Personal vaporizers have completely revolutionized the way we enjoy dry herbs. They are easy to use, portable and powered by a rechargeable battery. But did you know that the technologies behind these devices are not always the same? The main criterion for classification of vapes is the type of heating used. This is why it's important to understand Convection VS Conduction vaporizers, how they compare and which is more reliable.
The science behind conduction
Conduction is the transfer of heat through contact. It's very similar to how food is being cooked inside a frying pan. In the case of conduction vaporizers we have a coil under the heating chamber. As electricity passes through the coil it generates heat and this heat is transferred to the dry herb. It doesn't matter if we're talking about a ceramic or stainless steel oven, this technology works the same.
Once the device has reached the desired temperature it will try to keep the value constant. This prevents combustion and maintains a vaporizing friendly environment inside the oven. At this point all the essentials oils from the dry herb vape material become volatile and inhale-able.
Consequently, conduction heating technology is cheaper to implement. It's also very reliable and commonly used in the majority of personal dry herb vaporizers. When done properly it can extract the majority of essential oils from the plant. At the same time it will leave behind light-brown residue with no traces of combustion.
At the same time conduction takes less time for the vaporizer to reach a desired temperature and doesn't have a dramatic effect on battery life. This ensures more sessions on a single charge and fast cycling through various temperature presets.
The downside of conduction is that it's not uniform. Heat will reach some areas faster while in other parts of the oven the material won't be able to vaporize completely. It requires stirring throughout the session and doesn't deliver a consistent vape all the time.
TIP: The Herb-E from Mig Vapor is one of our favorite conduction vaporizers. It's very portable, easy to use and comes with two temperature presets. The heating chamber is very generous and battery life is truly amazing for a device this small.
Convection vaping – what's it all about
Convection is the transfer of heat by indirect contact. It relies on the movement of hot air through and around the heating chamber. A good analogy is to think about a blow dryer. Imagine how it works by speeding up the evaporation of water from the hair's surface. In the same way hot air passes through the dry herb mixture and helps extract all the essential oils.
Convection ensures uniform distribution of heat, consistent vapor and the purest flavor. It's the preferred type of vape for connoisseurs and it can take the experience to a whole new level. The material never comes in direct contact with the heating element. For this reason it fully prevents combustion and even partial combustion. The vapor is smooth, rich and packed with volatile compounds.
At the same time the technology is difficult to implement. This makes convection vaporizers way more expensive than their conduction counterparts. Convection heating also has a more dramatic effect on battery life. Many such devices will last fewer sessions before requiring a full recharge. Very important for this process is to have a good herb grinder, especially one that helps you achieve a coarser grind.
TIP: The Firefly 2 is one of the few portable vaporizers to use pure convection heating. The vapor path is made from borosilicate glass and uses dual capacitive sensors for activation. It's a premium device and the experience you get from it is top of the line.
Conduction and convection vaporizers
Besides the standard conduction VS convection vaporizers, we also have the hybrids. These devices have a flow of hot air passing through the dried botanical while simultaneously heating up the oven through conduction. The process ensures full extraction of the volatile compounds and a much richer overall experience.
It's the only way to enjoy the best of both worlds and this has a major impact on flavor and vapor production. Hybrid heating fully eliminates hot spots in the oven and ensures very uniform vaporization. Heat up times are lightning fast and vapor is much denser than on conduction or convection alone.
There are some cons, however, with this technology and battery life is the most important. Hybrid vaporizers are usually bigger than their counterparts and this is in order to fit a more generous cell inside. In addition the vapor is much warmer and harsher at higher temperatures. Prices are also higher due to the complex engineering behind hybrid heating.
TIP: The Arizer Solo 2 is a personal vaporizer which uses a combination of convection and conduction to produce outstanding vapor. The air path is made from borosilicate glass and battery life is very good for a device in this category.
What temperature should you use when vaping dry herb
Regardless if you're using conduction or a convection vaporizer, temperature is a key element when trying to achieve the desired effect. And while these values might vary a bit depending on device, they offer some guidelines on what to expect:
- Use 310 – 345F for relaxation, mild euphoria, and productivity;
- Use 345 – 385F for functional relaxation, sensory awareness, and moderate euphoria;
- Use 385 – 430F for heavy relaxation, intense euphoria and to extract all the essential oils from the plant;