With many states now legalizing weed, it appears we’ve entered a new era one might call the Stoner age (pun intended!). The use of the cannabis plant is flowering, and the methods by which we consume our weed are ever-changing.
Still, many people’s first introduction to weed has been the good old joint. And while most seem to gravitate toward consuming marijuana through smoking, this practice is slowly changing.
Vaping has been heavily marketed as a replacement for smoking tobacco, but it can also be a means to consume other substances of your choosing—like cannabinoids. So, now that vapes are all the craze, you may wonder what the hype is.
That’s precisely why we’re here—to present you with our all-in-one guide to vaporizers. And who knows, by the end, you may swear off smoking forever and switch over to vaporizing!
The Brief History of Vaporizers
Vaporizers have only recently become popular, but their history goes back thousands of years. Since we became aware we could consume certain herbs and oils, people couldn’t help but think of creative ways to inhale them.
There are two types of heating when it comes to vaporizing—conduction and convection. Both of these are not new but have been a building block for the innovation of vaping devices.
Vaporizers heat the material by making direct contact by using conduction. Meanwhile, convection heating distributes hot air evenly to vaporize. This distinction may seem meaningless to newbies, but it’s vital to how an individual vape functions.
But, before we figured out how to apply these heating methods in our modern-day vapes, they were used by many civilizations in their practices—all long before we had even thought up the first e-cig.
Although we cannot be sure when our liking for inhaling fumes from different seeds, herbs, and oils truly began, we do have some records of its origins.
The practice of vaporizing materials, or vaping, can be dated back to the 5th century B.C. in Egypt. Ancient historian Herotudus mentions a method where people would use red-hot stones to heat hemp seed and inhale the produced vapor.
The hookah, also commonly known as shisha or narghile, is yet another invention that speaks to our enjoyment of dried-herbs vapor. The exact origins of the hookah water pipe are unclear and may remain a mystery we never unravel. However, we do know that since the 16th century, hookah has become a staple of many cultures.
Since its first appearance, the use of this device quickly spread throughout India, Persia, Turkey, and the Middle East. And, by the 21st century, it had reached Europe and America, leaving no place unfamiliar with some form of the water pipe.
The hookah uses coals to heat the herb and produce vapor. That is still wildly different from our modern-day vapes. Still, the basics of heating the material remain the same—they have been implemented innovatively.
In the 20th century, there were several attempts to patent, produce, and commercialize an e-cigarette. Although, none proved to be particularly successful.
The first documented note of an electronic cigarette is a 1930 patent to Joseph Robinson, although it’s unclear whether he ever manufactured a device prototype.
The next attempt at a device was more put-together and a bit more successful. That is possibly the prototype created that closely resembled the modern e-cig.
Herbert A. Gilbert patented the device in the 1960s. However, despite the fact there was a patent and prototypes available, the product did not see commercial success.
Other attempts would follow, with varying levels of success, but none managed to come to a breakthrough until Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik’s electronic smoking device. Hon Lik developed the e-cig in 2003 after his father died of lung cancer as an attempt at a healthier alternative to smoking. That was the original e-cigarette we’re familiar with today.
In 2006, this device was introduced to Europe and the U.S. and rose to popularity. The product quickly became a new and exciting practice many were eager to try.
The vaping industry has come a long way since the early 2000s. However, this e-cigarette remains a crucial part of its history—it crafted the basic model that future vaping devices would follow. The e-cig also created a niche in the marketplace and an audience for this product type.
Benefits of Using Vaporizers
You may have found the rate at which vaping is catching on to be pretty quick—and for a good reason. Vaporizers are different from smoking devices and have unique benefits to offer.
In our guide to vaporizers below, we’ll go through some of their top advantages:
There were many ways to get high before vapes, but these products further expand your selection and heighten the pleasure.
You’ll find the right pick, from the larger desktop vaporizers to light and easy-to-carry portable vaporizers and everything in-between! With vapes being so popular, you’ve got your share of options, regardless of your preferences in a device.
You can choose a device for vaping dried flowers, vape juice, or concentrates. If you look further, you’ll find vaporizers with adjustable temperatures and varying heating levels, and you’ll soon learn that vape atomizers and coils can be products of different materials.
Heading into any reputable online headshop will leave you overwhelmed at the number of options you have regarding vaping devices—in the best way possible.
Smoking is done by combusting materials, bringing an array of health concerns. Even overlooking the content of the substance used for smoking, the smoke itself carries harmful particles like carbon monoxide. On the other hand, vaping produces less toxic second-hand smoke, making it a superior alternative for lung health.
However, the long-term effects of vaping remain mostly unknown, as it’s not been around long enough for us to study all potential health risks. Based on what we currently know, vaping appears to be better for your health when compared to smoking.
Nonetheless, while vaping emerged as a healthier alternative to smoking, it would be irresponsible to parade it as a healthy habit. After all, vaping substances do not decrease your likelihood of dependence. Moderation is key!
Another perk to vaporizing materials instead of burning them is an improved flavor profile. You can control the vaporization temperature and get a greater nuance in taste using advanced devices.
Beyond this, vape juice, or e-liquid, can also come in different flavors. You may not have ever wished explicitly for your cannabinoids to taste like strawberry or cinnamon, but is it not a joy knowing you have that option? Many enjoy flavored clouds and consider it one of the best parts of vaping.
Convenient and Discreet
While this doesn’t necessarily apply to all vaping devices, manufacturers design portable vapes with convenience in mind.
Portable vapes operate with batteries, and you can take them anywhere. Most can glide right into your pocket or bag for vaping on the go.
Pull out the device, click a button, inhale, and put it away again. It’s much easier than lighting an entire cigarette or joint whenever you want to take a hit.
You may recognize the term vape pen. These devices resemble your typical pen, but you are not to confuse them with one! And while you’ll fool no one who sees you taking a drag out of a pen-shaped vape, the device is hardly noticeable when not in use.
This benefit can also fall into the category of “discretion,” although many don’t appreciate the lingering scent of weed wherever they go. Indeed, after smoking, odors tend to stick to our clothes, hair, and surroundings, and getting rid of them isn’t a piece of cake.
On the other hand, vaping reduces the odor produced and the length of its effect. The smell from the vapor should dissipate quickly and go unnoticed.
One can use vaporizers with wax concentrates, which can have four times the potency of dry herb marijuana. You should know there are other ways to use concentrates, but vaping makes it much easier to handle them.
High-Tech Features For More Control
Vaping is more than merely consuming a herb, a liquid, or any material—it’s an experience. What keeps vaping on top and current is innovation. New designs are coming out constantly, and so are new vape features.
All these high-tech additions can enhance your overall vaping experience. Those more experienced in vaping can use added features to customize the vape session to their liking and achieve smoother hits.
Vaporizers may indeed save you money in the long run. You choose when to activate the heating and produce vapor for however many heats you like.
After that, you can put the device away with ease. You’ll be hard-pressed to beat modern-day vapes as far as efficiency goes!
Different Types of Vaporizers
The first noticeable distinction between vaporizers we can find is a matter of size and design. Desktop vaporizers are larger, heavier devices that need to connect to a power outlet. That enables a more impressive and powerful performance but makes them harder to transport and impossible to use on the go.
On the other hand, portable vaporizers use a battery and are compact for transportation. They’re also smaller and often fairly discreet to make this better. Think of vape pens designed to pass for everyday objects—in the form of phone cases and even smartwatches!
However, besides this classification, a notable distinction between vaporizers is which material you can use them with. There can be quite a difference between dry herb vaporizers, oil vaporizers, wax vaporizers, and cig-a-likes. All these are different devices and not interchangeable, as you shouldn’t use the dry herb with a wax vape and vice versa.
Dry Herb Vaporizers
These devices are exactly what the name suggests—vaporizers used to vape dried cannabis flowers or other dried herbs. Vaporizers do not burn the herb but heat it to a boiling temperature without causing combustion. You can do this by using conduction or convection heating, and thankfully, the variety of dry herb vapes seems all but endless these days.
Still, there are three main components to a dry herb portable vape:
- Heating element;
Some devices can have an activation button, while others rely on a pull on the mouthpiece to activate. Portable vapes will also require a charger for the battery.
Whether a desktop or a portable one, all additional features and tweaks a vape can have don’t matter as much. You can compromise and leave out certain qualities, so long as you’re getting a dry herb device you can use to smoke a flower.
Vaporizers dedicated to consuming concentrates are hardly different from any other type of vape. Again, they have three essential elements:
- Energy source, which in portable vapes means a battery;
Depending on the consistency of your concentrate, you can decide whether you’ll need a dab pen or a wax vape.
There are various devices for vaping concentrates: dab pens, e-rigs, e-nails, etc. They all make it much easier to handle tricky concentrate materials and offer a far more potent hit than dry herbs.
It’s best to begin slowly to avoid overdoing it. Pay special attention to how much wax you’re using if you’re new to concentrates, as they’re much more potent than herbs.
Dual-use or multi-use vaporizers can be used for dry herbs and concentrates, making them the perfect choice for those among us plagued with indecisiveness. If you enjoy both materials, there’s no need to decide on just one.
The heating chamber in dual-use vapes can vaporize both dry herbs and concentrates, allowing you to get the best of both worlds with one device.
E-liquid vapes, also known as cartridge vaporizers, use pre-filled cartridges that contain vape juice. The vape juice, or e-liquid, is made up of a few main ingredients:
- Vegetable glycerin;
- Propylene glycol;
- Cannabinoids or nicotine;
You can also add flavorings of various kinds to the liquid. It’s vital to be careful as if you’re not buying from a reputable provider, the e-liquid could contain unknown additives. That’s why it’s imperative to buy vaping equipment only from a place you can trust.
An e-cig is a type of vaporizer and is undeniably the first modern vape to enter the scene. One can use it to vaporize e-liquids that contain nicotine and serve as a more health-conscious alternative to smoking actual cigarettes.
E-cigs are also popularly used in an attempt to quit smoking, although they don’t always lead to the successful transition to non-smoker one would hope for. E-cigarettes are cartridge vapes, and they can be disposable and reusable. However, the main difference is that e-cigs take on the appearance of a cigarette.
How Much Do Vaporizers Usually Cost?
After we’ve just gone through the various types of vaporizers on the market, surely you didn’t expect pricing to be a simple topic. With many kinds of vapes and numerous possible additional features—the price point will fluctuate.
However, let’s do a quick overview in our guide to vaporizers of what you can expect to see when looking for one:
Desktop Vaporizer Prices
Tabletop devices don’t operate on a battery so they can offer much more performance. Their size and need to be plugged in make them less portable but more potent.
Desktop vaporizers don’t do for a low price either—after all, you get what you’re paying for! Expenses can range, although you’ll struggle to find a piece that goes for less than $70. The truly impressive vaporizers go up in the hundreds of dollars, and some even approach a thousand.
Portable Vaporizer Prices
Portable vapes are a lot more common and affordable. Either way, a vaporizer will always be an investment, and your first purchase will likely be more expensive than simply purchasing a cigarette or rolling paper.
Disposable vape pens can go for less than $10, although you have to consider the accumulating cost of disposable devices if you mean to vape continuously.
The most affordable type of device is the e-liquid vape, followed by the wax vaporizer. The dry herb vaporizers boast the highest prices. Even though portable vapes can cost over a hundred dollars, they are still more affordable than tabletop vaporizers.
Humidifier and a Vaporizer
While on the topic of vaporizers, there’s one distinction we want to shine a light on—the difference between humidifiers and vaporizers. If you’ve never used either, we explain what sets them apart and their unique benefits below.
In short, a humidifier applies moisture by dispersing cool mist into the air. Different humidifiers may use one-of-a-kind methods to break up water into tiny particles—but the result is all the same.
Similarly, we already discussed how vaporizers could use different heating methods. Unlike humidifiers that serve to add moisture, vaporizers boil a substance to create vapor that is full of the substance’s active ingredients.
These devices may be similar—they both break up materials into tiny particles we can inhale. However, they have entirely different purposes.
A humidifier increases humidity and moisture, typically in larger spaces such as rooms. Meanwhile, vaporizers are more localized and serve as a means to consume some materials.
Smoking vs. Vaporizing
We mentioned that vaping often presents as a smoking alternative. However, what is the real difference between smoking and vaporizing?
For starters, smoking requires combustion and burning. This process produces smoke that we then inhale. It’s worked well for many stoners for a long time, but if we could do without the flames, smoke, and carbon monoxide, why wouldn’t we?
Here’s where vaporizing differs. Regardless of the heating method used, convection or conduction, vaporizing a substance means heating it enough to boil and vaporize it, but not so much that it combusts and burns.
Dabbing vs. Vaporizing
While we light up dried herbs, we don’t necessarily burn our wax concentrates. So, how does vaping differ from dabbing?
There isn’t a groundbreaking difference. Ideally, you’d want to produce vapor with your dabs. However, without experience and the proper accessories, this can be challenging.
You can expose the material to higher temperatures while dabbing and produce smoke and vapor.
The most notable difference is that, unless you’re using an e-nail, you’ll need a butane torch to hit dabs, whereas vaporizers use an atomizer as a heat source.
Can You Bring a Vaporizer on a Plane?
If you like to travel, it may be a relief to you that you can bring your vaporizer onto a plane. However, it’s not as simple as chucking the device into your suitcase!
You may bring vaporizers onto a plane, but only if you put them in a carry-on bag. You shouldn’t put your vape or batteries in your check-in luggage. You should also make sure that battery terminals are safe from short circuits.
Now, it’s not a terrible thing to carry the device with you. After all, if you’re using a portable vape, that’s how you’d transfer it anyway. However, although you can have vape products on you, vaping is prohibited on airplanes.
Whether you can use the device before your flight depends on the airport and their designated smoking spaces; nonetheless, you cannot activate your vape once you board. It’s best to take measures to prevent accidental activation, such as dismantling your device before boarding.
Keep in mind that airlines don’t all operate the same, so it’s always best to double-check before it’s time to board. It’s also wise to check the vaping laws and regulations before visiting a foreign territory.
Are Vaporizers The Same as Vapes?
Most people would consider “vaporizer” and “vape” interchangeable. However, some call e-liquid vaporizers vapes and herbal devices vaporizers.
There is also the question of whether devices that produce vapor but do not use an atomizer are vaporizers. Can we consider dab rigs vaporizers? Well, one couldn’t be wrong for doing that, although in most cases, when we refer to a vaporizer, we’re talking about an electronic device.
Thus, many would only call e-rigs vaporizers. For the most part, however, the terms are relatively interchangeable.