We all have our own preferences in life, and this extends to choosing out of the many dry herb vaporizers on the market. While everyone has their own considerations, this article will go through some of the basic ones.
No longer are we limited to either smoking or one type of vaporizer that’s bulky, inconvenient, and barely works. These days, the hardware options are seemingly limitless, with dry herb vaporizers coming in a huge variety of styles and price points.
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Plug in vs portable & size
The very first thing to consider is whether you want your vape to get its power from an electrical power source, or battery etc. Plug-in vapes are often more powerful, but as the name implies, they are also stationary, and this can be a downside these days. Portable vapes come in different varieties with some depending on batteries, and others using a flame. My very first vape was a Vapor Brothers box vaporizer, and it was one of the best pieces of machinery I ever had, killed prematurely (after seven years) by being plugged into a socket overseas without a converter.
The size of the vape also goes here. A person getting a plug-in vape might not be as concerned with size and portability, but a person getting a portable vape generally is. Portable dry herb vaporizers range from not more than the size of an actual pen, to something more akin to one of those mini boxes of cereal. Larger vapes can be much heavier, and the battery should always be considered. For people who don’t want to worry about a battery running out, there are portable vaporizers that use lighters for power. The considerations in this article are geared toward portable vapes.
Ease-of-use is important. Two of the big aspects to ease-of-use are if there are preset temperatures or if it requires a little know-how in manipulation, and in how it heats up. As far as preset temperatures, most battery operated vapes have them. Some with a range which is less specific, and some with a few options preset. If you don’t want to have to worry about getting the temperature right, having pre-set temps is best. If you like a little more power to choose your temperature setting, an analogue vape is often better, like the MFLB, or the Dynavap.
How it’s heated is also important. Battery operated vapes require a set of clicks generally to go on. Flame operated vapes often require being heated in a specific way, and can necessitate more cooling time. The Dynavap for example, is heated with a lighter that must heat an area evenly in order for a good hit. People who are less specific about control will probably opt for something digital over analogue. However, vapes that allow for personal control often have a greater range to work with.
A last point here is in ease-of-draw. Some vaporizers, like Pax 3 are known to be great vapes, but are often touted as being hard to pull through. How much you want to fight your vape for a good hit is important, although these days it seems this is becoming less of an issue. Make sure to read specific reviews.
Quality of Vapor
Not all vapes are created equally, and this can often be tasted in the vapor itself. Cheaply made vapes might give a plastic-y taste when heated, or a cheap vape might start too hot from the get-to. For some people, the actual taste is very important, but for most medical cannabis smokers, it’s more about effects. Having nice, clean vapor is paramount. Some, like the Volcano, are known for their very pure vapor. While, in the portable department, vaporizers like the Mighty (same company as the Volvano – Storz & Bickel), Arizer Solo, Crafty (also Storz & Bickel), Pax 3, and Firefly are generally cited as being the best vapor producers. Many vaporizers will be in the range of the Flowermate, a solidly made vape that gets the job done, but without any bells and whistles.
Some vapes will produce very big clouds most of the time, some will get you moderate clouds, and some, you’ll be fighting for small puffs. Sometimes this has more to do with the amount of money you’re willing to spend than anything else.
Often times this is attributed to whether the cannabis is heated through conduction heating (where it is in something that is being heated – and often prone to being heated unevenly), or convection (where the cannabis is heated by having hot air run through it). Most portable vapes, while being a combination of the two, are primarily conduction heating, with the herb sitting in a cup of some sort that gets heated. Higher end vapes, like a volcano, or a crafty are generally convection, or use more convection than conduction.
It’s not vitally important that you know the mechanics of your vaporizer, and most people don’t. It comes into play most when looking at conduction vs convection heating, and issues related to the materials a vaporizer is made out of, its heating and cooling systems, and how this could affect you as the user. A cheap vape that overheats might make the vapor taste like plastic and that’s no good. Nor is a vape that causes your herb to combust easily. The mechanics are also important when looking at battery options vs flame options, as some vaporizers require the user to be paying a bit more attention.
Some vapes will smash when dropped, or have parts that will shatter. Some vapes are more sturdy and can take a beating. This is something to consider when picking a vape. I had to replace the mouthpiece on my Flowermate V5 0S about a hundred times because I dropped it so much. Same with the stem from my MFLB. In fact, at a certain point I stopped using stems entirely. You can drop a Dynavap as many times as you like without breaking it, but most vapes with electrical parts aren’t going to fair so well. Make sure your vape matches your lifestyle, and you’re not going to be needing constant replacement parts, or to be getting a new one every few months.
A last point here is the quality of parts being used. Some parts you’ll specifically want to have made of ceramic, stainless steel, glass, or something comparably safe. You’ll also want to consider how hot the hit is, and if its uncomfortably so. Not all vapes conquered their cooling techniques just yet.
The price, is of course, something to consider as well. While the cheapest dry herb vaporizers are still under $100, some can go for over $500, especially of the plug-in variety. Most of the time, this inflation in price is due to a higher quality in mechanics, but like most anything else, it’s sometimes just attached to a name brand. There are many great brands out there, and more popping up. As vaping becomes bigger in general, there is more demand for better products, and this means a lot more options. If you’re okay with using a lighter to heat your Dynavap, you can use that same vape for the rest of your life, and you can spend under $100. On the other hand, if you want the higher end Mighty experience, you’re getting a great, consistent vape, but you’re going to pay upwards of $300 for it. In between are vapes like the CF Boundless which is a strong vape that costs between $100-200.
If you go through a lot of vapes because you’ve got slippery fingers, maybe don’t invest in something that will shatter when dropped, or go for something cheaper that won’t feel like as much of a loss if it breaks. And remember parts break too, and consider how much you want to be replacing mouthpieces and batteries down the line.
A short word on fakes
As any industry gets bigger, so does its fakes counterpart, and vapes are no different. Do your research before buying, make sure you’re not buying from any shady sites, or stores, and look into the model that you’re buying and what it, and its packaging, should look like. Little visual differences can mean all the difference between the real thing, and a cheap knock-off. Plus, if you’re going to pay the money, might as well make sure you’re getting the right product. Different products have different specificities to pay attention to when purchasing, so do your reading before you buy. And if a price seems too good to be true for a product you know cost more, it’s probable not the real deal.
I’ve had about seven vapes in the course of my life that I’ve used consistently, and more that I’ve used here and there. The truth of the matter is, as time progresses, the less effective models get weeded out, and most of what’s out there are solid products. As long as it’s a decent brand that doesn’t use cheap parts or materials, you’re likely to have a decent vape experience. And with the price point generally dropping, and the mechanics only getting better, if you really don’t like your vape purchase, you can always try other dry herb vaporizers that are more suited to your particular needs.