Why do Concentrate Vapes Have Temperature, Voltage and Wattage?
Dry herb vaporizers work by heating up cannabis to a high enough temperature that active ingredients like THC and CBD are released into vapor. But temperatures never get so high that the herbs actually combust and burn.
The result is an alternative to smoking that’s easier on the lungs, has a better taste, and allows the flavor of the strain to shine through. It's also more efficient with your bud, saving you money.
Temperature control is important to getting the most from your herb. If the chamber gets too hot, it can end up burning the herb or heating it unevenly. This can affect the flavor, use up the herb faster, and can even release compounds that you may prefer to avoid.
Not too hot, not too cool: a vape that's just right
When you can reliably set the oven temperature, you’re able to find which is the best temperature for you, enjoy consistent vaping experiences, and make the most efficient use of your cannabis. A lower temperature will have more flavor, a higher temperature, more vapor clouds.
You’re also able to target certain terpenes or avoid others when you set a target temperature.
But how exactly does a vape do all this? When you adjust the temperature higher or lower, is it detecting actual temperatures in the vape? How can you be sure that the reading is accurate? Do these settings really make a difference in the quality of vapor? What if you just want the best hits?
To answer these questions, we’ll dive into the details of how vaporizers heat up cannabis and cannabis concentrate, from the batteries to the heating coil, and how this all affects the ultimate goal: delivering the best taste and most effective vapor.
The Nuts and Bolts of Watts and Volts
In order to heat the chamber, vaporizers use electric current running though some type of heating element to produce heat. It could be coils, ceramic or a number of materials and configurations, but most work on the same idea.
The higher the current, the faster the chamber will heat up. The higher the resistance, the more power the vape battery needs to supply to hit the target.
Vaporizers can use voltage and wattage as ways of measuring temperature. Voltage is a measure of the electrical pressure, and current is a measure of electrical flow. Together, voltage and current determine how much work can be done, that is, how much heat can be generated. Wattage is a measure of how much work can be done after accounting for resistance.
What about vaping cannabis concentrates?
When it comes to vaping cannabis concentrates (shatter, wax, etc.), most vaporizers don’t measure the actual temperature in the chamber. Instead, vape manufacturers have made estimates based on testing how much heat is generated after certain voltages are used.
Most concentrate vape manufacturers use voltage, but simply looking at voltage on its own doesn’t necessarily tell the entire story. You also need to know the resistance of the oven, and this can change depending on environmental conditions, or simply from use over time.
This method might not necessarily be much of an issue at first, but it could become one over time, as the resistance of the oven becomes higher or lower. When temperatures are listed on your device, they’re actually just estimates based on this voltage system.
A vape that watches wattage
The Furna vape takes a different approach with vaping concentrates, examining the the resistance of the oven and adjusting the voltage to hit the wattage target.
Is one approach better than the other? Let’s have a closer look and see if there are any drawbacks to using either voltage or wattage as your vaporizer’s method for measuring temperatures.
Potential Drawbacks with Voltage
Many vaporizers use voltage to control temperatures in the oven or chamber. If you set a certain desired temperature, and wait long enough, it will supply the necessary voltage and heat the chamber to that setting. This is done using voltage-to-temperature calculations that were made by manufacturers during testing.
This approach seems simple and straightforward, but there are some drawbacks to it. The main drawback is that you’re only controlling one factor in the process that produces heat: the voltage.
A vape with a mortal coil
When vaping, your experience might not always be the same as factory testing conditions, especially over the longer term. When you’re dealing with a superhot process like vaporization, especially if you vape often, it will eventually have a significant impact on the chamber and heating coils, and can change the resistance encountered by the current.
Because you’re not really able to verify temperatures in the oven or chamber, you’re trusting your device when it tells you how hot it is. And typically, the temperature reading on your vape is an approximation based on a number of factors.
This can especially be an issue when vaporizing concentrates, as devices aren’t able to accurately monitor temperatures in the chamber and are relying solely on these estimates.
You might be able to notice if your vape has a temperature discrepancy problem. For example, if some of the herbs burn and are visibly overtoasted after a session, or if it seems like temperature settings that used to produce effects don’t any longer.
Not all vapes are created equal
You should also be mindful that with a cheaper vape or vape pen made from lower-quality materials, the wear and tear might have an even faster impact with repeated vaping. Meaning the resistance will increase or lower more rapidly as things degrade. If the vape isn't compensating for this, the same amount of voltage won’t heat the chamber to the same temperature.
This might not be a problem for everyone. Some users don’t care about having settings that let them hit specific temperatures, or getting maximum efficiency from their herb. For most, though, temperature control is a top priority.
The Advantages of Watts vs Volts
Although most devices use the voltage method to determine vaporizer oven temperatures, these problems suggest that it’s better to explore another way of doing things. This is what we decided to do with the Furna vape's concentrate oven, which uses wattage to calculate temperature.
The big advantage with using wattage for this calculation is that the vaporizing experience is always the same. Temperature output is always a balance between voltage and resistance, and the Furna measures and adjusts all the time.
Always analyzing for the best temperature control
We found that the best way to ensure consistent vaping sessions over time is to analyze the conditions in the chamber during every session, and adjust accordingly. So Furna constantly checks the oven, and adjusts the voltage to get a consistent wattage, or a consistent power output.
This consistency means stronger flavor, better hits, and an overall superior vaping experience. And, of course maximum effects from THC and/or CBD.
We believe this is a more accurate way to set temperature because it is better able to take into account any real-world conditions a vape might encounter. This is especially true over the long-term, after a vape has seen consistent use.
Over time, vape components can change slightly, or significantly. By monitoring this, and focusing on wattage rather than voltage, the Furna is able to account for any changes and supply more (or less) voltage as needed, to hit the target temperature.
The best vaping experience, even if you switch ovens
Furna features oven-swapping technology, which lets you instantly swap a used oven for a fresh one, and load up multiple ovens in advance if you desire. The vape will analyze each oven, every time, because over the long-term, each one could change differently.
The goal is always to provide a consistent power output, which will result in a consistent temperature, and one that matches the setting that you chose.
A vape that knows "watts watt"
Not all voltage-based vapes are equal, and some do a better job of measuring temperature over the long-term than others. But we decided it would be better to approach the problem from a different perspective, to make sure the Furna vape provided consistent power output and reliable temperature measurement.
Ultimately, if you are looking for a vaporizer for the long-term, you want to know it will give you precise temperature control (and delicious puffs) just as well in the future months and years as it did in its first week.
A dry herb vaporizer also perfect for concentrates
In addition to measuring temperature accurately over time, Furna also features oven-swapping technology that lets you preload ovens in advance, and swap one for another instantly, without having to handle hot parts. It also heats up incredibly quickly, has excellent battery life and charging speed, and is super easy to clean.
But most importantly, it's a vape that delivers the best hits of vapor, consistently. You can learn more about the Furna here.