The vaporizer industry has been the subject of a boom that rivals that of the one that rumbled through Silicon Valley and has shaped our lives ever since. Today, more and more people around the world are using vaporizers. Apart from fundamentally changing aspects of our society (nicotine and thc consumption have both been affected) that has been present for hundreds or years, now there’s a new gadget in the pockets of the average person. Of course, there are many benefits to switching over to vaping from smoking aka combustion—no matter your herb of choice. But, it can be hard to make sense of the rapidly changing landscape of the vaporizer industry.
In order to better facilitate users understanding of vaporizer products, we have decided to compare and contrast the qualities of two of the most popular options when it comes to vaping: the dry herb vaporizer and the wax vape pen. There are some very obvious differences here to pay attention to, but we’ll get to that in time. Keep in mind that the conclusions made here do not necessarily reflect the realities of specific products. Finding the right device for you is what is most important and will lead to more enjoyment down the line.
The Major Differences
Although there are more things that make us similar than different, it’s still more fun to talk about the differences. Here’s what to expect from both styles of vaporizer:
- Product consumed – This one is a bit of a groaner, but it needed to be stated. Almost every difference between these vaporizer styles is predicated on their ability to produce vapor using different materials. Dry herb uses dry herb, wax pens use wax, etc. Dry herb is simply herbs dried out while wax is a concentrate that is created and derived from that very same dry herb. The biggest difference here is that dry herb is always easier to access as wax requires some sort of processing, plus wax can be harder to store. That being said, wax is also exceptionally powerful.
- Wax Coils vs Herb Chambers – Knowing that a wax pen and a dry herb vaporizer use different materials, it only stands to reason that the mechanism to do so would be different. Wax pens use coils in a fashion similar to a hair dryer or a toaster. An electric current is passed through the coils and heats it up for direct contact with your wax. A dry herb vape simply has a chamber that gets hot and heats the herbs via the hot air. Herbal combustion vapes heat the herbs directly via direct contact of a hot coil like wax coils. Both methods are pretty easy to use, but the wax pens will be harder to maintain in the long run, as you will need to eventually replace the coils. However, a dry herb vape chamber will likely stay functional for the life of the device.
- Battery mAh – This is a complicated term that is actually fairly easy to understand. Your battery mAh is a measure of the energy storage capacity of an individual battery. It is the primary way to assess the power and longevity of the device. As you might have guessed, heating a chamber full of dry herbs to vaporization temperature requires a great deal more power than a wax pen would use—making mAh much more important for those devices. MAh varies so widely between dry herb devices that you will need to do some research on a prospective unit to really understand what it is capable of. With wax pens and their instantaneous heating, it’s unlikely that battery capacity will become a major consideration.
- Chamber Loading Process – Dry herbs need to be finely ground with an herb grinder to activate to their full potential inside of a vaporizer. That means you will likely need to purchase a grinder. However, once ground, you simply insert the material into the chamber with your hands or a small tool. Compared to this process, wax pens are a bit more complicated. Wax, in general, can be a pain to use. It is a sticky, viscous material and requires some extra effort. Plus, you should never attempt to load a wax pen with your bare hands. It typically requires a wax tool, or dabber, in order to avoid a huge mess.
- Vaping Temperature – Dry herb can be vaporized at varying temperatures and each device will have a different sweet spot. However, wax requires a much higher temperature and is really only activated once it reaches that level. This is due to the concentrated nature of the material. In any case, there is typically less worry about combusting wax and this gives wax pens some flexibility when it comes to their extreme heat.
- Temperature control – Temperature ranges are another factor that vary widely between devices. Dry herb vaporizers have a plethora of different methods used to control it, included preset temperature ranges down to the ability to manage it down to the individual degree. You will almost never have to worry about temperature with a wax pen. Wax requires very specific, very high temperatures and a wax pen typically only has a single button that activates the coils to this level. In this respect, wax pens are much simpler. Still, there are many wax pens offering decent temperature control as the public becomes knowledgeable and wax becomes more popular and varied.
- Maintenance – Cleaning wax is always going to be a pain. In order to get it out of anything you need to be able to use isopropyl alcohol. If you stain a white shirt with it, forget about it. Along with the fact that you have to change out the wax coils, this can make a wax pen higher maintenance. The only thing you really need to worry about with a dry herb vaporizer is the replacement of the screen used to block particles from entering the air path.
The Major Similarities
The more two things are different the more we should try to look for similarities. Here are some aspects that you can expect from both kinds of vaporizers:
- Portability – Both of these devices were invented with the idea of taking them out of the house every now and then—or at the very least being small for extra discretion. There are some vaporizers that are easier to carry than others, but almost all are meant to be portable.
- Discreet – Discretion, as mentioned above, is not just the better part of valor. It’s also the better part of most vapes. The lack of smell, lack of big flashing lights, and lack of a flashy/noticeable design are all qualities of a good vaporizer. After all, not everyone will approve of your newfound hobby. It’s nice to have some privacy every now and then.
- Easy to use – Apart from the jargon, which you should be able to parse apart with just a little research, there isn’t much to learn about vaporizers. They are devices made for the modern age. They activate on the touch of a button and are typically supplied with detailed screens and internal monitoring suites. From top-to-bottom, the average person should have no issue operating a vaporizer once they get the hang of it.
Dry Herb Vape Tips vs Wax Pen Tips
There isn’t much advice that will translate to every kind of device, no matter if it’s dry herb vape or a wax pen. However, here are a few tips that should get you started:
Dry Herb Vaporizer Tips
- I mentioned this before but---USE A GRINDER. There is no better way to waste material than to try to vaporize dense nugs.
- Temperatures can get hot and it is all flowing directly to your mouth. Try to use silicone mouthpieces or other similar products to protect your vulnerable mouthparts.
- Your airpath will eventually become clogged. Keep up with it by changing your screen with regularity.
- You will need to find the temperature that fits you best. So, start with the lowest setting and work your way up.
Wax Vape Pen Tips
- Wax becomes much more like a liquid when it is heated. Keep that in mind when holding your pen upside down—you could risk a leak.
- Wax is powerful enough that you should never overpack the coil chamber. Too much wax will gum up the system.
- Again, your air path will eventually become compromised. Take apart your device and clean it with isopropyl alcohol to fix any problems.
- Make sure your coils are operational before loading a new chamber. Otherwise that newly-loaded wax will become lost in the transfer of a new coil.