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The SmokeSmith Gear Guide To Conduction vs. Convection Vapes

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When it comes to choosing a vaporizer there are a number of factors to consider.  These include what types of materials you will be vaping (dry herb, essential oils or both), whether you want a larger desktop model or a smaller portable unit, and what type of heating element you prefer.  This last choice can cause some confusion, so we at SmokeSmith Gear decided to create this handy tutorial.

In the most basic sense there are two types of heating styles for vaporizers:  conduction or convection.  While both methods produce high quality vapor there are some key differences and some unique benefits to each.

Conduction Defined
Conduction is the transfer of heat through a substance or solid. This means that conduction heating elements make direct contact with your chosen substance. In vaporizers, the heating source is traditionally placed at the bottom of a chamber and your product is loaded directly on top of the element. Some vapers choose conduction-based vapes because they often cost a bit less than convection models and they heat up more quickly. Conduction vaporizers tend to be straightforward and user-friendly because the heating element is less complex.

Examples of high-quality conduction vaporizers include the Pax 3 and the Davinci IQ, both of which are sold at SmokeSmith Gear.

Convection Defined
Convection is the transfer of thermal energy through a liquid or gas. Convection vaporizers function by circulating hot air throughout the heating chamber. When a convection style vape is in use the heat surrounds and passes through the material. The heat source is isolated and does not make direct contact with the plant material or essential oils. Many vapers prefer convection-based vapes because they allow for a more accurate temperature control, heat materials more evenly, and generally produce better flavor than conduction-style vapes.

Examples of popular and well-reviewed convection style vapes sold by SmokeSmith Gear include the Volcano Digital and the Mighty, both by Storz & Bickel along with the Firefly 2, which is the first portable convection vaporizer on the market.

Convection Vapes:  Cheaper & Less Complicated But Less Flavor
Because conduction style heating elements make direct contact with the plant material or essential oils, conduction vapes run the risk of combusting product. Conduction vapes don’t circulate heat within the chamber like convection vapes do, so users must stir the product around to prevent combustion. That said, conduction style vapes heat up more quickly and typically cost less, so they are good for consumers looking for a vape to use while on the go.  They also tend to be smaller, offering portability and discretion to those who use them.

Conduction Vapes: Superior Vapor Quality But Longer Heat Time & More Costly
The chief drawback of conduction style vaporizers is the higher cost and the slower warm up time. For many consumers these considerations may not matter.  For example, for those who do most of their vaping at home, waiting a few extra minutes, especially as compared with the benefits: Most vape experts agree that convection heating produces better vapor quality since it provides more thorough and even vaporization of product.

In the end the decision as to whether to chose a convection vaporizer or a conduction vaporizer comes down to how you will use the vaporizer and how much money you want to spend.  There are excellent vapes of each type, and you really cannot go wrong.  Or you can do what we do—have one of each (a convection vape for vaping on the go and a larger desktop conduction vape for home use).

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