Everything You Need to Know about Vaporizers
(Last Updated On: April 17, 2015)

 

You’ve read the reviews, got one for yourself or even shared those hits with your friends. But how much do you exactly know about vaporizer? In this article, we get to the details of how the device works and also get to know your vape up close. Even the great comedian Whoopi Goldberg names her baby “Sippy” After all, it’s supposed to be a love story with you and your vape.

What is a Vaporizer?

A vaporizer is an inhalation device used to release the active substances of organic or in organic materials in a form of vapor through the application of heat. Vaporizing, defined in this context as the act of using a vaporizer, should not be confused with smoking. Vaporizers use a heating source to release the active ingredients for therapeutic or recreation purposes, but the temperatures do not reach the burning or combustion point of the vaporizing material.

Smoking, on the other hand, involves the slow burning of the botanicals, giving off smoke instead of aromatic vapors. This means there is a higher degree of chemical reaction involved in smoking, releasing toxic byproducts, which may be harmful to the human body. And this fact is that major reason why vaporizers were introduced as a healthy alternative to smoking. In other words, vaporizing achieves the same desired therapeutic effects because of the active ingredients released as vapor, but without the harmful ingredients found in smoke.

How Vaporizers Work: Conduction vs. Convection.

Vaporizers use two major principles when applying heat to the herbal material. Here they are:

Conduction

First is the principle of conduction, which means the vaporizing material must make a direct contact with the heating element to release the vapor. Earlier models use the conduction method because it is the cheapest and the easiest method to use. Devices that apply the conduction method include vaporizer pens and some small-sized portable models. Because of their compact sizes, pen-style vaporizers almost always use the conduction principle because there is little to no room left for convection to take place. Wax and concentrate vaporizers also perform well when using this method.

Pros: The close contact between the heat source and the herbal material results in faster heat up time. Also, vaporizers using this method are cheaper and easier to use.

Cons: The chance of combustion is more likely because the vaping material is directly exposed to the heat source.

Convection

With convection, there is no direct contact between the herbal material and the heating element. To release the vapor, heated air exposed to the heat source passes over the vaping material. Obviously, devices that rely on convection method need a mechanism to move the air from the heating element toward the botanicals, hence the whip-style and forced-air methods.

Whip-style vaporizers require the user to manually draw or inhale the air using a tube, commonly called the whip. On the other hand, forced-air vaporizers feature an internal fan to push the hot air toward the material, resulting in a steady flow of vapor even without manual draws.

Pros: There is less chance for combustion to take place. Also, temperature adjustments can easily be achieved. Vapor quality is also better when using the convection method.

Cons: The added process of heating the air first before it reaches the herbal material means extra time needed to start vaporizing. Vaporizers using this principle may also come with a higher price tag because of the additional components.

Types of Vaporizers

In the earlier times of the vaping world, vaporizers were classified according to their design. Now, we also factor in their basic functions as our lifestyles evolve in time. Here are the three major types of vaporizers:

Vaporizer Pens

Everything you need to know about vaporizers

From the name itself, pen-style vaporizers emulate the form and style of a typical official pen to make them look more discreet and at the same time, mimic the shape of cigarettes. The vape pen is technically a portable device but is specially classified into an entirely separate category because of its extreme popularity despite its simple design.

Almost all pens come in three major parts: the battery, heating chamber and the mouthpiece, which are all screwed together to form a single vaporizing device. In a typical model, the single power button serves as the on and off switch. So, there is no control for temperature adjustments, and the vaporizer simply heats up the moment you turn the power on. The only way you can adjust your desired vapor density is by learning the perfect rhythm of pressing the power button on and off. Most vape pens use the conduction principle to vaporize the dry herbs or concentrates.

A vaporizer pen is further classified into dry herb vaporizer, oil and wax vaporizer or an all-in-one device that can support any type of material.

Pros: Pens are cheaper because of their simple design. They are the most lightweight and portable of all types of vaporizing devices.

Cons: The most common issue encountered when using these devices is the problem of combustion. Manufacturers like Atmos Technologies have introduced a glass filter for the Atmos Raw Rx or Junior to protect the herb material from the direct heat coming from the heating element.

Portable Vaporizers

ARIZER SOLO

This namesake vaporizer functions as a compact, lightweight and rechargeable device for on-the-go users. Technically, portable vaporizers also include vape pens. But in the vaporizing world, pens are given a distinct identity because of their immense popularity.

 use butane as heat source.

. This is perhaps the simplest vaporizer we’ve encountered so far, with no rocket science whatsoever — just plain and simple vaping experience. All you need is to place the ground herbs inside the chamber of the wooden box, and insert the battery to start vaping.

Desktop Vaporizers

Silver Surfer Vaporizer

These vaporizers are named after their primary form and function, coming in larger designs and with it, larger material capacity, more powerful heating system and the addition of internal fans (for forced-air models). Because desktop vaporizers require more power to operate, they need to be constantly plugged to a power source.

Some desktop vaporizers come as forced-air models, which push vapors out of the chamber using an internal fan. This makes it possible for users to inflate a ‘balloon’ to carry with them away from the vapor source. The most popular forced air vaporizers are The Volcano and the Arizer Extreme Q.

On the other hand, the whip-style models come in a rather simple design with no moving parts, but the downside is the need for manual pull of the vapor through a whip with every draw. Some popular whip-style-only desktop models are the Arizer V Tower and Da Buddha.

Materials for Vaping

The way vaporizers work make it possible for users to experiment with other forms of materials besides dry herbs. Our creative ways gave me to some of the most interesting derivatives of cannabis and other herbs.

Dry Herb

Of course, the old-fashioned dry, ground herb is always a popular choice among connoisseurs and beginners. They are the easiest to prepare from the marijuana plant because all you have to do is to dry and grind the leaves using a specialized grinder. Dry herb vaporizer pens and other models work best when the botanical is finely ground for even heat distribution.

Wax and Waxy Oils

Vaporizing enthusiasts who prefer stronger effects with just a few grams of material may choose waxes or waxy oils, generally referred to as concentrates. How they are produced ranges from using alcohol or butane or the application of CO2 (carbon dioxide).

For example, to make hash oil, ground weed is mixed with alcohol, and the resulting liquid mixture is filtered and boiled for hours until a sticky substance is left. Making hash oil may seem so simple but in reality is a very dangerous process. Do-it-yourself enthusiasts use a rice cooker or an electric stove to avoid the risk of fire. Also, an open space with good ventilation is required to quickly dissipate the volatile gases from the alcohol mixture.

Today, concentrates vaporizers are becoming more popular because they produce stronger hits with less of the cannabis extract.

Oils, E-juice or E-liquid

These types of concentrates come in a more fluid state. Oils containing THC are of course always popular. On the other hand, e-juice or e-liquid is almost exclusively used to refer to concentrates that contain nicotine for e-cigarettes. There are, however, e-liquids that do not contain any active ingredients like THC and nicotine. These chemicals are made mostly of propylene glycol, which is commonly used to produce that thick vapor. People who prefer these types of e-liquids are those who prefer to use the e-cigarette for recreational purposes. Fancy e-liquid flavors range from the fruity strawberry, apple and banana to the stronger flavors of menthol.

As we have mentioned earlier, many vaporizers are exclusively designed to support only one category of the organic material such as the most popular dry herb vaporizer, the Atmos Raw Rx. But because of the increasing demand for multipurpose or multi-compatible vaporizing devices, vape pens such as the Atmos R2 and Atmos Jewel have also grown in popularity.

Now that we have learned a great deal about the inner workings of the vaporizer and the types of materials that you can choose from, let’s check which temperature settings are perfect for some of the most common dry herb materials.

Ideal Vaporizing Temperature

True, the maximum amount of heat produced by most vaporizers is just well below the combustion point, ranging from 350°F to 375°F. But different plant materials call for different temperature settings to produce the best effects. Also, drier herb materials vaporize at a lower temperature as compared with those with higher moisture content. Thus, always make sure that you use only optimally dried, ground herbs to produce the maximum effect even using smaller amounts of the material.

More important is your personal preference. For beginners for example, a lower temperature is a good start, and in time, slowly raising the heat setting will help keep up with your tolerance to the psychoactive compounds by producing denser vapors.

Best Vaporizing Temperature For Ground Herbs

Here are some of the most ideal temperature settings for specific type of herbs:

For low temperatures (100°C up to 150°C or 302°F), use herbs such as chamomile, clove, lavender, peppermint, thyme, wormwood, hyssop, horsetail and sage. For medium temperature range (up to 175°C or 347°F), use cat’s claw, ground coffee, fennel, ginkgo, milk thistle and saw palmetto. And for high temperatures (up to 200°C or 392°F), use cannabis, burdock, evening primerose, garlic, ginger, ginseng, hops, licorice, turmeric and wild yam.

Take note that it is not recommended to vaporize plant materials at 230°C or more to avoid combustion. Anyway, most vaporizers are designed to reach a maximum temperature just a few notches below 230°C.

Controlling Vaporizer Temperatures

Different vaporizers require different methods for temperature control. For portable vaporizers, battery-powered electronic or digital systems packed inside the device usually offer accurate settings, with some sophisticated devices sporting an accuracy of 1°C.

Portable vaporizers like the Da Vinci sports electronic controls that allow you to change the temperature with just a push of the buttons and there is the LCD screen for accurate temperature readout. Another portable vaporizer, the Arizer Solo, already has seven preset temperatures, which include Level 1 at 40°C, Level 2 at 150°C, Level 3 at 163°C, Level 4 at 175°C, Level 5 at 185°C, Level 6 at 200°C and Level 7 at 220°C.

Most desktop vaporizers also make use of the digital method of adjusting the temperature because of its extreme accuracy. However, there is one model, the Classic Volcano Vaporizer, that sports analog, rotating dial controls. The rotating dial allows you to make very slight temperature changes, but one disadvantage is the absence of a digital display for temperature readings.

For vape pen users, you might want to ask if there is such a way to control the temperature of the heating element. By design, the heating coil inside the chamber simply heats up with the switch is turned on or powers down which the switch is turned off. But there but you can actually do a little workaround.

Vaporizer Heat Up Time

We’ve mentioned earlier how conduction-style heating process achieves the fastest heat up time as compared with the convection style. Yes, this is generally true across all types of vaporizers, but another thing to consider is the size of the herb chamber and of course the quality of the vaporizer itself. So, the thing that you will notice is that the bigger the vaporizer, the longer the heat up time.

But the faster speed at which pens heat up results in one general trade off: Temperature is much harder to maintain and control, while for the convection type applied in portable vapes, the level of heat can easily be customized and maintained whether the temperature is controlled by analog or digital controls. In general, convection-type vaporizers require more power especially those with forced-air system inside.

Here’s a quick comparison of the heat up time of the most popular vaporizers at Smokazon.com:

Vaporizer Price Range

When it comes to choosing the right vaporizer, there is actually a degree of truth to the most common conception that the more expensive a product is, the better it is — at least when it comes to added features such as temperature controls and vaping experience. So when the device comes with a higher price tag, it is for a good reason.

For example, the Arizer Solo, which costs $224, is a tad more expensive than the Magic Flight Launch Box. Although both vaporizers fall under the category of the portables, a first glance at the Arizer Solo will already give you a good impression of why it is much pricier then its other counterparts. While the Magic Flight Launch Box vaporizer comes in a very simple design — it doesn’t even have controls or buttons — the Solo comes complete with seven heat settings and also sports a durable metallic finish. Compare that with that Magic Flight and you’ll see the very obvious difference.

But when it comes to vaping experience, most beginners and enthusiasts still find the wooden vaporizer a good choice for its price range. But for beginners, it may take more time to find the perfect pattern of inserting and removing the battery when using the Magic Flight to achieve the desired result.

By general comparison, pen-style vaporizers, because of their very simple design, are the most affordable. But of course, most of them always end up burning your herbs if they don’t come with filters or are poorly designed. Then we have the bigger and better performing portable vaporizers, which usually come with control settings. But one trade-off is the lack of discreetness because of their larger size.

To give you a quick comparison of the price range of the vaporizers we offer here’s a simple comparison chart:

Vaporizer Accessories

Your vaping experience will never be 100% complete or convenient if you don’t bring with you some of the most useful accessories. From the container you carry for your budder or wax to the dry herb grinder you use to make those finely ground botanicals for your dry herb vaporizer, each of these devices are also essential for that uninterrupted and wonderful vaping sessions on the go. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular vaporizer accessories and why they’re a must-have for connoisseurs and beginners alike:

Oil Slick Mini Balls

 

SLick balls

 

 

Unless you’re an aficionado for everything dry or oily, you might just need something that effectively carries your wax or budder without the mess and sticky residue.

Each piece of the two-part Oil Slick Mini Balls is made of 100% silicone shaped into a mini hollow bowl that can be screwed together with the other part to form one single, spill-proof and nonstick ball. You’d be amazed with just how easy it is to store your budder inside as it just slides easily off from the container without leaving any residue, hence zero waste!

Grinders

 

Kannastor herb grinders - full line

Unless you purchase your weed or other herbs in finely ground form, you definitely need a piece of grinder to make sure your constant supply of botanicals is thoroughly ground before using it with your vaporizer. We all know that coarsely ground materials have more uneven and unexposed surfaces that result in lesser vapor quality. So the finer the materials, the more minute surface areas are exposed to the heat source, resulting in better vapor quality.

Grinders may come in acrylic, wood or metal. And this handy device is further classified into 2-piece (simplest and smallest design), 3-piece (with a third chamber for herb storage) or 4-piece (with an extra mesh screen for the collection of pollen) model.

And then there’s the grinder card — probably the simplest, cheapest and most lightweight grinder you can find for your favorite herbs. It’s like a mini cheese grater with the exact shape and size of a credit card. The middle portion has perforations, against which you push and rub the herb for easy grinding. Grinder cards are ideal for preparing small amounts of weed on the fly.

The Bottom Line

Whatever your vaping preference is, it always pays to know your vaporizer and how it works to optimize its performance. Knowing your perfect vape also helps you decide which brand or model to choose. Need to know more about how to pick the right one for you? Here’s a how-to guide in choosing your vaporizer.

Happy vaping!

Written by James Rubio