Vape Pens vs Dab Pens (THC)


If you’re new to the world of vaping, or even if you’ve been around a while but never paid too much attention, you may have come across the terms dab pen and vape pen.  We’re talking in terms of legal marijuana here so nicotine smokers have a whole other world of pens to deal with. Dab pens and vape pens are similar enough that a newbie might not notice any differences between the two. Well, we know better and we’re here to spread some of that information on to you. So read on and hopefully learn something new to take your vaping game to the next level.


Vape Pen

First things first, vape pens. Broken down into very simple terms, a vape pen is a battery powered device which consists of four main components. There is the tank, the atomiser, the sensors and the battery. Each of these parts work so that the material inside can be heated to produce a vapour, which the user then inhales.

It is pretty simple in how it works – vape pens batteries suck the liquid onto the heating element (usually called a coil). Then the liquid is vaporised, changing it from a liquid form into a vapour. The user then inhales this vapour through the mouthpiece at the top of the device. There. It’s that simply. Obviously if you want to get into how the coils work and stuff, you’re better off asking a scientist.


Dab Pen

A dab pen is something which is used purely for the consumption of dabs. Dabs are tiny little concentrates of THC, instead of your more traditional dry herb or e-liquid. A dab pen is made up of the same components as a vape pen, and works more or less in the same way.

The dabs placed into a dab pen should be of a thin enough consistency that it can be heated to vaporisation point without combusting (burning). The dabs are placed directly onto the coils and heated so it melts down onto a wick which then absorbs the product. The wick then heats up the material to create a vapour which is then inhaled.


The Difference

Obviously, there is a difference in how each type of pen works, and the components that make up the two. But there are more differences than just that. Vape pens generally can only be used with liquid forms of THC. In the same vein, dab pens can only be used with dabs. This is because the structure of the two pens is slightly different and therefore are designed to cope with the different types of materials. Some vape pens claim to be able to cope with both but you are far better off buying a dab pen if you want to consume dabs.

A final word – some dab pens are also known as wax pens. This is because some dabs look like drops of dried wax. Dab pens and wax pens are interchangeable so don’t think you can’t use a dab with a wax pen.


Vaporizing is becoming the most popular way of consuming materials like dry herbs and concentrates. It’s a healthier and cleaner way to consume compared to traditional combustion methods. Many vape pen models out there can accept a combination of concentrates and dry herbs, often with a separate attachment or atomizer. For the purpose of this article, we’ll be taking a closer look in comparing vape pens that are for oil and that are for wax only.


There are several main differences between wax pens and oil vapes, which we will cover in a moment. While the sizes, styles, and features may vary greatly, it’s important to note there are a few consistencies found across the board when it comes to vaporizers. Most portable vape pens feature a power button, five quick clicks should turn on the device. Holding the power button while the device is on will heat the coils, causing the substance inside to vaporize. The vape should turn off the same way it was turned on, five quick clicks. You load the concentrate into the chamber, heat, and enjoy the vapors. Let’s discuss the 5 major differences and similarities between oil and wax vapes.




1. Product Consumed – The first one is a bit obvious, but certainly worth mentioning. If your looking to consume wax, you should look into wax specific vapes. Likewise, if you are going to be consuming oils, you should look into oil specific vapes. It is true there are several models of vape pens on the market that can do wax and oil, some herbs too. However, these vapes will not perform as optimally as a concentrate-specific model. Vape pens that focus on one type of substance are generally a higher quality product.


2. Wax Coils vs Oil Cartridges – Another major difference is the apparatus used to vaporize the concentrated material. Wax vapes generally use a atomizer coil system. Eventually these coils burn out or get gummed up, and will need to be replaced. Disposable oil cartridges are very popular right now, making for easy clean up after their one-time use. There are also larger atomizers for oil vapes, like those for 510 threads or box mods. The atomizers in these vapes will last much longer, but will eventually need to be replaced like coils.

Wax Vape Coils vs 510 Oil Cartridges  

3. Chamber Loading Process – Wax can be messy! Though you can avoid the mess using caution and a handy dab tool. Also, be sure you are gentle when loading and don’t over pack, otherwise you run the risk of a spill and a big mess. Oils can be similar if working with the substance, but the pre-filled cartridges that are becoming increasingly popular leave little to no mess! Just screw the cartridge on, use, unscrew and throw it out.


4. Vaping Temperature – Get the right temperature is key to a pleasant and enjoyable session. The optimal temperature range for vaping wax is 350-400°F. The optimal temperature range for vaping oil is 315-385°F. You can certainly vape at higher temperatures, but you run the risk of scorching the concentrate, which imparts a burnt taste.


5. Maintenance – Wax is super sticky and pretty messy, which means the vape pen can get sticky all over, from chamber to mouthpiece. You’ll eventually want to replace your wax atomizer or coil, but it can be maintained by scraping away excess wax. Also, make sure you leave the wax pen upright after using. When wax is hot, it will flow and pool with gravity. Oil vape pens typically utilize pre-filled cartridges. They’re generally no mess, no fuss. Oils are less dense than waxes, so generally when using straight oil, there is less mess and leakage associated. Oil vapes can be maintained by the occasional scraping when necessary. If you don’t maintain your vape, it can get hard to draw from or even clogged. This is especially true for wax vape pens - so keep them scraped from residue buildup.



1. Portability – Most vape pens, whether for oil or wax, are known for being super portable. They are small in size, slender, and easily tucked away. They usually come with a discreet carrying case, which is great for neatly keeping your accessories together for people on the go. With a vape, it can be as easy as grab and go, unlike other methods of consuming concentrates.

Saber Vape Pen for Wax Concentrates  

2. Discreet – On top of being portable, wax and oil vape pens are incredibly discreet. This is especially compared to dab rigs or other typical methods of consumption. Vape pens are small, usually the perfect size to slip into a pocket or purse. You can easily enjoy a discreet vape session in less than a minute, especially at lower temperatures.


3. Easy To Use – No matter what kind of vape pen you choose, the operation of the device is simple and fairly straightforward. There are more complicated models out there with various extra features, like variable temperature control. A quick review of the user manual should be all you need to familiarize yourself with the vape before using. You’ll learn more and become a pro in no time with practice. Plus there are great sources out there to answer all your questions. Call our 24hr Hotline or stop into a store


4. Battery mAh – A “mAh” is a unit of measurement for the amount of energy a battery can store. The larger the mAh number, the more storage (or power) capabilities your vape pen has. When it comes to vaping, dry herbs are the quickest to use up a battery’s energy store. Wax & Oil consume battery power about the same. When concentrate vapes first came out there was only one setting for power output. Now there are vapes that have variable voltage options which allow you to set the optimal power output for your vape and substance.


5. Temperature Control – Temperature control was a feature necessary for optimal dry herb vaping. Not all wax or oil vapes have a variable temperature control option, but it is becoming increasingly popular among consumers. More and more models that feature temperature control come on the market each day. The best vape pens are ones with a variable heat setting. While they may cost a bit more, the optimal experience of vaping at the right temperature is worth it.

 Variable Voltage Vape Pen Battery Settings




1) If you want to have the best flavor and experience, get a variable voltage vape pen . You’ll be able to set the optimal temperature for your wax to get the tastiest pulls.


2) If you’ve been using your vape pen no trouble for a while, but it has become tough to draw from, then it is time to clean your mouthpiece. Just give the inside a good scrape with a dab tool. You can use a lens cleaning wipe to keep the outside of your vape clean. Never use water or soap on your vape pen.


3) Keep your vape in an upright position. Don’t leave a vape on its side when it is hot. Otherwise, the wax will flow with gravity. This will cause wax drippage into the mouthpiece as well as other parts, requiring a cleaning much sooner. Storing a pen upright will also help prevent the device from getting clogged.


4) Store wax in the freezer, in an airtight container (silicon dab containers work great). This will firm up the concentrate, making it much easier to handle and load. Just be sure you don’t over pack the coil with frozen concentrate or you’ll risk breaking the coil.




1) Know the cartridge and battery you are using. Too much energy flowing into a cartridge can burn it out, which can happen either over time or immediately. It is incredibly disappointing and really wasteful to burn out a new pre-filled oil cartridge long before it's actually spent. Try vaping on lower settings and working your way up to the optimal temperature.


2) If your vapors are coming out of the device too hot and too harsh, there are a couple of things to try. First, try lowering the heat or voltage setting. If that doesn’t do the trick, try giving the coil a chance to cool down for a minute or two before resuming use.


3) If you want maximum control, total customizability and long-lasting quality, you should think about upgrading to a box mod vape pen. While box mods are generally more pricey, you’ll be able to find one with all the features and controls you desire. Box mods are usually more powerful than other types of vape pens. Plus, they are typically more durable or rugged than smaller vape pens.

 SteamCloud Mini Oil Vape

4) If you are a fan of the pre-filled oil cartridges, there are many great options out there.