Vaporizer Buying Guide
With all the hype surrounding vaporizers, a newbie can get overwhelmed quickly. What is a vaporizer? Let Value Vaporizer walk you through so you can get the skinny on styles, types, and what you really need in a vaporizer. Our guide will give you the scoop on budget, functions, and provide a thorough introduction to the wonderful land of vaporizers!
One of the best things about vaporizers is their efficiency factor, meaning there is little waste and they allow your product to last longer. This is true for the most part, but some are more efficient than others, and sometimes the efficiency can be offset by increased consumption. To maximize efficiency, keep your load small and the temperature correct for the herb used. Temperature is important because it creates a smoother and more delicious vapor. Some users prefer a thicker vapor that is only achieved at higher temperatures but remember this creates a harsh vapor and will increase the rate of consumption.
Some users are concerned about how discrete a vaporizer can be because vaping can easily be misconstrued. If you need a vaporizer that is easy to conceal, choose a small portable. Many of the small models are concealed to look like something else (pens, cigarettes, lighters). Desktop models may be designed to enhance the decor in a room and even look like beautiful pieces of art! One of the most important things to remember when considering the discretion of your model is how quickly or easily it can be put away. Choose a device that fits well in your hands and is easily concealed.
Portable vaporizers are expressed designed to be thrown in your pocket and used anywhere. Not all vaporizers are made to be used on the go, and there is a wide variety of non-portable devices made for home use. Many people like the sheer convenience of portables because they are small, light, discreet, and do not require electricity to use. On the flip side, some vapers say portables do not work as well and take too long to get ready for use. Every vaper is different, so get something for your lifestyle and needs.
Some vaporizers allow the user to see the temperature on a digital display. It should be noted that this is the heating temperature and not the vaporizing temperature, but it does offer a consistent gauge for the user.
Other vaporizers use a dial for temperature control so the user is able to adjust the heat depending on the material they are vaporizing. These can be fixed at the same temperature every time or varied for the users preference.
Research the herb you are vaporizing before adjusting the dial on the vaporizer. It is important to learn your device and the correct combustion temperature to avoid a vape that is too cool or hot.
There are two sources of power for vaporizers: flame or electric power. Flame powered vapes use an external source (torch lighter) and butane. Some users avoid these types because they don't want to contaminate the air path with butane. Some vaporizers use a catalytic converter, burning the butane internally.
More common are the electric powered vaporizers that use a ceramic heater and run by an electrical outlet or batter. Vaporizers that must be plugged into an outlet are referred to as "desk models" because they are generally not portable. Take note of the type of battery your vaporizer accepts. Some can be replaced by the users, but others require shipping to the manufacturer and they may charge a fee for replacement.
There are several ways to transfer the vapors from the vaporizer to the user. Vapor can be transferred via a whip, stem, or tube directly from the unit. These are called direct draw, and the other method of transfer is forced air transfer. Forced air transfer fills a bag or balloon using a fan/pump and then the user inhales the contents of the bag.
How the vapor is transferred is important because it affects the flavor and overall experience of the vape. Most would agree that transferring directly from the unit is the best taste, followed by stems and whips, and then balloons. The higher the vapor to air ratio, the more the vapor condenses and the quality of the vapor decreases. Vapor that accumulates on any surface used as a delivery system will affect the overall experience.
Vapor Path and Materials
When purchasing a vaporizer, take note of the materials used in manufacturing the device. A reputable company will name what materials are used because the vapor pathway affects what the user inhales. Cheap vendors or vaporizers typically will not name the materials used and this can be dangerous. Always buy from a reputable vaporizer dealer!
The two types of heating for vaporizers are conduction and convection. Conduction heats directly through contact of a hot surface, while convection heats indirectly by transferring hot air though and over the material. All vaporizers use similar elements, but primarily swing to one side or the other. New forms of conduction vaporizers are appearing as the technology develops. Conduction devices are simple, cheaper, and still do a great job vaping.
Many modern vaporizers use convection heat because it is easier to avoid combustion (herb catching on fire) being that hot air heats the element better and evenly. Temperature is also easier to control with convection heat.
Ease of Use/Learning Curve
Vaporizers are an excellent smoking alternative once you get the hang of them. Some more complex devices require a little bit bigger learning curve than the simpler ones. If you don't feel like accepting that challenge, we recommend buying a vaporizer that is ready to use right out of the packaging. The more complex vaporizers yield excellent results, but may take time getting used to.
Devices vary on warm-up time, from almost instantaneously to 30+ minutes. Some battery operated devices and ones with direct open flame can heat up vary quickly. However ceramic heaters generally take a lot longer to warm up, but are designed to be left on all day so they are accessible and ready to use once they have reached their prime operating temperature.
As much as we'd like to say you'll never need warranty service, there's no guarantees. Even the top of the line products can fail or need to be serviced, so it is important to protect your investment by ensuring warranty service is available. Check online reviews to make sure other users have positive experience with warranty service before you purchase. This can also give you an idea of what to expect and what route to take if you need service for your vaporizer.
It's important to actually read the warranty and note the terms and conditions because parts of the vaporizer may vary in warranty coverage. Some parts (battery, glass) may not be covered at all. See who pays shipping costs and if an RMA is required. It is equally important to see if the unit must be purchased from an authorized dealer to validate the warranty.
If you use your vaporizer for medical reasons, the reliability of the device is crucial. Complex devices generally are less reliable simply because there are more pieces that can fail. Always do your research before you buy! Check online sites, forums and reviews to learn about the reliability of the vaporizer you are interested in. While not an option for everyone, some users buy a second vaporizer as a back up in case something fails with their primary unit.
For many people, the price range for their vaporizer is an important factor. Typically, price and quality go hand and hand. That being said, there are some excellent inexpensive vaporizers. Prices range from $40 to $600, although there is a huge selection in the $150-$300 range, and some of the best units available are included in that selection.
Ebay and discount sites offer vaporizers at unmatched prices, but can be a dicey purchase. Brand name vaporizers from reputable sites are held to industry standards in the manufacturing process, and include a warranty. Beware of name brand units at significantly low prices from unauthorized dealers because warranty service may not be available, or they could be an outright counterfeit product.
One of the most important things to remember when purchasing a vaporizer is to buy one that fits your needs. Regardless of the price tag, purchasing one that doesn't make sense for what it is needed for, makes no sense at all!