How to use a Vape Pen

Looking for direction on using a vape pen aka vaporizer? Read further as we break down the basics of using a vape in general, plus learn the details for each vape pen type from dry herb to wax, oils and even box mods.

by: Chris H. | 07/30/18 1:30PM


Vaporizer Introduction

The technology of vaporization has come a long way in the last decade, continuing to connect the lives of people around the world with electronic devices. In many cases, vaporizers have made a positive impact and continue to become more popular by the day. There are many reasons for this and we always recommend reading the material available about vaporizing on the website. Suffice to say, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy your favorite dry herb, wax and oil products. In this piece, we’d like to cover the basics of using various types of vaporizers:

1. Dry Herb Vaporizers

2. Wax Vaporizers

3. Cannabis Oil Vaporizers

4. Box Mods

5. 3-in-1 Vaporizers


Each of those vape styles come with their own benefits and specifications and it’s up to you, the user, to decide what kind of vaporizer is right for you. This choice is going to rely heavily on the type of material that you choose to use or have available to you. In general, every vaporizer is an electronic device that is typically powered by a small lithium-ion battery. They use this battery power to heat materials to the point of vaporization. That means different temperatures for different materials, but the golden rule is to stay as far away from combustion as possible.

Remember, each vaporizer is going to be different on a model-by-model basis. Some vapes are capable of vaping anything from herb to wax, you can now even find a thca vape at the shop. Do your homework, read up on articles like this one, and know what you are buying to make sure you find the vaporizer that is right for you.

Once you have the vape of your choice, knowing how to use it is pretty easy. Just continue reading below for the directions on how to use a vaporizer for dry herb, wax, oil and liquids.


How to use a Dry Herb Vaporizer

Dry herb vaporizers are the closest devices to traditional smoking that you are going to come across in the industry. That’s because they rely on dry herbs in a way that mirrors traditional herb smoking—just without any of the combustion. Many people that look to vaporize start here because it doesn’t require much lifestyle change. If you are used to acquiring and storing traditional dry herbs, there will not be much different in the day-to-day operation when compared to a smoking pipe or papers. The difference is, of course, that using a dry herb vaporizer is a much healthier alternative to smoking, and some say it can even save you some money in the long run – although that point can easily be argued.

To get started using the herb vape, you will have to find the heating chamber for your device. Every vaporizer will be different, but they are typically going to be loaded from the top or the bottom of the vape. Most of them have a chamber directly under the mouthpiece that is revealed when you remove it. The herbs are loaded similar to how you would load a pipe. But before you load, be sure to grind up your materials to the point that there are no large chunks remaining. It is best when it is finely ground.

Quick Tip for getting the right kind of grind Make sure your material is dried out to avoid wasting resources due to stickiness and moisture. You can even place the herbs in the freezer and wait about ten minutes, it should come out brittle and ready to grind.

Remember, this is not a ploy to get you to become best friends with an herb grinder. Dense nugs will be less efficient and will not vaporize evenly. It’s an essential part to using a dry herb vaporizer. Once the grinding is complete, insert your material into the loading chamber. Do a pinch at a time or use containers and paper to funnel the herbs in. Keep loading but don’t overfill, and if possible, lightly pat it down to get it packed in. Next place the mouthpiece or chamber cover back on and start vaping. Read our article on how to use an herb grinder for awesome tips!

Read our article on choosing the best temperature for your vape if you need. But activate the vape and select the desired temperature. Depending on the vape in question, you may be able to select individual degrees or simply a High, Medium, Low option. Either way, practice makes perfect and your vaporizer will behave differently than others. That being said, a temperature of around 380 °F – 410 °F is going to be ideal for most vaporizers that utilize dry herb.  For those that need a light vapor, go under 380 °F.

Some vaporizers will have a forced air system that will blow the vapor out of the chamber, but for most, you will simply need to start slowly drawing the vapor out. Usually you will be able to tell you are finished when the vapor starts to have a burnt popcorn taste and smell. At this stage, you can continue to vape a bit and then remove your material and do with it what you will.


How to Use a Wax Vaporizer

A wax vaporizer is a unit that specializes in the production of vapor as a result of applying heat to a concentrate known as “wax”. There are many kinds of wax and the quality and consistency can vary almost as much as its dry herb counterpart. However, there is a great deal of difference between the wax and herb when it comes to storage or handling. Wax is a sticky, viscous substance that requires special, no stick containers to store properly, typically those made from a silicone rubber material. Learn how to store and handle wax concentrates like a pro.

Because the wax is different, the operation of the vaporizer is slightly different as well. Wax vaporizers use various types of coil atomizers that come in direct contact with the wax. The wax coils heat up to especially high temperatures and vaporize the wax into extremely potent vapors. Some of the wax pen models use a simple ceramic plate that the wax rests on, some utilize quartz rods and the most original place the wax in direct contact with a metal coil and wick. Most of the wax atomizers out there can be divided into three categories:

  • A metal coil is wrapped around a piece of cotton or a similar substance to absorb the waxes and provide smooth, flavorful draws.
  • Wick-less Coil Atomizers: Without a cotton covering, these coils are especially powerful and hit hard and fast. Typically a coil is wrapped around a quartz or ceramic rod.
  • Flat Ceramic Dish: A ceramic dish is heated by an outside coil resulting in cooler, especially flavorful hits. The wax only contacts the ceramic and usually results in lower temperature, smoother vapors.

There have been many developments in wax vaporizers recently, especially in terms of the material that the coils are made of. Titanium and Quartz Crystal atomizers can really knock your socks off. There has also been a rush to put as many coils as possible in atomizers, leading to triple and quadruple coil atomizers that try to mimic the power of a dab rig.

To load and use any wax vape, simply load the coil atomizer you are dealing with. Use a dab tool to scrape a small piece of wax from your no stick container. Gently load the wax into the coil. Do Not poke any coil directly, and avoid over-packing too. Once a coil is packed, put the coil top, mouthpiece and whatever else back together. Keep the vape standing upright and power on. Start vaping away by pressing the power button. Earlier wax pens have no temperature control, but now with box mods and newer wax vapes, you might have that option. In either case, as you heat the chamber, gradually pull the from the mouthpiece as vapors are produced, and enjoy.

Using an Oil Vape Pen


How to Use an Oil Vape

Oils are another kind of concentrate, similar to wax, but it is more liquid-like. Because the material has been broken down to such a level, the mechanics of vaporizing it are different than that of wax or dry herb, but still similar. Typically, an oil vaporizer will consist of an atomizer and a battery. Some units are the size of a ball point or stylus pen. This can be a very simple and effective way to vape oils.

Typically oil cartridges come pre-filled, however you can custom fill your own cartridge with oil. In either case, the mechanism for vaping with an oil vape relies on completing the circuit between the battery and the atomizer. A popular connection type is referred to as “510 thread”. The threading is the area where the atomizer and battery screw together. There are other kinds of threads, but 510 is going to be the most common. These days, you can find skinny, 510 oil cartridges that are designed to fit the minuscule oil vaporizers out there plus the box mods.

Oil cartridges are all easy to use and pretty much only require you to screw in the cartridge to get vaporizing. If you don’t have a pre-filled cartridge, fill one, then attach. Some of these devices require you to set a voltage or temperature, a.k.a. the power level of the battery. These variable voltage devices allow you to adjust your heat setting and are basically another kind of box mod – compare that to the average oil vape which has one setting to heat the oils.


How to Use a Box Mod Vape

If you’ve seen someone vaping nicotine e-liquid or any e juice, chances are they are using a box mod. This is a somewhat complicated term that refers to a battery outfitted with voltage controls that can power just about any 510 thread atomizer. There can be a bigger learning curve with these types of devices due to the high level of jargon, but it’s really a simple setup. The box mod is essentially a vape battery with controls and all you need to do is attach the atomizer and fill it with the material it’s designed for – aka, dry herbs, wax or oil.

With an atomizer attached to your box mod, turn it on and press the power button to activate. Always start at the lowest setting – otherwise risk burning out the atomizer. Not all atomizers need the same amount of power. Dry herb atomizers for example need much less power than wax atomizers. E liquid atomizers are typically the ones that can withstand the highest amount of watts – this makes sense since part of the e-liquid vaper scene is about tricks and blowing huge clouds. The higher the watts, the more power that is going from the box mod vape in to the atomizer.

Box mods are much more efficient than simple pen oil vapes because you can fine tune the watt setting to the atomizer attached. If too many watts flow through a certain atomizer you can easily damage it. So always make sure to start out at the lowest watt setting and work your way up.

Box mods are essentially the brain and battery part of what is a typical vaporizer consists of. The biggest difference is that the mod is not complete without an atomizer attachment.


How to Use a 3-in-1 Vape

Technically a box mod can be considered a 3-in-1 vaporizer. But in general, a 3-in-1 is any vape that can successfully vaporize all of the materials mentioned in this post – dry herbs, wax and oils. There are multiple paths to achieving this, but a box mod is definitely one of the more common examples. There are also some traditional vaporizers out there that can vape all three substances as well. In either case, the operation of a 3-in-1 will follow much of the same rules as the above options, depending on the material. The main thing to account for is the different vape tank attachments specifically designed for their respective substance – for example, if you place oil in an herb coil you likely will damage the coil, so just pay close attention to the atomizer attachment being used.


As you can tell, there are a lot of choices when it comes to vaporizers and the options are almost endless. Fortunately operating these devices is not too complicated and even though they differ from model to model, many of the functions are very similar from one device to another. If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out for help. And make sure to check out the Vape Shop Dictionary and blog for top quality information too!

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