Are High-End Vapes Worth the Expensive Price Tag?
Where we’ve all seen these several-hundred-dollar vaporizers hitting the market over the last few years, we often find ourselves asking the question: What’s so cool about these machines to justify such high price points? Is the cost of getting high raised when technology and innovation are applied?
If you narrow down your focus on premium herb vaporizers, you’ll find a highly competitive market. We took a look at the current market leaders and reviewed what they have to offer, fully digesting the results. Then we narrowed the best means of judging whether a vaporizer is worth the cost down to three important criteria.
Internal and External Vaporizer Materials
There are plenty of cheap vaporizers out there, mostly comprised of plastic and silicone components. You get what you pay for with these toy-like vapes — most importantly, your expensive herb or concentrate starts to taste like it came out of a stapler after a few uses. On the flip side, your top-of-the-line vaporizer manufacturers spare no expense when it comes to selecting premium materials for internal and external componentry, which is why they cost more.
For external components, you’ll find a variety of materials used to serve different purposes. Vaporizers such as the DAVINCI IQ or the Pax 2 use anodized aluminum exteriors, which lend a sleek, cool-to-the-touch finish that’s hard to beat. Not only does this external material selection look and feel amazing, you don’t have to worry about your vaporizer melting or exuding unsafe chemicals when it reaches top temperatures around 430˚F.
The Herbalizer desktop vaporizer, for another example, is primarily comprised of a high-temperature-resistant plastic called polyetheretherketone, or PEEK. With vaporization temperatures climbing upwards of 445˚F, this type of plastic does not off-gas, and isn’t in danger of melting. It’s actually the same stuff that NASA uses in spaceships — which is part of the reason for the $599 price tag.
The inside of a vaporizer is a vessel to help produce the perfect flavor from your flower or concentrate of choice. DaVinci uses zirconia ceramic in the vapor path in its most recent offering, the DAVINCI IQ. A highly regarded ceramic, zirconia has a high resistance and low K factor (meaning it’s insulative) which ensures that hits are smooth and cool. Zirconia ceramic has been approved as safe by the FDA, and is currently used in a variety of other high-quality products including dentures.
Materials that are sometimes used in place of ceramic for internal vaporizer heating components are stainless steel, aluminum, and even brass. Brass, for one, has been found to be toxic. Stainless steel heats up quickly, yet also loses heat more quickly, making temperature control difficult. Many also dislike the flavor that comes from stainless steel. For those seeking maximum flavor and control, ceramic is generally the way to go.
Vape Features & Functionality
Temperature control is currently one of the most popular features of high-end vapes. From being able to craft your own high to targeting certain cannabinoids for specific ailments, this is a key capability offered by many vaporizer brands. Many of the latest portable vaporizers to hit the market provide a sophisticated display for communication to the user, preset algorithms for a tailored experience, and mobile app integrations that take it all to a whole new level of control and sophistication. That said, it takes a lot of work to get it right, and many cheap vapes that advertise temperature control can’t ensure the precision achieved by the research and development that goes into premium brands’ products.
In 2012, DaVinci Vaporizer was one of the first to offer a pocket-friendly vaporizer with precision temperature control manipulated through a digital interface. In 2015, the Crafty vaporizer (priced at $385) added the first vaporizer app. Since then, other premium device providers such as Firefly, Vapium, DaVinci, and Pax have all integrated apps that enhance functionality and allow the user to further customize their experience.
At the premium level, users expect these additional bells and whistles, but it’s important to note that things like temperature-control apps aren’t cheap to build. Generally costing about $100,000 to create, you can expect them to drive up the price of a device at checkout.
If there’s one thing a company should always provide for its customers, it’s backing their own product with a solid warranty. The value that comes with premium materials, modern features, and dependable functionality is close to priceless, but it’s worth a lot less if you can’t count on your vaporizer to stay that way. Cheap knockoffs come with no warranty, whereas low- to mid-range vapes offer one to two years’ warranty and virtually zero support. A premium brand, however, has invested time and energy into ensuring that you, the customer, will be offered support when and if you need it. Both Pax and DaVinci take the cake here with 10-year warranties on their latest devices.
The bottom line in considering a high-end vaporizer is that it really comes down to what you are looking for in terms of materials, functionality, and dependability. If you’re looking for all three, time has proven again and again that with buying electronics, you really do get what you pay for. In terms of high-end vaporizers, the price tag is not only justified based on cost of materials, cost of innovation, and cost of providing support — for most customers, it’s also worth it.