I’m going to assume that you are a “relatively” new kid on the block when it comes to cannabis vaporizing since you have found your way here. Like me, you probably found yourself looking into Cannabis Vaporizers and discovered it wasn’t quite as straight forward as you thought. I mean, what’s with all the different heating types and does it even matter? It can’t make that much of a difference surely?!
Actually, It makes a huge difference in my opinion, and, is one of the most critical parts of a successful vape. I’m going to help you discover the difference between heating types and why it matters so much. Then hopefully, help you choose between them. If you aren’t ready for that you can check out my beginners’ guide to vaping cannabis article
What is the Difference Between Conduction, Convection, and Hybrid Heating Types?
In short, conduction vaporizers extract through direct contact with cannabis. It usually involves a heated chamber that holds your herb. Convection Vaporizers have a chamber that is raised away from the heater and is sometimes assisted by a fan. As a result, the herb is extracted by hot air circulating. Then last but certainly not least comes the hybrid which is simply a mix of the two. I have tried to explain it using this graphic below.
I will explain below in more detail about what I like and dislike in relation to all three.
Conduction vaporizers usually have the fewest parts meaning they are often the easiest to use. These vapes work similar to a pot or oven dish. You heat the weed through direct contact with the hot surface. Think of your favorite brownies. You pour the mixture into the tray and put it in the oven. It then heats up the tray turning the mixture into some sweet medicated goodies (I hope).
To get the most out of a conduction oven, you need to pack the cannabis in tight so that the heat can transfer through the bud to the middle. Otherwise, you will struggle to get a consistent extraction. When you don’t, you will be left with an uneven AVB (Already Vaped Bud). Usually, it will be dark around the sides and still greenish in the middle. What we are left with is less efficiency and flavor.
For some, this is a small sacrifice worth making for the sake of superior portability, stealth, and convenience. The most popular conduction vape right now and for the past is the Pax 3. I have done a full review on the Pax 3
When it comes to convection heating, it works similar to a food dehydrator… kind of!
The heating element is on the bottom, the food is in the top, usually on a mesh type surface (which is this analogy is your chamber). There is then a fan that moves the air up and over the food, essentially vaporizing out any moisture. The biggest difference being that cannabis vaporizers don’t take hours and make you question your sanity. I bought a dehydrator to make my dog some sweet potato treats, not realizing it would take about 2 days and cost a fortune in electricity.
Ok, back to the purpose of this article. In the case of convection vaporizers, there is no direct contact with the heated element, and because you need the air to pass through the herb easily, you can pack the cannabis in loose. This results in a very even extraction of your weed and the flavor can last for most of your session. What’s not to love right? Well if you are like me and spend most of your time in the house, then probably nothing.
The downsides of convection vaporizers are the fact they are usually bigger due to the fact they need some distance between the heater and the chamber to be classed as true convection.
If you have a look at my Tubo Evic dry herb vaporizer as an example. As impressive as it is, You won’t be squeezing it in your shirt pocket to nip down the shops. But, when you are at home, or even in the car, this thing is a machine. The level of consistency and flavor it delivers blows me away. More details on this below.
Hybrid vaporizers are a combination of both, so there isn’t much to say on this one. Usually, this is a vaporizer with a similar heating system to a convection device, but to maintain a smaller size, the heater is closer to the chamber. As a result, the chamber is heated a little, leaving you with a small amount of each extraction method.
The ARGO (Arizer Go) is the epitome of a Hybrid Vaporizer. They took the design of their very popular Arizer Solo (convention device) and decided to make it smaller. It resulted in more heating of the chamber which did sacrifice on the flavor and efficiency a little. However. It is the smallest vape I have found which delivers such a clean tasting vapor for a good 5-8mins with as low as 0.15grams. It’s insane.
My favorite devices in each model
As it stands, my two favorite conduction vaporizers are the Xmax Starry and the Pax 3. If you are on a budget, then the Xmax Starry is worth a look. The Pax 3 is the sleeker of the two and comes with a few extras like the phone app and half pack oven lid, but when it comes to extraction and consistency, there isn’t much between them
I use the Pax 3 more, and I’d say it ticks a few more boxes, but I’d probably recommend the starry due to its far superior price and replaceable battery.
Right now when it comes to Convection ovens, I can’t pull myself away from my Tubo Evic. It is simply an Evic vape mod attached to a heating element which is inside an 18mm female glass piece. This is all wrapped in a lovely handmade wooden frame.
You pack the herb into any 18mm male attachment that you can fit a screen in, then vape away. This is the ultimate in efficiency because you can pull the chamber out between draws. also, this is the king when it comes to potency. It is second to none in the portable world in my opinion. Although the Boundless Tera comes pretty close which you can read about in my Tera V3 review.
There is definitely more practical vapes out there than the Tubo Evic, but if you like something a little unique and don’t mind waiting a while for it to be built, then this is worth a look…
I also love my VapeXHale Cloud Evo. It took a lot for me to spend $400 on a vaping device but I really don’t regret it. Apart from the stainless steel baskets, it is glass right through the device to mouth so the flavor is unreal. The Evo also seriously packs a punch like no other but it is a desktop device and works best with a water pipe.
As mentioned above, The Arizer Go is the ultimate Hybrid device in my opinion. It ticks the important boxes. It doesn’t look as sleek or have an app like the Pax 3. And, it doesn’t have the functions and the cloud pleasing power of the Tubo Evic or Cloud Evo, but what it lacks in glamour and settings, it makes up for in consistency, efficiency, and portability.
I’d also add in the Dynavap here, I have only just got the ‘Omnivap XL’ and the ‘M,’ but I can already tell that these things will be sticking around. They are extremely potent. Sometimes it tastes almost smokey, like a bong and you’ll often think the contents of the chamber will be black, yet it comes out a nice even brown color. It makes no sense but I’m not complaining.
If I Could Only Pick One Vape?
Ok, I am actually going to pick 2 for different reasons, and they’d both fit into the hybrid category. The ARGO is my most used vape without a doubt. If I leave my house, It comes with me. It comes with a little carry pouch with two tubes that you can pre-fill. And, it has a replaceable battery. It isn’t the most potent of devices but it delivers every time. The T
Stranded on a desert island?
Now, when it comes to the old desert island with a big bag of weed scenario, then there is no question, any of the Dynavaps is a surefire winner. What good is a battery-powered device like the ARGO or Tubo if you only have campfire right?
The Final Puff
Cannabis vaporizers come in many shapes and sizes, but the most critical in my opinion is the heater type. Both have their place in the world. Conduction is usually easier to use and stealthier while convection provides more flavor and bigger clouds.
Most vape companies are battling it out to come up with the ultimate in portable pure convection extraction device which should tell you a lot in its own right as to which is the preferred method amongst most vapors. However, as a result, we have ended up with some awesome hybrid’s.
It is hard for me to determine precisely what your requirements are but I hope I have provided you all the information you need to take the next step in your journey. I will come back and change this article if and when my opinion changes.
If you want to let me know what device you buy or have any questions, I’d love to hear them.
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Thanks for reading!!