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To give a quick recap, a vaporizer is an electronic device that is used to heat either herb or some other product like oil or wax. A vaporizer device defined as "Dry Herb" is intended for use with all sorts of dried herbs. Also known as herbal vapes, these vape pens come in different sizes, shape, design and functional ability. You can find a ton of different attributes from model to model, but the most important attribute to pay attention to is whether you are dealing with a Convection Vaporizer or a Combustion vaporizer - convection is the healthier vape option where combustion is just a more convenient way to smoke - this difference is essential to understand.
Dry herb vaporizers are a unique way of consuming your bud. Instead of smoldering your herbs, these portable vapes use an oven-like chamber to bake the goodness right off the plant. You may ask yourself why bake the herbs and not just burn them up? There are many reasons why people have switched to this new type of device. Some people choose this method because vaping as opposed to burning releases fewer toxins. Others choose them because they are more discreet and portable.
The first dry herb vaporizers started popping up around the turn of the last decade. The original designs were large, tabletop devices that people would gather around and vape from in a hookah-style smoke session. Shortly after, the technology shifted and the designs of these vaporizers began to shrink and become more portable. Now you can find a range of dry herb vaporizers that will fit in your hand or your pocket, and will casually blend in amongst the more common e-cigarettes.
Using a dry herb vaporizer is as easy as packing a bowl. You grind up your herb as usual, then pack them into a chamber in the vape. These chambers hold about as much dry herbs as an average pipe or bong. Once you have loaded the chamber, you set a temperature on the vaporizer, and start to vape by holding a button, just like a normal vaporizer.
Of course, no new technology is without its flaws. Once popularity picked up, the market flooded with all sorts of new dry herb vaporizers. These included poorly designed devices that worked with mixed results. One of the biggest problems people found was the chamber getting too hot. After a certain threshold, the herb would go from baking to burning, thus defeating the purpose. Another prolific complaint was the vapor coming from certain devices tasted like burnt plastic.
Most of these complaints were linked to poorly designed vaporizers. Ones that often would not allow you to change the baking temperature, or were designed with cheap plastics that put off awful odors. The kind you would find nestled in display cases at gas stations or cigarette outlets, or sold online by unrepeatable vendors. However, there are a great number of amazing dry herb vaporizers on the market, and finding the best one takes a little in-depth research.
Type 1 - Herbal Combustion Vapes
Technology finally meets smoking and you can now cruise down the snow filled mountain and get your smoke on with the press of a button. We say get your smoke on because with combustion style vaporizers, you are performing the act of vaping, but the process going on inside the heating chamber is similar to what happens when smoking a pipe or papers. In a combustion vape, the herbs inside the heating chamber are exposed to a coil that will get super hot. The direct touch of the super hot coil with ignite and burn the herbs, aka combust them and eventually turn them to ash. This process is preferred by many users, but just like smoking a bowl, as the herbs are burned, the chemical composition changes and more carcinogens are produced opposed to true vaping. In addition you will have the same smoke clouds, although it is still more discreet than a pipe and definitely more discreet than a rolled jay or blunt. Plus pressing a button is far more convenient than other smoking methods that require a lighter, especially if it is wet or windy out.
Type 2 - True Vaporization Herb Vapes
True Vaporization is the healthier way to smoke and instead of the herbs being in contact with a flame or hot coil, they are heated by the touch of hot air inside of a heating chamber, either metal or ceramic - ceramic chambers are the norm with most new models. During True Vaporization, the buds are roasted and baked just like a pie would be inside a convection oven. As the air heats, the herbs heat, and the aromas are lifted without denaturing the herb - this is why it is healthier, in combustion vapes the herbs are denatured by the direct heat of a flame which gives off more carncinogens. As the air heats, the aromas gather and form a vapor that travels up through the mouthpiece as you take a pull. The vapor is lighter than smoke, it will dissippate quickly and will not smell nearly as much and it certainly does not stick around like smoke. The higher the temperature, the thicker the vapor. The longer you vape the herbs, the further you will break them down.
Benefits of using a Vape Pen for dried herbs
1. Better for the Health versus traditional smoking methods - traditional smoking with turn herb to ashes and along the way as they burn, some carcinogens will be produced that otherwise could be avoided. A vaporizer will bake the buds with hot air, slowly lifting their aroma and gradually turning them into brown used up product, but no ashes.
2. Very Discreet - Smoke stinks, stays around and is easy to see. Vapor on the otherhand disippates super quickly so it doesn't stay around for anyone to smell, unless fo course you blow the vapor right in their face. Using a lighter with a glass pipe is fairly obvious but a vaporizer that can disappear in your hand can be used without anyone noticing.
3. So much easier to use - Imagine treking up a mountain or a casual trail or a snowboarding adventure. Even just sitting in the house, once the vape is packed, simply sit back and enjoy by clicking some buttons. No need for a lighter, no worries about wind or wet conditions and you can keep moving too - whipping out a vape and using it can be done in under 2 minutes.
How to clean a dry herb vaporizer
The average vaporizer will not need much maintenance in terms of cleaning. The typical heating chamber is either metal and more often now ceramic, but in either case, when finished with a vapor session, just make sure to empty the chamber contents, unless of course there is something still in there. But if you just stay on top of this and maintain the heating chamber, at most you should only need the small cleaning brush to rub away some particles that don't want to move. Some users like to swab the inside of the chamber to clean it but it is not necessary at all.
The outside of the vape can be wiped down - DO NOT submerge or expose any vaporizer to water, these are electronic devices. The main part that will likely need cleaning is the vape mouthpiece and filter screen. You can call it cleaning but the term clearing is really what you will be doing. Eventually it may be difficult to pull vapor through the mouthpiece and this is likely from a build up of particles on the filter screen. Overtime, as vapors travel up through the screen and vape mouthpiece, residue builds. The typical mouthpiece and screen can be soaked in hot water or a type of 420 cleaning solution to get them clean. You can also purchase replacements for just about any vape model out on the market.