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A dry Herb vaporizer is basically just a device that heats up dried herbs (mostly cannabis). This means the way it does that, is the most important thing, right? That is exactly what this blog is going to be about - how vaporizers extract vapor from cannabis. There are two ways of doing it… Well, three ways because you can also combine the two: Conduction, convection and hybrid (a mix of conduction and convection heating).
For more information about Dry Herb Vaporizers, check those 7 Reasons To Vape Cannabis Instead Of Smoking It
‘Conduction’ and ‘Convection’ are arguably the two most important words to know if you’re looking into the exploding market of dry herb vaporizers - The future of cannabis consumption. Understanding these two heating-styles will not only help you choose the perfect vaporizer, it will also help you utilize the capabilities of your next vaporizer to perfection.
Conduction heating has until fairly recently been the most common and sought after heating technology in vaporizers. It is getting some stiff competition from the many on-demand convection vaporizers storming the market (more on that later). Conduction heating cooks your cannabis (hyperlink: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_conduction) by having it being in direct contact with a heated surface. By heating the surface that the cannabis is touching, vapor will emerge, whether you pull from the vape or not.
Pros of using a conduction dry herb vaporizer
Session vaping: So, a conduction vaporizer is best for you, if you like to vape the entire bowl, take your time, relax and sip on your new conduction vaporizer. This is also what we call a session vaporizer. A vaporizer that requires a session of vaping.
Battery life and power output: Conduction vaporizers also tend to have better battery life. This mostly comes down to the fact that the heating process takes less power. The hot surface does most of the work once it’s hot.
Cheaper: Conduction vaporizers tend to be cheaper than their counterpart, convection vaporizers. The technology is cheaper to produce and the power output isn’t as strong as convection vaporizers. Look at a product like Dynavap which is a non-electronic conduction vaporizer that is heated by torch or induction heater. The cheapest Dynavap, the ‘M’ costs as little as 75$ and will probably last you a lifetime.
Great for concentrates: The hot surface is also ideal for concentrates as they melt easier in the higher temperatures a conduction vape offers. A dab-rig uses conduction heating to produce vapor. Some say that conduction heating gives a more stoned feeling than convection but that is up for debate.
Cons of using a conduction dry herb vaporizer
Conduction vaporizers needs stirring: The cannabis that directly touches the heated surface will get cooked before the cannabis that doesn’t. This means stirring! Vaporizers that use conduction heating technology need to be stirred, at least, half-way through your session. If not, the inner part of your cannabis will be undercooked and the outer will be overcooked. We don’t like that. That is just as bad as making the same mistake in the kitchen. Overcooked cannabis has a risk of combusting and that is the last thing you want in a vaporizer. Gross!
Wasteful: Having the cannabis heated by being in direct contact with a hot surface, the cannabis will constantly be cooked while the vape is on. You can’t just put it down and go take out the trash without wasting your cannabis. Sure, you can turn it off, but the hot surface will still need a good amount of time to cool down.
Slower heating: Conduction vapes tend to take more time to heat your cannabis compared to convection. This is due to the fact that the hot surface which your cannabis is in contact with, can’t be heated to the right temperature instantly.
Tips & tricks
If you decide on a conduction vaporizer these tips might be helpful:
Popular conduction vaporizers
Convection heating has come a long way just the last couple of years. And it is all about convection heating now! A quick rundown of the main pros of this style of heating gives a good idea why: It is fast, it is efficient and it is tasty. Convection works by having hot air pulled through the cannabis.
Pros of convection heating vaporizers
Great for taste: If tasting your cannabis is important to you, a convection vaporizer might be right for you. Many believe convection heating provides a better taste and really lets the terpenes and cannabinoids shine through.
No waste of your cannabis and fast extraction: Another great advantage about convection heating is that it doesn’t waste your cannabis. Taking a rip and then putting it down doesn’t waste any cannabis at all because heat only gets pulled through the cannabis by the power of your own draw. This heating style also makes the vapor extraction happen a lot faster. Most convection vapes are ready to go in a few seconds. That is called an on-demand vaporizer.
Big clouds! Convection heating also tend to create some big clouds as the heating is faster and more powerful than conduction heating
Cons of convection heating vaporizers
Tough on battery life: It all sounds perfect right? As most things in life, nothing is perfect and convection heating does have its downsides. One of them being battery life. Heating cannabis this way uses more power and this negatively affects battery life. If you’re buying a convection vaporizer it is a good idea to look for one with replaceable batteries or pass-through charging ‘
Hotspots: Convection heating has a tendency to create hotspots. Hotspots are when the air only gets pulled through the middle of your cannabis which creates a little hotspot of overcooked cannabis. This can be avoided by controlling your pull speed. Too fast and you get hotspots, too slow and it can combust.
Bonus fact: The cooked cannabis from your vaporizer is called ABV (Already Been Vaped) and can be used to make edibles! It’s basically just low-THC bud. Decarbed and ready for consumption. You can even eat it straight from the vape! Wouldn’t recommend it though, it won't taste good, but you will totally get high off of it.
Uneven ABV: With the above in mind, convection vaporizer can produce pretty uneven ABV until you get your draw technique down. I usually use a medium draw speed. The way you pack your bowl is always very important; it should always be a light pack with convection heating as it needs airflow to pass through your cannabis. If you pack it too tight, like a conduction vaporizer, the draw resistance will be too much to effectively heat your cannabis.
Related article: What is Already Vaped Bud (AVB) - Best Practices & Methods
Tips & Tricks
If you decide on a convection vaporizer these tips might be helpful:
Popular convection vaporizers
As I mentioned in the intro, hybrid heating is a combination of conduction and convection. This is not a new thing by any means. It is what the world famous Storz & Bickel, the makers of Mighty, Crafty, Plenty and Volcano have used since their start in 2000 (Hyperlink: https://www.storz-bickel.com/en/). And with great success I might add.
Pros of hybrid heating vaporizers
Satisfying vapor experience: By utilizing both of these heating styles you get the best of both worlds: the dense vapor from the conduction heating and the tasty and fluffy vapor of the convection heating.
Even ABV: The combination of both of these heating styles tend to make your ABV (Already Been Vaped - a term for your vaped cannabis) more even as the two styles compliment each other well and ensure that all of your cannabis gets extracted evenly.
Cons of hybrid heating vaporizers
Hybrid heating is expensive! A vaporizer with hybrid heating might be your choice if you can’t decide between conduction and convection. Or if you just want a little bit of everything. Some of the greatest vapes on the market use hybrid heating. It does have a tendency to affect both battery life and the price of the vape as both heating styles use a lot of power and are more expensive to produce.
Uses a lot of power! Having it all, of course, comes with its downsides. By having two different heating styles incorporated in a single portable device is not only expensive to produce, but also uses a lot of power. This can go one of two ways: Your vaporizer has plenty of battery life but the battery is non-replaceable (Storz & Bickels products or Arizer Solo 2) or your vaporizer has replaceable batteries but the battery won’t last long (Firewood 7)
Popular hybrid vaporizers
The above information can be a lot to process if you’re new to dry herb vaporizers. The truth is the perfect vaporizer doesn’t exist! Luckily for you, one vaporizer is never enough. Welcome to the world of VAS (Vaporizer AcquisitionSyndrome) where the next vape is always your last…until the next one.
Personally, I prefer to have many types of vapes. The Mighty, a hybrid, was my first and it was the one that helped me stop combustion. The dense and thick clouds of the hybrid heater satisfied my lungs after a decade of smoking joints and blunts. The Tinymight, a heavy hitting convection vaporizer out of Finland, blew my mind with its lightning fast heat-up and amazing taste. The DaVinci, a conduction vaporizer, made me sit back and enjoy a long vaping session and get the stoned effects of conduction heating.
In conclusion, they all have their pros and cons. But they all rock and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to just get one. You need at least one of each heating style (that’s the VAS talking). Anyway, dry herb vaporizers are the future of cannabis consumption - join the party and save your lungs!
If you have any questions or need help choosing the right vaporizer for you feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information I'd recommend you check out well established vaporizers websites like fuckcombustion.com, a forum where everything vaporizer-related can be discussed or if you’re on Reddit, check out the subreddit r/vaporents. These are both great communities with tons of helpful people. I’d also recommend that you check out the amazing vaporizer gurus ‘Troy and Jerry Think Dank’ on Youtube. They provide not only information, but also plenty of entertainment.
Feel free to hit me up on Instagram, the.smith.street.band. I am always ready to give advice or talk about vaporizers.