Are you new to the world of dry herb vaporizers and aren’t sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place. We cover everything you need to know as a beginner, from the benefits of dry herb vaping to the different types you may find on the market. Let’s get into it.
Table of contents
What is a dry herb vaporizer and how does it work?
A dry herb vaporizer is a heater that produces gas (vapor) from dried plant material. Material is placed inside a chamber, or oven, that can reach temperatures well over 400F. Rather than combusting the material, like with cigarettes, vaporizers heat the material and release its active ingredients in the form of vapor, instead of smoke!
Some vaporizers are battery free and utilize a torch lighter as their heat source. These options allow for unrivaled flexibility and never have to be charged. For the rest of this guide, however, we’ll be covering electronic vapes only.
Benefits of dry herb vapes
While there are plenty of vapes that will turn heads and spark a lot of curiosity, there’re just as many that deliver potent vapor in a discreet, pocketable fashion. A variety of portable vapes, like the POTV ONE, fit snugly in your palm and can be tucked away in your pocket or small bag.
Smoke also brings its stinky stench wherever you go and will stick to surfaces long after you’re finished. It’s not pleasant at all. Vapor produced from a vaporizer is light and only includes the good stuff. It doesn’t stick or linger for very long.
Feels and tastes better
Smoke is harsh and stinky. It doesn’t taste great and it feels extremely harsh on your throat and lungs. Vaporizers deliver the goodies in a gentler form that reveals unique herbal flavors that you didn’t even know existed in your plant. It’s the best way to experience everything your herbs have to offer.
Like we mentioned before, many small dry herb vaporizers will fit conveniently in a small bag or purse, or even in your pocket. Take it out and about and enjoy a session wherever you go, and easily store it away when you’re finished. Portable dry herb vapes allow you to take a few hits here and there, when it’s convenient for you, instead of waiting for the herbs to burn out or tossing them early.
Combustion destroys a lot of the herbal compounds that you’re after, and turns them into harmful byproducts that you don’t want in your lungs. Vaporizing releases these compounds, instead of destroying them, and provides a more well-rounded experience that you won’t find with smoking. Because vaporizing squeezes every bit out of your material, you use a whole lot less. Most people report that they use about a third to a half less than they did when they were smoking. It’s a win-win!
Types of dry herb vaporizers
Portable vaporizers are popular for their compact, handheld design that can easily slip into most pockets or small bags, and are the go-to options for many of our at-home and on-the-go users. These vapes utilize an internal battery for power, or in some cases, a torch lighter, and can provide rich, satisfying vapor wherever you are. Check out our best portable vapes guide for our top picks.
On the other hand, desktop vaporizers have a much larger footprint and plug directly into a power outlet for long, powerful sessions. These vapes are popular among the strictly at-home users and heavy hitters for their superior power, larger ovens, and ability to drive parties or large groups of friends. These options generally cost more, but are built to last for years and years.
Conduction vaporizers, like the XMAX Starry Vaporizer, act as mini-ovens and heat your herbs through direct contact over the course of a session. They’re typically easier to use, more consistent, more energy efficient, and less expensive than other types of heaters. They’re great for light users who prefer taking small sips over large rips. Conduction vapes, however, cook your herbs in between hits and lose taste quicker. They’re not as efficient or tasty as other options.
Convection vaporizers separate the heat source from the chamber, and only heat the air and your herbs as you inhale. They’re much more efficient and produce the tastiest vapor on the market. They’re the go-to option for connoisseur-level experiences, but they’re very taxing on the battery (for portable options) and are more expensive.
Check out our list of the best convection vapes of 2021 for a full rundown.
Most vaporizers today, like the Mighty, fall into the hybrid category. These vapes preheat the herbs to a lower temperature, and heat the incoming air at a higher temperature to finish it off during your hit. These vaporizers have become wildly popular because they are consistent and easy to use, and fully extract everything from your herbs in less time.
How to vape your dry herbs
Step 1: Grind your herbs
Many vapes can vaporize whole nuggets, but grinding produces the best results. The type of grind will depend on the type of vaporizer, but generally, conduction vaporizers perform best with a finer grind, while convection vaporizers prefer a coarser grind. If you’re unsure, go with a medium grind.👉 Shop Grinders
Step 2: Pack your vape
Next, take your vaporizer and fill the oven with your ground herbs. For conduction vaporizers, fill it to brim and pack it down tightly. Repeat this until it’s packed nice and tight to the top.
Convection and hybrid vaporizers are the exact opposite. They don’t like tight packs. Instead, fill the oven loosely until there's a small mound on top, and then gently press it into the oven until it's flush with the rim.
Step 3: Power on your vape
Turn it on! With most vaporizers, press the power button quickly five times. Others might need a triple-press, or a long press of the power button. Refer to your vaporizer’s user manual if you’re unsure.
Step 4: Pick your temperature
Low-level vaping temperatures - 370°F/187°C and below
This temperature range produces the tastiest vapor and is perfect for chasing flavor rather than clouds. Hits are light and wispy, but full of flavor and will provide gentle, but noticeable effects. This is a safe zone to start if you’re not yet sure what you're looking for. You can always bump it up later.
Mid-level vaping temperatures - 370°F/187°C to 390°F/198°C
This temperature range is a nice happy medium. Hits are noticeably thicker, but still produce satisfying flavors that pack a punch. Perfect for those that want a little more ‘oomph’ from their hits, but also plenty of flavor.
High-level vaping temperatures - 390°F/198°C and above
This is where flavor starts to take a dive, but thick clouds come to play. Your first few hits will pack in some flavorful accents, but will quickly dissipate as the clouds ramp up. This is the best place to start if you want big clouds and strong effects from the get go.
Step 5: Inhale your vaporized herbs
Once your vaporizer reaches your desired temperature, it’s time to hit it! Start with a slow, relaxed inhale of about seven to ten seconds and then exhale. Your first hit or two will be light and flavorful, but will ramp up as your session rolls.
Step 6: Power off & clean your vape
When you’re all finished with your session, turn your vape off the same way you turned it on and let it cool for about a minute. If you’re saving the rest for later, you’re good. Leave it and come back to it later.
If your herbs are spent, take a cleaning brush and clear out the oven while it’s still warm. This will prevent the load from sticking to the oven and keep your vape running longer before its time for a deep cleaning.
Final top tips for first time vapers
Be aware of where you can and cannot vape
You may wonder if the same smoking rules apply to vaporizers. As a safe, general rule, if you can’t smoke somewhere, you also can’t vape. If you’re unsure, ask around or just step outside and enjoy your session.
The quality of your herbs will affect the quality of your experience
Vaporizers are only half of the equation. High-quality, expertly harvested plant material will feel and taste better, and provide the best overall vaping experience. Keep your herbs in an airtight container and store them in a dark, cool environment to maintain its freshness.
Over time, you’ll discover little nuances or rituals that cater to your own personal vaping style. Don’t be afraid to mess around with different vapes, grinds, packs, temperatures, and any other components of your session to dial in your very own unique way of vaporizing.
Is it safe to vape herbs?
Vaporizing dry herbs is perfectly safe if you do it right and take the time to learn about it. It’s becoming wildly popular among a variety of different herbal users and is quickly becoming the go-to option for many.
If we missed anything, or if you have any questions or concerns about getting started, let us know in the comments!