Whether you’re using a dry herb vaporizer or wax/oil vaporizer, you’re not going to get very far without a heating element. The heating element is a crucial component to a vaporizer, just as much as the battery or chamber. And, as the world of vaping gets more and more high-tech, more and more people are finding themselves intimidated by the sheer selection that is available today, with a variety of heating elements to choose from that all promise to be the best. The actual reality is that each one exists for a reason and offers its own pros and cons.
What is a Heating Element?
The heating element is the component within the chamber or atomizer of a vaping setup which converts the power of the battery into a heat source, to in turn heat the product, whether it be oil, wax or dry herb, turning it into vapor. This process is crucial as without it, vaporization simply doesn’t occur. The heating element can look different depending on the vaping setup you’re using, with standard coils being the most common.
Heating elements are a bit more complex than we give them credit for. They both reach and regulate temperature so that each puff is exactly the same as the last, both in terms of the heat that is produced and the quality of the vapor in terms of flavor, density, potency and smoothness on the inhale. Now, let’s move onto the three main types of heating elements found in vaporizers.
Ceramic is the most popular choice at the moment, and for good reason. Ceramic can withstand high heat phenomenally well, being able to reach 3000 degrees with no problems. It also does a wonderful job of preserving the flavor of your product rather than leeching an unwanted taste into the vapor. Ceramic is a clean material that doesn’t pose any issues when contributing to the product that you’re inhaling into your lungs, which doesn’t mean that the other types of heating elements we’re discussing are harmful, for the record.
Ceramic heating elements are typically associated with higher-quality vaporizers, and the material is the most sought-after compared to the other two for the reasons cited above. Note that the wire inside of the ceramic heating element also makes a difference in terms of quality and flavor, which is why you should generally avoid companies that make cheap, low-quality products, as using a ceramic component with a low-quality or unhealthy wire defeats the purpose of choosing ceramic.
Next up is aluminum, which has the main advantage of readjusting to new temperatures more quickly than ceramic. While ceramic retains heat more easily, and takes longer to fully heat, aluminum reaches temperature fast which is good for those who are always fiddling with temperatures to find their sweet spot, just within a single vaping session. This could contribute to finding one’s sweet spot faster with less guesswork and downtime.
While historically there has been some concern about inhaling aluminum components, the truth is that in order to worry about bodily harm, you’d need to heat the aluminum to temperatures that are far higher than a person would ever vape at. Aluminum doesn’t even emit particles into the vapor until it reaches well over 1,000 degrees, which would cause it to melt.
However, aluminum can interfere with flavor. The contact between your product and the material can cause a subtle metallic flavor which some people seem to be more sensitive to than others. If flavor is your main priority, then ceramic or glass are better options for you.
Finally, we have glass heating elements, which is extremely comparable to ceramic both in terms of the heat it can withstand, its heat retention and its ability to avoid interfering with flavor in any way. Glass is a bit more prone to the buildup of gunk, but that’s easy to remedy with regular maintenance, which should be performed regardless of the type of heating element that you’re using. When we talk about glass, we’re usually referring to borosilicate glass, a far more sturdy and resilient glass than what you’ll find in your cabinet of glassware. It’s also the type of glass found in pipes and rigs.
Which Heating Element is Right for You?
Ceramic, aluminum and glass heating elements all have their advantages, and while ceramic is the material of choice nowadays, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t experiment with different styles. Remember too that there are all kinds of factors that matter when it comes to your heating element including the wire material and type of heating element, whether it be a more traditional coil build or otherwise.