One of the most competitive niches in the dry herb vaporizer market today is the super-portable, high-end vaporizer. With over a dozen models in this category, the best vaporizer is a topic for serious discussion. However, most serious vape heads would agree that Crafty, Pax 3 and Davinci IQ are in the running for the crown.
Despite their tiny size, The Crafty, Pax 3 and Davinci IQ manage to squeeze in a wealth of technological innovations whilst offering some of the best vaping experience money can buy.
It can be really difficult to make a decision choosing the best vaporizer for you especially when you're spending up to £200!
The best device for you will largely depend on what you prioritise in a vaporizer so we decided to break down each device's features individually to help you understand what each model is really about.
Round 1: Which vaporizer looks and feels best?
In the old days, a vaporizer was a vaporizer. In 2019 however, a vape is also a fashion accessory and are expected to look and feel as good as they perform. The top brands are now focusing as much effort into aesthetics and ergonomics in the quest for creating the perfect vaporizer.
Pax is often referred to as the ‘Apple’ of dry herb vaporizers for a very good reason; their devices look every bit good as they perform. Pax 3 is no exception.
Its entire body is made of one uniform sheet of anodized aluminium. On first appearance there are no buttons on the mouthpiece, instead, they’re hidden in the top of the vape.
At just under four inches tall, it’s curved rectangular body feels comfortable in even the smallest of hands and I very much doubt you’ll even feel its presence in your pocket.
On the front of the device are the now-iconic petal lights that convey vaping information. Also, the charging port is magnetic and clips into place.
Score: 10/10 - The Pax 3 is the benchmark for a sleek and aesthetically pleasing herb vaporizer.
Davinci's previous models, the Classic and Ascent were solid performers but were not very pretty. With the IQ, Davinci has stepped up its game and taken design notes from the guys at Pax.
Like the Pax 3, the IQ has no protruding mouthpiece. Also gone, is the LCD screen. Instead, the Davinci IQ conveys useful information using a unique 51 LED grid display.
The Davinci IQ is so sleek and small you’d be forgiven for not thinking it was durable. However, its outer shell is made of aluminium and has a nice weight to it.
Score: 9/10 - The IQ comes dangerously close to the Pax 3 in terms of aesthetics and ergonomics.
I think most of us would agree that The Crafty is not the prettiest vaporizer in the line-up.
Being stereotypically German, Storz & Bickel is very much a company that priorities functionality overlooks. The Crafty has a rugged and industrial exterior designed that is designed to dissipate heat; there is no danger of the vape overheating in your hands!
Also, it has a protruding mouthpiece which isn't great for stealth.
Score: 7/10 - Not quite up to the standards of the Pax 3 and IQ but this is to be expected. The function is the most important feature for S&B products.
Round 2: Which vaporizer has the best mobile phone app?
Nowadays, a smartphone app is almost a must-have for a premium vaporizer.
To be honest, I prefer to not use an app. So for me, a smartphone app is only useful it enhances or improves my vaping experience.
The Pax 3 comes has just four temperature options built into the device. However, if we use the app you can create a more bespoke vaping experience by selecting the precise temperature you want to vape at.
I think precise temperature settings are overrated. I don't think anyone can tell the difference between 170c and 175c. However, what is interesting is the ability to choose between one of four vaping modes:
- Boost - A hot oven with no auto - cooling - great for those of us who enjoy huge satisfying hits.
- Flavour - Great for those of us who prefer flavour and smoothness over thick clouds
- Efficiency - Gradually increases the temperature throughout the sessions squeezing every last terpene out of your vaporizer
- Stealth - Dims the lights and cools in between draws for stealthy, short hits that are light on smell.
Score: 8/10 - an impressive application that enhances your vaping experience.
The Davinci IQ has the best mobile phone app of any dry herb vaporizer. It has all the usual features such as the ability to turn off vibration alerts or get device information like total usage time. However, it’s the ability to create and edit your own smart path mode that will change the way you vape!
Smart paths gradually increase the temperature over a ten minute period as you vape. I’ve mentioned several times before how I use multiple temps during a session, this allows me to set it up on auto-pilot. Also, you can set up custom smart paths for your favourite strains.
In short, you and your friends could share the same vaporizer but never has the same experience!
Score: 9/10 - Smartpaths add a level of customizability that is head and shoulders above the competition.
Out the box, the Crafty has just two pre-programmed temperatures: 180c and a boost mode that gradually heats up to 200c.
The app lets you edit the vaping and the boost temperatures, adjust the LED lights. You can even set your phone to vibrate when the device is ready to vape. This saves a more herb than you imagine!
Score: 8/10 - Limited in features, but really easy to use and conveys really useful information.
Round 3: Which vaporizer provides the best vaping experiences?
All the bells and whistles built into a vaporizer count for very little if it doesn't provide a top-quality vaping experience.
The Pax 3 utilises conduction heating and with exception of the Black Mamba, is the fastest vaporizer I own. It heats to vaping temperature in just 15 seconds.
The vapour quality is also very good both in terms of taste and thickness.
A disadvantage of the Pax 3 is that there is no cooling unit. Because the device is quite small the air path is also quite short. As a result, the vapour produced can be quite harsh on the throat when using high temperatures or boost mode
The 'Complete' version of the Pax 3 comes with an oil and concentrate insert. However, there are several vapes that do oils and concentrates better. For most people, the 'dry herb' only version of the Pax 3 should be satisfactory.
Score 7/10: Maybe not as impressive as the IQ and Crafty but is still one of the best available today.
Like Pax 3, the Davinci IQ also uses conduction heating. This results in thick, dense vapour and a fairly impressive heat time of just 45 seconds.
Some of the drawbacks of conduction heating are that the vapour an be quite harsh and that the oven does not heat evenly. The IQ utilises two innovations to combat this.
- The Pearl - The IQ evenly distributes heat in its oven using a 'pearl' in the lid of the oven. It works too! I didn't have to stir the oven once!
- Flavour Chamber - this sits between the mouthpiece and the oven. It has the unique benefit of lengthening the air-path and acts as a makeshift cooling unit.
One disadvantage of the Davinci IQ is its draw resistance. The best technique with this vape is shallow sips.
Score 8/10 - These features result in the best vape quality of any conduction vape on the market.
Every product from Storz & Bickel is renowned for providing the best vaping experiences and The Crafty is no exception.
Despite its tiny size, its engineers have managed to cram two useful innovations into the device.
- Hybrid Heating - Conduction vs convection is a hotly debated subject between vape heads. Both these heating methods have their individual pros and cons. The Crafty is the only vape of the three that offers hybrid heating. This means it utilises both conduction and convection with all their advantages and none of the drawbacks.
- Air-Cooling Unit - In between the mouthpiece and oven is a specially designed compartment that collects vapour from the chamber. Before this vapour reaches your mouth it is forced over specially designed ridges that cool it down so you can better taste the individual nuances of each strain.
Finally the crafty comes with an oil and concentrate pad. It vapes both of these materials as equally well as dry herbs.
Score: 10/10 - Head and shoulders above not only the Pax 3 and Davinci IQ but pretty much every other single vaporizer as well!
Round 4: Which vaporizer boasts the best build quality?
By their very nature, portable vaporizers are designed to be used outside. As such, they need to be able to withstand a little rough and tumble and cope with being exposed to the elements.
Behind the pretty looks, is a pretty tough and rugged vape. The pax 3 has been built to last.
The Pax 3 is the most travelled of all my high-end vapes. It’s been on holidays, festivals and camping trips and has been exposed to rain, snow and sun. Still, it performs just as it did when I first received it.
Unfortunately, it is notoriously susceptible to scratches. This is strange because the Pax 2 isn’t. I’m not sure why they changed the material of the exterior.
The oven itself is made of stainless steel which is a great material for a conduction vape to evenly distribute heat.
Furthermore, the Pax 3 comes with a massive 10-year warranty.
Score: 8/10 - Though the body may earn a few scratches the Pax 3 can withstand a good few knocks and drops.
The IQ’s oven and air path are made of ceramic zirconium. This material carries vapour and flavour as well as high-quality glass but it is twenty times as strong.
A disadvantage to the IQ is that it has several removable pieces. It's more bits to damage.
Also, the pearl seems quite fragile. However, Davinci stand by their design and back it up with a 10-year warranty, just like Pax.
Score: 8/10 - High-quality materials ensure that the IQ should last you for years to come.
The quality of Storz & Bickel products is so high that they are actually cleared to be used as medical devices in Canada and Israel. It's interior is made of medical-grade stainless steel and aluminium and no ceramics so it can really survive a drop. The Crafty has been tested and certified by TÜV SÜD (the “Southern Technical Inspection Association”) in Munich, Germany.
Score: 10/10 - Again the Crafty is superior here.
Round 5: Which vaporizer has the best performing battery?
Battery life is super important for a vape that you'll be using away from home. At a minimum, I expect a vape at any price to last an entire day.
The Pax 3 has a massive 3,500mAh battery. From a full charge, you can expect 110 minutes of oven time and it only takes 100 mins to charge. This is really impressive.
Score: 9/10 - A decent oven time coupled with fast charging time.
The Davinci IQ has replaceable batteries which is very convenient. I took my IQ on a long weekend to Barcelona last week and didn’t have to worry about finding a charger once. Two batteries lasted me the whole trip!
The battery itself is impressive too. It has a capacity of 3,500mAh and provides 80-90 mins of oven time.
The only downside is that it takes a lifetime to charge; 3 - 4 hours!
Score: 8/10 loses several points for its charge time but makes it back up with replaceable batteries.
At 2,700mAh, the Crafty's battery has the smallest capacity of the three and it shows. It provides only 50 mins of battery life which is just enough for six sessions.
On the plus side, it offers pass-through charging so you can vape whilst it is plugged in and can be fully charged via any USB port in just 2 hours.
Score: 8/10 - The shortest battery life but it is also the most convenient. You can charge it anywhere you can find a USB Port. The wall, TV, Computer etc...
There are only one or two points in it showing just how great these vaporizers are. It could be argued that there is no 'best' vaporizer out of the three. Instead, you should choose the best model for you.
Pax 3 - 42/50
The Pax 3 is Europe's most popular dry herb vaporizer for good reason. It looks great, is incredibly easy to use and produces vapour easily. It is a great option for someone buying their first serious vape. The device only option is considerably cheaper than the IQ too whilst having the same features.
Davinci IQ - 42/50
The Davinci IQ is a great device for the connoisseur. The flavour chamber and smart paths add a degree of customizability never seen in a dry herb vaporizer before.
The Crafty - 43/50
The Crafty is great if you value a no-nonsense vaping experience over design and technological features. Due to its unparalleled build quality, it is probably the best option for medical users too.