Convection vs Conduction vs Hybrid: What’s the Difference?

The heating source that your vaporizer device utilizes is arguably one of the most important features that defines the overall use of your vape. Whether it’s convection heating, conduction heating, or a hybrid mix between the two different heating systems, these heating methods can either make or break your vaping experience. To give you a better idea of how each of these heating methods can affect your entire vape session, here is a comprehensive guide on each of the different heating systems and what they do to your substances.

There are so many vapes around with such varying choices in engineering and style that you might feel like you need to be an expert in thermodynamics, botany, and fashion just to pick the right one.

One of the big questions that comes up is on the issue of convection vs conduction vs hybrid. These are three words that you will always see being thrown around when researching any particular vaporizer, but there seems to be some confusion on exactly what the difference is.

Convection

We will start off with convection vaping.

Convection refers to the movement of heat via currents of either gas or liquids. Ovens, boiling water, radiators, and even hot air balloons are examples of convection currents.

These vaporizer units tend to be absolute powerhouses. Because every mouthful of vapor is cooked as you draw it out, every single hit of vapor should be flavorful, fresh, efficient, and potent.

How It Works

Convection heating is achieved when hot air surrounds a substance and passes through it, effectively heating it up without having to put it in direct contact with the heating source. The heating process manages to heat up your substance from all sides within but it is a little slower than other heating processes. Once the entirety of the substance is heated up to the desired temperature, the active ingredients are then released into a vapor that can be inhaled by the user. 

It is unbelievably easy to get very medicated using a very small amount of herb using quality convection units. Convection vaporizers are indeed absolute powerhouses, however, this is the central flaw that convection vaporizers have.

These powerhouses tend to be bigger, have much worse battery life among portables, and often times require very long heat­ up times in order to perform perfectly. Because these drawbacks are almost entirely eliminated by making a device that is meant to stay plugged in, convection heating is the perfect choice for desktop vaporizers.

There are, however, a handful of high ­quality convection portables on the market as well as a good number of hybrid units that utilize both convection and conduction.

Pros

Flavor

Since the convection heating method completely cooks your substance and takes its time to do so, you get a better flavor profile than you would get with other heating methods. The taste that you will experience with convection heating is often more intense, rich in the substance’s natural aromas and flavors, and varied since the heating process makes a huge different on whatever it is that you’re vaping. 

Efficiency

Although it may seem like convection heating is less effective due to the amount of time that you have to wait in order to hit your vape, the opposite is actually true. With a better flavor profile and the assurance that you are going to get the best hit each time, the convection heating method is way more efficient than other heating methods currently offered. You won’t end up having to deal with undercooked substances that could still be used even after your vape session is over. This way, you will save both money and time. 

Smells Less

If you’re trying to be more discreet with your vaping sessions, definitely go with convection heating because it smells less. Why? Due to the fact that your substances never come in direct contact with a heating source, the vapors are a lot less intense than those that would be produced if direct heating was implied. This helps to reduce the odors that vapers normally encounter. 

Free of Smoke

With direct contact heating systems, you always run the risk of combustion if the temperatures get too hot. With convection heating, you never have to worry about this since it is near impossible to get temperatures so high that they set your substances on fire without coming in contact with them. 

More Control

Direct contact heating systems, although they may come with precision temperature features, are not very precise. Heating systems such as these can go well over their target temperatures despite having these guaranteed settings. Convection heating systems are much more precise and you will have more control over the heating of your substances and the related effects. 

Cons

Learning Curve

Getting used to using a convection heating vaporizer can be difficult for those who are not used to using vaporizers. Convection heating methods are a lot more demanding and there are quite a few techniques that you will need to learn in order to get the most of your device. 

Battery Life

Convection heating devices require a lot of power to heat up your substances. Because it takes a while to get your things heated, it uses up a lot of battery power each time that you decide to have a vape session. This means that your overall battery life quality isn’t going to be impressive and you will have to charge your vaporizer quite a bit in order to use it. 

Conduction

Conduction is the process by which heat is directly transferred through a substance when molecules collide with neighboring molecules and give kinetic energy to them. Warming someone up with a hug, searing a steak in a cast iron skillet, and pressing a nail onto a concentrate rig are all great examples of conduction heating.

How this applies to vaporizers is that conduction vaporizers simply work by having a hot oven or plate press against your herb and continually cook the material.

How It Works

Conduction heating is achieved when a substance is applied directly to a heating source. The parts of the substance that is in contact with the heating portion of your vaporizer will then become heated and will turn into vapor which you can inhale. Unlike the convection heating method, the conduction heating method is rather straightforward.

Cooking by conduction is a very simple process, and conduction vapes are fantastically straightforward because of this. The sweet simplicity of conduction allows for conduction vapes to be smaller, stealthier, have longer ­lasting batteries, and have good performance even at low price points.

Furthermore, the ovens of conduction vaporizers tend to cause somewhat uneven vaporization and get dirty fairly easily. To make up for the few drawbacks of conduction units, there are a few really useful tips. Start off by grinding your herbs very finely and packing the herb chamber fairly tight. This helps the herb to cook significantly more evenly while still maintaining good air flow.

Turn your unit on and let it heat for at least thirty seconds to get nice and hot. Then, pick up your unit and slowly draw from it for 10-­15 seconds. The draw should feel similar to sipping on a fresh milkshake from a straw. If the airflow is too restricted to get a quality hit this way, try stirring the herbs and then breathe in some fresh air about halfway through your next draw.

Pros

Faster Heat Up

The conduction heating process is quick. All you have to do to begin vaping with a vaporizer that uses the conduction heating process is turn on your device and wait for the device to reach your desired temperature, which usually doesn’t take that long. Once the heating source is ready, you’re ready to go as well. It’s very simple. 

Cheaper

Because convection vaporizers are considered superior in terms of flavor quality and a lack of combustion risk, conduction vaporizers are usually cheaper to purchase. (Keep in mind that cheap is not the same as worse!)

Cons

Uneven Heat

Since conduction heating requires your substance to come in direct contact with your heating source, only the parts that touch the source and the parts that manage to be affected by the heat will be vaporized. This results in an uneven heating process that wastes some of your substance. 

Burns Your Herbs

The whole point of vaping is to avoid combustion. With the conduction heating process however, it is not always avoidable. Overexposing your herbs to the heat source or setting the temperature too high could result in burnt herbs, which means that you will end up smoking rather than vaping. 

Smells More

Overall, the conduction heating is rather powerful. When the substance you are using comes into direct contact with the heating source, it is vaporized and continues to get vaporized. This intense process means that you are going to get a smellier vapor that makes it harder to vape discreetly. 

Hybrid

The third and final heating system that you will have to choose from is a hybrid heating system that combines the two previous heating systems mentioned. 

How It Works

A hybrid heating system works by combining the best traits of both the conduction and convection heating systems. While your substance is undergoing the conduction heating process by coming in direct contact with the heating source, your device is working to heat up the uncooked part of your substances by using the convection heating method with the hot air that is contained within your chamber. This results in a fast and even heating process. 

Pros

Dense Clouds

Because your vaping device will be using two heating systems at once, you are going to experience much denser vapor clouds as a result of the combined heating process efforts. These vapor clouds will be huge and flavorful with the hybrid heating system. 

Efficient

You won’t have to worry about losing any substances with this heating system since they both work to make sure that absolutely no amount of substance goes to waste. In addition to the lack of waste left over with a hybrid vaporizer, you save more time, get better flavor profiles, and have an overall amazing vape session. 

Compromise of Conduction and Convection

With the hybrid heating system, you don’t have to choose between the conduction heating system or the convection heating system. All you have to do is choose the hybrid and you automatically get the best qualities of both heating systems put into one device. 

Power

A lack of power can often be a concern with vape enthusiasts since more power equals stronger hits. When you combine conduction and convection heating, you get enough power to make sure that you will always get strong and instant vapor production. 

Cons

Can Heat Up Your Herbs a Bit Too Much

As we already know, there is a huge risk of combustion when you are using the conduction heating method. This risk is increased when you use a hybrid system. Because you are adding even more heat to your device to evenly cook your substance, you also heat up the part coming in direct contact with the heat source, making the chances of combustion even more likely.

Wrapping Up

For end users, the vast wealth of choices between all of these vaporizers can be a bit daunting. It only takes a little bit of knowledge about these options as well as your personal preferences to find the perfect vape for you.

Whether you are a hiker needing a sturdy, conduction portable vaporizer to take on fun excursions, a student medicating on the go with a hybrid portable, or a connoisseur enjoying a fine blend in a convection desktop at home, we hope this will be able to help you find the perfect unit for your situation.

Posted in Articles, Comparisons, Desktop Vaporizers, Household Vaporizers, Medical Marijuana, Portable Vaporizers, Vape Pens, Vaping Tips | Leave a comment

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