Rolling a joint or packing a bowl isn't exactly heart surgery, but today, all the cool kids are talking about vapin’. And as the world of vaporizers becomes more technologically advanced and more devices offer an even wider range of features and fun tricks, we try to understand how these innovations are changing our weed experience.
Heat. The essential function of a vaporizer. Without heat, no active alkaloids from our magic plant would be released. In other words: no gettin’ high. We have previously talked at length about the benefits of vapor as opposed to smoke. For the purpose of this article, we underline again that one of the most beneficial aspects of a vaporizer is a precise temperature which controls the heat coming into contact with your herb or oil. This should be just enough to not burn your material. Instead, it heats up the active compounds and releases them as vapor. This means that you only get the desired substances, without the toxins and tar that come along with combustion.
So, now that we have covered our basic principles, we want to talk about two different heating techniques available in today’s vaporizers. When the herbs are heated by direct contact with the heating element, this is called conduction. Convection is when the herbs are heated up by the hot air that the heating element produces.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages that these two techniques offer, taking into consideration that most vapes use a combination of the two. However, to classify them, we look at the dominant method through which a device obtains vapour.
This direct heating method is said to give fuller, dense draws. Usually, these devices are technologically simpler and therefore cheaper. These devices are ideal for the user that looks for a fast and simple vaporizer that’s easy to maintain, because of the lack of complicated components.
And now, for the setbacks: since the herb is directly sitting on the heating element, the material often requires stirring during the session. The side of the dab or flower that is in contact with the heated surface will heat up first. Usually, these vapes have a higher risk of combustion of the herbs because the temperature is more imprecise. On one hand, this type of vaporizer gives a more satisfying hit. On the other hand, the health drawbacks of combustion can still be present, even if in a lower proportion compared to smoking a joint or hitting a pipe.
This indirect heating method is usually present in more sophisticated devices (and yes, also pricier). However, they boast a more accurate temperature control and an evener heat distribution. The heating element in these devices is in a chamber separated from the herbs, so the hot air that it produces seeps through the flower or the oil in a slower, gentler way. This avoids combustion and exalts the aromas of the herb. The heat-up time is quite a bit slower, but with patience come great rewards: the clouds of vapor produced are smooth, light and delicious.
Generally, these devices are a bit more complicated and more expensive. But with the proper attention and maintenance, they can be very solid, durable vaporizers that will enhance your palate and lungs for years to come.
The development of vaporizers with these different heating techniques has surfaced to cater to needs, budgets and tastes that can widely differ. In both fields, there are some very valid products that have been designed and engineered with the utmost attention to quality. It does come down to personal preference, but if we had to choose one, our vote would probably go to convection vaporizers. A little more precise, more tasty, more durable.