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This blog post will explore the key component of a dry-herb Vaporizer – how the device extracts vapor from cannabis. There are three methods by which this occurs: conduction heating, convection heating, and a hybrid of the two.
For more information about Dry Herb Vaporizers, check those 7 Reasons To Vape Cannabis Instead Of Smoking It
Understanding 'Conduction' and 'Convection' can guide you in choosing the ideal dry herb vaporizer and maximize its use.
Conduction heating was historically the most popular heating method for vaporizers. However, many on-demand convection vaporizers are now dominating the market (which we discuss later).
Conduction heating works by having the cannabis in direct contact with a heated surface. Heat from the surface enables vapor production, regardless of inhalation.
Session vaping: So, A conduction vaporizer is the best choice if you intend to savor the entire bowl over a period of time. This type of vaporizer is also referred to as a session vaporizer, which enables an extended period of vaping.
Battery life and power output: Convection vaporizers generally possess a longer battery life due to the fact that their heat up process requires less electric power. Heating is mainly done by the hot surface, once it has reached its ideal temperature.
Cheaper: Conduction vaporizers are generally less expensive than their convection counterparts due to reduced production costs and lower output power. Examples like the Dynavap vaporizers, a non-electronic conduction vaporizer heated by a torch or induction heater, cost as little as $75 and offer a lifetime of use.
Great for concentrates: A conduction vape exploits higher temperatures which make concentrates easier to melt, offering a convenient dab-rig experience. Some suggest that conduction heating creates a more intense psychoactive impact than convection heating; however, this has yet to be conclusively proven.
Conduction vaporizers needs stirring: Cannabis that is in direct contact with the heating source cook more quickly than cannabis that does not, so stirring is necessary to ensure thorough and even cooking. If stirred halfway through the session, vaporizers that use conduction heating technology will avoid having over- or undercooked cannabis, ultimately preventing any chance of combustion. Poorly cooked cannabis can ruin your vaporizing experience.
Wasteful: When using conduction vaporizers, cannabis is continuously heated via direct contact with a hot surface. This means the herb remains cooking for as long as the vape is in use, as opposed to convection vaporizers which only cook when being actively used.
Slower heating: Conductive vaporizers typically require more time to heat your cannabis than convective models. This is because the heat source in contact with your cannabis cannot reach the correct temperature instantly.
Convection heating works by using hot air to circulate the cannabis, it has made significant advances over the past few years. Nowadays, it is the go-to choice. Let's look at the main benefits of convection heating: speed, efficiency and flavor.
Great for taste: If obtaining the full flavor profile of your cannabis is a priority for you, a convection vaporizer may be a great fit. Many consider convection-heating to be the most effective method for deepening the experience of terpenes and cannabinoids.
No waste of your cannabis and fast extraction: Convection heating offers an efficient solution, with no wasted cannabis. This type of heating utilizes your draw to pull heat through the cannabis, ensuring no product is left behind. Additionally, convection vapes reach vaporization quickly - often within just a few seconds, making it ideal for 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
Tough on battery life: Despite being almost perfect, convection heating does have its drawbacks. Mainly, it consumes more power, which in return decreases battery life. To avoid this issue, it is wise to look for a convection vaporizer with replaceable batteries and/or pass-through charging.
Hotspots: Convection heating presents the risk of forming hotspots, when air only passes through the center of cannabis, leading to overcooked product. This can be circumvented by regulating the air draw rate: too quickly may cause hotspots, too slowly could cause combustion.
Bonus fact: Abv (Already Been Vaped) is the term for cannabis that has been heated in a vaporizer. It is low-THC flower that is already decarboxylated and can be eaten as-is or used for edibles. While it is safe to eat directly from the vape, the taste is not pleasant, I usually mix it with peanut butter and make a PB&J sandwich.
Uneven ABV: When using convection vaporizers, ABV can be somewhat inconsistent until one masters their inhalation speed. For myself, I usually utilize a mild pace. Additionally, ensuring the bowl is properly packed is essential; start with a loose pack as convection heating necessitates air to circulate amongst the cannabis. If the pack is too dense, like a conduction vaporizer, the air resistance will be too intense to properly heat the herb.
Related article: What is Already Vaped Bud (AVB) - Best Practices & Methods
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, and with great success I might add.
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.
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)
Processing the above info might seem challenging for those new to dry herb vaporizers. It's true—there's no such thing as a perfect vaporizer! Personally, I've owned my ArGo for a few years now and have been very satisfied with my experience since then, despite the various details discussed in this post.
Overall, each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. However, I highly recommend that anyone looking to purchase a dry herb vaporizer should get that fit your budget and needs, try it out for few weeks to become comfortable with using it before investing in another.
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.
If you’re a Redditor, 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.