Components Of Vaporizers
Part I in our series on the components of a personal vaporizer.
There are several different components to a portable personal vaporizer. To best understand how they work together, it’s important to know what each piece does, what materials are used to make it work, and how it interacts with the other parts. Today we’ll be looking at the piece that most of us interact with first; The heating chamber.
The heating chamber is a rough analog to the “tank” in a liquid vape mod or pen, and it is sometimes called by that name. The big difference is that a traditional e-cig tank does not get heated up at all. You’ll also see it referred to as a vaporizer oven, or simply as the chamber. It has a seemingly simple function: hold your herbs so they can be heated properly and safely. There is a surprising amount of complexity that goes into creating the ideal environment for it to perform that function.
The first consideration is the material that oven is made from. There are only so many different approaches because it has to be something relatively non-reactive, sturdy, and heat-resistant. They can be found made glass, stainless steel, ceramic, quartz, and even plastic. Each type of chamber has advantages and disadvantages to it. Let’s quickly review:
- Plastic has the advantage of being cheap. That’s most of what it has going for it. It’s not a good idea to heat plastic too much because it loses its shape at a lower temperature than any of the other materials, and produces unpleasant or possibly even dangerous gasses when heated past its specifications.
- Quartz is tough, it’s non-reactive, conducts heat evenly, and some say that its regular and rigid crystalline structure creates a synergy with the sort of natural botanicals that you’d be vaporizing. We don’t want to get too New Age about it, but it never hurts to have Mother Earth on your side.
- Glass is inert and generally endures temperature changes fairly well. Also, glass is very easy to clean, though it doesn’t take a lot to break glass compared to other materials. You need to be sure you’re prepared to be careful with it.
- Stainless steel is a good material for a vape oven. It’s the most resilient, distributes heat pretty well, though perhaps not as evenly as quarts or ceramic. It is reasonably easy to clean, and isn’t terribly expensive.
- Ceramic is excellent at even distribution of heat, and it has very low reactivity. It’s not as fragile as glass is, but it’s still pretty easy to accidently break. It’s also fairly porous, which can mean that material from previous herbs can still be present in the chamber later on if it’s not cleaned properly.
The next consideration will be size; It matters. The oven chamber will function most efficiently if it’s properly filled with dry plant material. That means that you’ll want to think about how you plan on using it. If you’re mostly using your personal vaporizer alone or with one other person, you’ll want a smaller chamber to maximize battery life and heat the herbs quickly and evenly. If you’re considering a portable vaporizer more suitable to use mostly in groups, you’ll definitely want a larger chamber so you’re not constantly refilling it.
The final consideration when thinking about the chamber of your next pocket sized portable vaporizer is how it interacts with the rest of the components. There are some design elements that are really very much up to the manufacturer, but it’s also important for the consumer to consider several points. Is it going to be easy to fill and then clean? Does the way it interacts with the heating coils seem efficient? Is it snugly fitted within the casing and well insulated from my hands?
So now you know a little more about the chamber on your personal vaporizer, you’re ready to get some information on the other pieces that come together to make modern vaping possible. The Battery and Atomizers