Dry Herb Vaporizers: What to Look For When Buying One

Vaporizers. So hot right now.

One of the many ways to consume cannabis without smoking,  vaporizing has surged in popularity over the past couple of years and has many benefits.

Convenience, effectiveness, and flexibility all in one package.

Many of our patients are new to vaporizing and looking to buy a vaporizer for the first time, while others look to replace, upgrade or add to their existing unit.

No matter which situation you’re in, here are some of the key things to consider when buying your next dry herb vaporizer.

Dry herb vs. other sources

Before getting into specific factors to consider, it’s very important that we clarify which type of cannabis we’re referring to with vaporizers.

Indeed, there are models that let you vaporize dry herb, oils, or concentrates (or a combination of the three).

But in this article going forward, we’ll only be talking about dry herb vaporizers.


As a licensed producer of medical cannabis here in Canada, we’re not permitted to sell concentrates, certain extracts, and other forms of cannabis. For now, we’re permitted by Health Canada to sell dry herb and high-quality cannabis oil.

(It’s also worth mentioning that no, you can’t use cannabis oils from licensed producers in vaporizers.)

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive into some key elements to consider when buying a new dry herb vaporizer.

Portable vs. Desktop

When deciding whether to buy a desktop or portable vaporizer, you should ask yourself four main questions:

  • Where will you be using it?
  • How long will you be using it for?
  • Will you be using it by yourself or in a group?
  • How discreet do you need to be?

If you’re always going to be vaping at home then a larger desktop vaporizer would be for you.

But if you’re looking for something more discreet while on the go or traveling with your medical cannabis, then a portable vaporizer(which you could obviously still use at home) would be more up your alley.

Next, consider how long you usually take when vaporizing.

Do you prefer a few quick hits here and there throughout the day? Or do you enjoy an extended, laid back session of a few hours?

If you like longer sessions, then you might opt for a desktop vaporizer that plugs into a wall outlet and has can hold a larger amount of cannabis at one time.

Another factor to consider when deciding between portable and desktop vaporizers is whether or not you’ll be vaporizing by yourself or with a group.

Desktop vapes are usually the cream of the crop in terms of technology, but they’re also great for a group setting because they’re more powerful and can serve a group. Desktop vaporizers are also larger and more convenient for a group setting.

Lastly, how discreet do you want (need?) to be when using your vaporizer?

If being discreet is a priority, then a portable vaporizer will be for you. They’re lightweight, produce smaller smoke, and give you total flexibility of where you’d like to use it.

On the other hand, if you’re cool with a larger, heavier unit that produces a lot more smoke and that you can have plugged in or left out in the open, then a desktop vaporizer could be for you.

So, which one is the best vaporizer for you?

Portable dry herb vaporizers are popular because they are:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Discreet
  • Flexible
  • Usually more affordable
  • Better for solo use

Whereas the main benefits to using a desktop vaporizer are:

  • More advanced vaporization technology
  • Great for a group setting
  • Better for longer sessions
  • More powerful (higher potency, better taste and bigger vapour clouds)

Conduction vs convection

As you just learned, vaporizers can come in many different shapes and sizes for use in different situations.

But perhaps the most important element when buying a new vaporizer is its heating method: conduction or convection.

The two words might look similar, but the way they heat cannabis is quite different.

Conduction relies on the transfer of heat energy through direct contact. Another way to think of conduction is a motionless transfer of heat.

Similar to a frying pan over an open flame, essential oils are released from your herb as a result of being directly in contact with (or resting on) the heating chamber. Conduction style vaporizers commonly use battery power heating chambers, open flame heating plates or butane power heating chambers.

On the other hand, convection relies on a liquid or gas, such as steam, to facilitate the movement of heat.

When it comes to vaporizing dried flower, convection is much more popular because it doesn’t actually combust your precious cannabis.

So if you take your time in between pulls, you don’t have to worry about your herb continuing to burn and going to waste. A convection vaporizer evenly heats each mouthful of vapour only as you inhale.

As a result, a small amount of dried bud can go a long way when using the convection heating method, and it’s also the best way to preserve the valuable terpenes found in your cannabis.

Conduction vaporizers were first on the market, tend to be more user-friendly and are usually at lower price points. So if you’re just starting out and have never used a vaporizer before, you might opt for a less-expensive, easier-to-use conduction unit.

Convection vaporizers are more efficient and produce better vapour quality.

If you’re just starting out, you might want to choose a less expensive, easy-to-use conduction vaporizer.

If you consider yourself a “cannasseur,” perhaps your more sophisticated palate will dictate choosing a convection vape.


Whatever you decide between portable or desktop and conduction vs convection, hopefully this has helped you in your search to find the best dry herb vaporizer for your needs.