Vaporizing marijuana : 4 things to consider before buying

Here are 4 things to consider before buying a vaporizer for vaporizing marijuana.

Marijuana flower vs. cannabinoids concentrate

This is probably the most important question you should ask yourself: “Do I want to refill marijuana flower or concentrate?” If you like smoking and plan to split your time between your vaporizer and, say, rolling papers, you’ll probably want a vaporizer that can hold loose leaves so you don’t have to buy both flower and concentrate. If you plan to give up smoking in favour of vaporizing marijuana (perhaps due to health concerns related to smoking), you can focus entirely on concentrates without worry.

vaporizer and cannabis flowers

From an economic point of view, the two are different animals. Concentrate cartridges cost about $40 each and last for 100 to 200 puffs from the pen, whereas vaporizers work on the traditional “bowl” system: The chamber is comparable to an average-sized bowl, with the cost of the fill depending on the cannabis variety, quality, supplier, etc.

Bear in mind that the choice of varieties on the market today is much wider than concentrates. So if you are a connoisseur, a loose leaf vaporizer will still give you that discovery/experience. However, the market is expected to grow tremendously and rapidly, so the future is bright for concentrate fans.


Didn’t think you’d ever need to remember the difference between conduction and convection, did you? As it turns out, the basic chemistry course was useful in making an informed purchase of a loose leaf evaporator. Conduction and convection describe heat transfer: Conduction is motionless (think metal against metal), while convection requires a liquid or gas to move the energy (think steam).

A good example of a conduction vaporizer is the Pax by Ploom, which uses a metal chamber to heat ground flowers. Alternatively, the Firefly is a convection vaporiser that heats the flower with hot air. Convection vaporisers are – in theory – more efficient; conductive heating (using a metal chamber) is often uneven (the flowers touching the chamber walls receive more heat than the flowers in the centre of the chamber) and inefficient (they heat continuously even when you are not inhaling, which can waste flowers).

cannabis vaporising girl

Depending on how tightly you pack the conduction chamber, you may need to stir the flower after a few puffs to achieve even heating. However, this point is moot if you opt for concentrates where decarboxylation (or ‘activation’) of the cannabinoids is already unnecessary. If environmental protection is an important consideration, loose leaf vapes are clearly better as there is less plastic waste and the chemical extraction process is eliminated.


It depends on how you want to use your vaporizer. If you prefer a quick, on-the-go puff, concentrates make a lot of sense: there’s no heating time, and vape pens are usually small and unobtrusive. On the other hand, if you want to hold group sessions or just vape at home, a loose leaf vape that requires a warm-up time makes a lot of sense.

Vaporising marijuana - desktop volcano vaporizer

Preparation of the device is an important point: for loose leaf vaporizers, the chamber must be filled with ground flowers before each use (don’t forget your grinder), and the vape should be cleaned regularly. With concentrates, there are two options: Some can be used with screw-in disposable cartridges, while others need to be refilled (which can be messy), although refills are rarely necessary.

Battery life and recharge time are also important factors; battery-powered loose leaf vaporisers have an on-off switch and draw power continuously while on, with battery life comparable to that of a laptop. Most vape pens, on the other hand, do not have an on-off switch and only draw power when you are vaping, reducing the frequency of charging.

If portability is not an issue, there is a whole range of stationary vaporisers that can be plugged in.


This is something for the connoisseurs. If smoking is a great pleasure for you, it is likely that you have a great interest in the taste and smell of the plant. Every vaporizer on the market today brings with it an inevitable taste and smell that will affect your experience. As with smoking, trial and error is the best way to find the vaporizer that suits your taste, but in general loose leaf vaporizers offer a stronger taste than concentrates.

girl with vaporizer

Also, the smell of already vaporised flowers is strong and often unpleasant, which means that you should empty the loose leaf chamber shortly after each use, which is not the case with concentrates. Finally, many people covet the heady feeling that comes with smoking. Vaping, being the clean method that it is, produces a lighter effect. This can be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for – for some it means a clearer effect, for others a weaker effect.

Are there any vaporisers that you love and would recommend? We’d love to hear what you think!

Did this guide help you choose the right vaporizer for you? Check out our other guides to vaporizing marijuana

Published by Sakul


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