There exists, undoubtedly, a vast ocean of beginner’s guides for the vaping novice. But as time slips past us, and vaping continues its unstoppable ascent in popularity, it’s easy to assume that the vaping ‘beginner’ is a thing of the past as well. This, I think, would be a wee bit presumptuous, and forgets the all-important consumer driving the superstardom vaping almost takes for granted.
As vaping progresses, products and best practices change, develop, and evolve. What might have been considered a great vaping tip 5 years ago may now be almost antiquated, and the product development in that time is almost astronomical enough for incomprehension.
So where does the contemporary vaping beginner of 2020 find the most current information, the best and most current tips, and help picking out the products that are rocking the vaping community right now? Well, here, if I can be so bold, would be an excellent place to start. For the best vaping guide for the beginner in 2020, and the most up to date products that will turn you into a total professional in no time, read on!
I understand that vaping, whether you’re an expert or have never tried this most reverent ritual, is something that has latched on to our collective consciousness in a way that makes it almost impossible to have ignored it for this long. And although there are probably very few of us who have never heard of vaping, there’s a reason why the fundamental question of what vaping is can still be considered relevant.
Vaping is, in essence, a means of inhaling vapor using a device that does not rely on combustion to convert material (dry herbs, concentrates, or e-liquids) into vapor, or mist, rather than smoke. Why is this fundamental fact about vaping still important in 2020? All health-related anecdotes aside, vaping does not cause material to burn, so the user of a vape is not exposing themselves to the same chemicals produced by the combustion process normally associated with smoking tobacco or other substances like dry herbs.
Although there are several different ways in which vapes can work, in essence they all rely on heat to create vapor, and to control heat to the extent that the heating mechanism does not get hot enough to combust your material. There are two broad ways in which this can be done:
Conduction heating essentially means that the product being heated comes in direct contact with the device producing heat (such as a hot plate heated through the use of a battery), and turns to vapor or mist upon contact. This method of vaporization is especially beneficial if the user is vaping dry herbs or oils, as the material is irregular in size, and can contain larger pieces. Conduction heating usually works more quickly than convection, and is a great choice for portable vapes
Convection heating methods instead indirectly heat material to the point that it converts into vapor, like an oven in essence. The heat radiates from every direction and basically bakes the product, relying on air currents to circulate the heated air around all of the material being vaped. A battery heats up a hot plate, and at the same time air is drawn into the device and passes through the hot spot. The air heats up as it paases through, and then flows into the chamber which houses the material to be vaped, heating this as it does so. There is very little chance of material accidentally burning with this method, and is a good choice for users who are concerned about accidental burnage.
Many new vapes alspo offer a combination of conduction and convection heating, which is a way of ensuring that all of your product is heated with very little wasted. These are usually called hybrid vapes, and there are many, many great options for someone looking for this unique heating method, like the Solo 2, an excellent vape for any beginner (But don’t worry, there’s a list of the best beginner’s vapes below!).
Not only are there different types of heating methods, but the material and delivery system of vapes can and does vary immensely. However, for the beginner, it’s best to group these into three main categories:
We start here because if you’re new to vaping and haven’t had a lot of exposure, the e-cigarette or some such device may well be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of vaping. Consisting of three main parts, the e-liquid portable vape succeeds in mimicking the ‘feel’ of a cigarette:
- A battery (vape mod)
- A vaporization chamber (atomizer)
- A heating element (coil)
All e-liquid vapes work on the same principle: a battery source powers a heating element that vaporizes e-liquid in a small chamber and the user inhales the resultant vapor through a mouthpiece. It is a simple concept that has probably seen more variations than any given Apple product. The world of e-liquid flavors, nicotine levels, and base ingredients alone is astronomical, and the vapes that accompany them are not in the least bit limited.
These vapes are becoming just as popular as the e-liquid vapes mentioned above. Dry herb portable vapes usually (but not always) consist of:
- An oven or chamber
- A battery or electric or butane heating source
- Charging cables (that can usually connect to an outlet)
- A filter or fine mesh screen
Once charged, a user simply has to load their dry herb into the chamber or oven, replace the oven lid, turn on the device and wait for it to reach that ideal vaporization temperature (usually indicated by a helpful light on the device), and inhale the resultant vapor through the mouthpiece.
However, there can be variations to this simple method, such as with analog dry herb vapes, where a user is required to light a separate butane lighter and heat the chamber manually, such as with the Dynavap Omnivap, an excellent choice for the new vaper who likes the idea of a dry herb vape but doesn’t want the hassle of charging.
These vapes are, as the name suggests, not as portable as their smaller cousins, but what they lack in portability they make up for in power and quality. They use outlet power sources, they’re large, and usually contain industrial materials and technologies to ensure an incredibly effective vaping experience - and are as such preferred in the medical community. Desktop vapes fall into two broad categories, whip style vapes and forced air vapes. Whip style desktop vapes include:
- A whip attachment that draws vapor via the user’s inhalation
- A wand where dry herbs are packed
Whip-style vaporizers utilize a "whip" attachment as their means of drawing vapor. The user draws hot air over the dry herbs as they inhale. There are of course several different types of whip style vapes, such as the monumental Plenty vape by Storz and Bickel.
Force air vapes include, then:
- A forced air system that draws vapor mechanically
- An oven where dry herbs are packed
- A whip attachment and balloon bag
Forced-air vaporizers represent the newest and most technologically advanced wave of vapes out there. Using a forced-air system, an internal fan propels hot air over dry herbs, heating them by way of convection heating. The resultant vapor can be inhaled through a whip attachment, or filled into a balloon bag, depending on the type of vaporizer used Many of these units also feature varying fan settings, which can be used to control the flow of air.
Now that we have an understanding of the main types of vapes that dominate the market as of 2020, how does a beginner go about choosing the best vape for them? Well, any new vaper needs to do a bit of soul searching about why it is they’ve decided to vape in the first place, what exactly they want to vape, how they would like vaping to fit into their lifestyle, and ultimately what their goals for vaping are. Check out the list of questions below:
- What device do you want to vape with and why? E-cigarette type devices to help with quitting smoking? Or maybe a portable dry herb vape to take on the go? Whether you’re looking for something discreet or something that acts as the centerpiece to your in-home gatherings, there’s a vape out there for you, we promise.
- How much are you planning on consuming? Are you a light user who isn’t too invested in vaping but curious to try it out? An e-cigarette with its portability and ease of use doesn’t require a lot of commitment. However, if you’re a heavy user and need something very durable with a longer lifespan, a good quality dry herb vape or even a desktop vape might be better for you.
- What is your budget? Vapes exist on a very wide price scale, so depending on your price range, we can guarantee there’s a vape that will fall into this bracket. E-cigarettes are by and large the least expensive and the most disposable, and desktop vapes, for all the reasons mentioned above, are going to be an investment. However, in between, there exist many useful guides for making sure you get the best product for your buck.
- What kind of material do you want to vape? Are you looking to vape e-liquids containing nicotine, or dry herbs, or concentrates? There are many great vapes that combine dry herbs and concentrates, like the Crafty by Storz and Bickel, but e-liquid vapes simply by their design aren’t compatible with other substances.
- Are you looking for large cloud production? E-cigarette or e-liquid type vapes are usually more geared towards amazing flavors and super big vapor clouds, whereas dry herb and concentrate vapes are generally more concerned with producing an excellent quality vape over quantity.
- Are you looking for a vape where you have more control? Are you mechanically inclined and looking to take some of the construction/heat settings into your own hands? A mod might be ideal for you. Or, if you want something incredibly easy to use where the product is almost ready to use right out of the box and you don’t have to worry about having a lot of background knowledge about temperature control, a vape with preset temperature settings, like the easy-to-use and brand new Crafty Plus.
The best, and easiest to use vapes of 2020, in our opinion, are:
- The Firefly 2+ is easy to use, super smart, and really nice to look at. A great vape for the beginner looking for an excellent quality vape that will last.
- The Crafty Plus is an ideal portable vape for anyone who needs the power and quality of a medical-grad device that can be taken anywhere.
- The Volcano Hybrid is a desktop vape easy enough for any beginner to use, with all of the sophistication and technology anyone could ever need or want. If you require a heavy duty desktop vape to see you through the next 20 years, this investment is well worth it, especially if using for medical purposes
- Temperature settings - To avoid unnecessary burning, buy a vape with preset temperature settings. They’re easier to use and take out a lot of the guesswork.
- Read the manual - The majority of dry herb vaporizers are very easy to use, it’s true, but if you want the most out of your device, reading the manual is absolutely the best place to start.
- Stick to pre-packaged kits instead of building your own - Again, for a beginner, it’s always best to buy a product that doesn’t require a lot of assembly or manual modification to work effectively.
- Preliminary burn-off - As a best practice technique, we would suggest doing a preliminary burn off, or simply turning your vape on without any material in the oven or chamber to burn off any residual substance left over from production.
- Take care of your vape (!) - Love your vape the way that it deserves. Learn to clean it, learn to store it safely, and learn to not push it past its limits. Treat it with the respect it deserves and we promise it won’t ever let you down.