Types of Vaporizers
What is a Vaporizer?
How to Smoke Without Smoking
Ah, the vaporizer. Such a broad category, the term might conjure emotions of elation or frustration. It’s a device that heats things hot enough to turn them into a gas, but not so hot that they burst into flames.
Which begs the question, what exactly are we vaporizing? And things get hairy.
Technically, you could vaporize all sorts of things. Water, alcohol, even ketchup.
But when relatively normal people talk about vaporizing, they’re typically talking about either nicotine solutions called e-liquids, or herbs and herbal extracts.
We want all the benefits of the active ingredients found in plants, with as few of the risks of inhaling burnt plant material as possible.
Anatomy of Vaping Devices
The basic design of a vaporizer includes just 4 parts. There’s the battery, the atomizer or coil, the tank, and the mouthpiece.
The battery supplies the power to the coil/atomizer, and can be fixed output or adjustable by either volts, watts, or temperature. Some are small cylinders like a marker, others are larger boxes typically called mods.
The atomizer or coil is the part that actually causes the vaporization by heating up. There are dozens of different designs, but essentially they all involve a wire that heats up, in close proximity to some type of wick or rod placed beneath the tank that holds the material.
Mouthpieces channel the vapor from the atomizer to the user, and may feature splash-guards or even water filtration elements.
Types of Vaping Devices
Dividing vaping devices into categories can be a little ambiguous.
The simplest distinction is based on the type of material to be vaped:
- E-liquid Vapes - thin liquids, typically containing nicotine
- Dry Herb Vapes - for ground herbal material
- Concentrate Vapes - for semi-solid herbal extracts
- Oil Vapes - for thicker oils
- Combination Vapes - any combo of types 1 through 4
Subdivisions of these include:
- E-cigarettes vs. Box Mods vs. Pods
- Portable vs. Desktop
- Dab Pens vs. E-Rigs vs. E-Nails
- Pen-style batteries vs. Mini-Mods
Brands of Vaporizers
Vaporizers, the high-tech devices they are, are notorious for either A) not working well out of the box at all, or B) breaking or failing in some way after a period of use. That’s why choosing vapes that thoroughly tested and well-engineered is a must.
The brand backing a particular product will tell you so much, even before analyzing a particular vaporizer model. Some of our favorite vaporizer brands are Ooze, Yocan, C-Cell, Pulsar, HoneyStick, Dab Ninja, Dr. Dabber, DaVinci, Storz & Bickel, Puffco, Pax, Arizer, Firefly, KandyPens, G Pen/Grenco Science, and Boundless.
With so many sub-par imitation vaporizers being produced overseas, it’s really important not only to buy from a reputable vape brand, but also from a legitimate retailer or wholesaler. You want a company willing to put their reputation on the line when you fork over your hard-earned greenbacks, not some overnight eBay seller.
Best Vaping Setup for Beginners
It’s hard to say what’s the “best” setup for beginners, because everybody’s needs and finances are different. From my personal experience, you don’t want to skimp on vapes. If you do, you’re likely to have a shiny new gadget that just ends up sitting in a drawer somewhere.
If you’re looking for economical value, the Dab Ninja brand is a solid bet. Our workhorses for concentrates are definitely the Ooze Slim Twist (you’ll also need this) and Duplex. As far as desktop options go, the Arizer Extreme Q is a lot of vaporizer for the money. And for portable dry herb vaporizers, the least expensive one that actually does the job (IMO) is the Pulsar APX. At the same time, you might be happier shelling out the extra money and going for a DaVinci Miqro.
Vape Do’s and Don’ts
When in doubt, as can often be the case in vape-shopping, here are a few general rules:
- Do compare the health implications of vaporizing versus smoking.
- Do consider where and what type(s) you’ll be vaping most often.
- Do watch/read a few reviews or comparisons.
- Do invest in a grinder. Surface area is key.
- Don’t buy from unproven brands or sellers.
- Don’t expect a combination vape to perform flawlessly with all materials.
- Don’t be afraid to make the switch.
That about does it ladies and gentlemen! Head on over to our vaporizer section to check out some of the flame-free possibilities.