How to decide which vaporizer is right for you
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When you're in the market for a new cannabis vape, the amount of choices at hand can be downright disorienting. You have a lot of factors to consider: What are your budget constraints? What are you vaping? What do you need from your smoking experience? These questions, hopefully, will help you trim down your list and make your choice.
We're probably far from the first to tell you how popular vaping is. Thousands upon thousands of cannabis lovers have started using vaporizers, and the market is now flooded with them. If you try to look for one online, you'll have hundreds of options to navigate. Even if you're in the real world, regular smoke shops carry dozens of varieties across different price points.
With all that in front of you, it can seem like an impossible task to pick one. Thankfully, we know a few ways you can narrow down the list of choices and find your perfect match. The secret? You just have to consider exactly what it is you want. With all the options out there, you're bound to find something that matches the description.
4 STEPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT VAPORIZER
If you're new to the world of vapes, though, you might not even know what you want. After all, if you don't know what's out there, how can you be expected to decide? One vape won't fit everyone, which is why it's nice there are so many different types.
Use the four steps outlined below as a guide to determining which vaporizer is right for you.
1. VAPORIZER TYPE
Most people only know about the sort of vapes you can stick in your pocket. Just like computers, though, there are portable and desktop options alike.
You might not see desktop vapes as often as portable models, but you're more likely to remember them.
Before anything, they stick out with their designs, often appearing like mini high-tech towers. You'll usually see them outfitted with either a bag (which gets inflated with vapor) or a tube (which you'll suck vapor out of). If you try moving them around, you'll also notice how heavy they are in comparison to their portable peers.
Some of you might be wondering what the point of desktop vapes is. To those in doubt, we have one word: power. For one, you'll never have to worry about desktop vapes losing power since they'll be plugged in (or very close to a power source). Then, when you're using them, you'll get a more powerful hit than you would with a portable vape.
Since the vaping process already preserves most of the cannabinoids, you'll be blasted in no time. Desktop vapes are also perfect for social situations, since it's assured everyone will get toasted without waiting too long. These can also be quite pricey, as we'll discuss later, but finding the right one is always worth it.
No matter how cool a desktop vape is, there's something to be said about portability. Sure, pipes and bubblers are "portable", but glass might break in transit, and you'll get weird looks if you smoke a pipe or bubbler outside.
Vape pens, in contrast, are safe in your pocket, and are more durable than joints or glass. You also won't stand out when vaping outside, since they look just like e-cigarettes. Basic ones are cheap—much cheaper than desktops—but they can get more expensive as quality increases.
Vape pens are discreet, inexpensive, and streamlined, but lack the power and consistency of desktop or high-quality portable models.
Lastly, sitting in between those two worlds, you have the option of a portable vape.
Yes, technically vape pens are also portable, but we're talking about more durable models made to produce superior results. Rather than being shaped like pens, they take on heavier, boxier forms. Those forms aren't arbitrary, as bulkier vapes are often significantly more powerful than their pen counterparts.
In turn, while many vape pens utilise disposable cartridges, portable vapes will always be refillable—having a chamber where you place herb or concentrates directly. Some vape pens are refillable too, so make sure you're paying attention to the shape before anything.
Portable vapes are less discreet in turn, and end up pricier than vape pens, but those who don't prioritise discretion as much find them worthwhile.
2. WHAT ARE YOU VAPING?
Once you know what type of vaporizer you want—ie. where you will be vaping—it's time to consider what, exactly, you want to vape. Are you more inclined towards flower, or are you a bigger fan of concentrates? Maybe you want to have both options open? It's all possible with modern vaping technology.
Vaping cannabis flower takes a classic practice and gives it a modern twist. The line between buzzed and annihilated is a bit thicker than it is with concentrates, but you get plenty lifted with less plant matter.
This, of course, is thanks to the process of vaping itself. With normal smoking, most of the cannabinoids in bud get burnt off by the flame. With vaping, however, the temperatures are notably lower, so a lot more is preserved. As you spend less on bud, the vape will start to pay for itself. Just make sure you clean it regularly, since used flower can build up quickly.
As great as flower is, little else beats a hit of a powerful concentrate. You'll be stoned in just a few hits, and the lack of plant matter makes it easier on the lungs. That's not to mention the convenience; usually, all you have to do is screw on a pre-loaded cartridge. Be careful, though; the process is simple and painless enough that you may not realise when you've vaped too much.
What if you can't decide, though? Some days may be better suited for bud, while others demand concentrates. In that case, we suggest one of the many fine hybrid vaporizers out there. As you could likely guess, hybrid vapes have special chambers that can be loaded with either flower or concentrate. Again, just make sure you're regularly cleaning it out, and you'll be set for a great time.
3. HEATING METHOD
Most people don't know what difference the heating method can make when it comes to vaping. Even though all of the following methods count as vaping, there are key distinctions between them.
For those transitioning between smoking and vaping, conduction will feel most familiar. That's because there's a heating apparatus touching your herb or concentrate. This results in more direct heating, but also in higher temperatures and, potentially, some light combustion of plant material. Many don't mind that, though, especially considering these vapes are less expensive on average.
Convection, in contrast, involves no contact between the heating apparatus and the herb or concentrate. Rather, vapor is created via hot air flowing through and around what you're smoking. As a result, the vapor is a lot smoother on the lungs, although flavours are more mild. Convection vapes end up more expensive than conduction models, but you're getting a smoother, cleaner experience in turn.
If you feel both heating methods have their benefits, you don't even have to decide on one or the other. You see, some vapes utilise both convection and conduction systems to give you a smooth yet powerful vaping experience. Conduction gets things started, and convection picks it up from there. This means you won't have to wait like you would with pure convection, but you don't risk the potential combustion that comes with pure conduction.
4. VAPORIZER COST
Of course, beyond anything we've mentioned, money will be the determining factor in which vaporizer you choose. Thankfully, there are numerous options at every price point.
If you don't have much to spend, don't lose hope! If you look around in the average smoke shop or dispensary, there's a good chance you'll find an entry-level portable vape. Depending on what you go for, there are some risks that come with cheaper vape pens (more likely to break, inferior heating method, etc.), but you'll be okay as long as you talk with the store clerk and/or read product reviews. You can expect most vapes in this range to use conduction heating. A vape in this price region won't come packed with features, but it will get the job done.
A good example of a vaporizer that balances budget and quality is the AirVape Xs GO—it is hybrid heating designed for use with flowers.
Willing to spend £100 or more? Your field of options will be much wider, with quality convection and hybrid-heating vapes entering the picture. You'll be able to find concentrate, dry bud, and hybrid options at this price range too. As far as strength, they might not have as much power as desktop vapes, but they'll get close. Unless you are a vaping connoisseur, you should find all the features you need at this range.
The DaVinci MIQRO embodies this—it is sleek, light-weight, and packed full of features.
If your budget passes £250, you have the world in your hands. Convection and hybrid heating are the standards here, and desktop vapes will be well within your range. Even if you don't want a desktop vape, your portable options will be just as powerful and all-encompassing.
If this sounds like your budget, we would recommend the Mighty—as the name suggests, it's a beast.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT VAPORIZER: OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Besides everything we've discussed, there are a few other factors to consider when making your vape purchasing decision.
As you look at more expensive vapes, you'll notice many of them allow you to change the temperature you're vaping at. Cheaper vapes, in contrast, usually have a single temperature they heat up to—which is fine for most people. However, if you're looking to "unlock" certain cannabinoids or terpenes, or take softer/harder hits depending on your mood, you'll need to have more control over temperature.
Build quality will often be directly proportional to price, but be careful. Some brands get away with well-marketed but subpar products, while others release new products that face unexpected issues. Outside of trying the vape yourself, customer and store clerk reviews will be your best bet in determining how well a vape is built.
Lastly, if you want to know you're getting a good product, you'll want to pick a brand with a good reputation. How do you determine that? Well, how do you do it with any other product? Check reviews and ask friends who have used products from a given brand.
FINDING YOUR PERFECT VAPORIZER
Beyond that, all you have left to do is buy the vape and try it for yourself. Since we don't know you, we won't be able to tell you which one is perfect for you. You know you, though, and now you know exactly how to pick a vape. Just trust yourself, listen to others who have tried the product, and you'll be sure to make the right decision.