Vaping weed doesn’t stink. It doesn’t tear up your throat. And besides the relative respiratory ease, vaping is subtle—unless you make a spectacle of it, crowning yourself that guy. A lot of folks say the effect is more pleasing, more controlled than smoking marijuana. (People who don’t regularly partake might find vaping to be much more intense than smoking, according to a recent study.) Although you do lose that vitally transformative experience of coughing over a joint or ripping a bong. Hey, sacrifices must be made.
Vapes get cannabis bud or concentrate hot enough to release those good compounds that get you sailing, but not so hot the cannabis burns up into the smoke that vape users are trying to avoid. To broadly summarize in the least boring way possible, there are two kinds of weed vapes: ones that use conduction heating and ones that use convection heating to extract high-making chemicals and flavor from cannabis product. Conduction vapes put your product in direct contact with the heating element, often getting you a faster heat time. However, if your product is too close to the heating element for too long, it’ll overheat and combust, completely defeating the purpose of the vape. (Simply moving the product around in the chamber is an easy fix.) Some conduction vapes give you minute control over the temperature, which is great for micromanagers.
Convection vapes are usually more high maintenance (sorry) and more expensive, but oftentimes they lead to better results. The product doesn’t come into direct contact with the heating element—instead, the heating element circulates heat through the device evenly for every pull. On one hand, your product won’t combust, and the vapor is more flavorful. On the other, convection vapes can heat up slowly, so patience is a virtue. These days, vapes can stick to one type of heating system or the other, but many market themselves as neither or both or borrow technology from the other. Regardless, it’s nice background info to have.
If you’re here, reading these words, then you’re likely already sold on vaping weed in one of its forms. But we’d be moronic to not do our due diligence, especially because as you might have noticed, vapes are something of a hot-button topic (albeit with nicotine vapes like Juuls). So here’s a quick rundown on the state of weed vaping. Going the smoke-free route with a vaporizer is considered “likely less harmful than smoking” marijuana for your body, because smoke itself is bad for your lungs. You know, the whole Joe Camel thing. The CDC has linked lung illness and some deaths to vape products that contain THC. But the big asterisk is that the THC products to blame were for the most part acquired from bootleg, black market sources and contained other chemicals like pesticides mixed in with the THC. The lesson here is don’t be an idiot about where you get your THC product from.
Annoyingly, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so hard-hitting research about vaping it remains scarce in these early days of legalization, where only 11 states let you use marijuana recreationally. Much will be learned in years to come, and hopefully, it won’t be all bad. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. You just want to vape. So here are the 11 best—and best-looking—weed vaporizers you can get right now. Pair one with quality flower or concentrate (or both) and vape away.