Vaping cannabis is becoming more popular than ever with the advent of powerful portable vaporizers and vape pens. The harshness of smoking in both its health effects and the fits of coughing it can produce are behind the surge in vaping popularity. That said, with so many products and accessories in this category than ever before finding the best value product can be tricky. We’ll help you find the right vape for your lifestyle and make sure you understand the pros and cons of vaping itself, and all the amazing products on the market.
Types of Vaporizers
1) Desktop Vaporizers
Desktop vaporizers are the largest of your options, and you’ll probably want a place to sit, kick back, and relax while you use it. In addition to their larger size, desktops typically have to be plugged directly into a power source or electrical outlet in order to use them. While that tethered approach reduces their portability, having that strong, stable power source helps contribute to stronger and larger amounts of vapor which can translate to a better user experience.
Desktops come in one of three varieties: forced air, direct draw, or a combination vaporizer. Desktops also tend to have larger chambers. And if they do have a battery, they’re long-lasting, meaning less frequent charging and fewer refills. This makes desktops ideal for longer vaping sessions involving multiple people.
Desktops also have the advantage of a wide range of intake methods, such as balloons, whips, or water pipe extensions. Since most desktop vaporizers come with more than one of these different features, you can expect to pay a premium compared to portable or pen vaporizers.
2) Portable Vaporizers
Portable vaporizers are easy to take on the go and come in one of two varieties: handhelds and vape pens. They are small, discreet, and cordless.
Handhelds typically include a chamber to hold the cannabis flower or concentrate, a heating element and a battery. Most models include a button, dial, or an app that lets you adjust the temperature to provide a more customizable range of experiences.
Vape or “hash oil” pens are designed specifically to vaporize cannabis distillates and oils. Vape pens come in a variety of styles – button or buttonless, cylindrical or rectangular, large or small, but all resemble a traditional pen (hence the name).
Hiding underneath that slim cylinder you’ll find both a battery and a cartridge that makes refills a cinch. Hash oil vape cartridges contain a mouthpiece, chamber, and heating element, which is activated upon initiated contact with a vape battery. The chamber of a vape cartridge is filled with oil or distillate, which contains concentrated amounts of cannabis cannabinoids and terpenes.
3) Disposables Vapes
Discreet, convenient, and relatively inexpensive, disposables come in a variety of types, from dry herb vaporizers, dab pens to pre-filled distillate vape pens. Concentrate vape pens can contain shatter, distillate, live resin, or High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE) oil.
Unlike cartridge pens, disposable vape pens are built as a single unit one. The oil, atomizer, battery, and other components are all contained within the pen. To trigger the heating element, all you have to do is inhale.
Because these pens are so easy to use and can be turfed once the oil is gone, they’re particularly popular among cannabis newbies, canna-tourists, and those who aren’t ready to invest in more expensive vaping options before they really know what they want.
PRO TIP: One thing you’ll want to look for when buying disposables is how many doses it contains. It could be anywhere from 50 to 200 doses. So, depending on your needs and your budget, just pick the option that makes the most sense for you.
Popular Vaporizer Accessories
Dab Rings – Vaping Concentrates
Much like a bong, a dab rig filters concentrate vapor through water at the base. Dab rigs require a glass, quartz, ceramic, or titanium nail, or banger, to hold or “dab” concentrate, a dabber tool, and a torch lighter for proper heating. Dab rigs can pack a mean punch. So, if you’re a cannabis newbie, you may want to leave these rigs to the pros.
E-nail Vaporizer Heating Accessory
The electronic nail (sometimes known as an erig) is a relatively new vaporizer device that uses an electronic heating coil for dabbing cannabis concentrates. What’s special about e-nails is that they provide a consistent temperature. It basically replaces your torch with an electronic heating coil for dabbing cannabis concentrates.
Water Bong Attachments for Deskop Vaporizers
Talk about starting with a blank canvas. Water bongs are typically clear, glass contraptions. But if you want a little flare, you can find thousands of customizable options online. Want a bowl shaped like a skull? Or a Jamaican-inspired red, green and yellow infuser? How about a titanium banger that turns your bong into a dab rig? It’s all there if you just know where to look.
Direct draw – Standard Vaporizer Attachment
With a direct draw vaporizer, vapor is inhaled with a device called a vaporizer whip. The vape whip consists of three parts: the vaporizer wand where the vape material is placed, the vaporizer mouthpiece that you put to your mouth, and the vaporizer tubing that connects the two parts. A whip-style vaporizer may require you to hold the vape whip in place while you take a draw, or it may have a hands-free connection that holds the whip for you. Some popular whip vaporizers include the DaBudha Vaporizer, the VaporBrothers Vaporizer, and the Silver Surfer Vaporizer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Vaporizers Work?
Vaporizers use heat to bring out the active ingredients in cannabis or CBD through a vapor. It’s believed that you can start vaping cannabinoids around 285°F, and that combustion (a.k.a. smoke) happens around 446°F. Because anything between 285° and 446° is vape-able, you have a wide range of temperatures to choose from, each altering the experience and the number of cannabinoids and terpenes released in the process.
Vaporizers generate vapor in one of two ways:
Conductive heating is what happens when a dried flower or extract is placed directly onto an electronically heated surface like a solid metal or a screen. The “hot plate” is then heated, converting the cannabinoids and terpenes into vapor.
With convection heating, your cannabis or CBD never comes in contact with the heating element. Instead, hot air is pushed through the cannabis product, heating the flower or concentrate and converting the cannabinoids and terpenes into vapor without charring the substance. Convection heating elements are generally made with ceramic, though some use stainless steel.
Whatever the method, there are a variety of types to choose from, and there’s something to fit everyone’s budget and vaping preferences.
What’s the Difference Between Smoking and Vaping?
The first thing you need to know is that vaping and smoking are very different. Unlike smoking, vaping doesn’t use combustion to create the experience. Instead, the vaporizer essentially cooks (not burns) whatever you put in it, releasing a vapor that most people find much more convenient and enjoyable to take in. This vapor is produced without the smell, tar, and carcinogens associated with smoke. Vaping versus smoking is a little like steaming veggies versus putting them on the grill. Both are great, but it depends on what you’re in the mood for and your affinity for smoke.
In terms of getting started, vapes come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. When it comes to vapes, there really is something for everyone: from the vaping newbie to the seasoned connoisseur. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, we have compiled a list of the top vaporizers for beginners to help get you started.
How does Temperature Affect Vaping Quality?
The way you heat your cannabis or CBD can have a significant impact on the quality of the vapor and of the hit. Conduction vaporizers can generate uneven heat distribution which can lead to charring. But with convection heat, there is no direct contact with the heat source, so you won’t see that same charring. You’ll also get a lot more consistency in terms of heat delivery and temperature control with convection.
So now that you know how vaporizers generate heat, what’s the best temperature? That’s up for debate. And it’s also up to your personal preferences. Many people believe that the best flavor happens around the lower vaping temp range (356 degrees), while the most robust vapor happens at the higher range (392 degrees plus). Most people choose something in the middle, which tends to give you a combination of great flavor along with a decent vapor.
There are many different types of vapes to choose from, and each has its advantages. They can be broken down into three broad categories: Desktop, Portable, and Disposable vaporizers. Each of them has there advantages and disadvantages so you’ll want to do your research before deciding which one best fits your lifestyle.