The two most prominent heating elements dominating the vaporizer market, conduction and convection. All vaporizers will use one of these two heating elements, or a combination of the two which is known as hybrid heating technology.
Conduction vs Convection – What does it mean?
Conduction heat is a process of moving heat or electricity directly from one solid substance to another substance, that has a different temperature when they are touching each other (oven – dry herb). The walls of the herb chamber are usually made with steel or high-quality ceramics and are directly heated to in turn heat your herb.
Convection heat on the other hand, uses a sort of middle man by relying on liquid or gas to move the heat from one place to another. The dry herb sits further away from the filling chamber and when the gas/liquid is heated, it is then drawn through the herb by a fan or your own inhalation, which heats the herb.
So why should you invest in a convection vaporizer? If conduction really is inferior, then why do so many vaporizers use conduction heat? Read on for the ultimate break down on conduction vs convection heat, and five reasons why you should consider making the move to convection energy.
1. Convection vapes provide more even AVB
With conduction vaporizers, you have to constantly stir your herb around the chamber to ensure you’re getting even AVB (Already vaped bud). Failure to do this means parts of your herb will be completely charred, and other parts still green and untouched – but with their taste ruined by the already charred herb, which is just a sinful waste of good herb. Convection heat pushes hot air through every part of the herb so the heat is evenly distributed. Convection heat also works more effectively on the surface area of the herb and optimizes the plant resin and terpenes present on the surface of the plant (terpenes are the oils present on the outside of your herb, which present different effects depending on your strain). Which leads us to....
2. Convection energy is more efficient
While conduction vapors might seem like a great immediate solution – they're fast to heat up, and usually much cheaper because they require much simpler heating technology – convection vaporizers are the best choice for a long-term vaporizer. Convection vaporizers are more expensive, but this is because they employ smarter technology to evenly heat your herb, so you’re paying for a higher standard of vapor production. When the heat is evenly distributed through the herb, this increases its life span in the chamber because no part of the herb is being overexposed to heat (which means no charring or combustion). Your herb will last longer, and you’ll really get the most bang for your buck - and your bud.
So, while you may be spending a bit more on a convection vaporizer, in the long run you’ll be saving money on dried herbs, which is a huge win in our book.
3. Convection heat = Better Flavor
There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that vaped herb tastes better than smoked herb. When you light up a joint or blunt, you are literally inhaling burning material. Because convection heat is much gentler on the herb, it preserves the active ingredients in the plant resin – which produces a smoother, more delicate flavor than setting your herbs on fire and inhaling the cinders.
With smoking, you also have no control whatsoever over the temperature of your material. Vaporizers will always have at least some minimal temperature control, and different temperatures produce different tastes. Vaping your herb on a lower heat setting allows you to really appreciate the taste of your herb, and you can always end on a high note to get a bigger hit out of your remaining herb. And on that note...
4. Convection heat gives you a better high
Because convection heat maintains the active ingredients on the surface of your dry herb instead of totally frying them, you’re going to get a much better session than with conduction heat. With convection heat you’re really optimizing the active ingredients in the plant matter for a better, more potent high. With conduction heat however, you run the risk of searing the plant resin and trichomes, which will bring the performance of your herb down considerably. Since you went through all the trouble of getting some great herb in the first place, why would you ruin it now at the last hurdle?
5. With a conduction vaporizer, you could be inhaling smoke
One of the main reasons that might be driving you towards vaporizers in the first place is that you want to smoke less. We all know that smoking is harsh on your throat and lungs over time, but it’s also worse for your herb. Smoking herb (or smoking anything) relies on the combustion of your material, which when you inhale introduces carcinogens into your lungs. Vaping on the other hand, is considered a much healthier and safer choice for consuming dry herb, since you are simple inhaling vapor produced with the herb itself.
However, because a conduction vaporizer relies on direct contact with your herb, your herb can actually combust in a conduction oven and smoke will be introduced into your vapor. In a convection vaporizer, the heat source stays far enough away from your herb so that combustion is not possible, leaving nothing but pure, clean vapor.
6. Convection vapes are easier to maintain
Cleaning a herb chamber is a lot harder to do when it’s also your device’s oven. With a conduction heater you’ll get much more dark, hard to remove residue sticking to the sides of the oven and vapor path. That being said, convection devices can be a bit more fiddly to clean, because they may require more parts to maintain. However, because convection heat is so much gentler on your herb, there’ll be much less sticky charred resin stuck to clean.