How to Use a Portable Vaporizer
There’s a variety of portable vaporizers on the market, and each one is constructed a little bit differently. When asking how to use a portable vaporizer, the answer really depends on your make and model. However, the basic concept is similar in all portable vaporizers, so let’s start with the basics before we explain how to use one.
Conduction vs Convection
Portable vaporizers don’t actually burn the product you’re smoking, like traditional cigarettes do. Instead, they heat the product enough to extract the oils containing the active ingredient. The user then breathes in the vaporized molecules without having to breathe in all of the extra carcinogenic ingredients that get released when burned. There are two methods to heating the product — conduction (such as the Pax 3 Vaporizer) and convection (such as the Firefly 2 Vaporizer). You can think of conduction like a frying pan on a coiled electric range stovetop. The heating element comes in direct contact with the product (or in direct contact with the plate that holds the product) to heat it. These types of vaporizers are generally less expensive and take less time to heat up. However, some herb not in direct contact with the heating element may not get fully vaporized, leading to wasted product. Convection vaporizers are like an oven. The product doesn’t come in direct contact with the heating element, but it still heats up enough to release the chemicals. These do tend to heat the product more uniformly, but they do take longer to heat up and typically cost more than conduction style vaporizers. However, price between these two can also depend on added features, the material (glass, ceramic, or metal) of the chamber or mouth piece, and temperature settings.
Dry Materials vs Liquids
Most portable vaporizers will either vaporize dry materials (some can do dry materials and extracts) or e-liquids. Some portable vaporizers are multi-functional and can handle all three types of product. Check out our product reviews of the G Slim Vaporizer for Dry Materials and the Yocan Evolve Plus for more information.
Those who will be using their vaporizer for primarily dry materials will want to select a piece that functions with that type of product, and same for e-liquids/oils. Some e-liquid pens will have replaceable liquid chambers, while others will require you to refill yourself. Some kits even allow you to mix your own perfect blend of oil, such as the O.Pen FIY (Fill-it-Yourself) Vaporizer.
How to Use a Portable Vaporizer
Once you know what type of product a portable vaporizer takes, you can load it and start using it. For e-liquids and oils, you will need to load the chamber to the fill point, and not past it, before turning the device on. For dry materials, place the desired amount into the loading chamber and ensure there’s enough airflow to achieve maximum efficiency. Grinding your materials beforehand is essential, as the greater surface area will ensure full use of the product.
Once you turn the device on and heat it to the correct temperature for the type of product you’re using, don’t open the device again until after you’re finished and it has time to cool. The inner parts will be extremely hot, and you don’t want to burn yourself! Depending on your model, you may have to shut the device off manually once you hit the right temperature, which can take some getting used to, or your device will turn off automatically if it includes a preset option. Then, simply inhale and enjoy. To learn how to clean your portable vaporizer, click here.
If you have an e-liquid or oil pen, you may need to replace the wick and/or coils every so often to preserve authentic taste with every use. Even so, vaporizers are a much more cost-friendly option in the long term over traditional smoking methods.
- Abbigail Montgomery