Vaporizer technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last two years. The four vaporizers that top my list embody the best futuristic features available on the market today—they are technologically advanced, utilizing cell phone connectivity via bluetooth for applications that allow one to totally customize their vaping experience. Each of these units are in my collection and get regular use, now enough of the ear beating, let’s dive into the vapes!
Storz & Bickel created what is arguably the most iconic vaporizer in existence, the Volcano. I could write a book about my love for the Volcano, but the reason for the season today is the Crafty! The Crafty takes that same Storz & Bickel precision, and German engineering, to create a portable vaporizer that delivers insane vapor in a compact frame. The Crafty uses a pad similar to the Firefly’s for concentrates, and let me tell you, it does not disappoint. If your goal is vapor production this is the unit for you hands down. The air-flow is unbeatable; it’s so open that the first time I hit it I was worried I wasn’t going to get any vapor as most units I have used had some level of resistance, boy was I wrong. The clouds that I was able to expel looks like I was hitting a box mod with a sub-ohm tank.
The flavor is tremendous on the Crafty, the concentrate pads do a great job of giving you big rig-like hits with great taste. The device features a cooling unit inside the mouthpiece that routes the vapor in such a way that it brings it down several degrees. The cooling tube is the sole reason why I wasn’t dying from coughing after drawing on the Crafty, it truly makes a difference and it’s incredible that a portable can chuck that much vapor.
While it works without the application, you need it to control the temperatures. You can check battery level, control vibration and adjust the light levels on the units as well as changing the temp to the degree with the application. It’s a very simple and easy-to-use interface, and when using concentrates, it’s a must. The 410° F maximum is the best for your concentrates and will give you some tremendous rips.
The Crafty likes any kind of grind, from hand grinds to pulverized with a grinder. It has the ability to work while charging which is also really awesome—that’s a big deal considering the battery life is about 45-60 minutes. It utilizes a non-removable 18650 battery for power and while it does a great job of vaping, the stress on the battery gives it a little lower battery life than the others. Without a doubt though, Crafty is a favorite and always comes out to play when friends and family are over. Do yourself a favor, get a friggin’ Crafty!
The Firefly 2 is the consummate connoisseur’s vaporizer. It requires a bit of patience and technique to get the best results from it, but when you master the art of the draw, few vaporizers can compare. The instant convection oven heats up in 3 seconds. You may have to re-read that—I said THREE SECONDS! The first time I used my Firefly 2 I couldn’t believe how fast it heated up, and in comparison to every other vaporizer, the Firefly 2 is unmatched in this area. The glass lined ceramic chamber gives you a robust flavor that truly maximizes the terpene profiles of your dried herbs and herbal concentrates. It features small steel pads that you put your concentrates on, and while this does give you a little cleaning to do after concentrate sessions, the flavor is absolutely insane.
The cell app is where the Firefly 2 truly opens up. Straight out of the box, the device is set to the medium heat setting, but to toggle through temperatures the application is needed. The application allows you to pick your temperature to the degree, so you can pair your herbs with the correct heating profile to ensure the best results possible. Lower temperatures activate different components in your herbs than higher ones and they will change the flavor profile of the medium as well, so having this application to play with is absolutely beautiful. The 500° F maximum is appropriate for concentrates and it does a great job of giving you substantial vapor, but full flavor. Pro Tip: Hand grind your herbs, don’t use a grinder for this vaporizer.
The way you draw on this device is a bit different than other vaporizers—you activate the heating sensors on the side of the unit and draw for about 10-15 seconds. The pressure of your draw will coax the vapor from the essential oils on your herb; utilizing this technique will give you good vapor production and great flavor. This is the priciest device on this list, but it’s definitely worth the investment if purity of taste is your goal.
The PAX 3 is the best selling vaporizer in the world and for good reason, it’s a tried and true beast of a unit. The PAX 3 is the first version that allows the user to vaporize both dry herbs and concentrates. PAX 3 is super portable and can be very stealthy; the Firefly and Crafty both do a great job, but are a little more bulky than the PAX 3. The device has a stainless steel oven and comes in two versions, a dry herb only version (Basic Kit) and dual-use version (Complete Kit). The Complete Kit comes with a concentrate insert and a ton of accessories; personally, I purchased the Complete Kit so I could get the full treatment.
The PAX 3 operates best when it’s fully packed with finely ground material as far as dry herbs are concerned. The half pack lid is awesome if you want that same great vapor production, but you don’t want to use a lot of herbs. One of the coolest things is that it has motion sensors, it will actually shut down when not in use—this is a great feature for saving battery life and safety in general. The PAX 3 performs well with concentrates, but it truly shines with dry herbs. The concentrate insert is a great feature and I appreciate the versatility.
The cell app on this device is awesome, allowing you to customize your heating profiles, update firmware and implement security features to make sure that the unit isn’t being used by those who shouldn’t be using it! You can dial in the temperature to the digit and customize full sessions where temperatures can fluctuate depending on your preference. No need to beam me up, the future is here!
The draw on the PAX 3 is a slow long draw; the air flow has a bit of restriction, which helps in creating vapor in the main chamber, producing the coveted plumes of vapor that PAX is known for. I am also really digging the new matte colors. The PAX 3 previously came in metallic colors that were glossy, but they were prone to fingerprints and scratches; the new matte colors are vibrant but don’t suffer from the fingerprints and scratches like its predecessor. I have the matte silver PAX 3, but I was really close to picking up the rose gold. The teal is gorgeous as well, and the classic black is perfect for those who like to keep it on the down low. This is definitely a favorite and with good reason, it works and it works well!
The DAVINCI IQ is the only one on this list that does only dry herbs, but my friends listen to me...It does dry herbs oh so well. The application on the DAVINCI IQ is the most advanced by far; it features SMART Path™ settings where the unit will operate on a customized session (up to 10 minutes), changing temperatures at key times to get every bit of your botanicals compounds. DAVINCI had great foresight to include controls on the device itself, making it possible to change the temperatures and activate the Smart Paths. This is the only unit on this list that doesn’t force you to use an application; the DAVINCI IQ gives you the freedom to choose how you wish to control the device. I will say though that the application is very helpful and I suggest using it.
Crafted with ceramic zirconia, these vaporizers are super sturdy, sleek and they do an amazing job of vaporizing dry herbs. It has a dedicated flavor chamber, harkening back to the old school metal pipes from back in the day; I used to take a piece of dry herb and put it in the middle chamber of a pipe so it would impart some extra flavor to the pipe. DAVINCI took that concept to the next level with the flavor chamber. It’s a ceramic zirconia tube where you can put a different type of dry herb than what’s in the ceramic heating chamber, thus getting a hint of that flavor with the main flavor profile of the herbs in the oven. There is not another product out there doing anything like this and it’s so unique and pleasant.
The small size of this vaporizer makes it my favorite for on-the-go use—I love taking it camping and on nature trails! The flavor from this thing is insane, with or without the flavor chamber. I primarily vaporize dry herbs so this guy has definitely become my road companion and I haven’t looked back since. If you’re wanting something that is dedicated to dry herbs, this is the one.
JoJo’s Final Thoughts:
All of these vaporizers are tremendous and the features therein will speak to certain personalities. What I’ve found from collecting vaporizers is that they all have their own vibe and flavor and they are all special. As contrite as that sounds, it’s true. Sometimes I want to use the Crafty over the DAVINCI IQ, other times I’m in the mood for the Firefly 2. I couldn’t tell you a favorite out of these four, but what I can tell you is that they have unique strengths that make them all viable options for your next vaporizer. If you are curious about the applications you can download them from your app store and take a look to see how they operate. No matter which vape you choose, vape healthy and vape happy!
By: JoJo DeStefano