What's the Difference Between a Dab Pen and Oil Vape Pen?
As vaping continues to grow in popularity, products that were once obscure are starting to become mainstream.
21:17 06 January 2021
While oil vaping has been popular for years now, dab pens are just now starting to hit their stride in nationwide recognition.
Except for seasoned vaping enthusiasts, many are confused by the difference between an oil vape pen and a dab pen. Some aren't even sure what a dab pen is. While both products produce vapor, what they use, and how they do it are very different processes.
What Is an Oil Vape Pen?
An oil vape pen is any vaporizer that utilizes oils or e-juices to create vapor. They come in a wide variety of designs, including thin, discreet models and boxy, powerful designs. Oil pens have a wide variety of prefilled cartridges to choose from, and many are compatible with refillable oil tanks, which are popular among daily users.
What Is a Dab Pen?
A dab pen (also referred to as a wax pen or concentrate pen), uses wax concentrates to create vapor. They are batter powered, like oil vape pens, but require the wax concentrate to be manually loaded into the heating chamber. Once powered on, the heating chamber produces vapor.
What Are the Biggest Differences Between a Dab Pen and Oil Vape Pen?
While they both produce vapor, there are significant differences between a standard dab pen and an oil vape pen. Here are some of the most notable differences between the two:
Oil Vape Pens Use Oils, Dab Pens Use Wax
We've touched on this difference already, but it's worth repeating. Oil vape pens use oils or e-juices to create vapor, while dab pens use thick, waxy concentrates. Oil vaping produces vapor more easily, but the potency of hits pale in comparison to the concentrated power that waxes provide.
Oil Vapes Use Nicotine-Infused Oils, Dab Pens Do Not
Oil vapes are commonly used as a smoking cessation tool. This is because vaping oil is easily infused with nicotine, the addictive substance in traditional tobacco smoking. The levels of nicotine you can find vary widely, which makes it easy to step down your nicotine intake. Eventually, you can transition to nicotine-free oils.
Dab vapes don't use any kind of nicotine-infused materials. Instead, the waxes will either be CBD concentrates or THC concentrates, two kinds of cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. CBD concentrates are federally legal and can be found in vape shops or CBD specialty stores. The legal use of THC varies from state to state, which will limit the availability of THC waxes.
Oil pens are often used to enjoy CBD or THC oils, not just nicotine-infused options, but the strength of their hits are much weaker when compared to hits from a dab pen.
Different Heating Methods
How each respective substance is heated is significantly different. Oil vape pens have an atomizer that runs in the middle of the oil tank. When turned on, the oil is heated by the atomizer, producing vapor that can be inhaled.
Dab pens use powerful heating coils to heat wax. When the concentrate is loaded into the heating chamber of a dab pen, it is placed near or directly on heating coils. When powered on, these coils get to a much higher temperature than oil vaping (by several hundred degrees). The wax melts and is then vaporized.
The general build of an oil vape pen and wax pen is different, largely because of how substances are heated and what temperatures are needed to create vapor. Oil vape pens produce vapor at relatively low temperatures. This allows for slim, discreet builds. It also allows for large capacity oil tanks, since it's easy to heat the oil to a vaping temperature.
Dab pens have several safeguards built-in because of the super-high temperature needed to produce vapor from the wax. You'll have a heating chamber with its own lid, and then the mouthpiece will cover the heating chamber with ample space between the two. Dab pens require more power, so they're generally thicker to accommodate larger batteries.
Depending on the model, dab pens may have special features for carrying wax. It's popular to have a removable base to store additional concentrate if you're vaping on the go. If you're vaping oil, you'll be able to load more at once in large capacity tanks, but you'll need to carry extra bottles if you want to have extra on-hand.
Wax Pens Are Easily Repaired, Oil Pens Are Not
Since wax uses such a high temperature in order to produce vapor, the heating coils in wax pens need to be replaced semi-regularly. However, replacement parts for wax pens are widely available, depending on the brand you are using. It's common to find replacement mouthpieces, replacement coils, and coil alternatives.
Oil vape pens are not as easily maintained. While most components last for very long periods, once the atomizer in an oil vape pen goes bad, replacing it is often not an option. Even if you are able to find replacement atomizers, the technical skill required to repair a vape tank often exceeds that of a casual vapor.
It's much easier to simply replace the oil tank instead of attempting to conduct repairs or maintenance.
Should I Use an Oil Vape Pen or Dab Pen?
There isn't a wrong or right answer if you are choosing between an oil or dab vape pen. You'll need to decide which provides the best solutions to your vaping needs. For example, do you want to vape nicotine-infused substances? Then you'll want an oil vape pen.
There are many other factors to consider, too. Dab pens provide strong, powerful hits for the concentrates you are using while vaping provides a more casual experience. Both are easy to use, but if you don't like the idea of having to refill a heating chamber, then an oil pen with prefilled cartridge options might be what you're looking for.
Making sure what you want to vape and how you want to vape will help you choose between the two. You may even find that you want one of each (or you might want to invest in a box mod, which can be fitted to accommodate both oil and wax).