S10 Blog

Will The Vape Hardware Industry Transition From Metal To Ceramic?

Published Date:
October 28, 2021

Since its inception, the vape industry has always remained at the forefront of technological advancement. It’s what draws people to the products to begin with. Vape consumers want the most effective inhalation administration devices possible—not only a vaporizer that best mitigates the inherent health risks associated with inhalation, but one that will provide satisfying plumes of vapor without compromising the flavors of their e-juice or cannabis concentrates. 

The industry has long moved on from the cheaply produced, woefully inefficient cigarette filter-shaped cartomizers and disposable e-cigarettes of the 2010s, but as we move further into a new decade, what other technology will we leave behind? 

Ceramic coils and cartridges offer clear advantages in both performance and safety compared to their metal and plastic counterparts. With such explicit benefits, It seems extremely likely that the future of the vaporization hardware industry will be built from ceramic, and the metal coils of today will simply fade away.

Is Vaping Safe? 

A significant portion of vape consumers come to the product looking for a healthier alternative to conventional smoking. For cannabis users, the increase in bioavailability provided by inhalation administration makes smoking an incredibly compelling cannabinoid intake method. However, the added health risks associated with combustion-based inhalation rightfully give users pause—particularly if they’re already using cannabinoids medically.

Studies suggest that by employing low-temp vaporization technology that circumvents the combustion process, vaporizers significantly reduce the damage done to respiratory systems. The combustion used in conventional smoking will always create more toxic particulates than vaporization. This holds true with both tobacco and cannabis. 

Mitigating Vaping Health Risks With Ceramic Coils

However, vaporizers do come with their own unique set of health concerns. While many of these stem from the harmful additives sometimes used in e-juice or cannabis extracts, there is a growing concern in the vape community regarding vaporizer hardware leaching toxic heavy metals such as lead, nickel, copper, and others. Some vape sellers argue that the levels of heavy metals are so small as to be insignificant, though the CDC has found that there is no safe level of lead exposure

It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to use known “problem metals,” like lead or copper, when developing cartridges as these make the metal more pliable and easier to work with. The acidity in e-juice or cannabis extracts coupled with the heat used to create vapor causes these dangerous metals to leach into liquid, where they will eventually be inhaled.

Because the vape and cannabis industries are largely unregulated, many vape products aren’t tested for heavy metal contamination. Unfortunately, while increased testing requirements would certainly help to prevent heavy metal leaching, it wouldn’t solve the problem entirely, as leaching could easily take place after products have been tested. 

Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Ceramic cartridges erase the issue entirely. By removing metal components, you also remove the potential for heavy metal leaching altogether. 

Improved Performance With Ceramics

For many, just removing the threat of heavy metal leaching would be enough to justify the industry’s transition into ceramics, but that’s only the beginning of the material’s benefits. Not only do ceramic coils and cartridges increase consumer safety, but they also outperform metal coils in several key ways. 

Ceramic is naturally much more heat resistant than metal or quartz. As a result, it can stand up to the high temperatures put out by high-voltage vapes, giving ceramic coils a significantly longer lifespan than other coils made from different materials.

They also retain that heat exceptionally well, making them well suited for the low-temperature vaporizers used to preserve terpenes in high-end cannabis extracts like live resin. This heat retention also lends itself to use in dab pens, where the material being vaporized will likely be extremely viscous. 

No More Dry Hits 

A metal coil isn’t just made of metal. Many metal coils also use cotton as a wicking material to absorb the cannabis extract or e-juice. When that cotton wears out or stops wicking properly, users experience what’s known as a dry hit—an intense blast of heat directly into the throat and mouth that has an extremely unpleasant burnt flavor. 

When users experience a dry hit, what they’re inhaling is the smoke coming off of the combusted cotton wick and gunked on resin. With a ceramic coil, the chances of a dry hit occurring are almost completely eliminated. The porous nature of ceramic makes it a perfect wicking material, and the absence of cotton removes any chance of an off-putting burnt taste. 

Less Chance Of Drip Tip Leakage

In addition to dry hits, vape users are also plagued by spitback. This occurs when the wicking agent is oversaturated, causing the liquid to bubble up and leak out from the drip tip. Not only does this taste bad, but the hot liquid can also cause burns to the tongue and mouth. Because ceramic cartridges heat with much more surface area than metal coils, the liquid vaporizes before it has a chance to leak.  

Improved Flavor And Vaporization

As previously mentioned, ceramic is a much more porous material than metal. This increases the heating element’s overall surface area, which directly affects how much material is heated and converted to vapor. The result is larger vape clouds and more satisfying hits. And, because ceramic coils don’t leave behind metallic contaminants that can adulterate flavor, those bigger hits also provide superior flavor. 

Ceramic cartridges outclass metal ones in almost every way. They come with fewer health risks, last longer, and perform better overall. As ceramic coil technology becomes more widely available, it will almost certainly become the gold standard in the industry.

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