How portable conduction vaporizers are closing the gap with portable convection vaporizers in terms of flavor and efficiency
When comparing the performance of convection vs. conduction vaporizers, for years of reviewing dry herb vaporizers at Herbonaut.com, convection vaporizers always scored higher on:
- Vapor quality (flavor and smoothness of vapor);
- Vapor potency, and;
- Efficiency (convection vapes needed less amount herb to produce the same effects).
But there was always one problem with portable convection vaporizers:
Because of the power-hungry nature of a convection-heating system, it’s very hard to design small vaporizers that fully make use of a convection heating system.
That’s why full convection-style portable vaporizers tend to be on the bigger side compared to their conduction brothers.
If you wanted a small pocketable vaporizer, you were forced to get a conduction vaporizer that simply was inferior in terms of vapor quality, vapor potency and efficiency.
But in the last few years, conduction vaporizer manufacturers have stepped their game up.
Although not fully there yet, conduction-style vaporizers are closing the gap with convection-style vaporizers in terms of flavor and efficiency.
On the other side, convection-style vaporizers are getting smaller and smaller, getting closer to small pocketable conduction vaporizers in size.
Today we’ll explore what technologies conduction vaporizer manufacturers are using to close this gap.
Improved Cooling-Down Mechanism
One issue with conduction vaporizers that decreases their efficiency and consistency in keeping a good flavor all throughout your session, is the fact that once you turn on a conduction vaporizer, it’s continuously cooking the bowl, whether you’re drawing or not.
To understand this mechanism, first we have to understand how conduction heating functions. In conduction heating, the material that you’re vaping makes direct contact with a heated surface. This heated surface is literally cooking the material, all the time, while the heater is on. Whether you’re drawing or not, the compounds in the material you’re vaping get released. This leads to waste.
Of course, you can turn your vaporizer off and with that its heater, but a heated surface is going to need time to cool off, and even in this cooling off process your material will get cooked, leading to waste.
Unless of course, the cooling down mechanism is so fast and effective, that the heated surface drops so quickly in temperature that the ‘continuous cooking mechanism’ that goes paired with conduction heating loses its strength. And that’s exactly what some conduct ion vaporizer manufacturers like Ploom PAX and DaVinci incorporated in their newer conduction-style vaporizers.
Conduction vaporizers like the PAX 3, make use of an auto-cooling mechanism, that cools off the bowl when you’re not using the unit (through lip and motion sensing).
Quicker Heat-Up Times
All portable vaporizers are getting a faster heat-up time. While 5 years ago a heat-up time of 1-2 minutes was the industry standard, in the past few years, a heat-up time of 20-30 seconds has become the norm.
And while it’s great for everyone that heat-up times are getting shorter, it’s especially good for conduction vaporizers.
If your vaporizer heats up in 20 seconds instead of two minutes, it simply has less time to cook your material while you aren’t drawing.
Let’s show this with an example. If you set your temperature to 392°F(200°C) and your conduction vaporizer has a 2-minute heat-up time, it’s slowly going to work its way up to this temperature. From 0 to 392°F(200°C), you aren’t drawing, but depending on what material you vape, your material most probably is going to release bio-chemical compounds without you inhaling them, which leads to waste.
With a quick heat-up time, the time between turning your vaporizer on and taking your first draw is significantly reduced, which in turn means that this period of waste is reduced significantly.
Stronger Heating Elements
As technology evolves, vaporizer manufacturers get access to smaller and more powerful heating elements.
There’s no denying that portable vaporizers have become more powerful in the last years.
And while this is great for any type of vaporizer (conduction, convection or hybrid), this is especially great news for conduction vaporizers.
Because a vaporizer with a conduction heating mechanism continuously cooks your bowl (less so with an auto-cooling mechanism, but it still does), best for efficiency would be to extract everything from the material in your bowl as quick as you can.
A very powerful heating element enables a fast extraction, so there’s less time between your draws that can lead to potential waste.
Easy to Incorporate Tools to Reduce Bowl Size
While in the early days of vaping, vaporizers usually had a very large bowl, nowadays vaporizer manufacturers are acknowledging the fact that not everyone likes to vape large amounts of material.
Some of us like to vape small amounts. A large-volume vape bowl makes it very difficult to vape small amounts.
Because with every bowl there’s always a minimum amount of material it needs to produce satisfactory vapor.
The larger the bowl, the bigger this minimum amount is.
And this holds especially true for conduction vaporizers.
Packing your bowl in a way that the material touches every side of the bowl is important with a conduction vaporizer. As you know now, a conduction vaporizer heats your material through a heated surface, and to heat properly, your material needs as much exposure as it can get to the heated surface. For this, your bowl usually needs to be packed at least 80% full. Unless of course, there’s a reliable way to reduce your bowl size.
And that’s exactly what vaporizer manufacturers have been designing: simple and reliable ways to reduce the minimum amount that’s needed in your vaporizer’s bowl, to produce satisfactory vapor.
Tying Everything Together
All of these improvements in technology and design of conduction vaporizers taken individually, don’t have that big of an impact on your vaporizer’s performance. But when taken together, all these improvements act synergistically, working together as a whole to improve your vaping experience in terms of flavor, potency and efficiency.
Truth be told, when looking purely at vaping performance, I still prefer pure convection vaporizers because they still taste better and need less material. But when I need a small and discreet vaporizer for on-the-go, it’s great that I can now pick up a conduction vaporizer that provides me with a performance that doesn’t leave me desiring my convection vaporizers within a few minutes.