While some of us will invariably make the local news with our stoney hijinks this Thursday, countless more will celebrate the High Holiest of Herbal Holidaze the right way: quietly, responsibly, baked out of our gourds watching Shaw Brothers movies while housing hoagies. Here’s the gear you need to avoid having your mugshot run alongside a graphic reading, “Marijanhuh?” but still thoroughly enjoy this year’s 4/20.
While the popularity of flower has waned in recent years in favor of more easily-handled edibles and pre-rolled smokables, loose leaf bud remains a cornerstone of the modern cannabis market. If you want to go the traditionalist route, pick up a Santa Cruz Shredder 3-piece grinder and some rolling papers. The Santa Cruz is spacious enough to hold multiple J’s worth of shredded flower, have deeply textured grips to ease strain on your wrists and feature a curved collection bowl that can be cleared with just your fingertip, rather than a straightened paper clip and cursing. Even if you prefer dry herb vaping, that grinder will invariably come in handy as the weed you pack into the chamber will need to be shredded if you want it to heat up evenly and not scorch.
In terms of tabletop dry herb vapes, you really can’t go wrong with the Storz and Bickel Volcano. They’re definitely on the pricey side, with the newest Hybrid model running $700, but Storz and Bickel’s reputation is well earned and a Volcano is the sort of vape that you don’t get rid of so much as pass down to your kids. Heck, the one I bought in 2010 is still going strong even after multiple bag and whip replacements. The most recent versions offer a slew of enticing features including the ability to heat a bowl to its vaporization point in under two minutes — a significant upgrade from the days counting to 100 and back as the bag inflated — as well as iOS and Android apps.
For handheld or portable dry herb vapes, you’ve got a lot more options, both in terms of choices between makes and models and desired feature sets. Basically though, you’re looking for something easy to charge (preferably USB-C) with a robust battery life, something that’s easy to load, use and clean.
The $209 Storz and Bickel Crafty+ takes everything we love about the Volcano — the quality of construction and its ease of use, for example — and shrinks it down into a form factor that fits in your skinny jeans. With a generously proportioned heating chamber, rapid USB-C charging, an associated Android app and one button heating controls, the Crafty+ is a solid vaporizer choice for serious stoners.
The Tera from Boundless is a $250 alternative to the Crafty+ that uses convection air flow to help ensure even heating. It also uses standard 3.7V 18650 Li-ion batteries so picking up spare and replacement parts in the future won’t be a hassle. With a temperature range of 140 – 500 degrees F, the Tera can handle both dry herb and concentrates. You can even swap out the mouthpiece to use the device as a blower for your water pipe to further filter the vapor before inhaling it.
A more refined vaping experience can be had, at a price, with the TinyMight 2. Ranging from 349€ for the basic package to 449€ (~ $380 – $490) for all accessories included, the TM2 is highly customizable with options for everything from the length of the draw tube to the length of the power cable. It’s constructed from stainless steel and aluminum with a solid oak wrapping that not only makes it look nice but acts as a thermal insulator. The TinyMight2 charges via USB-C and, like the Tera, uses 18650 batteries. The TM2 takes 2-5 seconds to fully heat up and can be used either in on-demand or session mode — meaning the device will either heat up only when you draw or it’ll heat up and stay hot for a set amount of time (aka a “session”).
For those of you not looking to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on what essentially amounts to a very fancy hot plate, I suggest the XMAX V3 Pro. It’s always around $90, depending on what vape site you visit and what sales are happening that day (Planet of the Vapes and Vapospy are both generally trustworthy resources). Rather than a block, it’s wand-shaped! Like the Tera, the V3 Pro uses both convection airflows for heating, and can handle both dry herb and concentrate. It uses 18650 batteries and USB-C charging for power. However, the V3 is significantly slower in heating the chamber (around 15-25 seconds) than its alternative but, again, is less than half the price. It’s an expensive 10 seconds.
Speaking of hot plates, the Bowle from Taffee combines two of the five best things you can do with your mouth: drinking and vaping! This unique gadget combines a puck shaped vaporizer for heating loose leaf buds with a 250 or 400mL cup seated on top. With it, you can take rips and sips alternately or simultaneously to meld the flavors and experiences. A one-hour charge is enough to power eight sessions with the convection heater needing just one second at a time to fully heat. They even sell a specialty grinder (for $70, yikes) that will load the ground flower into individual ceramic heating cups.
Flower is abundant, relatively ubiquitous even, but sometimes you want a little extra punch in your pipe, or maybe you just want to get high without smelling like it. For those instances, we invented concentrates. Whereas flower tops out at around 35 percent THC content, concentrates range anywhere from the mid seventies up to 98 percent THC, so a little goes a long way. As such, the devices vaporizing them are going to be smaller, lightweight, and longer lasting than their dry herb kiln kin but you’re still going to want to look for many of the same amenities — 510 threading, a common charging port style, generous battery capacity, and a straightforward user interface.
The Uni Pro 2.0 from Yocan ticks all those boxes. Full disclosure, this model is my everyday vape and I am rather partial to it. At $50, the Uni Pro 2.0 runs about double than the generic stick batteries you buy at the dispensary, but you get a lot of features for that added expense. Its 650 mAh battery is recharged via USB-C and sufficient to power through a full gram oil cartridge without needing to recharge. The power output runs 1.8 – 4.2V and can be controlled in .1V increments, which the OLED screen displays, along with the battery life, ohm rate and draw duration.
I’m not a huge fan of the magnetic screw-on cartridge adapters that Uni Pro 2 relies on, mostly because I have a habit of absentmindedly throwing them out with the exhausted cart and replacements are $7 a pop. It’s available in a variety of colors (when they’re not sold out) and can accommodate a wide range of cartridge sizes — whether tall and narrow or short and squat. Best of all, the Uni Pro 2 is small enough, heavy enough and blocky enough to not immediately get lost in my pants pocket amidst my keys and loose change.
If you’re looking for something similarly shaped but a bit less blocky and a bit more stylish, you can’t go wrong with the $59 Compass from Vessel. It’s about the same size as an AirPods case and comes in six accent colors. It’s got a 550mAh battery and charges via USB-C. The commands to lock/unlock the device, change the temperature settings or activate the heater unit are all controlled through a single pushbutton on the front of it. It’s discrete, even when there’s a cartridge mouthpiece sticking up like a Nokia antenna, and easily palmable — the kind of classy vape you bring along on a night out on the town.
Vessel also makes a pair of stick vapes, the Core and the ”ruggedized” Expedition Trail Edition. The $39 Core sports a USB-C compatible 260mAh lithium-ion battery and is available in a half dozen colors. You’re going to want to keep the charger nearby if you plan on sessioning with it and you’ll also need to be quick with the five unlock taps, but once the Core gets going, it’s a far and away a superior option to what the dispensaries sell.
For those of you looking to really stick it to The Man and launch your own self-sustaining backyard grow op, your very first course of action needs to be sitting down and reading through the Marijuana Grower’s Handbook by Ed Rosenthal. It contains — and I say this without hyperbole — literally everything you need to know about growing cannabis. In the latest edition of the long-running handbook, Rosenthal has recruited luminaries from across the industry to explain, in almost too much detail (like, down to “the Daily Light Integral equation” levels of detail), every aspect of how cannabis grows, the environmental factors that limit that growth; and the tools, materials, and resources needed to produce weed on either a hobby or commercial scale.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dry-herb-concentrate-vape-pens-420-buyersguide-143047929.html?src=rss
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