A Quick Guide to Vaporizer Types

Vaping has quickly grown in popularity. It has become an attractive pastime for both smokers and non-smokers. For those new to vaping you will find many different types of vaporizer.

As vaporizers have improved in quality and become more widely available, people have come to realize their many benefits. They are discreet, can be portable, clean and create less smell. They offer a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis and tobacco and provide an effective method to administer CBD.

While there is still much to learn, we do know that it allows the vaped ingredients to reach your blood stream quickly. It is an effective way to take nicotine, cannabis or CBD without any extra toxins.

What Is A Vaporizer?

A vaporizer is an electronic device that uses heat to convert liquids and some solids into vapor. This vapor is inhaled into the lungs and any active ingredients travel directly to the bloodstream.

Vapes can vary in size, shape, power and components but they all heat the vape contents to below the point of combustion. This produces a vapor containing key ingredients, flavour and aroma but no smoke.

What makes it so different to smoking is that the substance being vaped does not burn. Another key difference is that tiny temperature alterations can vaporize different substances within your vape contents, altering the flavour and intensity.

Because the temperature allows the device to vaporize specific substances, you are less likely to inhale toxins. Therefore, it is safer and more pleasant than smoking.

What’s In A Vape?

Different types of vape are made to vaporize different substances. The most widely vaped items are:

  • Dry herbs, such as cannabis or CBD rich hemp.
  • Liquids referred to as e-liquids or vape juice.
  • Waxes and concentrates such as shatter, rosin and budder.

While there are several main types of vape and even more sub-varieties, the principles and components remain surprisingly similar. Most electric vapes have:

  • A chamber, plate or tank in which to place the herb, liquid or concentrate.
  • A heating element.
  • A battery or power supply to power the heating element.
  • A mouthpiece through which you can inhale the vapor.

However, not all vaporizers are electric.

Electric Vs. Butane

Sticky Brick Butane Vaporizer
Sticky Brick Butane Vaporizer

Butane vapes have no electronic parts and get their heat from an external butane lighter or torch. This means that you don’t need to worry about a dead battery, but you will need to top up on butane regularly.

These vapes are often cheaper and simple to operate. You just apply your lighter to the heating element and inhale the vapor. An example is the VapCap ‘M’ by DynaVap.

Electric vapes, however, can provide a consistent heat source which can be adjusted as required. Overall, an electric vape will provide you with more options and convenience but there are many who still prefer the butane option. An excellent example of an electric option is the Mighty by Storz and Bickel.

Types Of Vape

1. Dry Herb Vaporizer

A dry herb device will vaporize small amounts of cannabis or CBD flower and produce a smooth vapor.

Using a dry herb vape is a completely different experience to smoking. The flavors are subtle and won’t catch in your throat. When you first try a vape you may not even feel like you are inhaling properly because there is no smoke. However, it provides a more potent experience than smoking and is easier on the throat and lungs.

The dried herb is placed into a small heating chamber which is then sealed. The herb is then heated to the correct temperature to vaporize the active ingredients.

Conduction vs Convection

Comparing the use of conduction and convection heating
Conduction vs Convection Heating

There are two ways in which the herb can be heated, these are conduction and convection.

Conduction

When the herb is heated up by an element directly. This method means that the heat may be applied unevenly and in a lower quality device can cause combustion.

Convection

Convection heating works by drawing the hot air through the herb when you inhale. This allows for all parts to be heated evenly and gives a smoother vape.

With both methods once the herb has been vaped you are left with ABV (Already Been Vaped) which is the remains of the herb and must be cleared from the chamber. If you collect this ABV it can be used to make butter and other edibles as some of the active ingredient remains.

ABV is also known as AVB (Already Vaped Bud) or vape poo.

Desktop Vaporizer

Volcano Desktop Vaporizer
Volcano Desktop Vaporizer

These are larger and are often plugged in to a power supply. Because of their size they often come with a larger chamber and have more features.

A desktop vaporizer will have a dial or display to adjust the temperature according to your needs. They can be used while placed on a desk or table top and are not suitable for use on the go.

Desk top vapes come in three main styles.

Balloon Vape/ Forced Air Vape

Hot air is circulated around the herbs and then collected in a large bag. You can then detach the bag and inhale the vapor. This means that the vapor is much cooler than with the smaller portable vapes and easier on the throat. A good example it the Volcano by Storz and Bickel.

Whip Style Vape

These are like smoking using a hookah. The herb is heated with a heating element and the vapor travels along the tube/whip where you can inhale it. This is the best option if you want to take a few tokes at a time because you don’t have to pre-inflate any bags. The Volcano can be used with a whip and there are others like the Arizer Extreme Q.

Hybrid Vape

These are a combination of the two where the vapor passes through a tube before it reaches the bag.

Portable Dry Herb Vapes

Portable Dry Herb Vapes - Mighty and Crafty
The Mighty and Crafty

These are smaller and are usually powered by a rechargeable battery. They are not as powerful as a desktop vaporizer but allow you to take it wherever you go. Because vaping is more discreet than smoking, a portable vape offers more opportunities when you’re out and about. Examples are the Da Vinci IQ and the PAX 3.

Vape Pen

The smallest of the dry herb portable vapes. These are easily kept in a pocket and at first glance could be mistaken for a pen. An example is the grasshopper vape.

2. E-liquid Vaporizer

Cartridges for e-liquid vapes
Cartridges for e-liquid vapes

An e-liquid vape is used vape juice or e-liquid. The liquid is held in a small tank or cartridge and can be refillable or single use which requires regular cartridge replacements.

Most of these vapes are portable but some are more discreet and convenient than others. The e-liquid is usually soaked up by a wick where it reaches the coil or atomizer which heats and vaporizes it. It is then inhaled through a mouth piece.

3. Wax And Concentrate Vapes

These vapes are like dry herb vapes and heat up the wax or concentrate to the correct temperature to vaporize them. This style of vaping is known for being extremely potent and is similar to dabbing.

Dab Pen

A small portable vape looks like portable dry herb vapes and e-liquid pod vapes. However, it is specifically designed to vaporize wax and concentrate.

E-nail Bubbler

E-Nail Portable Vape
E-Nail Portable Vape

These are semi portable electronic dab rigs. They give a similar experience to a dab rig without needing to use a torch. It is a more authentic dabbing experience than a dab pen but they are more expensive and often too large to carry discreetly.

Conclusion

There are so many different vapes out there that it can seem overwhelming when trying to find the one for you. However, when you look closer, they are all designed to respond to the user’s needs. Start by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • What do you want to vape?
  • Where do you want to vape?
  • How much do you want to spend?

Once you know the answers you will quickly find yourself looking at the right vape type. After that it is all down to personal preference. Read reviews and watch unboxing videos on Youtube to get an idea of what features you like.

Whether you want to vape discreetly or create huge white
clouds, stick to single button controls or use a display that wouldn’t look out
of place in the Delorean, there is a vape to suit you.

About Tim W. Shaw

imageTim W. Shaw is a freelance writer with a joint honours degree in English Literature and History. He writes on a wide range of subjects but specialises in Education, Health and Complementary Medicine.

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