Grenco Science’s G Pen Elite strikes the perfect balance of portability, price, ease of use, and functionality for a dry herb vaporizer. At $149.95, the G Pen Elite is at the low-middle price range for quality portable vaporizers, but includes features often found in pricier models. This is the perfect entry-level vaporizer for anyone new to dry-herb vaping, but it also includes several features that may appeal to veterans.
Large, Fully Ceramic Chamber
For one, the G Pen Elite offers a fully ceramic chamber – ceramic material is inert, which allows for a pure, smooth flavored vapor. Among ceramic chambers, the G Pen Elite boasts one of the largest available. This is a vaporizer designed for extended sessions, compared with others that offer an experience more similar to a one hitter. The chamber seems to hold about three quarters of a gram of ground material, which could last for the better part of a day for many users.
Unlike many other vaporizers in a similar price range, and unlike any other Grenco product, the G Pen Elite offers fully manual temperature control. This means that instead of having one preset temperature as with low end vaporizers, or a few temperature presets as with most mid-range vaporizers of similar price, the G Pen Elite allows you to select any temperature between 200° – 428°F. This is one of the best reasons to choose the G Pen Elite since temperature is instrumental in controlling the vaping experience. In short, lower temperatures offer true vaporization, ensuring a healthy experience that is easy on the lungs and entirely combustion free. Lower temperatures also release fewer of the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, allowing for a lighter and more functional experience – some terpenes and cannabinoids have higher boiling points than others. Higher temperatures offer thicker vapor that includes more of, or even all of, the compounds responsible for the effect of cannabis. Higher temperature vaping is more intense and offers an experience that is closer to smoking.
For a more detailed primer on vape temperature, check out this handy Leafly article.
Your choice will have to do with overall preference and health concerns, but also will depend on what you want out of each individual session – for example, at a lower temperature the effects are light enough to be desirable at the start of the day - even for studying or running errands - while higher temperatures promote effects that are more ideal for sleep and relaxation at the end of the day. This is why the manual control offered by the G Pen Elite is such an important and useful feature, as you can experiment with the entire spectrum of possible vaporizing temperatures. This feature is available in other vaporizers too, but often these will be considerably pricier, or lack portability.
Conduction/Convection in the G Pen Elite
All vaporizers use either conduction or convection heating methods. However, the G Pen Elite uses both conduction and convection to heat cannabis. What does this mean exactly?
In conduction vaporizers, a heating source touches cannabis directly. This allows for more instantaneous temperature control and usually makes for a less expensive unit. Also on the downside, conduction can heat the chamber less evenly, meaning you may have to stir the ground material mid-session. This is certainly the case with the G Pen Elite. Conduction also heats the material even when you’re not taking a draw, which can be wasteful if you’re not mindful of this factor.
On the other hand, convection involves the use of hot air, passed around the material. The downsides of convection are a generally higher price tag, and slower wait times to warm up. However, material is heated more evenly and there is a lower risk of combustion. Many will also argue that convection results in better tasting vapor.
The G Pen Elite is marketed as a dual conduction/convection vaporizer, but many reviewers have pointed out it relies more heavily on conduction. The heating element lies on the other side of 4 small holes in the bottom of the Elite’s ceramic chamber. On the one hand, the bottom certainly heats up more readily than the top, which means there is a significant element of conduction heating as the ceramic chamber touches the cannabis directly. However, the G Pen Elite also involves an element of convection as each draw pulls hot air through the holes and around the cannabis in the large chamber. For this reason, long, slow pulls seem to get the most out of the G Pen Elite, allowing for some convection heating.
If used properly, I found the taste of the vapor to be as high quality as any vaporizer I’ve used. Go slow, and don’t overpack the chamber.
User Friendly Features, Sleek Design
Lastly, the G Pen Elite offers some features that make it an easy and hassle-free experience for anyone. Once the heating element has been turned on, it will switch itself off in 5 minutes, saving battery life and cannabis. If you spaced out and forgot to turn the heating element on entirely, G Pen Elite switches off within 40 seconds, conserving battery life. With a mediocre battery life, you’ll likely need to charge it once a day or more – so power conservation is an important feature.
The ergonomic design and sleek, simple interface, which uses only 3 buttons and LED screen, is easy to use and appealing for beginners. The vaporizer also comes with cleaning equipment, a card-style grinder that fits in your wallet, and a USB charging cord.
A word of warning – vapor from the G Pen Elite will taste terrible from brand new unit out of the box. After purchase, you will want to burn out the chamber several times before actually loading any ground material. Simply heat the empty chamber up to maximum temperature for the full 5 minutes until it turns itself off. Do this several times to get rid of the plastic, bitter factory taste.
As far as drawbacks, the battery life is not great, and the price is higher than a few other more basic options. Other than that, the G Pen Elite is an ideal option for portable vaporizers, especially for beginners. If you’re looking for a portable vaporizer, and 150 dollars is within your budget, the G Pen Elite is a great way to vaporize dry herb.