Anatomy of a Dry Herb Vaporizer
All dry herb vaporizers consist of three essential parts, the battery, the herb chamber, and the mouthpiece. The body that houses these parts can come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and can be constructed from a variety of different materials. But every weed vape needs those parts in order to function.
You also have the electronics that govern functions like heating levels, the auto shutoff feature, as well as extra functions like haptic feedback. They are also a vital and necessary part of dry herb vaporizers, but since they are more technical in nature, they won’t be covered here.
This is the powerhouse of any dry herb vaporizer so keeping it topped up is a necessity. The batteries of weed vapes can either be fixed or removable. The capacity of each type of battery is measured in mAh, which stands for milliamp hours. The bigger the capacity, the more powerful and longer-lasting the battery. However, recharge times also increase with capacity. Whether a battery is fixed or removable is not usually a consideration when making a purchase, but it helps to know their attributes, differences, advantages, and disadvantages.
These batteries are integrated into the design of the vaporizer and cannot be removed. The main advantage of this kind of battery is its convenience since there is one less accessory or component to worry about. Many vaporizers use a fixed battery because it gives them more leeway with the design since designers can put the battery wherever they need it to be.
Fixed batteries are charged using a USB port, which adds to their convenience since USB ports are prevalent on most large electronic devices and charging stations are becoming more common. As with all electronic devices that use rechargeable batteries, they will wear down eventually, and when they do, the whole device needs to be replaced. Fixed batteries can be found in vaporizers like the Pax 3 or Arizer Solo 2.
These are rechargeable batteries that can be removed from the vaporizer and charged separately if you have the necessary equipment to do so. They can also be charged while inside the vaporizer, but this method takes longer than the separate charging technique. The removable batteries are not the AA or AAA types you can find in your local pharmacy. The removable batteries used in dry herb vapes are usually 18350 or 18650 Li Ion (lithium ion) batteries. They are more expensive and less common than the batteries you can purchase in convenience stores, however, they are not too hard to find since you can order them online.
Removable batteries are great because you can always have a fresh one ready to replace one that has died. So, if you plan well enough, you will never be without an unpowered vaporizer. The downside is that you need an external charger for that to work, which means buying another accessory. Also, removable batteries have a limit to their capacity, whereas, with a fixed battery, the designers can use a battery with a capacity as large as the vaporizer can manage. Since dry herb vapes, like the DaVinci IQ and Arizer Air 2, that use removable batteries usually only use one at a time, they generally have a shorter life than vapes with fixed batteries.
Also called the oven, this is where the herb is placed, heated, and vaporized. The material used in the herb chamber varies depending on the vaporizer, stainless steel was common in older vapes, but now most use ceramic. That is because it heats up quickly, retains heat well, and doesn’t affect the flavor of the herb.
Quartz is becoming a more common material because it is even more pure than ceramic. It doesn’t heat up as quickly as ceramic, so vapes that use quartz, such as the Linx Gaia or Pulsar Flow, have longer heat up times, but the flavor is usually very good, so that is an acceptable tradeoff for most users.
The herb chamber also factors into the type of heating used in the weed vape. The heating methods are conduction and convection or a hybrid of the two. With conduction heating, the heating element is in direct contact with the herb, while convection heating uses hot air to heat and vaporize the herb. Herb chambers come in different sizes, with the smaller ones better suited for solo users and larger ones better for group sessions or heavier users.
This is where you inhale the vapor so it’s a vital component of any dry herb vaporizer and there are several factors about the mouthpiece that can affect the vaping experience.
Mouthpieces can be tapered, flat, or cylindrical, and each shape gives you a different experience. Tapered mouthpieces start out wide and get narrower as they reach the tip. These types of mouthpieces tend to feel comfortable because they fit the lips naturally.
Flat mouthpieces sit flush on the vaporizer and have a small opening on one side from which the user inhales. These tend to feel a little awkward because inhaling feels a little unnatural. However, these kinds of mouthpieces don’t take up a lot of space, so they are usually used on smaller, more portable-friendly vaporizers. They also help to retain the overall design language of certain vaporizers.
Cylindrical mouthpieces are a popular design option because of their comfortable mouth feel and because of their increased length over the other mouthpiece types, a positive attribute which will be elaborated upon in the next section. The downside to these mouthpieces is that their increased length can make transportation more tricky since they stick out more. However, some vapes, like the Crafty/Mighty and X Max Starry, feature swiveling mouthpieces that alleviate that problem.
The longer the mouthpiece the better. That is because a long airpath gives the hot vapor from the herb a better chance to cool down before it reaches the user. This is especially important if the mouthpiece is located right above the herb chamber, as it is with many vaporizers. The straw-like mouthpieces have an advantage here since they are the longest. The flat mouthpieces have the shortest airpath, while the tapered ones are somewhere in between.
A material that keeps cool and doesn’t affect the flavor of the vapor is ideal. Most vaporizers use plastic, hard rubber, or silicone since they are relatively inexpensive and easy to mold. They are good options but for flavor purity and vapor cooling, glass mouthpieces are the best. On the negative side, they are more rigid and fragile than the other mouthpiece materials. Plus, their length can make transportation unwieldy, though vaporizers like the Arizer Go has a retractable glass mouthpiece that is very convenient.
Of course, you should not be inhaling from the vaporizer while this process is going on. Also, most vapes have an auto-shutoff feature where they cut the power after a few minutes. So you will need to turn the device back on when that happens and continue doing so for a few minutes.
After five minutes, open up the vaporizer so that the oven is exposed and give it a sniff, if you still detect even a faint hint of plastic, then continue the burn off the process for another five minutes. If you don’t smell anything, then you’re good to go and can use your vape with weed for the first time.