Wax Pen vs Dab Pen, What's the Difference?

9 min read
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The very first vaporizers were nicotine-based e-cigarettes designed in the early 1960s, but vaping devices didn’t gain widespread popularity until around 2010 when vapor production and battery life was improved and the market took off. Today, the U.S. is the largest market for vaping products by far. Vaping has also made waves within the 420 community with numerous brands creating vaping devices and cartridges. The increased competition has led to some amazing products that really give cannabis enthusiasts a modern and ultra-convenient way to smoke. But with all the different types of wax pens and vapes, it can be tricky to understand the differences between them and figure out which are worth the cash. Read on to learn the ins and outs of the dab pen, some of our top picks, and what the difference is between a wax pen vs dab pen.

Wax pen vs dab pen: Is there a difference?

To be extremely blunt, the answer is no. There is no difference between a dab pen vs wax pen. The terms dab pen and wax pen are used interchangeably and refer to the exact same product. Both of these vape pen batteries are used to consume wax concentrates such as shatter, rosin, wax, budder, crumble, or hash. Collectively these types of wax concentrates are referred to as dabs, prized by 420 enthusiasts for being much more potent than flower. It’s easy to get the terms wax pens and dab pen confused since online smoke shops often use both terms when describing their products, but rest assured they are the same thing. Keep in mind when browsing the shelves that some types of vape pens, vaporizers, or vapes are hybrid devices that can be used as a normal vape pen with a cartridge and also as a dab pen. These 2-in-1 vape pens typically require an attachable concentrate chamber to be compatible with your favorite concentrate. If the description of the vaping device doesn’t mention dabs or doesn’t refer to it as a wax or dab pen, it is probably a normal vape pen that works with prefilled cartridges only.

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Types of vaporizers: Wax pen vs dab pen vs vape pen

Wax pen vs dab pen vs vape pen, it can all seem really confusing, but we’re here to break it all down for you. Vaporizers can be categorized into two groups, those compatible with dry herb and those used for vaping concentrates. The latter group can be further broken down into vape pens that are used with oil cartridges (like Pax pods or 510 thread cartridges), wax pens, or e-rigs. All of these fall under the vape pen or vaporizer umbrella, so a dab pen is a vape pen and vaporizer, but a vape pen is not necessarily a dab pen. Here’s a more complete explanation of each concentrate vape type that will help you make sense of it all:

Dab pen

Dab pens and wax pens were invented to make dabbing portable and convenient. They can reach much higher temperatures than vape pens and are compatible with your own concentrate of choice so you’re not limited to the strains manufacturers choose to fill their vape carts with. The options are endless! Wax pens have a special heating coil or a dab nail, just like a rig setup that gets hot enough to vaporize all types of extracts. With a dab pen, once the temperature is set, heating is automatic. The concentrate is loaded directly onto the heating coil or nail, vaporized, then inhaled.

Benefits of wax pens include:

  • Ultra-high potency
  • Able to be used with any type of concentrate
  • Discreet size that is easy to carry, store, and hide
  • Very portable and travel-friendly
  • Rechargeable battery and replaceable parts
  • Great vapor quality and quantity
  • Several heat settings depending on the smoking material used
  • Minimal smell

Vape pen

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Vape pens typically refer to an oil pen that is used with prefilled oil cartridges or refillable vape carts, which can be filled with e-juice or cannabis oil. Most vape pens are slim, lightweight, discreet, and ultra-convenient, making them the most popular choice for smokers after flower. A vape pen can be either disposable, meaning once the vape cart is empty it must be thrown away, or reusable and are usually much cheaper than dab pens or wax pens. Due to the smoking material, a vape pen doesn’t need to get as hot as a dab pen and often ranges from 2.4v to 4.0v with many models having just one or two temperature options. Vape pens are not compatible with your own concentrates and require either universal 510 thread cartridges or a brand-specific cartridge that only fits with the brand of the vape pen itself such as Pax or Stiiizy. Keep this in mind when purchasing an oil pen since 510 carts are cheaper and you’ll have many more strains and options to choose from vs branded pods. If you typically use oil carts but also want to have the option to vape your own concentrates from time to time, look for a hybrid vape pen with a dab insert.

Benefits of vape pens include:

  • Very convenient, discreet, and portable
  • Disposable and rechargeable options
  • No need for constant loading. Just turn it on and start smoking!
  • Lasts across multiple sessions
  • Prefilled carts are easy to use and mess-free
  • Almost no smell
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E-rig

The name is short for electronic dab rig and these devices are the largest and most powerful of the three. In the world of extracts and concentrates, dab rigs still reign supreme since they provide the most flavorful vapor and largest clouds. The downside is that dab rigs require water, a high-heat open flame, and several specific tools, and are usually large and clunky to carry on the go. E-rigs were invented to make dabbing more travel-friendly while retaining its high-quality vapor and water filtration. This was done by making the dab nail electronic so it can heat up automatically and so that there is no need for a dab torch or annoying heating and cooling cycles. Also called portable dab rigs, most e-rigs still use water filtration making them better suited to at-home use.

Benefits of e-rigs include:

  • Best flavor and quality of vapor
  • Water filtration, aeration, and cooling for more comfortable dabs
  • Use any type of concentrate
  • Some can be used with a dab rig or bong you already own
  • Very powerful vape battery
  • Lots of smoke production

Are wax pens better than oil pens?

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Some smokers absolutely love vape pens, mainly because of their convenience, however, there are many poor-quality vape pens out there (particularly disposables) that can ruin your vaping experience. However, the introduction of vape pens has allowed stoners to take rips anywhere at any time in a discreet fashion, plus the vapor has less of a scent than smoke from a joint or bong. Instead of searching for your herb grinder and rolling paper, then taking the time to roll up a joint, it’s a lot quicker to screw a cartridge into a vape battery and take a hit. Wax pens on the other hand have a loyal following because the quality and quantity of the vapor is a lot higher than anything even the most expensive vape pens can produce. If portability and convenience is the most important thing to you, choose vape pens, but if you dab at home and want a wax vaporizer that can come close to the quality of a rig, a dab pen is your best choice for times when you’re out and about.

Best wax and dab pens

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Now that you know there’s no difference between a wax vs dab pen, we thought we’d share a few of our tried and true favorites. Each of these are multi-use vaping devices because we know stoners love to mix it up with different smoking materials. Each of these hybrid wax pens are available in our online shop in addition to other vaping devices such as oil vapes, e-rigs, and dry herb vaporizers if you’d like to try those as well. When it comes to ​​vaping concentrates, these hybrid dab pens are our top picks:

Airis Dabble 2-in-1 Vape

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Founded in 2013, Airis is a pioneer in the world of smoking devices. With a focus on state-of-the-art technology and innovation, the brand has over 50 patents to its name for its advanced designs. Airis offers high-quality wax pens with great vapor quality at some of the most affordable prices you’re going to find. The Airis Dabble 2-in-1 Vape was a game changer for 710 enthusiasts when it was launched. The device can be used normally as a wax pen or inserted into a dab rig or bong to turn it into a portable e-rig! It’s fitted with a powerful 900 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery with a pre-heat function and has three heat settings that go as high as 4.2v. To use the wax pen with a bong or dab rig, simply remove the bowl or banger and slide the male connector into the 14mm or 19mm female joint (a silicone adapter is included). The already smooth dabs will be even silkier with the added aeration, filtration, and cooling provided by your glassware. It truly is a revolutionary experience and you won’t want to go back to harsh dabs ever again! And did we mention that it’ll set you back less than $60? The Airis Dabble is at the top of our list of the best wax and dab pens for a reason. Hit the checkout button to see for yourself.

Airis Switch 3-in-1 Vaporizer

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Another amazing Airis dab pen is the Switch 3-in-1 Vaporizer. If you live the 420 lifestyle but don’t want anyone else to know what you’re up to, this discreet wax pen is just what you need. It’s silent, designed to fit easily into your pocket or purse, and resembles a large lighter, so no one will blink an eye when you pull it out for a dab. The team at Airis knows that most stoners don’t just stick with one type of smoking material, so they invented a wax pen that does it all! Depending on your mood, the Switch Dab Pen can be used with wax concentrate, dry herb, or oil. It’s fitted with a massive 2200 mAh rechargeable vape pen battery that heats up quickly and will last you through the day and into your nighttime sessions. Each type of smoking material has its own replaceable bullet cartridge that’s simple to install and change. Shuffle through the three pre-set temperature options to find your preferred heat setting for each specific material you use. The Switch Dab pen is made from durable and high-quality materials such as food-grade ceramic for the heating chamber and features an isolated airpath for safety and cleanliness, keeping each dab tasty and fresh.

Strio Cosmos 3-in-1 Vape

Strio is a woman-owned cannabis brand with a mission to design the best wax pens and smoking devices from a holistic health perspective. And they want to do it at an affordable price, so everyone can have a top-tier experience when vaping concentrates. Each dab pen goes through rigorous trials and third-party testing to ensure its safety while providing the best functionality, quality, and overall smoking experience. Strio offers a number of renowned vape pens and wax pens, but the Cosmos 3-in-1 Vape Pen is unmatched when it comes to producing enormous vapor clouds that dabbers know and love. This hybrid dab pen can be used as a portable e-rig with a bubbler attachment, a 510 thread vape pen battery, or a dab pen. As one of the most durable, heavy-duty smoking devices, the Cosmos wax pen has everything a concentrate connoisseur could ever want and more. From the adjustable airflow control, quick heat-up time, anti-leaking top, and removable atomizer cap, to the included dab tool, triple quartz coil atomizer, and hidden wax concentrate container, the Strio team has thought of it all! When traveling, you can leave the cannabis concentrate and bubbler attachment at home and instead, twist in your favorite 510 thread cartridge for a more portable wax pen.

Pax Labs PAX3

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If you haven’t heard of Pax Labs, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock. Established in 2007, this brand is the creator of the original vape, the Juul e-cigarette (remember those?), and was one of the first luxury vaporizer companies for cannabis with its sleek, minimal designs and extraordinary vapor production for its size. Pax Labs remains very popular to this day and continues to create innovative wax pens, dry herb vaporizers, cartridge vape pens, and smoking accessories. Their PAX3 Dab Pen is an outstanding device that is compatible with cannabis flower and can also vaporize wax concentrates by placing the concentrate insert into the standard oven. This latest edition has a long-lasting 3500 mAh, four heat settings, and a quick 20-second heat-up time. It’s one of the best dab pens for those who like to smoke while out on the town since it will last up to 2.5 hours of continuous use on a full charge (that’s equal to 8-10 sessions). The PAX3 Complete Kit includes the concentrate insert, but you can also purchase it separately. One thing that makes Pax Labs vape pens stand out from the rest is the ability to purchase a wide range of replacement parts like mouthpieces, oven screens, o-rings, oven lids, chargers, and more. This saves you from having to buy a new wax pen if something happens to get lost. If something breaks, Pax Labs offers a 10-year limited warranty, the longest for any dab pen brand.

Did any of these wax pens call your name? If not, don’t worry. Check out our online head shop for more vaporizers and smoking accessories such as dab tools, wax storage containers, bongs, replacement parts, herb grinders, dab mats, rigs, dab torches, rolling papers, quartz bangers, and more!

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