The Herbalizer: Still the Best Desktop Vaporizer?
Desktop vaporizers are a niche product. They’re pricier than portables, stationary, and offer top-tier functionality and vapor production that two very specific demographics–connoisseurs and medicinal users–seek. Manufacturers competing for market share have delivered the kind of high-performance vaporizers their target consumers want. So, if you were to find the best desktop vaporizer among them, there’s a good chance you’d be looking at the best vaporizer yet.
At the top of this elite group of tabletop units sits the Herbalizer vaporizer (at least that’s the contention of most reviewers thus far). Because the number of desktop vaporizers is much smaller than portables, you can count the Herbalizer’s competition on one hand. Among them are the Vapir Rise, the Super Surfer by 7th Floor, the VapeXhale Cloud Evo and, especially, the monolithic Volcano vaporizer, which went unrivaled until the day the Herbalizer dawned on the vaporizer industry.
Some time has passed since the Herbalizer took the mantle of “best vaporizer” in late 2013. We set out to see if the proverbial Bentley of vaporizers remains the gold standard in vaporization.
With dual-functionality, the Herbalizer is capable of both aromatherapy and vaporization. This makes it an ideal vaporizer for medicinal and recreational cannabis users alike, as well as those who vaporize non-psychoactive essential oils and herbs. It’s also compatible with dry herb, wax, and oil.
Aromatherapy mode is meant for essential oil vaporization, which fills your room with mood-enhancing scents. This feature isn’t unique to the Herbalizer, but it is fairly unique to desktop vaporizers, and the Herbalizer is arguably the best at it (for reasons we’ll discuss later). Vaportherapy mode allows users to vape wax or herb through a medical-grade whip attachment, glass steamroller pipe (not included), or SqueezeValve balloon-bag.
Both Vaportherapy and Aromatherapy mode utilize the Herbalizer’s forced air system (although you can opt out of using the fan in vaportherapy mode), as well as a clean heating method that produces very pure vapor.
On paper, in other words, the Herbalizer vaporizer can do everything and does it well. And that’s not far off from reality.
How it Works
The Herbalizer’s pod-like clamshell design is sleek and functional. As you lift it open, the system boots up. From there, choosing between Aromatherapy or Vaportherapy mode on the control panel is intuitive. An upper deck between the control panel and the lid contains a storage area holding accessories and an ample-sized plastic box for discreetly storing vaping materials. This deck locks into the bottom of the lid when not in use, and over the control panel when in use.
On Aromatherapy mode, a tiny disc-like metal sponge (known as an aromapad) is dabbed with essential oil then slipped into a slit on top of the exhaust fan. As vapor spews out, it passes through the pad to diffuse essential oils. You can choose the amount of time you’d like the session to last, as well as a high or low fan speed. The fan is powerful. Our 200 square foot room was fragrant with vapor in close to a minute. At that rate, larger rooms would take an estimated five minutes to become fully aromatic. The Herbalizer comes with a sample bag of dried peppermint leaves, which is often used by aromatherapy connoisseurs to accentuate the aroma of mellower herbs like chamomile.
True to its reputation, the Herbalizer delivers vapor of very high quality from wax, oils, and dry herb. Vaporizing dry herb is easy. You simply lift the unit open to reveal the control interface and vapor output nozzle under which lies the herb chamber. You then unscrew the threaded chamber lid and load your ground dry herb into it (included is a cheese grater for shaving buds). Choosing from a temperature between 290° and 445℉ involves a simple plus and minus sign button. This precise temperature control enables you to choose the ideal vaporization temperature for whichever material you’re vaporizing (each strain, wax, and oil have one). Many desktop vaporizers enable precise temperature control; however, the Herbalizer has a cutting edge way of controlling temperature which we’ll go over shortly.
For vaporizing wax and oil, the aromapad comes into play again. This time you simply apply 3 to 5 drops of wax on it, rub it in and place it snugly in the chamber. Designed to aerate concentrates while maintaining maximum airflow, the aromapad allows you to easily draw through the whip or fill the SqueezeValve balloon-bag without obstructing the vapor path. The pad also makes the otherwise sticky business of vaping concentrates much less difficult to clean up. Grime does build-up on the nozzle over time, but periodic cleanup with the included brush is easy and keeps the unit spotless
The Herbalizer has three methods for inhalation: Balloon-bag, steamrolling with a glass pipe, and whip-style. We noticed the balloon-bags, four of which come included in the box, are nothing to play around with. Thanks to the strength of the forced air system, the XL-sized balloons fill up in 90 seconds and hold more than enough vapor to medicate you and a few friends. Don’t try to empty one yourself unless you’re truly experienced. Made of medical-grade silicone, these balloon-bags utilize a valve that opens when squeezed, allowing you to attach them to the output nozzle or inhale vapor, and closes immediately when released, so no vapor is wasted.
The recent addition of a glass steamroller attachment (imagine the pipe element of a bong) is a fine touch that “true vapor” connoisseurs will appreciate. There’s a theory that glass vapor paths deliver purer vapor since glass is inert and doesn’t react to heat like plastic and metal do. While other materials might leave a slightly plasticky or metallic flavor, glass apparently does not.
We must say when using the Herbalizer’s balloon-bag, We detected no difference in flavoring or aroma (perhaps because the Herbalizer’s vapor production is as pure as it gets). Still, the glass attachment delivers vapor a bit faster and fuller than the whip, for those who want stronger hits. The steamroller attachment rests snugly on the exhaust nozzle. Our draws were smooth and flavor-rich. With the fan on, We noticed our hits got fuller faster.
The Herbalizer whip attachment is 3 ft of flexible yet durable medical-grade silicone tubing. The mouthpiece is easy to remove for replacement or cleaning. The end piece easily attaches to the vapor nozzle. Utilizing the forced air system while drawing from the whip delivers fuller hits with much less effort.
The Herbalizer’s vapor production is crystal clear and smooth. The device extracts every flavor note, scent, and an active compound from herbs and concentrates without the harmful by-products of combustion. This is thanks to its laser-focused precision heating system, which is in part what differentiates the Herbalizer from most other desktop vapes.
How Does the Herbalizer Differ from Other Vaporizers?
Designers of the Herbalizer took the main elements of a desktop vaporizer–the heating source, forced air system, and precision temperature controls–and optimized them in a very easy-to-use and luxuriously designed vaporizer. These features are what continue to set the Herbalizer apart three years after its release.
The Herbalizer’s heating element is fairly innovative. Rather than utilizing ceramic or quartz, a halogen bulb vaporizes material “cleanly” with zero risk of combustion. This rare type of heating element is incredibly powerful, reaching temperatures of 380℉ within five seconds.
The forced air system is mighty, helping purify vapor as well as deliver it. With the push of a button (emblazoned with an intuitive fan icon), the Herbalizer’s fan begins pulling in air and filtering it. In combination with the unit’s combustion-free heating method, the forced air system makes for vapor quality that you can taste and smell. You can also turn the fan on during vapor therapy to propel vapor into balloon-bags, and up the whip for those with lungs too weak to inhale through the tubing.
Herbalizer Temperature Controls
We promised we would explain why the Herbalizer’s precise temperature controls are in a league of their own. It’s a matter of precision. Sure, pinpointing the thermal sweet spot for a specific type of vaping material is easy with the Herbalizer, but that’s something you can find in other desktop vapes.
What really stands out about the Herbalizer is the fact that it utilizes microprocessor technology to manage temperature. If the lamp deviates from your chosen temperature, the Herbalizer automatically corrects the problem within hundredths of a second. It can even remember what temperature you were on if the device takes a spill. An automatic shut-off feature stops the unit from running if it’s tipped over. And once you get the Herbalizer righted, it will resume at that same temperature when started up again.
Thanks to its forced air system, precise temperature settings, and combustion-free heating source, the Herbalizer delivers vapor of exceptional purity and smoothness, and an overall seamless vaping experience. With intuitively easy usability and a luxurious design, the Herbalizer certainly rivals, if not overshadows, the ever-resilient Volcano vaporizer. It’ll take a truly innovative vaporizer to surpass its excellence.