Dry Herb & Concentrates
App & device-Controlled
App integration, session & dose tracking, airflow control
Smoking is harmful to your health.
Dry herb vapes provide the same benefits as smoking hemp flower without the toxic side-effects.
There are two ways to use CBD hemp flower — you can go old-school and smoke it, or save your lungs and use an electronic vaporizer.
Dry herb vaporizers heat your hemp flower enough for the active ingredients to evaporate — but don’t get hot enough for combustion. The process of combustion is what creates all the nasty chemicals that make smoking so bad for our health.
In this article, you’ll learn what to look for in a high-quality dry herb vape and how to use them effectively.
Let’s start with the top-rated dry herb vaporizers to use with your hemp flower.
This is my favorite CBD hemp flower dry herb vape for 2021.
The IQ2 is the 5th iteration of the DaVinci vaporizer. The first model (DaVinci classic) came out several years ago and was one of the dominant vaporizers of its time. It was popular for its efficient heating chamber, long battery life, LCD display, and several other features not found in most vapes at the time.
DaVinci has taken it to a whole new level with its latest version.
The temperature control on this device is incredible — maintaining the chamber at a specific temperature within a range of 1 degree. It also features adjustable airflow control to help you get that perfect draw and features one of the longest-lasting batteries we’ve seen yet.
The IQ2 is app-controlled, which allows you to change the temperature and track usage and doses.
With the recent changes in Apple’s policy for vaping apps, it’s important for vapes to not rely solely on the use of the app to control the temperature. This DaVinci vape features control settings for temperature directly on the device — which is a huge plus compared to some of the other app-integrated vaporizers on this list.
The Pax 3 is a small, sleek, premium vaporizer. The clean, minimal design of the Pax makes it look like something you might find on display at the Apple store.
The Pax vape is now on its third iteration. The overall appearance has remained largely the same from the first version, but the internal components have seen significant upgrades over the years.
This vape ticks all the boxes we look for what I look for in a quality dry herb vape. It comes with an impressive 10-year warranty, allows for dual-use (dry herb and concentrates), recharges via USB (instead of a proprietary charger), and can be connected to your phone through an app.
The app lets you control the temperature of the device down to the degree. You can set up timed protocols to gradually increase the temperature as you use the device or change the default auto-shut-off time.
Pax Labs is also the original creator of the Juul vape pen (E-liquid vape pen), which remains the world’s most popular electronic cigarette brand.
Related: Check out these top-rated CBD Juul pod replacements.
The Firefly 2+ is one of the best vapes in terms of flavor and battery life. Instead of heating up and remaining at a high temperature until you shut it off (like most vapes), the Firefly heats up instantly while you hit it. As soon as the hit is done, the chamber rapidly cools down again.
By placing your fingers over two sensors on the side of the device as you draw, the chamber rapidly heats up to release the volatile components from the hemp flower. The cycle lasts 15 seconds before automatically shutting off again until the next draw.
This method preserves battery life and prevents your flower from getting cooked while the vape sits idle in your hand. The only time it gets hot is while you’re actively inhaling — which means minimal wastage of those precious cannabinoids.
This device can be controlled by an app to check battery life and make adjustments to the temperature. The only problem with this is that the process can be a little clunky. It’s a nice feature, but why can’t I just change the temperature on the device directly? Instead, you have to open an app on your phone to dial it up or down as needed.
Additionally, Apple recently removed all vape apps from their store. Unless you already have the app installed, you won’t be able to even download the Firefly app to control your device. It would have been nice if Firefly added a secondary temperature control somewhere on the device as a backup.
The Volcano Hybrid vaporizer by Storz & Bickel is the Rolls Royce of vapes.
This desktop vaporizer was made for precision and class. Using this vape is incredibly simple. Turn the device on, set the desired temperature, and wait about 30–60 seconds for it to reach the operating temperature.
The heating chamber on this vape is relatively large, making it better for use in groups than a solo experience. If you’re vaping alone, you can use the balloon system to keep the vapor on standby for up to 2 hours.
The Volcano is considered a hybrid vape because there are two ways to use it:
Everything about this vape is premium — from the elegant German workmanship that went into its construction to the performance of the vape itself.
Keeping up with modern vape design, the Volcano can be tracked and controlled through an app (only available on Android and desktop). All controls can also be performed directly on the device, so if you don’t want to use the app (or own an iPhone and can’t download it), you’re not going to lose any functionality.
The downsides of this vape are the cost, lack of portability, and inability to use concentrates (dry herb only).
This portable vaporizer is made by the same company that makes the Volcano. This is the company’s portable option. It’s made with the same elegance and precision as the Volcano desktop vape but in a much smaller size.
This vape uses a patented heating element that leverages both hot air convection and “additional conduction.” I couldn’t find much information about what this actually means, but it’s clear this device is extremely efficient. The efficiency of the heating process improves both the battery life and flavor of the hemp flower.
You can use both dry hemp flower and CBD concentrates in this device — which is actually an improvement from the companies Volcano vape.
The pros of this device are the long battery life, precise temperature control, and direct device controls (as opposed to app-only control).
This is one of the oldest vapes on the market. The company has sold millions of these things. They’re cheap but highly effective. I’d consider this the best entry-level vape on the market — costing just $140 per device.
The design for this vape has remained largely the same for the past ten years, with some improvements in terms of the batteries and heating element. You can also get this device in dozens of different designs and patterns, some at a slight increase in cost.
This vape is simple; there are no temperature control settings and no app-integration. It’s clean, simple, and straightforward. It just works!
If you’re on a tight budget but want to get into vaping, I recommend you start here.
However, if you’ve got some room in your budget, I recommend going for something a little more substantial with one of the other devices on this list. This vape works but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the user experience.
As the name implies, a dry herb vape is specifically-designed for vaporizing dried plant matter.
Vapes use convection heating to convert the active ingredients in hemp or marijuana so they can be inhaled. This is different from smoking because the device doesn’t allow the plant matter to get hot enough for combustion to occur.
Combustion (burning) creates a wide range of toxic byproducts. This is what makes smoking so bad for your health.
A dry herb vape allows you to get all the benefits of smoking hemp flower without the negative impact smoking has on your lungs.
Dry herb vapes are different from conventional vape pens. Instead of vaporizing E-liquid or concentrates, they’re optimized for raw plant material.
Dry herb vaporizers feature a heating chamber and usually come with the ability to control the temperature.
Most E-liquid vapes pen don’t allow you to adjust with the temperature because the E-liquid base burns at a consistent temperature.
Temperature control is more important with dry herb vapes because selecting different temperatures allows you to vaporize different components to control the effects of your hemp (more on this later).
|Metric||Dry Herb Vape||E-Liquid Vape Pen|
|Average Cost||$100 – $300||$20 – $100|
|Smoking Medium||Dried hemp flower or concentrates||Concentrated or vape oil|
|Flavor & Aroma||Natural hemp flavor||Available in both natural and synthetic flavors|
|Vapor Quality||Very light vapor, not noticeable||Thick white vapor (like a fog machine)|
|Temperature Control||Temperature controllable||Temperature (usually) not controllable|
The conventional way of using raw hemp flower was to smoke it — either in a joint or water pipe (bong). Even non-psychoactive CBD hemp flower is used this way.
There are two advantages of using a joint over a dried herb vape. For starters, it’s cheaper. With a few cents worth of rolling papers and some paper for a filter, you can have a joint ready in less than 1 minute. There’s no need to buy a high-tech vaporizer to use your hemp flower in this way.
But the benefits end here.
The combustion process involved with burning hemp flower can lead to all sorts of toxic byproducts that enter the bloodstream along with the CBD. Compounds like carbon monoxide and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) hydrocarbons can pose a significant risk to our health long term. The intense heat generated while smoking can also lead to damage or irritate the mouth, throat, and lungs.
The aroma produced from smoking cannabis is also hard to eliminate. It sticks to your hands, clothes and can remain on your breath hours after the session.
Vaporizing cannabis doesn’t have any of these disadvantages. There are no toxic byproducts produced during the process, it doesn’t leave a scent on the hands or clothes, and the lower temperature protects the mouth and lungs from heat-related damage and inflammation.
|Metric||Dry Herb Vaporizer||Hemp Cigarettes||Bongs or Pipes|
|Health Risks||Little to no health risk||Exposure to toxic & carcinogenic byproducts of combustion||Exposure to toxic & carcinogenic byproducts of combustion|
|Cost Involved||$100 – $600 for the vape + the cost of hemp||Less than $1 + the cost of hemp||$20 – $200 for the pipe + the cost of hemp|
|Ease of Use||Very easy to use on the go||Requires rolling the cigarette & finding a place to smoke outside||Requires some preparation & lacks the portability of other options|
|Discreteness||Very discrete leaves little to no aroma||Not discrete leaves a strong aroma lasting several hours||Not discrete leaves strong aroma.|
If you’ve done any shopping around for a dried herb vape already, you may have noticed some products advertise that they can vape both the raw flower and CBD concentrates.
Most current-generation vapes will work with both dry flower and CBD concentrates.
A few examples of vapes that can do both includes:
The problem with using concentrates in a dry herb vape is that as the concentrates warm up, they start to melt. If they aren’t contained, they’ll leak sticky resin throughout the insides of your vape — which can clog it up and damage your device.
Most vapes come with a small ‘cup’ to use inside the herb chamber. Concentrates can be placed inside the cup, which fits snuggly in the vaporization chamber where the herb normally sits.
The heating element then heats the concentrates inside the chamber until it evaporates.
When using your dry herb vape with concentrates, you’ll need to increase the temperature a little bit higher than you normally would. I usually start at around 210ºC (410ºF) and increase gradually as needed.
Dry herb vapes can be broken down into two main categories — desktop vapes and portable vapes.
While you can probably guess the main differences between these two products from the names, let’s cover each in more detail along with the pros and cons.
This is the most common type of vape. They’re small enough to fit into a pocket, come with a built-in battery pack, and hold enough hemp for one or two people per session.
Most of the vapes you’ll find online are portable vapes simply because they’re cheap and effective and don’t require a power outlet in order to use them.
A desktop vape is a standalone unit designed to plug into the wall. They’re much larger than portable vapes and often come with a bunch of additional features. You can find desktop vapes that come with remote control for managing temperature or airflow, accurate temperature control dials, and features like a balloon or hose support.
What the heck does balloon support mean?
Most vapes are used by simply inhaling through the device, which pulls air through the heating chamber where the herb is. This carries the active ingredients through the device and into your lungs.
With a balloon style vape, the air is forced through the chamber using a fan and emptied into a plastic balloon to hold the vapor. To use these vapes, you inhale from the balloon rather than from the device directly. This allows the air in the balloon to cool, making the vaporizing experience easier on the lungs.
The cost will vary depending on the type of features, brand, and style of vape you want to order.
You can get super cheap vapes like the Magic Flight Launch Box for $100 or less. Vapes like this are cheap and simple to use but lack many features some people might find important.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can also find expensive vapes costing as much as $700, such as the Volcano. These vapes come with a ton of useful features like precision temperature control, timers, auto-shut offs, forced-air modes, remote or app controls, and much more.
For portable vapes, you should expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a cheap and simple portable vape, $200 – $400 for a premium portable vape.
For desktop vapes, cheap options usually cost somewhere between $200 and $400, while the premium options range from $400 to $700.
Dry herb vapes are very easy to use. Every model is different, but the fundamentals are the same.
The first step is to find where the heating chamber is located. This is where you’re going to put the dried hemp flower to get started.
The next step is to turn on the vape and set the temperature. As I mentioned above, a good starting point is 188ºC (370ºF). Not all vapes allow you to control the temperature to a degree, but most will have some variability (such as low, medium, and high). Most vapes begin heating as soon as they’re turned on.
Give the vape a few seconds to reach the temperature. Some vapes can get there almost immediately; others can take up to 20 seconds to reach the set temperature. Your vape will let you know on the display or using an LED light when it’s ready to use.
All you have to do from here is inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece. Take slow and deliberate breaths to draw the vapor into the lungs.
You may notice a very light vapor when you exhale, but don’t be concerned if you don’t see anything. Vaporizing raw hemp flowers like this doesn’t produce much visible vapor at all and definitely won’t produce the characteristic plume of vapor most people are accustomed to with e-liquid-style vapes.
Once the flavor starts to disappear, you can choose to either stop vaping or increase the temperature to extract more cannabinoids.
The temperature you set your vape at has a big impact on the hemp’s flavor and effect profile.
Compounds in hemp all vaporize at different temperatures. The smaller, lighter molecules like terpenes and smaller cannabinoids (such as CBG) will evaporate first. As the temperature increases, more compounds reach their evaporation point.
Because of the difference in volatility, you can actually dial in the temperature of your vape based on what you want to feel (to some extent):
Most people will use a combination of both low and high temperatures. The idea is to start at a low temperature to maximize the flavor and gradually increase over time as the flower becomes depleted.
Some vaporizers do this automatically — increasing the temperature by a few degrees every few minutes.
I usually start with a temperature of around 188ºC (370ºF) and increase to 205ºC (400ºF) when the flavor starts to fade.
Some people go much higher than this, up to 220ºC (428ºF).
Dried hemp flower will combust at 230ºC (446ºF
The whole point of vaporizing your hemp flower is to avoid combustion, so most vapes won’t even go past about 220ºC (428ºF). Some of the cheaper vapes may not have a cut-off, so be careful not to set your temperature too high or it’s going to be very harsh on the throat.
When you’re done vaping, you’re left with some crispy brown hemp flower. Can this be used for anything else, or should it just be thrown in the trash?
Most of the active ingredients in this final product have been used up, but not all of them. Many people will save their vaped flower in a jar to use later in cooking. If you save up all the vaped hemp you use, eventually, when you have somewhere in the range of 40 grams or more, you can use it to make CBD butter for cooking.
I’ve made butter from vaped hemp a few times and have been pleasantly surprised at how strong it ends up being despite having already used it in a vaporizer.
You can use any hemp flower in your vape, but it’s best to use something mid or top-shelf in order to get the best flavor and effects.
The first few pulls on a vape have a really nice flavor to them. As the vape heats up, the aromatic terpenes in the plant are the first to evaporate — producing a pleasant aroma.
Choosing which hemp flower to use comes down to two things:
You can find hemp flower in three main tiers in terms of cost:
Every hemp flower has a different set of effects. All hemp flower can help manage pain and anxiety, but depending on the ratio of cannabinoids and predominant terpenes, they may be more heavily-weighted for one effect compared to another.
Here are some of our favorite hemp flower options based on effect profile:
So you’re ready to start shopping around for a dry herb vape — but where do you start?
Here are six aspects to keep in mind when shopping for a vape.
Only portable-style vapes come with a battery pack, so if you’re looking for a desktop vape, you can skip this section.
The battery life of a dry herb vape makes a big difference in terms of the user experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than turning your vape on, watching it reach operating temperature, only for the battery to die and shut off.
The energy requirements for vaporizers are fairly high. A lot of battery juice is needed to maintain temperatures as high as 430ºF for even just a few minutes. As a result, it’s rare to find a portable vape that lasts more than about 2 hours of consistent use.
I recommend finding a product that has a battery life of at least 1 hour. At the very least, look for a vape that features replaceable batteries. This allows you to carry extra battery packs with you if you plan on using the device multiple times before you get a chance to recharge.
The dry herb vape with the longest battery life is the DaVinci IQ2.
The style of the heating element is important for the functionality of the vape as well. Convection-style vapes are the best, by far. They heat the chamber evenly to avoid burning the flower closest to the heat source — while undercooking the stuff in the middle or top.
If you plan to use CBD concentrates in your vape, you’ll need to find a device that’s dual-compatible. Not all dry herb vapes are compatible with CBD pastes or resins, and it’s not something that’s assumed.
What I mean is that if the manufacturer doesn’t specifically advertise that a vape can use concentrates as well — it probably doesn’t.
Some companies will sell their concentrate adaptors separately, so make sure you shop around on the company website to see if this add-on is available.
The ability to control the temperature of your vape is extremely useful for dry herb vaporizers. As I’ve already covered, changing the temperature can help you dial in the best flavor and has an impact on the effect profile of the flower.
Most dry herb vapes come with some degree of temperature control — some allow you to dial in a precise temperature down to the degree, others offer temperature “ranges” such as high, medium, or low temperatures.
When you inhale through a vape, the air is first up through the heating chamber where the flower is contained. From here, the air carries the vapor through a tube that leads through the top of the device and into your lungs. This is called the “vapor pathway.”
Older vapes were made with metal or plastic pathways — which was cheap to build but imparts a flavor to the vapor. The standard today is to construct the vape in such a way that it never comes in contact with anything that isn’t either glass or ceramic — two materials that are completely inert and won’t affect the flavor of the vapor.
These materials are also significantly easier to clean later as you use the device. No matter what vape you’re using, resins from the vapor will start to accumulate throughout the vapor pathway, which will need to be cleaned every few months.
The most basic dry herb vapes have 1 – 3 temperature settings, a rechargeable or replaceable battery, and an on and off switch. Anything beyond this are add-ons to make the experience easier or more enjoyable.
Deciding what add-ons depend on your individual preferences. Most added features increase the cost of the vape. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, you can find products that have a ton of extra functionality.
Here are some of the most common features available in some vaporizers:
Some vapes come with their own proprietary charging ports; others leverage existing connections, such as micro USB or USB-C. This may seem like a minor point, but there’s nothing more frustrating than having your vape die and not having access to the proprietary charging cable. Or having to carry around a clunky charging cable with you.
I much prefer devices that use standardized charging cables using USB. In today’s world, USB is everywhere — so you don’t need to look very hard to find a charger. Most people carry one or two with them anyway for their other devices.
Unfortunately, it’s not common for vapes to use standardized charging cables. The only vape on our list that can be charged with a simple USB cable is the DaVinci IQ2 — which uses any micro USB cable to charge.
The Pax 3 can plug into USB to recharge, but you need to use their proprietary magnetic charging cable for it to work.
More people are vaping their dried hemp flower and CBD concentrates these days than smoking them. These devices deliver all the same benefits as conventional smoking without any of the health risks.
A dry herb vaporizer works by heating the flower enough that the active ingredients are converted into an inhalable vapor. These devices have a cut-off that prevents them from getting hot enough to burn the hemp. Combustion (burning) is what makes smoking so harmful to our health. Byproducts like carbon monoxide and various hydrocarbons can damage our lungs, blood, and brain over time.
The best dry herb vapes feature a long battery life, precision temperature control, all-glass or ceramic vapor path, and a solid warranty.
If you’re looking for the ultimate vaping experience, I recommend the Volcano hybrid from Storz & Bickel.
If you prefer something with a little more portability that offers the best value for the money — check out the DaVinci IQ2 instead.