travels the path to the mouthpiece. So, if you’re looking for a unique desktop vaporizer with excellent flavour, look no further!

Up in smoke

Throughout this article, we have shown that vaporizers come in a wide variety of types, sizes, and styles. Understanding their differences can help you make an educated and informed decision about which is appropriate for you. Hopefully, vaping will further your enjoyment of cannabis, saving your lungs from the perils of smoking. 

Check out our wide selection of vaporizers here. We offer premium products from world-renowned manufacturers to help you enjoy cannabis in the healthiest, most enjoyable way possible. 

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis use differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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