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Vaporizer Buying Guide

The complete guide to vaporizers of every size, shape and colour

Looking for the perfect vaporizer?

Picking your first vaporizer can be tricky business. For starters, there are literally hundreds of different models to choose from, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses

Not all vaporizers are made equal. Some, such as the Volcano are large desktop units that use convection heating technology to release herbal vapour, while others, like the Arizer Solo, are compact units that use pre-set temperature settings and a ceramic element to heat your herbal preparations.


vaporizer types

Understanding the impact that different technologies have on the flavour, potency and impact of your chosen aromatherapy blends is absolutely essential to anyone who wants an enjoyable experience from their first vaporizer.

Help is at hand though. Here at Australian Vaporizers, we’ve always been dedicated to providing our customers with the information that they need to make educated decisions, which is why we’ve put together this in-depth vaporizer buying guide. This guide covers everything from the different heating methods employed by the most common vaporizers, to the different inhalation methods and the varied controls that different units use to regulate the release of vapour.


vaporizer types

Though other factors such as price and aesthetics are also important, understanding the following concepts is the key to making an informed decision about which vaporizer is right for you.

Herbs, Oils or Concentrates?

Before you can select between different heating methods, settle on a desired size, or pick a preferred method of temperature control, you’ll need to decide whether you're going to be using your vaporizer for herbs, oils or concentrates.


vaporizer types

A lot of vaporizers are only designed for use with a single form of aromatherapy preparation, and while it's true that some claim to be capable of accommodating multiple materials, they generally cannot vaporize two kinds of material effectively. This is because dry herbs, oils and concentrates require dramatically different conditions to vaporize. Choosing your vaporizer based on your preferred material will ensure that you get the right machine for the job. It also saves a lot of time and money by helping you to refine your options early in the buying process.

So, what are the differences between herbs, oils and concentrates? In general terms, oils and concentrates tend to be much more potent than dried herbs, due to the fact they’re highly concentrated and contain a much higher percentage of volatile active compounds. Simply put, oils and concentrates produce much stronger effects than dry herb. However, they don't taste as "authentic" as dry herb, and can be a little overwhelming to first-time users, particularly if you're used to dried aromatherapy blends.


vaporizer herbs

In contrast, dry herbs tend to produce a wonderfully mellow experience, and tend to taste better too, which makes them very popular with people who value a more traditional aromatherapy experience.

There are exceptions to these guidelines, and it is important to note that there are a variety of other important factors to consider before you settle on a preferred medium, including ease of use and cost.

Learn More About Herbs, Oils & Concentrates

Learn more about the differences between dry herbs, oils and concentrates.

Convection or Conduction?

Once you’ve decided what material you want to vaporize, you’ll then need to choose a preferred heating method. Most vaporizers, including the majority of portable models and a substantial amount of "first generation" units, use conduction technology to facilitate the release of active compounds. However, an ever-increasing number of modern vaporizers have begun utilizing convection technology instead.


vaporizer types

The difference between conduction and convection heating is that conduction requires your herbal material to make direct contact with a hot surface, whereas convection works by pushing heated air through your blends to produce vapour. It’s worth noting, though, that every vaporizer will inevitably use a combination of the two to some degree.

Deciding which heating method you prefer is an integral part in guiding the selection process, as there are a number of very important advantages associated with each method.

Generally speaking, vaporizers that utilize convection technology tend to be much gentler on your herbal blends. Convection produces a mellower flavour and promotes the gentle release of active ingredients.

Convection chambers can be harder to regulate, as it’s difficult to accurately measure air temperature as opposed to the temperature of the chamber itself. Because of this, they also require power-hungry thermostats to provide an accurate readout and ensure that your vaporizer is keeping your herbal preparations at the required temperature. As a result, they can suffer from slightly reduced battery life, or increased power consumption, depending on whether they’re a desktop or portable model.


vaporizer types

In contrast, conduction vaporizers are easier to regulate. The only downside is that they heat very fast and carry a higher risk of combustion. They can also heat unevenly, as they rely on your material making direct contact with the hot chamber to produce vapour. This means that users may have to stir their blends more frequently to ensure that all the material in the bowl is heating efficiently. Other conduction vaporizers, such as vape pens, rely solely on user-technique to ensure productive results, and are inconsistent when compared to convection vaporizers

There are a variety of other, slightly more subtle differences too, such as the time it takes to initially heat your aromatherapy preparations, and the ease with which moderate temperatures can be sustained over a longer period of time – all of which needs to be carefully considered before you can make a decision about whether you’d be best suited to a conduction vaporizer, or a convection model.

Read More About Conduction & Convection Vaporizers

To learn more about the differences between conduction and convection vaporizers,

Portable or Desktop?

Portable vaporizers are an incredibly versatile alternative to more traditional desktop vaporizers, and they also tend to be cheaper, making them a popular choice with new vapers who want to be able to enjoy vaporizing when they’re out and about.

Desktop vaporizers do have a number of important advantages. For starters, desktop vaporizers never run out of power. They’re generally a little better at controlling the temperature and taste of your vapour, and they’re also much better for group use, which is perfect if you want to be a sociable vaper.


vaporizer types

Before you can make an informed decision about the best vaporizer for you, you’ll need to decide whether you’re looking for a portable or desktop model by evaluating the numerous advantages associated with each type, including:

  • ease-of-use,
  • battery life
  • reliability

Desktops and portables also vary in vapour content and quality, which can have a huge effect on your enjoyment of the vaping process.

Read More About Portable & Desktop Vaporizers

To learn more about the differences between portable and desktop vaporizers,

Analogue or Digital?

Different vaporizers have different temperature controls which allow you to regulate the release of active compounds from your herbs. The way in which temperature is handled can have a big impact on your overall vaping experience, affecting the taste, consistency and potency of your vapour.

This is why deciding between an analogue or a digital vaporizer is an absolutely essential part of the vaporizer-selection process, particularly if you prioritize the potency and taste of your vapour.


vaporizer types

Generally speaking, vaporizers that use digital temperature controls offer much tighter control over the temperature of your material, making them more suited to experienced vapers who want a heavily-customizable experience.

Digital vaporizers are generally more expensive than their analogue counterparts, and they can be a bit complicated for those who are new to the hobby. In contrast, analogue vaporizers tend to be very simple and relatively cost-effective.

Analogue vaporizers normally use a very straight-forward dial to control temperature, or have several pre-set temperatures to choose from, which is ideal for people who haven’t had much experience with more free-form controls.


vaporizer types

However, analogue vaporizers can inhibit your ability to fine-tune your experience in the ways digital controls are capable of. A lot of analogue vaporizers simply have pre-set temperature levels, which removes your ability to adjust the temperature in order to find the setting that perfectly suits your tastes. Since different types and strains of herb have different "boiling points" (optimal temperature for extraction) the ability to set precise temperatures is important to users who want to really get the most out of their blends.

Of course, there are exceptions. Some digital vaporizers, like the Volcano, are still incredibly simple to use, while some analogue units can provide a surprising amount of control. This is why it’s important to do plenty of research into both options before choosing a model.

Read More About Analogue & Digital Vaporizers

Learn more about the differences between analogue and digital vaporizers.

Bag or Whip?

If you’re planning on buying a desktop vaporizer, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to inhale your vapour through a bag or whip tubing.

Generally speaking, whips are goodfor single-person use, as they allow you to regulate exactly how much vapour you draw per session, and also eliminate any wastage that might occur as a result of filling a balloon with more than you can handle. They are also fun to use with one or two friends, but can become inconvenient when vaping with large groups, as everyone is required to crowd around the vaporizer.


vaporizer types

Balloon bags are much better for group use, as they allow you to ensure that everyone gets a decent amount of vapour with every hit. They are also a great option for people who suffer from limited dexterity, or those of us who just want to sit back and vape without being tethered to the unit.

Balloons can also be more convenient than a whip if you're consuming large amounts of vapour, as the vapour in the bag is viable for up to 30 minutes, so you can fill and inhale at your leisure. 

There are plenty of desktop vaporizers to choose from with either method, as well as a range of multi-function vaporizers, like the Extreme Q and the VapirRise, which allow you to use either one!

Still Struggling to Decide?

If you’ve read through our vaporizer-buying guide and you’re still confused, you can always get in touch directly. We’re always more than happy to help people that are looking to get into the hobby, and we’d love to help you find the right unit.

Just send a message via our contact form or, if you’d prefer to chat on the phone, call us on 1300 088 112