Dry Herb vs. Wax Vaporizers
If you spend any time reading about modern trends with cannabis and other dry herbs, you’ve no doubt read about dabbing. Dabbing is the act of vaporizing a waxy concentrate made from an herb rather than vaporizing the whole herb. Dabbing has become incredibly popular, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re a traditionalist, you may prefer to vaporize dry herbs instead.
Are you preparing to buy your first vaporizer? Some modern devices such as the Pax 3 vaporizer include special inserts for wax concentrates, enabling them to vaporize concentrates as well as dry herbs. You may not have the money to buy such a costly vaporizer, though, which means that you’ll need to make a decision between dry herb vs. wax vaporizers. This guide will help you make the right choice.
Material Availability and Potency
A wax concentrate of cannabis is an extract that can be made from flowers and from trimmings. Heat — or a solvent such as carbon dioxide or butane — extracts the THC oil from the plant material. While the most potent cannabis buds contain about 20 percent THC, a wax concentrate may contain 80 percent THC or more. Wax concentrates are usually far more potent than dry herbs, and making them requires time and plenty of plant material. When you buy a wax concentrate of cannabis, you can expect to pay a price more than 10 times higher than that of dry herbs — and that’s if you can manage to find THC wax. Since Australia’s dispensary system isn’t fully established yet, you may have to resort to buying dry herbs and making your own wax.
Those who prefer wax vaporizers vs. dry herb vaporizers truly love the effect of wax concentrates. Vaporized THC wax reaches the bloodstream quickly. If you’re a recreational user, you’ll enjoy some of the highest highs you’ve ever experienced. If you’re a medical user, you’ll love the nearly instant relief that wax concentrates can provide.
Aside from lack of availability, THC wax does have another potential downside in that it’s easy to go too far and reach a more medicated state than what you actually want. When you get started with a wax vaporizer, try to remember that you can always add, but you can’t take away. Start slowly until you can gauge the effect that a more potent cannabis product has on your body.
Size and Shape
When comparing dry herb vs. wax vaporizers based on size, wax vaporizers have a clear advantage. Although portable dry herb vaporizers are smaller now than ever, they still have to be large enough for a battery, a heating element and a chamber of herbs. Since the heating element needs to be powerful enough to heat a chamber capable of holding close to half a gram of material, the battery must be powerful as well. Without a radical technology change, it’s unlikely that manufacturers will be able to shrink dry herb vaporizers much further than they already have.
A wax vaporizer, on the other hand, is about the same size as a marker or a slightly oversized e-cigarette. Since THC wax is very potent, a wax vape pen doesn’t need to hold much material — and since a wax vaporizer has a small heating coil, it doesn’t need much battery power. You can often carry a wax vaporizer in your pocket without noticing it at all.
As mentioned above, a dry herb vaporizer has to generate a great deal of power to heat an oven full of herbs. In addition, a vaping session with a dry herb vaporizer typically lasts several minutes. You may puff on a dry herb vaporizer up to about 20 times before depleting the material. In contrast, vaping sessions with wax vaporizers are often very short; a session may end after just one or two puffs. A typical dry herb vaporizer has significantly more battery capacity than a wax vaporizer. In practice, though, you may find that you get more use out of a wax vaporizer between charges because the vaping sessions are shorter.
Like a culinary oven, the oven in a dry herb vaporizer must preheat before your vaping session can begin. Although some dry herb vaporizers can preheat in as little as 15 seconds, a typical vaporizer has a preheating time of about one minute. Even the fastest dry herb vaporizer, though, can’t compete with the instant availability of a wax vape pen. Using a wax vaporizer is as simple as pressing a button and inhaling. Nothing could be faster and more convenient. Wax vaporizers are ideal for those who want to medicate discreetly. Simply press the button, inhale and return the device to your pocket — that’s it.
When you vape with a wax vaporizer, the wax becomes a liquid before turning to vapour. Vaporizing the material consumes it. When your vaping session is complete, the atomizer will be almost clean aside from any trace residue that didn’t quite reach the coil. You can scrape the residue with a wooden pick and place it on the coil for further vaping. Aside from occasional replacement of the atomizer, there’s no other routine maintenance necessary with wax vaporizers. You will still need to clean the atomizer of a wax vaporizer occasionally, though; we’ll discuss that in the next section.
With a dry herb vaporizer, you’ll have a bit more maintenance to do because vaporizing your material will not consume it. Between vaping sessions, you’ll need to clean your vaporizer’s oven by removing the used material. Although the cleaning process isn’t exactly convenient, it isn’t that difficult either. In addition, you can actually save the herbs that you remove from your vaporizer. The herbs may be less potent after vaping, but they’re fully decarboxylated and perfect for use in edibles. Take a look at our article highlighting the many ways to use vaped cannabis.
No article about dry herb vaporizers vs. wax vaporizers would be complete without a discussion of cleaning. If you use a wax vaporizer, residue will eventually collect in the atomizer. If you use a dry herb vaporizer, residue can collect in the entire vapour pathway from the oven to the mouthpiece. If you buy a dry herb vaporizer, it’s a good idea to choose a vaporizer that’s designed with cleaning in mind. The Da Vinci Ascent, for example, has an all-glass vapour pathway. It’s easy to remove the glass stems from the vaporizer for cleaning. With removable components such as atomizers and glass stems, cleaning is a snap because the residues left over from vaping are alcohol soluble. Soak the components in food-grade alcohol such as vodka to remove the residue. The residue is rich in THC, so don’t throw it away. Use a glass bowl for soaking, and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Once the alcohol is gone, you can reclaim the residue by scraping it from the bowl with a wooden pick.
Familiarity and Purpose
Are you still on the fence trying to choose between wax vaporizers vs. dry herb vaporizers? You can make your decision easier by considering your purpose for buying a vaporizer. Suppose, for example, that you currently smoke. You’re buying a vaporizer because you want to eliminate smoke from your life — not because you want your experience to change. If this sounds like you, a dry herb vaporizer is probably the right choice.
Suppose, on the other hand, that you’re a medical patient in need of almost constant pain relief. When your pain peaks, you need to medicate quickly. You can’t wait until you get home, and you can’t wait for a vaporizer to preheat. If your present method of administering medication is too inconvenient and slow to provide relief, buying a wax vaporizer could turn out to be a life-changing event.
Still Need Help?
My Next Vape is Australia’s leading vaporizer superstore. Have a read of our Wax Vaporizers: The Ultimate Guide for more detailed information. We are passionate about the benefits that vaping can have on your health and on our fragile ecosystem. We understand that vaping can be a bit intimidating for a novice, but we’re here to help. Message us via our Zendesk message service or call our vaping experts on 03 9502 4299, and we’ll happily answer any question that you may have.