Vapes have come a long way since the days of DIY box mods. Cannabis aficionados now have a huge selection of functions, styles, and uses to choose from, so much so that newbies can feel overwhelmed. However, if you don’t like smoking marijuana, vaping could be just the thing for you: it’s popular because it’s smooth, easy on the lungs, and more discreet. If you’re thinking of buying a vape for the first time, read this guide!
What’s Going Into The Vape Pen?
First, it’s important to decide what material you want to vape: dry materials, concentrates, oils, or do you want a vape for everything? Your decision should be based on your preferences and how much money you want to spend. Some pens can handle all cannabis materials, but most vape pens can only use one type of cannabis.
- For e-liquids or oils, the pen should have a tank, atomizer, coils and wicks – the whole. These are more elaborate vapes that don’t look much like “pens” at all!
- If you want to vape concentrates, look for a chamber rather than a tank – they are easier to clean. Concentrates tend to leave a stubborn residue.
- For dry material, the device should have a chamber with either “convection” or “conduction” heating.
Speaking of heating, there are three types you’ll see in devices, though convection and conduction are by far the most common!
The Types of Heating
To produce vapour, the device has to heat the material inside. There are three common methods of heating: convection, conduction, and induction.
- Convection heating is when the vaping material is not in direct contact with the heating element. This heating reduces the risk of extra combustion and wasting the material, but pens using convection take more time to heat up. They can also be a bit pricier than those that use conduction heating methods.
- Conduction heating puts the material in direct contact with the heating element. This means the vape is almost immediate, but it’s more wasteful than convection: the increased combustion means you may burn through the cannabis more quickly.
- Induction isn’t as common as convection or conduction, but newer models may make it a standard. Induction heating uses magnetic fields to generate heat inside the material rather than using an external heat source. This means there is no contact with the heat source, and the cannabis burns with a lower chance of unwanted combustion.
If you’re new to vaping, take the time to consider functionality – the ease of use of a device. Think about what capabilities you want in a device, how comfortable you are with added features, and your budget ceiling. Some super simple vape pens don’t need much: put in the right material, close pen, and press a button! Others have features like temperature control and programmable presets. Remember: the higher the functionality, the higher the price and the lower the ease of use – but you might get more out of the experience!
Battery life is mostly a question of how often you want to use the vape. Most vape pens use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, some built-in, others removable. If you’re a new user, you may want a model that has a high battery life so you can get used to your preferred vaping habits. If you want a vape pen that will last several days, you may have to settle on one with a bigger body.
If you are using your vape pen for e-liquids, the output is a factor for battery life. Vaping devices with lower resistance coils will create more flavour and vapour, but they will also use more power.
Once you know what material you want to vape, battery life, functionality, consider your ideal design! Apart from colours and style, look for what the device is made from: stainless steel, carbon fibre, high-quality plastics, glass components made from Pyrex, and ceramic heating elements. For the heating elements, make sure they are titanium or stainless steel coils and quartz rods. Avoid devices that use silicon, Teflon or titanium alloys, as these materials have a low melting point.
All the factors above – design, functionality, battery life, and heating – relate to the price you want to spend. Your budget will help you narrow your options and help you make the right decision. A one-button disposable is far cheaper than a multi-material vaping device, but it won’t give you the same experience!