Heating Methods for Dry Herb Vaporizers

Arizer Solo 2 Review

Attention all medical and recreational users:

Next time you take a drag, pay attention to how you light up!

Your heating method is super important. In case you didn’t know, essentially, your heating method is what gives life to your dry herb. It controls the pace and distribution of heat to your botanicals, and activates the desired effects.

With that said, there are three types of heating methods: combustion, conduction, and convection. Some deliver smooth drags while others deliver carcinogenic hits.  Each have their own advantages and drawbacks, so it’s up to you to decide which you prefer. Here at The Vape Guide, we give you the straight facts.

So, listen up! Whether you consider yourself a “cannabisseur”, a “space cowboy” or even a “blastasaurus-rex”, here is all you need to know about dry herb heating methods:


Combustion refers to the process of burning dried plant material to create smoke. For combustion to happen, you need a flame. As a heating method, combustion essentially means to burn your product. And as you’ve probably figured out at this point, combustion is the primary heating method for traditional smoking.

When it comes to your health, combustive smoking is absolutely terrible for you. Most of the smoke you inhale from combustive smoking consists of products you DO NOT want in your body. The smoke consists of products called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which are HIGHLY TOXIC and known to CAUSE CANCER.

Keep in mind, dry herb vaporizers DO NOT use combustion as a method for heating botanicals.

Need more proof that combustive smoking is bad for your health? Watch this.

Need a Different Option?

Dry Herb Vaporizer

You don’t have to give up getting high. Thanks to the latest and greatest technological advancements in smoking, you now have the alternative of vaporizing.

Vaporizing refers to the process of heating dry herbs which are then converted into water vapor (rather than smoke). By using an electronic device called a vaporizer, products are heated just below the point of combustion (392℉).

What makes vaporizing different from combustive smoking is that vaporizing opts to heat your products – not burn them.

At this point, I’m sure you’ve already checked out my article on how dry herb vaporizers work.

For dry herb vaporizers, there exists two primary heating methods – conduction and convection. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know:

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Conduction heating refers to the direct contact of herb on an electrically heated surface. Like convection, conduction produces vapor while avoiding the unhealthy combustion of your products.

In terms of heat transfer, this method requires that your herb rest directly on the heat source, which for most vaporizers is a dish made of metal or ceramic. Products are usually heated from below via a butane-powered chamber.

conduction vaping

In terms of quality, conduction produces a more visible vapor cloud than convection does. If you enjoy performing vape tricks or otherwise the visual experience of vaping, convection heating methods are a better suit for your lifestyle.

All in all, conduction allows you to enjoy your herb without the risk of toxic residue.

However, this heating method is not without its limitations. This type of heating source can be problematic. Oftentimes with low quality vaporizers, convection can burn your herb on the bottom while the top is still usable (due to inefficient heat distribution).

In addition to this problem, you also run the risk of overheating your herb.

But do not let this dissuade you – conduction heating methods have many advantages over convection heating methods. For instance, these products are usually very easy to use and have much faster warm up times. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive in comparison to convection vapes.

The majority of vape pens and portable vaporizers available on the market today use conduction heating methods.

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Convection heating refers to the passing of heated air over plant material. Like conduction, convection greatly reduces the risk of combusting your herbs. Unlike conduction, however, convection methods reach all of your herbs at once, thereby vaporizing your material far more efficiently.

In terms of heat transfer, the heating elements for convection vapes exist outside of the herb chamber. These dry herb vaporizers then intake air from the outside through these heating elements and then draw it through your herb.

vaping convection

In terms of quality, convection clearly comes out in the lead. Vaporizers which employ this heating method are known for their high quality and flavorful vapor.

Because this method distributes heat evenly throughout your herb, you are sure to be deliver a smooth drag every time.

Like conduction, convection also has its limitations. For instance, warm-up times are much slower for convection vapes. In addition, convection methods only produce small amounts of visible vapor (which can be seen as a drawback to visual smokers).

Furthermore, because this is new technology, these vaporizers are typically more expensive and harder to come by.

However, with the utmost confidence, I can assure you that convection vapes are worth it. As the preferred heating method while vaping, convection vapes are very efficient and allow for precise temperature control.

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Conduction vs Convection

Conduction vs Convection – which one is better?

Again, like many aspects of vaping, there is no absolute “better” heating method. It all comes down to your lifestyle and what kind of vaping experience you seek. 

Here’s a quick snapshot of the pros and cons for each heating method:

MethodDirect surface heatCirculated, heated air
Ease of UseUsually easier to useUsually slightly more complicated
Warm-up TimeTypically very fastTypically slower than conduction
Temperature ControlDepends on vape type, but usually limitedExtensive temperature control
Heat DistributionCan be problematic, may overheat herbThorough and evenly distributed
AvailabilityReadily available, many options to choose fromLimited options to choose from
Cost ($)Relatively inexpensiveSlightly more expensive than conduction
Vapor FeelReplicates strong, throat hitSmooth drag
Vapor FlavorUsually not as flavorful as convectionVery flavorful
Visual ExperienceImpressive vaping cloudsSmall amount of vapor produced
Risk of Combustion?No.No.
hybrid vapes convection conduction

Can’t decide which heating method you prefer? 

No problem.

Because innovation never stops in the vape world, there are products that infuse BOTH convection and conduction heating methods called hybrids.

Hybrids offer you the best of both worlds with internal heating chambers for you dry herb and external heating methods for exquisite heat distribution.

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t figured it out already, combustive smoking is far from ideal. But when it comes down to vaping, either heating system will get the job done.

Both convection and conduction avoid the negative health effects of combustion and elicit the desired effects of your product. So, which heating method is for you?

To give a concise answer, conduction is for those who prefer a stronger throat hit while convection is for those who prefer smooth, light drags. And if you want something that conquers the best of both worlds, opt for a hybrid. If you want to see this year’s BEST dry herb vaporizer, look no farther. 

However, if you think dry herb vaping isn’t for you, come check out some of our favorite wax vape pens! These products deliver some powerful highs without the need for dried herb.

We hope this has helped!

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