(Last Updated On: July 9, 2015)

There’s a first time for everything. If you are only beginning to explore the options for your very first vaporizer, it could be daunting and confusing at the same time. Given the number of options that you can go for, what could be the best ways to find the right vaporizer for you? Here are tips that can ease the confusion, and ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.

Why Makes Your Favorite Vape

One of the most important things you need to know when buying a vaporizer is to determine what you’re using the device for. Will you use it as a good alternative to cigarette, or are you going to use it for medical reasons? If you are simply looking to get rid of your smoking habit, then perhaps you could settle for oil and concentrate vaporizers, which generally cost less than $100. Liquid vaporizers like the Atmos Optimus 510 allow you to use e-juices that may contain nicotine to help you with your cravings. Not only is this a practical choice for your wallet, but the device’s portability (thanks to its energy-efficient rechargeable battery) allows you to vaporize on the fly.

If you are taking cannabis for medical reasons, then it is a different story. You might first want to consider using true vaporizers instead of the pen-style models, in which slight combustion still takes place. Not that vaporizer pens are less effective; in fact, many users like the combustion because of the more intense flavor the effects offer. But if you’re a purist who prefers 100% vapor with all the therapeutic effects, look for bigger portables or, for a bigger, more noticeable difference, the powerful desktop vaporizers.

Of course, you will have to spend a decent amount of money on your device; however, this can give you flexibility because of the adjustable vaping temperatures needed to vaporize the healthy cannabinoids, and for some, THC for the bonus highs.

How Hot Should Your Vaporizer Be?

Just how hot do you need your vaporizer to be? Why does it matter? If you are using a specific strain of cannabis, you’ll need to have a specific temperature in order to extract the necessary cannabinoids in the cannabis.  For instance, if you are using Charlotte’s Web which is a CBD rich strain, you’ll need to reach 160°C to 180 °C in order to get the most of this specific component of cannabis. It is common to see designs of high-end vaporizers to have diverse range of temperatures for their users. In fact, this is precisely the reason why some vaporizers are even considered medical devices.

How about other types of botanicals? When vaporizing at low temperatures from 100°C to 150°C, use dry herb materials such as chamomile, hyssop, clove, lavender, thyme, peppermint, wormwood, sage and horsetail. Other plant materials, on the other hand, vaporizer well in medium temperature range of up to 175°C. Use cat’s claw, ground coffee, fennel, ginkgo, milk thistle and saw palmetto for this range. Heat levels of up to 200°C  ere perfect for burdock, evening primerose, garlic, ginger, ginseng, hops, licorice, turmeric, wild yam, and of course, your very own cannabis.

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. Better yet, get one that sports precise temperature control to make sure each draw offers a satisfying amount and quality of vapor according to your preference.

Read the user reviews

User reviews

If there is anyone who could provide the best information regarding the quality of the product, it’s the people who already used the device. They’ve seen, touched, tasted and breathed it all and lived to tell the tale of what makes or breaks a vape in the market.

When reading reviews, try to see the pros and the cons of each product. Of course, there is no such one-size-fits all device that pleases everyone who tried it. If not for size, it might not sell well because of its price, or perhaps, vapor quality. There is always be tradeoffs and knowing these will help you discover one vape that fits your wants and needs,

Also, you may want to know what are the common things that they complain about a certain model. Most new models, especially those coming fresh from the drawing board might have some teething problems in their design or functionality. Hence new versions are introduced in response to previous complaints about how a certain vape looks or works.

And of course, try to see the hacks that users have done, and decide if this fits your preference. There are some things that users do that are not exactly mentioned in the user manual.

Know Your Budget

Budget

How much are you willing to spend on your vaporizer? In the vaping world, there’s no denying that more expensive devices offer better build quality and more features. For example, you’ve heard about several cheap pen-style vaporizers worth less than $50. These might seem like a steal for many, but we’ve also heard some complaints that the sub-quality — even plastic materials — have been used and hastily soldered near or in the heating chamber. This poses health risks as toxic metals or fumes readily go along with the vapors.

For pen-style, concentrates-only vapes, the best-reviewed, safest devices so far that could easily fit your budget are the G Pen from Grenco Science and the Optimus from Atmos Nation.

If you are looking to invest as much as $500 for your vaporizer at home, and don’t mind getting a desktop (non-portable), then perhaps you should consider the likes of a Digital Volcano Vaporizer. Certainly one of the best in the market today, this can give you diverse options because of its very accurate temperature control settings and the ability to use a balloon (specialized plastic bag to trap the vapor and inhale later on) or a whip (plastic or silicon tube) for direct draws. With its excellent build and long-lasting durability, the Volcano is indeed worth that budget.

But of course, there are some individuals who do not have the right amount of budget for high-end vaporizers. You don’t have to worry though as you have so many options right now. Try to see which fits your range whether looking for a desktop or a portable version of the vaporizer. Affordable yet high-quality desktop models are the Vapir Rise or the Arizer Extreme Q vaporizers.

Heating element

What is the heating element like? Different materials will give you a different range of temperatures. Ceramic for instance can withstand high temperatures, which mean that it needs tremendous amount of heat before anything inside turns into gas. If you choose to stick with a vaporizer that has a ceramic material as a heating element, you have to make sure that it has been solidly constructed in such a way that there are no wires within the proximity of the heating element that could emit toxins.

Another kind of heating element that you could depend on is aluminum. This has been used with top of the line vaporizers such as the Volcano. This responds to the different changes in temperature faster than other materials. There have been concerns that aluminum may be link to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, but studies have been inconclusive thus far. After all, we’ve been safely aluminum in our cookware and even in food wraps.

Another heating element is glass, which functions the same as ceramic. This means clean vapor because glass does not interact with your botanicals, nor does it give off fumes even when heated to very high temperatures. The problem with a glass heating element, however, is that it can break faster than other materials especially with rough use of the device.

Size of Vaporizer

The size of the vaporizer is also crucial for the reason that smaller vaporizers can combust herbs. You don’t want this to happen because not only does it affect the taste, but it also makes the vaporizer useless in you’re in for health reasons. For the desktop vaporizers, the larger size allows more features such as the convection-type heating mechanism. Desktop vaporizers typically use fans to deliver hot air to the herbs, hence doing away with direct contact with the heat source (conduction heating) that otherwise lead to combustion.

The Bottom Line

There’s no reason for you to be compulsive when you are buying vaporizers even if it is the first time you are going to do this. With these useful tips, it is possible to have the best type of vaporizer with your budget, for your needs. What you always need to remember is that you always have options. In fact, these days, a lot. You want to compare at least 5 vaporizers that have similar characteristics and price range.

Got vape? What’s your favorite? And how did you get to choose one for your own? Share with us with your comments below.

Written by James Rubio