How Dry Herb Vapes Work

How Does a Dry Herb Vaporizer Work?

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Dry herb vaporizers are hot in today’s market.

Rather than smoking bud, many people are turning to dry herb vaporizers for their “Reefer”. With smooth and flavorful hits, it’s no wonder why dry herb vapes have become such a hit. Still, their skyrocketing popularity might leave you wondering:

“How the f*ck do dry herb vapes work?”

Well, wonder no more. Here is a comprehensive look:

What is a Dry Herb Vaporizer?

atmos tyga vaporizer

Vapes designed to heat herbs in their natural bud form are widely known as dry herb vaporizers.

Certain aromatics, flowers, and herbs can be dried, crushed, and then inserted into your dry herb vape. This dried plant material can be used for meditative practice, medicinal application, and recreational use.

While smoking, the vape oven chamber is what heats up your dry herbs. This is then released as a vapor and inhaled.

Dry herb vapes have flooded the market with a wide selection to choose from. Such products include pen vaporizers, portable vaporizers, and desktop vaporizers. But what is the difference?

With so much to choose from, sometimes you just need to break down the basics. Here at The Vape Guide, we are here to help you:

atmos tyga vaporizer

Vaporizer Pens

Alternatively called “vape pens”. These are small vapes that fit in the palm of your hand like a pen. These are discrete, easy to handle, and cheap in comparison to portable and desktop vaporizers. However, be mindful when using vape pens that you do not overheat or burn your product. Overall, if portability and stealth are what you are looking for, then vapes pens are meant for you.

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Portable Vaporizers

This refers to vaporizers that are slightly larger than vape pens and can be taken on the go. If you are an avid traveler and vaping enthusiast, portable vaporizers are highly recommended for you. While these products are not as discreet as vape pens, their vapor quality is generally more flavorful and smooth.

best desktop vaporizer 2015

Desktop Vaporizers

Alternatively called stationary vapes. These generally “stay at home”. With larger dimensions and charging systems which require outlets, desktop vapes cannot be easily taken on the go. However, for what they lack in portability, they make up in quality. These products generally deliver a higher quality vapor due to their convection heating sources.

Despite the wide selection, all dry herb vaporizers essentially break down into the following components: an energy source, an herb chamber, a heating source, and a delivery system. Here’s a quick component overview:

  • The energy source provides power for your vape. This may be battery-powered or flame-powered.
  • The herb chamber, or bowl, holds and heats your desired plant material via a heating source (usually a coil).
  • The heating method is what gives life to your vape; the heating element controls the pace and distribution of heat for your botanicals. Types of heating methods include conduction, convection, and radiation.
  • The delivery system works to transfer vapor from the herb chamber to the user. Types of delivery systems include whip tubing, balloon style, and direct draw.

While the herb chamber is essentially the same in all dry herb vapes, other components such as the energy source, heating method, and delivery system vary widely. With so much variety in today’s market, it is easy to be confused.

Need a more thorough breakdown of your options? Here’s the deal:

A. Types of Energy Sources

Tourist Battery

Battery/ Electric Power

Battery powered vapes are as straightforward as they sound. Powered by a battery, these vapes are typically rechargeable and/or have interchangeable batteries depending on your vape. Most vapes on the market today are battery powered.

? Note: Be sure to do your research because there are some non-replaceable battery vapes.

Butane flame powered vape

Flame Power

Because batteries die, some people prefer flame-powered vapes. Flame powered vapes remove the need to recharge or change batteries. As long as you have a flame, users are able to simply light up and go. For these vapes to work, this energy source requires that you keep track of butane levels.

? Note: Keep in mind that flame-powered vapes have a high tendency for combustion (which is responsible negative health consequences).

B. Types of Heating Methods

conduction vaping


Conduction heating refers to the direct contact of herb with an electrically heated surface.

That being said, this type of heating source is often problematic. Oftentimes, these vapes burn herb due to inefficient heat distribution. In addition to this dilemma, conduction heating also makes it difficult to regulate the temperature of vaporizers.

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

vaping convection


Convection, or the passing of heated air over plant material, is the preferred heating method while vaping.

Because this method reaches all of your herbs at once, it vaporizes material far more efficiently than conduction. In addition, convection vaporizers are typically made out of ceramic which retains heat very well.

In terms of efficiency and even heat distribution, convection heating is the way to go when vaping.

C. Types of Delivery Systems

whip tubing vape

Whip Tubing

A “whip” essentially consists of a wand, tubing, and a mouthpiece (refer to image).

Whip tubing is made out of silicone piping and is typically three feet long. The wand serves as a glass connection that holds your herbs over the heating element and contains a screen to avoid “scooby snacks”, or tiny pieces of weed that go into your mouth.

vaporizer bag and balloon

Bags and Balloons

Balloon style vapes use food grade plastic bags to capture and share vapor. The bags attach to the unit using a valve that prevents vapor loss. For use, a mouthpiece is inserted into the valve. This allows the bag to be passed around the room.

Concerning bags, oven-roasting bags can serve as cheap replacements.

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Direct Draw

Direct draw is the most common delivery system for portable vapes and vape pens.

Direct draw is as straightforward as it sounds. These mouthpieces are directly attached to the vape and allow vapor to flow directly from the heating chamber to the user. Depending on your vape, this mouthpiece can be removable or permanently attached.

Now that we’ve broken down all the components of a dry herb vape, understanding how it works is pretty straight forward.

The energy source (whether it is battery-powered or flame-powered) provides power for your vape to work. This energy source then powers the heating method of your vape (convection, conduction, or radiation). This heating method in turn heats up your substance so that it transforms into vapor. This vapor is then inhaled via your vape’s delivery system (whip tubing, bags/balloons, or direct draw).

And that’s it! That is how dry herb vaping works!

? Tip: To get the most out of your vape, you need to grind your material to create more surface area for heating. By breaking down your material, heat will be distributed throughout your herb for the release of aromatics and, in reference to weed, the release of cannabinoids.

Therefore, choosing the right grinder is key. For more tips on how you can maximize your herb, check out these 10 weed hacks!

Sutra Mini Temp Settings

Finding the ideal temperature for dry herb vaping really depends on the type of vape you have. Because efficiency and heating method vary across vaporizers, there is no universal “ideal” temperature.

That being said, many agree that the sweet spot for vaporizing weed is around 338°F (vapor begins to rise at about 285°F). At this temperature, cannabinoids can be comfortably inhaled as vapor. If you’re looking for aromatic hits, it is recommended that you start from low temperatures and work your way up to finish your herbs.

Unlike conventional smoking methods, which reach temperatures as high as 2000°F, most of the toxic byproducts of smoking are absent in vapor. This means that vaping elicits a higher desired content of cannabinoids when compared to smoking.

If you still haven’t found your vape’s sweet spot, start at this temperature and find out what works for you. Many dry herb vaporizers feature digital temperature controls which allow you to alter the desired temperature of your vaped herb.

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