You might be looking at that headline and wondering just what the heck is an analog vaporizer. That’s understandable, especially since we tend to review battery powered vaporizers like the Arizer Go or the Atmos Astra 2. However, there’s a whole other category of vaporizers out there, yep, analog vaporizers.
Also known as non-electric vaporizers, flame powered vaporizers, manual vaporizers, or butane vaporizers, because they use butane powered lighters to heat the devices. Many people choose these because they don’t want to be worried about the battery all the time. There are some other benefits, as well as drawbacks, to flame powered vaporizers and I’ll address them all in this article.
The Differences between Flame-powered and Electric Vaporizers
Some of the differences are pretty clear, like the fact that flame powered vaporizers like the DynaVap M use a butane torch to heat up the device and the herb. Whereas electric vaporizers use a battery for the same purpose. There are other differences, like the fact that most butane vaporizers are made of wood, glass, or metal while battery powered vaporizers are usually made from plastic or metal, though some also have glass components.
Electric vaporizers typically have some kind of adjustable temperature control while butane vapes do not. Flame powered vapes allow you to use as much weed as you want in a session. Most digital vaporizers make you use all the weed in the chamber during your session, the exception being on-demand vaporizers like the Ghost MV1. They heat up instantly so you can vape at your own pace.
In general, this also means that digital vaporizers tend to have longer sessions than butane vaporizers. With the latter, you don’t need to pack the chamber to capacity for it to work properly. Digital vapes tend to be more expensive than flame vapes since they consist of electrical components and batteries. So what would make someone choose one type over the other? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each type.
The Pros and Cons of Butane Vaporizers
- More reliable power – there is no worry about recharging or replacing batteries that will eventually get worn out
- Cheaper power source – butane refills are cheaper than battery replacements
- A more dependable and durable device – they don’t have any electronic parts that can malfunction or stop working. Also, there’s no worry about software or firmware updates.
- Faster heat times – flame powered vaporizers heat up faster than most electric vaporizers with the exception of on-demand vaporizers
- Higher temperatures, faster – analog vaporizers reach higher temperatures more quickly, this creates more powerful and intense vapor
- Water pipe adaptability – most butane vapes enable the attachment of a vapor cooling water pipe, an option only a few digital vaporizers feature
- Less maintenance – analog vapes are easy to clean and don’t require any specialized care
- Unique designs – butane vapes tend to have unique designs, digital vaporizers tend to follow a box or pen based design formula
- Less discretion – the unique designs of analog vapes tend to stand out and the butane lighter is highly visible and quite noisy
- No temperature control – the vapor is always intense, which might be too much for some people
- Risk of combustion – a careless user might combust the herb through prolonged heating
- Higher learning curve – the heating and inhalation techniques necessary to using a butane vaporizer can take some time to master
Pros and Cons of Electric Vaporizers
- Temperature control – electric vaporizers tend to have some sort of temperature adjustabilty so that the intensity of each session can be regulated
- More discretion – the lack of an external heat source and silent operation mean that most digital vaporizers won’t attract unwanted attention
- Simpler usage – most battery powered vaporizers don’t have much of a learning curve where heating and inhalation are concerned
- Low combustion risk – digital vaporizers usually have an inherent temperature limit below the point of combustion so the herb doesn’t get burnt or charred
- Longer, slower session – the herb isn’t vaped as quickly in electric vaporizers so sessions usually last longer
- Better for medical patients – the low learning curve and less harsh vapor make them ideal for anyone who vapes for the medicinal value
- Easier to share – it’s easier to have group sessions with digital vaporizers since they’re easier to use and there is no need to pass along a heat source
- More expensive – electric vaporizers tend to cost more, especially if they have an extensive feature list
- Battery replacement is inevitable – batteries will eventually run out, requiring a replacement of the battery or the entire unit
- Higher failure rate – more components mean more that can go wrong
Analog vs Digital Vaporizers: Final Thoughts
So there are a lot of differences between the two types of vaporizer and those differences determine the type of user. People who value reliability, durability, and do not want to worry about being tethered to a plug or USB port tend to prefer analog vaporizers. Digital vaporizers are better for anyone who prefers a less harsh experience, values discretion, and wants some form of temperature control over their sessions.
That would describe most users considering the sheer number of electric vaporizers available. However, analog vaporizers occupy a specialized niche in the vaping world. Their higher learning curve probably won’t increase their popularity but their worry-free operation means that they won’t lose ground either. That’s for the best, since it means that there is a place for every one in the vaping world.