Dry Herb Vaporizers
Vaporizers are everywhere, but what's so special about them? Well if you want a compact and reliable way of enjoying dry herbs wherever you want, then portable vaporizers are the perfect option for you. However, if you consider yourself an aficionado who wants to get the very most out of your dry herb, then desktop vapes will allow you to get more out of it than ever before.
The world of vaporizers is broad and nuanced, and with a little exploration, you'll find that there's something out there for everyone.
Dry Herb Vaporizer FAQ
Though they are now a firmly established part of the herb scene, it's important to remember that vaporizers are a relatively new technology and a lot of people might not be entirely familiar with them. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about dry herb vaporizers.
1. How Do Dry Herb Vaporizers Work?
To enjoy the full benefits of dry herb, it has to be heated. This converts the active ingredients into a form that can be absorbed by the human body. The most common way to do this is with combustion, literally setting it on fire. Vaporizers, however, give you another option. They use electronic heating systems to heat herbs, gradually evaporating all the active ingredients out into a vapor.
2. Do Dry Herb Vapes Produce Smoke?
You've probably seen a lot of marketing images of vape users exhaling thick, rolling clouds. If you have any familiarity with botanicals, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is smoke. It's not, it's actually vapored.
As electronic heating elements act upon dry herbs they evaporate the active ingredients within. This gathers within the chamber and forms a cloud of vapor. Depending on your dry herb vape these clouds can be seriously impressive! Generating hits as dense and consistent as anything a combustion method can do.
3. Do Dry Herb Vaporizers Smell?
Dry herbs can have a distinctive, and potent smell. This is an unavoidable fact. This smell is amplified and spread when you burn it with combustion. Smoke can also stick to fabrics and surfaces, creating a nasty smell over time. The vapor generated by a vaporizer does smell. However it doesn't smell as strongly as smoke, and it doesn't linger for nearly as long. In fact, you can expect it to dissipate after a few minutes if you are using it in a well-ventilated area.
4. Are Dry Herb Vaporizers Healthier?
This is a topic of some debate and the research is ongoing, but it seems that vaping is less harsh than smoking. For example, a lot of the toxins, carbon, and tars are left behind when vaping, they remain unreleased in the leftover plant material. On top of this, the vapor is smoother and less harsh when inhaled, and it doesn't have the particles of soot that smoke does. This means that dry mouth and dehydration are less of an issue when you consume dry herbs through a vape.
5. What Can Be Used In a Dry Herb Vaporizer?
Dry herb vaporizers are designed for use with dry herbal blends. This probably isn't a surprise because of their name. However, they can be used with nearly any dried botanical. From recreational blends to gentle aromatherapeutic herbs like lavender and lemongrass. On top of this, some vapes do have a level of dual-use functionality, making them compatible with some types of concentrates.
Different Types Of Dry Herb Vaporizer
Though they are a relatively new product, the vaporizer market is incredibly diverse. A cursory web search will result in a dizzying array of different vaporizers from all manners of different brands, in all sorts of different shapes, and all powered by different heating systems. Don't worry, as with anything, all this variety can be broken down into a few distinct categories.
One of the most important distinctions between vaporizers is how they heat herbs. All use electronic heating systems however the difference lies in how these systems interact with the chamber. The most common way of heating is conduction.
Think of this as a kitchen stove. It works by applying heat directly to the dry herb in the chamber, heating all of the surface area that comes into contact with the heating system. This has a lot of advantages; It's quick, creates a lot of dense vapor, and can be built into very compact vaporizers
This type of heating is rarer, but as technology advances, it is becoming more common. This works a bit more like an oven, it heats the air around your herb, gradually baking out the active ingredients. This method is slower, however, the resulting vapor is thick, consistent, and is generally smoother. Many experienced vapers prefer this method, claiming that it creates a higher level of vapor quality.
This is the rarest form of heating, but it is also widely considered the most effective. This method uses the best of both conduction and convection. This type of heating is widely considered the most effective and high-quality type of dry herb heating. It takes the speed of conduction and the efficacy of convection to get the very most out of your dry herb.
Vaporizers come in a massive range of different shapes and sizes. However, much like their heating systems, all of these different designs can be broken down into a few broad categories.
1. Desktop Vaporizers
This type of vaporizer is often on the larger side. They also require a power outlet to operate. Famous examples of desktop vapes include the Storz & Bickel Volcano and the Arizer Extreme Q.
Their larger design means that there is more room for heating systems and more space for air to circulate. Due to this, desktop vapes are widely considered to produce the densest, most powerful vapor.
These vapes are intended for more advanced users, their size and cost are often prohibitive for beginners.
2. Portable Vaporizers
This is the most common type of vaporizer and by far the most popular. Portable vaporizers are much smaller than desktop units. Even the largest portable vapes, like the Storz & Bickel Mighty, are small enough to be handheld.
All portable vaporizers rely on some form of battery to operate. They either use built-in, rechargeable batteries or they use swappable rechargeable batteries. Many portable vapes use conduction heating systems. This is mainly due to the fact that conduction systems can be very compact, but their rapid heat-up time is an added bonus. Increasingly, more and more portable vapes are using convection heating thanks to advancements making them more compact and quicker to use.
3. Handheld Vaporizers
This is the rarest type of vaporizer. It is essentially the middle ground between desktop and portable. There are few vaporizers out there that use this design, the Storz & Bickel Plenty being one of the few examples out there.
Much like a desktop vaporizer, it requires an external power source to use. However, like a portable vape, the entire device is designed to be lifted and used with one hand.
Why Are Dry Herb Vaporizers So Popular?
Once, dry herb vapes were a niche product for early adopters and gadget fans. However, over time they have grown in popularity and now stand beside combustion based methods in terms of popularity.
It's easy to see the appeal of vaporizers, they allow you to enjoy dry herbs without having to worry about the mess and risks associated with combustion. On top of this, the adjustable heat settings on electronic heating systems allow users to actually alter the intensity of their vape hits. A lower setting generates a milder, more flavorful vapor, while a higher setting creates dense, potent hits.
Finally, vaporizers allow you to get the very most out of your botanicals. When you ignite your herbs, an unfortunate side effect is that many literally go up in smoke. A dry herb vape gradually heats the entire surface area of all your herb, allowing you to get more of the active ingredients than ever.
As time goes on, and as technology advances, we expect that the popularity of vaporizers will only grow.
How to Select the Perfect Dry Herb Vaporizer For You?
With so many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to settle on a single vaporizer. Here's how you can narrow down the list significantly.
The first and most important, factor to keep in mind is whether you want a portable vaporizer or a desktop. If you want a vape that you can carry with you wherever you go, then the obvious option is a portable vape.
Of course, there are other options to opt for a portable vaporizer: They are generally less expensive than full desktop models, they often have features like smartphone compatibility that are hard to find elsewhere, and they are far easier to maintain and store.
If you have a dedicated space, and you prefer a more leisurely, high-quality vaporizer experience then a desktop model is for you. These units are built from the ground up for aficionados who want to push their vape experience to the next level.
2. Conduction, Convection, Or Both?
When it comes to heating systems, the choice depends heavily on the vapor quality of the vape in question. However, there are some rules of thumb you can keep in mind when it comes to making your decision.
Conduction vapes are perfect for quick, potent hits. It is also known for producing some of the thickest clouds on the market. If you don't want to wait around for your vape experience then this is the way to go. Of course, like everything, it does have some downsides. Conduction vapes tend to produce harsher hits, so if smoothness is a must for you, then you might have to be a little bit more discerning. Another downside is that conduction works directly on the surface area of the herb it is heating, this means that you might have to stir your vape's chamber from time to time to put the fresh herb in contact with the element.
On the other hand, convection takes a little longer to get going. Once it does, the overall vapor quality is far higher. However, you have a lot more to think about when you're using this method of heating. For one thing, you have to ensure that the vaporizer's air path is always clear, airflow is incredibly important for convection heating. A second consideration is that even before you load your vape, you have to ensure that it is properly ground. A medium grind is a must, as it gives air space to flow freely throughout the chamber and properly vaporize your herb.
If you have the budget for it, you should always spring for hybrids. It is as close to the perfect heating system you can get. In time, we're sure that the number of hybrid vaporizers will increase as the industry matures. It combines the best of both conduction and convection while eliminating a lot of their downsides.
How To Use Dry Herb Vaporizers
Vaporizers, like any product, are designed to be as easy to use as possible. However, it’s hard to create a universal guide because there are dozens of different brands on the market with hundreds of different units. Each has its own control scheme, but there are some general rules that will help you quickly get to grips with them all.
1. How Does A Dry Herb Vaporizer Work?
Vaporizers work by taking advantage of the building point of the various active ingredients in dry herb. These boiling points are far below the flashpoint of the plant matter surrounding the herb. This means that you can basically enjoy all the good stuff while leaving the soot and ash locked up inside the plant matter.
You can adjust the heat settings on your vaporizer to increase or decrease the density of your vapor. This means that if you want a mild vapor that you can gently sip from, you can push your temperature settings down low. If you want something a bit more potent, at the trade-off of it being a bit harsher.
2. How To Operate A Dry Herb Vaporizer?
The first thing you need to consider when you're using a vape is the consistency of your grind. Different types of vapes demand different consistencies. A conduction vape works best with a fine grind, to increase the surface area exposed to the heating system. Convection vaporizers need a more coarse grind to allow air to flow between the particles. Hybrid vapes can use any consistency but work best with a coarse grind.
Next, carefully load your chamber by decanting the herb in and tamping them down.
Then, activate your vape and allow it to heat up. Most vapes have some kind of alert that lets you know when it's ready to use.
3. How To Clean A Dry Herb Vaporizer?
While vaporizers are one of the cleaner ways to consume dry herb, they do still need a certain amount of maintenance.
The first and most important thing you can do is empty the chamber out after every session. This will stop a build-up of grime. However, eventually, you will need to clean the areas that come into direct contact with the herb.
Generally, this is done with a q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Any stubborn spots can be broken up with a soft bristled brush. Finally, always make sure you put your vape through a heat session after you clean it. This will evaporate away any residual alcohol.
Dry Herb Vaporizer & Accessories Guide
There are a huge variety of dry herb vaporizer aftermarket accessories and parts. These allow you to customize and improve your vape sessions
This is an interesting accessory that allows you to hook your portable vape up to a bong or bubbler. It generally replaces or fits over the mouthpiece and allows you to place the vaporizer into the joint on a water pipe. This allows you to enjoy smooth, watercooled hits.
Concentrate pads are a small fibrous sponge that is designed to fit into a vaporizer's chamber. They are designed to absorb wax and oil concentrates, allowing you to vape them. These don't work with every vaporizer. This is because concentrates evaporate at very high temperatures. If a vaporizer can be used in this way, it will be marketed as a 'Dual Use' Vaporizer.
Many portable vapes, and a growing number of desktop devices, have bluetooth connectivity. This allows them to connect to a mobile app. This opens up a huge amount of extra functionality including a broader temperature range, an adjustable sleep timer, and even programmable vape path modes.
This type of accessory is usually only seen on desktop vaporizers. It is essentially a long length of surgical tubing that allows users to comfortably take hits from a desktop vaporizer. Different lengths of whips are available for most desktop vaporizers.
This is a more unusual method of consumption that is exclusive to desktop vaporizers. Many Volcano models from Storz & Bickel use this as its main method of consumption. It is essentially a food-safe bag that connects to the top of the device.
The desktop vaporizer gradually fills it with vapor until it can be detached from the rest of the unit. Most balloon kits come with a form of a mouthpiece that allows you to take hits from it. Don't worry about the vapor going bad inside the balloon, many can hold vapor for up to eight hours.
Pros and Cons of Dry Herb Vaporizers
Pro: It Is Cleaner Than Combustion
When you burn herbs you end up with two things: Soot and tar. If you have any experience with these then you should be more than aware that they are a nightmare to deal with. They are sticky, stubborn, and only get worse with time. On top of this, you have to contend with the odor of smoke and how it can stick to surfaces.
When you vape a chamber full of herb all that you'll find when you're finished is some dry, brown, used herb. This is incredibly easy to dispose of, and it's important to empty it out after each session to keep your vape in tip top condition. Over time, you will find that there is some build-up. This is easily wiped away with a little bit of isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip.
Con: The Reliance on Batteries And Power Outlets
Vaporizers are a type of consumer electronics. This means that they rely entirely on electricity. So when your battery runs out, or you can't find a place to plug in your desktop device, you're pretty much out of luck.
Pro: You Get More Bang For Your Buck From Your Herb
Dry herb vaporizers work across the full surface area of your herb. This means that it is all vaporized evenly and that more of the active ingredients within your herb is put to use. This means that the same amount of herb actually goes further than it would with combustion methods.
Con: It Can Be More Expensive To Get Started
Combustion methods have many more budget options than vaporizers do. This is down to the fact that vaporizers are much more technical in their construction. If you want to get set up with a vaporizer you'll need to shell out a little more. You'll also need to make sure that you get your hands on a grinder, a cleaning kit that contains alcohol and soft bristled brushes, and many other components depending on the vape in question.
Pro: It Opens Up A Whole New World Of Vape Experiences
The adjustable heating systems of vaporizers open up a whole new world of possibilities. You can directly adjust the consistency of your vapor and intensity of your session. On top of this, many vaporizers have a range of aftermarket products that allow you to further customize and augment your sessions.
Who Are Dry Herb Vaporizers For?
There's a vape out there for every type of vape fan. Regardless of your demands, your level of experience, and your personal inclinations, you will be able to find a vaporizer that suits you. Portable vaporizers are rapidly becoming a must have for any vape fan.
Vaporizers are quickly becoming one of the main ways to consume dry herb, and if you want an accessible, clean, and efficient way to enjoy your favorite herbal blends, you'll be well served with a vaporizer.