Heating Methods for Dry Herb Vaporizers

Heating Methods for Dry Herb Vaporizers

Loki Touch Anodized Chamber

This page is part of our educational series on Dry Herb Vaping. Want to learn more? Check out How to Use a Dry Herb Vaporizer or the benefits of Vaping vs. Smoking.

When it comes to vaping dry herb, the main difference that sets this method of cannabis consumption apart from smoking is how your green is heated. If you thought that all inhalation was created equal, you’re not alone. Vaping cannabis is a relatively recent trend, sparked by health-conscious consumers with access to new technology that was never available before.

In the olden days, you’d have to smoke or eat your cannabis to enjoy all it’s awesome medicinal and recreational effects. Edibles are a great way to enjoy your cannabis, with long-lasting body and mental effects. But, edibles take up to 4 hours (sometimes more) to kick in, and who has that kind of time? While smoking is one of the most traditional and popular ways to consume, it can be messy and harsh on your lungs, not to mention a major waste of green.

There are three main types of heating methods for vaporizers today. Those are conduction heating, convection heating, and induction heating. Read on as we break down the differences between conduction vs. convection, and check out our separate piece on induction heating.

Conduction Heating

The first type of vape heating method that we’ll cover is conduction. With this type of heating method, your dry herb will be in direct contact with a heat source within the chamber.

In most conduction vaporizers, your herb will rest directly on the heat source, which is usually a dish made of metal or ceramic. The dish is heated from below by a powerful battery, and heated to convert your dry herb into vapor, activating the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids that give you the medicinal and recreational effects of your cannabis.

pax 3 design
The Pax 3 is stylish, sleek, and is small enough to slip into anyone's pocket.

What are the Pros and Cons of conduction vapes?

Conduction Vaporizer Pros:
  • You can enjoy your dry herb without much risk of toxic residue
  • Conduction is popular because these types of vapes tend to be cheaper
  • Easy to use for new dry herb vapers
  • Fast warm-up times
  • Your vape clouds will be big and full, great for cannabis consumers that like the visual experience of smoking

Conduction Vaporizer Cons:
  • Conduction heating may unintentionally burn your dry herb, so you could end up inhaling a product that contains smoke along with vapor
  • Uneven heating can cause your herb to burn in patches and pockets, which can end up wasting weed — and no one wants that.
  • You also run the risk of overheating your dry herb in a conduction vape

Coil Heating Conduction Vapes

One thing to watch out for when it comes to conduction vapes is units with coil heating. While most conduction vapes have a metal or ceramic dish where your dry herb comes in contact, coil heating units look more like your stove’s burner plate.

These are often the most budget-friendly “vapes” on the market, but they are going to have the most uneven heating and can combust your dry herb in a lot of places, producing smoke, not vapor.

Who Should Use Conduction Vapes?

pax 3 kit
The fully loaded Pax 3 kit includes three different oven lids (bottom right) for a full load, half load, and wax concentrates.

All in all, conduction vapes are great for new and experienced dry herb consumers alike that prefer to vape their cannabis instead of smoking. There are conduction models on the market like the Pax 3 and DaVinci IQ that look cool, are easy to use and offer both budget-friendly and more high-end options. But if you want to inhale true, pure vapor, convection vapes are the way to go.


For the vaping enthusiast or new dry herb vaper that demands the best of the best, convection vapes are the way to go. Here’s why.

When it comes to vapes, convection heating refers to the passing of heated air over dry plant material. Just like conduction, convection vapes ensure that there is very little chance that your green is combusted, which reduces the chance that toxins like carcinogens are released during the heating process of your cannabis. What you pull when you inhale is smooth, clean vapor, packed with THC, CBD and other active cannabinoids, without harmful smoke byproducts.

Firefly 2 review
Convection vapes draw heat into the chamber instead of applying heat directly to your dry herb. The Firefly 2, pictured here, is on of the most popular models for portable convection dry herb vapes.

The heating elements of convection vapes exist outside the herb chamber, so the heated air is then drawn into the herb chamber to evenly heat your green from all sides.

What are the pros and cons of convection vapes? Let’s break it down.

Convection Vape Pros:
  • There is no risk of combustion, so your inhales are pure and toxin free
  • Convection heating reaches all your herb at once, vaporizing your green more efficiently
  • If you’re looking for the most high quality and flavorful vapor, convection is the way to go

Convection Vape Cons:
  • Warm up time is much slower
  • Visible vapor is minimal, which is a negative aspect for cannabis consumers that like the visual aspect of their exhale

utillian 721 review features
This is how the Utillian 721 vape looks from the inside out. A quite spacious convection heating chamber.

When shopping for your first or next convection vape, keep an eye out for models that offer precision heating and high quality vapor, like the Firefly 2 or Boundless CFC. There are many other convection vape models out there that will elevate vaping experience both at home and on the go, too.

Reusing Your Vaped Weed

Another major perk of convection vapes is that you can give your vaped weed a second life. Many people don’t realize this and throw out their vaped weed after each sesh, but save that stuff! It still has some activated THC and CBD left in it, and vaped weed can be cooked into butter or oil for making delicious edibles.

DaVinci IQ Portable Weed Vaporizer zirconia pearl and glass spacer
The IQ delivers cool and flavorful with, or without, the glass spacers.

When you think of the value you get from vaping when you can reuse your vaped weed again to enjoy it’s medicinal and recreational benefits, it makes a high quality convection vape a no brainer.

Who Should Use Convection Vapes?

When shopping for your first or next convection vaporizer, be sure to read reviews online for the best convection vapes and look at each unit’s details to find the vape that’s right for you. Convection vapes are more of an investment, but absolutely worth it for the discerning cannabis consumer.


Hybrid (Convection and Conduction)

The final type of vaporizer heating method that we’ll dive into is the hybrid, or convection and conduction vape. If you can’t decide if a convection or conduction vape is right for you, go for a hybrid! Hybrid’s combine the best of both worlds in vaping.

Crafty Mighty differences
The Mighty (left) has analog controls for precise temperature selection, the Crafty (right) uses a smartphone app for that function.

Here’s what to know about today’s most popular hybrid units:

Hybrid Vape Pros:
  • Like stand-alone conduction or convection vapes, there is nearly no risk of combustion, so your vapor is pure and toxin free
  • Hybrid heating vaporizes your dry herb efficiently
  • Portable hybrid vapes are great to use on the go and still produce quality vapor and big clouds

Hybrid Vape Cons:
  • Warm up time can be slower than basic convection vapes
  • Hybrid vapes can be bulky to accommodate for the dual heating system

Crafty review
The Crafty is a hybrid vaporizer, featuring the best of both worlds when it comes to convection and conduction heating power.

When shopping for hybrid vaporizers, selection may be limited as these are very niche vape models. But what is on the market is incredibly high quality and versatile, some like The Crafty can handle both dry herb and cannabis concentrates, too.

Who Should Use Hybrid Vapes?

If you’re looking for a vape that can do the most, a hybrid model might be just what you’re looking for.


Convection vs. Conduction – Conclusion

With so many new vape models on the market today, shopping for the right vaporizer for your needs can be overwhelming. But once you narrow down some key features you’re looking for, it’s easy to find a vaporizer that fits your lifestyle perfectly.

Conduction vs Convection
A visual summary of conduction vs. convection heating.

The main difference between convection and conduction is the composition of the inhale you’re getting. Hits from a convection vape will be harsher but produce bigger, fuller clouds, similar to the effects you’ll get from smoking. Because your dry herb is right on the heat source with convection vapes, you’ll get a stronger throat hit and your green may not be activated as evenly.

While conduction vapes are more top-of-the-line models, for cannabis consumers that prefer smooth, light drags with all the benefits of the THC and CBD from their green, they’re the best on the market. Your exhales won’t be as thick and dramatic, but conduction vapes produce the best, the purest vapor out there.

For those that want the best of both worlds, hybrid is the way to go. These vapes use both convection and conduction technology and allow for smooth yet powerful hits. Best of luck on your search for the best dry herb vape!

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