The Difference Between Portable And Desktop Vaporizers

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Portable and Desktop Vaporizer

In this article, we take a look at the differences between desktop and portable vaporizers, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose the right one for you.

Vaping has become a huge hit, and new-and-improved vaporizers are beginning to flood the market. When choosing a vaporizer, there’s plenty to keep in mind, including what features a device has, what heating method it uses (convective or conductive), and much more.

However, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make in your quest for a new vape is whether to choose a portable or desktop model. In this article, we take a look at the differences between desktop and portable vaporizers, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose the right one for you.


Before we get into the specific differences between portable and desktop vapes, here is a quick rundown of how vaporizers work. A vaporizer is a device used to extract the compounds out of dried plant matter, concentrates, or e-liquids without actually burning the substance.

Traditional forms of enjoying cannabis, tobacco, or other herbs involve combusting plant material and inhaling smoke. Inhaling any kind of smoke creates damage to the lungs and other parts of the body. Vaporizers offer an alternative to traditional forms of consuming these products that do not involve combustion, allowing users to avoid some of the dangers of inhaling smoke.

Vaporizers work on the principles of convective or conductive heating. Convective vaporizers work by heating the air around the product in the chamber to a point where the compounds in the product start converting into vapor. Conductive vaporizers, on the other hand, work by heating a surface and then placing the desired product on top of that surface (similar to a dab rig). Conductive vaporizers usually need to be shaken during use to avoid burning the product.

Everything you need to know about portable vaporizers


While portable vaporizers are treasured by users for a plethora of reasons, the main argument behind buying one of these vapes is, well, because they’re portable. Portable vaporizers are noticeably smaller compared to their desktop counterparts, meaning they’ll easily fit into a pocket, backpack, or even a purse. They can generally be used to vaporizer dry product (such as cannabis flowers or tobacco) or liquid concentrates, resins, or e-liquids.

Portable vaporizers are generally easier to load and control compared to desktop counterparts, as they generally lack more sophisticated features such as temperature controls or different intake methods (such as balloons, whips, or water pipe extensions).

They run on a rechargeable battery (which usually lasts between 1-2 hours on a full charge) or gas, whereas desktop vapes need to be plugged into a power source in order to function, making them extremely popular among users who want to be able to vape on the go.

Most portable vapes will also come with portable chargers or even car adapters, and may be designed to look like pens, walkie-talkies, cell phones, or other regular items to avoid suspicion. Finally, because of their small and simple designs, portable vapes are usually more affordable than big, sophisticated desktop units.


Below are some of the most popular portable vapes available through the Zamnesia Vapor Shop.

  • Firefly 2

Firefly 2, a new spin on the original Firefly unit, complete with a new design that is 55% lighter and 33% smaller, a new, fast-starting convection heating unit, improved battery life, and a vapor path completely made from borosilicate glass, ensures for a rich and clean vapor.

  • Storm Vaporizer

-Storm Vaporizer, a sturdy and affordable portable vaporizer that can be used with herbs, concentrates, or resins. It features 5 temperature settings, an automatic shutoff to help preserve battery life, a stainless steel casing, 2 mouthpieces, and a variety of accessories. 

Storm Vaporizer

Everything you need to know about desktop vaporizers


Unlike portable vaporizers, desktop vapes are usually large, sophisticated devices that aren’t designed to be used on the go. While they may not be the ideal choice for users looking for mobility, they come with a variety of complex features that portable vapes just don’t offer, making them almost irresistible for anyone looking to vape at home.

Desktop vapes are stationary devices that usually need to be plugged directly into a power source in order to function. This means they have a strong, stable power source, which usually makes for stronger, bigger vapor and better usability.

Desktop vapes generally also have larger chambers and, if they run off a battery, longer battery lives, meaning they require less refills and recharges than portable devices. This makes them ideal for longer sessions involving multiple people.

Finally, they usually feature a variety of intake methods, such as balloons, whips, or water pipe extensions. The fact that they come with all these features, however, also means that desktop vapes are usually much more expensive than portable units.


Here are some of the best-selling desktop vapes available through the Zamnesia Vapor Shop.

  • Arizer Extreme Q

Arizer Extreme Q: a top-of-the-line desktop vaporizer complete with a variety of features, including a balloon bag or whip attachment, an LCD display, a high-quality ceramic heating element with short pre-heat times, a remote control, and much more. 

Arizer Extreme Q Desktop Vaporizer

  • Plenty

Plenty by Volcano: A light yet robust hand-held device with a stainless steel cooling coil, temperature controls, and much. This vape only weighs 680 grams and a small design, making for a comfortable vaping experience.


Both portable and desktop vapes each come with their own set of disadvantages. Due to their size and budgets, most portable vapes don’t allow for extra features, therefore limiting your vaping experience. They also have smaller batteries and chambers, meaning they aren’t ideal for longer sessions involving multiple users.

While desktop vapes generally have more advanced and personalized features, their design simply doesn’t render them useful for anyone looking to vape on the go. Even if they come with a rechargeable battery, these vapes don’t make for a comfortable, discreet, portable vape experience.


Deciding on the perfect vaporizer can be difficult and should be completely based on the user's preferences. Think about how you plan to use your vape. If you’re looking to have long sessions with your friends, we suggest opting for a desktop unit just because they have larger chambers and run off a stable power source.

Similarly, if you want to experiment with different temperatures, product, and intake methods, a desktop vape will generally offer a better experience. If, however, you lead a busy lifestyle and want to vape on the go, a portable vape is ideal. While they do not offer all the features of a desktop device, newer models are starting to include more sofisticated features.

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Steven Voser

Written by: Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an Emmy Award Nominated freelance journalist with a lot of experience under his belt. Thanks to a passion for all things cannabis, he now dedicates a lot of his times exploring the world of weed.

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