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Dab Pen vs Vape Pen

April 01, 2022 8 min read

Dab Pen vs Vape Pen

Today, there are more choices than ever when it comes to cannabis smoking devices, accessories, and even the type of smoking material. Cannabis concentrates are all the rage and with their potency topping in at roughly five times or more than your average dry herb, wax and oil are top picks for those in the 710 community. If you ever had a look at the sheer number of vaporizers on the market, you may start going down a wormhole researching the latest features and innovative technologies applied to give you the ultimate dab. And there are a lot of things to look at. It’s not just about size and the number of percolators anymore, when it comes to researching dab pens, you need to look at the heating element used, battery life and type, charging time, compatible smoking material, if it uses water filtration, how portable it is, how easy it is to clean, the cost, and much more. If you know that you want a small and travel-friendly device, you may have already narrowed down the options to a dab pen vs vape pen. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about the differences, our choice for best dab pen, and pros and cons of each to make the decision between a dab pen vs vape even easier. Either way, both are great choices for both novice smokers and experienced tokers and are ultra convenient to have around.

What is the difference between a dab wax pen vs vape pen?

There are many different types of vaporizers being sold, so it’s totally understandable to ask about the difference between a dab pen vs vape pen. While the main difference between the two is the type of smoking material used (oil vs a wax concentrate), that’s not all. Vape pens typically use cannabis oil cartridges that fit into a vape pen battery, which normally contains a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a heating element called an atomizer. The carts and rechargeable vape pen batteries are sold separately so you can mix and match and easily refill or swap out a new cartridge once it’s empty. A dab pen (aka wax pen, yup they’re one and the same) does not use carts and instead works with a heating coil or other heating element so the smoker can dab concentrates and isn’t limited to oil. When it comes to portability of a dab vs vape pen, both are small and travel-friendly compared to traditional dab rigs, however the cartridges used with vape pens make for a more convenient vaping experience. To make the decision easier, check out this list of dab pen vs vape pen pros and cons.

dab pen vs vape pen

Vape pen vs dab pen differences

Dab pen vs vape pros

  • Dab pens are compatible with any type of cannabis concentrate, so you can switch things up depending on what you have.
  • Dab pens produce smoother vapor that’s more comfortable on the throat and lungs than a normal oil rig.
  • The cartridges used by vape pens are ultra convenient since they are easy to remove, replace, and refill.
  • Vape pens also require absolutely no cleaning due to the use of the carts. Yay!
  • All dab pens have a rechargeable battery, while vape pens come in disposable or rechargeable options. 
  • Both dab pens and vape pens are small, discreet, and great for taking along with you while doing your day to day tasks.
  • Dab pens and vape pens have replacement parts available so you don’t need to purchase an entirely new vaping device if something breaks.

Dab pen vs vape cons

  • Vape cartridges used in vape pens can be more pricey than purchasing cannabis concentrates from the dispensary.
  • Some cheap vape carts may have additives and flavorings. Always check and make sure your THC e-liquid contains only pure cannabis oil.
  • The main disadvantage of a dab pen noted by experienced smokers is that the vapor produced isn’t as flavorful or as plentiful. For massive sized dabs and full-flavored vapor, a true dab rig is preferred.
  • Cleaning is a normal part of every smoker’s routine, from bongs to rigs and pipes, cannabis resin and ash need to be cleaned regularly. While vape pens require no cleaning since the cannabis oil is contained within the vape cart, wax pens need to be cleaned regularly in order to get the most out of each dab. Cleaning a wax pen is somewhat time consuming and you’ll need additional tools like pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, and isopropyl alcohol.
  • With vape pens, the cartridge can begin to act strange and some users complain about drag and inconsistent hits.
  • Like any electronic device, battery life can be a huge issue when away from home and nothing hurts more than a dead vape pen when the urge hits. Be sure your vape pen or dab pen has a sustained battery life and charges quickly. Pass through charging is great to have too so you can use the vaporizer while it’s plugged in and don’t have to wait.

Types of vaporizers

  • Tabletop vaporizer - Large vaporizers or those with plugs produce giant plumes and are super powerful, but are designed to be used in the comfort of your home. While not portable, this type of vape almost always has better quality vapor than vape pens and wax pens. There are many different styles of tabletop vaporizers and all of them have full flavored hits that closely resemble a true dab rig or bong but without the hassle and need for an open flame. The most popular tabletop vaporizer is the award-winning Storz N Bickel Volcano vape made from medical-grade materials.
  • Dry herb vape pen - As the name suggests, the obvious difference between a weed vape pen vs dab pen is the smoking material. Dry herb vaporizers are made specifically for flower and can’t be used with vape cartridges, oil or other concentrates. If you want to choose your own bud and assure that there are no additives or flavorings, pick a dry herb vaporizer. These travel-friendly vape pens have an oven that gets packed with ground flower and heated for smooth, comfortable rips. If you aren’t into wax concentrates, this is the option for you. Some great dry herb vape pens include the PAX 3, G Pen Dash, Kandypens K Vape Pro, Arizer Solo II, and the Davinci IQ2.
  • Cartridge vape pen - The original weed vape pen was created to use disposable carts. While a few brands of vapes like the PAX have their own cartridges, most vape pens are 510 thread compatible so it’s possible to switch between THC, CBD, or nicotine. This type of vaporizer is super convenient and easy to use since all you have to do is pop in a new vape cart into the vape pen battery and start puffing away. There are even refillable vape cartridges so you can save money and choose exactly what goes into your e-liquid. There’s an infinite number of cartridge vape pens on the market, but we like the Strio Mercury 2-in-1 Vape since it uses water filtration and is compatible with any 510 thread cartridge, but also works with wax concentrates.
  • Dab pen -  Dab pens, also called wax pens have specialized heating elements like ceramic coils used to vaporize wax concentrates like crumble, shatter and budder. These travel-friendly devices make dabbing simple when out and about since you don’t need your entire dab setup or an open flame and have completely changed the game. Besides its portable size, one major advantage of a dab pen vs a dab rig is that the user has precise control over the temperature, which allows for low temp dabbing and ultra tasty hits. Some of the best dab pens are the Kandypens Crystal Vape and the Yocan Evolve Plus XL.
  • Dual use dab pen - These portable vaporizers can be used with either flower or cannabis concentrates depending on your mood and what you have available. Sometimes referred to as 2-in-1 vapes, the user can seamlessly switch between different smoking materials, which normally requires swapping out or adding a concentrate piece to the dry herb oven. If you like smoking both cannabis flower and dabs, there’s no need to have two devices. Save money (and space in your purse) and get yourself a dual use vape pen. Two of our favorites are the PAX 3 complete kit and the Sutra Mini Vaporizer that’s just three inches tall!

Potency: Dab vs vape pen

When THC levels are the name of the game, experienced smokers that have built up a high tolerance are continually searching for cannabis products with the most THC. Even the occasional smoker may want to push their limits and see just how high they can get. Are you wondering, are dab pens the same as dabs? And what’s stronger when it comes to a dry herb vape vs dab pen? Many cannabis enthusiasts ask these exact same questions. It’s not only good to know about the different potency levels of various products just to challenge yourself, it’s also essential if you want to compare products and devices since prices can be deceiving sometimes. Should you choose the expensive dab pen that’ll last you weeks or a weed vape pen that’s cheaper, but isn’t as potent and won’t last you as long? Let’s have a look to help you make these tough decisions.

Do dabs get you higher than carts?

While the answer to this question varies greatly depending on the user, more often than not, dabs from a traditional dab rig will get you higher than a hit from a vape cartridge. When comparing a dab rig vs vape pen, remember that smokers choose how much to add to the quartz banger for each hit they take. Vape pens that use carts have built-in limitations such as pre-measured doses for each rip before it shuts off and how quickly you can take another hit before it gets too hot. However, it’s easier to judge how much you’re smoking with a vape pen since each hit is more or less the same, but it’s much easier to accidentally get too high when using normal dab rigs.

Are dab pens stronger?

If we’re comparing a dry herb vape vs dab pen, then yes, the dab pen will always be more potent. As mentioned earlier, THC concentrates (dabs) are at least five times more potent than flower, which is the main reason that it has become so popular. Quality dry herb usually has around 24% to 29% THC, while an average concentrate will test at 80% THC or higher. Wax concentrates are called that for a reason! They will always be stronger than flower and should only be smoked if you have some prior experience consuming cannabis. If not, you may just be glued to the couch high out of your mind for the next few hours. Just keep in mind that when it comes to a weed vape vs dab pen, just a puff or two from a wax pen can be all you need.

Final thoughts: Vape pen vs dab pen

We know, it’s a tough decision. With so many different kinds of vaporizers available at a huge range of price points, it’s difficult to navigate the options. Now that you know about a dab vs vape pen and all the advantages and disadvantages that come with owning each, we hope the decision is a little easier. All in all, if you’re looking for a vaping device that can keep up with your busy lifestyle, both a wax pen and vape pen are up for the job. When looking at just the quality, quantity, and flavor of the vapor, dab pens nearly always come out on top. The choice really depends on your smoking style, preferences, and if you prefer convenience over top-notch flavor. Just remember that whatever type of vaporizer you choose, both dab pens and vape pens are amazing choices and great vaping devices to have next to your water bong, glass pipe, and oil rig.


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