When choosing a new vaporizer, it’s important to make informed decisions. This is why it is important to know the difference between the different vaporizer heating elements: glass, ceramic, and metal.
When you first start using a vaporizer you might be a little flummoxed at just how many options there are to choose from. It’s nothing to be frightened of; it really is quite similar to choosing bongs. You might be asking yourself whether you want a convection vaporizer, or one that uses conduction heating. Do you want a vaporizer that uses a stainless steel, or would a ceramic heating element be more aligned with your preferences? What about glass heating? Believe it or not, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of heating elements that are used by dry herb vaporizers, vaporizer pens, and desktop vaporizers. Once you know exactly what it is that you want, choosing a vaporizer becomes fun, just like picking out a new bong.
However, before you learn about the different vaporizer heating elements, you should learn the difference between the two types of heating methods vaporizers use: convection and conduction.
Difference Between Convection and Conduction Heating
Though the words “convection” and “conduction” are both very similar sounding words, they are in fact very different heating methods. Conduction heating involves applying the heating coil directly to the cannabis flower, wax, or whichever concentrate you happen to be using. This heating method is more common in portable vaporizers.
Convection heating on the other hand separates the flower or concentrate from the heating element using hot air to vaporize the material. Dry herb desktop vaporizers such as the Herbalizer use convection heating. Conduction vaporizers heat faster than convection vapes, hence why they are most often used in portable vaporizers, whose users often prefer a quicker heat up time. You can usually tell just by looking at a vaporizer whether or not it uses convection or conduction heating by paying attention to the temperature controls. If the vaporizer uses general temperature settings as opposed to manual temperature controls, then the vaporizer uses conduction heating.
Is one better than the other? This is not necessarily the case. Vaping enthusiasts have their particular preferences, mostly developed through trial and error. For instance, some people might prefer conduction heating over convection because it is said to heat faster and uses simpler temperature controls. Others prefer convection because it is said to produce much less waste and the higher temperatures of conduction heating can cause accidental combustion. Convection vaporizers supposedly taste better to some people, while others cannot handle the complex temperature controls. It’s not fair to make the claim that convection is better than conduction or vice versa. Whichever one is “better” is left up to you.
Just like there is no superior heating method, there is no superior heat source. Each one has their strengths and their weaknesses, but they all perform the same function, whether it’s a wax vaporizer, oil vaporizer, or dry herb.
Glass heating elements are among the most expensive and least commonly used. It’s easy to comprehend why. Glass just does not stand up to the same standards as metal and ceramic. Glass can withstand pretty high temperatures, but the higher temperatures that are especially necessary for portable vaporizers makes them an undesirable choice for vape manufacturers. There is one area where glass still reigns supreme: taking dabs. Dabbing enthusiasts are largely deciding that they prefer glass and quartz nails over both stainless steel and ceramic. Steel nails are very strong, but you have to season them before you use them and even then, some people still complain of a sharp metallic taste. Ceramic nails do not need to be seasoned, so they are often seen as a fine alternative to steel.
The different parts of a vaporizer. Image Source: ministryofhemp.com
Ceramic heating element vaporizers are more commonly used than glass and appear in a number of different types of desktop and portable vaporizers. Some people who vape prefer ceramic because the material is far sturdier than glass and does not leave a metallic taste in your mouth like stainless steel can. Conversely, ceramic does not retain heat nearly as well as glass and metal do. Ceramic heating chambers can reach much higher temperatures, but they do not do nearly as well at holding a steady temperature for consistent vapor. Ceramic heating elements will typically need to be reheated a few times throughout a vaping session. The vapor created through ceramic heating will have more of a clean taste than steel, but not as pure tasting as glass.
Metal heating elements are the most commonly used in vaporizers, particularly in the case of portable vaporizers and vape pens. Metal heating elements are pretty difficult to gauge temperature control, but they adjust quickly to changes in heating, giving you more precise temperature control than either glass and ceramic. Metal heating elements are used in one of the most popular desktop vaporizers on the market. There has been some speculation that metal heating elements are not safe and can cause people to inhale unsafe chemicals, but so far these are unproven allegations. There is no reason to believe that metal heating elements are unsafe to use.
Featured Image Source: Business Insider
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