Dab Rig vs. Wax Vape Pen - Analysis by Pro Dabbers

Both the Vape Pen and Dab Rig are instruments used for vaporizing wax concentrates. Wax Pens are easier to use and far more portable. Dab rigs are bulkier and require some coordination for use, but they deliver the biggest and tastiest hits. Both have benefits and experienced dabbers may want to own both. Learn about them here.

by: Matthew S. | 04/02/18 1:30PM


Rig versus Vape Introduction

Concentrates have become increasingly popular over the past few years, morphing the landscape of the industry we know and love into something many people are not quite familiar with. There are a slew of new products that have come out as of late that make consumers do a second take. From full-blown dab rigs with titanium nails to complex vaporizers, these heavy hitting pieces generally come with a bit of a negative connotation. A lot of what turns many people away from trying concentrates is the stigma behind the act of consuming them – how it looks when you are using a butane torch to heat up a nail and drop the wax directly onto it. But, once you move past this alarming aesthetic, concentrates become far less intimidating and offer brand new ways to enjoy your sessions.


The act of putting blowtorch to nail and blasting away until the plate is red-hot turns many smokers away, acting as the first big obstacle from traditional flower use to concentrates. Though, with the proper knowledge, many smokers can move past the trepidation they initially have with trying their hands at concentrates. And if you really think using a big rig is not for you, then there are always portable concentrate vape pens that will do just the trick.

Vaporizers have become incredibly commonplace in the past few years, thanks to the surge of anti-smoking sentiment across the nation. These little devices are not just for nicotine consumption, though; they are also quite handy when wanting to dabble in the wonderful world of wax concentrates. The majority of people that tend to have issues with using dab rigs and nails are more open to trying out herbal vaporizers and wax pens. For the most part, herb vapes and wax pens are easier to deal with than rigs. But don't shy away! Read our how to guide for dab rigs and feel confident about using them!

Both wax dab rigs and vaporizers sport their own pros and cons. There are a plethora of reasons why you should try out one or the other (or both), but the decision falls primarily on the smokers themselves and what they are comfortable using. Once you have all of the information about both products at your disposal, you can make an informed decision on which of the two methods will fit your needs properly. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy concentrates; personal preference reins supreme in the wax game, much like it does with traditional flower.


The Similarities

1. Dab rigs and wax pens of all varieties are built specifically for the vaporization and consumption of concentrates. However, there are ways to retrofit your piece or device (for the use of nicotine e-liquid in the case of a wax vape or traditional flower in the case of a dab rig commonly found in any online vape shop).

2. Both methods for consuming wax work off of the basic principle of using a heated surface, providing intense heat for vaporizing the concentrate, though ways in which the plate is heated and the material it is made of span a wide variety.

3. Proper maintenance is an absolute must when it comes to all smoking pieces, whether they are vapes or glass pipes and rigs. Concentrates are especially gunky on pieces, so often you can collect a decent bounty on an initial scraping of the piece when trying to clean it up. For a thorough dab rig cleaning you can use formula 420 pipe cleaner. Cleaners like that will help expedite the process of cleaning.

4. Both vapes and dab rigs come with a bit of a learning curve, sometimes making them seem daunting to new users (and even some long-time smokers). Box mod vaporizers tend to have a much steeper learning curve due to intricate button layouts with the more expensive devices.

5. Both wax pens and dab rigs come in various shapes and forms. Rigs and using nectar collectors (smaller, more portable pieces) are available across the spectrum of price and aesthetic, much like glass pieces for traditional flower consumption. Wax vaporizers, just like with their nicotine-delivering counterparts, span a wide range of sizes, prices, and builds.

The Differences

1. Though there are more portable options available in the form of silicone rigs or small nectar collectors (available in both standard blown glass or silicone), dab rigs are far less portable than wax vape pens. However, there are desktop vaporizers for herb like the Volcano that is not nearly as portable as the new portable vape pens

2. Dab rigs take a lot more to get set up for your toking session than vaporizers, though they don't have any intricate electronics to worry about. Getting out a torch to heat up your nail is more complex than just dropping some of your favorite concentrate in an atomizer and vaping away.

3. Sure there are electronic nails available for dab rigs that reduce the chance of burning yourself, the traditional use of a torch to heat up a glass, titanium, or quartz nail comes with the inherent risk of burning your hand or someone else if you are not careful. There are ways to burn yourself on some vapes too, especially with those that have atomizers with detachable top-caps, but they are generally seen as far safer options for newcomers to the use of wax concentrates.

4. Going back to the maintenance discussion, there is very little that you really have to worry about replacing with dab rigs. Every so often, you will run into a situation where a nail or piece breaks and you have to replace it, but for the most part there is not much you have to throw your money at after the initial purchase with a dab rig. Wax Pens use wax coil attachments similar to a liquid vape tank used with e liquid vapes that many people are familiar with. And in time, the coils need to be replaced every so often. Depending on how much you toke on your wax vape, you will have to change your coil more or less often. You can tell how burned out your coil is with a quick glance; if it is gunky and black, you may want to replace it for the sake of flavor.


Dab Rig Breakdown

A lot of smokers tilt their chins up at dab rigs out of sheer intimidation and lack of knowledge about all its components. One of the most common questions from these types of people is what the deal is with nails and carb caps. The simple answer is to equate them to a wax coil attachment in the wax pen.

Vaporizers come with coil attachments like the vape coils seen here. The coils heat up thanks to the electric current pulsing through the device with every press of the power button. Instead of a vape coil, dab rigs use a domeless dab nails. The nail acts as a hot plate and it is where the wax concentrates are placed. The two major differences between a vape coil and a domeless dab nail are that you have to manually heat nails up through the use of a torch and you do not pre-load wax onto the nail like you do with a vape coil.

There are multiple different options for nails, both in function and form. Many Domeless nails come in titanium, glass, and ceramic options, allowing users some personalization opportunities. For the most part, they all work the same way, leaving the decision of which to go with up to personal preference.

Carb caps are the next element of dab rigs that confuse a lot of people, even though they are fairly straightforward. Carb caps come in various shapes and sizes, but are generally constructed from glass or ceramic. Simply, they are small circular pieces that cover up the top of the Domeless nail while you are toking away. Like a top cap with airflow holes milled out from a vape, the purpose of a carb cap is to aerate the material being vaporized, allowing smoke to be pulled through the piece and inhaled without letting any vapors escape into the air. You can pick one up for pretty cheap from just about any head shop out there, and they definitely increase the enjoyment you get from using dab rigs.

Wax Pen Breakdown

Much like how dab nails are used with rigs, wax pen coils come in an array of choices, allowing for a little bit of personalization. Each of the options works in basically the same way, but there are a few differences when it comes to how much flavor you get and how well they vaporize concentrates. From quartz rod coils to pancake coils and ceramic donuts, wax vapes allow you to customize your vaping experience to the max.

Quartz rods and ceramic donuts are the most commonplace types of atomizers that come with wax vape pens. Companies boast constantly about having the best coil for this and that. The only real way to determine which type of coil head you should use is to try a few and see which fits your needs best. There is really no right or wrong answer when it comes to using wax coils. The only real thing you have to keep in mind is changing out the coils every so often to keep your vape hitting at its maximum efficiency.


So What's What

Whether you are searching for something new to help you get the most out of your wax concentrates, or you are new to the scene and want to start dabbing with wax, you can't go wrong with giving either a dab rig or wax vape pen a chance. Using either of the products may look daunting at first, but with the right information and a little courage to voyage into the unfamiliar you will find that they are not nearly as scary as they seem.

Related Blog Posts

Silicone Bong vs Glass Bong - Water Pipe Comparison

How To Use Glass Screens With a Dry Herb Vape

All About Electric E-Nails and Why People Love Them