Using Wax Vaporizers
Vape pens are the most common kind of wax vaporizers and will likely be the first kind that people just getting into wax vaping will use. That is why this article only covers the basics of vape pen use and maintenance instead of covering every single type of wax vaporizer available. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Before you use your vape pen for the first time, you need to make sure that you carefully read the manual so that you are fully acquainted with how it works. That includes the charging process because you want to make sure that your vape pen is fully charged before you begin.
You should also make sure that the connections are secure and that the device is clean. Since the device is brand new, it will likely be clean, but it might be a little too clean. What that means is that a brand new vaporizer might have some residue in the atomizer, which might affect the taste during the first few sessions.
To avoid this, you should do a burn off before you start your first session. You do it by exposing the atomizer and cranking the temperature or voltage to the max for a few minutes. You will know that you are done when there is no longer a new, industrial scent to the atomizer. Once there is no longer a strong smell, you are good to go for your first session.
You need to make sure that your wax is ready to go when you are, so that means you need to store it well, and also that you need the appropriate tools. Wax should be stored in an airtight glass or silicone jar. That is because both have non-stick surfaces that will make scooping out the wax much easier. They are also neutral materials that won’t affect the flavor of the wax.
Your storage container should be stored in a cool, dark place because it is susceptible to changes in light, air supply, and temperature, so both should be kept consistent.
Any big changes can affect the quality of the wax, so keep it in storage until you’re ready to use it.
As for the tools, a dab tool is all that you need to scoop the wax into the atomizer. Most vape pens include a dab tool in their kit, but you can always buy a third party tool if you need to.
Loading the Atomizer
The atomizer is where the heating takes place, so that is where you need to put your wax. You do it by executing the following procedure:
- Remove whatever is covering up the coils—usually the mouthpiece—so that they are exposed.
- Use the dab tool to scoop up a small amount of wax, about the size of a rice grain.
- Carefully place that dab of wax onto the coils.
- Cover up the atomizer and then make sure that all the connections are tight and secure.
The main types of atomizers are either small rods that usually have a heating coil wrapped around them or bowls made of ceramic or quartz. The bowls are generally easier to load, particularly large ones like the one found in the Cloud V Flash Vaporizer. Rod atomizers like the ones in the Utillian 5 are a little more difficult to load, but they get easier with practice.
Most vape pens have a few pre-selected voltage or temperature settings from which to choose, as opposed to more precise selection. Those settings are not chosen randomly, they are calibrated with the vape pen’s battery capacity and atomizer type in mind. More precise voltage/temperature selection would likely complicate matters, which would be bad for a device that is meant to be both beginner-friendly and easy to use.
The type of atomizer in your vaporizer can have an effect on the setting you choose. Typically rod coils heat up faster and produce more intense vapor, while ceramic and quartz bowls heat up more slowly. That means rod coils can work well at most settings and that quartz/ceramic are better at lower settings. Regardless of which coil(s) you have, you should start on the lowest setting the first time out and then use higher settings in subsequent sessions as you get more acclimated to extract vaping.
Generally, lower settings are better for flavor while higher ones favor cloud production. Even if you want the big cloud experience, it is advisable that you start out on lower settings first. At least until you get more used to the vaporizer and its effects on you, then you can experiment with higher settings.
Maintaining Your Wax Vaporizer
Keeping your wax vaporizer clean is absolutely necessary if you want to keep it operating at peak efficiency. The atomizer is the most important part of your vape pen, which is why it is necessary that you keep it as clean as possible at all times. Most atomizers will need to be replaced eventually but you can prolong the use of your current atomizer by keeping it well-maintained. A dirty atomizer can negatively impact the performance of the vape pen and the taste of the vapor.
Once again the bowl style atomizers are lower maintenance because they are much easier to clean. A q-tip that has been dipped in isopropyl alcohol needs to be wiped around the bowl to clean it. The same thing can be used to clean rod coils as well, but it is a longer, more intricate process. You can also soak the entire atomizer in a shallow dish of iso alcohol for an hour or two.
For more stubborn residue, you can perform a burn-off. And yes, the cleaning burn-off is done the same way as the preparation burn off, only this time you are cranking up the temperature to melt off any excess residue. You can check out the page on vaporizer cleaning for more tips, tricks, and advice.
You want to keep the mouthpiece clean as well, both inside and out. The outside is understandable, you don’t want to put your lips on a dirty, germ-ridden mouthpiece. As for the inside, it can get clogged with dried residue, which can increase the draw resistance and make inhaling the vapor more difficult.
Cleaning the inside of the mouthpiece can be done with a q-tip and iso alcohol, while the outside can be cleaned with a cloth and warm water.
One potential problem with vape pens is that the atomizer might leak and wax residue can drip down onto the threads connecting each piece to the other. This leaked residue can have a negative effect on the battery connection and prevent the vape pen from being able to get turned on.
You need to examine the threads after each session to see if any residue has leaked out. If there is a leak, then you need to clean it up with a cloth dipped in iso alcohol before you use it again. Some vaporizers are leak-proof, but if your vape pen is not, then you can prevent leaks by holding it vertically while you are vaping. That will prevent the wax from leaking out of the atomizer and onto the threads.
When You Should Clean Your Vape Pen
There are some clear signs that your vaporizer needs a good cleaning—or even replacing. Here is what you need to look out for.
- A burnt flavor – when there are hot spots on the coil, it causes the wax to heat up unevenly, which creates a burnt taste to the wax. This is mainly a problem with rod coils.
- The atomizer leaks – as mentioned earlier, a leaking atomizer can cause connection errors between the battery and the atomizer.
- Harsh hits all the time – harsh hits are expected at higher settings, but if you experience them all the time, then it could be time for an atomizer replacement.
Black residue build-up on the atomizer – this is a pretty obvious and glaring problem that you should try to avoid with regular cleaning. That build-up can affect the flavor of the wax in a bad way and restrict the airflow, so keep that atomizer clean.
Using Oil Vaporizers
These vaporizers use the more fluid type of extracts, as opposed to vape pens, which use the more solid form. Some oil vaporizers can use both refillable and pre-filled cartridges while others just use the latter. If they can only use pre-filled cartridges, then they are likely to be just a 510 threaded battery that powers the cartridge.
510 threading refers to the threads that connect the cartridge to the battery, if both use 510 threads, then they are compatible with each other. Oil vaporizers are easier to use than vape pens and they typically offer a less intense—but still strong—experience. Since the only thing that is required is to screw a cartridge onto a battery, oil vaporizers are a popular choice for anyone who likes to vape on the go.
Their superior convenience and ease of use are why they have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Not to mention that it is possible to have high CBD cartridges like the ones made by Goldline or Medix, which makes oil vaporizers another great way to take advantage of the CBD craze. Oil vape pens are typically very inexpensive, while 510 batteries can range in price from the very cheap to the low triple digits.
As usual, you should read the manual and get familiar with how your oil vaporizer works, but other than that, there isn’t much preparation involved. Aside from charging up the battery of course, once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go.
The oil you buy will either be in a pre-filled cartridge or a bottle. Neither one needs much in the way of preparation other than proper storage. As with wax, oil bottles or cartridges should be stored in a cool, dark place. For bottles, you should make sure that too much air or heat doesn’t get inside of it since that will lower the quality of the oil.
The only other thing that you might need to worry about, in the case of refillable cartridges, is how you are going to fill the tank. Most bottles of oil extracts feature a dropper to make filling easier, but some people prefer to use a syringe instead. If you fall into that category, then you will probably have to buy one separately.
Loading/Attaching the Cartridge
This is a simple procedure regardless of whether you’re using a refillable or pre-filled cartridge. For pre-filled cartridges, you just screw them onto the battery and you’re done. For refillable cartridges, you just do the following,
- Open up the tank, this is usually done by removing the mouthpiece.
- Carefully pour in your oil to the designated filling line.
- Close up the tank and attach it to the battery.
- Power up the battery and vape away.
Some oil vape pens only have a single, default voltage setting, which is fine, since that preset will be well-calibrated for oil vaping and because it increases the convenience and ease of use. Other 510 batteries like the KandyPens C-Box or Yocan Uni have multiple voltage settings.
They are still very easy to use and even the highest settings never get too harsh, though they do produce more visible vapor. If flavor is your main interest, then the lower settings are more suitable. You won’t get—or need—precise temperature or voltage control with oil vaporizers.
Maintaining Your Oil Vaporizer
With 510 batteries and pens, no cleaning or maintenance is necessary since the pre-filled cartridges are disposable. Refillable cartridges are pretty easy to clean as well. The tank should occasionally be rinsed out with iso alcohol to prevent residue build-up. The same goes for the mouthpiece, though a q-tip dipped in iso should be used to clean it out. That’s pretty much it for oil vape maintenance, which is one of the many reasons people enjoy using them.