The ABCs of vaporizers: how to choose the one that’s right for you

The first question to ask yourself is what, exactly, you want to vaporize


Among the benefits of vaping is that benefit of vaporizing is that it’s more efficient than burning cannabis. Photo by nd3000/iStock/Getty Images Plus


Although most weed lovers are aware of vaporizers, not everyone has tried them. According to Simon Booth, sales manager at Puff Vancouver, that’s because these inhalation devices can seem complicated for novices.

In a phone interview with CannCentral, Booth said that the first question he asks customers is what, exactly, they want to vaporize. That’s because herbal vaporizers are designed specifically for ground dry herb. Concentrate vaporizers, on the other hand, use what he called “full-melt cannabis extracts”.

“That means that the cannabis extract will, when heated, turn into a liquid,” Booth explained. “It doesn’t turn into ash.”

Then there are vaporizers for nicotine products, which are irrelevant for pot lovers.

“We do definitely get the odd customer who comes in knowing exactly what they’re looking for or have experience with vaporizers,” Booth said. “But I would say the majority of customers that come in are first-time users.”

Quality counts

He first checks to ensure they’re over the legal age of 19—and Booth prefers them to be at least 20. Next, he helps them decide whether they want a multi-use or single-use vaporizer. Then he talks about the price and effectiveness of these devices.

Booth emphasized that while it sounds simplistic, it’s important to buy a product that actually vaporizes herbs or extracts. That’s because there are inexpensive products on the market that don’t function properly. He said that they might deliver very thin vapour or even none at all.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to drop $1,000 on a vaporizer,” Booth stated, “but it is important to get a certain level of quality.”

Simon Booth is the sales manager at Puff Vancouver. Photo by Simon Booth

Say no to plastic

He said that when shopping for a vaporizer, people are much better off choosing a model with little or no plastic near the heating chamber. Booth said it’s preferable that these chambers be made of ceramic, quartz, or glass.

“With cheaper vaporizers, you also see a lack of temperature control,” he noted. “Temperature control is extremely important.”

When it comes to high-end vaporizers, Booth said, weed lovers can choose between “convection versus conduction”.

He explained that convection vaporizers heat material indirectly as it passes through hot air in the chamber. In conduction vaporizers, on the other hand, the heat source comes in direct contact with what’s being consumed.

“Convection is a much more effective form of vaporizing, but it’s also a much more expensive way of vaporizing,” Booth said. “So I wouldn’t say that it’s a must.”

Moreover, Booth said that cannabis affects people differently, so he wouldn’t make generalizations about the high that might come from using a specific product.

But according to him, a general benefit of vaporizing is that it’s more efficient than burning cannabis.

“You’re just extracting all of the effective chemicals from the plant in a very specific way—a more nuanced way,” he said.

Vaping is less harsh

Booth added that vaporizing is also “less harsh”. And that, he said, enhances the capacity to enjoy the terpenes, which are a class of organic compounds that sometimes emit a strong odour.

“Since you’re not burning it, you’re able to get all the terpenes out of the cannabis plant in a really, really nice way,” Booth elaborated. “It really does give you a full-bodied flavour of the cannabis that you’re vaporizing.”

Unlike herbal vaporizers, concentrate vaporizers have a filament that is sometimes wrapped in quartz. The user applies concentrates to the element. This is heated rapidly, enabling a user to inhale. Most of the high-quality vaporizers don’t come with preloaded cartridges. Instead, Booth said, they’re refillable and designed to last much longer.

Booth listed a few of his favourite brands. Storz & Bickel definitely makes his top three list, including its Crafty+, Mighty, and Volcano models. In addition, he named Davinci, whether it’s the IQ or Miqro IQ. He also described the Pax as an excellent vaporizer for portability, offering a “fantastic hit” for the size.

“All three of these are excellent vaporizers, but it really depends on specifically what you’re looking for.”

Charlie Smith

I'm the editor of the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver, as well as a CannCentral contributor.

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