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When it comes to consuming things like cannabis and concentrates, there are many options out there. Vaporizing is quickly becoming the most popular method of consumption, and it’s no surprise why. It is a healthier and more environmentally conscious option than most other methods. Plus, vaping is a convenient, portable and discreet way to enjoy your marijuana and concentrates. There are many different models and varieties of vaporizers and vape pens on the market. Vape pens are more popular due to their ease of use and portability. There are several styles to choose from including dry herb only, wax only, oil only and combination vape pens. For the purpose of this article, we will be discussing dry herb vape pens, wax vape pens and how they differ.
Related article: Vaporizer high or Smoking high?
It’s important to note that no matter what kind of vape pen you choose, whether specialized or combination, there are some general conclusions that can be made. Most vapes work in the same way. There’s a power button that can be activated with five rapid clicks. That power button should heat the device when pressed while activated. To turn the device off, just click the power button five times in quick succession. It is also recommended that when using a new vape pen, you should start on the lowest settings and slowly work your way up. This is also true when trying a new product. Next, we’ll take a look at the seven major differences between dry herb vapes and wax vapes.
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There are several key differences outlined below so you’ll fully understand these devices and can make an informed decision when choosing a vape pen:
Product Consumed – The first difference is pretty obvious, but worth taking a look at. The type of substance being consumed is either cannabis bud or wax concentrate. While there are a few models of vape pens out there that boast being able to both dry herbs and concentrates, these are not the best tool to get the job done. These pens tend to be of lesser quality and are not set to optimally vaporize the material inside. For a quality and optimal vape session, choose a specialized pen; a wax vape for waxes or a dry herb vape for bud.
Wax Coils vs Herb Chambers – The method of heating is totally different for wax vapes and dry herb vapes. Vape pens for wax concentrates have coils that heat to vaporize the material. These coils can get burnt out, either quickly with improper use or naturally over time. No matter what, the coils in a wax vape will need to be replaced eventually as they collect spent residue. This build up can greatly change the flavor of your wax for the worse! Dry herb vape pens have a heating chamber that the ground cannabis rests in while being heated. The spent material will dry and brown but will not leave a sticky goo behind like concentrates. The dry herb heating chamber should last the lifetime of the vape pen and never need to be replaced.
Battery mAh – A mAh is a unit of measurement for energy. In very simple terms, a mAh measures how much energy a battery can store. Vape pens are powered by batteries, which come in varying sizes and power capabilities. The more mAhs, the more powerful the battery is. This translates to longer time between charges and higher temperatures. A dry herb vape pen requires far more power to heat than a wax coil. This means that dry herb vape batteries will almost always have a higher mAh than wax vape ones.
Chamber Loading Process – In order to load a dry herb vape, you must first grind the cannabis to a fine consistency. If the material is too chunky it will not properly vape. The ground bud is then placed or funneled into the heating chamber. Overall the process is not too messy. The same isn’t so true for wax vape loading. Wax can be very messy, however it doesn’t have to be if you are careful. Use a dab tool to load a reasonable amount into the pen. Make sure you don’t pack the coils too tightly. This can damage the coils and you’ll run the risk of spillage.
Vaping Temperature – Heating your vape to the optimal temperature is key to getting the best vaping experience. The best temperature definitely varies between cannabis flower and concentrates. The optimal temperature range for vaping dry herbs is 350-400°F. The optimal temperature range for vaping wax concentrates is 360-450°F.
Temperature Control – Being able to control the temperature of your vape is a very popular feature. Almost all dry herb vapes have a variable temperature setting as this is a necessary feature. Not all wax vapes have this variable setting feature as it is only now growing in popularity for concentrate users.
Maintenance – When it comes to keeping your vape in top shape there’s a noticeable difference between wax and dry herb models. Wax is far stickier and messier than dry bud, leaving buildup and residue behind after consuming. Wax vape chambers, coils and mouthpieces get replaced, but they should be maintained by scraping away excess wax. Maintaining a dry herb vapes is easy. Just fully empty the chamber after each use. If you forget though, it’s not a huge deal. Occasionally you might want to replace the filter screen or mouthpiece for your dry herb vapes.
Below we’ve outline the 3 key similarities of wax and dry herb vapes:
Portability – Most vape pens, whether for herb or wax, are extremely portable making them a great traveling companion and a convenient method of cannabis consumption.
Discreet – Due to the size and slender nature of vape pens, they are incredibly discreet. Most are small enough to be stashed safely in a pocket or purse. Vaping at low temperatures adds to the discreet nature of the session.
Easy to Operate – The average vape pen does not require an engineering degree to operate, whether for wax or bud. It just takes a little practice and you’ll be a pro with your vape pen in no time! There are models that are more complex with intricate features for advanced and experienced users. If you still have questions, there are plenty of sources out there with the answers - like us!
Make sure you use a grinder to get the cannabis to a fine consistency. Whole nuggets won’t work inside a vape pen.
Vapes can reach temperatures well over 400°F. That’s hot! Use your dry herb vaporizer long enough at high temperatures and the mouthpiece will get too hot to handle. In order to fix this issue, most vape kits come with rubber extension mouthpiece sleeves. If yours did not, they are easy enough to find online.
If you’re starting to have a hard time drawing on your vape pen, it might be time to do a little maintenance. Clean the mouthpiece, then clean or change filter screen. This will make sure your device has maximal airflow.
When using a new vape or trying out a new variety of bud, it’s smart to start at lowest heat setting and work your way up to find best temperature for your herb. Otherwise you run the risk of scorching the weed and that just tastes bad!
Always keep your wax pen or dab pen upright, especially right after use. Wax flows with gravity, and this is especially true when hot. Wax will drip into the mouthpiece and pool in the device where it shouldn’t, making for a less than optimal vaping session or even clogging the vape.
Don’t over pack or put pressure on heating coils, otherwise you can damage them. When you over pack you also run the risk of dealing with a messy spill.
Like dry herb vapes, wax vapes need a little maintenance to keep running smoothly. Clean the mouthpiece and screen if it becomes difficult to draw vapor from the device. Scrape the inside regularly to keep clogging from occuring.
When you get a new coil or are loading fresh wax, always do a test first. Coils can easily burn out or get damaged if used improperly. A quick test will save you from losing vital wax concentrate. Start with a small amount on a low setting and heat for short intervals. Work your way up to higher settings until you’ve found the optimal one.
There are quite a few things to consider when you are looking into buying the best vape pens. If you are mostly going to be enjoying cannabis bud, then the dry herb vape is probably the best choice for you. Likewise, If you mostly consume concentrates, then you probably want a wax vape. Remember, you can get combination pens that vape both concentrates and dry herb, but they are outperformed by type-specific vape pens almost every time. The choice is yours!
Greg Lepkoff is the co-founder of NY Vape Shop. He has over 10 years experience in manufacturing overseas and has been featured on Vice. Greg currently contributes vape and dabbing related articles to Fresh Toast, The Weed Blog, Cannabis.net, and Ilovegrowingmarijuana.com.