Woman using blue PAX Pod

Flower vaporizers are excellent tools for getting the most out of your herbal material. Whether you are a veteran vaper or are looking for a new way to enjoy your favorite dry herb material, there are options for you.

Traditionally limited to immobile, yet powerful desktop units, dry herb vaporizers are now available in portable styles, so you can bring your favorite strains with you. But how exactly do these vaporizers work, and what do you need to know before using one? This guide offers a step-by-step introduction to using dry herb vaporizers to help you get the most out of every session.

What is a flower or dry herb vaporizer?

A flower vaporizer, as the name suggests, is an electronic device used to vaporize ground herbal material. While vaporizers can vary greatly in design, the basic functionality of each is the same.

A battery or external power source provides electricity to a heating element, which is used to warm the herbal material to its vaporization point. Once heated, the cannabis material converts into vapor that can be inhaled through the mouthpiece.

Now that you know what a dry herb vaporizer is, it's time to identify your vape style.

Step 1: Identify your vape style

There are a few different styles of vaporizers you can choose from. Because each dry herb vaporizer varies so greatly from one to the next, the first thing you should do is identify the specific style of your vape. This will help you understand its capabilities and a bit more about how it works. Dry herb vaporizers generally come in two different formats, including:

  • Portable vaporizers: Dry herb portable vapes, or vaporizers that support herbal materials, are highly mobile, compact, and discreet. They tend to have internal mechanisms, including a vapor pathway, as well as a way to load and clear out dry herb or flower.
  • Desktop vaporizers: Desktop vaporizers are a diverse category of large and powerful units that typically need to be plugged in during use. Unlike their mobile counterparts, desktop vaporizers are focused on high levels of vapor production and extreme efficiency for at-home use.

Within each of these styles, one specific model could offer quite a different slate of features than the next, so it's important to consult your device owner's manual to become familiar with your vape. For example, oven location and capacity can be different depending on the model. Some vaporizers have pre-set temperature settings, while others can be set to the precise degree.

There is also the consideration of which heating method your vaporizer uses. Across all styles, vapes typically use either conduction heating or convection heating to vaporize your chosen cannabis material:

  • Conduction heating occurs when the cannabis material is placed directly on top of the heating element. When the heating element warms, physical contact transfers heat to the cannabis material until it reaches its boiling point.
  • Convection heating is an indirect method, by which the cannabis material is vaporized when hot air passes over it. In convection vapes, air is heated independently of the cannabis material and pushed over the herbs either by an internal fan or when you inhale on the mouthpiece.

Understanding these differences and how they impact overall vape experience is key to selecting a dry herb vaporizer that best suits your preferences.

Step 2: Make sure you have the right accessories

Many dry herb vaporizers come with a basic set of accessories in the box. You can typically expect to find the vape itself and a charger for the battery. You may also find some basic tools for cleaning and maintenance.

While these accessories are a good starting point, there are likely other ways to modify your dry herb vaporizer. One good example is inserts and attachments that can modify the vapor experience. For example, certain PAX vaporizers are concentrate compatible, and can be used via a Concentrate Insert.

Other accessories include replacement parts, which come in handy as a party of keeping the vaporizer runner well. Components like oven screens and cleaning tools tend to get worn out, so having spares on hand will come in handy.

Lastly, there are ways to main the ritual of using your vaporizer easier. This includes getting items like stash bags, prep trays, as well as grinders.

Step 3: Select the right cannabis strain

Your cannabis flower is a critical part of your vape experience, so you will want to choose the right high quality strain. Many dry herb vaporizers are intended for use with cannabis flower, which comes in a wide range of cultivars commonly referred to as strains. Each strain has a different profile of cannabinoids and terpenes that can influence everything potency and effects to flavor and aromas.

Selecting the right cultivar to support the experience is almost as important as the vaporizer itself. The reason for this is because certain cannabis compounds vaporize at higher temperatures than others. Changing the temperature will also influence which terpenes are vaporized and in what quantity. When trying out a new strain, it's recommended you experiment with different temperature settings to see how they can influence your session.

Step 4: Load the vaporizer oven or bowl

Once you've selected the cannabis strain you'd like to use, you grind the flower finely so that it heats evenly and produces consistent vapor. Next, locate the oven or chamber on your device. If you're not sure where it is, consult the owner's manual.

Once you locate the oven, remove the lid. Pack your oven in accordance with the instructions in your manual. Most vaporizers need to be packed densely but take care not to overpack it; packing your vape too tightly can restrict airflow and diminish your experience. When your device is packed, replace the lid.

Step 5: Select your vaporizer temperature setting

Keep in mind the type of strain you've selected and its chemical make-up when selecting your temperature. If your vape is capable, set the temperature to a level that will vaporize all the desired compounds in your material. In some cases, it might take a few attempts to discover the right temperature setting or mode.

Once you've selected your temperature setting, turn the vaporizer on so that it fully heats up. This can take up to 1 minute depending on the device you are using. Again, if you aren't sure, consult your device owner's manual.

Step 6: Take your first "hits" on the vape

Simply draw on the mouthpiece of your vaporizer to pull the vapor through. Continue doing so until your session is complete. The method you use to inhale is largely a matter of personal preference, but it's wise to start slow if you aren't familiar with the device. Take a few short “sips” to become acquainted with how your device hits.

Some portable dry herb vaporizers, like the PAX, have built-in lip sensing technology that detect when your lips are near the mouthpiece. Lip sensors allow the device to temporarily cool down when not in use, preserving unused cannabis material still in the chamber without ending the session altogether. Similarly, when you raise the device to your lips, the sensors cause the device to warm up again, making your session seamless and efficient.

Step 7: Keep your dry herb vaporizer clean

Whenever you complete a session, it's wise to clean your flower vaporizer. Every device has a different recommended method of cleaning and maintenance, so consult your owner's manual. Typically, you will want to ensure the device's mouthpiece, oven, and vapor path (if it has one) are all clean of any residue. Always be gentle, especially around the oven; cleaning is important to protect the longevity of your vaporizer, but so is the protection of sensitive parts. Once your vape is clean and dry, you can reassemble the components.

Step 8: Recharge your flower vaporizer

Finally, it's always recommended to charge your vaporizer after a session. Having a fully charged vaporizer is key to enjoying long-lasting and optimal sessions. When you're finished vaping and your vaporizer is cleaned and reassembled, check the battery life to see if it needs some time to recharge with the included charger or power cord.

Flower vaporizers offer a better way to consume

Dry herb vaporizers offer a discreet and easy way to consume your preferred cannabis material. You'll still have the same cannabis experience you've come to love, without the mess or harsh smoke. Whether you go for a portable or desktop vaporizer, there are plenty of choices available to you.

Now that you know the basics of using a flower vape, it won't be long before you know how get the most out of your favorite dry herb material.

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