What is a Vaporizer?

Vaporizing For Beginners

The vaping community has grown immensely over the past few years. Since 2008, the number of vape shops popping up around the country has increased, and sales have reached to $3.5 billion. It is expected that in another ten years, use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers in the United States will surpass the use of cigarettes, explains the popular periodical, Business Insider.

There are many smokers deciding to make the switch to vaping, but what is vaping exactly? What are the different types of vaporizers? What are the benefits of vaping compared to smoking?

To answer all your questions, I am giving you an in-depth guide to getting started in the vaping community.

What is Vaping?

“…to inhale vapor through the mouth from a usually battery-operated electronic device (such as an electronic cigarette) that heats up and vaporizes a liquid or solid” – Merriam-Webster.

Recent studies suggest that vaping is a safer, healthier alternative to tobacco smoking. Instead of lighting up a traditional tobacco cigarette, you can still get the same nicotine high from vaping. This means avoiding the side-effects and health risks that accompany smoking – as well as the stigma. When you smoke a cigarette, you exhale smoke that not only smells terrible but it leaves a stench on your clothes, your breath and even others around you (secondhand smoke). With vaping, there is only vapor (or water vapor) that is emitted. Not only does it dissipate faster than cigarette smoke but it also smells better due to the use of flavored e-liquids. Instead of wasting money on buying pack after pack of cigarettes, you can invest in an electronic device that you can refill and recharge, saving you money…and years!

Vaping doesn’t just apply to e-cigarettes. You can also vape using cannabis products as well such as dry herb, wax, and oils.

How Do Vaporizers Work?

Before we cover how vaporizers work, let’s quickly define what exactly a vaporizer is. A vaporizer is a device that delivers the benefits of either dry herbs or concentrates.

So, now that you know what a vaporizer is, your next question is most likely, “well, how does it work?” A vaporizer heats up dry herbs and concentrates to the ideal temperature – one that is high enough in which vaporization occurs, but low enough that combustion does not occur.

Two methods are used by vaporizers to heat up your flower or concentrates.

Conduction – this method requires that your dry herb or concentrate comes into direct contact with the heating device. This works by placing the herbs or concentrates onto a screen which then heats it directly. This achieves fast vaporization, and some users feel that this method creates a more flavorful vapor. An example of a conduction style vaporizer is the Pax 3. However, using conduction vaporizers can leave behind residue in the heating chambers, so these kinds of devices have to be cleaned often.
Convection – this method heats up dry herbs and concentrates by letting hot air pass in and around the substance from the heating chamber. The benefit of using conduction vaporizers is that it allows you to have more control over temperature and can instantly adjust it just by pushing a button. An example of a vaporizer that uses convection would be a Volcano vaporizer (covered more in detail later). This method helps prevent the risk of combustion which makes the herb last longer.

Vaping History

Most people believe that vaping was only recently established in the 1960s. However, it has been proven that the art of vaping originated in Egypt in the 5th century B.C. Herodotus, who was known as the “Father of History” recorded his encounters with inhaling cannabis vapors in his book, “The History of Herodotus.” At the time, he resided in an area known as Scythia where they would throw weed onto hot stones which would vaporize and then they would bathe in it and inhale it.

1500 years after the first use of “vaping” came the birth of the hookah in present-day Afghanistan. Irfan Shiekh from the Mogul’s Safavid Dynasty invented this ‘waterpipe’ and then introduced it to India.

There is much speculation surrounding who truly invented the first electronic cigarette, but the one who filed a patent on the first e-cig was Joseph Robinson in 1927. While it was never commercially manufactured, Robinson still owns the patents for the first mechanical butane ignition vaporizer used for nicotine.

The electronic cigarette made a stunning comeback later in the 1960s by Herbert A. Gilbert. A Korean veteran, his blueprints are the basis for other modern-day vaporizers. He currently works for Emperor E-Cigarettes.

Between 1990 to 1994, Bill Amato (Eagle Bill) became well known for making cannabis vaporizers attractive. He advocated these vaporizers as a safe alternative to smoking. He has his exhibit in the Sensi Seed Bank’s ‘Hash Museum’ located in Amsterdam. He is credited with inventing the “Shake and Vape” vaporizer which consists of a pipe with a glass bowl where you would place your herbs and then heat up the bottom of the bowl.

Vaping Culture

For many, vaping is not just a hobby or activity. It is a way of life, and there is a vast subculture and fan base for the vaping community. Vaping has taken root with manufacturers selling sponsored gear, bars and online forums specializing in offering a vape-friendly environment, and even a whole sport just for vaping. A sport for vapers? Yep. The vaping world has their competitive sport known as cloud chasing!

Cloud chasing is a competitive sport where vapers (read: cloud chasers) attempt to create the biggest, thickest cloud of vapor possible. Competitors take long, deep draws and then release the vapor. Cloud chasing has become so popular that it has even reached a professional athletic level. Fans who spectate are referred to as cloud gazers.

There are also some vaping enthusiasts that attempt to do tricks with vapor. There are thousands of videos on social media and Youtube of these vapers blowing dense clouds and creating shapes in the air with vapor.

Vaping has spawned the creation of communities for vaping enthusiasts and people who have picked up vaping as a means of quitting tobacco smoking. There is much support for these communities.

Where Am I Allowed to Vape?

This question shouldn’t be all too surprising. Using a vaporizer can resemble smoking a cigarette and can cause someone to ask where they are allowed to vape. Nowadays, cigarette/cigar smoking has been banned from almost anywhere except a few places. Some places do allow vaping, but however, most places do not permit it. I would suggest looking for signs that prohibit smoking. Most of these signs have been adapted to reflect the use of vaporizers and e-cigarettes. If you are unsure, ask an employee of any business that you frequent for their policies on vaping.

The government and the FDA are attempting to apply their regulations about vaping, however, vaping is considered more socially acceptable than cigarette smoking and is allowed in more places. Each city and county have their vaping rules so do your research if you are unsure. As long as you respect the people around you when you vape and are respectful of the rules, there should be no issues.

Different Types of Vaporizers

There are a few various kinds of vaporizers depending on how you want to use it. They have vaporizers for cannabis and vaporizers for those seeking a smoking alternative. There are a variety of vaporizers from table-top, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), vaporizers that use the dry herb, oil or wax, and vaporizers that use a combination of dry herb and concentrates. Best of all, they have vape mods which are customizable for an optimal vaping experience. Let’s take a look.

Table-Top Vaporizers

Table-top vaporizers are perfect for users who primarily smoke at home. These vapes are on the larger side and require a wall outlet for power. They either come with a bag or a large hose-like mouthpiece that fills with vapor so you can enjoy at your leisure. These vapes are not exactly ideal for users who only take a couple of draws and are done, instead, they are perfect for group sessions or users who are comfortable tackling a full bowl on their own.

These vaporizers are not ideal on the portability scale due to their large size. However, these vapes usually come with the best technology found in vaporizers. These vapes are on the higher level as far as cost but offer adjustable and more precise temperature control settings. Keep in mind that some herbs and concentrates vaporize at different temperatures which affect vapor flavor. Invest in a good table-top vaporizer which will vaporize the flower at the optimal temperature to deliver you the most flavorful vaping experience.

Volcano Vaporizer

The Volcano vaporizer by far is one of the most popular tabletop vaporizers. It’s perfect for users who have a flexible budget and are looking for a table-top vaporizer that gives them an amazing vaping experience. It comes in two different designs – Classic and Digital.

The Volcano vaporizer was first established in 2000 by the Storz & Bickel company in Tuttlingen, Germany. It was also one of the first companies to receive an ISO or an International Organization for Standardization manufacturing certification. It’s known for creating top-notch vaporizers in both quality, design, and engineering.

One of the unique features of the Volcano is that it is compatible with a variety of different vaping methods. You can use the balloon method or whip method depending on the length of session and your preference.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

If you are looking for something smaller and more portable, a portable dry herb vape would be your best option. These vaporizers are perfect for enthusiasts who are always on the go, and while most of them are dry-herb only, there are some that are compatible with both dry herb and concentrate. These vapes function the same way as a table-top vaporizer, with the only difference being that they run on a battery and come in a compact design that is suitable for taking on-the-go.

Unlike desktop vaporizers, portable vapes are limited in their features. While some of the more new vapes have more precise temperature control, there are others that lack these features.

Vape Mods

Vape Mods are like regular portable vapes but…on steroids…so to speak! These vaporizers are very customizable with the ability to attach additional parts and are usually more powerful and packed with more features than your standard portable vape. Some of these functions include better build quality, touch-screen functionality, shatter-resistant glass, bigger tanks, and more airflow control. These vape mods range in price from cheap to very expensive.

Vape Mods are optimal for those who want to control their vaping experience. Depending on how you customize your mod, you can create vapor that is easy on the throat and provides a rich and flavorful vaping experience, or, for cloud chasing, you can produce a thick vapor that lets you do vape tricks and make huge plumes of vapor.

There are many different types of box mods you can choose from for your vaporizer. An example of a great vape mod would be the SMOK Alien starter kit.

Oil-Based Vape Pens

Oil vape pens, like dry herb vaporizers, are ideal for users who are looking for something smaller and portable. These vaporizers use concentrates versus flower and are perfect for concentrate enthusiasts who have a low budget but still want an amazing vaping experience.

These vapes are very easy to use. You can use your oil, or you have the option of using concentrate that is already sealed in an oil cylinder.

These vaporizers look just like pens (hence the name “vape pen”) and are very popular because of their inexpensive battery and the oil used is smooth and lasts a long time. While there have been issues with some vape pens concerning battery life and leakage, these occurrences happen rarely. Some vaporizers require you to load your concentrate which is fine if you can’t afford vape pens that use cartridges but it can be tough to achieve the right consistency of oil that would normally be found in cartridge pens.

If you decide to pick up a cartridge-based oil vape pen, note that the oil used can cause different effects compared to other types of cannabis oil. Some describe their experience as focused more on the brain with fewer effects on the body but these experiences vary. Keep in mind that propylene glycol is used to dilute cartridge oils to help mix the oil to the right consistency to vape. If this is a deal breaker, you can always opt for a vape pen that doesn’t use cartridges.


Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs are probably one of the most common vaporizers in the vaping community. These vaporizers are battery-powered, and their design mimics the feel of smoking a tobacco cigarette. They don’t use tobacco but rather e-liquids which come in a variety of flavors and with or without nicotine. They are relatively easy to use by just pushing a button or taking a draw.

There are many brands of electronic cigarettes out there; some look like cigarettes while others look like vape pens and resemble USB sticks. E-cigs range in price with the weaker, disposable electronic cigarettes being on the cheaper side while the higher-quality ones are at the more expensive end.

Where Can I Find Vape Shops?

There are a few different places you can go to purchase vaporizers. First, you can always go to your local convenience store or gas station. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this route since most of these places sell the cheaper products that are not exactly great quality, or the best bang for your buck.

You can check out vape shops online which offer a variety of vaporizers in all types and qualities. There are even discounts and deals you can cash in on (see my list of discount codes below).

However, if you are the impatient type or the type of shopper that prefers to look at and feel the product before you buy, you can always frequent a local vape shop. They usually have a great selection to choose from at a great price. Some vape shops even let you test out different e-liquids and pens in store. If you are not sure where to look, you can always check on Google and type in vape shops and your zip code or city.

Of course, TheVape.Guide provides its reviews and recommendations based on positive experiences with different brands, manufacturers, and affiliate stores. We provide our service in order to point you to the best vape-related resources. We have done the research, which enables you to purchase responsibly – knowing that you’re buying the best products from the best sources.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it. I hope that after reading this guide, of sorts, that you have a better understanding of what vaping is, what kind of vaporizers exist, and how to use them. Keep in mind that vaporizers are intended for people who want to stop smoking, have already stopped, or simply enjoy using it for cannabis. It is never suggested that if you are underage or if you have never smoked to begin vaping. While there aren’t necessarily any hazards or ill effects from vaping, it’s important to be mindful of the people around who you choose not to vape. Vape responsibly! Enjoy 🙂

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