How to Choose a Vaporizer: Convection vs. Conduction

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In this brave new age of legal medical and recreational marijuana, many people are now choosing cannabis over prescription drugs to treat pain, anxiety and other ailments. Responsible adults are increasingly turning to cannabis as a safer, healthy alternative to alcohol. As cannabis consumerism grows, so does the market for smoking and vaping accessories. Consumers on a quest to find the best vaporizer are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of options.

In order to find the perfect vape for your lifestyle, you should first determine a few important factors about your cannabis use. You know the answer to who (you!), when (whenever you choose to!) and why (they don’t call it the healing herb for nothing!)… which leaves what, where and how.


What are you vaping? Flowers or concentrates? There is a vape pen designed for both, including a few dual-use units.

Where are you vaping? At home or on the go? You may prefer a sturdy desktop model, or perhaps you’d like something that fits neatly in a pocket.

And how are you vaping? Do you prefer the convection or conduction method of heating your bud?

Think all the way back to Chem 101 in high school. Remember learning about convection versus conduction? No? Ok, here’s a quick refresher:

Convection is the movement caused within a fluid by the tendency of hotter, and therefore less dense, material to rise, which consequently results in transfer of heat.

Conduction is the process by which heat or electricity is directly transmitted through a substance when there is a difference of temperature between adjoining regions, without movement of the material.

Zzzzzzz what? Sorry guys!

In less technical terms, convection relies on liquid or gas to move the heat (think: steam), while conduction describes a motionless transfer of heat (think: metal against metal).

The convection method is preferred by many for vaping flowers, since it doesn’t combust the material. A convection unit evenly heats each mouthful of vapor as you pull, so every hit should be flavorful and potent. Convection is the way to go to preserve both terpenes (the pungent oils that give cannabis its flavor) and your stash—a small amount of bud can go a long way with this heating method.


In a conduction vaporizer, the heat source is in direct contact with your botanicals. This means that it heats up faster. It also means that the material in contact with the heating element will get hotter than the rest—like cooking in a cast-iron pan on the stove. Giving your herb or oil a stir between pulls will help.

Conduction vaporizers were first on the market. They are often less expensive and can be more user friendly. Convection vaporizers are more efficient and produce better vapor quality.

Choosing between the two methods is a little easier if you think of it in terms of experience. If you’re just starting out, you might want to choose a less expensive, easy-to-use conduction vaporizer. If you consider yourself a “cannasseur,” perhaps your more sophisticated palate will dictate choosing a convection vape.

There you have it: conduction versus convection. It’s an important consideration for enjoying your herb or oil, as well as for your wallet.

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