Which Vaping Method is Better: Whip or Balloon?

What's the best vaping method
February 11, 2021

There are several cannabis vapes available on the market. There are popular types such as portable vapes or handheld vapes and lesser-known ones like desktop vape. Purchasing a desktop vape comes with two design options. Once you go to a shop, you’ll be asked what you prefer; a “whip” or “balloon?” It’s also possible to choose a combination of both. 

Although both design options work, you will most likely develop a preference for one. To know which option suits you, here’s a breakdown of the differences and pros and cons comparing whip and balloon. Before you get to that part, let’s get to know desktop vaporizers first. 

Why Use a Desktop Vape?

While most vapers would prefer the convenience of handheld vapes, the desktop vape is a cult classic, withstanding even the most revolutionary vape designs of this generation. Desktop vapes are more often used for dry herbs than vape juices. Ultimately, desktop vapes or desktop vaporizers are often considered to be the choice of a true connoisseur. 

Desktop vapes have temperature controls that are either digital or analog, this depends mostly on design and the manufacturer’s blueprint. Regardless of what type of temperature controls you have, it’s good to monitor your desktop vape’s temperature during the vaporization process. 

Overheating the unit could damage it in the long run. Also, overheating your herbs would do you no good. To know for sure that your herb is still smokeable is when they are still crisp to the touch and brownish. Remove the herbs immediately from the device if the color turns ashy, black, or burnt.

With digital desktop vape units, you can push buttons with a + (increase) or – (decrease) symbol. The current temperature is then flashed on the digital display. Digital desktop vape units can be more expensive than analogs, yet they’re still a popular choice. On the other hand, units with analog temperature control either use a dial or an on and off switch. They cost less than digital desktop vape units, but they offer less precise temperature control. 

One of the best things about desktop vape is it does not need a battery for it to operate. Desktop vapes draw their power from outlets, which provides consistent power and longer power life. With this type of power mechanism, a desktop vape will be usable longer and capable of dealing with heavier use. Battery-operated vapes have several inconveniences. One, you’ll need to replace your batteries whenever they run out. Also, batteries are easily wearable, and you can easily lose them.

Second, if you think about it, desktop vapes are cost-effective. Smoking on desktop vapes will only cost you a hundred dollars or so and a few dollars for maintenance. If you’re careful, you could even extend the life of a desktop vape for a few years. Meanwhile, cigarette smoking in one year alone could cost you more than $5000.

Finally, the desktop vape is not limited by size, weight, power/battery, and tank size. In fact, desktop vapes have the liberty to use high-performance heating systems without compromising the functions of its parts.

What are the Different Types of Desktop Vaporizer?

Desktop vaporizers have two primary styles: whip-style and forced-air (balloon). Whip-style vaporizers use a “whip,” a medical grade tubing used to inhale the vapor produced by the vaporizer’s heating element. A forced-air vaporizer or balloon vaporizer is more advanced. It uses a fan that sends heat over the weed and then fills a balloon bag attached to the vaporizer. Let’s get to know each vape method better.

Desktop Vaporizer Whip

The most distinguishing feature of a tabletop vaporizer whip is it utilizes a whip to draw in vapor. The whip is made up of the wand (a piece of glass where the weed is stored), tubing (a medical-grade silicon), and the mouthpiece (mostly comes in glass).

The mechanism of a vaporizer whip is pretty straight forward. As the user inhales through the mouthpiece, hot air is pulled over the herbs. As the herbs are heated, a stream of vapor goes out of the mouthpiece. Some people prefer vaporizer whips over balloon vaporizers because of the former’s affordability and straightforward features.  

Whip vaporizer

Most of these whip-style vaporizers are hands-free, meaning it allows vapor consumption without holding the attached whip. To achieve a hands-free connection, makers of vaporizer whip use a ground glass wand. Incidentally, a ground glass wand offers good vapor production and efficiency. 

All vaporizer whip units are almost the same in terms of mechanism, but they can vary slightly on size and thickness of glass. New vaporizer whip designs feature advanced functions like LCDs and temperature control

Balloon Vaporizer

Balloon vaporizer or the forced-air vaporizer is an advanced type of vaporizer that came out later than the classic vaporizer whip. The balloon vaporizer’s main mechanism is it has an internal fan that sends hot air to the herbs, heating them via convection. The end product of steam is then drawn to the whip attachment or balloon bag. Balloon vaporizer units have fan settings that enable users to choose the speed of the internal fan. 

Desktop vaporizers that use balloon vaporizers are often thought of as a healthier means of vapor consumption. Because balloon vaporizers use an internal fan to propel the steam out of the unit, it prevents users from using their breath to heat up the herbs. 

Some people also like the seamless-like stream of vapor from balloon vaporizers. Once the internal fan warms the herbs through convection, the internal fan continuously propels. The extra vapor then goes into the balloon bag. The balloon bag can be detached from the desktop vaporizer once the vapor fills it up. The result is a seamless vapor stream and semi-portability for the user to enjoy. 

Balloon vaporizer units are almost the same when it comes to mechanism but can sometimes vary in external design, size, range of temperature setting, heat time, vapor delivery parts, brand and unit quality. 

What is the Best Type of Desktop Vape?

The best type of desktop vape is what you like the most. If you’re into simple and standard vaping technology, go for vaporizer whips, but if you’re into flashy, semi-portability, and advanced technology, balloon-type vaporizers might be the best option for you. To help you further, look at some of the pros and cons of each desktop vape type.

Vaporizer Whip: Pros

  • You have the manual power to control the amount of vapor that comes out of the unit. You use your breathing to control the stream of vapor. For example, if you do a fast draw, a reduced stream of vapor comes out. On the other hand, if you do a longer, slower, and fuller draw, a huge stream of vapor comes out of the unit. Similar to gravity bongs, you can also enjoy consuming “thick smoke.” 
  • It uses a straightforward and classic design that’s easy to use and does not require so much time. Just attach the whip, prepare the herb, wait for the right temperature to hit, and inhale away.
  • Vaporizer whips keep you hands-on or in control of how much you’re vaping or the potency of what you inhale. You can put your desired amount of herb in the vaporizer yourself.
  • With Vaporizer whip, you have access to an unlimited stream of vapor as long as you draw within the mouthpiece, and there are still herbs stored inside. This is another feature that a balloon vaporizer falls short. With a balloon vaporizer, you need to refill the balloon with vapor over and over again.

Vaporizer Whip: Cons

  • Some people don’t like the fact that vaporizer whips produce warm vapors when it reaches the mouthpiece. Others prefer their vapors cool. Unfortunately, the vaporizer whip’s tube length does not cool down the stream of vapor that passes through it.
  • Vaporizer whips are meant for stationary vaping. It doesn’t offer the comfort of semi-portability. It’s difficult to move your desktop vaporizer around with a vaporizer whip attached to it. 
  • Drawing from a vaporizer whip might be overwhelming the first time. It takes some time with practice before you get used to controlling your draw to emit your desired volume of vapor. 

Balloon Vaporizer: Pros

  • Balloon-type desktop vaporizers have a semi-portability feature to it because you can detach the balloon anytime the unit fills it up with vapor. You can go somewhere while using a balloon vaporizer because you don’t necessarily need to attach it to a desktop vaporizer permanently.
  • You have the option to experience a cooler stream of vapor because you can store the vapor for a while inside the balloon, allowing it to cool off for use later.
  • Some people notice that balloon vaporizers seem to offer a vapor of richer flavor and smoother inhalation. This is because balloon vaporizers offer consistent vapor quality by locking in the vapor in the balloon first. When you inhale using a balloon vaporizer, you’ll instantly notice that the vapor stream is considerably long yet controlled.
  • You can use several balloon units for just one desktop vaporizer. While using the first balloon vaporizer, you can fill up the other one so you don’t have to wait. 

Balloon Vaporizer: Cons

  • The average balloon vaporizer only offers a continuous vapor stream of around 10 minutes. For some, that might be too fast and restricting. It will also make you conscious of how much time you’ve had left to enjoy vapor consumption.
  • Balloon vaporizers might need some time to set up. You’ll need a few minutes before you can take a hit because the desktop vaporizer has to fill up the balloon first. Unlike with vaporizer whips, you can use them immediately. 
  • Some balloon vaporizers might be small in terms of space. You’ll need to refill again and again if you don’t possess several balloon vaporizers. This might frustrate a vaper.


So, which is the best vaping method for desktop vapes? It entirely depends on you. Browse again; the description, pros, and cons of each vaping method. Then take some time before purchasing a unit. Think of what fits your lifestyle best, your budget range, and weed philosophies. 

To make a quick summary, here are some of the glaring differences between the balloon and whip.

  • Balloon vaporizers almost have unlimited reach or portability because the bag can be detached and inhaled anywhere without an attachment requirement to the desktop vape. On the other hand, whip-style vaporizers have a poor reach of usually 3 feet and below, depending on their silicone tube’s length. Whips need to be attached to the desktop vaporizers all the time.
  • In terms of time in setting up, whip vaporizers are faster compared to balloon vaporizers. With a balloon vaporizer, you need to wait for the right temperature before the herbs are heated, then you’ll have to wait for the balloon to fill up. Some can tolerate balloon vaporizers’ thoroughness and slowness because the end quality is worthwhile, while others consider this an inconvenience. 

With whip vaporizers, you only need to wait for the desired temperature to creep up, then you can start vaping almost immediately. However, you’ll notice the difference in quality, drag, and smoothness of both vaporizers soon enough. With that thought in mind, you’ll have to choose what matters to you: quality of vapor or a quicker setting time?

  • In terms of quality, most vapers would argue that balloon style is the best. It has the most consistent stream of vapor upon consumption, it’s not too warm, you can control the temperature, and the flavor seems to be more pronounced.

Meanwhile, whip vaporizers don’t offer smooth consistency in streamflow and even flavor. The quality of the vapor would mostly depend on the user, which mainly points to how experienced they are in vaping.
If you want to experience the best of both worlds and are still undecided, go for a hybrid type of vaporizer where both whip and balloon vaporizers can be attached to a desktop vaporizer unit. Also, don’t forget that there are other smoking apparatus out there, such as pipes but be wary of homemade stuff such as dab rigs. Don’t be afraid to explore until you get the best unit for you but at the same time, be careful.