There are all kinds of things to consider when choosing a new vape - how portable do you want it? How powerful? How about the chamber capacity? And we haven’t even started on the colour… But maybe one of the more important things on your list (should) be what kind of heating method the vape has to offer.
Is it conduction or convection, and what does this mean? There are many reasons this is an important thing to ask about.
Vaporizers use one of these two methods to heat the material to the point that the active ingredients are extracted. Cannabinoids start to vaporize at about 284 degrees Fahrenheit (140C).
But if your vape oven gets hotter than 446 degrees Fahrenheit (230C), the material will start to burn or combust. This Goldilocks Ratio is important, especially if like many people you are vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking.
By taking an in-depth look at these different heating styles we hope to shed some light on why your choice might ultimately prove the most important one you make. So what’s the difference between conduction and convection heating? Why does it matter so much?
Conduction Heating - Full Contact
Let’s start with the basics. Conduction heating uses direct contact between your material and a source of heat to increase its temperature to the point that it turns into tasty, tasty vapour.
This is by and large the more ‘traditional’ method of heating used in vapes. It’s a bit less complicated than convection heating and there are fewer parts to take into consideration.
OK, so far, so good. But why does direct contact with your material matter so much? Well, when a heat source directly contacts that which it is heating, it might potentially combust if the temperature gets too intense.
This could be a deal-breaker if you are looking for a vape that won’t run the risk of combusting your material. You might fall into this category if you are looking for a vape that is a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes, for example.
If there is a risk that your material might combust, it might produce harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, just like a burning cigarette does. So if you want to avoid potentially combusted material, conduction heating may not be the best option.
That’s not to say that conduction heating will without fail cause combustion, or that it doesn’t have any positive aspects. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of combustion heating:
Conduction heating - Pros
- Since there is direct contact with the material, conduction heating takes very little time to, well, heat up. That means you can vape right away as the heat transfer is immediate.
- Conduction vaporizers are by and large more affordable than convection vapes. This is because they are simpler in design and don’t use as many parts to function properly.
- Conduction vapes require less maintenance. This is because, as a simpler mechanism, they have less complicated bits that could require more upkeep or more rapid replacement.
- Conduction heating allows for more precise temperature control.
So, this direct heat has its benefits for sure. But what about its downsides??
Conduction Heating: Cons
- Because of the rapid heat transfer, conduction heating runs the risk of combusting your material if you’re not careful. Because there is nothing to circulate the heat between your material and the element, the heat can stay very directed at a specific point. In simple terms, it could burn and be inhaled as smoke.
- More direct heat and higher directed temperatures mean that conduction vapes aren’t as delicate with your material. The flavour of the vapour can become an unfortunate victim of this.
- Conduction heating is uneven and to avoid burning you may have to stir your material around. This is a bit of a chore for any vaper who needs a quick and inconspicuous session.
Conduction heating: Who is it for? Who is it not for?
Conduction heating, because of its rapid heat transfer and precise control, is better suited to someone who desires control over their device’s temperature.
Conduction vapes are also quite simple to use and can be a good choice for beginners because they have less complicated parts and are for the most part less expensive.
If you’re someone who is willing to take the time to stir your material to avoid the potential for combustion, and new to this wide world, conduction vapes are a great choice. And, indeed, they require less upkeep and maintenance.
But, if you are buying a vape for reasons solely devoted to health and cannot risk inhaling burnt material, a convection vape might be better suited to your needs. With that said, let’s take a look at convection heating.
Convection Heating: Full of Hot Air
Convection heating vapes are basically mini convection ovens. Instead of coming into direct contact with your material, the heating element heats air (creating steam) which then circulates around and through the dried herb.
The idea is to transfer heat through another substance like air so that there is a buffer between the material and the heat source. In this way, convection vapes eliminate the fear of combusted material, which is, of course, excellent for anyone who wants to use vapes as a smoking alternative.
But, this does mean that convection vapes have some extra bits to contend with, which makes cleaning and upkeep a bit more complex.
The material is separated from the direct source of heat and sits in another chamber so that there’s no way they could mix, and so there is room for heated air to circulate around the product.
That being said, convection vapes have some great advantages…
Convection Vapes: Pros
- As stated above, there is no risk of accidentally combusting material with a convection vape. Because your dry herbs don’t come into direct contact with a heat source, they don’t run the risk of burning. And, this means no smoke or ash is created and accidentally inhaled
- Convection vapes provide even heat distribution. Because hot air surrounds your material simultaneously, all surface area heats up at the same time. Because of this even heat distribution, there’s less chance that any of your material will go to waste.
- Convection heating, because of its more delicate and gradual heating, provides a much more flavourful vapour quality.
- This all seems pretty great, but what are convection heating’s downfalls?
Convection Vapes: Cons
- Convection vapes can in some instances be slower to get fully heated. Because they have to exert heat to create enough hot air to actually vaporize your material, they tend to be slower to get going.
- Because convection vapes are a bit more sophisticated in terms of their precise mechanics, they can be more expensive than conduction vapes.
- They are a bit harder to maintain because of their extra components.
Convection Heating: Who is it for? Who is it not for?
Convection vapes are an excellent choice if you are looking for the healthiest vaping option. The security of knowing you won’t accidentally burn your material, for some, is worth the usual increase in price and the long wait time.
Convection vapes are ideal for the vaper who knows what they’re looking for and wants a complex machine. But, as vaping is widely considered to be a super convenient activity, a higher price and a longer startup might be enough to dissuade.
If you’re on a tight budget or don’t quite know if vaping is right for you (and don’t have the ambition to keep up with the maintenance), convection vapes may not be the most realistic choice.
Conduction vs Convection: The Bottom Line
The thing is, technology has advanced so much when it comes to vaping that the problems with conduction and convection vapes are being improved all the time by innovative vape brands.
Most of the concern associated with combustion has been abated with advances in conduction technology, and convection vapes have become quite commonplace and dropped slightly in price.
If you are dedicated to adapting to the specific needs of convection heating or conduction heating, either can make for a great product.
The choice comes down to personal preference! If you don’t have a problem with the convection vape’s extra maintenance and potentially higher price, it will offer a smoke-free, delicious vapour.
And, if you’re not bothered about the occasional burn and stirring your material to ensure an even vape, conduction vapes are easy to use, easy to maintain, and might be slightly more affordable.
Let´s take a look at some of our favourites of each type...
Conduction Vapes: Our Favourites
The Pax 3
The Pax 3 looks futuristic, sleek, and almost deceptively simple. The Pax 3 is an intuitive portable conduction vape that can do all kinds of amazing things to make your vaping session extraordinary.
Pax 3 is simple to use, simple to maintain and produces some of the best vapour out there. Its conduction heating method is completely sophisticated to avoid any unwanted burning and produce flavourful vapour every time.
Here are it’s best features:
The Pax 3 is made from anodized aluminium that feels solid and dense and can withstand a bit of rough handling
15 Second Heat Time for super fast sessions
Bluetooth App Enabled for remote temperature control and a whole lot more
Made from Medical Grade Materials
Ultra-lightweight and portable
Advanced Lip-Sensor Technology
Temperature Range from 360°F - 420°F
8-10 Sessions of Battery Life
Buy Pax 3
The DynaVap Omnivap
The DynaVap OmniVap vaporizer is a battery-free conduction vaporizer in a small and elegant package. Manufactured in Canada by DynaVap, it is heated by a flame with a unique temperature indicator and is able to produce flavourful, thick and satisfying vapour:
Here are the Omnivap´s best features:
Convection Vapes: Our Favourites
The Ghost MV1
The Ghost MV1 is a portable vaporizer for dry herbs and concentrate that uses pure convection heating - so no burning, ever. The unit is built to medical device standards and this is definitely reflected in the vapour quality.
Here are it’s outstanding features:
Bluetooth App technology
Buy Ghost MV1
This unit offers full convection airflow as well and is an excellently priced vape for all that it offers. The CF gives you precision temperature control and a mouthpiece that discreetly slides out of the way when not in operation.
Here’s what else it has to offer:
Full Temperature Range (140°F-446°F)
Isolated Air Path
Micro USB Charging Port
Buy Boundless CF