Overview of Vaporizer Heating Elements

  • May 12, 2019

Anyone who has taken two seconds to survey the breadth of the vaporizer market quickly notices that various brands tout their heating element as “the most effective available” while pointing out health threats associated with their competitors’models. Evaluating all these (sometimes conflicting) statements could be very a task. The objective of this information is not to endorse a particular form of heating element, but rather to gather the available details about heating elements in one single place to aid people for making informed decisions when buying a vaporizer.
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Why Do Heating Elements Matter? The heating element is the absolute most integral part of any vaporizer. It regulates the temperature of the air that catalyzes the ingredients as the air passes through it. A note: the air passing through the heating element may be either propelled by a push in balloon-style models i.e. the Volcano Vaporizer or by one’s own in direct-inhalation style vaporizers i.e. the VaporCannon. Some models, such as the herbalAire, are designed for both balloon and direct-inhale style vaporization. A primary requirement for many heating elements is precision – you need your vaporizer to really be at the temperature you place – but health considerations may also play when people go shopping for vaporizers.

Kinds of Heating Elements:

#1: Ceramic

Ceramic heating elements are the most commonly type of heating elements. Their proponents argue they are the cleanest and therefore healthiest option. This statement holds some truth: ceramics can withstand quite high temperatures (about 3000*F) prior to the material starts to transform to a fuel and are therefore very clean and healthy. Some companies take this logic a step further and argue that since other kinds of heating elements have lower “boiling points” they’re dirtier and less healthy. This argument is somewhat flawed: while other heating elements have lower boiling points, these points are often still well in excess of typical vaporizing temperatures. Learn about the specific types below for more info.

Another important consideration when evaluation vaporizers with ceramic heating elements is the grade of the ceramic unit because the word “ceramic” is used to spell it out kinds of elements which are quite different in design. This really is because of the undeniable fact that “ceramic” merely identifies if the system incorporates some ceramic to the heating element’s design, it generally does not mean that the air only touches ceramic material. This makes buying vaporizers with ceramic heating elements difficult unless one knows the specifics of the designs used by each manufacturer. As an over-all guideline cheaper vaporizers are more likely to have exposed low-quality wire or solder within the heating element’s ceramic structure that can emit toxins. So stay away from that digi vape if you want quality vapor. While the sole definitive test would be to take an element completely apart to observe it’s constructed, some manufacturers will address these questions if you contact them. The manufacturers of the low quality models will dodge them.

Poor ceramic elements reflect poorly on all ceramic heating elements, that is unfortunate because a well-designed ceramic element is extremely clean. Top of the line ceramic heating elements are very precise too, although precision can also be a function of the circuitry and computer chip technology combined with the heating element.

Types of vaporizers with good ceramic heating elements: VaporBrothers, Phedor and Hotbox

#2: Aluminum

Some of the greatest vaporizers on the market use aluminum heating elements. Manufacturers say that aluminum is more precise than ceramic elements as it responds faster the temperature changes:

“One reason the Volcano maintains such perfect temperature control is basically because it uses a metal element and block, and aluminum has different properties than potential practical designs using ceramics. An aluminum element and block can more rapidly adjust for aftereffects of air pressure and flow over plant material…the key to vaporization is maintaining control over temperature and flow, which ultimately contributes to more perfect control over vapor density.”

Critics of vaporizers with aluminum heating elements cite health threats related to exposure to aluminum, namely an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. It is essential to see two things here. The foremost is from the Storz & Bickel FAQ page:

“Q. Does the aluminum heating block emit any substances which are subsequently inhaled by an individual?

A. No. the most effective temperature reached in the heating block 240°C (464°F) is by far below the temperature that is required to emit any substances out of the aluminum alloy AlMgSi, melting point 660°C (1220°F); boiling point 2519°C (4566°F) used by us. This is documented by an analysis of the air made by the Volcano on top temperature created by the University of Leiden, Netherlands.”

So a well designed aluminum heating elements seem to be quite clean.

Are you aware that increased danger of Alzheimer’s: it’s hard to be certain whether something does or does not may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s because the condition itself is not completely understood, but aluminum does not appear to significantly increase a person’s susceptibility. These articles from Scientific American and Alzheimer’s.org discuss this conclusion in depth.

Examples of vaporizers with good aluminum heating elements: Volcano, herbalaire

#3: Glass

Glass is basically just like ceramic in regards to heating elements. Only 1 vaporizer having an all-glass heating element is currently available: the Vapolution Vaporizer.

CONCLUSION: Picking a Vaporizer with the Right Heating Element

Ultimately selecting a heating element is really a matter of personal choice. Health considerations are paramount for many, while precision may dictate the choices of others. Those focused on health must certanly be advised that the kind of plastic hosing used and form of plastic tubing used inside different models may also be very relevant, but this can be a topic for an alternative article. The most expensive vaporizers obviously have the best heating elements – this is a large part of what you are paying for – however, many mid-range models also offer quite viable (usually ceramic) options. Do a little research before you buy too, it will pay off. Hopefully this short article has given you a destination for a start.

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