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Also known as wax pens, or portable vaporizers or “vapes”, dab pens are the easiest way to enjoy botanical extracts and concentrates on the go. Small and discreet enough to fit in your pocket, the usual dab pen allows you to discreetly medicate at a moment's notice while you're out and about.
Introduced circa 2009, the wax pen has come a long way since their inception. While the overall function and utility has more or less stayed the same, the innovations and use of new materials have drastically changed the functionality and versatility of this exploding market. New features that include advanced atomizers, variable voltage batteries, and improved durability have made the latest generation of dab pens more versatile, reliable, and powerful than ever before.
It is very simple to dab normally without a pen, but then you are forced to deal with annoyances such as:
-Dealing with a blowtorch if you’re using a dab rig. This can be very hazardous.
-Pay for expensive gear such as an electric nail and its accessories, none of which are very portable.
-Risk wasting wax because of the uncertain concentration being inhaled or temperature being used.
On the other hand, if you do use a dab pen, all of these hassles disappear. All you have to do is load up your concentrate into the wax atomizer attached to the vape pen, and start vaping.
Dab pens are affordable, convenient, and can be very discreet and elegant. But even these pens come with a little hassle if you are not properly educated on usage and combinations. In reality, the vaping and concentrate worlds are very tech savvy and different and unique gadgets are built to perform new functions seemingly every day. Dab pens are among the most-used devices in this wax world and understanding them and how they work will help ensure that you are better positioned to make a smart purchase.
Type of Dab Pens Available
There are a wide range of concentrate pens available. These models differ in the type of wax or concentrate they can burn, their price, battery life, how much wax they can hold, and how customizable they are. These pens can burn either pre-made concentrate containers, dry herb, or even your own personal wax, and they can do this in a variety of different ways as well. With so many different pieces of gear to choose from with such differing functions, where should you even begin? The more you understand what types of pens are available, what their functions are, and what kind of concentrate you want to consume, you can find your ideal pen.
Magnetic Dab Pens – Featuring a more modern and efficient magnetic construction and design, this style of pen is the ideal choice for taste, convenience, and efficiency. Typically, older style pens can become dirty and clogged by dripping residue into the threads due to the attachments being screwed in, and with wax specifically, the threads can become mired in wax. The magnetic-based design eliminates any threads and allows for easy assembly, cleaning, and maintenance. With strong magnets, it is much quicker and easier to attach and remove any of the included parts, such as the mouthpiece, the chamber and battery, and even the USB charger. For example, the Saber Vape Pen requires zero screwing when removing any pieces to load and unload concentrates. The Saber’s best features allows it to use temperature controls that simmer and bake the wax at low temperatures to maximize smooth flavor.
Cheap Dab Pens – By cheap dab pens, we just mean price, not quality. These dab pens are for those looking for a casual device to be used occasionally with pre-filled cartridges or other basic replaceable coils and heating chambers. They are usually very simple and easy to use, and the coil simply heats when the power button is pressed or when you inhale. While smaller batteries don’t last as long, the convenience, easy maintenance, and simplicity are unbeatable in these affordable models. The AGO Jr vape pens are a perfect example of how easy to use and efficient a dab pen can be, featuring a sleek design, long battery life, and customization that includes either a wax or dry herb chamber.
Glass Globe Vaporizer – This type of vaporizer is characterized by the globe-shaped attachment present at the end of the battery being used. This popular glass attachment is available for many vapes, and some kits come equipped from the start with globes. The globe attachments have many advantages that make it not only a convenient tool, but an effective tool for heavy hitters. These pens can be ripped for longer periods, allowing the chamber to be milked multiple times and cleared for gigantic hits. Also, these pieces allow for you to let the smoke cool in the globe, making for much smoother concentrate hits.
Box Mods – Box mods are not exactly “pens”, but they use the same vaporizing means to burn wax or dry herb like their counterparts. These trendy tools were first made popular for use with various flavors of ejuice among the vape community. They feature a larger design with many customizable components so you can turn yours into the ideal vape accessory. Recently they have become popular due to the fact that they are compatible with any 510 atomizer attachment for wax and concentrate products. Box mods are widely popular for good reason: there are many benefits associated with using them. These advantages include a much longer battery life, and also more powerful burn capabilities. Perhaps one of its greatest advantages, they feature adjustable wattages that can perfectly match your preferences.
3 in 1 Vape Pen – The most versatile choice, these pens can burn any form of cannabis you want; wax, herb, or oil. There are individual pens that come with the ability to handle all of these forms right when you unbox it. However, there are plenty of dab pens that can be customized to be a 3-in-1 pen that may not be able to do this initially. Many dab pen owners will experiment with different attachments and their unique characteristics, and there are certain parts that can turn a compatible dab pen into a 3-in-1 powerhouse. These 3-in-1 pieces are great for any occasion and function well on the go. While they are easy to use and very versatile, these pens can tend to lose battery life very quickly if burning multiple consistencies all the time. All in all, the 3 in 1 pen is a great choice for those who enjoy all forms of cannabis consumption in a convenient and portable package.
How to Choose a Dab Pen
Vape pens have become the standard for the on the go smoker, and as you can tell, there are a great variety of dab pens to choose from. When it comes to finding your perfect pen, you must take into consideration multiple factors:
Type of concentrate you want to use
Different dab pens can be geared to function for certain types of product. Concentrate vape pens differ from dry herb pens in how they provide heat. Rather than heating to the point of convection, concentrate vaporizers instead use a compartment to hold your concentrate in direct contact with a heating coil. The coil heats the concentrate to extreme temperatures, vaporizing it while leaving behind little to no residue. Dry herb vaporizer pens are similar to the traditional desktop vaporizer in their function, using a screened section for herb and a cap that covers the opening. Air that is hot enough to vaporize the material without causing combustion runs through the chamber, creating a cool and smokeless vapor for inhalation.
As we have mentioned previously, dab pens are very customizable. Box mods and traditional vapes can be altered to have different burning temperatures, LED displays, colors, shapes, and sizes to fit your tastes. One of the reasons these portable accessories have gained so much popularity is their ability to be personalized and optimized to be shared among friends and fellow enthusiasts. Box mods can be fitted with attachments that allow burning of normal e-juices and exchanged with chambers that burn wax or liquid concentrate. Smaller dab pens can be upgraded with longer-lasting batteries and new and unique chambers to allow the use of any type of concentrate. Whatever pen you choose, you have the options to give it whatever functions you want.
A category that most may overlook initially, battery life is important if you plan on regularly using your vape pen on the go. Cheaper and smaller pens may not sustain a charge for as long as you may like for trips and adventures, while box mods and the many other options available in that category offer a fundamentally stronger and longer lasting battery. For example, the SteamCloud is a sleek box mod that is compatible with many wax attachments, and its battery lasts for hours longer than smaller and less versatile dab pens.
The size of your entire personal pen may determine where and when you can use it on the go and in public. Smaller dab pens are obviously easier to conceal and carry with you, while larger box mods may be too large for discreet transportation. Bigger pens typically have more functionality and longer battery lives, however, new innovations are allowing smaller variations to be very functional as well. Despite all of this, all of the aforementioned benefits must be taken into account when selecting wax pens.
Before you can decide on an ideal dab pen, you should first consider your dabbing preferences. Do you prefer normal wax, concentrate or herb? If you want to mix between the three, you should consider either a 3-in-1 option or a dab pen that has an interchangeable nail or chamber. Do you prefer shatter and harder concentrations, or more viscous variants like crumbles and sifts? Overall, there are an enormous amount of quality pens to choose from that can perform any of the functions you need, the trick is to understand how you want to use your pen and what you prefer.
How to Use a Dab Pen
Dab pens make wax consumption easier and more convenient than ever before. Once you have your pen and some concentrates, load a small ball or chip into the heating chamber where the coil is. Do Not poke the coil directly and be sure to Never Over-pack the chamber of your pen, as these devices are designed to make a little go a long way and smothering can lead to damage. Loading the chamber is most easily and efficiently done by using a dabber or dab tool. Once loaded, reattach any mouthpiece and get to vaping by pressing the power button. Usually you will need to press and hold the power button, however, some vape pens have a continuous heat function that will go for 10 seconds or so.
It is important to note that you should be careful to keep the pen upright when using the vape, and even right after a session. This will help to avoid leaks and spills of your precious wax – remember, when wax gets hot, it becomes more fluid like. In addition, on some models, especially box mod, you can pre-set the temperature you enjoy your dabs at. Some people enjoy hotter, more wholly burned dabs, while others prefer to bake their wax and roast it at less harsh temperatures to enjoy flavor.
How to Clean a Dab Pen
Dab pens are extremely easy to clean, as there really is no direct cleaning required. Dab pens simply require periodic maintenance of coils and aesthetics to maintain proper temperature, coil function, and taste. Wax buildup is easily removed from surfaces in the chamber or dab surface for easy cleaning using a dabber or similar tool. Coils typically last for a long time, but do need to be replaced periodically to ensure you are not wasting any wax. Scraping and collecting wax residue with your pen is very easy, and before you know it you will have extra wax with regular maintenance. Be sure to never directly touch the coils for risk of permanently damaging your piece.
Dab Pen Battery
There are many different types of batteries available that range from high tech box mod batteries to micro and 510 thread batteries, and they are the key piece of working heat in your setup. Many batteries, especially 510, can be interchanged between devices for added customization and testing of different products. There are also mid-size varieties such as the evod batteries that are ideally suited for liquid concentrates and possess a decent battery life – many of those can be equipped with a wax atomizer. With the widely ranging size and functionality, the choice is yours when deciding on the perfect battery.
Dab Pen Coils
Vape pens all possess an atomizer, coil or heating section, within their design. Wax atomizers come in a variety of styles from wick to wickless rods and more. The materials used range from Japanese cotton, to ceramic and quartz rods. Even though each type of atomizer is designed differently, they all employ a coil somewhere within the device as the heat source. Different pens use different styles of coils based on their design and functionality.
Ideal for more runny and liquid wax and oils, these types of atomizers utilize a heating coil wrapped around some sort of absorbent fiber wick material that soaks up oils and waxes while heating them. This process creates a smooth, flavorful bellow of smoke that is easily consumed. Wick atomizers come in either double or single coil designs.
Wickless – Ceramic & Quartz Rod Coils
Wickless designs are best used with thicker varieties of wax concentrates, as these wax atomizes are typically used by dabbers seeking more power at higher temperatures. The Ceramic and Quartz rod coils are the most popular styles. They come in multiple designs that ranage from 1 to 4 rods in a single coil dish.
Ceramic Donut Coils
These newer style atomizers feature a flat ceramic dish with a slightly elevated donut-shape piece. They have no exposed wicks or coils and are perfect for low-temperature dabbing. Since wax doesn't come into direct contact with the heating coil - it burns much slower and as a result, tastes much better. This makes donut style ceramic atomizers like this ideal for conserving and optimizing your concentrates. These come in both ceramic and quartz varieties, allowing you to choose between two materials that are favorites for their ability to retain heat and flavor
Special Note - Always make sure to use the correct wattage in accordance with your coils so you do not burn the and waste wax. All coils, no matter the type, will need replacement eventually.
Dab Pen vs Dab Rig
Why make the switch from a dab rig to a pen? The answer is simple: efficiency. Dab rigs are large, require care when transporting, need multiple accessories, and are normally pinned to one location. Dab pens allow you to take your dabs on the go with portability and a more clean and precise dab. The new technologies and innovations in dab pens are making them easier to use and more discreet than ever. While the only complaint of dab pens was historically their inability to have sufficient power, new models do not lack in this category at all. Dab rigs are bulky and can be messy, and there is no better way to maintain your vibes all day than by using a discrete and customizable dab pen.