By Janelle Lassalle
It’s November, which means the holidays are just around the corner. While we all celebrate in different ways, one truth about the holidays is universal: it’s a time to start thinking about who really matters.
Cannabis gifts are a great way to show your loved ones you care about their health and wellbeing. They also present wonderful opportunities to interact, play and bond with family members, which is why you should always shop for such products with the greatest of care.
One of the most popular cannabis gifts are vaporizers (vapes). Vaporizers are fairly accessible, cost-effective, easy to use and healthier for you than smoking. Shopping for them, however, can be tricky, which is why we compiled a checklist of what to look for when vape shopping just for you:
1. Heating type
One of the first things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a vape is how it works.
There are two main types of vaporizers. The first is conduction-based. These types of vaporizers put your starting materials in direct contact with a heat source. Starting materials (dried flower) are placed into an oven or chamber that is then heated up by a coil, producing vapour. The Black Mamba is a dry herb conduction vaporizer.
Convection-based vaporizers, on the other hand, do not put your starting materials in direct contact with a heat source. These vaporizers rely on transferring heat through a medium, typically moving fluids such as steam. The lack of combustion also ensures your herb won’t come into contact with byproducts like smoke. Cannabis is gently heated all the way through, preserving terpenes and ensuring maximum flavour. The Firefly II is a popular convection-based vaporizer.
Some products like the Arizer Solo II also utilize both conduction and convection based technologies to heat up your starting materials.
It’s important to note what kind of heating technology is used in your vape as each type has its own pros and cons. Conduction based vaporizers tend to be better for new users as they’re usually smaller and cheaper. They also heat up faster and require less maintenance overall.
Convection based vaporizers, on the other hand, may be more expensive but tend to produce the most flavourful vapour as there is no direct contact between your herb and the heat source.
2. Quality of materials
The next thing to note—and here’s where it can get tricky—are what kind of materials your vaporizer uses.
Some materials are distinctly better than others as they are less prone to corrosion or general wear and tear. You’ll want to avoid titanium alloys, for instance, as the health effects of using it in vaporizers is unknown. Opt for pure titanium models (grades 1 and 2 titanium) whenever possible.
Another element to consider is the atomizer. An atomizer is a heating element that converts your cannabis concentrate into an inhaled vapour. Common materials include quartz, copper, ceramic, titanium and various metallic alloys. Quartz tends to be the best materials for atomizers as it heats up quickly and delivers a pure vapour flavour. Ceramic is another popular choice.
You may want to also consider the materials your oven/chamber is made out of. Ceramic is a great option as it’s inert, meaning it won’t impart any flavour of its own into your herb. Glass is another good option that’s also inert and easy to clean. The Crafty is one such option and features a chamber made of quartz and stainless steel.
The mouthpiece is also another component to think about. You’ll ideally want a glass mouthpiece rather than a cheap plastic one which may burn. The Grizzly vaporizer has one of the best types of materials for its mouthpiece: Borosilicate glass.
3. Battery time and portability
Now that you’ve narrowed down your contenders you’ll want to start considering portability. Do you want your vape to be robust enough to handle a party? Then you may want to opt for a desktop vape like The Mighty.
Looking for something more compact? There are plenty of other options out there including hand-sized vapes that can easily slip into pockets like the Boundless CVF or even smaller models like the DaVinci MIQRO.
When it comes to portability, you’ll also want to consider battery life. What’s the battery like on your vape? Does it last for two hours or 45 minutes? How long will it take to achieve a full charge? If you plan on being out and about—say on a hike—you may want to opt for a model with a generous battery life like the Arizer Solo II, which lets you vape for up to 3 hours per charge.
4. Ease of use and reliability
There’s not much point in spending time buying the best vape only to be endlessly confused by fancy buttons and machinery. Ease of use is crucial when buying your vape.
Some models may have a basic setup with one pre-set temperature and a singular button. This is ideal for those who are just getting started with vaping. Other vaporizers like the Arizer Solo II offer precise temperature control via an LCD screen. The PAX 3, on the other hand, utilizes vibrations to let you know when your vape is heated and ready to go.
Another crucial element to consider are the instructions that come with your device. The best vaporizers out there may provide additional resources that can help you learn more about your vaporizer. One great example is the Firefly II vaporizer. It has an app with a built in information centre that houses instructional videos and FAQ.
Finally you’ll want to be sure the model you buy is sturdy and reliable, which is why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on warranty. The PAX 3, for instance, has a 10-year limited warranty.
5. Customization options
Vaping connoisseurs will delight in examining the various customization options available to them. This can include anything from complementary accessories (mouthpieces, screens, etc.) to custom temperature control via an app.
Are you looking for thick, flavourful clouds of vapour? Some models like the Boundless CFV will let you modify your vapour clouds via accessories—in this case through interchangeable heat retention rings which line the chamber. Others like the Ghost MV1 implement a unique heat sink at the top to help cool vapour down, ensuring the smoothest clouds possible.
Each vaporizer has its own set of customization options. Beginners may want to opt for single button models. Advanced users can then assess the various options available to them with each vape model to determine the best fit for them.
Vaporizers make for a great gift any time of year as they allow anyone to consume cannabis discreetly and on the go.
We’ve outlined five key elements you should consider when shopping for a vaporizer. These include type of heat used, quality of materials, battery time and portability, ease of use and customization options. By carefully considering each factor you can tailor your vaping experience to suit your unique needs.