Vape pens are the most basic type of wax vaporizer, which means that they are the easiest to use. As you can tell by the name, these vaporizers are often pen-shaped and typically consist of just three pieces:
- The Mouthpiece – This is where you inhale the vapor of course. It can come in different shapes and can be made from different materials, such as plastic, zirconia, or glass.
- The Atomizer – This is where the wax gets vaporized. Atomizers can come in different forms and materials, each of which affects the vaping experience in a different way.
- The Battery – This is what powers the whole device. Vape pen batteries are typically fixed rather than removable and can come in a variety of different capacities, which are measured in milliamp hours (mAh).
This simplicity means that vape pens are very easy to use, highly convenient, and extremely portable since they are often pen-sized as well as pen-shaped. The convenience extends to using the vape pen as well. They don’t have a precise temperature or voltage control. Instead, users select from a few pre-selected settings which are controlled by a single power button.
All of the pieces of a vape pen are important, but while the mouthpiece and battery are simple enough to understand, the atomizer requires further explanation. That is because, as mentioned above, there are different types of atomizers, each of which provides a different vaping experience. These are the types of atomizer you can expect.
These are rods that are usually made of quartz, and occasionally ceramic, that typically have wires wrapped around them. Vape pens can have a number of different rods in their atomizers, from one, all the way up as many that can fit. The more rods, the more intense the vaping experience, so they are perfect for those who like their vapor on the hotter, harsher side.
Rod Coil Pros
- Quartz coils heat up very quickly so users don’t have to wait long to start vaping
- They don’t have an effect on the flavor of the wax because quartz and ceramic are neutral materials
- They tend to produce big, dense vapor clouds
Rod Coil Cons
- Quartz coils heat up quickly, but they also lose heat quickly, so the battery has to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature, which has a detrimental effect on its lifespan
- They tend to favor big cloud production over good flavor quality
- They are more high maintenance than the other atomizer types
- Intense vapor is not suited for beginners
These are more shallow, ceramic dishes rather than coils, which makes them much easier to load than the rod coils. Ceramic heats up more slowly than quartz, so that gradual temperature increase provides a smoother, gentler vaping experience. Here are the positive and negative aspects of ceramic coils.
Ceramic Coil Pros
- Provides a smooth vaping experience
- Flavor quality of the wax stands out more
- Ceramic retains heat well so battery drain is minimal
- Easy to load and to maintain
Ceramic Coil Cons
- Slower heat time than all the other atomizers
- Produces less dense vapor
These are pretty similar to ceramic coils in that they are more of a dish or basin rather than an actual coil, only they are made of quartz, of course. Quartz coils are relatively new and are a combination of the quartz rod coils and ceramic coils so it features most of the strengths, and some of the weaknesses, of both.
Quartz Coil Pros
- Produces great flavor because quartz is a neutral material
- Heats up very quickly
- Easy to load, easy to maintain
Quartz Coil Cons
- Fast heat dissipation means a faster battery drain
Vape pens are a good choice for anyone trying to extract vaping for the first time. They are easy to use, convenient, and the atomizer choices give users different types of vaping experiences. Many of them, like the KandyPens Prism, feature more than one type of atomizer, which is great for users who don’t yet know their vaping preference.
They are also available in various price ranges, so they are among the most inexpensive extract vaporizers on the market. That makes extract vape pens a great way to get into extract vaping.
Also called nectar straws, nectar collectors, or honey straws, these are technically a subcategory of vape pens, but are unique enough to stand on their own. Instead of putting the wax in the device, with these you put the device in the wax.
Concentrate straws such as the Dabtech Daborizer, are pen shaped devices where the mouthpiece is on one end a heating tip is on the other. The heating tip is placed into the wax, which it vaporizes, and that vapor is inhaled through a small opening in the heating tip up into the mouthpiece. Nectar straws provide a pleasant vaping experience because the long airpath means that the vapor remains cool.
They also allow you to use as much wax as you want in a session, since, unlike a vape pen, you are not limited by the amount of wax that can fit inside of it. The main problem with honey straws is that they are not as convenient as vape pens since they require a lot of prep time and an external wax supply. They can also be a little messy if you’re not careful. But for anyone who enjoys vaping at home, they are a good choice.
Oil vaporizers use the liquid kind of marijuana extract rather than the solid to semi-solid kind used in vape pens. Oil vaporizers can use either refillable or pre-filled cartridges. With the former, the user buys the oil and fills up the cartridge themself. With pre-filled cartridges, the oil is already in the cartridge, which is disposed of when the oil supply runs out.
Some oil vaporizers, like the G Pen Gio, only use proprietary cartridges that do not work with any other vaporizer. However, most pre-filled cartridges are 510 threaded and so are most batteries, which means that they can connect to each other. Oil vaporizers can come in pen or box forms, each of which can have different preset voltage settings. Pen style oil vaporizers are similar to vape pens in look and operation.
Box style vapes are also called conceal vaporizers, which means that the cartridge is inserted into the battery with only the mouthpiece sticking out. That is useful for stealthy vaping, but it also means that conceal vaporizers, unlike pen style oil vapes, are limited by the diameter of the cartridges. There are exceptions like the Yocan Uni, but for the most part, you need to check the limits of a conceal vaporizer before you buy one.
These are small tanks into which you pour oil that you buy separately. You buy that oil in bottles that come in various sizes and concentrations, which give you a lot of different options. There are some downsides as well, which are outlined below, along with the upsides.
Refillable Cartridge Pros
- You can use as much, or as little, oil as you want
- You can use different kinds of oil
Refillable Cartridge Cons
- Refiling procedure can be a little laborious
These are closed cartridges that have been filled with an oil extract by the manufacturer. They have a mouthpiece attached to the tank holding the oil, so all you need to do is pop the cartridge onto the battery and you’re ready to vape.
Some pre-filled cartridges are 510 threaded, so they can fit onto any compatible battery, while others are proprietary, so they can only be used with a specific oil vaporizer. In either case, the cartridge is meant to be disposed of once the oil has been used up. That makes pre-filled cartridges very easy to use and very convenient, which explains their popularity.
Pre-Filled Cartridge Pros
- Very easy to use
- No lengthy refilling procedure necessary since they are disposable
- 510 threaded cartridges can work with a wide variety of devices
Pre-Filled Cartridge Cons
- Choice of oil is limited by what the manufacturer provides
- Proprietary cartridges are even more limited in terms of choice
- The batteries of proprietary devices are cheap but the cartridges are very expensive
Oil vaporizers are a great way to get into extract vaping whether you use refillable cartridges or pre-filled ones. The ease of use and convenience can’t be beaten, plus the oil extracts provide a less intense high than the solid wax concentrates. Those qualities make oil vapes a great choice for beginners, as well as pros on the go.
These devices—also known as e-rigs—are used to vape wax concentrates at much higher temperatures and much higher intensity levels than vape pens. We’re talking temperatures close to a thousand degrees here. All that power means that these aren’t really portable-friendly devices. Many of them include carrying cases that make transportation easier, but they’re not exactly the kind of device that you can whip out whenever you want to have a quick session.
No, these are intricate devices that require more prep time than vape pens do. That being said, they are not particularly difficult to use, they just need more time. All e-nails include a water bubbler attachment to help cool down the vapor, which is absolutely necessary, considering how hot it can get. E-rigs also hold a lot more wax than vape pens, so they are really meant for more advanced vapers.
That wax is heated up on an accessory called a nail. That nail can be made from ceramic, quartz, or titanium, each of which provides a different vaping experience. Some e-nails, like the Dabado Bolt V2, include all three types of nails, while others include only one or two. Some e-cigs have precise temperature control, while others have a few presets to choose from. Either way, e-nails deliver a next-level vaping experience.
As with ceramic coils, many people favor ceramic nails because of its superior flavor quality. In fact, ceramic nails, unsurprisingly, feature many of the same qualities—both positive and negative—of ceramic coils in vape pens.
Ceramic Nail Pros
- Provides strong flavor quality since the neutral material leaves the wax pure
- Strong heat retention helps preserve battery life
- Slow heat time can delay the start of each session
- Fragile material that is susceptible to cracks or breaks
Quartz nails share a lot of the same qualities as the quartz coils in vape pens. That means that they provide great flavor, but are a bit more intense than ceramic nails.
Quartz Nail Pros
- Very fast heat times get sessions started quickly
- Great flavor retention since the neutral quartz material does not affect the flavor of the wax
Quartz Nail Cons
- Low heat retention increases battery drain
- Quartz is a kind of crystal so it can get cracked or broken
This is a tough, highly durable metal that is used mainly with e-nails rather than other extract vapes. It is not usually the best choice when it comes to flavor because of a slightly metallic aftertaste.
Titanium Nail Pros
- Very durable and long-lasting material
- Good heat retention means battery life lasts longer
Titanium Nail Cons
- Needs significant seasoning in order to get rid of metallic aftertaste
- They take a long time to heat up
E-nails provide an intense, yet manageable, vaping experience. The reason being that the water bubbler neutralizes the heat of the vapor while retaining its intensity. That—along with the high price of e-nails—make them more suitable for advanced vapers who prefer to vape at home.
Handheld Dab Rigs
This is a relatively new category of extract vaporizer and the products in it are like a cross between an analog dab rig and an e-nail. That means that they are more convenient and easier to use than either one. The reason is that, in most cases, the nail and water bubbler are integrated into the device. That makes them easier to use than e-nails and allows you to hold the entire device in one hand while you vape. The Focus V Carta and Puffco Peak both follow that design principle.
The Dr Dabber Switch does not since it is a little closer to an e-nail in design, but it has one cool trick that they don’t, induction heating. This is an advanced heating technology that uses electromagnetism to vaporize the wax in just a few seconds. Aside from the fast heat time, an advantage of this technology is that the devices that use it are very easy to maintain. That is because there is no heating element that will need to be replaced eventually.
If you want a device that features induction heating and the qualities of a handheld dab rig, then there is the Loto Labs Legend. It combines the best of both worlds. One downside to this burgeoning category is that the devices are very expensive. They are easily the priciest extract vaporizers on the market. For some, the cost might be too high, but for others, the combination of intense, flavorful vapor, fast heat times, and handheld convenience will be worth the price.