Given all the buzz surrounding the vape pen industry and the explosion in popularity, it is probably helpful to understand what exactly all the terminology and functions of the word vape mean. To start off, keep in mind that there are two kinds of the word vape: a verb and a noun. The verb is probably the first thing that comes to mind: ‘vaping’ or using a Vape in order to inhale vapor either with an herb concentrate or some e-juice and nicotine. The noun vape refers to the physical machine that creates the vapor from the materials put inside. It also contains a battery, mouthpiece, and heating chamber that all work together to produce the tasty, awesome vapor we have all come to know and love.
Not to mention, there is a high level of diversity in the vape market. There are vape pens that are generally on the smaller/slimmer side and will be easy to slip into a pocket, bookbag, or purse and carry on the go discretely. These have become rather popular recently with better technology and more reliable products hitting the market. There are also larger, heavier-duty vapes that are often referred to as box mods. These bulkier models often come with more sophisticated heat and power output settings that allow for the infamously large clouds and heavier hits. For someone most interested in producing large, visible vapor clouds a box mod is likely the best purchase. There are also disposable vapes that are part of the nicotine market (think about a Juul or Blue vape) and even some disposables that can contain cartridges of herb concentrate and are meant for single use. These vapes are often smaller, simpler, and cheaper to obtain because the goal isn’t to keep them from use to use.
Not to mention, a vape can use a variety of different things to vaporize. For example, the most classic and oldest models were meant to vaporize dry herb. They predominantly came with combustion mechanisms that would actually still burn the herb and this produced smoke instead of vapor. Now, most models use convection heating methods and this allows for a much smoother, vapor-producing heating method (it works exactly like a traditional convection oven). There are also wax and oil vaporizers. Wax vaporizers are going to use coils made of ceramic or quartz in order to slowly heat up and vaporize the wax in the heating chamber. This, in turn, allows for a steady, smooth pull of some powerful, flavorful vapor. With oil, there is often a wick that will soak up the liquid in the cartridge. Then, once this has happened, the current will heat up the wick and cartridge and the oil will begin to vaporize. Be careful not to ‘dry fire’ or press the power button when the cartridge is devoid of oil liquid – this will lead to a burnt flavor and not be pleasant.
Again, this is going to refer to the physical object that is producing the vapor from whatever substance is sitting in the heating chamber. The sheer variety can be overwhelming to think about all at once (especially in the beginning) and so it’s best to stick to the most general rules. Essentially, vape pens/vapes work by having a power source in the form of a battery as opposed to using a flame or lighter. This means that a reliable source of electricity and a charger are needed for extended vaping seshes. There is always a heating chamber or ‘tank’ when referencing box mods or liquids. This is where the substance (herb, wax, oil) will sit and await being vaporized. Lastly, there will always be a mouthpiece to make it easy and convenient to inhale the vapor. Outside of these core parts each vape has a power source, usually, that is turned on by a series of clicks that activate the vape pen to avoid false starts in a pocket or bag. However, most vapes also come with an automatic kill switch in the event it stops being used for a given period of time. Some vapes are activated simply by beginning to pull on the mouthpiece. Other vapes will incorporate sophisticated power adjustment settings, temperature settings, battery displays, or even niche features like a grinder for herb or storage container for wax.
The verb seems a lot more self-explanatory – when someone is using a vape they’re vaping. The physical act is going to incorporate the inhalation and creation of vapor from the vape pen itself. Some people refer to the entire process from start to finish. As mentioned before, there are a lot of different things that can be vaped – wax, oil, dry herb, or e-juice. All of these things will take a particular kind of vape or will need to be compatible with the vape someone has. The act of vaping each concentrate is going to, generally, be the same however different considerations need to be made. For example, avoid burning the dry herb and make sure to clean in between each session. This will cut down on burnt flavors or more ash production. In addition, a wax vape pen will need more time to heat up with the wax because of the thicker state it sits in. An oil pen, as mentioned earlier, needs not be dry fired. All of these actions constitute the act of ‘vaping’.
This refers to the process by which vapor is created. Basically, the stuff inside the heating chamber are slowly superheated until the point at which the molecular structure breaks down releasing the chemicals and compounds found within the substance itself. This is much like using a flame to smoke herb or wax, etc. However, this process is done by using battery power and an immersive heating chamber system. In addition, when it comes to dry herb especially, the convection method allows for more even heating. Through vaporization, smoke is avoided because the herb, wax, etc. is never combusted or brought to a temperature where it will actually burn or cause smoke. This makes the process smoother and cleaner.
Vapor is certainly very similar to smoke in the way it behaves – it’s a gaseous state and it floats around and fills the air much like smoke does or can. However, the taste, feel, and heat of vapor is often not nearly as harsh or damaging as smoke can be. Particularly for sensitive smokers, vaping provides a much more enjoyable way to go about consuming herb concentrates or products. The vapor itself is closer to steam in the way it feels and tastes. Vapor also doesn’t smell or linger nearly as long as smoke does. Smoke itself can even ‘stain’ fabrics or other materials that are susceptible to soaking up odors. Vapor doesn’t suffer from this problem and is considered a much more cleanly way of enjoying dry herb, wax, or oil.
Vaping is often seen as being cleaner, more discrete, and not nearly as damaging to one’s health. This is because it doesn’t nearly have as many harsh effects nor is it physically burning anything – a source of pollution in and of itself (except for the handful of combustion vapes that actually are burning something). People who enjoy the vaping scene over the smoking scene tend to be more sensitive to the smoke, health-conscious, and are motivated by the power and beauty of the technology. That doesn’t mean that smoking doesn’t have it’s advantages. For adventurists, it can be difficult to maintain a good battery life outdoors and on the go without carrying extras. This can be an issue for some. Not to mention, some folks prefer the ‘burn’ of the smoke over the lighter vapor. It usually comes down entirely to personal preference to really determine which is ‘better’.
E-cigs, while incorporating vaporizing tech, are usually not thought of within the vaping community as quite being the same. For one, they’re most popular in disposable forms that are not similar to the common herb or wax vape pens that are reusable. In addition, these disposable forms are not compatible with the herb or wax pens mentioned. However, box mods and vape pens with compatible threading can be outfitted with E-juice and interchanged to enjoy both oil and/or E-cig nicotine juice. Think of it as all E-cigs are vapes but not all vapes are e-cigs (like a square vs rectangle).
This has somewhat been touched on but the most obvious difference is the fact that there is, of course, going to be a difference between the vaporizing process of dry herb and wax. They’re so different structurally – one is stickier, the other is more solid, etc. However, each will have the same basic battery, heating chamber, and mouthpiece. More importantly, some vapes will be able to be compatible with both types of herb concentrate. While this can appeal to some more than others this is a unique advantage of a vape pen over any pipe – these concentrates are interchangeable. The same can be said of oil and dry herb, wax, etc. These vape pens are likely to cost more and are probably more akin to being a box mod but this is well worth the additional investment. Be sure to read the product page or reviews to confirm compatibility.
Vapes can be found just about anywhere. Gas stations, smoke shops, and all over the internet there are vapes of all shapes, sizes, and flavors available at a range of prices. However, make sure to choose reputable merchants that ensure a quality, safe product. Particularly, vapevetstore.com maintains an array of big and small, affordable and sophisticated vape pens and products. Remember, all orders shipped within the USA are 100% FREE!
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