The professional level of the extraction of cannabis and the products to accompany said concentrates has been upped significantly in the last few years. Dabbers are demanding cleaner solvents, or none used at all, as well as higher quality vaporizers to consume their liquid weed. Forget the blowtorch — get into pocket vapes for fully melting dabs and see what the fuss is about.
Size doesn’t always matter, except when you’d like your device to last a long time without needing to recharge it. That’s what you get with the Apex Pen, a bigger battery that lasts a lot longer than smaller handheld vapes. The L.A.-based company put some thought into the design of this vape, creating a look that screams “steampunk hand grenade” and makes you feel like Sherlock Holmes when you use it. It feels substantial in your hand, and is much less likely to topple over and break the glass. The design is also conducive to covert vaping, if that’s your thing. The Apex comes with a USB charger, battery, bulb atomizer, herbal atomizer, liquid atomizer and container, so it’s easy to travel with. The heating element is best used with fully melting concentrates, and should be cleaned regularly to keep it working efficiently.
Gentleman’s Brand Vapes Viceroy Kit
Based in Los Angeles, Gentleman's Brand Vapes decided on a vibe and then went full 007 with it. Using names like Viceroy, Ambassador and Double Agent, these guys know their demographic and tailor their sleek products accordingly. Their Viceroy Kit comes fully stocked with everything you’d need to start vaping dabs: a 3.7v battery, a glass globe (so you can watch the vapor swirl), three replacement nails (atomizers) for when you inevitably burn yours out, an aluminum mouth tip and a USB charger. Their cartridges are wickless and solder-free, an element they claim lets the user taste the THC and not the metals in the cartridge. Fully melting concentrates are recommended, which means dry herb and even hash would gunk up the cartridge, which can hold about a half gram of wax, oil or crumble.
Boom Vaporizer Smoking Dragon Vape
Boom Vaporizer is based in California and has mastered the art of creating inexpensive, all-inclusive vape kits. Coming in at under $40 for the whole kit and caboodle, Boom offers Boom C, Cirrus and Smoking Dragon kits for the various dab vapers out there. The Smoking Dragon includes the ubiquitous ceramic doughnut heating element with a dual quartz heating element replacement — ceramic and quartz are lauded as the safest way to heat concentrates and not only avoid inhaling solvents but keep the atomizers clean due to full melting from conduction. The squat design of this vape makes it easy to hold in your hand and slip into your pocket for later use (be sure to lock the battery first!). If you want a no-frills, no-fuss vape kit, this is your guy.
Dab-Tech Nectar Straw
These L.A.-based dab technicians didn’t reinvent the wheel with their product, but they did flip it around and implement a backward usage that boggled minds when it first dropped. Instead of putting the mouthpiece over the atomizer and inhaling concentrates from within an inch of the heating element, the Nectar Straw’s design has its mouthpiece on one end and the heating element on the other. You pop the cap off the heating element and activate it, then place it onto the dabs (not the other way around), with your mouth on the other end. Like … well, like a straw. It’s definitely neater than using a dab tool to smear wax into an atomizer, and it’s definitely a great party trick to pull out when you’ve got guests over. You’ll want to stick to fully melting concentrates with this one, as well, and wipe it with alcohol to keep it from gunking up. This piece is more of an investment, so you should treat it as such.
Kandypens stormed the market a couple of years ago and found itself in Hollywood music videos, teamed up with huge celebrities and generally dominating the handheld vape scene with its colorful, creatively designed pens. The Donut pen is the most popular, but the Mini is a quartz, sub-ohm vaporizer that deserves some attention. At 4.45 inches tall with a 950 mAh lithium ion battery, this pen is a mini beast. It’s coiless, wickless, with a deep chamber and a 10-second auto shutoff so you don’t waste product or draw attention with added smell. It gets pretty hot, up to 430°, so this is a great pen for those dabbers who like a fast, hot hit as opposed to a long, slow draw of a lower-heat device. Bonus: It’s 510 threaded so you can screw on a prefilled cartridge — use with caution and puff slowly, as this powerful battery can burn out a cartridge and ruin your day.
If you’re going to upgrade your vape device, you should consider upgrading your dabs, too. If it smells like chemicals, steer clear. Take control of what you’re consuming and get yourself a vape pen to stay medicated on the regular.