New to vaping? It can get overwhelming when you first dip your toes into vape kits because there’s so much to absorb. You need to determine whether you want a custom mod, a simple vape pen, and what kind of PG/VG e-liquids to use or what flavors to use.
Then you also have to think about convection or conduction vaporizers.
This problem strongly applies to people who use vape kits for intaking cannabis. The way the vaporizer heats the ingredients can vastly alter the vaping experience.
You can taste the difference between the two and this can affect how quickly you’ll feel the effects or how much you’ll have to invest. For people using cannabis to relieve themselves of pain and anxiety, this difference can be all that matters.
Not sure which one works best for you? Here’s an in-depth dive regarding convection vs conduction vaporizers, how they work, and the pros and cons of each.
Convection vs Conduction Vaporizers
The discussion between convection and conduction is all about heating. Conduction vaporizers came out first and they use a more traditional means of heating your herb or e-liquids. They’re still available in the market today and some traditional cannabis enthusiasts claim they’re the best solution out there.
Convection vaporizers, on the other hand, are the new kids on the block. Despite this, they’re gaining popularity and are now the default system you’ll find in the market. They use a much different method of heating your herbs and oils, offering a unique experience as a result.
Given how they’re the more common option nowadays, here’s a look at how they work.
How Convection Works
Ever saw a convection oven and how it heats chicken and turkey inside? They use heated air or steam to warm the meat. This leads to an evenly cooked chicken and you won’t see any burnt pieces since the meat didn’t come in direct contact with the heat source.
This is also how convection vaporizers work. They use the same concept of transferring heat through moving fluids like steam.
Vaporizers using this method transfer heat through moving fluids, often through steam. This means your herbs and oils don’t come in direct contact with the heating coils. You’ll end up with evenly heated herbs.
This does mean you have to deal with a few extra parts. Your herbs or e-liquid oil stay in a separate chamber and they remain separated from the heating coils instead of being right beside each other. This is because there has to be some room for the heated fluids to move and surround the chamber housing your e-liquid and herbs.
Pros and Cons of Convection Vaporizers
For newcomers to vaping, this can sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. What benefits can you reap from evenly heated herbs and no direct contact? Here’s a look at the different pros and cons of convection vaporizers.
Not sure why you should shell out the extra cash for a convection vaporizer? One of the main benefits of a convection unit is there’s no risk of combustion. The herbs don’t come in direct contact with the main heat source so there’s no possibility they could suddenly burn.
This is important to note because combustion leads to the creation of smoke and ash. If your herbs burn, the vapor you inhale gets mixed with smoke and all its dangerous chemicals.
Another benefit includes even heating. The hot air surrounds the herbs and oils simultaneously, ensuring each area warms up proportionately. This combines with the next main benefit, which is the fact you get full vaporization. Putting these two together guarantees you get a better, stronger flavor.
If you want to enjoy the full potential and flavor of your herbs and e-liquids, then this is the right choice for you. The way convection heats up your herbs ensures you don’t have to rattle the chamber. Conduction vaporizers have to get rattled because some parts don’t get heated while the portions in contact with the coils do.
On one final note, you also get accurate temperature settings with a convection vaporizer.
There’s the option to control how much heat the steam generates. If you want to get really technical and you want to reach the optimal temperature then stick with convection units. This is important for those who want to heat their herbs only to a certain limit since these target temperatures guarantee a full kick of flavor.
Nothing in this world is perfect and this counts for convection vapors. Yes, they deliver a stronger kick of flavor, they don’t burn the herbs inside the chamber, and they are generally safer but there are some downsides too.
One of the main disadvantages is that they are slow. They have to exert enough heat to create hot air that’s warm enough to affect the herbs or e-liquids. This can take a much longer time compared to old-school conduction vaporizers.
Another disadvantage is that convection vaporizers are pricey. These aren’t cheap units, especially if you’re looking for customizable mods using convection parts. If you’re on a tight budget or if you’re not sure about investing in vaporizers yet, convection vaporizers will seem like a bit too much to handle.
Other than these two issues, however, convection vaporizers are the ideal choice. That said, it is important to understand how conduction vaporizers work too. They could have benefits that cater to you.
How Conduction Works
Conduction doesn’t involve a medium like fluids to transfer heat. Instead, conduction is all about direct contact between an object and a source of heat.
Have you ever touched a frying pan while it’s on an open flame? In less than a few seconds, your fingers will feel the heat and if you keep them there any longer, you risk the danger of getting burned. This is direct contact and this is how conduction works.
In vaporizers, this means the herbs or e-liquids are in direct contact with the heating coils.
Unlike convection vaporizers, you’ll deal with fewer parts and there are fewer processes to take into consideration. For many, this is the ideal way of vaping.
It’s also important to note that many old vaping kits used conduction technology and this is why many traditionalists prefer this method. It resembles the traditional way of lighting a roll of dried marijuana leaves and flower petals.
Pros and Cons of Conduction Vaporizers
What are the advantages and downsides of this type of vaporizer? Why do many vaping enthusiasts stick to this option even when convection units have taken over the market? Consider the following pros and cons to help decide whether or not this is the right vaporizer for you.
The main advantage is that it takes only a few minutes for heat transfer. The direct contact with the heat source means the transfer is immediate. Unlike convection vaporizers, conduction vaporizers don’t rely on moving fluids.
Convection vaporizers can take more than 10 minutes to transfer heat. Conduction units, on the other hand, can heat up in approximately 5 minutes. You won’t have to wait long before you can start inhaling.
People relying on cannabis for pain relief and anxiety benefit the most from conduction vaporizers. They need relief as soon as possible and this type of unit delivers that kick quickly.
Another great benefit is that conduction vaporizers are more affordable. They don’t use up as many parts as a convection unit and they aren’t as complex. If you’re still new to vaping and you’re not so sure about investing too much cash, this is a better option for you.
One last benefit is that these vaporizers require less maintenance. If you want something simple that doesn’t require constant updating or repairs, then this is the ideal choice. It’s great for beginners who don’t want to feel overwhelmed with many moving parts.
Unfortunately, conduction vaporizers are quickly fading out of popularity. They have a few downsides that are deal breakers for some folks. One of the main issues is that they have a higher risk of combustion.
Direct heat means some parts of the herbs could catch on fire and burn. The burnt materials mix in with the rest of the vapor, meaning you could inhale smoke.
This leads to harsher hit that tastes dry and hot. You also run the risk of inhaling harmful chemicals from the burnt materials. This makes conduction vaporizers an unsavory choice for people with weak lungs or those who turned to vape since they want to avoid the dangers of traditional tobacco smoking.
Another disadvantage is uneven heating. Only the parts of the herbs in direct contact with the coils get heated up while the parts resting on top don’t. You’ll have to rattle the chamber to shift things around.
Best Convection Vaporizers
Looking to buy convection vaporizers? Here is a look at some of the best ones in the market right now:
The Volcano came out way back in 2000 and is one of the few vaporizers that continues to remain relevant today. Using modern German technology known for durability, it has a powerful convection heater that delivers flavorful and clean vapor. It also has a very reliable temperature setting and you can also use balloon bags with it for extra portability.
The Firefly 2 costs a few hundred bucks less than the Volcano and it’s one of the convection vaporizers you can carry around in one hand. It utilizes a unique magnesium alloy case that Apple also uses for their iPhone products. It also uses touch sensor controls instead of traditional physical buttons.
It also heats your herbs more precisely. The chamber has a bunch of tiny holes and this is where the heated air spews out, covering and heating the herbs in a uniform method and it covers a larger surface area. You can also control the unit using a mobile app, a feature not many other vaporizers offer.
Designed by Storz & Bickel, is a compact convection vaporizer for people who want to carry their unit around with them. It’s not as portable as the Firefly 2 but it is a more compact unit compared to the Volcano. It’s also lighter than other vaporizers, at only 1.5 lbs.
Some of its best features include a stainless-steel cooling coil and precise temperature control to get stronger flavors and cleaner vapor. If you want the purity and style of a desktop vaporizer in a portable form, this is the unit for you.
Best Conduction Vaporizers
In need of something more affordable than a convection unit? Are you convinced that conduction vaporizers are the better solution? Here’s a look at some of the best ones you can buy right now:
If you want something portable, powerful, and still get full flavor vapor then you can’t go wrong here. The Pax 3 is the most notable entry in the Pax Labs series of conduction vaporizers because it can heat up in only 15 seconds. Previous models took up to 45 seconds to heat up.
You also get 4 different modes:
These different modes allow you to vape exactly as you prefer. You can get an approximate an hour and a half of continuous use thanks to the powerful battery.
This vaporizer features a replaceable battery and a vapor path made from zirconium ceramic materials. The latter provides a purer vapor compared to what you get from other conduction vaporizers, comparable even to convection units.
Looking for more precise temperature control? You can get that here because the DaVinci IQ uses smart technology that allows you get exact temperature settings. It also allows you to control the unit via a mobile phone app.
Arizer Solo 2
This unit, an upgrade to the original Arizer Solo, features an isolated airpath and glass aroma tubes for clean, pure vapor. With its fast heating and precision temperature control, this is a conduction vaporizer for connoisseurs and cannabis enthusiasts who want a genuine experience.
Another great benefit here is how affordable the unit is without sacrificing some of the features more expensive units also offer. The one downside is that it’s not as portable as some of the other entries on this list.
Which is Best For You?
Both conduction and convection vaporizers serve their purpose. Conduction units heat up faster, they’re simpler to use and are more affordable. Convection units, on the other hand, heat things up evenly to deliver a stronger flavor and better kick. They also don’t run the risk of burning the herbs and they offer precise temperature control.
However, you should also consider your financial limits. Your budget, at the end of the day, will be the main determining factor.
If you can’t invest too much, then a conduction vaporizer is the better option. They’re often a one-and-done purchase, meaning you won’t have to purchase upgrades or replacement parts. If they ever break down due to excessive use, replacements won’t cost too much.
Convection vaporizers are the exact opposite. They’re more complex so you can expect them to cost a lot more. You also have to regularly update and maintain them to make sure they don’t break down. Regular cleaning is a requirement when using convection vaporizers.
If you can afford the updates and maintenance, then convection units are a great choice. They will cost more but you do get to reap the benefits that these vaporizers bring to the table.