How does a vaporizer work?

What is a vaporizer

Vaporizers are devices that are used to release the active ingredients of plant materials and their therapeutic compounds by means of evaporation.

Some of their characteristics are:

  • Vaporizers heat the vegetable material at a controlled temperature, lower than their combustion point. Thus, the active ingredients contained in the plant are transformed into an aromatic vapor and no smoke is produced because there is no combustion.
  • The vapor hardly contains harmful participles and significantly reduces the number of toxic gases; unlike burning plant material, as combustion generates numerous harmful by-products.
  • Avoiding combustion, the user can enjoy the same effects with great benefits for their health.
What's the difference

Conduction heating Vs Convection heating

Vaporizers function with no combustion of the substance that is vaporized. However, that is only half the story... vaporizers are designed with numerous variants and the central difference is their heating technique, each with different effects on the substance and the final result: the quality of the vapor and the sensations. We will try to explain the difference between the principal methods.


In relation to convection by vaporization, the vaporizers are designed so that the substance to be vaporized (plant material or extract) is not in direct contact with the source of heat. In general, the vapor is produced when a flow of heated air passes through the substance, thereby extracting the active ingredients. In these types of vaporizers, the amount of extracted vapor depends on the time that the heated air is in contact with the substance.

MiniVAP convection heating core - vaporizer

Two basic types of convection vaporizers are explained: forced air and whip-style.

  • Forced air vaporizers function with a fan or air pump that propels hot air towards the material to be vaporized and the vapor stream then passes into a bag or balloon or some other storage system.
  • Whip-style or on-demand vaporizers. The user directly inhales hot air towards the substance provoking the evaporation of its active ingredients in an almost instantaneous way. The longer the inhalation, the greater the amount of vapor.

The heated air and the varying pressure of inhalation means that the heat is satisfactorily distributed within the porous substances, originating a subtle extraction with great aroma and taste in the palate.

Therefore, the convection vaporizers:

  • are prescribed for dry plants. The plant material must be supplied ground up so the heated air flows easily and causes homogeneous evaporation.
  • it is not recommended for extracts, because the air will not penetrate into the liquid substances, heating only the exterior and generating a small quantity of vapor, despite heating both the mouth and the throat.

In vaporization by conduction, the vaporizers function because the vegetable material enters into direct contact with the heat source that produces the vapor. This technology was frequently used in the first portable vaporizers, because it requires very simple components for its functional application.

MiniVAP convection-conduction heating core - vaporizer

In general, these are devices that heat up rapidly, but they need a good temperature control system and carefully controlled heat-exposure times. Over-exposure to heat or a very high temperature:

  • in plant material will causes a ‘cooking or toasting‘ effect, producing a big loss of taste and aroma, but it favors decarboxylation. There is a risk that an excessive or constant heat might generate combustion-related sub-products.
  • in an extract, it causes a change in taste with the risk of generating toxic compounds, because of the high temperature needed for rapid and high-levels of vapor extraction.

As the plant material enters into direct contact with the heating element, vapor is produced and then inhaled as the user draws through the mouthpiece. Although this method of vaporization results in a quicker heat-up time, if not properly utilized, it can also lead to combustion.

A few examples of conduction vaporizers are:

  • pen or mod-type vaporizers (mostly ‘mechanic vapes’ because of the lack of temperature control) for e-liquids or concentrates.
  • Titanium or quartz nails for the vaporization of plant extracts is another example of vaporizing by conduction.
The laminar airflow

MiniVAP heating technology

MiniVAP assembles its vaporizers for plants with its own system of heating by convection on demand. This method means that the heated air moves over the plant material in the loading chamber, thereby extracting the active ingredients with a great taste and aroma.

Unlike other convection vaporizers, MiniVAP’s heater air technology generates a laminar airflow.

Laminar (a) vs. turbulent (b) airflow

The advantages of using the laminar airflow, a technology that is unique in the market, are:

  • to facilitate extraction with less effort when inhaling;

  • to increase the performance and density of the vapor, because of the highly efficient heat transfer system;

  • to improve the user’s experience as the demand for vapor is proportional to the flow of inhalation (greater volumes inhaled: more vapor and greater extraction);

  • to maintain the organoleptic properties (taste and aroma) for longer periods of time, due to the behavior of the laminar airflow during heat transfer that evaporates the terpenes.

All the MiniVAP heating cores are built with a convection heating system by laminar airflow, although there are slight differences between them.


These cores are 100% convection, with hardly any conduction-radiation heating. They are built with a highly efficient heat exchanger, to ensure optimal extraction and to maintain the properties of the plant material and the qualities of taste and aroma.

The convection technology of MiniVAP is inside the the old MV Original Core and Teflon-Glass Quick Core. Currently in the MV Convection Core.

  • Heating and extraction only occur during inhalation, avoiding the ‘cooking’ process and loss of taste during inhalations.

  • It provokes a low rate of descarboxylation, favoring the extraction of molecules in the acid state.

  • The pure-convection MiniVAP cores contribute to a soft and delicate effect and sensation, conserving the terpenes (taste and aroma) for lengthy periods of time.


Maintain the original MiniVAP convection heating technology by laminar airflow, but adds conduction-radiation heating thanks to the main airpath that is made of glass (quartz).

This technology is inside the MiniVAP Hybrid Core (also called Quartz Core) and raises the temperature in the loading chamber, providing:

    • dense and abundant vapor (greater quantity extracted per inhalation)

    • higher extraction performance due to higher temperatures in the loading chamber, extracting some of the properties of the plants with greater efficiency

    • increased decarboxylation rates, reducing the extraction of molecules in the acid state, due to the high temperature in the loading chamber.


The absence of combustion can convert vaporization into a subtle, intense and very sensitive experience.

The most positive effects of vaporizing plants and extracts are that it:

  • improves breathing and lung health, as it eliminates almost all the toxins derived from combustion

  • increases lung capacity, thanks to the weak effort required to inhale into the lungs

  • changes the effect of the active ingredients, in that the absence of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and other compounds means that the experience is cleaner and purer.

  • Improves enjoyment of the organoleptic properties of the plants, as the controlled heating system favors extraction at an optimal heat, avoiding losses or alteration of the original properties of the plants.

Some secondary effects may occur (heat and a feeling of burning on the lips, dryness in the mouth and the throat, irritation and coughing in the respiratory tract), due to aspects such as vapor temperature and other factors, such as the composition of the plant (when it contains irritating substances) and a high density of the vapor. These symptoms may be avoided when vaporizing by drinking water or any other liquid beverage between inhalations.


Vaporization must be understood as a therapeutic option, not only because it reduces the toxic emissions of combustion, but because the effects of the active ingredients are different.

  • It improves respiration and pulmonary health by avoiding the combustion-related toxins almost completely.

  • Due to the limited effort of inhaling, it increases pulmonary capacity.

  • It changes the effect of the active ingredients. The absence of carbon monoxide and other compounds means that the experience is cleaner and purer. It improves the organoleptic properties of the plants. The controlled temperature favors extraction at the optimum heat, avoiding the destruction or the alteration of the original properties of the plant material.