What's the deal with draw resistance/open air paths/air flow?

JimmyCricket

Well-Known Member
While browsing different vapes on the forum it is common to run into terms such as "draw resistance", "open air path", and "air flow" to describe an attribute of a vape, or to compare it to another model. Even after much reading and experimenting with different vapes, I still feel like I am not completely clear on what others are referring to with these terms! I can only imagine how much more confusing it must read to new comers! Do they all refer to the same thing, or different things entirely? So lets clear it up once and for all! Maybe it can even be added to the vaporpedia/glossary section when all is said and done?

-What is draw resistance? What vapes are known to have a lot, a moderate amount, or very little?
-What is a vapes air path? What makes an air path closed/open? Which vapes have open/closed/moderate paths?
-What is meant by the "air flow" that a vape possesses? Which vapes have a lot/a little?

For more context: I always hear how specifically amazing the VapeExhale Cloud Evo's airpath/flow attribute is, even compared to other units that seem to work great such as the logs/7th floor products/butane powered vapes. I also know that much of this terminology is used in refering to using vapes through water.

From what I have gathered:

-Draw resistance is how easy a vaporizer is to draw from (to take a hit). To put it in simpler terms, how hard you have to suck/inhale to start and feel the vapor rise into your lungs. A vape with a lot of resistance is hard to hit, requiring a slower longer draw, to produce clouds. On the other hand, a vape with little draw resistance requires less technique and can be hit with either a fast or slow draw, with both resulting in satisfying hits.

ex: Portable battery powered conduction style vapes tend to have more resistance in my experience (Vapir NO2, Solo, Flowermate), while convection vaporizers (Da Buddha/Lotus) seem to have the least.

-A vapes air path refers to the path the vapor travels all the way from the heat source to the herb chamber to the mouth piece. An open air path has less parts for air to escape through and thus less resistance while a closed one has many places air can leak out/in?

-Air flow, I think, is kind of the combination of the previous two terms?

What am I missing?:lol:
 
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CarolKing

Singer of songs and a vapor connoisseur
Draws resistance can have a lot to do with how you have packed your herb, how fine of a grind and how much cannabis you are using. The screen being used and whether or not you have a resin build up. Moisture level in your product can play a role as well. Stay on top of things you need to keep your screen and unit clean.

Speed of your draw is important with units such as the Solo and the Nano. They require a slow steady draw. If you try to draw too hard or quickly you defeat the purpose. With vaporizers like that I say slow and steady wins the race.
 
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JimmyCricket

Well-Known Member
Draws resistance can have a lot to do with how you have packed your herb, how fine of a grind and how much cannabis you are using. The screen being used, moisture level in your product can play a role as well. You need to keep your screen and unit clean.
True, I completely forgot about how important those things are as well! Loosely packed, finely ground seems to work the best, but it also depends on what unit you're using too. Especially when it comes to the amount in said "herb chamber" right? As for screens, there's loads of options from fine, to less fine, to flat, to rounded?
 

Odyssey

Member
@CarolKing Right on the money with those factors listed, as many of them are salient in every single vaporizer you use basically because they are necessary conditions to getting high. For instance, you need bud to be ground up (at least in some kind of dedicated grinder) in order for maximum vapor to be produced due to increased surface area. However, a contextual factor would be what kind of unit you're using and it's inherent level of draw resistance. I would not recommend a fine grind for a Solo unit, whereas I could practically (and usually do) turn my bud into basically near-powder for my DBV water bong.
 
Odyssey,
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thekarmawhore

designer of things
Draw resistance is the characteristic that affects the air flow through a given vapes air path. ;)

The nominal, or default draw resistance of any given vape is a function of its design. It can be influenced by factors such as supplementary equipment, load density and pack, etc.

Open, moderate and closed I think might be 3 coarse measurements of a vapes draw resistance? That would be my guess. An open vape lets you go at whatever speed, a closed vape is like sucking through a coffee stir and a moderate would be somewhere between the two?
 

DDave

Vape Wizard
Accessory Maker
Draw resistance is the characteristic that affects the air flow through a given vapes air path. ;)

The nominal, or default draw resistance of any given vape is a function of its design. It can be influenced by factors such as supplementary equipment, load density and pack, etc.

Open, moderate and closed I think might be 3 coarse measurements of a vapes draw resistance? That would be my guess. An open vape lets you go at whatever speed, a closed vape is like sucking through a coffee stir and a moderate would be somewhere between the two?

Well said! :clap:
 
DDave,

RUDE BOY

Space is the Place
@JimmyCricket when I read those terms:

I think of 'air path' as being from where fresh air enters your vape to the chamber, 'vapor path' being how vapor/air gets from the chamber to your mouth. 'Air flow' it seems is often used interchangably with 'draw resistence'(which i define as you do) or for the 'air+vapor path' or as you observed in your OP for all the above. (edit) ... 'open or closed airpath' it seems can do with whether the fresh air passes over electronics or not before reaching your herb or the amount of 'Draw resistence' with 'open' being an easy unhindered hit or 'closed' a tight milkshake through a small straw or clogged up old pipe kinda hit.

But can't say I have ever seen a source to define these terms down to a standard meaning so when I read 'em here in posts i try to take 'em in the context of the post, when I can't figure out what the person means by the term i just ask them to clarify what they're saying/asking.

:2c:
 
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mvapes

Scratchin' Glass!
Accessory Maker
Closed airpath doesn't make sense as in then it, er, um, wouldn't be an airpath. :lmao:

Everything else explained here is right on point. The only other time terms like this become prevalent is in the glass threads. To me, the easiest way to describe the airpath is the distance from the source from the meds and my mouth and what ever is within it's travel. For example, the EVO has a slightly resistant open "all glass" airpath meaning, nothing in it's path and the air going in my lungs NEVER touches the innards of the device.

Now, believe it or not there are some devices with extremely limited or restricted airpaths like log vapes. Certain devices need somewhat of a limited flow as the heating element or device doesn't produce constant vapor flow or needs a cool down between pulls. Eventually you'll find your comfort spot.

For me, wide open all glass all the way. I like medium diffusion on my glass meaning I like bubbles which results in an evenly spread vapor disbursement within my glass. It makes the hit a little bit easier going down.

I hope I offered a little help but if not, ask away.
 

macbill

Gregarious Misanthrope
Staff member
With some vapes, if you inhale too quickly, the medicine chamber cools down along with the medicine inside, and that stops vapor production. Other vapes, like herbie and Evo, you can quickly inhale and not degrade performance.

Some vapes, like the I-olite, built in draw resistance so herb chamber doesn't cool too quickly.
 
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