A lot has changed since I originally wrote my first guide to vaporizers so I thought its time for an new one, so here goes....
One of the first decisions to make when buying a vape is on what type you are after to suit your preference and lifestyle. There are few different types of vaporizer unit for you to chose from
The pen vaporizer is the smallest of vapes and tend to resemble the shape of a pen, Usually powered by battery and the easiest by far to conceal and carry. The downside to the Pen Vaporizer is due to there small size the have less premium features and generally only designed to be used for concentrates only.
The portable vaporizer is the commonly bought device for the vaper's arsenal, these are also battery powered or sometimes even butane allowing you to use it while out and about, while they are not as small as a pen vape the portable vaporizer should still fit in your pocket and have many more features than its smaller friend including the ability to vape dry herb.
The desktop vaporizer is the true daddy of the bunch. These units are very rarely portable due to generally needing a mains source to power them. These big boys were designed for home use in mind and will definitely not fit in your pocket! The desktop vape tend to be packed with great features such as forced air, fan and temperature control and whips and balloons to use rather a simple mouthpiece.
The E-Rig vaporizer can be a portable or desktop device depending on the manufacturer and design. These units were made for dabbing in mind. E-Rigs contain a electronic Nail (E-nail) this is a relatively new vaporization device that provides the user a nice and consistent temperature to for him or her to vaporize their concentrates with.
The type of power source you choose is an important factor, especially if you are on the move a lot and you are a heavy user. Does the unit need a power source? If it uses a battery can you swap it out for a spare while you wait for the flat one to recharge?
Mains Power - Most desktop vaporizers require the use of mains power via a plug and socket.
Battery - Most pen, portable and E-Rig vaporizers are battery powered, most use Lithium-ion batteries and provide a reliable and efficient power source giving a consistent flow of energy to the device. some of the better vaporizers have the option of removable batteries for the ability of swapping them out when flat for another fully charged battery so you can keep on vaping.
Butane - Butane-Powered Vaporizers are great for people on the go that don’t want to be tied down to a power outlet, for example if you go camping regularly and don’t have the option of charging a battery.
Flame - Flame/Lighter Powered Vaporizers are very convenient and allow for a quick heat-up time. No cords or wires of any kind, and once again ideal for a regular camper.
Now I am quite lazy in this department. I tend to pick a high preset temperature nowadays and stick with it without experimenting with others, but for the connoisseur's out there this important.
Fixed - Meaning the use of just one heat setting, this is usually found on concentrate pens.
Fixed/Adjustable - comprising of a few preset temperature setting that can by toggled through with a click of a button.
Fully Adjustable - This option allows you to fine tune your heat setting by having a fully adjustable temperature option via a dial, button or smartphone app.
Coils and Heating Elements.
The heating element or coil should not be overlooked the lifespan of your vaporizer could possibly depend on the heating element and its longevity.
Ceramic - This one is probably the most commonly used and utilized nowadays and is in many peoples opinion one of the best. It has the highest melting tolerance which means it can withstand extreme heat, does not release any toxins when hot and tends to give you the purest vapor.
Quartz - Only really used for concentrate pens due to the way they regulate there heat more efficiently as quartz tends to cool down quicker than the likes of ceramic coils supposedly helping to avoid any harsh vapor.
Metal - One of the best conductors of heat and responds quickly to temperature changes, providing an accurate gradation of heat.
Glass - has very similar properties to ceramic but is very rarely used due to being fragile compared to other heating element materials.
Direct draw - Means the you draw your vapor through a mouthpiece directly connected to the vaporizer.
Hose/Whip - Usually comprises of a piece of silicone tubing. One end connects to your Vaporizer (usually a desktop device) and the other end is used as your mouthpiece.
Balloon - these are connected to your desktop vaporizer that has a forced air option. the balloon fills with vapor produced and is then removed to be inhaled by the user.
Airway paths.The airway path is the route the vapor must take from the heating chamber to the mouthpiece, this is not really a big issue in my opinion as all types I have come across seem to do the job with no noticeably taste difference. but I thought I would mention the different types.
Glass - I would assume this is the best option as glass would not absorb any residue particles like plastic or metal perhaps would. The downside being it is much more fragile compared to the other vape airway paths.
Medical grade plastic - This is generally used for the mouth piece while utilizing a metal tube to the heating chamber. This works fine and I actually prefer a plastic mouthpiece to a glass one but this is just user preference and I am sure differs on who you ask.
Metal - Medical grade steel tubes have been used for the airway and mouthpiece for vaporizers and does the job as good as any other, being easy to clean and strong being plus points.
This is rather important decision to make when choosing a vaporizer and is very much a particular user preference.
Herbs - Most vaporizer models can vape dry herbs, although E-rigs and concentrate pen vaporizers cannot.
Concentrates - Concentrate pen vaporizers and E-Rigs are particularly made for this job but many portable and desktop vaporizers can also manage concentrates as well as dry herbs.
E-Liquids - Vaporizers that can also handle E-liquids are few and far between but they getting more common as vaporizer technology advances.
510 Attachments - Again very similar to the above, as time goes by there are more and more vaporizers that have added 510 e-cig style thread compatibility to there vaporizers.
There are two main ways to heat your aroma materials explained in more detail below.
Convection - Is best explained to be like how a home oven works and heats your chamber evenly with no hot spots, making it the top dog of the two in theory.
Conduction - is best explained to be more like a frying pan heating your aroma material from the bottom/sides and leaving your aroma material possibly vulnerable to the odd hot spot and potentially heating the material evenly. Some of the best vaporizers use conduction so don't let this end your world so to speak.
For a full explanation of how conduction and convection works click here.
Other Things to consider.
Heat up time - This can be a factor worth considering, no one likes to wait!
Charging options - many of the newer portable and pen vaporizers can be charged via USB which to me is a desirable trait.
Warranty - from some manufacturers offering lifetime warranty to some just 30 days.
These are things that are not exactly very important but they are however nice finishing touches for any vaporizer.
Haptic feedback - A vibration function to inform you that your vaporizer is on or/and at the desired temperature.
Magnetic Lid - keeps your heating chamber lid firmly attached.
Smartphone Apps - Giving the user an array of options to set simply by the touch of your smart phone, The main option being temperature.
Digital Displays - A nice touch to a vaporizers aesthetics and handy for being precise with your temperature setting.
Auto shut off - Great for saving your battery and aroma material.