2018 is shaping up to be the year of the on-demand convection portable vaporizer. After years of R&D and tweaking, the Ghost MV-1 and Haze Square are (almost) ready to be released to the public. They deliver some of the best flavor and efficiency on the market, but what makes them really stand out from the pack is that they deliver vapor on-demand. But there are cons as well, such as a higher learning curve to get consistent results.
So are these portables worth the extra work to get excellent vapor on-demand? Let's take a look and see if an on-demand portable is the right vape for you.
What is an on-demand vaporizer?
On-demand vaporizers only heat the herbs while you’re drawing, so there’s very little waste. When you inhale, fresh air flows through a heater and into your herbs, vaporizing as you draw and stopping when you quit. This is fairly easy to do with plug-in vaporizers with their unlimited power and always-on heaters - all we have to do is add herbs and draw.
It’s a lot harder to do with portable vaporizers like the Firefly 2 since they need to work on a moment’s notice and cool down enough to go back in your pocket as soon as you’re done. They pull off this miracle by using fast metal heaters in tiny spaces, controlling the heat so it’s hot enough to vaporize inside without burning you on the outside, and delivering cool vapor without using up too much power. Pretty impressive.
What’s good about them?
The instant on/off works like a one-hitter so you can finally replace that dugout, and you won’t have to commit to a five minute session whenever you want to vaporize. Microdosing (usually vaporizing less than 0.05 grams at a time) is easier, too, since you can pack a larger load but only take hits as you need them. On-demand portables also tend to taste better for longer, since they don’t cook your herbs between hits.
Quirky and inconsistent - practice makes perfect
These vaporizers promise a lot, but they lack the consistency of a Crafty or Mighty and each model has its own learning curve. You’re the X factor in the equation, so the vaporizer is counting on you for the right herb pack, draw speed and power level. If your herbs aren’t dry enough, or your draw is too fast, or your battery too low, you’ll find wispy vapor. On the other hand, if you have a full battery or a slow draw you can char your herbs. There’s a balance to strike here and you might need to spend some time finding it.
With an on-demand convection vaporizer you can expect good vapor most of the time, amazing vapor enough times to keep you coming back, and the occasional hiccup to remind you that you’re in control. You can get some of the best performance you’ve ever had with enough practice, just don’t expect to run with it out of the box or to blindly hand it off to a friend.
Who’s an on-demand convection portable vaporizer for?
These are for the person who wants a one-hitter style vaporizer that tastes great and is willing to work for it. With a little bit of practice you can go anywhere with some of the best vapor you’ve ever tasted, and the convenience of a one-hitter cannot be overstated.
On-demand convection offerings
The Firefly 2 is available now, with the Ghost MV1 and Haze Square just around the corner, and each will reward you for the efforts you put in. We really liked the Firefly 2, but it proved to be too much work for around one in five users. The challenge is to shorten the learning curve, and right now the Ghost MV1 appears to have a slight edge, but the Haze Square has the distinct advantage of costing you over CAD$100 less than these other two vaporizers.