The best vaporizers for cannabis oil and concentrates


April 16, 2020

he rise of the dab has been meteoric and accompanied by fast industry interest as a new generation of consumers prefer concentrate to flower. It’s hard to say if technology enabled the culture or if culture enabled the technology, but dabs and devices go hand-in-hand—as much out of necessity as fashion.

A rig makes a dabber, and vaporizer companies have been quick to capitalize on this no-brainer match made in high-ven to create products populating the various forks in the family-tree of dab options.

Whether you’re looking to replace a torch and nail, have a safer experience, or simply improve your consumption ritual, we’ve taken an extensive look at the point where vaporizers and dabs intersect to find you the best tech money can buy.

We’ve broken up our overview of devices into two sections—tabletop devices and cordless/portable tech. See the table of contents to skip around.

Jump to a section or product:

Tabletop oil vapes

Cordless & portable oil vapes

Looking to vape flower? Check out our guide on The best vaporizers for cannabis flower.

Tabletop oil vapes

On one side of the concentrate vaporizer spectrum is devices designed for ultimate portability and quick, convenient sessions. On the other, you’ve got your at-home consumption machines. These devices reinforce the ritual and tend to be better performers for flavor, control, and vapor quality.

Meanwhile, prices and functionality vary widely. Read on for the best of the tabletop concentrate vaporizers available today.

Switch by Dr. Dabber

Simplicity at its best

Price: $319.95

Features at a glance: Satin finish, glass percolator, induction heating technology, 25 pre-set heating cycles for oil and herb, interchangeable induction cups (ceramic options for oil and leaf come stock; quartz and “smooth ceramic” add-ons available), pass-through charging, 150+ heating cycles per charge, self-cleaning feature, auto cool-down, programmable custom heat cycles.

What’s to love?

  • Excellent flavor
  • Water filtration
  • Easy maintenance and operation
  • Cordless battery operation
  • User-friendly

What’s the catch?

  • While the maintenance is easy, it’s required after each use

Single-button operation, 25 pre-set temps tailored to express both concentrates and herb, an easy-to-handle design, and cordless functionality earn the Switch by Dr. Dabber a perch in my TV room.

But this device has a lot more going for it than its usability. Exhibit A is the fully-integrated glass percolator—enabling contemporary standards of water filtration/cooling with durable borosilicate glass that can be removed for cleaning or replacement.

Personally, I’m most impressed with the Switch’s seamless design—effectively isolating the internals from any oil or water that might otherwise get somewhere where liquids shouldn’t. Interchangeable induction cups drop into a frosted glass chamber, creating a final layer of distance between any liquids and the precious internals that bring life to a fail-free user experience.

Given how perfect the Switch is for beginners, the price is a little prohibitive for the dab curious—but if you’re comfortable spending $300-$400 on a first device, the Switch will have you pulling vapor without much fuss.

Low-temp innovation

Price: $1,249.99 – $1,449.99

Features at a glance: Vast ecosystem of swappable heating elements, wireless induction heating technology, silicone whip, industry-leading durability, high-value aluminum body, integrated water-pipe compatibility, on and off buttons, timer dial, overheat failsafe, auto-shutdown sensor. 

What’s to love?

  • Best-in-class flavor
  • Highly detailed cloud control
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Never before seen long-duration, low-temp dabs
  • Easy maintenance and operation
  • Made in the USA

What’s the catch?

  • High price tag
  • Learning curve

The Reflux by Texas-based manufacturer Indux Labs is the first major update to the extract experience since the dawn of the dab. Think flavor hits not for seconds, but for minutes upon minutes, and that’s what the Reflux enables.

Using an induction-based electromagnetic coil to wirelessly activate a system of interchangeable heating elements—metal pins of varying size, shape, and metallurgic composition—an unprecedented array of temperature ramps are made available in one place.

Yes, the Reflux can achieve banger-replacing hot-temp sessions with ease, but it’s the never before seen long-duration, low-temp extract expressions that justify the extraordinary price point.

Slow layer cakes of flavor are the Reflux’s crowning achievement. Meanwhile, this thing is built like an industrial power tool.

Visually inspired by executive-class component audio systems, the Reflux sits on a table with the form factor of a tube amp and the brushed aluminum finishings of a military-grade Apple product. Indestructible is the first word that comes to mind when attempting a description of the build quality.

Naturally, the price here is substantial—starting at $1,249.99 for the brushed-aluminum version and $1,449.99 for the anodized black finish, which comes with a hardshell carry case. Additionally, with nearly endless combinations of heating elements at your disposal, it’d be fair to expect a decent amount of trial and error to find your perfect cloud.

That said, once dialed in, you will never want to run your extracts through any other rig.

Peak by Puffco

It takes a Puffco Peak smart rig (above) to get into Puffco's Free 'Peak Day', at Speed Zone in Los Angeles. (Leafly)

(Leafly)

Portable dab bong with an active community of third-party accessory makers

Price: $379.99

Features at a glance: Integrated water filtration, ceramic and glass air path, four temp settings, swappable ceramic bowl, replaceable heating element, 30 heating cycles per charge, 20-second heat-up time, temp sensor and auto-calibration, packaging doubles as carrying case.

What’s to love?

  • Backpack-portable tabletop form factor
  • Sturdy build
  • Excellent flavor
  • Extreme ease of use
  • Easy cleaning
  • Third-party accessory makers offer customizations

What’s the catch?

  • Pricey next to more powerful options

Few vaporizers have made waves like the tidal formations rising from Puffco’s Peak. Since its release, concentrate consumers have gathered to celebrate the achievement: an electronic dab rig that’s small enough to take with you and powerful enough to satisfy functionality benchmarks of tabletop vapor production and flavor preservation.

The Peak works much like a traditional dab rig: engage one of four heating cycles, wait for the haptic buzzes announcing peak temp, drop your extract into the ceramic bowl, and rip it up as usual.

As an unexpected bonus, Puffco offers several unique accessories: the packaging that the device ships in doubles as a carrying case, while Puffco has created several silicone attachments including a storage compartment for Q-Tips and dab tools that fits over the glass tube like a little backpack.

Speaking of bonus features, a strong community of third-party glassblowers now make artistic, heady-glass replacement tubes for the Peak. Eye-catching examples sprout up every day on Instagram, with accounts like @puffcopeakattachments serving as starting points for newcomers who want to customize their Peak.

Beyond strong community engagement and bespoke customization options, the Peak is a breeze to use and does exactly what it needs to. The combination of backpack portability and banger-replacing functionality earns the Peak its own island between continents of wax pens and tabletop-only rigs—an easy favorite for this reviewer and the community at large.

Beam by Mr. HotBox

Wireless, no-flame torch

Price: $369.99

Features at a glance: Wireless heating technology, single-button functionality, couples with an existing glass banger/bong/water pipe (not included), finished with steel and wood trim, go-anywhere international power conditioner. 

What’s to love?

  • Flameless, wireless torch
  • Single-button, always-on functionality
  • Zero cleanup
  • Water filtration
  • American made

What’s the catch?

  • Manual heat control
  • Similar experiences can be had for less money

The Beam is a flameless and wireless torch—created as an answer to cheap and sketchy butane devices.

A thin piece of metal clips onto a glass banger, hugging the bottom and sides to do the work of a torch but without all the fire. To operate the device, simply hover the modified honey bucket over the Beam, wait until the metal glows orange, and then dab as usual.

Refining a technique to achieve your preferred hit can take some trial and error, and for that reason other devices are more beginner friendly—yet, the Beam’s operation should feel familiar to anyone who already owns a dab rig.

For those seeking a torch option safer than iffy butane setups, the Beam pairs with your existing rig to bring it into the wireless era.

Flameless torch 

Price: $300

Features at a glance: Compatible with (not included) glass bongs featuring a 14mm or 18mm female joint, custom quartz banger, precision digital temp control, digital screen, pass-through charging, self-cleaning function, stash drawer. 

What’s to love?

  • Transform your bong into a cyborg dab rig
  • Battery powered for cordless operation
  • Say goodbye to torches
  • Simple operation

What’s the catch?

  • Seems like it should sell for less
  • Somewhat clunky overall experience

Should you be discouraged by the wallet-thinning price points to be found across Mr. HotBox’s line of e-nails, we’d like to walk you over to Hyer’s Big-E Rig.

The Big-E Rig is compatible with any—not-included—glass bongs, bubblers, etc., that feature a standard 14mm or 18mm female joint and a flat, circular base to dock with the clamp-on control station.

Attaching to the base of a water pipe, the control station houses the Big-E Rig’s battery and electronics—complete with digital screen, precision temperature adjustment, and even a little drawer for stashing tools or your concentrate of choice.

Operation is super simple and will likely feel intuitive to anyone who’s been around a dab rig: A tethered heating element fits into the bottom of a custom quartz banger, which delivers heat to your extracts and vapor to your bong.

While I appreciate any easy operator that renders a safer version of consumption, the Big-E Rig’s overall effect is somewhat clunky. A wire joining the control station and heating element has the effect of an extension cord snaked across a living room floor, an obstacle to step over each time you’re handling it.

Additionally, given the existence of devices like Dr. Dabber’s Switch that are simpler, sleeker, similarly priced, and work right out of the box, I really wish the Big-E Rig sold for at least $100 less than it currently does.

Cordless & portable oil vapes

Once upon a time, say ten years ago, dabbing on the go meant packing up a glass bong, torch, and nail, as well as all the bits and pieces—the sticky stuff and the tools to parse servings.

Gone are the days of the sketchy dab backpack. Here in 2020, a sip of hash on the go is diminutive, quick, and painless. The tech shift started with modifications to e-cig atomizers and batteries—just like those that compose ever-popular cartridge systems.

Nowadays, the market is overflowing with ways to get your dab up to temp wherever you might be. Here are our favorite cordless and portable oil and concentrate vape solutions.

Dipper by Dip Devices

The original dab straw

Price: $115

Features at a glance: Interchangeable top-loading quartz and coil “vapor tip” atomizers for straw-style dab use, various finishes, add-on water pipe attachment.

What’s to love?

  • Extreme ease of use
  • Competitive flavor performance
  • Innovative tool-free operation
  • Beginner friendly

What’s the catch?

  • High maintenance
  • Limited but decent battery life
  • Copycat devices are improving on the technology and slashing prices

If you find yourself avoiding concentrates because they’re messy and require an array of tools to properly handle, the Dipper just might make a dabber of you yet.

No device delivers a quick hit of concentrate with less fuss than the Dipper, thanks to the first-of-its-kind and widely knocked-off vapor tip—an atomizer that Dip Devices designed to submerge directly into an extract container, negating the need for little spoons or scoopers.

Just inhale on one end while running the atomizer over your oil. The overall effect is a consumption experience that can happen essentially anywhere—a rare thing, even with all the portables on the market today.

Also of interest to on-the-go consumers, the Dipper’s mouthpiece is removable and can be worn on either end of the device to double as a pocket protector—capping over the atomizer and any sticky residues you wouldn’t want getting all over your clothes, purse, or backpack.

When in this pocket-safe configuration, the Dipper can be used as a globe-style wax pen and includes an additional top-loading atomizer for that purpose.

The major complaint people seem to have about the Dipper is that the device can easily become clogged with reclaim that has nowhere to go. This means regular maintenance and cleaning are required should you want to avoid de-gooping the internal air path with a paperclip.

Blaze by Linx Vapor

Pocket-portable flavor saver

Price: $135

Features at a glance: Four pre-set temps, single-button operation, swappable inlaid coil-less quartz and recessed ceramic plate atomizers, glass mouthpiece, magnetic mouthpiece cap, stainless steel exterior, diminutive carry case, 510-thread battery, cartridge compatibility. 

What’s to love?

  • Better-than-average flavor performance
  • Easy maintenance
  • Simple operation
  • Sleek design
  • Medical-grade vapor path

What’s the catch?

  • Pricier than many wax pens

In their infancy, the majority, if not all, wax pens, concentrate globes, and Dipper-style devices employed coil atomizers.

The coil atomizer, like a miniaturized version of the filament found inside a light bulb, provides less precision heat than a just-make-sure-it-works hotspot. The issue with this setup is that the concentrate making direct contact with the atomizer will vaporize, while the rest gets caked into cool spots. So you can accumulate a lot of buildup and an uneven expression of your dab.

The Blaze by Linx Vapor is a decided departure from the coil atomizer. It comes stock with two swappable heating elements: an inlaid coil-less quartz option called the Ace that’s built for durability and easy cleaning, as well as the Zero, which is outfitted with a ceramic plate for fast heat-up and larger clouds.

The experience is worlds ahead of an average wax pen—avoiding the hotspots common to coil atomizers to deliver an even heat and corresponding flavor clarity.

The Blaze is pocket-safe thanks to a magnetic steel cap that protects the glass mouthpiece. It ships with a padded hardshell carry case for spare atomizers, dab tool, etc., which is a nice bit of realistic planning on the part of Linx; after all, the Blaze works best when you treat it like a dab rig—load, enjoy, swab clean, repeat—so it’s nice to have a case to make the ecosystem of necessary tools as portable as the device itself.

As an unadvertised bonus feature, the Blaze is equipped with a standard 510-thread battery, so it’s compatible with pre-filled oil cartridges—thinning out the number of devices you might otherwise need to carry.

Tiny, tool-less, and affordable

Price: $49.99

Features at a glance: Quartz dual-coil atomizer, built-in dab tool and silicon-lined concentrate caddy/jar, single-button functionality.

What’s to love?

  • Pocket portable
  • Magnetic atomizer lid
  • Storage compartment for extracts
  • Easy price

What’s the catch?

  • Hit or miss performance
  • Tough-to-clean atomizer/heating chamber

If you don’t like the idea of carrying a wax pen, dab tools, and extract containers, Yocan’s Evolve Plus is a great option.

Equipped with dual quartz coil atomizers, Yocan’s Evolve Plus works like a traditional wax pen with a few great surprises built into the design.

A magnetic lid that caps atop the atomizer doubles as a dab tool. With a chimney on one end and a scoop on the other, you can spoon extracts directly into the atomizer without leaving behind a sticky thing that needs to be cleaned. Additionally, the base of the device screws on and off to expose a stealth, silicon-lined storage compartment designed as a concentrate caddy.

The result is a device that covers all the bases for on-the-go consumption, eliminating the need for external tools, containers, etc. Just slip this thing in a shirt pocket and you’re all set.

Given that the Evolve Plus relies on a coil atomizer, the usual issues of functionality follow: hotspots and cold zones can deliver an uneven expression of oils, and it can be a little tough to wrangle a satisfying draw if concentrates aren’t making direct contact with the coil.

Yet, that’s less a criticism of the Evolve Plus, as it applies to every coil atomizer I’ve personally tried over the last ten years (lots and lots and lots). Luckily, the Evolve Plus comes in at half the cost of many big-name wax pens like those from Atmos and Dr. Dabber.

Matt Stangel's Bio Image

Matt Stangel

Matt Stangel is Leafly’s Oregon Product Specialist. His cannabis-related writings have appeared in The Guardian, Willamette Week, Cascadia Magazine, and elsewhere—links to which are available at Cannapinions.com.






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