heating element
(Last Updated On: April 18, 2015)

The heating element is probably the most ignored part of the vaporizer. Of course, it’s out of sight and, most of the time, is out of mind. But the heating element is what gives your vape its life. Break it and the entire device is good only for disposal.

Although many vape users look for the aesthetics and some other fancy features, it also pays to get a good understanding of how vaporizers work to the core. This helps us choose products that will more likely last longer and will perform better. After all, when the basics are perfected, the rest of the features follow.

Today, we’ll look at the fine details of the heating element and how the very material used could affect its lifespan and overall performance.

What Makes a Good Heating Element?

The very first quality that matters most to vape users is the life of the vaporizer. Indeed, many vaporizers, especially the desktop models, do not come cheap. And we all expect to get what we paid for. Most of the time, the life of the vaporizer depends on the heating element. That’s why manufacturers selling the best vapes pick the most durable source, which we will find out later. 

After quality comes precision. Is the heating element hot enough to produce the densest vapors and purest flavors? Or, does it get too hot that dried herbs burn instead? We’ve had issues surrounding the precision heating of some vaporizers, and no category has come under intense criticism as the vape pen.

Because of their compact size, pen-style vaporizers have the simplest parts, and almost all do not come with temperature control settings. To heat up the device, just press the button. And to control the amount or frequency of heat, you can make repetitive clicks and get to the right intervals to get your desired results.

We’ve also heard reports that some pen vaporizers have heating coils that directly touch the botanicals, combusting them and in turn produce smoke instead of vapor. While this is true in some cases, vaporizers like the Atmos Raw Vaporizer  now have a glass filter that separates the plant material from the heating coil. Still, even though these solutions do the trick some users still report mixed results.

Another quality to watch out for is the way the heating element performs each and every time. Consistent results mean happy vaping. So, when some users report that their heating chamber does not produce much heat most of the time, then that could mean a questionable product.

Types of Vaporizer Heating Elements

Ceramic

The ceramic heating element is now the most widely used type because it gives the purest vapors — those that come directly from the materials alone and not any rogue or loose chemicals coming from the heating element itself.

Now, this feature is important especially because the vaporizing community strongly highlights the safety and health benefits of vaping as compared to smoking. After all, what good a smoking alternative is the vaporizer if it competes with the cigarette in terms of emitting toxins and impure compounds?

Among all the heating elements, the ceramic type has the highest melting and boiling point, which means it can withstand extreme heat, sometimes exceeding 3000°F, without degrading its overall structure.

But also take note that just because a ceramic type is used doesn’t mean you get good and pure vapors too. Poorly made vaporizers can have their internal wirings and joints connected by cheap solders or even plastic. So, when it comes to choosing the right vape, sometimes the price speaks for itself because it could reflect how the manufacturer takes much time and money to produce only the best vaporizers.

Metal (Aluminum)

The aluminum heating element is perhaps the next best thing to the ceramic type. An aluminum heating block can reach a maximum temperature of 240°C, although in theory, this could go higher because the element’s melting point is at 660°C. However, manufacturers maintain vaping temperatures that do not reach or exceed the level in which plant materials start to burn.

Some critics claim that loose elements coming form the heating block itself could adversely affect human health. But while this claim has yet to be proven, vape users and manufacturers use this abundant metal for one good reason: It is a good conductor of heat and therefore responds well to temperature changes. You’ll truly appreciate its accuracy when used in vaporizers with temperature control settings because it can provide accurate gradation of heat. Perhaps this is the only aspect in which the aluminum does better than ceramic.

Let’s take for example the Storz & Bickel’s Volcano Vaporizer. This is probably one of the most expensive desktop vaporizer ever. But along with its hefty price are praises for its excellent vapor quality. And the Digital model boasts a temperature control button that can set the heat level at an accuracy of 1.5°C. One can truly attest of this vaporizer’s awesome power and its ease to produce the strongest aromas and flavors. 

Glass

These aren’t your ordinary glass materials. Glass heating elements can withstand temperature as ceramic or aluminum does. Usually, it’s the presence of silicate that makes this heating element surprisingly efficient and strong. However, there aren’t many vaporizers that use this type because ceramic materials are more durable and perform better overall. 

Bottom Line

Of course, the heating element is something vaporizers can’t do away without. Hence it pays to take a closer look at this hidden yet essential part of the vaporizer. One technique is to check the warranty. While a number of manufacturers offer three to five years of warranty, a few others offer lifetime warranty. At times, the length of years is a can be a good measure as to how confident a vaporizer company with their products.

What’s your vaporizer? Does it serve your expectations well? Tell us your experience!

Written by The Smokazon Team
Smokazon is a group of enthusiasts, advocates and connoisseurs of the digital age. We’re here to help you achieve that ultra-lifestyle with our product reviews, feature articles and anything you need to know in the vaping world. But enough about us. Let’s talk about you. We’re here to make your vaping experience a little bit better.