One of the many things we’ll think of when we look back to 2014: Oxford Dictionaries selecting vape as its Word of the Year 2014.
The selection actually made sense, as more and more people are choosing to ingest their cannabis via increasingly popular vape pens — portable, pen-like vaporizers that are discreet and ubiquitous.
Cannabist critics have been reviewing the best vape pens and worst options on the market all year long, and we’ll continue to review the technology throughout 2015 as well. Here are reviews of 12 vaporizer pens we put to the test in 2014, as ranked by their popularity on the site:
1. Pax vaporizer by Ploom: My local head shop says the Pax Ploom is its top-selling vaporizer, so naturally I wanted to check it out. On first glance, its allure is obvious: The handheld smoking device resembles a bulky iPod player, with a shimmering brushed aluminum case, an indicator light on the front and minimal branding on the back. Not typically swayed by form over function, I found myself immediately attracted to the machine’s sexy Apple-knockoff stylings. Read more.
2. O.penVape’s original O.pen: As with computer technology, vaporizers seem to get smaller each year, evolving from desktop models like the Volcano — the original gold standard — to the increasingly popular and widely available portable vaporizers, many of which are based on electronic cigarette technology. O.penVape is one of the smallest vape pens on the market. The size of a standard writing pen and twice as heavy, the vaporizer isn’t just based on e-cigarettes — it is the same exact product. The bottom half of the pen is a battery that screws onto a cartomizer — a heating element and a tube of hash oil. Read more.
3. Vuber Atlas: This Vuber vape pen is stainless steel from top to bottom, and consists of four distinct pieces: battery, heating element, air path and mouthpiece. It stands 5 inches tall and measures 1/2-inch in diameter. The atomizer features a ceramic bowl roughly 1/4-inch wide and nearly as deep. Strung across the bowl is a silica wick wrapped by a titanium heating coil. The pen uses the super-common “510″ e-cigarette threading, so you can swap out other 510-threaded components. Read more.
Really, that’s a thing?
Cannabis-infused coffee. Machine-rolled marijuana cigarettes. Joint-peddling vending machines. A THC-infused, ladies-only lube. A food truck selling only infused edibles. The massage of your life, via a marijuana-infused lotion. Yes, really, these are all real things.
4. The Grenco Science Snoop Dogg G Pen: First, let’s be honest: this pen doesn’t vape — it combusts marijuana. The pot is placed directly on a heating element sitting atop a ceramic base, and it totally burns the bud. This offends many vapor purists since it’s marketed as a vaporizer, but I’m not a vapor purist. I just see it as another way to smoke pot. Read more.
5. The Volta, by VaporGenie: The handheld vaporizer is little more than a hollow block of wood, a few bits of metal, a battery and some magnets. And while it’s an ingenious little device, it is neither easy nor entertaining to use. Read more.
6. The Pinnacle Pro, by VaporBlunt: The high temperatures allow the little Pinnacle Pro to vaporize hash and hash oil, and it has cartridges for both flowers and concentrates. Flower people, best stick to heat levels 1 and 2 and even then, it is fairly hot when drawing in, and that may irritate the throat. Some vapes take pains to increase the length of airpath between the heating element and the user, but the heater in the Pinnacle Pro is an inch from your mouth. That means the vapor is hot, and I found it best to draw slowly to counterbalance that heat. Read more.
7. The Firefly: The stylish case opens like a jewelry box with its hinged back — I felt like I should have gift-wrapped it for myself before opening. Inside, the machine with its red-and-silver aluminum case reminds me of a 1950s retro-style kitchen appliance. It feels nice to hold, albeit a bit weighty compared to its competitors. The Firefly was developed by two entrepreneurs with master’s degrees in product design, and it shows. Every bit of the portable vaporizer seems deliberately considered. The faceplate attaches simply with built-in magnets and detaches to expose the borosilicate-glass herb chamber and stainless-steel vapor path. The battery compartment on the back stays snugly closed, but slides off effortlessly with a finger push. There’s a power switch and a button for heating. Read more.
8. The Ascent, by DaVinci: I was impressed from the start with the Ascent by DaVinci. The portable vaporizer is stylish and well-packaged, but what really caught my eye was the glass mouthpiece that pulls out of the unit like a straw. Further inspection revealed the Ascent has an all-glass vapor path, a much-lauded feature in desktop models, but unheard of in a portable vape. Exciting! Read more.
9. O.penVape’s Go.pen: The new go.pen is certainly cute, just like the Cloud V or the Micro G or a host of other mini pens are cute. Unlike the original, wildly popular O.penVape slim pen, which uses pre-loaded hash oil cartridges, the new go.pen is for loading your own concentrates, and comes with a “dibber dabber” to help the process. Read more.
10. Tundra, by Wulf Mods: I love the feel of the Wulf Mods Tundra in my hand. I like the simple, one-button user interface and its pocket-friendly form. The mouthpiece seems to stay on more securely than the Pinnacle Pro. And the Tundra produces noticeable vapor clouds at all three heat settings. Read more.
11. The Zema Pro: The Zema Pro is a sleek vape pen, and it feels super well made. The metal parts thread together solidly, and the whole thing sits comfortably in the hand. It’s fairly compact — just over 4 inches tall with the hash oil atomizer and a bit more with the clearomizer — and it uses standard 510 threading, so the parts can play well with other batteries and cartridges. A small USB attachment is included for charging the battery, as is a dabber and a cleaning brush. Read more.
12. The Arizer Solo: Let’s be blunt: the Arizer Solo isn’t as sexy as the Pax Ploom, the Firefly, or the Ascent. But I ain’t lookin’ for a supermodel, just a friend to get me high. I mean, we’re not talking rocket science, just a heat source, some weed, and me — and I got the last two elements covered, so bring the heat. Read more.
More product reviews: Papers, glass gear from VapeXhale, Herbalizer, Raw, Sasquatch Glass, Timberado and more. Want your gear reviewed? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.