Vaporizers are interesting devices that come in many styles, sizes, and for use with several types of material. In effect, e-cigs are vaporizers, but when we talk about portable vaporizers, usually we mean devices for herbs, oils, or concentrates.
What Does It Mean to Vaporize Something?
A vaporizer heats up a material. This is in order to release moisture; and yes, there is moisture in dried plant material. Allowing it to dry first ensures a concentrated, intense flavor. Heat only releases water vapor and does not cause materials to burn, theoretically. Burning is also known as combustion. A combustion cigarette is a regular cigarette, the kind that is lit on fire and releases toxins along with nicotine.
How Do Vaporizers Produce Heat?
This question can be answered in two parts. Part one is the source of energy. Devices usually use one of two sources: mains power or battery. A few items are powered by butane, and there are water bubblers where one sets a small fire under materials in a pipe-like bowl.
Part two is the heat-to-material transfer. When there is a space between heat and materials where a fan blows hot air around and through materials, this is known as convection. The oven in your kitchen is more efficient if it is a convection oven because it heats foods evenly. When heat is direct, reaching just the materials immediately over a heater, this is known as conduction. Conduction heating comes with a risk of combustion if you are using dry material and are unable to control heat.
Portable or Pen?
Desktop mods plug into the wall, sit on a table or desk, and tend to be both weighty and bulky. Even packing them up in a padded bag for a holiday creates an unwelcome burden. One would prefer to take a portable or pen-style vaporizer on a trip or to work each day.
When is a portable device actually a pen-vape? These devices are much like rechargeable mini cigs or cigalikes in style and shape. Such narrow, short items only hold a small amount of material. Batteries don’t last very long. They feel like a strong wind could whip them in half. Most people consider these to be a short-term option for maximum discretion and mobility. They fit in skinny jeans far better than some bulkier handheld vaporizers. A pen-style unit is expected to last a few months before replacement will be necessary.
The battery inside a portable vaporizer is larger. The chamber is larger. Whereas combustion is far more common with pen vapes, it’s easier to avoid with a portable of some quality. Again, these are rechargeable units of numerous shapes and styles. Companies worldwide make handheld vaporizers.
Portable Vaporizers Around the World
Three countries make the most popular portable and desktop mods: America, Canada, and Germany. Arizer is the major Canadian brand, responsible for the excellent Solo and Air portable vaporizers. Germany’s Storz & Bickel launched their first portables way back in 2015; the Mighty and the smaller Crafty. From the US, there are lots of brands like 7th Floor, Vapir, Grenco Science, and Pax Labs among others. Storz & Bickel’s devices are almost tactical in appearance, resembling devices one would take to a war zone where a rugged build is helpful. The Solo is sleeker, but a PAX 3 is one of the industry’s most stylish and sophisticated units regarding electronics and aesthetics.
Elements of Portability
A consumer wants portable vapes to go anywhere without feeling burdensome or bulky. The Mighty is one of the heaviest and largest units weighing more than half a pound with its built-in cell, but it would also survive a long drop and probably withstands worse abuse than that. Another wireless unit would slip easily into the pocket: a Firefly. It features a built-in battery, removable top cap, and an all-glass vapor pathway. The Solo is wireless, but one can also use it while it’s plugged into a charging device. Of all these, the Mighty’s battery is probably set to last longest, but in exchange for enduring power, one has to compromise and tolerate bulk and heft. With a charging cable in your pocket, many of these units can be recharged at your office computer, so a short-lived battery charge isn’t such a big deal unless you hike and vape. In that case, you want a bigger battery with more capacity.