So you’ve seen the kids these days sucking nicotine out a USB drive and don’t quite get what the hype is about. It doesn’t look that inviting, so why would you ever trade your favorite pipe and herb for a vaporizer? Won’t you miss the full flavor found when smoking? What about the therapeutic twisting of your favorite grinder? If you are forever committed to the rise and grind of your favorite flower but want to try a new twist on dry herb, then it’s time to check out the news on dry herb vaporizers. These are the high-tech cousins to your favorite spoon pipe that allow you to appreciate your herb without sacrificing flavor, quality or ease of use.
For those who have never used a dry herb vaporizer or even a vape at all, we’ll break down the key factors to look at when buying your first dry herb vape and how certain vapes are better suited for different lifestyles.
What to look for when buying a dry herb vaporizer:
One factor that you’ll like the least about dry herb vapes compared to your water pipes and hand pipes: they’ll likely cost a little more. But think about it: before, you were buying a glass or wooden vessel in which to store the herbs and light them up. With a vape, you’re buying a mini oven with precise temperature controls and a sophisticated heating system.
While there are some great dry herb vapes available for as low as $25 (cheaper than most hand pipes), you’ll really get some nice options starting at $100. If you want to go high tech or opt for something that’s a dual use vape made for both concentrates and dry herbs, expect to shell out around $200-300.
Of course, there’s way to save: DopeBoo has some awesome holiday sales you can wait for, and if you’re really not sure if it’s worth the money, most of the quality vapes will have a return policy within the first few weeks of purchasing the vape, so you can try it out for yourself.
Temperature Range & Control
How would you control the temperature when lighting up your pipe? Count how many seconds you burned your herb? Say hello to precision and accuracy with dry herb vapes. Most vapes either have presets to choose from depending on the preferred strength of your vapor, and some like the Grenco vape pen let you choose the precise degree Fahrenheit at which your herb is being heated.
Most vapes will have a range between 200-400 degrees Fahrenheit to choose from, and you should see this on the vape product description before buying. If you’re somebody who loves a really sharp smoke, look for vapes that allow for something on the higher end of that range.
Are you into long seshes? Do you hate refilling your bowl? Take this into consideration when looking at how large the chamber is for dry herb. We like the Mighty and Crafty vapes because you can prefill chambers to have ready to go for later. Also, some chambers are easier to fill than others, like the DaVinci IQ’s sloping chambers that catches any crumbs.
Much like choosing between glass, wood or silicone, vapes have their own materials--especially the inner chamber that holds your herb. We recommend looking for pure ceramic, titanium or quartz glass. As much as you can, try to avoid vapes that contain plastic or glues, as they can release toxins when heated that can be dangerous for your health. Generally, if a manufacturer doesn’t identify the ingredients in their vapes, it likely is a cheaper vape made with plastics, so steer clear of those.
Here’s where dry herb vapes get high tech and delicious: the main difference between a pipe and vape is that a pipe works via combustion: it burns the flower at a temperature between 700-1000 degrees Fahrenheit, creating smoke for you to inhale. A vape, however, works by heating the herb just enough to release vapor from the flower without burning it--this happens between 200-400 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s why there’s no smoke produced by vapes--but there sure are some sick clouds.
Within vapes, there’s two primary methods of heating: conduction and convection. Think back to science class for a minute! Conduction heating relies on heating the chamber itself to warm up the herb, and convection heating warms the air around the herb. While that might not matter to you now, it will when you’re sitting down enjoying your vape. While conduction heating is more common and cheaper to manufacture, there’s a chance it can burn or overheat your herb slightly, resulting in less than optimum flavor. With convection heating, which you can find in the G Pen Elite from Grenco Science, there’s no chance of herb burn. Flavor disaster averted!
Size & Portability
Of course, you’ll want to look at the size of the vape and consider: is this something you want to keep in your pocket for quick and portable seshes, or do you tend to enjoy a nice vape on the couch after coming home from work? For more portable sessions, consider something sweet and simple like the Tetra dry herb vape from Nucleus. For those who like to stay at home with their herb, desktop vapes are a fantastic option: there’s nothing better than the classic Volcano digital desktop vape from Storz & Bickel to enjoy your flowers at home.
Can you connect your spoon pipe to your smartphone via Bluetooth? We didn’t think so. There’s a handful of dry herb vapes that have their very own app through which you can control temperature, lock the vape for safety, and track battery and session length. You can even play games with the PAX 3 in case your smoking buddies have left you. For the techies out there, these apps can be a lot of fun, and they’re a great way to always check that your vape is turned off and know how much battery you have left.
Aside from whether or not there’s an app with your dry herb vape, make sure to check out how long the batteries last and how long it takes to charge. We love the Firefly 2 vape because it goes from zero to 100% charged in only 45 minutes using a simple USB charger. Some vapes, like the PAX 3, also come with a 10 year warranty, which is a great feature too.
Best Dry Herb Vaporizer Brands
While of course you can enjoy dry herbs any way you like, when it comes to dry herb vapes, you’ll want to get a trusted name to ensure your flower is heated to perfection--now is not the time to save on money by buying a cheap vape that could burn your herbs. If quality is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with any of the above vapes, or with the one and only Mighty vape from Storz & Bickel. German construction gives you a delicious vapor that will make you never want to use a pipe again.
Julia, a flower child hailing from Spain, discovered her love of fresh herbs years ago when she accidentally became head of product at a farm in Oregon.
She loves long walks on the beach, accordion music and of course spending time with her favorite Yocan Evolve D (only in blue though). She promises to not bias her blog posts towards vaporizers too much, but no guarantees.