Vaporization is one of the healthiest ways to consume cannabis. Vaporizers heat the herb just enough to release coveted cannabis resin in the form of a steam, saving you from inhaling a lung full of hot, irritating ash. Unfortunately, the is an almost overwhelming number of vaporization technologies entering the marketplace. How do you tell the standouts from the knockoffs? To help you out, here’s the ultimate buyers guide for vaporizers.
To get the most benefit from your cannabis, the temperature is extremely important. High temperatures can combust, or burn, the cannabis material. Different cannabis compounds also have different boiling points, meaning that it takes a specific amount of heat to get them to transform from a solid into a gas.
The boiling point for THC is 314.6°F or 157°C. However, the boiling point rises slightly when the cannabis content is in a closed container under pressure. Most vaporizers heat in the temperature range 356-392°F or 180-200°C.
Most vaporizers heat in the temperature range 356-392°F or 180-200°C. Not all vapes, however, allow you to adjust the temperature. Different cannabis products vaporize best at different temperatures. Oils and waxes, for example, will need a higher temperature than dried flower.
Convection vs. conduction
The heating mechanism in your vaporizer can greatly affect the overall vaping experience. Certain types of heating mechanisms are healthier than others.
For example, with convection heating, the element never touches the plant matter. Rather, hot hair melts the waxy resin off of the cannabis plant and creates a steam, making a true vapor.
Conduction heating is a cheaper and more common vaporization method. Unfortunately, the heating element directly touches the plants in conductive vapes.
This means that the vaporizer is more likely to actually combust the plant material in a similar way to smoking. Conductive vaporizers are also less likely to heat evenly.
If you’re investing in a vaporizer to stay away from smoking, a convection vape would be the healthiest option. However, those looking for an inexpensive and convenient way to consume may still appreciate a conductive vape.
Though conductive vapes can cause combustion, they still heat the cannabis product at a low temperature. Heating slowly at a low temperature creates a steam vapor.
For the safest vaporization experience, it is important to pay attention to the materials from which the device is made. Certain compounds, like plastics, create gasses when exposed to heat or extreme temperature changes.
Vaporizers that contain plastics near a heating element should be avoided, as they can release chemicals like BPA into your vapor BPA is a compound that acts similarly to estrogen in the body.
Certain metals, too, can be problematic. Some metals have better heat resistance than others. Metals can oxidize at high temperatures, which releases potential carcinogens into your vapor product.
To avoid this, opt for vaporizers materials that have been:
- Lab tested
- Grade 1 or 2 titanium
- Medical grade stainless steel
If your vaporizer contains these four materials, you may want to consider a different piece:
- Titanium alloy
- Other metal alloys
Portable vs. tabletop
The next big vaporizer decision to make is whether or not to choose between a portable or a tabletop option. As the phrases suggest, a tabletop vape is difficult to transport and is meant to be more of a stay-at-home investment piece.
Portable vaporizers are far less expensive and easy to take on the go, but they are more limited in what they can do. Portable vaporizers are more likely to use conduction heating.
Tabletop vaporizers are more likely to be convection vaporizers since convection technology can be more cumbersome than conduction methods. Many also have improved temperature settings, neat accessories, and are more versatile all around.
Unfortunately, tabletop vapes often come with a steep price tag.
A tip about portable vapor pens
Portable vapor pens are some of the most common vaporizers around. When purchasing a battery for a vapor pen, the most common type is a 510 threaded option. When purchasing a 510 threaded battery, it’s best to pay a few extra dollars for one with a button.
Batteries with a button are a little more durable and often have better temperature control options than those without. 510 threaded batteries can be purchased at most dispensaries or online for $25 or less. Then, simply purchase a pre-filled cartridge from a dispensary.
6 high-quality vaporizer options
VapeXhale is a tabletop vape with glass HydroTubes to create a thick and creamy vapor. The vapor this piece can produce is similar to smoking out of a bong, which is preferable among many consumers. Glass pieces also allow for better flavor, enhancing the vaporization experience.
This vaporizer uses convection heating, not conduction. This means that consumers will get a nice and thick steam from this product, which is safer for the lungs than smoking. Temperature can be controlled with a dial and VapeXhale features various attachments for concentrates.
Cost: $350 and up.
2. The Kind Pen
The Kind Pen Orion portable vape pen is a well-priced ground flower vaporizer. This pen vape is combustion free, which is a rare find among pen vapes. It also uses stainless steel chamber, which, along with titanium, is an appropriate metal for a vaporizer. The Orion heats in a temperature range between 380– 420°F (193°C to 215°C).
Cost: $80 and up.
3. Pax 3
The Pax 3 is a portable vape for dried flower or concentrates. The Pax 3 is made with all medical grade materials, making this small device safer to use than many lower quality vaporizers. Consumers can connect their Pax vape with the Pax app, allowing you to adjust the temperature from your phone.
The one downfall of the Pax is that it relies on conduction heating rather than convection. However, the temperature control options and overall high-quality design make this a great portable vaporizer.
4. Firefly 2
The Firefly 2 is an innovative portable vape for flower or concentrates. This little device features temperature control options and uses convection heating, improving the overall quality of the vapor.
Firefly also has an app that allows consumers to choose from different preset temperature options and customize the vapes for an improved experience. The vapor path in this piece is made with borosilicate glass, enhancing the flavor of the products.
5. Herbalizer Desktop Vaporizer
The Herbalizer Desktop Vaporizer is a 100% convection device and features adjustable temperature control between 290 and 445°F (143 to 229°C). Both concentrates and dried herbal material can be used in this piece.
The device also features an aromatherapy option, giving it a dual purpose. The Herbalizer can be used to inhale dried herbs, or the mouth attachments can be removed to use the device to transform a room with an aromatic vapor.
6. SourceEVapes orb 4
SourceEVapes are made with only the best materials. All materials in the vaporizer have been tested to ensure quality and purity.
SourceEVapes are for oils and concentrates, and feature lab-tested grade 1 and 2 titanium coils, a stainless steel body, and quartz atomizers. This means that the vapor that comes through is and you don’t have to worry about off-gas from plastics or impure metals in what you inhale.