Lighter-based portable vaporizers explained (and our personal top 5!)

With the increase of recently released portable vaporizers containing high tech features such as Bluetooth connectivity (hello Davinci IQ and PAX 3!), powerful lithium batteries and the use of aerospace materials, it’s easy to forget about a specific niche in the world of vaporizing: flame-powered portable vaporizers. As the name implies, these vaporizers rely on an actual flame as heat source instead of a battery and electronic heater.

Vaporizing with a flame?

Whereas most vaporizers are electric, and use a battery to convert energy into the heat that is required to vaporize your favourite herb (generally at temperatures between 170 and 220°C), flame powered devices use the heat of a flame from either a regular lighter or a more powerful torch lighter. However, as the herb directly touching the flame would cause it to scorch and cause combustion, the heating is indirect, using the flame to heat a material and to pull this hot air through your herb (convection heating). Having said that, combustion may still occur when the heat is applied for extended time, so it is important to always use the right technique.

And while these vaporizers are certainly not for everyone, there are some clear advantages to these ‘basic’ flame-fueled vapes.

1. Use anywhere, anytime

With an exhausted battery but no electricity outlets around, your battery-operated vaporizer has become pretty much useless. If the batteries of your vape are removable this can be prevented by always bringing an extra battery, but with many popular models not offering this feature, a power bank or power outlet is a necessity to keep vaping once you’ve run out of the initial charge. While of course it is possible to run out of lighter gas, there is usually a good chance someone in your surrounding has a lighter for you – much like in smoker’s culture.

2. Low cost

As the design of these flame vaporizers is often more straightforward than that of an advanced electronic vaporizer (containing a battery, a sophisticated heating system, a heating path etcetera), most flame-based units are priced around or even below 50 euro. Some people even use them as disposable vaporizers, for example when traveling to a foreign country.

3. Flavour

Due to the absence of plastics and electronics, flame-based vapes are known for producing excellent tasting, pure vapour. The majority of these models are constructed using mainly natural or inert materials, such as a glass, ceramic and wood.

5 popular flame based portable vaporizers

VapCap (€39 - €159)

The VapCap (by DynaVap) is a relatively new product on the scene. Manufactured in the USA, the VapCap is available in various materials, ranging in price from 39 euro for the VapCap original (glass) piece to 159 euro for a heavy duty Titanium (OmniVap) edition, with the VapCap M offering the best value (making it our best selling VapCap). What’s unique about the VapCap is that is clicks when the material has reached the desired temperature. The video below demonstrates the heat-up method:


DynaVap has a strong fanbase of dedicated users that praise the VapCap products for their ease of use and outstanding vapour quality.

Browse all VapCap models

VaporGenie (€ 49,50)

An all-time classic, the pipe-shaped VaporGenie has been around for almost 10 years. Featuring a clever (patented) filter system, the VaporGenie is heated by applying a flame to the filter (but without touching it!), transporting the hot air through your herb, allowing for sublime convection vaporization. While this requires a bit of a technique at first, many people swear by the elegant and affordable VaporGenie vapes and prefer it over modern day battery powered portables.

Note that the VaporGenie works best with a regular lighter.

Order the VaporGenie Classic

Vapman (€80)

The Vapman is a high quality, handmade Swiss pocket vaporizer that is best used with a torch lighter. The outer shell in an egg like appearance is hard and does well to protect the Vapman from any damage and shock. The internals are cleverly designed, applying a combination of convection and conduction for optimal vapour output.

Order the Vapman

Vaponic Plus (€79)

Vaponic Plus is a super small and stealthy, reliable and well thought-out glass portable vaporizer that is constructed using only the highest quality materials (borosilicate glass, stainless steel and medical grade silicone). As a result, the vapour of the Vaponic is extremely flavourful.

While there is a slight learning curve to get the most satisfying clouds of vapour from your Vaponic (mainly getting the right time to heat the glass piece), it is well worth investing the time to become acquainted with its use.

Order the Vaponic Plus

The classic version of the Vaponic (minus the wooden shell) is available for only €39.50.

New: Sticky Brick vaporizers

Another recent addition to the range of flame-powered vaporizers are the Sticky Brick vapes. Available in various models and wood types, these handmade wooden vapes are simple by design but incredibly effective and widely touted for the thick and flavourful (convection) vapour. Definitely worth checking out!

Check out the Sticky Brick vaporizers


3 Super Easy to Use Portable Vaporizers

When it comes to portable vaporizers, the market has seen quite a bit of innovation over the last years. More and more tech is incorporated into today’s vaporizers, ranging from Bluetooth (app) connectivity to motion sensors. But is all this technology really necessary? According to a survey by online retailer Torontovaporizer, 51% of all surveyed vaporists believe that pre-set temperatures are enough to satisfy their vaporizer needs. Only 20% did not agree with this and 29% answered the survey with ‘neutral’. So while digital displays and precise (app-controlled) temperature controls seem to be big selling points, it seems most users generally seem content with only having pre-set temperatures at their disposal.

In this article we’ll discuss three of the best rated and most easy to use portable vaporizers that are available today. Not only are these portables an excellent choice for beginning vaporists, these vapes also rank well amongst medicinal users.

1. Mighty

According to many vaporizer enthusiasts, the Mighty (by Storz & Bickel) has been the undisputed king of portables since its release in 2014. Featuring two built-in high quality batteries, the Mighty is a portable powerhouse that packs enough power for multiple sessions. With a heat-up time of 90 seconds it is not considered particularly fast these days, but it makes up for that by excellent flavour and impressive vapour production. Featuring a combination of convection and conduction heating as well as a large capacity bowl, the Mighty has turned many long-time smokers into avid vaporizers.

How easy to use is it? The Mighty is operated by three buttons. The plus (+) and minus (-) buttons are located conveniently between the large LCD display. This display indicates the necessities: current and set temperature as well as the battery status.

Downsides? The battery capacity makes the Mighty somewhat bulky, and not exactly stealthy or pocket friendly. However, if you’re willing to take the size of this beast for granted, it is unlikely you’ll ever regret choosing for this high quality German engineered vape.

Order the Mighty

2. Boundless CF

The LA based Boundless company made an impressive debut in 2016, releasing numerous handhelds that were all received very well.

One of their best-selling, and also easiest to use units, is the CF. A powerful 80 watt heater ensures a very fast heat-up time of around 20 seconds. With a large capacity bowl, five pre-set temperature settings and an affordable price point (the CF retails for 129 euro), you can’t really go wrong with this compact, no-frills portable.

How easy to use is it? The CF’s swivel-like bowl opens in a similar fashion as the Mighty, making loading and unloading a breeze. Pressing the power button five times turns the power on, pressing the same button three times helps you select any of the five pre-set temperatures. The temperatures are indicated on the device itself with a LED and a mark, making it easy to see your current temperature. Charging is easy and fast; simply connect your CF to a micro-USB cable, the same type that is used by most smartphones.

Downsides? Most outer components from the CF are made from (rubberized and high quality) plastic, which does not give it a very premium look and feel.

Order the Boundless CF

3. Arizer Solo

The Solo by Arizer has been on the market for several years now, but remains the number one choice for many medicinal and recreational users alike. It offers a durable vaporizer in an incredibly solid housing while boasting decent battery life and excellent vapour production.

With the successor of the Solo, the Solo II, released in June 2017, the original Solo has dropped in price a bit, providing for an ever better deal.

How easy to use is it? The Arizer Solo features two buttons, which double as power button (hold both simultaneously to turn on the Solo) and temperature up/down buttons. LED’s show the current and set temperature on a scale of 1 to 7. To use, simply fill the bottom side of the glass mouthpiece with some herb, put it back on, and once heated up, enjoy delicious vapour!

The Solo is also very easy to maintain. The glass mouthpieces can be soaked in ISO-alcohol, and the bowl is easily cleaned by using a small brush or a quick rinse with an alcohol swab.

Any cons? The Solo is showing some signs of aging, mostly reflected in the heat-up time (which is close to 1 minute) and it’s bulky appearance, making it less than ideal for carrying around. The all-new Arizer Solo II tackles the battery problems by offering faster heat-up and longer battery life. It has an updated look, while still paying homage to the original. Although these are excellent improvements, the new Solo features a LED display can be a bit fiddly to work with, which is why we did not include it in this listing.

Order the original Arizer Solo


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