Vaporizers & Vaping

A Comprehensive Guide to Dry Herb Vaporizers

Gabi Antunes

Jul 23, 2019

Cannabis flower is a tried-and-true favorite of consumers in legal markets, even as edibles, concentrates, and other unique products rise in popularity. For consumers who don’t wish to combust their materials, the common go-to is a dry herb vaporizer, which heats cannabis materials to the precise temperature needed to release vapor. The result is a clean taste, preserved flavor, and efficient use of material, making vaporization a favorite of many cannabis consumers in medical and adult-use markets.

The term “dry herb vaporizer” encompasses a vast array of devices, models, and features. Here, we’ll review how dry herb vaporizers work, the model types available, and a brief how-to on how to choose the best dry herb vaporizer for you.

What are the components of a dry herb vaporizer?

A dry herb vaporizer is an electronic device capable of converting solid cannabis material such as cannabis flower into an inhalable vapor. Most dry herb vaporizers contain the following components:

    1. Heating element: This component is crucial to your dry herb vaporizer, as it heats your material to its boiling point. Some vapes employ conduction heating methods, which warm material directly, while others use convection heating, which involves the flow of hot air over the cannabis material.There are two primary methods by which material is heated and vaporized: conduction heating or convection heating.
      • Conduction heating occurs when material is heated directly by the heating element, either a tray the material is placed on or a conductor that surrounds material on all sides. The materials are heated directly until it reaches the set boiling point.
      • Convection heating works indirectly, involving the flow of hot air over the material prior to inhalation. Some vaporizers employ a fan to force heated air through the chamber, vaporizing the material as it passes. Other vapes rely on your inhalation to draw the heated air up through the chamber, into the vapor path, and through the mouthpiece.
    1. Power source: Driven by a rechargeable battery or by plugging into an outlet, the power source is what drives the device’s heating element.
    2. Temperature controls: Whether controlled with a knob, a one-button setting, digital interface, or a mobile app, dry herb vaporizers often come with a way to adjust the temperature so you can perfect your vaporization experience.
    3. Chamber or oven: The chamber or oven is the location on the vaporizer where you load your dry herb material. On many vapes, chambers or ovens are concealed by a magnetic or screw-in cap that can be easily removed to pack the material and then replaced before turning on the vaporizer.
    4. Mouthpiece: The mouthpiece is an essential part of any vaporizer, as that is how you draw in the vapor created when your material is heated. Some vaporizers include sensors that can tell when your lips are present or you are inhaling, allowing the device to activate automatically.

Different types of dry herb vaporizers

  • Vape pens: Vape pens are slender, lightweight devices named for their resemblance to pens. Dry herb vape pens include a small chamber or oven, and often include a one-button functionality. Some vape pens also include multiple temperature settings, which you can cycle through using the single button on the device or through a connected mobile app.
  • Portable vaporizers: Portable vaporizers are generally more advanced than vape pens, with the same inner workings as a desktop vaporizer. Yet, they remain compact, mobile, and relatively discreet. Some dry herb vaporizers, like the PAX 3, offer support for concentrates as well, in case you ever want switch up cannabis materials.
  • Desktop vaporizers: Desktop vaporizers are large, powerful units designed for stationary use. Desktop vapes produce a great deal of vapor and often have a wide range of settings to choose from. Oftentimes, desktop vaporizers must be plugged in prior to use.

How to choose the best dry herb vaporizer

There’s plenty of variety within each vaporizer category, from basic no-frills units to devices with Bluetooth® connectivity and advanced temperature and session setting features. Deciding which one is right for you is largely a matter of the experience you are trying to achieve and how much you want to spend. When shopping for a vaporizer, ask yourself the following:

  1. How long is my typical session? If you like a long session, you may want to look for a vaporizer with a strong battery life or an AC power cord. You’ll also want to look for features that conserve cannabis material, like automatic cooldown during inactivity. A larger oven is also a key consideration, because longer sessions typically mean you’ll be using more material.
  2. How much control do I want over temperature? Temperature is key when vaporizing cannabis because you can influence flavor and vapor production. Some dry herb vaporizers have limited temperature control, while others can be set to the precise degree. For your vaporizer to offer a complete experience, you’ll need to be able to control your temperature settings.
  3. Is discretion a priority? If discretion is important to you, then the size of your vaporizer matters. Perhaps even more importantly, the density of vapor production should factor into your decision. A small vape that produces little vapor will always be more discreet than a powerful unit that produces large vapor clouds.
  4. Do I want advanced features? Some vapes support a more individualized experience, utilizing Bluetooth® connectivity and a mobile app to grant unprecedented insight into — and control over — your device. These features are key for true personalization of your vaporization experience, but these models often come at a higher price point.
  5. How easy is it to clean? A clean vape will last longer and provide higher-quality sessions. The ease with which you can clean the chamber and vapor path after a few sessions should factor into your decision.

Dry herb vaporizer options from PAX

If you’re only looking to vaporize dry herb and don’t want to be bothered with a model compatible with concentrates, the PAX 2 is a great portable vaporizer that employs conduction heating and offers an unparalleled ease of use. The oven can hold up to 0.35 grams of material Its powerful oven heats in under a minute, with four different temperature settings ranging from 360°F to 420°F. The PAX 2 preserves your material by detecting when you’re not actively using it, dropping the temperature by about 9°F for every 20 seconds of inactivity. That way, you don’t have to worry about needlessly vaporizing material until you’re ready to inhale. This superior functionality is housed in a sleek, lightweight device that is just 4″ tall and 1.2″ wide.

The PAX 3 builds on the PAX 2’s success, offering more advanced features while retaining the large oven size and compact design. Not only does the PAX 3 provide the option to vaporize concentrate material, but you can connect the device to the PAX Mobile application to open a whole new world of exciting features, such as precise temperature control, profiles to support a desired effect, and a lock/unlock control. PAX 3 is also compatible with concentrate material, switching seamlessly between dry herbs, oils, and waxes.

Dry herb vaporizers offer a better way to consume

Dry herb vaporizers offer a discreet and easy way to consume your preferred cannabis material. You’ll still have the same experience with cannabis flavor you’ve come to love, without the mess and smell of more traditional consumption methods. Whether you go for a more advanced device or a simple dry herb vaporizer, there are plenty of choices available to you. So, what are you waiting for? There’s a whole world of dry herb vaporizers just waiting to be explored!