How Do Vape Pens Work - Easy-to-follow Guidance

How exactly does a vape pen work, how is it used?  This article breaks down exactly how a the different vapes work, from dry herb vaporizers to Oil and Wax Pens.  Learn the basics all the way to the PCD chip!

by: Mathew H. | 12/16/19 2:30PM


Though exactly how vape pens work will vary depending on the model you have, you can expect most vape pens to work in a similar fashion. When a vape pen is turned on and operated, the power flows through from the battery to the heating chamber and coil, creating the heat which dry herb vaporizers then heat the herbs. Along with wax or oils with other vaporizers and box mod vapes. The chamber or coil heat up with more power as you vape, ultimately creating the vapors that you can enjoy. It is a pretty simple process that has created all kinds of enjoyment for loyal users!


What Allows Vape Pens to Work?

Though the process sounds simple, there are a lot of parts that go into making a functioning vape pen. Again, while the parts of a vape pen will vary depending on the model you have, all pens have a lot of tiny parts that all come together. Take a look at the following key components to get to know your vape pen better!

  • Vape Battery: The battery is what makes everything work! Without a functioning vape battery, you have no power supplied to your heating source and no vape can be produced. The vape battery can be found in a variety of sizes and is usually the most expensive component in your vape pen. Most batteries are built-in, though some are removable and replaceable.
  • PCB Chip: This little chip is the brain of your vaporizer pen! Vape pens come with varying functionalities, including pressing the power button five times to power on, the same to power off, pressing twice to preheat, and more. The PCB chip is what delivers the instructions for these functions to happen properly. If your pen has other features, the PCB chip is what is controlling them as well.
  • Vape Coil, Chamber, Cartridge: These terms are often used interchangeably, and ultimately, they all refer to the area of the vaporizer that holds the dry herbs, wax, oils, or whatever else it is you are vaping. There are a variety of options from prefilled cartridges, refillable vape tanks, quartz and ceramic coils, empty ceramic heating chambers and so much more. Regardless of what specifically you have, every vape pen has an area where you place wax herb or oils, and that area gets heated to produce vapor!
  • Other Vape Components: As you can imagine, vape pens can have a variety of other parts, though the above components are the most important. Vape pens can have LED screens, buttons or dials that control voltage, or built-in dry herb grinders. Be sure to get to know your vape pen to familiarize yourself with all its unique features.
  • Electricity: This one is a no brainer! Electricity is provided by a power source and is then transferred to the battery via a charging cable.  The battery is what powers your vape pen. For most pens, the battery is built-in to the pen and is charged directly. There are other pens, however, where the battery can be removed, allowing you buy extras for extra-long vape sessions or traveling.
  • The Vaper: This means you! The treasured vaporizer pens would be nothing without someone to use them. For the best vaping experience, be sure to thoroughly read the user manual of any pen you purchase to avoid potential problems or damage. Not following instructions can lead to ruining cartridges or the pen itself!


How Do Dry Herb Vapes Work?

Dry herb vapes have a few more steps and components than you will find in general e-cig vaping. They have a battery like most pens along with operating buttons like the power button. Your heating component is usually an empty chamber, at least among Convection Herb Vapes. Combustion vapes, on the other hand, have a coil at the bottom of their chamber. In either combustion or convection, you fill the heating chambers with ground dry herb. From there, the dry herb is heated by either the hot air only (convection vapes) or by direct contact with the heating coil at the bottom of the chamber (combustion vapes). Convection will gently break down the herbs, resulting in vapors, the healthier alternative to smoke. Combustion pens on the other hand are essentially like traditional smoking where the herbs are ignited, created smoke, and turn to ash.

The vapor path of dry herb vapes usually has one extra component: a filter or screen. This helps keep any dry herb debris from getting inhaled. This is a component that will need to be cleaned regularly to ensure optimal airflow while vaping. A dry herb vape pen that can be easily disassembled and thoroughly cleaned will save you plenty of time in the future.  Dirty vape filters and clogged vapor pathways are common problems with dry herb vapes.


How Do Oil Pens Work?

To get this out of the way – watch how much power you send into your oil cartridge! Many people send too many watts/power/too high temperature into their cartridge and burn it out before they can even enjoy it. In terms of how oil vapes generally function, you may find some variation in this process depending on the specific cartridge you have, but the process of vaping with oil pens is generally the same. The battery supplies power to a cartridge, which has a built-in heating element. This heats the oil, producing vapor that can then be inhaled.

Oil pens are generally the simplest to use since your cartridge is generally prefilled. However, the cartridge will have its own electric components with voltage requirements. Even if the cartridge fits into your vape battery, it would be worth your while to make sure your pen can make the best of the cartridge you are interested in.


How Do Wax Pens Work?

Wax pens, also known as Dab pens, use a battery like other vape pens, and the heating element is an exposed coil of some kind, usually ceramic or quartz. This allows the user to place the wax directly on the heating coils to produce vapor. The entire heating coils area is then enclosed within the pen, usually covered by the mouthpiece.  From there, power is supplied to the coils, the coils heat, and wax turns into vapor that can then be enjoyed through the mouthpiece.

A good tip for wax pens, Keep then Upright! Sounds crazy, but even if you happen to have a wax pen with a Coil Cap, when the wax is hot, it flows very easily. If you turn the vape pen sideways while the vape is still warm, the wax will flow from the coil area, up and out of the entire chamber and into areas that will cause a mess. The wax will eventually dry and it can make it difficult to remove chambers, mouthpiece and other parts.


How Do Box Mod Vapes Work?

Box mod vapes are essentially huge vape batteries with a lot of features built-in. Their main specification is that they have a huge, powerful battery. Because the battery is powerful to handle all different kinds of vaping products, attachments can be purchased so your box mod can vape oil, e-juice, wax, and dry herbs. The different heating options allow the vaper to customize the power output based on the specific substance being smoked or desired vapor output.

Because box mods offer so much power, they should be used with caution. If you start with a high-voltage setting, you can cause damage to oil cartridges and end up burning your waxes or dry herbs. It is an easy way to flush a lot of money down the drain very quickly. A good rule of thumb is to start on the lowest voltage setting and work your way up to a level that produces your desired results.

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