The best cannabis essentials for 2024, tested and reviewed

Ditch your bar cart for a cannabis cabinet—and pack it with these essentials.

Best grinder

A Santa Cruz Shredder grinder on a blue and white background

Santa Cruz Shredder

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Best infuser system


Levo C

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Best handheld vaporizer

A Pax Plus cannabis vaporizer on a rolling tray with some oregano seasoning

Pax Plus

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So you want to smoke weed—either for medicinal or recreational purposes—and you’re looking for a place to start. Sure, you could walk into that headshop down the street, but they most definitely sell counterfeit Puff Bars, and you feel a little claustrophobic surrounded by all that expensive glass. Plus, the college kid behind the counter is a little bit too close in age to your own kid. Thankfully, we at Popular Science share how science shows up in our everyday life, and cannabis and its extracts are quite scientific. Consider this an essentials list of what you’ll want to keep on hand for your next sesh, or what to buy to get started. Move over bar cart, cannabis cabinet has entered the chat!

Remember that every state has different laws regarding cannabis use, so check them out before using. Once you can hit “Add To Cart” with confidence, we’ve cultivated Spotify playlist for both sativa and indica strains to help make sure every hit is a hit.

Best rolling tray: Santa Cruz Shredder Hemp Rolling Tray with Spout

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Learning how to roll a joint is a journey all its own, but procuring a solid rolling tray is an essential first step. You can use it as a surface to stuff your cones and pack handheld vaporizers or bowls without getting cannabis everywhere, thanks to high curved edges that prevent mess. A spout makes it easy to put any leftover ground cannabis back into your grinder or storage container. We like this one from Santa Cruz Shredder that has both, and is made of biodegradable hemp. If you’re looking for rolling tray that doubles as decor, we love this glass Keith Haring rolling tray from Higher Standards that could pass as a catch-all plate in your foyer. 

Best rolling papers: Blazy Susan Rolling Papers

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The Blazy Susan rolling papers are fun to look at, thanks to their bright pink hue, but they’re also some of the best rolling papers on the market. They’re vegan, non-GMO, and made from high-quality wood pulp. They also burn slowly and evenly, which prevents canoeing. We recommend starting with 1 ¼-inch papers if you’re new to rolling (and we won’t judge you if you pick up some pre-rolled cones, in case of difficulties or time constraints). And if you are inviting like-minded friends over for a social smoke, grab one of the company’s namesake spinning rolling trays (available in colorful plastic and limited edition woods), with its specialized inserts and cuts for every manner of supplies, accessories, and end products.

Best cones: Edie Parker Crush Cones in Excite Mint

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These aren’t your average cones. These cones from Edie Parker come in a variety of flavors, including peach, grape, strawberry, and banana. We’re personally huge fans of the mint flavor for a cool fresh taste while taking a hit. Simply pack your ground cannabis into the cone, ignite, find the flavor pearl in the filter tip, crush, and inhale. They also are great to pull out and pass around at a party. Of course, if you don’t need a fun flavor with your joint, we love Blazy Susan’s cones. We’re fans of the Shorty size, which makes for a perfect joint for yourself when you’re seshing alone. 

Best handheld vaporizer: PAX Plus

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There are many benefits to vaporizing cannabis compared to igniting it. Vaporizers use convection, conduction, and sometimes even both to heat your weed to release those sweet terpenes and cannabinoids. The result is better for your lungs and provides a more consistent flavor and aroma. It’s also less stinky than other means of ingestion. You can use the already vaped bud (ABV) in edibles since the vaporizing process decarboxylates, or decarbs, the cannabis. The PAX Mini is our favorite handheld vaporizer and one of the easiest to use (and it’s often on sale around a certain time in April). Simply click the top once, wait until the purple light turns green, and inhale. You won’t have to worry about temperature either—the PAX Mini will cool down when not in use and heat up when it’s picked back up. Concentrates might not be your jam (yet!), but the PAX Plus comes with a concentrate chamber to enjoy the wax, shatter, or budder of your choice. Speaking of …

Best for concentrates: Puffco Peak Pro

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Dabbing is cool because it involves torches and fire, but it’s also dangerous for just that reason. The Puffco Peak Pro solves that by ditching the fire, making for a more approachable and beginner-friendly device. The instruction manual is easy to read and follow—you don’t have to be a dabbing expert to use the Peak Pro. It’s also Bluetooth-app enabled for customized temperature and color settings. If you’re looking for something more handheld that’s less expensive, the company’s Proxy Travel Pipe is for you. Its silicone body is shatterproof and comes with a pocket for tools, like a loading tool or a cotton swab for cleaning. 

Best splurge: Storz & Bickel Volcano Hybrid

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The Rolls Royce of tabletop vaporizers, the Storz & Bickel Volcano Hybrid is absolutely worth its almost $700 price tag, thanks to its high-quality materials and workmanship that gives you a long service life. The Volcano Classic is cheaper (and just as good), but the temperature dial doesn’t list the actual temperature. The Hybrid changes that, letting you know exactly when it’s warm enough for use. You can choose to ingest via the included Tube Kit (which is a hookah-type hose) or the classic Valve Balloon. If you have an Android phone, you can control the Volcano Hybrid with your phone using the S&B app. We personally only bring out the Volcano Hybrid on special occasions, and it definitely makes for a conversation starter among stoners. 

Best waterpipe: Session Goods Bong

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Waterpipes are usually … kind of ugly. Not the Session Goods Bong, which is modern, durable, and easy to clean. The included cleaning caps and mouth cover prevent spills when you’re cleaning—just fill it with some isopropyl alcohol and a little salt, shake, and you’re all good. The bong itself is made of sturdy borosilicate glass, and a silicon foot cover hides your nasty bong water, acts as a water line, and protects your piece. Two included bowls—small and large—let you choose how much you want to consume. Plus, nine colors will help you coordinate your bong with your living room color story. And who doesn’t love color coordination?

Best pipe: Laundry Day Tanjun pipe

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Pipes are a great introductory tool for beginners but aren’t always the prettiest. Laundry Day’s Tanjun—and the company’s other collection of smokeware—is meant to be displayed on your coffee table and ogled when passed among friends. It has all the pipe basics—bowl, carb, mouthpiece—and is made of borosilicate glass for toughness. Use the pipe as an incense holder when it’s not in use. 

Best hemp wick: Twisted Bee 100% Organic Hemp Wick

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It’s fine to light a bowl with a lighter, but sometimes you don’t want to breathe in the butane it emits. The smoke is much hotter when using a lighter and burns off more cannabinoids and terpenes. Hemp wicks solve this problem by being a flame conduit, which creates a cleaner flavor and a more flavorful hit. This one from Twisted Bee uses organic hemp with a natural beeswax coating that doesn’t interfere with your flower’s flavor. You can even use it for crafting. Since you get 200 feet of it, you won’t have to worry about running out. 

Best lighter: Clipper Lighter

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Sure, everyone is familiar with the BIC lighter for ignition needs. Step up to a Clipper, which is windproof, water-resistant, and refillable, making it more friendly to the Earth compared to its lighter brethren. You can also replace the flint, and there’s a poking tool for packing down hand-rolled cigarettes. Plus, the Clipper wheel is easier to strike compared to BIC lighters.  

Best joint holder: The Clinger

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I personally have dug into my ludicrously capacious bag, the eyes of the group on me, searching for a lighter that is evading my clutches. It’s a humbling experience—one that you don’t have to go through with The Clinger, which is smell-proof, crush-proof, holds a king-sized joint, and hugs your lighter like it’s their friend. It can hold a BIC or a Clipper lighter and fits easily in your pocket. You won’t have to worry about digging for a lighter or accidentally smashing a joint ever again.

Best grinder: Santa Cruz Shredder

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This grinder is made of solid aircraft-grade aluminum and has a scratch-free finish for long-lasting use. Thirty-two diamond-shaped sharp teeth pulverize even the stickiest cannabis to make a fluffy and even grind. We recommend a three-piece grinder that separates the flower from the kief, the potent trichomes that have broken away and separated from the flower. You can use those the add a little zhuzh to your joints and bowls. A magnetic lock system protects your cannabis from moisture and spillage, meaning you can take it to and fro without any worries. It’s a pricey grinder, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Best cleaner: Grand Master Smoke

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You can use isopropyl alcohol and a little salt to clean your pieces. However, we’re also fond of Grand Master Smoke. This cleaner has taken the crustiest bongs and turned them as good as new. Simply pour the liquid into a large container or leakproof bag, add your piece, wait 1-3 hours (try soaking overnight for heavily used pieces), drain out the excess liquid from the piece, rinse with warm water, and you’re done! It also helps deodorize your pieces so they aren’t so stinky. And no one wants to hit from a stinky bong!

Best 510 battery: Ooze Twist Slim Pen 2.0

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I’ve certainly used 510 batteries that work but aren’t made of quality materials. And who keeps track of that proprietary charger that they all come with? The Ooze Slim Pen can be charged using this proprietary charger, but you can also use a micro USB cable. (Which you probably have a million of around your house.) You can draw the pen in two ways: by pressing the button down and inhaling, or just by inhaling, thanks to auto draw. It shuts off after 12 minutes of inactivity, saving you battery in the long run. And you can adjust the voltage for a customized experience

Best infuser system: Levo C

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One of the knocks against making homemade edibles—beyond the ever-growing number of high-quality premade options—is infusing oil or butter with your flower, which can be a smelly operation. Levo’s C is a countertop appliance that makes the process easy. All you need to do is fill its herb pod with bud (up to one ounce) and the glass basin with oil or butter (up to one liter). Once your ingredients are set, you place the glass basin onto the Levo C’s heating pad, select a time and temperature, and wait for the infusion to complete. Making infused oil or butter using this method won’t be quicker than a traditional method, but the results will be more consistent since the temperature will be regulated. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about standing around and stirring the flower constantly to ensure a proper result.

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Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Amanda Reed Avatar

Amanda Reed

Updates Writer

Amanda Reed is a commerce updates writer at Popular Science. She makes sure all product round-ups are up-to-date, shares deals happening all over the internet, and reviews various gizmos and gadgets. She lives in Pittsburgh with JunkJunk, a handsome, sad-looking tuxedo cat who only wants wet food and attention.

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