CBD Vaping: Wax Pen vs. Dab Pen

Updated 09/06/2020

As more CBD enthusiasts are gravitating toward the world of concentrates, many are just beginning to discover the multitude of hemp products and devices that are on the market for this unique type of CBD delivery method.  Those who are new to vaping cannabidiol altogether can find it confusing when terms like “dabs” “waxes” and “concentrates” tend to be used interchangeably, with so many specific types of concentrates being available to choose from, such as resin, shatter, crumble, rosin and so on.

To the novice, wax pens and dab pens might sound like the same thing. And, many mistakenly believe that they are. As you’ll see, their differences make it worth considering each carefully based on your specific vaping needs, goals, and preferences.

What Do Wax Pens and Dab Pens Have in Common?

Both devices are technically vaporizers, which allows a person/vaper to inhale the compounds in the cannabis plant without actually taking in any smoke.  They’re both pen-like units that have a chamber into which the concentrate is placed.  This chamber is an atomizer. It uses a coil to heat the product to a specific temperature so that vapor is produced. From there, it’s inhaled through the mouthpiece.  Being powered by a battery within the pen allows the coil to be heated safely and properly.

Both wax and dab pens are portable vaporizers that can be taken when on the go and are use-friendly.  Also, they can both vaporize wax, as we’ll be explaining in more detail shortly.

Specifics of Each Device

It’s important to mention that wax pens and dab pens are made by a wide variety of manufacturers. They also come in a generous array of sizes, designs and prices, while offering various technological features.  In other words, there’s no single style of either piece of hardware.

What is a Wax Pen?

A wax pen, in short, is a vaporizer pen intended for vaping wax.  Wax is a concentrated cannabis product. It’s made by washing a solvent over the plant material to create an extraction.  In most cases, the solvent used is butane.  The butane or other solvent bonds with the compounds in the plant and creates a thick wax-like substance.  This substance is extremely concentrated, meaning that it is much more potent than plant material on its own.  Wax is just one type of concentrate. And, it’s really the only one that a wax pen is designed to handle.

If you’ve ever seen a standard CBD vape pen, then you’ll notice right away that a wax pen looks almost identical.  It tends to have a similar size and shape, and the chamber looks extremely identical as well.  Most wax pens have a single firing and power button on the chassis, which is held down when the user wishes to take a hit. 

How Does a Wax Pen Work?

Wax pens tend to be simple devices.  They tend to consist of two main parts: the battery component and the atomizer component.  The battery is a thin and long cylinder covered in a durable material, giving it its pen-like design.  Then, the atomizer has a see-through chamber with a coil inside, which attaches to the battery, and has a mouthpiece that the user pulls on.

To load a wax pen, the atomizer is opened.  This is either done by unscrewing the mouthpiece or the entire atomizer from the bottom, depending on the way in which the wax pen was designed.  Next, the wax is loaded into the chamber, and the atomizer is reattached.  When the atomizer is heated as the device is fired, the wax melts into an oil, which is then vaporized so that vapor is let out through the mouthpiece.

With wax pens, there are two ways to use them.  One is by manually refilling the cartridge with the wax of your choice.  But many companies also sell cartridges that’re pre-filled with wax.  This means you only need to attach the pre-filled cartridge to your device, as these devices almost always use universal connections.  When the wax runs out, simply buy a new cartridge.

What this all means is that you should decide ahead of time whether you wanna buy just a wax pen that can be used with separately purchased, pre-filled cartridges, or a wax pen kit, which comes with a refillable, empty cartridge.

What Kinds of Wax Pens are Out There?

Generally speaking, wax pens come in fewer varieties than dab pens.  This is because wax pens are simpler devices that only vaporize one type of product, and so the design and technological features do not need to vary so much to accommodate a wide range of concentrates.  But, still, there are certainly various factors to pay attention to when buying a wax pen.

Wax pens come in various sizes, and most of them are slim and pocket-friendly.  Some are more advanced than others.  The most user-friendly options operate at a single output level. However, more advanced options allow to change the voltage or wattage settings with a simple output dial or button-activated mechanism.

Another way in which wax pens can differ is the size of the chamber.  Some chambers can hold more concentrate than others.

Of course, the quality can vary a lot, too.  Durability is a major factor, especially if you plan on traveling with your wax pen regularly.  Hence, you’ll wanna know that the battery within the device is high in quality. This is so it can last for a long time.

How Does a Vaper Use a Wax Pen?

Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of using a basic wax pen device.

Time needed: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

  1. Charging the Pen

    When you take your wax pen out of the box, you will need to charge it right away as it is not pre-charged. Use the USB charging cable or charger attachment that comes with the pen and allow it to reach a full charge. This should not take longer than a couple of hours at most. There will be some indication that the device is done charging, which is usually an LED light that turns green. Once this happens, you can remove the device from the charger, as it is ready to be used.

  2. Attach Your Cartridge to the Device

    If you’re using pre-filled cartridges, you can simply screw the cartridge into the device, and you’ll be all set. If you’re using a refillable cartridge, you’ll need to manually insert the wax. See user manual that comes with device to figure out how to access the chamber. Some are accessed through the cartridge’s bottom, while others are accessed through the top. Once you have access to the chamber, insert your wax and make sure not to overfill. This can get messy, so you may want to use some sort of tool like a paper clip to make the transfer from the wax container to the chamber, as wax is very sticky.

  3. Once Attached

    With the wax properly inserted into the chamber, close the cartridge and attach it to your wax pen. Then, you’ll need to turn the device on. Each device has its own method for turning on, but it usually involves pressing the button a certain number of times. The LED light should light up once the device is powered, letting you know that it’s ready to be used.

  4. Take that Initial Hit

    Hold down the button and bring the mouthpiece up to your lips. While you are holding down the button, you can pull in the vapor. If you are dissatisfied with the quality or amount of vapor you take in, and your device has an adjustable output option, you can make the necessary adjustments until you are satisfied.

What is a Dab Pen?

Because dab pens are similar to wax pens many people assume that they are the same thing.  But the main difference is that dab pens can accommodate all kinds of dabs, while wax pens are only compatible with wax.  “Dabs” is another term for concentrates. There are numerous kinds of concentrates out there. And, each have their own potency and consistency, and are made using a variety of processes that all involve concentrating the cannabis using some sort of advanced method.  Most popular kinds of dabs, or concentrates, are shatter, resin, crumble and rosin.  Most people put wax into this category as well.

Each dab has its own consistency and level of concentration. That right there is why a dab pen is a bit more advanced than a wax pen. It must be able to accommodate each of these types of concentrates in a way that produces the most satisfying experience.  Therefore, dab pens are structurally different, as they have more advanced technology within the device.  Dab pens tend to be thicker than wax pens, and a bit heavier too.  They are still portable, but just not as slim and lightweight as wax pens.

Dab pens tend to have a more advanced chamber structure as well.  Because the chamber must be able to handle so many different types of concentrates, the material must be sturdier to accommodate a wider range of temperatures.  And, dab pens tend to come with a wider range of adjustable output options, because each type of concentrate responds best to a specific output level.  This allows the user to be able to enjoy a variety of concentrates while using the same device, while having the right output level to bring out the best in each one.

Note: Dab pens tend to be a bit pricier than wax pens due to being more technologically advanced and durable.

How Does a Dab Pen Work?

A dab pen works a lot like a wax pen.  It has two main components, which are the battery and the atomizer, or cartridge.  The battery tends to be more powerful in a dab pen than it is in a wax pen, and this allows it to reach higher output levels.  The atomizer is also larger in size, as this allows for more dense or bulky concentrates.  And, the atomizer has a mouthpiece.

Within the atomizer or cartridge is a chamber, into which the concentrate is placed.  Beneath this chamber is a coil that supplies heat to the chamber, which allows the concentrate to melt into an oil which is then easily vaporized to be inhaled into the lungs.  The chamber’s coil gets heat from the power of the battery.

Like we said, dab pens tend to have more adjustable features, because different concentrates tend to vaporize best at distinctive output levels.  So, the user will be able to adjust these output levels based on the type of concentrate that they are using.

What Kinds of Dab Pens are Out There?

Like wax pens, dab pens come in a wide array of designs, sizes, materials, prices, and technological features. 

How Does One Use a Dab Pen?

We’ve created a separate guide here: Steps to Using a Dab Pen.  As you’ll see, it’s quite similar to using a wax pen.  However, with dab pens, you will rarely find pre-filled cartridges that are compatible, and so you must be prepared to refill the chamber manually.

Which Pen-Style is Better?

Ultimately, we at Pure CBD Vapors feel that dab pens are almost always the way to go.  This is because they can accommodate wax along with any other type of concentrate, while wax pens can only handle wax.  Further, dab pens tend to be more technologically advanced, durable, and reliable than standard wax pens because of how they are made. All this means is that you’ll get better satisfaction out of using a dab pen.  Finally, dab pens tend to produce a smoother and more generally enjoyable vaping experience because one can adjust the settings as needed.

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