This year’s review is all about the accolades: We scrupulously performed our dank diligence to help you decide on the best vaporizer pen for concentrates in a variety of categories. Whether you’re looking for stealth or health, big hits or big taste, an excellent design or high value, this year’s 2016 vapor pen review has something to please every dabber.
A lot has changed with the way we choose to vape since HIGH TIMES published the first Vapor Pen Buyer’s Guide four years ago. When portable vaporizers first came to market, we were less concerned with its function and features, and more enthralled by the fact that there was a new way to get high on the go—and for some of us who have to have the latest and greatest gadgets—vapes became something of a status symbol.
Vaporizer manufacturers also caught on—putting valuable R&D dollars into fine-tuning consumer demands. In the years since, we’ve seen changes in everything from healthiness (atomizers and their coils are made from cleaner materials like quartz or ceramic); stealthiness (vaporizers can be as skinny as pencil, flashy/blinky lights and loud colors are a no-no) to just how big or tasty a hit is possible.
Coordinating this year’s 2016 Vapor Pen Review, we gathered 30 judges, 10+ grams of wax and a bunch of lung power and stamina to review more than 60+ concentrate vaporizers. Using Scorebook (HIGH TIMES’ official Cannabis Cup scoring software), judges rated the following out of five: Vapor Production, Hit, Stealth, Health, Portability, Innovation, Style/Design, Taste, Value, Durability, Packaging/Kit, Features and Ease of Use.
Here at HIGH TIMES, we’ve also adapted with the ever-changing marketplace and instead of naming just one vape pen the best overall, have broken down and awarded 25 vapes the best for what they do—to help you decide just which vape is right for you. Happy vaping!
HIGH TIMES’ love affair with the Dr. Dabber Aurora continues for the second straight year. This is a vape pen to rule them all thanks to its unique magnetic parts, sleek matte-black finish, and a kit that includes multiple atomizers—from dual ceramic rods to a ceramic heater—to best handle the differences among your favorite concentrates. “Big hits,” along with a “stealthy design” and “cool magnetic feature,” make the Aurora a “crazy-good vape pen,” according to our judges, who especially hailed the coil and different temperature settings.
Best Packaging/Kit, Best Durability, Best Innovation, Best Stealth, Best Taste
Winner of the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup
Living up to its “down-low” product name, the DL impressed us with its discreet design and ease of use. A “great bang for your buck,” according to one judge, the Clout DL1 uses a dual quartz coil in a ceramic cup with a coil cap to produce a “nice, strong hit.”
Best Value, Best Hit
This vape-pen kit offers a “kind price,” a “nice, cool design” and a “slick pencil-case-style container,” but it delivered a “bad taste” and a pull that one judge found “upsetting.” Although the Evol Ape is “easy to use” and its “double coil provides a good hit,” we’re holding out for a vape that can do all that and preserve flavor.
Best Value, Best Ease of Use
You know you’ve attained baller status when you can whip out the Executive by Dank Fung. Plated in 24-karat gold, this vape commands a high price, but the judges admired its fountain-pen-style appearance, lithe design and clever pen cap. “Durable,” “strong,” “easy to use” and providing a “nice hit,” the Executive also comes in its own ultra-swanky fur-lined box.
Best Durability, Best Style/Design
In 2105, we awarded the original PuffCo Pro our highest honor as Best Vape Pen, and we were tempted to do likewise with the brand-new PuffCo+, which scored off the charts thanks to its innovations, including a “super-handy” dab-tool “dart” hidden on the underside of the mouthpiece and a coilless ceramic oven that evenly distributes your dab, producing a “stellar cloud of vape” that also “preserves the oils’ flavor profile.” One judge called it “revolutionary,” while another said simply, “This PuffCo changed my life.”
Best Innovation, Best Style/Design, Best Vapor Production, Best Health, Best Taste
Best Vaporizer, HIGH TIMES Cannabis Concentrates Cup 2016
Best Vaporizer, HIGH TIMES NorCal Cannabis Cup 2016
Best Vaporizer, HIGH TIMES Michigan Cannabis Cup 2016
Best Vaporizer, HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup & Carnival 2016
Best Vaporizer, HIGH TIMES SoCal Cannabis Cup 2016
This “sleek silver pen” was “easy to use” and offers up a “good, smooth hit,” according to our expert panel. Overall, both of the Linx pens we tested were well received, drawing plaudits for their “vapor production and flavor,” as well as their size and portability.
Best Vapor Production
A “unique design” set this subHerbanArt vape pen apart from the pack, especially its “cool glass topper mouthpiece” and “nice box mod battery with digital readout.” One judge enjoyed the experience of getting “totally dabbed by the Dead,” and the panel also appreciated the Pelican-style hard-shell travel case.
Best Style/Design, Best Packaging/Kit, Best Health
Our panel is still coughing from the triple-coil “monster hits” of the Source Orb XL. This “beast” of a vape pen may feel a little “heavy in the hand,” but it’s “well constructed,” with atomizers that can hold up to a gram of concentrate, and will produce huge clouds due to its unique variable airflow system.
Best Vapor Production, Best Hit, Best Durability
This “unique” vape pen scored high marks for its construction, sturdiness and stealth—plus it provided “super hits” from a deep, enclosed chamber. While no one on the panel had heard of the Paragon before, the judges “loved it” for its “dense clouds” and “concealable” nature.
Best Vapor Production, Best Durability, Best Stealth
Our panel was impressed by the FogPen’s double-quartz-coil atomizer, which is enclosed in a clear chamber and concealed by a pen cap when not in use. This vape got high marks in areas like stealth and design (“So realistic and cool”; “the pen design is stealthy”; “a nice chamber where you can see the vapor fill up”), but it failed to impress the judges in several others (“didn’t taste great”; “was hard to pull”).
Best Style/Design, Best Stealth
Our panel appreciated the Cloud Pen 3.0’s slightly larger size and double coil, and also praised it for its “very big hits” that “taste really good.” We’ve seen this vape pen in every year of our review, but it’s worth noting that CloudPenz continues to put out a “good-quality vape” that is both “reliable and consistent.”
Best Vapor Production
Good things do come in small packages, as the Dr. Dabber Light proved in this year’s review. Its compact nature led judges to call it a “stealthy little number” that’s the “perfect size to fit in your pocket” or take “into concerts or on a trip.” On top of scoring big on portability, the Dr. Dabber Light wowed our panel with its “big hits” and ease of use.
Best Portability, Best Value
Our panel of experts overwhelmingly declared the three-coiled vape as this year’s “biggest hitter,” with “huge, massive clouds” that repeatedly knocked them on their ass. Other judges’ comments included “really enjoy the pen”; “tons of settings to get the perfect vape”; and a single-word panegyric: “Dabbed!” In fact, the only criticism concerned the “bulky and heavy” battery pack.
Best Vapor Production, Best Hit, Best Features
Judges called the Galaxy a “solid, well-hitting” vaporizer that comes “nicely designed” with a “pretty star field” and delivers hits that are sure to blast you into orbit. Dual quartz rods, a titanium coil and a deep quartz-crystal chamber all make the Galaxy a dependable vape for any occasion.
Best Hit, Best Style/Design
Best Vaporizer, HIGH TIMES Michigan Cannabis Cup 2016
Thanks to its low-heat coils and “Titanium Technology,” the Dr. Dabber Ghost heats concentrates slowly for a big, tasty hit. Although not quite the “quality of the Aurora,” this sister pen impressed the judges for its “nice pull,” “solid feel” and “sturdy, portable size.” A “great product” and “good-value” vape, the Dr. Dabber Ghost once again proved a favorite of the HIGH TIMES Vape Pen Review.
Best Hit, Best Value, Best Portability, Best Packaging/Kit
The Linx Hypnos Zero “rocked from the first hit” and drew praise for its construction, size and portability. Judges also appreciated the “great taste,” with “fantastic airflow” from the “unique ceramic chamber” and glass mouthpiece.
Best Value, Best Portability, Best Taste
This “high-quality” vape may be “a little bulky,” but it produced “large and great-tasting hits.” While the Dank Fung Express may not be the stealthiest of pens (one judge likened its appearance to a large “magic marker”), our panel felt that this was ultimately offset by the “smooth hits” from its efficient ceramic atomizer.
Best Taste, Best Hit, Best Durability
This “generic” offering was “pretty standard” as far as vape pens go. The judges agreed that it “functioned well” and “ripped hard,” but it didn’t deliver the greatest taste and was a little “harsh” to boot. On the plus side, the Eleven Pen has a “nice feel” and comes with a “cool case.”
Clout’s Oozi Pen and Dome Kit inspired praise design-wise, with a “good, solid glass globe” that sits over a dual ceramic coil to produce an “all-around good pull” and “decent hit.” However, the judges split on durability because of the dome’s fragility as well as on stealth, since the vapor filling in the dome is not by any means discreet.
Best Hit, Best Style/Design
The Sirius can heat up to some serious temps (842°F) in the click of a button to produce a “great hit” that “tastes awesome” from its ceramic-plated atomizer. One judge opined that he got a “value-sized hit for a value-priced pen,” while another said he thought it was “high end.” Curiously, the Sirius felt “large and clumsy” to some judges, but “nice and small” to others—which just goes to show that portability is often in the eye (and hand) of the beholder!
Though judges found the Donuts design to be a similar design of other concentrate vaporizers, one commented “if it’s not broke, why fix it?” And rightfully so. Donuts by KandyPens has some great features like an automatic shut-off after 10 seconds and three different temperature settings. Judges enjoyed the “tasty hits” from the non-combusting ceramic chamber.
Best Health, Best Features
Impressive for its “humongous hits” and “really beautiful glass chamber” attachment, the Vaped Micro Nectar Collector rated high in vapor production, style/design and innovation. Some judges cried “madness!” about the “dab pens on dab rigs” and warned that it’s “not ideal to use outside of the home.” Overall, however, this “vape-pen bong” made up in “coolness” what it lacked in affordability and stealth.
Best Hit, Best Style/Design, Best Vapor Production, Best Innovation
When it comes to value, a comment like “great vapor rips for the price!” should end our review right there—but while some judges got great rips, others claimed that “it didn’t hit well” and had a “weak pull.” Our panel agreed that the Source Orb Slim did stay true to its name, but they still preferred the larger Source Vapes pens.
With seven different atomizers to suit every dab-on-the-go situation, the Source Orb 3 “hit like a champ,” according to our judges, who also loved its “cool design” and a package that comes with a “ton of coils.” If you’re looking for plenty of dabbing options and the perfect combination of size, atomizer and temperature, definitely check out this Premium Kit, which gives you all of that and more.
Best Innovation, Best Packaging/Kit, Best Style/Design
The OG Four 2.0 really does “rip,” as the company’s name promises, but what suffers is the taste. “Ouch, it burns!” and “hits very harshly,” cried the judges, who were literally left with a bad taste in their mouths. However, this pen’s clear orange chamber, “sleek design” and “cool packaging” were all an “added bonus to how high you can get.”
Best Value, Best Style/Design