Everyone thinks convection vaporizers are better than conduction units. In general, they're correct. But not in every case. In the conduction vs convection vaporizer debate, the devil is in the details.
Many moving parts play a role in vapor quality, not just the heating system. Materials, vapor path, temperature control, even the mouthpiece can make all the difference between smoky, harsh hits and smooth, tasty draws.
To simplify your search for a convection vaporizer, or a conduction unit that's just as good, we've broken it down to a list of the best conduction and convection vaporizers of the year. If you want an even bigger selection, check out our vaporizers page.
Let’s look at the 5 best convection vaporizers, as well as 5 conduction vapes that go above and beyond.
5 Best Convection Vaporizers
Boundless CFV - $219.99
Very few convection vaporizers are portable. The Boundless CFV is. This compact convection vaporizer also has precision temperature control, rare for portables, and comes with wooden and quartz rings that play with heat, creating new flavors and scents. Overall, the Boundless CFV delivers silky smooth vapor, free of smokiness, from a compact, tactically designed unit. In the conduction vs convection vaporizer debate, the Boundless CFV scores one for the latter.
Da Buddha by 7th Floor - $189.00
Da Buddha is a convection vaporizer that defies its affordable price with exceptional build quality, an elegant design, and amazing vapor production. As far as convection vaporizers go, Da Buddha vape has one of the best vapor paths for delivering pure-tasting hits. Handblown glass-on-glass elements and a fully ceramic heating element preserve the natural flavors of dry herb. A knob lets you choose with precision the ideal temperatures. You vape whip-style using a ground glass hands free connection, which extends the vapor path by 3ft so it comes out smoother and cooler. This convection vaporizer is for fans of true vaporization.
Firefly 2 - $329.95
It’s rare to find a convection vaporizer that fits in your hand. The Firefly 2 is one of those unicorns. Its makers took care to choose the best materials (like the magnesium alloy casing you find on iPhones) and introduced touch sensor controls to the vape world. The convection heating chamber features numerous tiny holes out of which spews hot air to vaporize the dry herb. This heats more surface area than a conduction vaporizer would. So what you get is comfortable, flavor-rich hits. Unlike, most convection vaporizers, the Firefly 2 can be controlled via mobile app.
Pulsar APX - $59.99
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more affordable convection vaporizer than the Pulsar APX. It’s a small fraction of the cost of vapes like the Firefly 2, but it offers great vapor quality by virtue of its combustion-free heating style, a temperature controlled battery, and a very compact design that’s easy to keep hidden and isn’t a pain to carry around. The Pulsar APX convection vaporizer is for those who want solid dry herb draws on-the-go without breaking the bank. One of the most functional yet cheaply priced convection vaporizers out there.
Plenty by Storz & Bickel - 299.00
The handheld Plenty vaporizer by Storz & Bickel is more portable and compact than the average whip-style desktop vape, weighing only 1.5 lbs. But it still packs plenty of power as a convection vaporizer. You can zero in on the best temperature for your dry herb strain and preferred vapor profile. And a stainless steel cooling coil extends the vapor path for smoother draws and makes whip-style vaping more convenient since you can bend the malleable coil in any direction you want. This is a convection vaporizer for those who want the vapor purity of a desktop vape in a more compact unit.
Herbalizer - $599.99
The best convection vaporizer is the Herbalizer. Powered by a microprocessor that remembers vape temperatures and corrects its temperature every 8th of a second, the Herbalizer uses convection heating to deliver vapor that’s absolutely smoke free and true to the original flavors, aromas, and effects of dry herb strains. You can vape whip-style, balloon-bag-style or with a steamroller glass attachment that’s sold separately. You can also switch to aromatherapy mode to fill your room with essential oil vapor. To many, the Herbalizer is the convection vaporizer of convection vaporizers, popular with recreational and medicinal users who want exceptional vapor purity.
5 Best Conduction Vaporizers
KandyPens Prism - $97.99
Kandypens Prism is a super compact wax pen with serious vapor production. This conduction vape includes two premium atomizers--a ceramic chamber with ceramic dish, and dual quartz rod atomizer. The ceramic coilless delivers super smooth and flavor hits, while the dual quartz is for cloud chasers who want bigger hits. The Prism vaporizer comes with a glass mouthpiece--super rare for wax pens--and you can charge via Micro USB or Lightning. Flip through preset temperatures and enjoy milky vapor on-the-go in an uber-discreet manner.
AirVape Xs - $179.00
Lightweight and compact, sleek and easy to use, the AirVape Xs is perhaps the best portable vaporizer in the middle price range. The AirVape is actually a hybrid conduction and convection vaporizer that leans a bit more toward conduction. The ceramic oven and glass mouthpiece offer smooth, pure-tasting vapor. Ideal for vaping on-the-fly, the AirVape Xs is very thin and light. Unlike most portable vapes, it features precision temperature control, so you have total control over the quality of your vapor. Like convection vaporizers do, the AirVape Xs heats dry herb with hot air, but by the same token, uses conduction for well-rounded vaporization.
Pax 3 - $274.99
You don’t need a convection vaporizer to enjoy great tasting, comfortable vapor. The Pax 3 is the strongest and fastest version of the PAX Labs line of portable dry herb vaporizers. The battery went from 3000mAh to 3500mAh. And heat up time is now a rapid 15 seconds instead of 45. Pax 3 is also smarter, with upgraded hardware that gives you complete control over temperature. Choose between 4 presets (360F, 380F, 400F, 420F) or 4 smart modes: Boost, Stealth, Efficiency, and Flavor mode. Expect around 100 minutes of continuous use. Although Pax 3 isn’t a convection vaporizer, it delivers efficient vapor production that draws out the natural flavors and scents of your dry herb.
Magic Flight Launch Box - $119.00
Made of handcarved walnut hardwood and small enough to hide in your palm, the Magic Flight Launch Box is for the dry herb lover with a hippy side. Magic Flight broke vaporization down to the nth degree of simplicity. Heating up the Launch Box vape is as easy as inserting a rechargeable battery into a port on the side of the unit. A glass draw stem preserves the flavor of each hit and gives the vapor more time to cool off. A convection vaporizer may vaporize dry herb more efficiently, but conduction vapes like the Magic Flight Launch Box heat up faster, which is ideal for vaping on-the-go.
DaVinci IQ - $274.99
Another vape that challenges the idea that you need a convection vaporizer to really dig deep into dry herb is the DaVinci IQ. Elegantly designed with smart hardware under the hood, the DaVinci IQ is a work of art. With a zirconium ceramic vapor path that’s very tough and inert, the DaVinci IQ produces incredible vapor purity on a par with convection vaporizers. Using the IQ mobile app, you can choose between precision temperature and Smart Path settings that gradually heat across a range of temperatures, unlocking unique vapor profiles. For those who want to experience how far vaporizers have come, the DaVinci IQ vape is the conduction vaporizer for you.
So What's the Difference?
You might think the difference between these two types of vapes comes down to vapor quality. But there's more to it. Here's a nuts and bolts breakdown of the pros and cons of conduction and convection vaporizers.
Conduction may be considered an older fashioned form of vaporization, but it still has some advantages over convection worth considering when shopping for the best vaporizer for you:
Faster Heat Up - Conduction vaporizers generally heat faster than convection units. And the faster your vaporizer heats up, the faster it’ll produce vapor. A quicker heating time is not only convenient, but comes in handy in on-the-go scenarios when you need to vape within a limited window of time.
Easier Maintenance - Conduction vaporizers are generally simpler in design than their convecting counterparts, meaning there aren’t as many parts to deal with. This not only simplifies vaping, but makes maintaining and cleaning your vaporizer simpler too.
Better Prices - Vaporizers that use conduction usually cost less, partly for the same reason they can be easier to maintain. Their design is generally not that complicated. And they don’t always produce vapor as smooth and flavorful as convection vaporizers can. But if you’re looking for an affordable vaporizer that still delivers, there are conduction units out there like the Magic Flight Launch Box that go for a fair price without sacrificing quality.
Unbalanced Heating - In conduction vaping, heating occurs at the point of contact between the heating element and whatever you’re vaping. Take a dab of wax, for example. If only those sides of the wax that touch the heating element vaporize, the rest of the wax will remain unused. This forces you to shake the unit or open it up and stir the material so it’s closer to the heating element.
Harsher Hits - The heat at which your herbs or concentrates are vaporized can define how each hit will taste and feel. Since conduction-style units actually touch what you’re vaping, they sometimes burn the contents of your vaporizer, mixing smoke with your vapor. This can produce burnt tasting, dry rips.
Convection is the latest step in the evolution of vaping. Convection vaporizers were developed to solve some of the issues users of conduction units were facing, thus you have the following advantages:
Low Combustion Risk - Because convection vaporizers burn slower and lower, your vaping materials won’t reach the point of combustion they might with a conduction vaporizer. The absence of smoke makes for purer, smoother hits.
Full Vaporization - Since convection units heat your marijuana or vaping concentrates evenly by filling the heating chamber with hot air, you don’t have to worry about rattling your vaporizer when only the material closest to the heating element vaporizes. That’s a problem reserved for users of conduction vaporizers.
Advanced Temperature Settings - Convection vaporizers enable you to pinpoint your vape temperature depending on the material you’ve chosen, since herbs, waxes, and oils have different ideal temperatures. You can also adjust the temperature while you’re vaping. If you’re getting dry hits, you can take it down a notch. If you’re experiencing skimpy rips, you can turn up the heat.
Speed - The same slow and low heating method that helps convection vaporizers give you smoother, tastier hits is a downside when it comes to vapor production speed. Heat up time for convection vaporizers can be a little slower, though this can vary greatly between units.
Expense - The advanced temperature features and lower combustion risk of convection vaporizers makes them a bit--and sometimes a lot--pricier than conduction units. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. The Pulsar APX wax vaporizer, for instance, is a very affordable unit with a ceramic convection chamber.
Still scratching your head over conduction vs convection vaporizers? Here's a helpful infographic...
The Final Verdict
Do convection vaporizers vape better than conduction units? The simple answer is yes. They have what it takes to produce smoother, purer vapor. But if you’re looking for an affordable vaporizer that heats fast and cleans easily, a conduction unit might be the right choice for you.