What Temperature Should I Set for My Vaporizer?
There are few aspects more important to vaping than temperature. Temperature is the difference between burnt and vaporized material, but it also influences the entire vape experience, from vapor production and quality to flavor.
Every vaping device has its own temperature range and variety of settings. Some can even be set to the precise degree. Ultimately, the exact temperature you use will come down to a matter of personal preference and desired experience, but in order to avoid scorching your material and ruining your session, there are some basics about temperature and vaporization that are important for you to know.
Understanding vaporization and temperature
Let’s start with a brief science lesson to understand how temperature influences vaporization. Vaporization occurs when material is heated to a point below its combustion threshold; vaporizers heat material up just enough to convert the material into vapor, hence the name. Understanding how temperature affects flavor will help you optimize your session, tailoring flavor and quality to your own tastes.
Most vaporizers use one of two heating methods: conduction heating or convection heating. Conduction heating involves the direct heating of material, either dry herb or concentrates, with an electronically-heated surface. As this surface heats up, the material will vaporize and become ready for inhalation. Convection heating separates the material from the heating element altogether. Instead, hot air passes over the material, heating it in the process and vaporizing it. Convection heating is either done with the use of a fan or simply occurs during inhalation, depending on the device that’s being used. A few vaporizers on the market use induction heating, in which there is no direct connection between the heating element and the power source.
How temperature influences vape experience
We’ve covered that vaporization relies on lower temperatures than combustion, but there’s more to it than that. Dry herb material or concentrate all vaporize at different temperatures, setting your vaping device accordingly can produce different experiences.
Vaporizers are commonly capable of producing temperatures that vary based on the cannabis they’re designed to vaporize, although the range varies from device to device. Some devices, such as the PAX Era, allow for precise degree-by-degree control, while others have temperature presets between which you can toggle using the vaporizer’s power button. Once you become familiar with your vaping device’s temperature range and heating settings, you can more precisely control your sessions.
Vapor quality, vapor production, and flavor
Vapor quality refers to the fraction of material that is vaporized in a liquid/vapor mix. It’s a basic thermodynamics principle that as temperature rises, the vapor quality increases; in other words, the hotter it gets, the larger the fraction of material that becomes vaporized.
What does this mean for vaporizers? Low temperatures produce less vapor, as well as vaporize fewer materials. Lower temperatures also tend to preserve the most flavor. Low temperatures are good for conserving material and keeping the size of vapor clouds to a minimum.
Conversely, higher temperatures tend to produce a lot of vapor and big clouds. Knowing how your temperature settings will impact sessions is as much about knowing your material as it is about knowing your vaping device.
How to set vape temperature based on your material
The first step to setting your vape temperature is understanding its temperature range and heating settings. Each device has its own range and settings, so it’s important to become familiar with the vape that you choose. For example, the PAX 3 is a dry herb and concentrate vaporizer with a temperature range of 360°F to 420°F.
Now that you know your device’s temperature range, you must consider the material loaded into the vaporizer. In keeping with our example of the PAX 3, you may want to vaporize dry herb or concentrate, such as oils or waxes. All materials have different vaporization points, but here’s a quick look at what to expect with each.
Vaporizing dry herb
Dry herbs often vaporize at a lower temperature than concentrates. Select a low-temperature setting and allow the vaporizer to heat. Most vapes heat up in under a minute; the PAX 3 heats up in an average of 22 seconds, for example.
Many vaporizers, such as the PAX 3, accept both cannabis flower and concentrate materials. The type of your material is an important factor when selecting temperature. Dry herbs, like cannabis flower, tend to vaporize at lower temperatures than concentrates. Understanding how your material responds to higher temperatures is key to creating an optimal session.
Understanding your material is key to controlling your vaping experience. To get an idea, do some research on the type of material you are using, and their boiling points. Much of this knowledge will come from practice, however. Try experimenting with your materials at different temperature settings to find out which works best for you.
Precise temperature is a matter of preference
Now that you understand the basics of vaping and temperature, you’re ready to start experimenting with how different levels of heat impact your sessions. Remember, the precise temperature that you choose for your sessions is all about personal preference.
Which flavors do you want to bring out of your material? What kind of experience do you want to have? Do you want to achieve a great deal of vapor production or very little? Temperature can influence each of these elements and make for a vastly different session using the same material. By trying different temperature settings, you’ll become familiar with how your vape can influence your sessions and soon you’ll know which temperature settings most closely match your preferences.