Recreational legalization of marijuana continues its march to more states every year. To keep up with that demand, better methods of consumption are being pioneered constantly. Weed enthusiasts rejoice! There's never been a time in history better for getting high, and these are the best essentials you should be armed with to take on this brave new world.
Herbalizer’s desktop vaporizer actually shocked us by being much bigger than we expected. The egg-shaped vape then shocked us again by providing one of the most satisfying experiences in all of our testing. Simple and effective, the LCD display and controls made it a cinch to use while also displaying oddball heady quotes as a splash screen every time we fired it up. The Herbalizer’s bowl is magnetized into place, which made it easy to clean out and reload. It was also the most efficient machine of all the ones we tested, stretching a single bowl into several vapor bags or a long sesh using the silicon whip. Herbalizer did include a glass steamroller attachment for us to try, but that one awkwardly threw vapor in our faces.
The Pax3 is easily the most elegant and discreet option of all the pot tech that’s worthy of our praise. Looking at it, you’d assume you were seeing a new iPhone accessory. The minimalist design of the medical grade alloy tube hides within it a vaporizing system that’s been honed to perfection over three iterations of Pax devices. There’s a simple on/off button on the top of the device, but fine-tuned controls can be accessed via the companion app for iOS and Android where you’ll be able to monitor battery life, control temperature, and even set distinct modes that’ll match the Pax’s performance to your personal preferences. (That includes whether you choose to vape ground herbs or concentrates since the Pax3 can do both with the help of several, included oven chamber attachments.)
The Firefly2 might be the most tech-forward item in these ranks. Bigger than we expected, the Firefly2 is a handful, but the underlying tech puts the design cues found here ahead of the pack. The Firefly2, unlike the Pax3, uses convection heating, and that means fully packing your bowl for the best results. This handheld helps that along by using a surprisingly strong magnetized topper. On the exterior, two contact nodes fire up with Firefly2 when touched together, a motion that closely mimics that of holding a pipe with a carb on it. Like many of the handhelds on this list, finer control of the Firefly2 is done via an app on your phone where temperature and battery readouts are accessible. The end result is a device that’s cleverly designed, rips like a champ, feels incredibly durable and remains portable enough to take with you.
4. S&B Crafty
Storz and Bickel is a veteran of the vaporizing industry, and their Crafty handheld takes all that expertise and dumps it into a compact form. The plastic form factor—as opposed to the metal designs of the Pax3 and Firefly2—still feels quite durable, but also had us treating the Crafty as less precious as a result. Tossing it around in our bag willy nilly became the norm, and the Crafty performed admirably. Like most of its competition, the Crafty also uses a Bluetooth connection to your phone for app control of temperature, firmware updates and battery readouts. Unlike the competition, the Crafty can be charged directly with a micro-USB cord, no dock necessary. The Crafty does use a more traditional heating element and, as a result, takes longer to get up to vaporizing heat, but that’s a difference between a few seconds and about a minute. Because of the Crafty’s design, we did notice that ground herbs can gunk up the works a bit but, with everything that’s included in the box, S&B gives you more than enough in the way of tools to keep the Crafty clean and puffing like a champ.
The granddaddy of home vaporizers, the Volcano has actually become synonymous with vaping weed in most circles. It deserves every accolade it’s earned. The Volcano is extremely efficient with your vaping materials, easily tuned right from the front display itself. Equipped to handle both straw and bag attachments, the versatility and efficiency of the Volcano will pay for its own high price over time. It doesn’t hurt that the Volcano DIGIT’s display looks straight out of Doc Brown’s Delorean either, which is appropriate because you may actually feel like you’ve time traveled after hitting it.
Vapir’s home desktop vaporizer entry is more moderately priced than its competition, but lacks nothing in terms of the the experience it delivers. Several attachments boost the Rise’s capabilities, making it possible to vape ground herbs or concentrates for solo use via a straw or a bag. Or, attach the hookah-like multi-spout so a group of friends can hit the Rise simultaneously. Toggles right on the front give you control of both temperature and fan speed, and we found high temps with low fan speed gave the thickest, most satisfying results for bag-use. The Vapir Rise is also the only unit we tested that has an optional water-cooled attachment, a la a bubbler or bong, that might be overkill for some but undoubtedly made the experience that much better. Honestly, if you’re spending this much on a vaping device, overkill probably isn’t a word in your vocabulary anyway.
7. Vapir Prima
Like Storz and Bickel, Vapir has several vaporizing machines, and the Prima is their premiere entry on the handheld side. The Prima’s aluminum body makes it durable and also stops it from conducting heat from the oven to your hand. While the Prima doesn’t get quite as hot as other handhelds—maxing out at 400 degrees as opposed to the 420+ of others on this list—it still performed admirably in terms of pumping out flavor and vapor. No tagalong app necessary here, the Prima’s controls are right on its body and the function button is easy to use without even the slightest of learning curves. Replaceable batteries (it comes with two) and direct charging without a dock make the Prima clutch for longer sessions or sharing among friends who don’t fully understand puff-puff-pass etiquette.
8. DaVinci IQ
Most noticeable about the DaVinci IQ is its external 51 light LED display, making it easy to get a bead on heating temp and battery life at a glance while keeping the IQ discrete during use. There’s still a companion app integrated here for specifics but, ultimately, it went unused after our initial setup. While the form factor felt good in the hand, the IQ’s default mouthpiece was less than ideal for us. Luckily it did include an additional mouthpiece, more like a straw, that took some of the awkward out of puffing on it.
Legalization of marijuana hasn’t just advanced the technology of actual machines used for consumption. Those advancements extend into the papers we use to roll too. Lift Tickets are medicinal papers, meaning they’re actually made out of consumable cannabis. This is the pot equivalent of that KFC chicken sandwich where the bread is actually just more chicken. Lift Tickets are currently only available where MJ is recreationally legal, but the idea is so good and the march of legalization seems so unstoppable, we imagine they’ll be a standard within the next few years.
Technology doesn’t always mean better; sometimes it means bigger. RAW papers are a standard that put those shitty EZ-Widers to shame, and rolling with them is an art and sometimes the best way to display your art is to make it huge. These RAWs are a legitimate 12" long, making your dream of rolling an entire quarter ounce in a single spliff a reality. There are only 12 in a pack, but that should be more than enough to get everyone through a year. Because if you’re smoking more than one of these monsters a month, you may be a candidate for a tree break.