Vape Pens - the Differences & Similarities about Vapes

The world of vaporizers is massive. Vape options include models specifically for use with wax, oils, dry herbs, or e juice. Some have advanced features while other basic pens just get the job done. Learn about them all here!

by: John B. | 06/04/18 1:30PM


The world of vaporizers has grown exponentially over the past decade. What was once an obscure invention has become an everyday item for millions of people. Vape shops can be found in almost every developed city throughout the United States and the world, as well as online across thousands of online stores. Since the popularity spike, there have been an enormous amount of new handheld vape styles introduced in the market. There are vaporizers for oils and e-liquids, dry herbs, and wax concentrates.

Since there are so many vapes to choose from, it can be tricky to decide which vape kit to buy. Because vapes are new, with many newbies, and even some veterans, it can be difficult to distinguish the differences between each kind of vaporizer. In this article, we will break down the key differences when it comes every type of vaporizer from dry herb to wax, e liquid and oil vapes. Our goal is to make it easier to understand what each vape pen does. And if you are just wondering how to use your vape pen, read our how to vape pen guide.


Difference #1 - What is the Vape Specifically Made For

When you are planning to invest in a vape, the first thing you need to figure out is, what are you looking to vaporize? There are four main types of vaporizers: dry herb, wax, oil, and e-liquid vape tanks. There are vapes that will work with more than one substance with the addition of different coil attachments, but generally you want to search specifically for the substance you are looking to vaporize. So obviously the first step of finding a vape will depend on what substance you wish to use.


Vapes for Herbs

These devices allow you to vaporize dry herbs. You simply grind up your herbs in a sharp grinder, load them into the heating chamber, and choose temperature and vape away. By vaping herbs via convection, you cut out the carcinogens and tar that smoking produces.


Vapes for Wax

These vapes, often referred to as wax pens, let you consume concentrates without the need of a blowtorch and dab rig. They are small, portable vape pens that function by heating the wax using a special type of wax vape coil.


Vapes for Oil

This type of vaporizer lets you consume oil extracts in a similar fashion as e-liquid vapes. They use wire wrapped cotton that absorbs the oil and turns it to a vapor through electricity and heat, all within a small tank or cartridge.


Vapes for E-Liquid

These are the original and the most popular type, and more often than not it is usually a box mod which is technically a type of vape, but more so a high tech vape battery. Learn how to use the powerful box mods here! The majority of e-liquid vapes are sold as refillable tanks with high power coils that turn the liquid into big clouds of vapor. People who quit smoking often use them in conjunction with a nicotine infused e-liquid to rid themselves of the carcinogens and toxins involved with cigarettes.

Once you know what type of vaporizer you want, the choices are far from over. There is still a myriad of options to choose from as vaporizers have acquired all sorts of complex functions and features over the years. For that reason, we will delve deeper into each aspect to help you choose an option that fits your preferences.

Difference #2: Temperature Control

Some vapes allow you to control the temperature or watts that they send to your atomizer via electricity. This allows you to fine tune how much vapor you get with each puff. Originally, temperature control vapes were the go-to choice for e-liquid consumers because it allowed them to blow out giant plumes of vapor. However, more recently these devices have become popular with all options from herb to wax pens.

Temperature controlled devices play an important role with dry herb, wax, and thca vape pens. Many of these vapes come with some sort of control, whether it is just a few settings or a wide gradient of temperature settings. Some people want to pull a lot of vapor from each hit, while others only want a lighter, less harsh hit. Temperature control allows you to adjust between both light and heavy vapor clouds. The correct temperature will depend upon the substance you vaporize and over time you will find your sweet spot.



Difference #3: Battery Size and Type

Vape battery capacity is important to all vaporizers as it will determine how powerful the vape is and more importantly, how long it will hold its charge. Dry herb vaporizers tend to have around 2,000+ mAH batteries to keep up with the heating requirements of the atomizer. All convection vapes will have some type of temperature control as well, whether it is a few variable settings or complete temperature control.

Wax and oil vape pens require less power and usually have batteries below 1,000 mAH (normally close to 500 mAH). This is more than enough power to vaporize the wax or oil and keep the vape pen going throughout the day. More and more, wax pens now come with variable wattage settings to you can fine tune your vaping experience for smooth, tasty pulls.

Box mods tend to have the highest battery storage (~1600 mAH) because of where they came from. These mods were made popular by the e-juice crowd, whose habits demanded a powerful battery that would last all day, but also be adjustable with the ability to rip huge vapor clouds. However, the versatility and long battery life of box mods now appeals to people who vape wax, oil, and dry herbs – simply replace an e liquid tank with one for wax or herb and the box mod will vape away.


Difference #4: Portability and Physical Design

One of the biggest draws of vaporizers is their portability. Though each model will vary by size and weight, most are small devices that will fit in your pocket so they can go anywhere you go. Dry herb vapes are the only exception. While many of these vapes are handheld units, there are larger table-top versions that stay in place as you use them.

The way each device vaporizes substances will also differ between models. Dry herb vapes usually use convection as way to vaporize the herbs. They use a ceramic or metal heating element that heats the air which in turn heats the herbs enough to vaporize the beneficial aromas. Wax vapes use a special vape coil, made of either ceramic, quartz, or wick to vaporize the concentrates. Oil and e-liquid atomizers also use cotton to soak up the liquid and then vaporize it using a metal, quartz or ceramic coil. Wax, oil, and e-liquid coils may become gunked up overtime, and likely will all need to be changed on a periodical basis.

In many cases, dry herb vapes come as all-in-one devices, with the battery and heating chamber being fixed together. The same is not true for wax, oil, and e-liquid vapes. These vapes usually have two parts: a heating chamber and a battery. Box mods, on the other hand, are just batteries with a set of controls. To be a vaporizer, they require a 510-threaded atomizer that will screw in place to operate.


Difference #5 Vape Part Threading

You will hear the term 510-threaded a lot when learning or talking about vapes, specifically vape batteries. Many vape parts these days are 510-threaded, especially within the box mod space. This means they will only screw into or accept attachments that have this threading style. There are some 710-threaded vapes on the market, however their presence has been fading over the years as most companies are shifting towards making 510-threads the universal default.

Difference #6: Vapor Production

Adjustable watts or temperature are key when it comes to vapor production. Some people enjoy lots of vapor, while others like to keep the amount of vapor they exhale to a minimum. On average, dry herb vaporizers produce the least amount of vapor, and what they do produce dissipates rapidly. Wax and oil vapes also tend to put off less vapor. On the other hand, e-liquid vapes give off the most vapor by far. In all cases, high watts or temperatures will produce more vapor, while lower settings will produce less.

Difference #7: Replacement Vape Parts

Almost all vaporizers will have parts that you will need to replace over time. This is especially true with wax, oil, and e-liquid vaporizers. The coils in these vapes will gather residue and gunk the more you use them. This buildup will negatively impact the taste and vapor production of the vape. When you replace the vape coil, it will run like a new vape again.

In addition, many wax vaporizers have replaceable heating chambers as the sticky wax has a tendency to overrun the inside of the chamber and is near impossible to clean out. Many pre-filled oil cartridges are disposable, meaning once the oil is gone, you throw the cartridge in the bin and put a new one on your battery. Dry herb vapes require the least attention. In most cases, the only parts you need to replace are the mouthpiece and the screens.

Difference #8: 3 in 1 Vapes - Multi Functional

Some vaporizers are multi-functional and can handle multiple substances, such as wax, oil, and e-liquids. To accomplish this, these vapes have one battery and an attachment for each substance. However, many times these multi-use devices will not be optimal for dry herbs. This function is usually best to wax and oil vapes. A box mod with an attachment for each oil, wax, and e-liquid is a prime example of a multi-functional device. When you want to vape oil, you simply use that attachment; when you want to vape wax, all you need to do is attach the wax atomizer. This makes vaping more convenient for people who use all three substances.

How to Choose the Right Vape

The first step to finding the right vape for you starts with what you wish to vaporize, whether it is wax, dry herbs, oil, or e-liquids. There is also the option of a multi-functional device. Each type of vaporizer, even down to each specific model, will vary by price, but chances are there is a vape that will fit your budget. You also have many features to choose from. If you want to be able to fine tune the amount of vapor you get, you will likely want a variable wattage vaporizer. In the end, it comes down to a balance between the type of vape you want, the features you desire, and how much you are willing to spend.

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