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If you’re a beginner to the world of vaping then you’re in the right place 

Dry herb vapes are more available now than ever before. Maybe you thought you’d give it a try but you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you’re wondering why you should even bother with it at all. Are there any benefits to vaping over smoking? 

If you’re completely new to vaping then it’s hard to know what kind of vape is best. Once you do get a vape, what settings are best to use? How can you get the most out of it? This article seeks to answer these questions and more. We’ll give you a full 101 on vaping from why you should bother, to how to take the best hits.

What Even is Vaping Anyway?

It might seem like a silly question, but do you know how vaping actually works?

Vaporising a material is the act of increasing its temperature to the point where the active compounds are released in its gas form. In the context of dry herb vaping, this is an alternative to combustion or “smoking”. 


Combustion is where you heat the material past its ignition point. When this happens, the material reacts with oxygen producing light, heat and creating new compounds. Different materials will combust at varying temperatures. For example:

Approximate Combustion Temperatures (average of range)

  • Paper – 230°C (445°F)
  • Cannabis – 250°C (480°F)
  • Wood – 350 °C (660°F)
  • Steel – 1370°C (2500°F)

As mentioned, when a material combusts it creates new compounds. That means that when you inhale smoke, you’re getting the active compounds like THC, but you’re also getting a bunch of compounds that weren’t even there to begin with such as carbon monoxide, tar, benzene and formaldehyde. 

When you raise the temperature to the point of combustion, you’re destroying a lot of the compounds that have a lower ignition temperature. This means that you’re not getting the full range of compounds present in cannabis, so you lose out on the full experience.

What About Vaping Then?

Alright so how is vaping different? You might have guessed but a vaporiser is designed to raise the temperature to below ignition point. Most vapes will have an adjustable temperature setting, allowing you to control your sessions exactly how you want them.

A vape uses one of three methods for heating the material: combustion, convection or hybrid; a combination of both.

We have an in depth guide to combustion vs conduction, but they all are doing the same thing; heating your herb to release its active compounds.

With vaping you’re not getting anything other than what’s present in the material. No additional nasties. This makes vaping a more pure form of consuming your herb.

Different Types of Vaping Devices (Vapes)

Now we know what vaping is and why it’s the better choice, let’s look at the device itself. When you’re shopping for your first vape there are a few things to keep in mind.

First of all though, here are the 3 basic categories of dry herb vapes:

  • Table Top
  • Portable
  • Pen type

Table Top

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These are the most powerful and usually more advanced types of vapes you can get. They’re ideal if you’re going to be having long sessions, or sessions with lots of people. Because they are often powered by an electrical outlet, they don’t have a battery to run down.

They also tend to have more durable heating components, meaning they can be hot for longer without degrading. However, as you might have guessed, they come with a hefty price tag, especially if you’re just starting out. If you’re just getting going then our favourite recommendation would be the portable vape.

Portable Vapes

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Portable vapes are a really good blend of both power and portability. They are usually pocket sized although some are slightly bulkier. The main thing is they can be moved around and used outside of the house. 

You’ll find a range of prices in this category of vapes, from budget friendly to advanced features. They’re our favourite vape because of their versatility, portability, discretion, power, and price point. They make a great first vape because they allow you to spend less than a table top, but get a little more functionality than a pen type.

Pen Type Vape

Pen types certainly have their place. They often have better battery life (or no battery at all in some cases), simpler design with less options. This makes things nice and easy, but might be lacking for some users. However, for a quick, on the go option, pen vapes pack a punch in a small package.

They’re also typically the cheapest of the three. If you want a no fuss, low maintenance, highly portable option, or even a second vape you can quickly grab and use on the go, a pen vape has you covered.

Which Vape is Best for You?

Deciding which vape is best for you is a matter of finding the features that best fit your needs. This is a lot easier now that you know the 3 basic types and some of their features.

Are you a heavy user who needs to have a reliable device that can be running for long periods? Or maybe you like to have your sessions in a group and you need that consistent heat and a lot of power. Table top is going to be the best option. You could also go for a more advanced portable, this will save you a little money while still getting great results.

Maybe you’re a little more of a casual or medicinal user and you just need something that you can take out and use as you need it. You might want that high level of control so you can get the session and effects that you want. A portable vape is going to be your best bet.

If you don’t care much for the bells and whistles, or you just want something super portable and discreet, look no further than a pen vape. A pen vape is also a great option as a second vape to grab and go when you need something for out and about.

The pros and cons of each type go on and on, at the end of the day you just need to consider your level of use, your budget and the control you want to have. Vapour quality and efficiency are also considerations, this comes mainly from the heating method; convection or conduction. You can read more about that here.

Getting the Most out of Your Vaping

Once you’ve chosen a vape, you’re good to go! Just chuck in some herb, throw it on whatever setting and get puffing… Wait a minute, that’s not quite right.

There are a few things you absolutely must do to make sure you’re using your vape properly. 

The first is actually making sure you’ve got some good material.

  1. Get the Good Stuff 

Unless you’re a “gardener”.. Shall we say.. It’s hard to know exactly what’s in your herb. NZ still hasn’t made it a legal substance, so unlike some States in America, there are no dispensaries. Dispensaries are great because all the herb is lab tested for purity and different strains are grown, giving you a selection to choose from. 

One day we might have that too, but for now please make sure you know where you’re getting your herb and how it’s grown/treated. You don’t want to be taking in any pesticides or other nasties when you’re vaping. Not only will it be less enjoyable, but it can also be harmful.

  1. Grind Your Herb!

This one is essential if you want to get the most out of your herb. If you don’t grind your herb then you’re reducing the contact area between the herb and heating element. This means you’re not going to be heating the contents of the bowl thoroughly at all.

Getting a good 2 or 3 piece grinder comes highly recommended as this will allow you to get a good fine grind and also trap those “crystals” for later use. 

It’s important to maximise the contact area between the herb and the heat source. A larger contact area will mean you’re expecting everything your herb has to offer. You’ll even have to use less to get the same effect.

  1. Use the Right Technique

If you’re used to smoking your herb, you might have developed the habit of short sharp hits. This is usually because smoking is harsh on the throat and lungs, so taking quick hits helps you to keep from coughing.

Vaping is a bit different. You need to make sure you’re taking slow, long drags.This is mostly important with convection vapes. Because the herb is heated by the hot air passing through it, you want to make sure it’s heating up slowly and evenly. 

Once you’ve finished drawing through the mouthpiece, you’ll want to breathe in deeply and allow the compounds enough time to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Similar to why you want to grind the herb, you want to increase the contact area between the vapour and your lungs. The deeper the breath the better.

  1. Setting the Right Temperature

If you decided to go with a portable vape or a vape with adjustable temperature settings, what temperature should you set it to? We’ve actually written an in depth article on this subject, you can read that here.

For a basic guide to temperature however, this should be plenty helpful to get started:

175°C (347°F) – Most flavourful, least psychoactive.

180°C (356°F) – Clear/energetic high. Mostly activates CBD

185°C  (365°F )– A more mentally stimulating high, releases more of the THC.

200°C  (392°F) – A larger mix of compounds is released, leading to a more lazy or “body stoned” high.

220°C  (428°F) – Is where you start tapping into the CBC, one of the main medicinal compounds in cannabis.

  1. Keep it Clean!

Keeping your vape clean is important if you want to maximise its efficiency. Keeping the bowl clean is especially important. This comes back to the contact area theme, if the surface is dirty then you’re not going to be heating your herb efficiently.

Giving the bowl a wipe with a cotton bud and some rubbing alcohol (not too much) is going to keep it nice and clean. 


If you’re brand new to vaping or you’re yet to give it a try, we hope this article has been helpful. Vaping has many benefits over smoking, the main one being that it doesn’t burn your herb. Keeping that herb below ignition temperature is going to mean you get everything you want out of it, and nothing you don’t.

At Chill Kiwi we have something for every level of vaper, even the absolute beginner. If you’re just wanting to dip your toes into vaping and you like the sound of a pen vape, we couldn’t look past recommending the X-Max V3. It’s portable but powerful, it offers some nice features like adjustable temperature, convection heating method, and an OLED screen.

If you want to dive into something a little more pricey or if you’re looking for an upgrade from your current vape, we’d recommend the Fenix Neo. This is a powerful unit while remaining nice and compact. It allows you to control the temperature in 1° increments. It’s fully convection heated and has a decent heat up time of 25-30 sec.

Happy vaping!