Saturday July 10, 2021
By Trevor Ross
Tabletop vaporizers continue to gain popularity, particularly as more (and more affordable) options arrive on the market. Though with prices for prominent machines reaching as high as $700, consumers would do well to know what separates these devices, and which device is best for them.
Do you want convection heat, or is conduction okay? Would you prefer to draw vapor from a whip or balloon? If you’re feeling lost or just looking for your next machine, here are some of the most attractive options for tabletop vaporizers currently available.
Favorite Tabletop Vaporizers
As mentioned, features are what tend to set these options apart, so be sure to consider how you’ll personally be using your vape when shopping. Knowing what you prioritize will help to keep from being overwhelmed by the list of bells and whistles for each.
Every conversation about tabletop vaporizers begins with the Storz and Bickel Volcano. The German-engineered conical powerhouse continues to set the gold standard with their latest model, the Volcano Hybrid.
The Hybrid now offers a whip alongside its signature balloon bag, and heats up ten times faster than previous models, as quick as 1-2 minutes. It retains the digital display and now offers a remote control via Android app (currently unavailable for iOS).
Renowned for its engineering and craftsmanship, the Volcano carries a high initial cost, but rest assured it will not depreciate. The Volcano Classic — which is bag-only with an analog temperature control — still retails for nearly $500.
The latest Volcano uses forced air convection heat, and liquid pads, sold separately, allow for the use of concentrates, making this a truly hybrid machine.
Storz and Bickel receive another honorable mention here with the Plenty. This vaporizer can cook dry herb or wax concentrates between 266° - 294° F, and is drawn from a metal coil whip.
The manufacturer calls it a handheld vape, but it's hardly meant to travel. The Plenty still plugs into the wall, but you can pull from it while sitting back on your couch. Squeezing the large trigger in the handle heats the unit, and releasing the handle automatically shuts the machine off. Most users will probably appreciate this, but frequent users, or those with fine-motor control issues may not want to squeeze the handle and heat the unit back up each time they lift it.
The Plenty is the most affordable Storz and Bickel product and presents a good option for users who want to experience that name-brand craftsmanship without breaking the bank.
Arizer Extreme Q
A less expensive alternative to the Volcano is the Arizer Extreme Q. This dry herb vaporizer uses forced air convection heating to feed a silicone whip or fill a balloon with thick clouds of vapor.
A digital display allows users to adjust the temperature by single degrees between 122 - 500 F, and a remote control allows users to adjust temperature or automatic shutoff timers.
The remote also includes six preheat settings between 50 and 230 degrees, and options for fan speeds and light settings.
While the engineering can’t trace its lineage back to Germany, by all accounts the Extreme Q is extremely durable and well made, with consumers logging years of daily use without a problem. This is the preferred model for a lot of the PotGuide crew.
7th Floor Vapes score twice on this list, beginning with the Silver Surfer.
Another hybrid vaporizer, the Silver Surfer can cook herb or oil with a ceramic conduction unit. The heat-up times are relatively high at 3-5 minutes, but no flavor is lost for the sake of speed, and it delivers satisfying clouds. The Silver Surfer 2 uses a new forced air system that allows for a balloon bag, but the original Surfer uses only a whip with a glass mouthpiece.
The temperature control is an analog glass knob, hand-blown so each one is unique. However, that also means your temperature knob is hand-blown glass, so don’t drop it. The rest of the unit is housed in hardly aluminum and comes in a few different colors, but the value of your investment ultimately rests on that (admittedly slick) ball of glass.
Here’s a fun sentence: The Silver Surfer’s little brother is Da Buddha.
If you’re shopping for a dry herb vaporizer only, then you could save about $50 and select Da Buddha instead. This whip vape shares the same aluminum shell as the Silver Surfer, and uses all glass components. The convection vaporizer heats up in about 90 seconds, and the temperature is adjustable between 212° - 500° F — with a metal knob.
The Ditanium offers a truly hybridized vaping experience by heating its dry herb chamber with its titanium quartz e-nail. This allows it to cook dry herb or concentrates, or both at once.
The ceramic chamber heats up quickly, but patient users will be rewarded with thicker clouds after a few minutes, more so after ten. With a max temperature climbing toward 900 F, the Ditanium is a fog machine.
Unfortunately, you may never know exactly what temperature you’re at. A modern, domestic design strips the unit of any script or numbers, so find a direction you like the knob pointing in. However, that minimalist design does include a woodgrain finish so it will never look out of place in the room, blending in like a piece of furniture. Between that and the lifetime warranty, the Ditanium is designed to stick with you for a while.
Dr. Dabber SWITCH
The SWITCH boasts impressive speed, able to produce palpable clouds in a matter of seconds, though finding your optimal temperature may be harder than it needs to be. Instead of a knob or digital controls, the temperature is selected from two dozen preset modes between 300 - 500 F. It doesn't use a bag or whip, but the vapor is collected in the glass percolator, which can then be drawn from.
But the SWITCH really shines when you take it off the table. While most tabletop vaporizers plug into the wall and stay there, the SWITCH uses a removable battery pack that takes only an hour to charge 150 uses. At ten inches tall and weighing over a pound, it's impractical to walk around much with, but it’s easier than anything else on this list to take to a friend’s house, or even move around your own place.
There are some admittedly high prices behind these links, but buyer’s rarely have any remorse. There are loads of benefits to owning a tabletop vaporizer including the customization, the flavor, and the health benefits of vaping over smoking. They will last for years (many items on this list offer a 3-year warranty or more) taking miles off your portable vaporizer and saving money in the long run on replacements for lost or broken devices.
What’s your favorite tabletop vaporizer? Let us know in the comments!