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Vaporizer Heating Elements: 3 Types To Know And Understand

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Part of this expansion of options means designing units and devices that can offer the consumer the best smoking experience, which relates to temperature control settings, varied airflow and battery life. However, at its core, a vaporizer is only as good as the heating element built into it. Smoking cannabis is a personalized experience, so understanding which elements work best for you is crucial before investing.

Why Do Heating Methods Matter?

vaporizer smoke cloud

What’s so important about the heating element in a vaporizer? Cannabis flower and concentrates, like butter and shatter, only work in vaporizers that use two heating methods: conduction and convection. A conduction vaporizer heats up the flower or concentrate by exposing it directly to the heat source without actually combusting it. This is the most common heating method used in portable vaporizers, while desktop vaporizers traditionally use a convection heating method. A convection vaporizer separates the cannabis flower from the heading element, passing hot air through the plant matter to extract the THC. This method allows for more vapor and less waste, which has always been one of the best benefits of vaping. While both convection and conduction vaporizers allow you to enjoy marijuana without ingesting any combusted materials, the type of element you use can alter your experience dramatically.

Metal Heating Elements

Vaporizer Coil for Cannabis

If you prioritize accurate temperature control, look no further than a metal heating element. With ceramic and glass, it can be difficult to control the elements’ temperatures accurately because of the way they conduct heat. Metal, however, is an excellent conductor of electricity and quickly adjusts to changes in heating. Many of the most expensive vaporizers, such as the Volcano, use metal elements because they give you the personalized experience of accurate temperature control. There are some claims that metal elements, when heated, can carry dangerous chemicals into the lungs. However, this allegation is unproven and shouldn’t cause you to shy away from metal units.

Ceramic Heating Elements

ceramic material cannabis element

Unlike the metal variety, ceramic heating elements won’t alter the taste or quality of your cannabis. This is of utmost importance, especially because you might have chosen to smoke using a vaporizer—rather than a bong or joint—for its significant health benefits. You’ll notice this if you’re using a device like the Vaporite Portable Oil Vaporizer, which offers an optimal smoking experience for those who love to taste the distinct notes of their favorite strain. Along with a clean smoking experience, ceramic elements can also be heated too higher temperatures than metal or glass, with a melting point of over 3000°F. These characteristics have made ceramics very popular among vaporizer manufacturers.

Even though ceramic elements are celebrated for many reasons, there are downsides to them too—most notably, temperature control. It’s hard to keep the heat emitted from a ceramic element at a consistent level. Along with this, these units can also be made very cheaply, which calls into question the quality of the product you end up with. If you’re going to be using your unit daily or semi-regularly, you’ll want to invest in a quality ceramic unit to avoid dangerous or faulty devices. This means doing your research first.

Glass Heating Elements

glass material cannabis element

Glass is the black sheep of the heating element family. Glass elements are more expensive to create than metal and ceramic ones and they don’t provide any extra benefits. They’re also more fragile than metal, which makes them undesirable for portable vaporizers. Because of this, very few units utilize this type of heating element.

Glass is, however, gaining momentum in the concentrates field. Many dab rig owners are turning to glass nails for the flavor they produce compared to metal nails. Keep an eye on for these products in the future as more research and innovation occurs in the marijuana paraphernalia industry.

Choosing the perfect vaporizer is not a simple task, but having a better understanding of their inner workings, including heating elements, is a good place to start. Once you’ve decided which type you prefer, you can choose between a desktop or portable vaporizer, further customizing your cannabis experience.

Photos: creativenv / Shutterstock, mokokomo / Shutterstock, Out of Time / Shutterstock, Cbenjasuwan / Shutterstock, GlebStock / Shutterstock

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