Every hobby or passion has its own little debates and differences in approach or choice of equipment, etc. The same goes for vaping and the equipment that those who enjoy vibrant flavors of vape use during their sessions. For those that are still trying to decide which would be their first vaping device, we prepared this detailed discussion in order to inform you of the ups and downs of both desktop and portable vaporizer options. Some differences are more obvious than others and while it might seem as though the portable solution is more than better in comparison to desktop vaporizers, this battle is far from decided. Whether it’s a flavor that you seek or treating a condition with medicinal marijuana, here is what you need to know before you buy your personal favorite.

What type of vaper are you?

The main difference between the portable and desktop vape devices is the movability aspect. While both types of gadgets can be moved from place to place, portable vapers allow you to vape as you go. Desktop vapers need an external power source in order to work, while portable devices run on rechargeable batteries, which allows the user to enjoy vaping whenever, wherever. This means that, if you’re a fan of spending time outdoors, you won’t be able to use desktop vaporizers, at least not without a hustle.

You could probably take your desktop vaporizer to a bar and find an AC plug to power up your happy-time machine, but you have to be ready for some curious eyes watching you. Portable vaporizers are notably less robust and don’t draw as much attention as the large, desktop version. In addition, carrying your desktop vaporizer around would mean having to go around with a suitcase, which really isn’t that practical. The portable types of vaporizers are able to fit in your pocket so you can carry them around with your hands remaining free of any extra luggage. Some of the VapingDaily best portable vaporizer models are so small and light you won’t even notice you have them on you. This is especially good for those that like to drive bikes, because the hands remain free at all times, allowing users to keep both hands on the wheel while the vaporizer remains safe, and there’s no need to carry a backpack.

This first major difference shows that desktop vaporizers are mainly designed for people that vaporize indoors or otherwise controlled conditions that would meet the specific operating requirements (the need for an external power supply) of this type of device.

The difference in power and efficiency

Size doesn’t always mean more power, but in this case, the power output of desktop and portable vaporizers is far from matching. Since portable devices run on the energy that provides an internal battery unit, their power range is limited. On the other hand, as we mentioned earlier, desktop vaporizers get their power directly from an external AC power supply (i.e., wall power socket). Combined with convection-style heating, more power allows more efficient vapor distribution. The reason for this lies exactly in convection-style heating, which means that the substance doesn’t get into contact with the heat source. The heat source makes the air hotter so that when the temperature is right, generates a thick cloud of vapor. The best portable vaporizer has to really be on its best day in order to beat the cloud of vape that desktop vaporizer could generate with ease. This is especially important for those that use dry herb vaporizers, as the activation of cannabinoids occurs at a specific temperature (around 150-170 degrees Celsius).

With portable vaporizers, the substance is in contact with the heat source which doesn’t promise an equal and consistent amount of heat dispersed throughout the material. Additionally, while desktop vape devices heat the substance only when you activate the heating source, its portable counterpart keeps the heat constantly, which means more loss in the material during the session. It’s no surprise that portable devices are not as effective during long sessions, while their desktop relatives preserve the material better so that vaping sessions could last longer. More than that, portable equipment has a limited power supply that users need to recharge. This could lead to an unwanted premature end of vaping session if the battery drains before you’ve had your share of joy.

Input method options

The way you inhale the vapor can have different effects on the potency of your hit and the amount of vape, but also its flavor and aroma. When it comes to methods of inhalations, portable vaporizers don’t offer too much choice. Almost all portable vaporizers, if not all, allow the user to inhale vape through a mouthpiece that’s part of the device assembly. On the other hand, desktop vaporizers come with different types of inhalation solutions.

  • Balloon-type inhalation method involves a large balloon that connects to the device. When the vaporizer heats up the material and starts to generate the vape, all the vaporized content goes into the balloon. This allows multiple users to pass the balloon around and enjoy a group vaping session. The vape stays in the balloon for a long time, depending on the model and the capacity of the balloon itself.
  • Tube-type inhalation method means that the desktop vaporizer allows the user to draw vape via long silicone tube that usually has a glass piece at its base that’s used to connect the tube to the vaporizer and cool down the vape for a smoother hit. It’s also convenient for multiple users and long domestic vaping sessions.

Overall pros and cons

Portable vaporizers


  • Easy to move with
  • Practical for any occasion
  • Cheaper


  • Short battery lifespan
  • More waste of material
  • Not suitable for multiple users sessions

Desktop vaporizers


  • Efficient
  • Various inhalation methods
  • Good for long vaping sessions


  • Robust size
  • Requires external power supply
  • Slow to reach the optimum working temperature


It’s never an easy thing to choose your first vaping equipment. Even more difficult when you are not looking just for simple differences in design and features, but also the working conditions and operational requirements. Hope this article revealed some valuable insight that would help you reach a meaningful and satisfying decision.

Thanush Poulsen is a Danish blogger who investigates various trends and phenomenon of the contemporary society. Having obtained a Bachelor Degree at Danish School of Media and Journalism and a Master Degree at Aarhus Universitet, he is focused on promotion and popularization of a healthy lifestyle and its positive effects on various fields of a person's life