Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 2, 2023

The most classic way of consuming weed has always been smoking a joint or a bong. However, in recent years, vaporizing weed has been gaining traction due to its functionality and the absence of harshness of the vapor.

Vaporizing, or colloquially called vaping, has been around for a while now, but only in the recent decade has the interest in it dramatically increased. Many weed users who want to try a new way of consuming weed or who are sensitive to smoke are switching to vaping.

These days, many new vape models are hitting the market, and all of them are optimized to offer the best vaping experience. If you’re someone who enjoys smoking dry herbs but is thinking of switching it up a bit, you might want to try a dry herb vaporizer, which is what we’ll talk about in this article.

What Types of Devices Are Vaporizers?

A vaporizer, or a vape, is a device designed to heat cannabis to a certain temperature that turns the active ingredients into vapor. A dry herb vaporizer is designed to vaporize cannabis flowers or other plant materials, while “regular” vaporizers are designed to vaporize cannabis concentrates and extracts, also known as dabs.

The majority of vape models are designed to heat the weed to a temperature below the point of combustion, or between 356 to 374 Fahrenheit. This temperature range is optimal for the cannabinoids (THC and CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids to be extracted from the plant material safely without any loss of potency. This also makes the vapor a lot cleaner and easier on the throat and lungs.

In comparison, smoking cannabis heats up the weed to 1000 Fahrenheit, which is way beyond the point of combustion for cannabinoids. As the plant material burns, a large amount of the cannabinoids are destroyed and a lot of toxic byproducts and carcinogens are released through the smoke, similar to cigarettes.

Different Types of Vaporizers Offer a Unique Vaping Experience 

There are many types of weed vaporizers depending on what form of cannabis they vaporize, their portability, and what heating method they use. Let’s check them out.

Portable Vaporizers vs. Desktop Vaporizers

Depending on their portability, vaporizers can be either portable or stationary. Stationary vaporizers, also known as desktop vapes, need a flat and steady surface to be placed on. They have in-built temperature control which allows the user to change the vaping temperature according to their preferences.

Desktop vapes consist of a heating chamber where you put the dry herbs, a heating element or atomizer that heats the weed, a mouthpiece, and a temperature dial. Some models use a bag to collect the vapor which is removed before inhalation, while others feature a long tube that connects the heating chamber and the mouthpiece.

Portable vapes are small and discrete devices that operate in the same way as desktop vapes, only they are much smaller and less bulky. Portable vapes are made up of a chamber where you put the weed, a heating element that heats the weed, a battery that activates the heating element, and a mouthpiece. They also have inbuilt temperature settings for a better experience.

Dry Herb Vaporizers vs. Cannabis Concentrate Vaporizers

Apart from dry herb vapes, there are vapes that are designed to vaporize cannabis concentrates and extracts. These cannabis products are also known as dabs and include cannabis oil, budder, shatter, wax, and rosin, among others. 

A subtype of portable vapes are vape pens which have a more sleek design that looks a lot like a regular writing pen. Vape pens are different from vaporizers in that instead of a refillable chamber, they come with a prefilled cartridge that needs to be replaced once it’s empty.

Conduction vs. Convection Heating Method

Finally, weed vaporizers utilize one of the two heating mechanisms – conduction or convection. Some models are hybrids and utilize both to get the best of both worlds.

Conduction Vapes

The conduction heating method means that there is direct contact between the dry herbs and the source of heat. In most vape models, the heating element (which is usually made of metal) heats the walls of the herb chamber where the weed is. The dry cannabis plant material comes into direct contact with the heated walls of the chamber which causes it to start vaporizing.

Conduction vapes heat the dry herbs quickly and produce great amounts of vapor. They are also generally more affordable and simple to use. However, since the weed comes into direct contact with the heat source, there is an increased risk of combustion. 

Additionally, the heat distribution is uneven as the herbs closest to the heat source get vaporized first, so in order to vape properly, you’ll have to rearrange the herbs in between hits.

Convection Vapes

Convection vapes work like convection ovens in that the weed doesn’t come into direct contact with the heat source because there is a screen between the two. The weed is heated up by hot air that’s circulating around it which gradually heats it and vaporizes it. 

The hot air is delivered to the herb chamber through the airflow from the inhalation or a small internal fan. The hot air heats the dry plant material gradually and evenly and allows for optimal vaporization of the active ingredients. The heating element is made of ceramic for most convection vapes, which retains the heat very well and allows for more accurate temperature control (some vapes have a stainless steel one).

Overall, convection vapes are a better choice for vaping because the risk of combusting the herbs is greatly reduced, the vapor is very smooth, and there is no need to adjust the herbs to heat them evenly. However, due to the technology and the materials used, convection vapes are more pricey. They also don’t heat up as quickly as the conduction vapes.

The Takeaway – Vaporizers Are Handy Devices to Use if You Want to Replace Smoking or Try Something Different

Out of the many types of cannabis products present on the cannabis market today, vaporizers are among the more popular primarily because they’re handy and offer a smoother way of consuming cannabis. While smoking combusts the plant material and destroys part of the active ingredients, vaporization heats weed at lower temperatures, just enough for the cannabinoids and terpenes to be extracted.

There are many types of vaporizers of which portable vapes and vape pens are the most commonly used. When choosing a vaporizer, you’ll come across two different methods of heating the dry herbs – conduction and convection. While they’re both effective, convection vapes are considered slightly superior, but they’re also pricier. Conduction vapes are also okay, but they don’t vaporize the herbs evenly.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.