Convection vs. Conduction Vaporizers: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Gabe Arono on

Convection Vaporizers vs Conduction Vaporizers

 

The market for dry herb vaporizers has become increasingly specialized over the years, and it’s gotten to the point where you’re likely to see a mountain of unfamiliar terms and jargon when you shop for a new vape. In this article, we’re going to clear up one of the most important potential sources of confusion to make your buying decision a bit easier.

A modern vaporizer might have a wide assortment of advanced features designed to make your vaping experience more fun and pleasurable. As great as those features are, though, there is nothing about a vape that could possibly be more important than the way in which it heats your herbs. Dry herb vaporizers come in two types. A vape can have a convection oven, or it can have a conduction oven. This article will explain convection vs. conduction vaporizers to help you understand which type will work for you.

 

What Is A Conduction Vaporizer?

In a conduction vaporizer, the oven heats the herbs through direct physical contact. The vaporizer’s heating element touches the oven, which touches the herbs. The herb particles touch each other, thus allowing the heat to radiate from the outer edges of the oven to the middle. Since the oven of a conduction vaporizer needs to touch the substance being heated, it’ll usually work best if you pack the herbs tightly.

 

Davinci IQ2 Chamber

Davinci IQ2

 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Conduction Vaporizers?

 

Like everything else in technology, conduction vaporizers have several benefits and drawbacks. We’ll discuss some of the reasons why you might – or might not – want to buy a conduction vaporizer.

  • Conduction vaporizers are often the most affordable because it’s much cheaper to build an oven that heats through direct contact than it is to build one that heats via forced air. You can find many conduction vaporizers that are true premium products and are priced to match. The DaVinci IQ2 is one such example. On average, though, conduction vaporizers tend to cost less than convection vapes.
  • Conduction vaporizers are always smaller than convection vaporizers. That’s because, in a convection vaporizer, there has to be space between the herbs and the heating element. A conduction vaporizer doesn’t require that design consideration and can therefore be much more pocketable.
  • Compared to convection vaporizers, conduction vapes can be a little more challenging to load. That’s because the goal with a conduction vaporizer is to pack the herbs tightly to maximize physical contact, but not so tightly that the herbs end up blocking the flow of air through the vaporizer. You’ll learn the proper balance through experience.
  • In the past, it was difficult to find conduction vaporizers that heated herbs to the point of vaporization without burning them. That’s not a problem you’re likely to encounter today, but you should still choose carefully if you’re buying a vaporizer on an extremely tight budget.

 

What Is A Convection Vaporizer?

In a convection vaporizer, the herb chamber doesn’t touch the device’s heat source directly. Instead, air traveling through the vaporizer carries the heat from the heating element to the herbs. Compared to conduction vaporizers, convection vapes usually give you a lot more leeway in terms of how tightly you need to pack your herbs. A convection vaporizer works best with a slightly looser pack to allow unrestricted airflow, but you’ll get good results as long as you don’t pack the herbs so tightly that they block airflow or so loosely that the particles fly around in the chamber.

 

Firefly 2+
Firefly 2+

Forced Air vs. Hybrid Convection

The classic method of moving heat from the heating element to the herb chamber in a convection vaporizer is with a fan that forces the air through the unit. That’s how traditional desktop vaporizers like the Volcano by Storz & Bickel work. The rush of air through the herb chamber allows for fast and even heating of the herbs, and the fan also makes it possible for the vaporizer to fill a bag with vapor.

Storz &  Bickel Volcano Hybrid

Storz & Bickel Volcano Hypbrid 

 

More recently, though, manufacturers like Storz & Bickel have created a hybrid convection system that allows vaporizers like the Crafty+ to have convection heating without fans. With a hybrid convection vaporizer, you still have space separating the heating element from the herb chamber, but your inhalation provides the airflow. Since putting a fan into a portable vaporizer is impractical, hybrid convection allows you to enjoy many of the benefits of a convection vaporizer in a much smaller package.

Storz & Bickel Crafty +

Storz & Bickel Crafty +

 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Convection Vaporizers?

Why should you – or shouldn’t you – buy a convection vaporizer? These are the pros and cons that you should consider before buying.

  • Convection vaporizers – especially the fan-equipped desktop models – tend to be some of the most expensive vaporizers on the market. When you buy a desktop vaporizer, you’re buying an appliance that’s going to be a part of your life for the next decade or more. Desktop vaporizers are designed for that level of longevity, and they’re priced to match.
  • In a convection vaporizer, the herb chamber is designed to allow air to pass through easily. You’ll find it very easy to inhale deeply with this type of vaporizer. Since conduction vaporizers tend to work best if you pack the herbs tightly, they sometimes suffer from airflow problems in comparison to convection vapes.
  • Air is a superb carrier of heat. A convection vaporizer provides consistent and thorough heating, ensuring complete extraction of your herbs. Many people report that they experience the same results with a convection vaporizer and a small load of herbs that they get with a conduction vaporizer and a larger load of herbs. That’s something to consider when you think about the financial ramifications of conduction vs. convection vaporizers. A convection vaporizer may cost more up front, but a device that uses your herbs more completely may save you a great deal of money in the long run.
  • A final benefit of having a convection vaporizer is that you may find the flavor superior compared to a conduction vaporizer. In some conduction vaporizers, the fact that the heating element is so close to the herb chamber may mean that you’ll experience some harsh or burned flavors when vaping. That’s much less likely to happen in a convection vaporizer due to the physical separation between the herbs and the heat source.

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