If aliens would be vaping weed…
It probably would be with the Herbalizer.
This hyper-modern desktop vaporizer looks like a gadget straight out of the future.
It doesn’t only look hyper-modern…
The functionalities and performance of this alien-like vaporizer make you wonder…whether it was really made by humans.
As it turns out:
The Herbalizer was designed by 2 ex-NASA engineers (semi-humans 😉 ). With its 32MHz 16-bit processor controlling its functionalities, we can say ‘rocket-science’ went into this thing.
It’s a hybrid desktop vaporizer which means that you can choose to use it with:
- A whip;
- A balloon (bags);
- Or a glass attachment.
We’ve already hinted that the Herbalizer is a very powerful, efficient and versatile vaporizer.
The question is:
Considering its extreme price-point (it’s the most expensive vaporizer there is)…
And take the number 1 spot as best desktop vaporizer overall?
Continue below to find out.
Or go straight to the pros and cons and conclusion.
Where to buy the Herbalizer:
I’m gonna be risky here and declare the Herbalizer as the most elegant looking desktop vaporizer.
It really is a beauty:
- It looks modern;
- It looks sleek;
- Feels highly luxurious.
And all of this without any glass…
This vaporizer is 95% made from plastic.
95% plastic for a $500+ vaporizer?
So if we're talking build quality, for such an expensive vaporizer its build quality leaves a little bit be desired…
ESPECIALLY when you compare it to the Volcano Vaporizer.
Generally speaking, plastic is just less durable than glass or stainless steel.
Plastic unfortunately isn’t the most durable or luxurious material. And it definitely feels more delicate and prone to breaking than the sturdy Volcano.
I never dropped my Herbalizer yet, like I’ve dropped my Volcano.
But something tells me its chance of surviving a drop is much lower than the Volcano.
And that ‘something' has to do with all that plastic and its build quality.
As explained in the design paragraph, the Herbalizer is 95% made from plastic.
But plastic isn’t necessarily less safe than some types of metal for example.
It’s all dependant on the type and quality of the plastic and the way in which it’s used in the vaporizer.
The most important thing with plastic used in vaporizers is that it’s:
- Heat resistant;
- And not in direct contact with the heating element.
Is this true for the Herbalizer?
The Herbalizer is one of the few vaporizers which uses a halogen bulb made of quartz, to heat up the air which in turn heats up your herb.
And there's no plastic directly around the heating element of the Herbalizer.
The makers of the Aromed say a halogen bulb has no chance of off-gassing any unwanted substances compared to aluminium or ceramic.
Storz and Bickel showed in an independent technical test that the aluminium heating element in the Volcano Vaporizer doesn’t off gas any noticeable aluminium at least.
So is a halogen bulb heating element safer than aluminium or ceramic?
I can’t say for sure…
Looking at one of the other vaporizers with a halogen bulb heating element: the Aromed, we can probably conclude a halogen heating element is safe.
The Aromed is a medical-grade vaporizer that's refunded by insurance companies in Europe as a medical device.
What we can't conclude from this is that a halogen bulb made from quartz is safer than the other types of heating elements.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information about the air path before the heating element…
And since I really don’t have the money to open up and dissect a $600 Herbalizer, I’m going to have to leave you in the dark here.
I can shine the light upon its vapor path though.
I already talked about the heating element which is made from quartz, which is perfectly fine in terms of safety…
…as long as it doesn't break or gets micro-fractures. Which I believe won't happen with the Herbalizer, no hard proof here though.
But what about the bowl and rest of the vapor path?
The bowl is made from stainless steel which is completely fine in terms of safety.
For inhalation methods you have different options:
- A medica-grade silicon whip;
- A glass steamroller, or;
- Medical-grade balloon (bags).
All of these materials are safe.
I don’t see any issues with the materials used in the heating element and air path.
Separation air path and electronics
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on the air path before it reaches the heating element…
After it reached the heating element it doesn’t come into contact with any of the electronics though.
Vapor Potency (9)
Although the Herbalizer isn’t a cloud producer like the VapeXhale Cloud EVO…
It does produce vapor that’s extremely effective in medicating.
The best part?
Because of its super-precise and accurate temperature control, I actually haven’t found a vaporizer that’s better in really tailoring the effects of your vapor to your specific needs.
With the general rule that:
The lower you go the more the effects of your vapor will be energizing, clear headed and cerebral.
The higher you go the more the effects of your vapor will be physical, sedating and combustion-like.
Actually the Herbalizer made me realize clouds are overrated…
I can get as medicated from the Herbalizer as the VapeXhale Cloud EVO for example, with just a few extra hits.
The draws won’t hit me like a Boeing 747…but the effects will sneak up on you rather quickly. So be careful!
In terms of brutality and how hard the hitting your draws will be, the inhalation methods are ranked in the following order from least potent to most potent:
- Balloon (bags);
- Glass steamroller.
So if you're a cloud chaser, you know what to do (get the glass steamroller).
Note: the Volcano Vaporizer still provides a more potent balloon (bag) experience. But it's easier to go for hard hitting clouds with a Herbalizer + glass steamroller.
Vapor Flavor (9)
Like you would expect from a $600 vaporizer…
The flavor of the Herbalizer is 100% top shelf.
The best part?
Whether you like to vape low temperatures or high temperatures…
The flavor stays extremely pure and extremely smooth.
It just produces vapor that’s very easy on the lungs, especially if you use it with the glass steamroller.
Just to remind:
This is without any water cooling.
I really don’t know any other vaporizer where the vapor stays so smooth at 445℉(230℃). The Firefly 2 stays smooth on the highest setting as well but that’s below the Herbalizer’s max temp setting.
One last thing the Herbalizer seems to excel in is its flavor retention all throughout your session.
The consistency of flavor this vaporizer produces is close to unparalleled.
The bottom line:
…except if you’re really a high-temp only vaper, then the Herbalizer ranks number 1!
A possible explanation for this is the following:
It seems the Herbalizer perfected convection heating and close to completely eliminated conduction and radiant heating in the bowl.
With a lot of vaporizers (especially portables), at some point conduction and radiant heating kick in and the flavor unfortunately deteriorates.
When looking at efficiency…
Log vaporizers like the E-Nano are the benchmark for me.
They need a very minimal amount of herb in their bowl, to produce very potent and hard-hitting draws.
So how does the Herbalizer compare?
I would say it’s almost as, if not as efficient as log-style vaporizers.
Of course there is the convection heating, which the Herbalizer seems to have perfected (close to eliminated conduction and radiant heating)
Then there is its bowl size…
You probably didn’t expect this…
But the bowl size of the Herbalizer is 0.5 grams.
Which is average for a desktop vaporizer (the Volcano can hold up till 1 grams, and the VXL EVO’s ELB holds about 0.3 grams)
So how is it possible that you can get medicated properly with a tiny amount of 0.05 grams of your favorite herb?
I have no strongly founded explanation for this.
But if I would have to take guess…
I would say it has to do with the extraction efficiency of the Herbalizer.
If you look at your ABV (Already Been Vaped bud), you will see your herb is evenly cooked from all sides.
Desktop vaporizers generally are better at this than portable vaporizers, but the Herbalizer takes it to a whole new level.
Never did I see unevenly cooked herb after a session with the Herbalizer.
Ease of Use (9)
Both in terms of learning curve and cleaning/maintenance, the Herbalizer is extremely easy to use.
Its extremely fast heat-up time and super-precise and accurate temperature control, also make it one of the easiest vaporizers to use for medical marijuana users.
Although the Herbalizer really doesn’t have a learning curve…
It is one of those vaporizers which needs some basic modding to get the best performance out of it.
It still works great without these mods, but just a few simple modifications can really enhance your experience.
The mods I’m talking about are the:
- Volcano Solid Valve mod for the balloons;
- A wider whip, and;
- The simple dome screen mod.
All of these mods can be found in the tips and tricks chapter at the and of this review.
In any case:
These mods do take away from its ease of use…
But other than these mods the Herbalizer basically is a foolproof vaporizer.
You can grind however you want. I noticed a medium fluffy grind works best for me. It even works with no grind
Tip: The best weed grinder to consistently get a medium fluffy grind (which is ideal for convection vaporizers), is the Santa Cruz Shredder.
You can also draw however you want, you’ll always get powerful vapor and there’s 0 risk of combustion like you have with some other vapes like the DBV or VapeXhale Cloud EVO.
The original whip does have a little bit of draw resistance. But you can easily switch to a wider tubing if you have issues with it (I did).
What to get if you want a wider whip:
Balloons and glass steamrollers never have any draw resistance anyway.
Maintenance / cleaning downtime
Let’s start with a major tip:
Keep your Herbalizer clean!
How to keep it clean?
Luckily the Herbalizer is a very low maintenance unit.
All you have to keep clean is the bowl and the whip if you’re using the whip.
How you clean the bowl is as follows:
After every session brush out your bowl, while it’s still hot. If you do it while your bowl is still hot, the resin will come off easily.
The top screen gets dirty pretty easily. A quick way to clean it is to put it directly over the heating element, set the temperate setting to the highest and turn on the fan. Then simply brush any left-over resin off.
The conventional way would be to soak it in ISO alcohol and rinse with warm water…
But the top screen in your bowl WILL get dirty every session. So I only do this every 2 weeks or so.
Tip: To keep the top screen clean you could also get a regular pipe screen, bend it into a dome shape and put it below the top screen. This will help prevent herb sticking to your top screen..
One last tip to clean the top screen: Just swap the bottom and top screen. The resin of the top screen will simply burn off this way..
The whip should simply be cleaned with ISO alcohol and warm water.
Temperature Control (10)
Precise and accurate temperature control is a HUGE pro of the Herbalizer.
I might be stepping on some toes here…
But I’m going to go ahead and call the Herbalizer the vaporizer with the MOST precise and accurate temperature control.
Its 32MHz 16-bit processor has an air-temperature sensor which, no matter how fast or how hard you draw, keeps temperature to within +/- 5°F.
Sounds a bit like the PerpetuHeat System of the VapeXhale Cloud EVO.
Except for with the Herbalizer’s sensors, we know that one of its sensors is directly located below the bowl…
The Herbalizer is the only vaporizer I know of that does this. Most other vaporizers have sensors in the heating element…which can differ by quite a margin from the temperature in the bowl.
But there’s another reason why I think the Herbalizer has the most precise and accurate temperature control…
When I compare the ABV of the Herbalizer with the ABV of other convection vapes at the same temperature setting, I can clearly see the ABV of the Herbalizer is less browned.
Combine this with the fact there’s no combustion risk even at 445°F (230°C) and the temperature sensor of the Herbalizer is right below the bowl…
Leads me to believe that the temperature settings of other vaporizers are much less accurate (this explains why the max temperature setting of most other vaporizers stays WELL below 445°F / 230°C, which is the combustion point of marijuana).
It gets even better:
The heat-up time of the Herbalizer is 10 seconds.
Instant vapor at your disposal.
The Herbalizer comes the closest to on-demand vaping for desktop vapes, while keeping its session qualities.
This is the fastest heating desktop vaporizer.
Reputation and Reliability (7)
Herbalizer is a very new kid on the block.
The Herbalizer is their first and only vaporizer to date.
It came out at the end of 2013 and did have a controversial start.
They came on the vaporizer scene with a retail price that seemed a bit…outrageous: $730.
The wonderful people of the human race, including myself, were wondering what the heck must’ve gone into this alien-ware vaporizer.
I’ll be honest:
When I first heard about the whole ‘NASA-engineers’ thing, I was thinking it was just another marketing scheme and they were just trying to look and sound cool.
And even though I’m sure they milked that stuff until the last drop in their marketing efforts…
The performance of the Herbalizer doesn’t disappoint. So I guess we can conclude they did kind of deliver.
With regards to the company there were some concerns about one of the head-engineers leaving the company, the company turning into a shell company and warranties not being covered.
I didn’t really follow the whole story but what I do know is that Herbalizer still honors their warranty and there is no sign of the company dissolving.
Although the Herbalizer as a unit is reliable…
The reliability and sometimes the quality of its accessories is just…underwhelming.
The shape of the magnetic coolgrip bowl takes a dent at times which leads to vapor escaping from the bowl.
Also briefly touched upon in the ease of use chapter, the stock balloon system does suck compared to the Volcano’s Valve system. The mouthpiece and the quality of the bags are the main culprit here.
The stock whip is another one of those accessories which you might (I did) want to replace asap.
It gets better:
Once you upgrade these parts with the mods that you can find in the tips and tricks chapter…
The Herbalizer as a whole is very reliable.
There’s one part of the Herbalizer which causes some issues in some units…which can’t be easily upgraded.
With some units there seems to be a software glitch where it will crank the temperature up till max temp and the only way to offset this is unplugging your unit and plugging it back in.
Nothing deal breaking here…but it can be annoying.
One last thing:
If you care about the aromatherapy function…it doesn’t function that well.
What’s the bottom line?
The Herbalizer’s reliability is NOWHERE close yet to the reliability of a tank like the Volcano, so if reliability is a top priority for you I would check out the Volcano.
But it IS the most sophisticated and advanced vaporizer currently on the market. And the vapor quality it produces is just…alien-like.
My first experience with the Herbalizer wasn’t that impressive.
I used the balloons and I still think they kind of suck. But once you mod it with the Volcano Solid Valve, it works really well.
Better than the Volcano?
I feel the Volcano does bags better still…
But the versatility of the Herbalizer has the Volcano beat by miles.
You can use the Herbalizer any way you want:
- Glass steamroller;
This also means in terms of potency and flavor you can achieve higher levels with the Herbalizer than the Volcano (since direct-draw with a steamroller simply will be more potent and flavorful than inhaling from a bag).
Not yet at the level of the VapeXhale Cloud EVO…but it comes very close. Again, with a much higher level of versatility.
And the vapor actually is the smoothest of all desktop vaporizers I’ve tried. Yes, it even beats the VapeXhale Cloud EVO in this area.
It’s extremely efficient and very well suited for solo use.
Its ease of use makes it also great for sharing with friends. It really is a foolproof vaporizer (just keep the top screen in the bowl clean).
It heats up EXTREMELY fast (10 seconds) and has the MOST precise and accurate temperature control of any vaporizer I’ve ever tried.
One thing that might suck for some:
It does require modding to achieve optimal levels of performance.
Even though the Herbalizer didn’t impress me in the beginning, especially considering its retarded price point (which dropped to $600, which is still very high to be honest)…
I can’t deny that over time, the Herbalizer really grew on me for me it was worth its price.
The bottom line is:
I would get the Herbalizer if you’re looking for a PREMIUM vaporizer which:
- Can do bags, whip, direct-draw, bubblers, all with ease.
- Has super precise and accurate temperature control (best for medical users), with a near instant heat-up time.
- Has the highest quality vapor of all vaporizers at high temperature settings;
- Is just extremely easy to use in general.
I would avoid the Herbalizer if:
- You’re looking for the best balloon vaporizer (get the Volcano Vaporizer);
- You’re looking for huge and hard-hitting clouds that will impress your friends (get the VapeXhale Cloud EVO);
- You’re not looking to spend $600.
Where to buy the Herbalizer:
Unfortuantely the Herbalizer isn't available in Europe yet.
Herbalizer Tips and Tricks
Whip improvement mods
If you want bigger clouds of vapor with much less draw resistance, here’s what I recommend:
This whip will be your best bet to enhance your Herbalizer’s performance.
Do realize that this whip is made of vinyl (PVC), which we aren’t the greatest fans of for potential safety reasons.
If you want a wider medical grade silicone whip (which in our opinion is best for safety), here’s what I recommend:
If you have issues with the whip falling out or kinking, you can get the Extreme Q Elbow Adapter. This will fit perfectly over the Herbalizer’s bowl and you’ll be able to connect your whip from a 90° angle.
Balloon improvement tips
Get the Volcano Solid Valve.
The bags last much longer, more convenient to use, and just better quality overall.
How to get big clouds
Although the Herbalizer doesn’t produce monster clouds like the VapeXhale Cloud EVO…
It can come very close.
- Grind .15 grams of herb pretty finely, and pack it down tight in the bowl;
- Take a screen that fits into the bowl (a regular pipe screen needs some extra chipping);
- Sandwich your herb between the bottom screen and the additional screen;
- Set the temperature to max setting (445℉ / 230℃);
- Turn the fan on;
- Get floored.
Tips to keep the top screen effortlessly:
- Get a regular pipe screen, bend it into a dome shape and put it below the top screen. This will help prevent herb sticking to your top screen.
- Just swap the bottom and top screen. The resin of the top screen will simply burn off this way
Best temperature for Herbalizer
If you’ve read our guide on vaping temperatures for weed, you know that there is no ‘best’ temperature for vaping weed.
It’s all dependent on what medicative effects you want to achieve and also on the weed strain you’re vaping.
That being said…
Here’s a general guideline:
- Up till 356°F(180°C): Best for flavor and very light, mostly mental medication;
- 356°F(180°C) – 392°F(200°C): Great flavor with great medication level, bodily effects will be more apparent;
- 392°F(200°C) and up: Best if you don’t have anything else to do that day, very strong level of medication, heavy bodily effects.
Realize that all of these effects are at least, if not more so dependant on the particular strain you’re vaping with.
Realize that the Herbalizer’s temperature is so accurate, that currently it’s the best vaporizer the tailor your medication to a specific level with temperature control.
How to grind your herb:
Since it’s a pure convection vaporizer, use a coarse grind. The fluffy grind of the Santa Cruz Shredder is perfect
How to pack your bowl:
Don’t fully pack your bowl, 3/4th at most and don’t compress it (unless you’re applying the tips on how to get bigger clouds). The minimum amount you’ll need to produce satisfying hits is 0.05 grams. Just cover the bottom surface.
How to draw:
It really doesn’t matter. You can draw whatever way you want.
Stir your bowl:
It doesn’t need stirring, but it can help to really get the last pieces and bits out of your herb at the end of a session.