Vaporizers: they’ve become quite the hit, with both good – and bad – light being shed on this ever-growing trend. But, there’s a lot more to them than you might think – and, they can be a healthy alternative, depending on the type of vaporizer being used.
Vaporizers work by heating essential oils, herbs and tobacco at a cooler temperature – around 284°F to be exact. The product is then converted into vapor – a healthier, toxin-free alternative to combustion (that is, burning, which happens at around 446°F).
Instead of combustion, vaporizers work by conduction or convective heating. With conduction, dry herbs or oils are placed on a heated surface, such as a solid or mesh screen. That plate is then heated to the perfect vaporization temperature and vapor begins to form. With the convective approach – a more recent development – your herbs don’t need to come in contact with a screen or plate. Instead, the air is heated, and – once the perfect temperature is reached – is moved by a fan or through inhalation to the area where your dry herb is located.
Just like there are different ways of heating, there are different types of actual vapes, too! With the standard desktop vaporizer, there are two ways the vapor is delivered: whip-style and bag-style. “Whip” basically means there’s a tube attached to the main chamber and a mouthpiece for inhalation, while the bag style – come on, we’ve all seen (and/or used) a Volcano – has a plastic bag attachment that gets filled with vapor, and then removed for inhalation.
However, portability is king (at least in our book), so many companies have made the switch to – you guessed it! – portable vaporizers. From compact vape pens to the slightly more bulky portable vaporizer, this category has been gaining popularity.
So, for those who really wanna nerd out on the subject: what are the different components of a portable vaporizer? First, there’s the heating chamber or atomizer, which is the part that actually vaporizes your product. There are two parts to the atomizer: the housing and the coil. The two housing types are steel and ceramic – steel being more affordable while ceramic is higher quality, outlasts the former, and allows for better heat regulation.
The different coil types include wick, ceramic, pancake, and finally, True Vaporizers. Wicks are made of cotton and are generally found in e-liquid pens, although they’ve started to allow for dry herbs in more recent years. Ceramic wicks are basically heating wire wrapped around a ceramic cylinder, while pancake coils work like an electric stove-top; the entirety of the coil is at the bottom of the atomizer. The donut coil doesn’t use wire, but instead a ceramic disk, and is great for producing both high and longer-lasting temps. Lastly, the True Vaporizer works with convection style heating and doesn’t have an exposed coil, which works like an oven-style heating system.
Other parts of the portable vaporizer include a battery or energy source, and a filter, which cools the air and makes the vapor perfect for consumption!