Vaping vs Dabbing Guide

4 min read
woman smoking vape pen
Listen to this article:

Getting your marijuana fix is no longer just confined to rolling a joint, hitting a bong, or smoking from a pipe. There’s lots of new ways to ingest cannabis and it can be a little difficult to keep up with the newest tech. Vaping and dabbing are just two of the latest trends that will probably be around for a very long time. If you’re new to the scene, you may be wondering, are dabs the same as vaping? What’s the difference between vaping BHO vs dabbing? And is dabbing considered smoking or vaping? To get to the bottom of these questions, you first need to know the difference between a marijuana vaporizer and a dab rig. Each of these smoking accessories comes in many different styles with some high-tech varieties combining the best of both worlds by allowing users to smoke concentrates, oil, or flower. The options are endless and companies continue to create innovative products that are stealthier, longer lasting, easier to use, and produce tasty, high-quality vapor.

What is a vaporizer?

Now there are many different styles of vape pens including those that can be used for dry herb, however when speaking of vaping, most people automatically think of the type that utilizes e-liquid with nicotine or a liquid form of cannabis extract. There are many ways to make this cannabis concentrate liquid. Butane hash oil (BHO) is made by using butane (the same gas that’s in your lighter) as a solvent for extracting the chemical compounds from bud. C02 is another commonly used solvent for this purpose, but alcohol can also be used to create your own THC liquid at home, though this isn’t recommended. Vapes have a mouthpiece, battery, cartridge, and most importantly, an atomizer. The atomizer is a heating element usually made of cotton wick, quartz, or ceramic.

rick and morty Mini dab rig

What is a dab rig?

On the other hand, dabbing is a way to smoke cannabis concentrates such as budder, shatter, or crumble and previously had to be done with a tabletop dab rig or mini dab rig made of glass. These bulky dab rigs require a nail to be heated to extremely high temperatures using a butane torch in order for the concentrates to vaporize. Though many people still prefer the total control of a glass dab rig, there are now much easier and more convenient ways to enjoy concentrates. Smart rigs, also called an e-rig, electric dab rig or portable dab rig have their own internal heat source that automatically moves through heating and cooling cycles for optimum flavor. Portable dab rigs use a bucket that’s heated by the atomizer until concentrates are vaporized.

Vape pen vs dabbing differences

Some vape pens can look very similar to a dab pen, but despite their similarities in appearance, vaping and dabbing have differences. But first, we’ll start off with a few similarities. Many times neither smoking accessory is actually burning flower as it uses hot air, known as convective heating. This heating method makes ingesting bud much healthier than smoking, which produces harmful byproducts and carcinogens. The most popular product that uses convection is the Classic Volcano Vaporizer. Also, both weed vaporizers and e-rigs have internal heating elements so you won’t need to keep track of a lighter or torch. This means heating is automatic and temperatures are consistent every time. Now for the differences:

Crafty Plus Smart Rig

Smoking material

Previously, the main difference between vaping vs dabbing was the potency of the material being ingested, but now there are vape cartridges with very high THC levels as well. Either way, both are much more potent than smoking a joint. As previously mentioned, dabbing is only done with cannabis extracts such as wax, rosin, or crumble. These concentrates are extremely potent and often have around 60% to 90% THC content compared to the strongest bud, which falls at roughly 25% to 30% THC. Vapes only work with liquids, which are typically around 80% THC and also come in CBD-only options. Concentrates come in a variety of forms, but are ultra pure with no additives, whereas liquids often need additives to become the right consistency to be used in a vape.


Dabbing requires much higher temperatures than vapes in order to vaporize cannabis extracts that are not in liquid form. For example, the Kandypens Oura smart rig can reach 1090 degrees fahrenheit, whereas a typical weed vape pen doesn’t exceed 500 degrees. If you’re vaping because of health reasons, it’s always safest to smoke at the lowest temperature possible. Due to the higher temperature needed, smart rigs often take longer to heat up, but not by much.


Quite a few portable dab rig manufacturers have found a way to utilize water without damaging the sensitive electronic parts. Just like in a traditional dab rig or bong, water plays a huge role in the smoothness of the hit. When vapor or smoke is drawn through water, the water acts as a filter for large contaminants and instantly cools it down for comfortable draws. This functionality is only found in e-rigs and not vape pens.

Are you looking to get a vape or dab rig of your own? Our online headshop has the top vaporizers like the Puffco Peak, G Pen Roam, Crafty Plus, and Pax3 at great prices, plus weed vapes and cheap dab rigs for sale. Find the smart rig or vaporizer that’s right for you!

Also in Everything 420 Blog