A dry herb aromatherapy vaporizer is a device that uses a heating chamber to apply controlled high temperatures to extract vapor from dried plant materials. There are various types of heating methods use to vaporize the aromatherapy herbs and in this article Pocket Ovens' Chief Baker is going to break it down for you. So put on your oven mitts and let’s dive right in!
Dry herb vaporizers do not use Combustion or Burning
Firstly, we have to set the record straight by clarifying that a dry herb aromatherapy vaporizer is NOT a combustion heating device. Simply put, it does not burn your aromatherapy herbs.
The temperature settings and limits in a dry herb vaporizer is designed to reach just below combustion levels (around 230°C), thus producing heated vapour instead of smoke. This spares you from inhaling hazardous, toxic compounds like carbon monoxide!
With the combustion method, you are also left with ash by-product whereas with a vaporiser, you will get ABV a.k.a. Already Been Vaped material.
Chief Baker illustrates the differences between combustion, conduction & convection heating methods in this reel on our IG page. Join us in the kitchen and watch the video!
Heating Methods: Conduction vs Convection vs Hybrid
With a dry herb aromatherapy vaporizer you are carefully heating the herbs to a desired temperature. Aside from the build and design, the fundamental difference in dry herb vaporizers is in the technology used to heat the aromatherapy herbs.
There are three main heating methods used in dry herb aromatherapy vaporizers:
These heating methods are generally more efficient in extracting the essential oils and other active compounds out of your dry herbs compared to direct combustion.
What is a conduction vaporizer?
In a conduction vaporizer, the aromatherapy herbs are placed in direct contact with a heated surface, typically in a stainless steel or ceramic chamber. It is the simplest and most common type of heating. Similar to cooking in a saucepan, the walls of the chamber heat up to a specific temperature controlled by the user, where direct contact with the heat source cooks the dry herbs to release vapor. A good starter’s conduction vaporizers are the PAX and DaVinci devices. These vaporizers are suitable for users who prefer taking smaller, shorter drags that puts less stress on the lungs.
What is a convection vaporizer?
Convection vaporizing is a more advanced type of heating that uses hot air pulled from the heating element to vaporize the herbs. Similar to cooking in an oven, hot air heats up your aromatherapy material instead of through direct contact with a heated surface. The herbs are placed in a chamber that is separated from the heat source, and heated air is passed through the chamber via your inhalation or an internal fan, heating the herbs evenly and releasing vapor. It is generally found in mid to higher-end dry herb aromatherapy vaporizers like the Firefly 2+. Usually, these devices require users to inhale in larger, longer drags to get the most out of the herbs.
What is a hybrid vaporizer?
Just as it says in the name, a hybrid vaporizer uses a combination of both conduction and convection heating methods. The convection to conduction scope depends on the model of the vaporizer. A relatively newer type of heating method, hybrid dry herb vaporizers let you enjoy all the best features of both conduction and convection. It usually works through preheating the aromatherapy herbs at a lower temperature using the conduction method, then upon inhalation, heat the incoming air at a higher temperature based on the convection method before delivering the vapor to the user.
Storz and Bickel is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to hybrid devices. The much-loved Volcano Hybrid is an excellent desktop vaporizer that uses a hybrid of conduction and convection heating. Similarly, they also have hybrid portable devices such as the Mighty+ and Crafty+. Although these are slightly bulkier in size compared to other portable devices in the market, you can expect the high performance and reliability that comes from a hybrid vaporizer.
Pros and cons of each heating method
PROS: Direct heat leads to rapid heat-up times. Vapor is produced almost instantly. The typical conduction device comes in smaller form factors, which are lighter, more portable, easier to manage, and more discreet. As such, they are also usually less expensive and more energy efficient.
CONS: The method can be aggressive which causes some aromatherapy herbs to overheat, and pose a higher risk of material burn at the edges. To avoid this, users may have to stir the botanicals to ensure a more even heating. It can also produce hotter, harsher vapor hits. The conduction vaporizer mechanism may cook your herbs in between hits, thus they may lose their taste faster.
PROS: Since the herb blend does not make direct contact with the heating, these devices produce much smoother and tastier vapor hits. There is no risk of overheating and the dry herbs are heated evenly, without needing to stir. The herbs are not cooked in between draws. This also means more efficient use of your chosen aromatherapy botanicals.
CONS: It may take slightly longer to produce vapor. Utilising the convection heating method uses up more power, exhausting battery life for portable units. They are typically more expensive than conduction vaporizers. Usually, convection vaporizers are larger than conduction vaporizers, making them potentially heavier and bulkier to carry.
PROS: Combining the best of both worlds, hybrid dry herb aromatherapy vaporizers provide fast and even heating, whilst yielding consistent quality and flavour when compared to conduction vaporizers. Hybrid vaporizers can provide better battery life and ease of use than convection vaporizers. These devices are super-efficient and able to fully extract all the goodies from your dry herbs in a shorter amount of time.
CONS: It is often more expensive than conduction or convection vaporizers. They can be larger, taking up more space than other vaporizers.
|How it works?||Herbs are heated by direct contact with a heating element, like cooking in a saucepan||Herbs are heated by hot air, like cooking in a fan oven||Herbs are heated by a combination of conduction and convection heating|
Which is better? Conduction vs convection vs hybrid?
In the end, the best heating method for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. The most effective solution is a vaporizer that delivers excellent vapor flavour and allows you to completely appreciate the taste and aroma of your dry herbs because aromatherapy is primarily about the absorption of aromatic compounds that bring benefits from each type of specific herb.
If you are looking for a simple and affordable vaporizer, conduction heating may be a good option for you. If you are looking for a vaporizer that produces better-quality vapor and is less likely to burn your herbs, convection heating may be your pick. And if you are looking for the best of both worlds, a hybrid vaporizer could be the ultimate choice for you.
Most dry herb aromatherapy vaporizers allow for temperature control between 150°C - 220°C. It will take a little tinkering for you to find the best temperature that suits your need, but to start you off - refer to Pocket Ovens general temperature guide below.
What happens to aromatherapy herbs at different temperatures?
From the bountiful soils of Mother Nature comes a wide variety of dry aromatherapy herbs to vaporize. At specific temperatures only achievable using a dry herb vaporizer, dry herbs can release unique active compounds which have beneficial qualities and desirable effects.
Thyme herb: 130°C - 190°C
- Disinfecting against gastro-intestinal complaints
- Disinfecting and cough-relieving against coughs, cold, and pharyngeal inflammations
- Anti-hypertensive against cardiac (heart) diseases
Peppermint leaves: 130°C-170°C
- For stomach and intestinal discomfort, and bloating. Pleasant cool feeling in the lungs in the phyto-inhalation
- Fresh scent and helps to give an energy boost
Eucalyptus: 130° C
- Eucalyptus leaves have a disinfecting, germicidal, and expectorant effect - e.g. in acute and chronic bronchitis, colds, and flu
- Helps with stress, gives off a pleasant scent
Hops flowers: 130°C-154°C
- Sedative against insomnia
- Mild euphoric effect
Lavender flowers: 130° C
- Anti-depressive and sedative with insomnia
- Anti-depressive and tonicizing with menstrual pains
- Anti-inflammatory against coughs, cold, and pharyngeal inflammations
Lemon Balm leaves: 130°C-142°C
- Anti-spasmodic against gastro-intestinal complaints
- Anti-inflammatory, anti-perspirant, and anti-spasmodic against coughs, colds, and pharyngeal inflammations
- Helps to relax and improve sleeping patterns
Sage herb: 190°C
- Disinfecting effect on the mouth and throat
- Many cultures use it for spiritual cleansing properties
- Helps to improve digestion
Chamomile herb: 125°C-190°C
- Calming, relaxing, and helpful to fall asleep
The different temperatures used to heat the dry herbs can vary the effects you feel during your vaporizing experiences, so it is crucial to experiment with various temperature settings to find what you enjoy the most.
Do note that herbs and their active compounds can have various side effects or interactions with medications, substances, or foods. Please consult your doctor before starting any aromatherapy or healing therapy. Do not vape during pregnancy. Vaping is not suitable for children.
As soon as your plant material is exposed to heat, it starts to brown and eventually gets spent. Once it’s spent there is no turning back! We hope this read helps you to savour and make the most out of your aromatherapy herbs. In addition to the heating method, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a dry herb vaporizer. These factors include the size and portability of the vaporizer, the battery life, the number of temperature settings, the included accessories, and your inhalation style.
No matter which vaporizer you choose, please make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use. This will help to ensure that you are using the device safely and effectively.
Should you find yourself needing more help after reading our guides, reach out to Pocket Ovens using the chat function or email us for any assistance. We are ever ready to help. If you found this helpful or want our articles fresh out of the oven 😉, sign up for our mailing list below!