So, you’ve had your whip vaporizer for a while and it’s time to replace the tubing. Before you replace your whip with just any old plastic, read this first.
The Importance of Quality Whip Tubing
We can’t stress enough the importance of using quality tubing in your whip vaporizer.
Typically, if your whip tubing is made from food grade material (the kind that came with your vaporizer definitely should be), then it’s assumed that it doesn’t get hot enough to release any carcinogenic chemicals into your vapour when you draw. However, the PVC tubing you might find at a hardware or aquarium store can begin to release these toxins at around 140°C, so why risk using it in a machine that can easily top 230°C?
Not all tubing is created equal. You may be able to find cheap lengths of vinyl tubing at your local store, but unless it’s been rated as food safe, chances are that tubing was never made to be inhaled from. Standard vinyl and PVC is often treated with plasticisers to make it more flexible and easier to work with. These chemicals can leach out into your vapour as the tube gets warm and are often hard to detect. Just because there’s no noticeable smell or taste, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your tubing is high quality or safe to use.
What to look for:
The phrase “food grade silicone tubing that’s been rated for high temperature use” should be etched into your mind from here on out.
Most whip vaporizers use vinyl or high quality PVC in their standard whip tubes. While manufacturers usually take precautions to make sure that their tubing is food grade, inert and has a high temperature rating, silicone is still a superior material. It’s also worth noting that the quality of your unit will most likely dictate the quality of the tubing that comes with it. Good manufacturers, like 7th Floor, take stringent measures to ensure that their tubing is safe and high quality, while some cheap vapes come from countries with fewer restrictions on what is considered “food grade” and safe for consumption.
What If I Can’t Afford Silicone Tubing?
You can always re-purchase the stock tubing that came with your vaporizer. This is a good option if your wallet is tight, as you know that it has at least been rated as food grade and suitable for vaporization. You also know how it will perform with your vape, as opposed to inferior quality tubing that can give off a plastic taste or smell.
If you’re looking for something a little more premium but still at a lower price than silicone, you can consider coloured whip tubing from 7th Floor. Made exclusively for the SSV and the Da Buddha, this tubing comes in a rainbow of colours and is a funky change from your regular clear tube that can start to look dirty with use. Not only does the coloured tubing look nice, but also comes with the added advantage of disguising build up so you no longer have to stare at a brown, stained whip!
Why You Really Should Buy Silicone:
If you want your tubing to be safe to use, flexible, and taste/smell neutral, then food grade silicone is a must. Silicone has long been used as a medical material and is by far the safest option for your vaporizer. It can withstand high temperatures, is more flexible, has a better bend radius, is much easier to remove from glass stems/elbows, can be sterilized by boiling, and is able to be cleaned (but not soaked) with alcohol. It’s also quite reasonably priced.
Ditching your PVC tubing for premium silicone can really enhance your vaporization experience in some big ways!
A silicone whip is the ultimate in purity and taste. Silicone is completely inert, taste and smell neutral, and has a very high heat resistance. Therefore, you know that it is not going to react with your herbs or the heat from your vaporizer. This is the reason that silicone is often chosen by vapers who are concerned about making their vaping experience as pure and chemical-free as possible.
Of course, the first point of call for a clean vape is the heating element and unit materials. However, in a good quality unit that uses high quality materials known for their purity (e.g. glass or ceramic), inhaling from some cheap plastic tube will completely defeat the purpose of buying a quality unit in the first place. It’s just plain silly.
With a silicone whip tube, the only thing you’ll taste and inhale is clean, pure vapour. Add a silicone tube to your already premium vaporizer, and you and your lungs will be in clean vaping heaven.
Silicone has long been used as a medical material for its hygienic properties. The inner bore on a silicone tube is often smoother than plastic and therefore will not accumulate resin and build up as quickly. The result is a whip tube that is not only inert and taste neutral, but that stays cleaner and more hygienic for longer.
Silicone is also a little easier to clean than regular plastic tubing, as it is able to be cleaned with Isopropyl alcohol (though soaking for extended periods is still a no-no) and can also be sterilized by boiling. The only drawback is that the outside of the tube does tend to absorb dust and the oils from your hands, so the tube can start to look dirty even though it stays cleaner on the inside. It can also accumulate odour, so you may have to clean your tube a little more frequently if discretion is a concern.
Have you ever gone to clean your whip, only to find that the tubing has become fused to the wand or mouthpiece and is impossible to remove?
Soft silicone rubber tubing is generally more flexible and has a better bend radius, making it much easier to attach and remove from glass elbows. Never again will you have to cut your tube!
Tips for Fitting/Removing Whip Tubing
If you do encounter the dreaded vice grip, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to try and dismantle your whip for cleaning.
This situation opens up a whole world of additional issues – you risk breaking your glass pieces, you may end up having to cut your tubing, or your whip remains dirty and tastes bad because disassembling it for cleaning is too hard. So, alas, your wallet takes a hit as you resign yourself to simply buying a new one.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to loosen the join for easier cleaning.
- Submerge your whip in boiling water to loosen the plastic
- If you have a forced-air vaporizer, heat it up and turn on the fan. Hold the problem area over the fan, allowing the hot air to soften the tube just enough to detach it. This works a treat!
- If you don’t have a forced-air vaporizer, a hair dryer or heat gun works just as well. Practically any source of heat should do, just be careful not to burn your fingers.
- If you can’t get the glass elbow or mouthpiece back onto the tubing, try licking the inside of the tube or glass to lubricate it
- To get your tubing back into the wand, you can cut a small slit (less than 1cm) in the end of the tube so that it can wrap around itself for easier inserting. Just be sure to make this slit small enough to be covered completely by the glass, as you don’t want vapour to escape through it.
- You can also use heat to soften the tube enough to get parts back on