The most suitable herbal vaporizer for you will be dependent on a number of factors, the most imperative being your individual desires and needs.
But how exactly do you figure out what those needs and desires are? We’ve broken down the major features of a herbal vaporizer to help you decide exactly what you’re looking for so that you can narrow down your search.
Convection or Conduction?
Convection and conduction are the two main heating methods used in herbal vaporizers. How your herb is heated can alter the quality of vapour in addition to the general vaping experience, so being careful to select a device with your preferred heating method can make a world of difference to your enjoyment.
Convection vaporizers heat substances indirectly, using heated air drawn through the herb to create vapour. Because the substance isn’t heated directly, convection vaporizers can take longer to reach an optimal temperature. However, indirect heating avoids the combustion of your product, producing a pure vapour. Generally speaking, convection vaporizers have more heating accuracy, better efficiency, more even heating, and a higher quality flavour than conduction vaporizers. But that does also bring a higher price tag for convection vapes.
- Slower to heat up
- More expensive
- Better flavour
- Higher efficiency
- Prevents combustion
- Higher accuracy of temperature control
- More balanced heating
Conduction vaporizers use direct heat by way of a solid material (such as metal or ceramic) to heat the herb and produce vapour. You can think of this like a frying pan, where the substance is touching the heated surface. Direct heating means that a conduction vaporizer can reach its optimal heat setting a lot faster than convection vaporizers. That said, conduction elements carry more of a risk for combustion, which is something you don’t want when vaporizing. Conduction heating elements are normally found at the bottom of the heating chamber, and since the heat isn’t distributed evenly throughout the chamber, you will be required to stir your herb during your session to ensure a balanced heating. But because of the simpler design, conduction vaporizers are normally more portable and less costly.
- Higher risk of combustion
- Stirring may be necessary for even heating
- Lower quality flavour
- Less efficient
- Rapid heating
- Generally smaller and more portable
- Less expensive
After selecting your heating style, the next thing to think about is what kind of temperature setting features work best for you. Having the ability to adjust the temperature of your vaporizer lets you determine the intensity, potency, and flavour of the vapour you’ll receive.
Fixed Temperature Setting
Vaporizers that don’t include any variable temperature settings will heat to one temperature only. This setting will vaporize your herb, but you won’t have any control over how it is heated.
- No control over intensity, potency, and flavour of the vapour
- Simple to use (normally one-button operation)
- Great for beginners trying vaping for the first time
- Relatively inexpensive
Preset Temperature Settings
Some models of herbal vaporizer come with preset temperature settings that you can alternate between. Devices with preset temperature settings allow you to tailor your experience than vaporizers with fixed temperature settings, but still limit you to the settings provided.
- No manual control of your preferred temperature setting
- Able to choose between pre-set temperature settings
- Some control over potency, intensity and flavour
Manual Temperature Settings
Vaporizers with manual temperature settings can be set to the precise temperature desired. Some devices will allow you to set the temperature to the degree, while others will let you narrow it down to the decimal.
- May need to do some research on strains and temperature settings for optimal use
- Able to customize your temperature setting and select your exact level
- Best control over intensity, potency, and flavour of the vapour
The capacity of a vaporizer’s battery cell is another important factor when selecting a model that would be best for you. If you aren’t planning on using the device often, and are not interested in sharing during a session, a vaporizer with a lower mAh (milliampere hours: the unit used to measure battery capacity) would be a fine choice. But if you plan to use the device frequently, or with others for extended sessions, you may want to go for a device with a higher mAh rating.
Some herbal vaporizer devices have removable battery cells, where the capacity will depend on the rating of the cell you’re using. These types of devices are convenient for those using their vaporizer often or for longer periods of time, as additional battery cells can be charged external to the device through an external battery charger while one battery is in use.
Heating Chamber Size
The capacity of the heating chamber will dictate how much herb can be packed into the device at once. Small chambers are optimal for personal use, since they will normally heat more rapidly and only require less substance to work optimally. Large heating chambers can be used for extended or group sessions, and are usually more convenient for vaping while you’re out and about.
Although we’ve chosen to list this factor after some of the others, portability can have a dominant influence on the style of device you select. If you only want to use your vaporizer at home or a set location, a desktop (wall outlet) or large vaporizer can be a very good selection. In general, larger vaporizers tend to have more battery life, and will perform more consistently than a smaller or cordless device. If carrying your vape around with you sounds like an option you’d like to have, a smaller, portable vaporizer is what you’d be looking for. Not only are they convenient for transport, but they are often more discreet as well.
Lastly, which substances are you looking to vaporize in your device? The majority of vaporizers will work with either dry herb or concentrates/oils separately. However, there are specific devices that can be compatible with both types of substances.