Hey guys, today I want to talk about a topic that’s important to everyone - saving money. In particular, how dry herb vaporizers save you money, and how you can end up getting what works out to essentially be a free vaporizer thanks to the savings you make by switching from combustion to vaping.
For many of you this is going to be preaching to the choir, but there are a lot of uninformed people who are still combusting their material because they haven’t discovered vaporizing yet. I think it’s important to make content to appeal to these people who haven’t yet made the conversion and show them the light. If you guys know anyone who is a smoker, send them the link to this article if you want to help convert them. An appeal to someone’s wallet is typically quite a convincing one, and I’m sure they’ll thank you for it.
How Does a Vaporizer Work?
So, what is a vaporizer and how do they work? A vaporizer (or a ‘thermal extraction device’ as some people call them) is a device that heats your herb to a temperature high enough to extract the active ingredients in the form of vapour, without any combustion involved, allowing you to consume them without the carcinogenic dangers of smoking. After vaporization you are left with the same plant matter that you started with, although it will be brown and dried out, it’ll look somewhat baked, as will you. After combustion on the other hand, you are left with nothing but ash since the plant matter has been completely incinerated.
Vaporization is performed using conduction or convection heating. With conduction, there is an oven which heats up to the desired temperature, and heat is transferred to the herb through direct contact with the hot oven surfaces. With convection, hot air passes through the material to heat it up, the herb is isolated from contact with hot surfaces. A lot of vapes, especially high-end ones, use a combination of both heating methods since it leads to benefits such as a faster heat-up time and more vapour in the first few hits. Conduction is a little more of an old-school technology, while convection is generally considered to be superior, but you shouldn’t think about it as conduction = bad, convection = good.
Vaporizers come in a massive variety of looks, styles, usage types, and price points. The options available in the vape market have increased dramatically over the last seven years or so, meaning you can find a wide range of quality devices at whatever budget you have.
Why Are Vaporizers More Efficient?
Vaporizers are more efficient than combustion because they function in a completely different manner. Don’t get me wrong, combustion does the job just fine and some people even prefer it, but vaporizers are purpose built devices designed to heat your herb to a far more precise and efficient temperature than setting it on fire could ever achieve.
With vaporizers, most people use a temperature between 180°C (350°F) and 210°C (410°F), this is the sweet spot where the active material in the herb will boil and vaporize, but far below the temperature where the plant matter itself will burn. Operating within this temperature range preserves all of the active material, interesting sub-compounds, and terpenes in your material, many of which are destroyed by the extreme heat of smoking. These compounds have an impact on the overall experience and effects, and I find the difference between strains is much more pronounced while vaporizing, compared to combustion which to me feels like a generic weed taste and effect, no matter what the strain is.
Once the vapour is produced, you inhale it either straight from the device, through an extended glass stem, or my favourite way - through a water pipe. Because vapour is created only while you inhale on the device, you don’t have the same wasted material constantly floating away into the atmosphere during a session like with a burning joint.
Vaporizers Decrease Your Consumption Rate
Switching to vaporization will have a massively positive effect on your herb consumption rate because you’ll be squeezing every last drop of goodness out of your material and as a result be using less herb during every session. The average joint is around 0.5g, a load in a vaporizer can be as low as 0.05g, with the absolute high end being maybe 0.2g, but that is uncommonly large. So with the herb you would use on a single 0.5g joint, you can load a heck of a lot of vaporizer bowls.
You also need to factor in that you often get multiple sessions per bowl with a vaporizer. That single 0.5g joint will be consumed in one session, but with my Arizer Air MAX, I usually get two or three sessions per 0.12g load. So I can load my Air MAX four times with the amount that would be in one joint, and I get at least two sessions per load, that means I can get high eight times by vaporizing the same amount I would smoke in a single five minute session. Of course, you can share a joint between multiple people, but if you’re the kind of person that can share a joint and still get high, then you can definitely also share a vaporizer and still get high.
With the increased efficiency and effects, the multiple sessions per bowl, and smaller amount of weed in each bowl, you are going to see a stark reduction in your herb usage, while still achieving the same amount of cerebral experiences you normally enjoy. Most people find vaporizing much more enjoyable, it’s cleaner, healthier, smells significantly less, and many people also appreciate the hobby aspect of it, having a lot of fun experimenting with different set-ups.
Paying For a Vaporizer With Increased Efficiency
Even though it’s hard to pin down an exact figure, as there are many variables, I think it’s important to use a hard figure so we can do some numerical calculations for this increased efficiency, so people can do some comparable calculations about their own situation. I think a very conservative estimate would be that with vaporization you use 25% as much flower as you would with combustion. So, if you currently do 20 combustion sessions a month and spend $100 on weed, to get the same 20 sessions with vaporization you will only be spending $25 on weed. That’s a 75% reduction in cost, which is a huge saving, and personally I feel that the reduction percentage is even higher than this.
If you purchase a vaporizer that costs $75, like a DynaVap M for example, and that leads to you saving $75 on weed in one month, then your vaporizer investment has paid for itself. Maybe you don’t consume weed at a high enough rate that the savings will pay for the vaporizer quite so quickly, but regardless of the timeframe, the vaporizer pays for itself through the increased efficiency, and from that point onward it’s pure savings for you while having a lot more tasty sessions. If you need to convince your partner that buying a vaporizer is a good choice, just do some quick Sneaky Pete math on them to show how financially irresponsible it would be to not buy one 🙂
So you now know how simply using a vaporizer will lead to a huge increase in efficiency, but you can also use your device in a manner that will boost that efficiency even further. I’m not someone who maximises my efficiency, because I’m a huge flavour junkie and change out my bowl as soon as there is no more delicious flavour in the herb, instead of when there is no more vapour production (even using it this way, the efficiency is off the charts compared to combustion).
To get the most mileage possible, the first thing you should do is increase the temperature for subsequent sessions. If you are using a vaporizer with precise temperature control, like a Mighty+ for example, when you set the device at 190°C and have a session, you’ll reach a point where all of the active material that vaporizes at 190°C will have been vaporized. There will however be additional vapour to be produced at 210°C, so when you increase the temperature between or even during a session, you will push your flower to the limit and extract all of the active material it contains.
Another way to boost efficiency is by using a slow and steady inhalation. When you inhale too quickly, there is too much air pulling heat away from the herb, and the extraction rate will be lowered. When you inhale in a slow and deliberate manner, the vaporizer will have a better chance to work properly, leading to more productive sessions.
Using a medium fine grind on your herb is another good tip, as this will increase the surface area that is exposed to heat and help to achieve complete vaporization. Using whole flower produces good flavour, but heat struggles to fully infiltrate the core and active material will remain trapped inside. With a nice fine grind, all of the active material is directly exposed to heat and therefore vaporizers fully. Stirring the bowl between sessions also helps to expose any surface area that has not been directly touched by heat, this is essential with some vaporizers, but it helps with pretty much any device.
My final efficiency tip is to utilize your ABV (already been vaporized herb) by eating it after you’ve finished a bowl. Even though the herb is no longer producing vapour, there is always a little active material left within. Eating herb affects you very differently compared to vaping it, and consuming your ABV can be super easy. Just mix it into some applesauce, pudding, peanut butter, or whatever else you want. Keep in mind that it won’t taste great, but if you want to get the most out of your material, you should definitely try consuming your ABV.
Half-Bowl Converter Update
With all of this talk about efficiency, I want to talk about a new updated kit of my favourite efficiency increasing tool - the Sneaky Pete Half-Bowl Converter for DynaVap. Once you start using your DynaVap at the half-bowl position I don’t think you will go back, as you can get equally big hits from half the amount of material, and you’ll change out your material more often, leading to better flavour and effects.
I always struggled to get the CCD into the half-bowl position, regardless of the tip model, but the Half-Bowl Converter makes it dead simple to get your CCD locked tight in that position. Simply remove the CCD from any DynaVap tip with an adjust-a-bowl, drop in the Half-Bowl Converter, and then snap the CCD in place. The CCD is now locked in that half-bowl position until you want to take it out. If you ever want to remove it, even though there’s honestly no need since you can clean the tip just as effectively with a converter still in place, simply poke a condenser through your tip, the condenser slides right through the half bowl converter, and will pop the CCD out, without wrecking it.
A major benefit of the Half-Bowl Converter, and for many people their favourite one, is the additional vaporization power that it adds. When the Half-Bowl Converter is in a tip it adds extra thermal mass, and when you aim your torch right at it, it will absorb additional heat before the cap clicks, leading to a warmer overall oven with more retained heat for a supercharged hit.
We first released the Half-Bowl Converter about a year ago, and this new updated kit just dropped on our site last weekend. We had a lot of people requesting a Half-Bowl Converter made from stainless steel, so the new kit, which is about 20% cheaper than the previous double kit, gives you one titanium Half-Bowl Converter, one stainless steel Half-Bowl Converter, and a fresh titanium CCD to go on top of the Converter.
The stainless steel version has been baked in a kiln, similar to the C-Vap that Dynavap used to sell some time back, so it has a slightly bronze colour compared to the titanium Converter. The main difference with the stainless steel is that it weighs 0.075g, while the titanium version weighs 0.045g, meaning that the stainless version adds significantly more thermal mass to your bowl than the titanium one. Everything I like about the supercharging abilities of the titanium Converter is further enhanced by the stainless steel version. I find with the stainless steel Converter it’s a one hit kill type of scenario, and I can take down a whole Half-Bowl efficiently in a single hit.
With the new kit you get both Converters, so you can try both and see which one you prefer, and keep in mind there is going to be some interplay if you use a stainless steel Converter in a stainless steel tip versus a titanium tip, and vice versa. This adds some mix and match action, so you can experiment to find the ideal set-up for your preference. It’s not an expensive accessory, and once you start using your DynaVap at the half-bowl position the Half-Bowl Converter pays for itself very quickly, but the added benefits make it worthwhile regardless of the cost saving abilities, it’s the only way I ever use my DynaVaps now.
I hope this article has enlightened you to the money saving potential of vaporizers. Make the switch from combustion to vaping, your wallet will thank you! Thanks so much for reading and watching guys, I really appreciate it.
Keep it green, keep it sneaky!