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Convection and conduction vaporizers – pros and cons

In the descriptions of vaporizers, you will always find the words ‘conduction’ and ‘convection’ heating – both of which say very little to those who are just starting the adventure with vaporization. This article explains what these two terms refer to and talks about the most important pros and cons of each method of heating. If you wonder whether you should get a conduction or convection vaporizer, you have to read this article!

Pax 3 Vaporizer
Pax 3 Vaporizer

Conduction and convection vaporizer – what does it mean?

First, let’s explain what conduction and convection is. Both terms refer to how the herbs are heated in order to reach the evaporation temperature when vaporization begins.

Vaporizers can heat the herbs through convection or conduction. Convection means that the herbs are heated with a stream of hot air. Conduction means that the material is heated through the contact of a hot surface with the herbs – usually, it’s the contact with the heating chamber walls. Some devices offer hybrid heating, which is a mix of conduction and convection, but we won’t talk about these vaporizers in this article.

Conduction – almost every portable vaporizer

Even though lately there are more and more convective portable devices, the majority of portable vaporizers is based on conduction. The main reason behind it is that conduction heating is much less complicated from the technological point of view, which lowers the costs of production.

Alfa Vaporiser
Alfa Vaporiser

The most important advantage of this method of herbs heating is the lower, more affordable price of vaporizers that rely on conduction technology. Another plus is the fact that conduction allows for the vapor production from the very first draw, while convection devices are able to produce good-quality vapor only after a few draws. One more significant advantage is the short time that conduction vaporizers need to heat up to the required temperature.

One of the drawbacks of conduction is lower efficiency – the herbs are heated throughout the whole session, also between the draws and while the device is heating up and cooling down. Because of this, a part of the active substances goes to waste.

Another minus is the fact that conduction vaporizers produce vapor that isn’t as full of flavor as the one in convection devices. What’s more, vaporizers from this category are usually session devices, which means you have to use the whole content of the chamber during one vaping session.

You shouldn’t cease the session (and go back to it later on) because the material is constantly heated inside the chamber and the active substances are being released and they go to waste. Conduction vaporizers don’t allow for quick inhalations (a few draws on the go) and it’s best to have a full session that lasts between 5 and 10 minutes.

Convection – efficient vaporization

Almost every desktop vaporizer heath the herbs through convection and lately some manufacturers have released a few portable convection devices. The most important advantage of convection is the high level of efficiency. This kind of vaporizer extracts more active substances from the herbs.

Boundless CF Vaporizer
Boundless CF Vaporizer

You can also break the session into a few smaller ones – just cut the flow of hot air into the chamber and you can get back to the inhalation whenever you want, with no risk of losing the active substances from the material. Another plus of convection is a better vapor quality and flavor compared to the ones from conduction devices.

This results from the fact that the herbs are only heated with hot air, rather than with e.g. a steel chamber. One more important benefit of using convection vaporizers is that there’s no need to use finely-ground herbs or to squeeze the material in the chamber too much, which is necessary in the case of conduction devices. This not only saves time but also lets you use smaller quantities of material per session.

Convection heating is more complicated from the technological point of view, so convective vaporizers are usually much more expensive than their conductive ‘relatives’. The most-often mentioned drawback of convection is the price of the devices (even though there are some exceptions).


What’s more, convection vaporizers normally require more time to heat up (though there are exceptions to this rule, too, e.g. Firefly and Firefly 2). One more aspect that should also be mentioned is the fact the there is very little vapor produced during the first few draws. Only after the air gets really hot, does the vapor production reach the maximum potential.

Convection and conduction – which vaporizer is better for dried herbs?

It’s hard to clearly state which method of herbs heating is better – as you can see, both conduction and convection have their pros and cons. Both methods have its supporters and opponents and the choice depends on your personal needs and preferences in regard to the inhalation. It’s best to think about what your expectations are and base your purchase decision on it.

If you have doubts whether your vaporizer is suitable for aromatherapy or you would like to get more information about it – contact us, our experts will be happy to give you professional and free advice!

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