Dab Rig vs. Dab Pen - Readers Choice Guide

A Dab Rig is similar to a water bong and a Dab Pen is another word for the term, wax pen. This post breaks down both of the products and will explain the difference and similarities you need to know about dab rigs and pens.

by: Nathaniel C. | 12/02/19 2:30PM


What is a Dab Rig?

Dab rigs are similar to a bong or water pipe but designed for smoking, aka dabbing wax rather than smoking flower. Dab rigs operate very similar to a bong and are often mistaken for one. But they are usually smaller than bongs, specifically in the stem area where the smoke travels through – bongs are much wider. Wax is far more potent than herbs, so it makes sense that you don’t need as much room for the smoke to accumulate in a dab rig. The most notable thing about dab rigs is the dab nail. Instead of a bong bowl piece, rigs use a dab nail which is designed for wax. The dab nail is what gets heated and then where you place the wax to begin dabbing. You can use a traditional dab nail that utilizes a blow torch for heat, or you can opt for an e-nail. E-Nails have been becoming much more popular as they are an easier and safer way to dab.



What is a Dab Pen?

Dab pens are often referred to as wax pens or wax vapes. These vaporizers are designed for vaping wax. Like dab rigs, they heat wax, however, dab pens heat wax via vape coils that are usually made of wick, ceramic or quartz and metal to heat the wax. Dab pens could have one to four coils and the more coils a dab pen has, the harder it will hit. Most single quartz coil or ceramic wax pens will vaporize wax sufficiently but if you want bigger clouds, pick up a dual or quad quartz dab pen that will hit the wax with more heat at once. There are dab pens that will be slimmer and more discreet than some larger options like a box mod equipped with a wax vape tank. Both options are sufficient and simply heat wax, and most wax pen options use a rechargeable battery using a standard micro USB charger so you can use them on the go.


Differences between a Dab Pen and Dab Rig

  • Portability – Dab rigs are not ideal if you are moving around. They are much bulkier and even with an e-nail attachment they are not very discreet. Dab pens look just like any other handheld, portable vape and can easily be carried in a pocket or purse. Since they use a rechargeable battery, you can easily use a wax pen to vape while on the go for a few days on a single charge. You can also control the size of clouds by the length of time you heat the wax making dab pens ideal when you do not want to create massive clouds around you.
  • Since wax vapes are small and easily concealed, they are ideal for when you are traveling or in public areas. Like we mentioned before, it is easy to control the size and thickness of wax vapor with a dab pen so you can vape without drawing too much attention. Dab rigs are anything but discreet, not to mention the inconvenience of bringing a dab rig around with you. It is not too easy to conceal a dab rig and nearly impossible to use while standing or walking.
  • Dab Nails vs. Wax Coils – The main difference between a dab nail and wax coils are the method in which they heat and how much wax you can consume in a single pull. You can dab a larger amount of wax when using a dab nail resulting in bigger, thicker clouds. If using a dab nail, the wax is also consumed very quickly. Single coil wax pens will take longer to vaporize wax and you can only place a small amount at each time. Quad quartz coil pens do a pretty good job for big hits – with all four coils working together, you can get pretty heavy rips comparable to those from a small dab rig, but they still are not a replacement for dabbing with a nail and rig. Wax pens and their coils are much more convenient since no additional accessories are needed. Some wax pens, like the Evolve Plus feature an attached wax jar so you can even carry extra wax in your dab pen.
  • Ease of Use – For many reasons, dab pens are much more convenient and easier to use than dab rigs. They are portable and do not require extra accessories like a torch style lighter. Some dab pens have variable voltage settings so you can choose between low, medium or high heat. However, many wax pens are single voltage, so you just turn on the wax vape and hold the power button to activate the vape coils – it could not get much easier than that.
  • Puff Size – Dab rigs are essentially bongs built for wax. When dabbing with a rig, you can enjoy the largest, heaviest wax puffs. While some dab pens aim to mimic dab rigs, it is not quite the same experience. A dab rig allows you to milk a large chamber as you would a water bong, creating a thick, cool vapor in the chamber before inhaling. This allows massive rips. While a quad coil dab pen can deliver thick clouds, you do not get the milking effect of a dab rig.
  • Glass Rigs are Fragile – Dab pens are pretty durable. They can break but can easily handle a small fall off a coffee table or getting tossed in the backseat. Dab rigs are just as fragile as a glass bong and can easily break if dropped. You can easily pack a wax pen in your suitcase, but we would not recommend doing this with a dab rig unless it is packed in a protective carrying case. The one caveat here, would be the development of silicone dab rigs which now exist. So if you still want to move around with a rig, try buying a cool dab rig made from silicone.
  • Electricity Dependent – Dab pens need to be charged, unlike dab rigs. However, many wax pens pack quality batteries that can last days, even weeks for the casual user. They are also easy to charge, most dab pens charging with a micro USB cable that can be plugged into any USB charger, laptop or power bank. With our current lifestyles, this is not much of a limitation. You could even take a dab pen on a week-long backpacking trip in the wilderness, just pack a power bank so you are not left dry on your last day.



Similarities between a Dab Rig and Dab Pen

  • Both are designed for use with wax concentrates – Both dab pens and dab rigs are designed for use with wax or other similar semi-solid concentrates. Do not use either for dry herbs. However, if you had to, a dab rig could be used for dry herbs if you have a bong bowl piece to insert in place of the dab nail.
  • Both are reusable – Both wax pens and dab rigs can be used for a long time. You may need to change out the nail on a dab rig or the coils on a wax pen, but these are easily replaceable. When handled and used properly both wax pens and dab rigs should be able to last awhile. However, if not taken care of properly, that can change.
  • Varying features – With both dab rigs and dab pens, there are varying features among different devices. Rigs may have percolators, wax collectors or ice catchers to improve your dabbing experience. Dab pens can have varying levels of temperature control with variable voltage wax vapes. There are also different coil types, usually ceramic or quartz. Both these options provide excellent flavor. Quartz coils will heat up and cool down slightly faster, where ceramic maintains its temperature a bit longer. They will also have between one to four coils. The more coils, the harder a pen will hit, but it will also be a bit bulkier and heavier.
  • Available at all price ranges – Both dab rigs and dab pens can be found at a variety of price points. However, you can get a quality dab pen for much less than a quality dab rig. For around $40 or $50, you can pick up a quality wax vape, but you would be hard-pressed to find a quality glass rig for under $100.


Should I Buy a Dab Pen or Rig?

Your decision to get a dab pen or rig is ultimately down to personal preference. Most customers have a dab rig at home and a dab pen for both at home and everything else like travel. If this is your first purchase, we recommend starting with a dab pen, aka wax pen, as these are easier to use and better for more situations.

Where to Buy Dab Pens, Rigs and other Dabbing Tools

You can find dab pens and rigs at local head shops, vape shop, smoke shops and even the weekend flea market. Fortunately for you, here at nyvapeshop.com, we have a larger variety of dab rigs, wax pens, and everything else you would normally find among the incense-laced corridors. However, with us, you can shop from the convenience of your own home and enjoy Free USA Shipping on EVERYTHING, always.

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