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Convection Vs Conduction Vaporizers: An Easy Guide To Help You Decide

Both convection and conduction vaporizers are healthier options than smoking, but they vaporize herb differently. This simple guide explains how each one works, and provides you with the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can make an educated decision before you buy.

Confused about these two common vaporizer types? Both terms refer to how an individual vaporizer heats dried herb or oils. Convection vaporizers heat herb or concentrates indirectly with a forced stream of hot air until vapor is released. Conduction vaporizers use direct heat to vaporize the material. A heated surface, but not a flame, actually touches the herb or extract to create vapor.

Want to know more? Let’s take a deeper look at the differences between conduction and convection, as well as the pros and cons:

HOW DO CONVECTION VAPORIZERS WORK?

With most convection vaporizers, you load weed into a removable chamber that sits inside or on top of the device. Once the vape reaches the desired temperature, you attach or insert the herb chamber and allow it to heat up for about a minute before vaping. What you do next depends on the type of convection vape you’re using.

Most convection vapes are still desktop models, and there are two primary types of units: balloon style and whip style. Some have multiple attachments so they can be used either way. With a balloon-style vaporizer, you attach a balloon to the herb chamber and turn on the fan to force heated air through the weed. This creates vapor that fills the balloon. Once full, you remove the balloon, turn off the vape, and enjoy at your leisure.

With a whip-style convection vape, there is no fan. Instead, you breathe slowly through the whip so that your lung power draws the hot air through the herb, up through the tubing, and into your mouth.

Both types of convection vapes are very efficient and present virtually no risk of scorched or burnt herb. That’s apparent when you empty the herb chamber. The leftover material will be a dull brownish material that doesn’t look or smell like it was combusted.

Convection vapes are very efficient. They will vaporize nearly all of the cannabinoids in your weed. Many also offer precise temperature controls so you can set it as low as 105°C to get the health benefits of THCA, or turn it up as high as 220°C to get vapor filled with CBC from the same herb. Plus, the taste and smell is very different from any other type of consumption. It’s so soft and smooth that even non-smokers can take full lung hits with ease.

Some convection vapes only work with dried herb, but most come with an adapter for extracts as well.

Convection and conduction are two very similar terms, but they describe two very different types of vaporizer. Find out how they're different.

Vaporizer Buying Guide – Conduction vs Convection Vaporizers

Generally speaking, all vaporizers operate on the same basic principle. They use gentle and persistent heat to activate organic compounds without causing combustion or releasing harmful contaminants.

However, different vaporizers achieve this process in different ways. Some vaporizers use direct contact with a hot element to vaporize your blends, known as the conduction method, whereas others either separate the herb chamber from the element or use a fan to push hot air through your herbs, which is known as convection heating.

The difference between these two methods might seem insignificant at first, but the way in which your herbs are heated can have a substantial effect on the efficiency of your vaporizer and the quality of the vapour it produces.

As such, understanding the pros and cons of each method is helpful when it comes to picking the right vaporizer.

What’s the Difference?

To use a simple anecdote, the difference between conduction and convection vaporizers is similar to the difference between the heating element in a kettle and the hand dryer in a restaurant bathroom. The kettle uses a much more direct and aggressive method to boil water, whereas a hand dryer uses an element to heat air, which in turn dries your hands.

Conduction vaporizers are like the kettle. They rely on direct contact between your herbs and a hot element (usually ceramic or stainless steel) to facilitate the release of active ingredients. This is a very direct way of heating your material, and often provides very fast and immediate results. However, conduction chambers are more difficult to regulate and carry a slightly elevated risk of combustion, though this is often negated by the digital controls inside most vaporizers.

Conduction can also be less efficient than convection, as it relies on all the herb in the chamber being able to make contact with the hot surface. For this reason, users of conduction vaporizers often find they have to stir their herb regularly to make sure it is evenly browned.

In contrast, convection vaporizers are like the hand dryer. They also contain a heating element, but this often situated below the heat chamber, so your blend does not make direct contact with the element itself. Instead, a convection vaporizer uses the heated air moving through your herb as you draw to vaporize, or it may even use an internal fan to actively push air up through the chamber.

Convection is generally considered the most gentle and the most efficient way of extracting active ingredients from your herb due to the steady and consistent application of heat.

It is worth noting, particularly if you are looking for a portable vaporizer, that most units will inevitably use a combination of both conduction and convection. However, they are classified based on the dominant process involved.

How can I tell them apart?

If you’re looking at a portable vaporizer, one incredibly simple way to tell which heating technology it uses is to look at where the herb chamber is situated.

If you load your material in the bottom of the device, then it is most likely a conduction-based vaporizer, as there is no space underneath for a heating element to produce hot air when you draw. Most convection-based portables have their heat chamber somewhere near the top of the unit, with space for the heating element to sit underneath.

The majority of desktop models, due to their size, will be able to utilise convection heating. Desktops like the Volcano, Extreme Q and VapirRise that use an internal fan use convection in the absolute truest sense of the word, whereas most whip vaporizers will be a combination of both to some degree.

Which is Better?

Despite the fact that convection vaporizers are often lauded as the superior solution on many web forums, it’s vitrually impossible to say which method of heating is objectively better. A more accurate (and diplomatic) way of putting it is that each type has their unique advantages and disadvantages for certain users. There is always an element of personal preference involved in choosing the best vaporizer for you.

If you’re looking for a vaporizer that heats fast and produces instant vapour, or is as small and lightweight as possible, then a conduction vaporizer may be more suited to you.

Conversely, a convection vaporizer would be the better option for someone who’s priorities involve the best tasting and incredibly smooth vapour, high efficiency, or who really needs to get the most out of their botanicals.

Generally, the pros and cons of each are as follows:

Convection Vaporizers

Pros:

  • Evenly heats botanicals, so there’s no chance of accidental combustion occurring
  • Uniform heating also means that conduction vaporisers are more efficient, and make full use of your chosen botanicals.
  • You never need to shake, stir or re-distribute your botanicals
  • Consistent results are easier to achieve

Cons:

  • Convection vaporisers heat up slightly slower than their conduction counterparts, and take a little more time to produce vapour
  • Often larger than conduction vapes, due to extra space requirements
  • Can be taxing on battery life
  • Convection vaporisers tend to be more expensive

Conduction Vaporizers

Pros:

  • Very fast heat-up times and almost instant vapour production
  • They are often much smaller and more lightweight vapes

Cons:

  • More frequent stirring is required to ensure all your herb heats evenly
  • Increased risk of combustion due to herbs making direct contact with the element, as well as their tendency to heat unevenly
  • Can produce hotter/harsher vapour hits
  • Consistent results can be harder to achieve

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your individual needs, and depends almost entirely on your own preferences. After all, there are literally hundreds of models on today’s vaporizer market, and many different users with many different opinions. You may fall in love with your first vaporizer, or it may take you a couple to get the one you like, but either way the process can be a lot of fun!

Our Top Picks

Want to know which vaporizers we would recommend from each category? Here are our top recommendations for convection and conduction vaporizers.

Top 3 Convection Vaporizers

The Volcano is an easy pick for best convection vape. It’s a tried and tested industry standard that has endured decades of developments in the vaporizer industry. The Volcano uses an ultra-precise heat exchanger and powerful internal air pump to push heated air up through your botanical blends to collect vapour inside a balloon bag. This bag can be detached from the unit and then inhaled from at your leisure, so it’s also very convenient and especially good for people who have limited dexterity or who want to be able to vape away from the machine. It also provides unparalleled cooling capacity and flavour. Furthermore, with the addition of the Volcano Hybrid, you also have the option to inhale directly via the whip tube.

The Volcano is an absolutely premium vaporizer, but it isn’t in everybody’s price range. If the internal fan with balloon option sounds like something you’d like to try, mid-priced alternatives like the Extreme Q are a popular alternative.

A premium portable vape, the Mighty is manufactured by the makers of the Volcano and definitely lives up to the brand’s prestigious reputation. With an easy to use digital display and precise controls, the Mighty is a powerful portable that uses dynamic convection and a little conduction to vaporize your herbs evenly and efficiently. It employs the same patented heat exchanger found inside the Volcano, but on a smaller scale, and produces very consistent, high quality vapour. To be fair, the Mighty does also use a small amount of conductive heat in the filling chamber, but the results can’t be argued with.

The inbuilt cooling unit attached to the mouthpiece filters vapour through a series of channels as you draw, lengthening the air path without adding any size to the unit, and ensuring you always get a cool and comfortable draw even on high heat settings.

Budget alternatives: Arizer Solo, Arizer Air

The Fury Vaporizer may be small and discreet, but it doesn’t skimp on performance. This pocket-sized powerhouse from Healthy Rips promises a whole lot of vapour for its size, using a next-generation convection heating system to deliver a cloud that’s smooth, thick and flavourful. The internal mechanisms are encased in a tough but exceptionally lightweight Kirksite Alloy Unibody that gives the Fury Edge Vaporizer its featherlight feel. Throw in some great battery life and you’ve got yourself an amazing package!

Top 3 Conduction Vaporizers

The Pax 3 offers a great balance between portability and performance. It’s one of the smallest vapes on the market, with sleek professional aesthetics and vapour quality to match. If that wasn’t enough, the Pax also provides first class battery-life, making it the go-to pocket-friendly portable for many users.

If you’re not a fan of electronics, the DynaVap provides unbelievable vapour quality without any need of a battery. This makes it the perfect portable for things like camping and hiking. Another huge plus is its size; the M is easily one of, if not THE smallest portable we’ve seen to date.

The DaVinci IQ is the first vaporizer on the market to feature a 100% ceramic zirconia airpath and mouthpiece for superior flavour and superb vapour production. This enables users to experience the great flavour which glass provides, while being more durable and efficient. Temperature control is another strong suit for the IQ allowing full digital temperature control to the degree as well as many other features via smartphone Bluetooth connectivity. To top it all off, it’s tiny!

Still Struggling to Choose?

Remember that you can always contact us for a friendly chat – we’d be more than happy to offer one-on-one guidance, and we love helping our clients to find the perfect vape. Just send a message via our contact form or, if you’d prefer to chat on the phone, call us on 1300 088 112.

Conduction vs. Convection Generally speaking, all vaporizers operate on the same basic principle. They use gentle and persistent heat to activate organic compounds without causing combustion or releasing harmful contaminants. However, different vaporizers achieve this process in different ways. Some vaporizers use dire ]]>