I've seen a ton of threads on here lately asking about vaporizers so I decided to throw together a guide to try and answer many of the most common questions.
What is Vaporizing?
Vaporizing is the process of heating up herbs or oils just enough so that the active ingredients evaporate from the organic matter. Because there is no combustion and smoke involved this dramatically reduces the number of the carcinogens and tar that you would be inhaling.
How does Vaporizing work?
Well there are two basic kinds of vaporizers on the market, conduction and convection.
A conduction vaporizer heats up your herb through direct contact with a hot surface, such as metal. Many of the low end vaporizers are conduction based and while they do work they do have the issue of holding a constant temperature and overheating which can cause the plant matter to combust. There are however some high quality conduction vapes so this is not always the case.
A convection vaporizer heats up the herb by either heating up the air around it or using a fan to blow hot air over it. Convection is pretty much the industry standard because of the improved performance over conduction.
What kind of Vaporizers are there?
This can also be broken down into three main categories for the most part.
Whip - These units use a tube (typically standard medical grade) to get the vapor from the weed to you. Most consist of a wand (glass bowl and chamber), the tubing, and a mouthpiece. The weed is put into the wand against the screen and placed against the heating element on the vaporizer and you draw through the tube.
Bag - These units use a fan to blow heated air (convection) over your MJ and fills a bag with the vapors that you can then inhale from. The bags are usually best emptied within 15 minutes or so.
Portable (non-electric) - These units are typically made of glass and are shaped similar to a regular glass pipe except there is no bowl and your weed goes inside the bulb. These work by using a lighter to heat up the outside of the bulb until the vapor gathers and you hit it. These are conduction based and if you heat it up too much, they can cause your bud to catch fire.
Some whip vapes have a hands-free version, what's the difference?
Typically a hands free whip is one where the wand attaches to the heating element usually through a ground glass connection. Unless you want to hold you wand in place every time you want a hit this is usually the way to go. It's also perfect if you are preoccupied with other things as you can leave the wand resting on the heating element and the vapors will simply go into the chamber behind the green and condense until you hit it. If you wait too long the vapors will condense a lot and be quite strong/harsh.
What temperature am I supposed to Vaporize my weed at?
The boiling point of THC is 392F (200C). Knowing that, it really depends on how you want your vaporizing session to go! If I want a nice, relaxing, get high over time kind of experiences, I'll start a little lower at around 365F and slowly work my way up to about 400F to finish the bowl off. If you want a get really high and go about your business session then you would just start off at the high temperatures and blaze out the bowl quick.
What should I do with my vaped leftovers?
Save it! By the way it's called duff and you can use it to cook with! I make cookies with mine but it's also good "middle of the night" weed if you wake up.
What kind of Vaporizer should I get?
That depends on what kind of system you want and what kind of budget you have! First off, if you want a good vaporizer you should know right away that you are going to be making an investment. My suggestion is that if you seriously want to invest in an electric vaporizer that you have at least $75-100 bare minimum to spend on getting one. Yes they can be had for cheaper but you probably won't be happy in the long run. If you plan on getting a non-electric, go with the VaporGenie.
Some suggested Vaporizers to help you in your search:
The Volcano Vaporizer - The vape I use and I strongly endorse it. It is a bag style and pretty much the most "professional" piece out there. It's a German-made piece of machinery and the thing is no joke. All this awesomeness comes with a pricetag though, the standard retail price is about $539 for the Classic model.
The Silver Surfer - What the Volcano is for bag vaporizers this thing is to the whip style vapes, except it's about $150 less. A sleek design and complete ease of use once you know where to set the dial. The hands-free attachment is a must. Also you can't go wrong with good ol' American made. Not to mention this is the only vape I know of that is fully customizable.
Da Buddha - Basically the same thing as the Silver Surfer (even made by the same guys!) minus some of the the more expensive parts (custom knob and etc). It also stands up straight as opposed to being at an angle. The only real difference you will notice is the price tag. At $160 you get the quality of the Silver Surfer but without some of the bells and whistles.
Vapir ONE v5.0 - If you want the best of both worlds with a very respectable pricetag (about $150) then this is it. This can do whip, this can do bag, this thing even has an aromatherapy mask attachment for complete hands free! And it's digital with multiple fan speeds. The only issues are that the branded bags are small (make your own) and you need to clean this thing fairly often or it will get caked in vapor resin. It's a little loud on the high fan setting too.
Vaporbrothers - These guys invented the box vaporizer. At about $150 these guys put out a hell of a product too. Very basic and down to the point, these things are easy to use and very reliable. Don't be fooled by imitations, if you want the best box vaporizer, this is it.
VaporGenie - There are a lot of portable vapes out there but if you want one of true quality, this is the one you'll go for. It has a solid wood body so it doesn't overheat and uses a ceramic heating filter that mixes the heat from your lighter with the regular air to make your herb the right temperature for vaporizing. At $55 this a high quality, portable vaporizer that you won't regret buying.
Vaporizers on a Budget- If you are going to try and buy an electric vape for less than $150 I highly suggest going for the box style (see above) vaporizer. They will be imitation Vaporbrothers but obviously made with cheaper materials. I've seen them on eBay for $50 before but I couldn't tell you how well they worked. You could always go with a portable non-electric vaporizer but they can become pretty tedious sometimes to use. Just be sure to try and stay away from conduction if you can help it!
Making your own Vaporizer - If you don't want to spend any of your hard earned cash on a vaporizer because you don't plan on using one enough to make the investment worth it but still want to vape you can always make your own. I'll give a quick guide here:
What you need:
1. Light bulb (preferably the clear kind)
2. Sharp knife
3. Needle nose pliers
4. A bottle cap (usually just a soda bottle cap works best)
5. A straw or tube of some sort
6. Electrical tape
7. Salt (if you are using a frosted light bulb)
First, use the knife to cut the bottom of the metal endcap off of the bulb, try to do it at the beginning of the thread.
Next take your pliers and rip everything out of the bulb and give the inside a quick wash.
Take your bottle cap and make sure it fits. If it does take your knife and cut two holes in it, one big enough for the straw/tube and another one a little smaller. Go ahead and put the straw/tube through the bottle cap.
If you are using a frosted bulb you will need to pour a good pile of salt in it and fill it with some water and shake it around. This should scrape off all the frosting with some work, you definitely don't want that in your lungs.
At this point you can screw the cap on and adjust the length of the straw and use the tape to hold it in place. Just be sure you don't cover the other hole or tape the cap on though! You'll need to take it off to fill and empty your new vape.
The final product should look something like this:
Now you just need to put in some ganj and heat up the lightbulb under the green until you see a fine mist forming. That's when you hit it. Just be sure not to hold the lighter there too long or your bud will combust!
Anyways, I hope this is helpful to have for anyone looking to purchase or learn about vaporizers! If you have anything to add that I left out please feel free to let me know!
Edited by septumus, 14 March 2009 - 06:39 PM.