Consuming cannabis using dry herb vaporizers has many benefits when compared with traditional combustion methods like smoking. Dry herb vapes are easier on the lungs, more discreet in terms of odor, and allow the flavor of the cannabis to come through more clearly. They’re even more efficient too, allowing you to extract more THC and CBD from the bud, and get more bang for your buck.
But it’s not always easy to clean out the oven or chamber of the vape in between uses. For example, if you’re on the go, it can be tough to find a convenient and discreet location to reload. And owning a portable vape isn't as fun if you’re always worrying about how you’re going to reload the chamber.
Several vaporizer manufacturers have come up with solutions to make it more convenient to reload the chamber of your vape. Storz and Bickel have aluminum dosing capsules (or "caps"), and DaVinci offers ceramic dosing pods. Furna has gone one step further, redesigning the vaporizer in its entirety with the introduction of swappable ovens. Let’s compare these three different approaches and look at the advantages and disadvantages of each device.
Storz & Bickel Dosing Capsule
The Crafty and the Mighty are manufactured by Storz and Bickel, who also make the Volcano desktop vaporizer. Both the Mighty and Crafty include one dosing capsule with each unit. These dosing capsules are made from aluminum and the caps hold 0.1g of herb each.
Filling dosing capsules is straightforward. Pack ground dry herbs into the capsule to the same density you normally would pack the vaporizer chamber. If you have more than one dosing capsule, you can load up more in advance.
Then put the dosing capsule into the chamber of the vaporizer, and set the temperature as you normally do for a vaping session. After finishing a dosing capsule, you can remove it and swap it for one with fresh herbs. Allow at least 30-60 seconds for dosing capsules to cool down.
Pros and cons of dosing capsules
Some users choose to exclusively rely on dosing capsules, not even bothering to use the vaporizer without them. These users report that dosing capsules keep the vaporizer’s oven in tidier condition and reduce how often it needs to be cleaned.
A magazine of 8 dosing capsules costs $7. Although they can be cleaned and reused up to a point, dosing capsules are meant to be disposable. If you vape frequently, you may find yourself needing a new magazine of dosing capsules often.
You may also want to purchase some accessories to help with the loading of the dosing capsules: Storz and Bickel sells a plunger to help load dosing capsules, as well as a multi-tray filling set that helps you load 40 dosing capsules at once.
How to clean a dosing capsule
To clean the dosing capsules, you can just use isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab. It can sometimes be tough to pry open a dosing capsule for cleaning. Also, the metal bends easily, which makes it tough to re-use them.
The disposability of dosing capsules and the amount of time you have to wait in between sessions make for some pretty big disadvantages. If dosing capsules seem like a feature you’ll want to use frequently, you might want something more quick and convenient.
The small size of dosing capsules (only 0.1g) means you might need to be reloading multiple times in a single session. Read more about the pros and cons of the Crafty vaporizer.
DaVinci Vaporizer Dosage Pods
DaVinci, the maker of the IQ2, Miqro, and Ascent, has a similar system to dosing capsules with their dosing pods, but they only work with IQ2 vaporizers. The DaVinci IQ2 includes one dosage pod with purchase, and you can buy a set of 6 extra pods, which includes a silicone carrying case for each one. They’re more expensive per pod than Storz & Bickel dosing capsules ($25 for 6), but are less disposable and can be reused.
Made of ceramic, they let you preload up to 0.2g of dry herb or extract in a single pod. Fill the pod with ground herb up until just below where the cap locks into place, then tamp the herbs down with a tool to compress them. Close up the pod, then put it in the vaporizer chamber. You can swap in a fresh pod whenever you need a refill, instead of having to clean out the chamber between sessions.
Dosage pods vs dosage capsules
When removing a pod, you’ll need to use a specially designed tool that hooks into the top of the pod while it's inside the chamber, and allows you to lift it out. Be sure to wait until the unit has cooled down before trying to remove the pod from the chamber. To clean the IQ2’s dosing pods, use isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab.
The pods are an improvement on Storz and Bickel’s dosing capsules because they’re larger and less disposable, but they still have a frustrating waiting time in between sessions when reloading. Also, it’s not always convenient to reload the pods, which kind of misses the point.
When reloading, you’ll need to be somewhere where you can lift the pod out of the vape chamber with the specialized tool, and that might not be easy in every situation where you’d want to bring your portable vaporizer. Loading the device is more conspicuous than the dosing capsules, making the IQ2 dosage pods the least discreet option of the three. Read a more in-depth review of the DaVinci IQ2.
Furna Vaporizers: Swappable Dry Herb Ovens
Storz & Bickel dosing capsules and DaVinci’s dosage pods are helpful accessories that make it easier to reload the chamber of their vaporizers, making them more portable and convenient. But with its swappable oven system, Furna has built a vaporizer designed from the bottom-up around the concept of being able to easily reload from one session to the next.
Instead of inserting dosing capsules into the oven of your vaporizer, with Furna you get multiple ovens which can easily be swapped once the herb in one is cashed. Each oven holds 0.2g of herbs, as large as a DaVinci dosing pod, and more than twice as much as a Storz & Bickel dosing capsule. To load the ovens, simply add ground herb with a funnel and tamp down the herbs with a tamper. Both accessories are included with purchase.
Furna ovens are made of high-quality food grade stainless steel, and are built to last for the long-term. The Furna complete kit comes with two ovens, and extra ovens can be purchased for $45 each.
A hybrid vaporizer: dry herb and concentrate
Furna also has specialized concentrate ovens available, making it just as simple to swap when you feel like having cannabis concentrates. Some dry herb vaporizers claim to be able to handle concentrates, but loading them involves inserts that can get hot and messy.
Unlike the DaVinci or the Storz and Bickel vaporizers, you don’t have to wait until the dosing capsules cool down before removing a used one, or use a special tool to remove it in the case of the DaVinci pods. With Furna, you just pop the used oven out and swap it for a fresh one instantly, which is especially convenient when sharing a session with friends.
There are a few other added benefits that the swappable oven system makes possible. The ovens have unique identifiers, so the vaporizer knows which oven you’re using. Each oven can have their own assigned symbol and default temperature setting.
When you have an amazing session, it can sometimes be tough to remember the settings you used for that strain of herbs. With swappable ovens, you can easily keep the same settings and duplicate your session as closely as possible.
Disadvantages of dosing capsules
With dosing capsules, it’s easy to mix up which strain is in which. Dosing capsules all look alike, and are small and difficult to keep track of. And the wrong dosing capsule at the wrong time can be less than ideal! You don’t want to be accidentally dipping into a sativa late at night, or vaping a THC strain when you were planning on a CBD session.
Furna’s oven mouthpieces also have changeable colored nibs. So you can keep track of them at a glance, without having to insert them into the vape.
When cleaning a Furna oven, just wait for it to cool down, then use the provided brush to clear out the herb. Then it’s ready to be reloaded. For deeper cleans, which are only necessary once you see residue building up, some isopropyl alcohol is all you need, in combination with the brush included with the vaporizer.
Pre-Loadable Vaporizers: Pack in Advance
If you plan to use your dry herb vaporizer while on the move, pre-loadable solutions like swappable ovens, dosing capsules, or pods will probably appeal to you.
But if you’re thinking of going this route, it makes more sense to buy a vaporizer that was designed explicitly for this style of use, not a vape where it was added on as an accessory. Instead of having to deal with hot inserts while reloading the chamber, you can have the instant satisfaction of another session right away by swapping in another oven.
With Furna, you also won’t be continually replacing disposable dosing capsules, or having difficulty keeping track of which cannabis strain is in which dosing capsule. The capacity of dosing capsules can also be an issue.
So if reloading with maximum convenience is a core feature that you are looking for in a dry herb vaporizer, you’re best off purchasing the Furna.