There are so many vaping devices available in the market and choosing the right one for you may seem daunting. The first step in choosing the right vaporizer for you is to know the different options and understand their differences, each pros and cons, and because purchasing and using vapes is a personal experience, think about which options suit your personal preferences.
Think of Your Budget
One crucial factor in choosing the right vaporizer for you is how much you are willing to spend. The prices of vaporizers vary from under $50 to over $500. Consider which features you want and how much is your budget. Then find and list-down several devices that would meet your budget. From the list, you could compare their prices, features, warranty information, and customer reviews.
Choose Your Type: Desktop or Portable
Choosing the right vaporizer requires an understanding of the different types of vaporizers. There are two major types of vaporizers, each with different features and settings.
Desktop vaporizers are for at-home use. They are large and impressively powerful vaping devices that are often run by A/C power. They have efficient heating systems, with a wide degree of temperature control and vapor production.
Portable vaporizers are mobile vaping devices that are simple to use and are much more discreet. Some models of portable vaporizers offer temperature controls. Cannabis products that you could load in this type vary depending on the model.
What Will You Vape: Flowers, Extracts or Both
In choosing the right vaporizer, ask yourself, “What do I want to vaporize?” While vaporizers today have advanced and most of them can handle all kinds of cannabis materials (dry herbs, oils, etc), some vaporizers can only handle one specific material. Those devices that can handle all materials are priced expensively, though. So if you are on a tight budget, and can only afford to buy a vaporizer with a specific purpose. Know which cannabis materials you would like to prioritize when choosing the right vaporizer.
If you’re into dry herbs and flowers, go search for herbal vaporizers. If concentrates are your type, you shall most likely look for a vaporizer for concentrates. But if you want the best of both worlds, and you can afford it, get a multi-use vaporizer.
Select the Material of Your Vaporizer
Vaping is believed to be a much safer alternative to smoking. Make sure that you get the safety and health benefits of vaporizers; make sure that the device you are purchasing is made of safe materials that can withstand heat exposure. When choosing the right vaporizer, it is important to be meticulous and cautious of any device with plastic parts near the heating element. These plastics can release BPA when heated, and BPAs are known to be toxic. Metals with poor heat resistance can also oxidize at high temperatures and mix carcinogens and other toxic chemicals with the vapor. Avoid devices made of plastic, aluminum, and metal alloys.
When you are choosing the right vaporizer, go for ceramics, glass, medical-grade stainless steel, and grade 1 or 2 titanium; these materials are considered safe. Buy only from trusted brands, and be vigilant from fakes and dupes.
Heating Method: Conduction or Convection
The heating method a vaporizer uses is a key element when you are choosing the best vaporizer that suits you because it could tell you a lot about the kind of vapor experience you can expect. There are two main types of heating methods you will encounter as you shop for a vape device: conduction and convection.
Conduction Heating involves direct contact of the cannabis material with the heating element. This is more common among portable vaporizers. This also has a faster heat-up compared to the convection counterpart, and much more flavorful. Vaporizers using conduction are generally more affordable. However, a downside of using the conduction method is that, without proper temperature control, conduction will likely burn your cannabis material.
In convection heating, the hot air passes over the cannabis material and evaporates it, rather than making direct contact. This heating method offers a smooth and mild-flavored session and is much easier for newbies than the conduction counterpart, as it allows more accurate temperature controls. However, some downsides of this heating method include: longer heat-up time, and expensive cost.
There are already hybrid vaporizers developed which utilize both methods. They use the same system as conduction, except with a heat source situated nearer to the herb chamber. This method is more efficient, and has a much faster heat-up time, but is more expensive than either conduction and convection.
Depending on your vaporizer and its model, you may have the chance to fine-tune your vape temperature manually. This is a great feature as it allows you to pick the temperature that is specifically right for you, and for your strain to get the best flavor.
If you do not want the control feature and you prefer to keep things simple, go for a plug-and-play vape with pre-set temperature. The temperature is pre-set at around 356–392°F or 180–200°C, and it will automatically vaporize the weed without you doing any calibration. Plug-and-play vaporizers are generally cheaper than those with added temperature control features.
Note, however, that temperature control is important if you want an effective vaporization because different strains and or materials require different temperatures. Having the ability to control temperature also allows you to get the best flavor out of your dry herbs.
When one is choosing the right vaporizer, there are other things to look for aside from those mentioned above. First is the vape performance; you have to consider the quality of a device’s battery. It is important to know if a battery is replaceable, how long does it take to get fully-charged, and how long would it last. Check for customer reviews about the overall life of the battery. Also, ask about the warranty offered by the manufacturer.
Also, maintenance must be kept in mind. Cleaning your vaporizer regularly is required, so you may not want to invest in a vaping device that is too difficult to clean.
There are so many brands and models of vaporizers in the market but here are the most common types of vaporizers today that you could choose from:
- Prefilled Cartridges
If you are a newbie who just wants to try vaping for a while to test waters, you can opt for prefilled cartridges. They are inexpensive, often less than $20, and are prefilled with concentrate in a variety of strengths, flavors, and strains. This is a disposable, single-use vape powered by an integrated battery that can’t be recharged.
- Refillable Pen Vapes
Pen vapes are the most affordable type of vaporizer, often priced at $50 or less. They are designed pretty much like a traditional pen. They are easy to use and often designed with only one button to activate them and where you can choose from pre-set temperature levels.
Pen vapes are rather weak and are less ideal for vaping dry herbs as they aren’t designed with the power necessary to melt the resin from the dry buds. However, they work well with oils and concentrates.
Pen vapes use conduction heat. You use the dab tool to place a small amount of extract above the coil and you push a button to heat it. Vapor then forms and you can gently inhale from the mouthpiece. It is important to look for quality coils because it is a pen vape’s most important part. Titanium is a great choice, but if you want a cleaner and healthier burn, go for ceramic.
- Handheld or Portable Vaporizers
Handheld vapes offer the portability of pen vapes but with a lot more power. Handheld vapes are powered with multiple strong rechargeable batteries which efficiently activates the heating element for a richer smoke. Good models are priced at around $150 – $300.
One of the most popular handheld or portable vapes is the Crafty by Storz and Bickel. They are compact and small, and can fit right into your pocket. It is powerful enough to be used with dried weeds, and also concentrates. It uses the conduction heating method but as soon as it reaches the temperature you have set; the unit automatically utilizes conduction. You can set the temperature using the button, or using its companion app. A downside of most handheld vapes, however, is that frequent use drains down the battery quickly. Most models, like The Crafty, can be charged with a micro- USB cable.
Another good handheld vape model is PAX 3. It comes with a concentrate insert, and you can use both dry herbs and concentrates. Like The Crafty, PAX 3 has a temperature control feature and can be controlled using its app. PAX 3 boasts 100 minutes of use after a full charge that also takes 100 minutes.
- Stationary or Desktop Vaporizers
If you enjoy vaping at the comfort of your home, desktop vaporizers may be the perfect choice. This type is the most expensive among all others. Despite the price tag, their high-quality performance and excellent build quality makes them worth the investment.
One of the most popular units of desktop vaporizer is the German-made Volcano by Storz & Bickel. You can find this vaporizer in many Dutch coffeeshops. This unit uses convection heat, and can be used with dried herbs and concentrates. It has a balloon system, in which the balloon catches and stores the vapor, and the vapor is inhaled through an attached mouthpiece. It comes with a 3-year warranty, and with plenty of good customer reviews. Most of the customer reviews state that the unit could last for more than 10 years with trouble-free use, and less maintenance. This is priced at $500 – $700.
Another unit to look at is the Arizer Extreme, which is less than half of the Volcano price. It also uses the balloon system like the Volcano, and comes with a glass “aromatherapy” dish. But if you are not fond of the balloon/bag system, you can take a look at Vapexhale EVO, which is also a convection unit with an all-glass air path.
When choosing the right vaporizer, consider the features that you most prioritize, your ideal session experience, and your budget. It’s not a simple endeavor, so take your time to do your research. Finding the right vaporizer is worth it in the end.