Portable Vaporizer vs Desktop Vaporizer - How to Choose

What vape should you buy, a Desktop or Portable Vaporizer? This post compares the two options and breaks down the pros and cons of each. Portable and desktop vapes are have many similarities and differences.  Learn them all here!

by: Joe C. | 06/10/19 1:30PM


Vaping is easy, but choosing between a desktop vaporizer and a portable vape can be a tough decision. Depending on what your needs and desires are, one may be a better choice for you than the other, which is why we created this guide to help you better understand the differences between the two. If you're trying to decide whether to go with something small that fits in your pocket or something robust with tons of features that's better suited for home use, then continue reading because we're going to shed light on what's good and what's bad when it comes to the two main options that vapers have before them as far as vaporizers are concerned.


Desktop Vaporizer Benefits

Generally speaking, desktop vaporizers are more powerful than their counterparts, the portable vaporizers. This may be less and less true as vaping technology advances and portable vaporizer manufacturers close the gap between portables and desktops. However, as far as what's on the market today goes, desktop vaporizers typically offer more vaping power than their portable counterparts. One such example is the Volcano vaporizer by Storz and Bickel, which is considered by many to be the most powerful vaporizer available. And it's not just raw power that it offers, as it also offers vapers a convenient method of inhaling vapor that no portable has ever achieved: the vapor balloon.


Vapor Balloons

With the Volcano, vapers can fill a plastic balloon bag with vapor and then inhale it as they please. With the vapor captured inside of the balloon, there's no need to rush - just relax and kick back with a bag full of vapor.

In order to pull off what Storz and Bickel has accomplished with their Volcano vape, an internal fan is required. Vaporizers with internal fans are known as forced-air vaporizers. While they're not limited to desktops, they are primarily desktops. Another example of a forced-air vaporizer with a balloon filling system is the Extreme Q by Arizer, and yet another example is the VapirRise by Vapir.

So if you want to fill a balloon with vapor, it's a desktop vaporizer that you're going to want to be on the lookout for because at this time, there simply is no portable alternative in any vape shop.


Vaporizer Whips

Another method of vapor delivery that's generally limited to desktops is the whip, which is a hose that carries vapor from the vaporizer's oven to the user's mouth. In some cases, an internal fan is used to help propel the vapor down the line to the user. As the vapor travels through the hose, it will cool down, leading to smoother, cooler puffs of vapor.

This is somewhat of an "old school" version of what a desktop vaporizer entails, however, it has continued to be a popular delivery method even in today's age of advanced vaporization technology.

If you want a whip vaporizer, you want a desktop vaporizer.  Some vaporizers, the Volcano and Extreme Q as a couple of examples, offer whip delivery and balloon delivery, allowing vapers to choose what's right for them in the vape shop.


Powerful Vapor Production

With little exception, desktop style vaporizers are the kings of vapor production. There are, of course, some portables that come close in the eyes of some, but when it comes to producing insane volumes of potent vapor, the best option is widely considered to be a desktop unit. This is especially true for dry herb vaporizers, but when it comes to concentrate vaporizers such as those that work with oils and the like, it is commonplace to see compact portables producing powerful hits of vapor.

If you're looking for the best vaporizer for dry herb ground up with a herb grinder, then there's a good chance that what you're after is a desktop vaporizer. If it's oil or some other form of concentrate that you're looking to vaporize, then a portable vaporizer may very well be an excellent option for you as many of today's top of the line portable vaporizers work exceptionally well with concentrates.


Easy Controls

While the technology incorporated into portable vaporizers is increasing rapidly, the best controls are typically found in large desktop units that offer designers plenty of room to incorporate big, easy to use controls that vapers young and old can use with ease. The Volcano Digit, for example, has big oversized buttons that are easy to press and a large display that's easy to read. There is some exception here as in today's age of smartphones, a number of manufacturers have looked toward app development for enhanced control. Some vapes, like the DaVinci IQ and Firefly 2+, come with free apps that allow vapers to take full control of their vaporizers with their smartphones.

Portable Vaporizer Benefits

The main benefit to using a portable vaporizer is portability. With their small size and cord-free operation, portable vaporizers have quickly risen in popularity with those who like to vape on the go. If you're one who prefers vaping while you're out adventuring to vaping in the comfort of your home, the portable vaporizer is the obvious choice for your lifestyle. In some cases, portables work so well that some prefer to use them over desktops while vaping around the home or office. Portables like the Mighty and Plenty by famed Volcano vaporizer manufacturer Storz and Bickel offer powerful vaporization with the benefit of portability, leaving some to question why desktops haven't gone extinct.

One downside to some portables that has been overcome by new technology is heat up time. For vapers on the move, waiting around for a vaporizer to heat up to vaping temperatures can be a hindrance. Fortunately, vaporizers like the Firefly vape utilize on-demand convection as a means by which to instantly heat the blend. This allows vapers to bypass the long heat up time and get straight to vaping at a moment's notice, versus some older portable vaporizers that take some time to heat.


Improved Usability with Dry Herbs

In the past, portable vaporizers often did a poor job of vaporizing dry herbs. Fast forward to the present and what we find is that many of today's modern dry herb portables work great with the blends they're intended for. The technology has come a long way since portable vaporizers first hit the market and it shows with the latest and greatest that the world of portable vaporizers now has to offer. Quicker heat up times, longer battery life, and very easy to use are just some improvements made over the years.


Excellent for Vaping Oils

One of the reasons why many vapers are opting for portables today is the fact that a number of them work great with oils and other forms of extracts. Small vape pens style, in particular, have quickly risen in popularity, offering vapers a convenient and compact means by which to vaporize oils on the go. Once an oil cartridge is attached to the vape battery, at any moment you can pop it out, take a puff, and return it to your pocket before in under a minute.

Which One Should You Use?

Now that you have a solid grasp of the benefits of both desktop and portable vaporizers, it's time to answer the question of which one is right for you. This question, unfortunately, is not one that we can answer for you. Instead, you must rely on what you now know about the two different types of vaporizers to decide for yourself which variant is best for you and your lifestyle. What we can do, however, is offer you some questions and additional insight that you can use to help identify which type is most befitting of your needs and preferences.


Vaping at Home Or On The Move

Do you find that you most often vape while you're out and about or while you're at the home or office? If your intent is to do most of your vaping while you're out in the world, then it's rather likely that your best choice is a portable vaporizer which you can use wherever you go, assuming vaping is allowed wherever it is you find yourself in life.

If you mostly or strictly vape at home or in the office, then a desktop vaporizer that you can leave plugged in might be the best option for you. If it's a balloon delivery method that you're hoping for, well, then there's really no other option but the desktop vaporizer.


Vaping With 510 Cartridges

Do you have access to vape cartridges that come prefilled with oil? If this is the case, a portable vaporizer pen might be right up your alley because there are a number of 510-thread compatible vaporizer pens on the market that will work with most 510-threaded cartridges. At this time, there simply aren't any desktop vaporizer manufacturers that aim to provide support for 510 cartridges, leaving those who want to use them to search for a solid portable vaporizer that supports them.

Sharing Vapor

Do you plan on vaping with friends and family? If so, the desktop vaporizer might be the better option for you. Some desktop vaporizers, like the VapirRise, are designed to support multiple users at the same time. In the case of the VapirRise, it offers multiple tubes/hoses for vapers to puff on. If you're having trouble trying to visualize this, imagine a hookah, only it's a desktop vaporizer with a splitter that allows for multiple whips/tubes to be connected at the same time. On the other hand, if your aim is to vape socially while you're out and about, then a portable vaporizer with a fast heat up time and a large capacity may very well be a more suitable option for you and your inclination to share.

Related Blog Posts

Do I Need a Desktop Vape?

Vapes and Vaporizers - What is the Difference?

How Many Dry Herb Vapes Should I Own