Important things to keep in mind
Picking out the best dry herb vaporizer for your needs isn’t exactly a very straightforward task – there’s a lot to consider and there are also several new vaporizers that come to market often. But trust us, as overwhelming as the task may seem- once you find the vape that’s right for you, it’ll be tough to go back to burning your herb.
Not all vapes are created equal, so you can’t exactly compare a $300 vape to a $60 vape. The point here is to remember that your vaporizer is an investment. Vaping is more efficient than simply lighting up, and may reduce the volume of your herb use.
The difference between a higher-end and lower-end vape is in the quality of its build materials. High-end vapes use materials such as aluminum, glass, or even zirconia. Cheaper vapes will most likely be constructed with plastic and silicone. Different materials also mean a shorter or longer device lifespan. The quality of the vapor also varies when choosing between lower or higher-end vapes. A higher-end vape promises better flavor and vapor quality since the oven, mouthpiece, and air-paths are usually designed with purity in mind.
Despite all this, you don’t need a $500 vaporizer to get the full experience, as there are loads of great options for any price range, and surely with the number of devices out there, you’re bound to find the one for you.
Size & portability
Like we said earlier, dry herb vaporizers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes- and there’s always some sort of trade-off when choosing between sizes. So, it all comes down to what your requirements are.
- Portable – These are the most common vapes on the market – small, battery-powered devices that you can carry with you when you’re on the go.
- Desktop – These devices are much larger and require a plugged-in power source. Due to their size, these vapes are more suited for home use.
The perks of having larger vaporizers are a bigger battery which is sure to last for several sessions and a larger body that will absorb and disperse heat- keeping your device cool to the touch. Larger vapes also heat up faster, are sturdier, and are generally more fuss-free to use.
Smaller vapes are more discreet and are more portable. Many small-size vaporizers can easily fit in your palm or just about anywhere- making them perfect for vaping on the go or in public (without too many eyebrows raised). A downside, however, is because of its smaller body – these vaporizers can get warm at the end of a session, and even very hot when vaping ovens back to back. If the vape is hot, the vapor is hot – which is terrible for flavor.
Heat source / Heating method:
Vaporizers differ amongst themselves in a good number of ways, but one of the most major decisions you’ll have to make is regarding what sort of heating method your new vaporizer will have. There are only 3 to choose from, yet these methods result in differently nuanced vapor.
- Conduction – Conduction vaporizers have been around for a long time and is the traditional way of vaporizing herbs or even concentrates and other solids. With conduction heating, the herb comes into direct contact with the heat source.
- Convection – In a convection vaporizer, the heating element heats the air in and around your herb. Since the heating element does not come into direct contact with the herb – the material is heated more efficiently and results in a cleaner, smoother vapor.
- Hybrid – Hybrid heating is the combination of both heating methods, allowing for a more full extraction of the compounds and terpenes in the herb.
Vaping is done in sessions
Session Vapes is by far the most common type of dry herb vaporizer. On a session vaporizers – you load the oven, turn on the device, set your temperature, and slowly draw the vapor until the herb in the oven is used up.
On-demand vaporizers are a more novel innovation – allowing you to take a hit at any time instead of having to consume everything all at once. The oven is configured to heat up and cool down fast. You can choose to take as big or small a draw as you like, turn the device off and turn it on again when you’re ready to go.
When using a vaporizer- it’s very crucial to note that it’s highly recommended that you use all the herbs you pack in the oven. It won’t serve you well to take a few hits, put it down and come back after a couple of hours and then take more hits from the same load. (Well, technically, you could, it just won’t be as good.)
Oven size used to be more of an issue because of this- since you obviously want to have some flexibility when it comes to how much you want to take in. So manufacturers have come up with several ways for you to have more control over the oven size. Several vapes use oven inserts to reduce oven size, the IQC has a screw-on zirconia pearl, and the Pax 3 has a half-oven lid, and even the desktop Volcano Hybrid has a Filling Chamber Reducer that’s compatible with Dosing Capsules.
One of the key requirements in vaping is that the herb you load into the heating chamber is well ground – this means purchasing a good grinder like the SLX or the Santa Cruz Shredder.
Grinding your material breaks it down and increases its surface area – which in turn creates better airflow within the vaporizer and allows the heating process to happen more efficiently. Further improving the flavor quality and vapor production, which makes the overall vaping experience much better.
Cleaning & maintenance
Keeping your vape in top condition means cleaning and maintaining it in one of two ways.
- Quick cleaning – This is ideally done after every session. All you have to do is empty the herb from the oven, and brush off / blow some air on your vape to remove any residue or leftover herb.
- Deep cleaning – Eventually, small amounts of residue will build up, and no amount of blowing or brushing is gonna help. We recommend cleaning the vapor path, oven, and mouthpiece with ISO alcohol after about 10-20 sessions.
Some devices are designed in a way where you might just have to get a bit technical when cleaning – with mouthpieces and ovens on opposite sides of the device- meaning you’ll have to take it apart, clean, and then put the vape back together.
Other vapes such as the Solo 2 and the Utillian 620 have an air-path and mouthpiece on the same component- allowing for easier cleaning, and only having to clean two parts: the oven and mouthpiece.
The Mighty+, Crafty+ and Solo 2 have mouthpieces that come relatively cheap (under $20). Since the air-path and the mouthpiece make up the 90% that need deep cleaning, a replacement Cooling Unit or glass stem (in the case of the Solo 2) will essentially leave you with an almost new vaporizer.
To sum it all up, there’s a lot of devices out there and there’s definitely one that’s bound to suit your needs. Surely though, once you get into vaping your herb it’ll be hard to go back. Check out the latest dry herb releases on this list, and let us know if you have any questions or just want to reach out.