Vaporizers & Vaping

5 Best Dab Pens 2019 Reviewed

Gabi Antunes

Sep 10, 2019

For a long time, dabbing was confined only to the world of dedicated cannabis enthusiasts. Today, the proliferation of cannabis concentrates and the development of electronic dab pens have made dabbing easier and more accessible. These compact, portable devices have made it easy to vaporize cannabis concentrates, leaving the glass dab rigs and blowtorches behind (although those are still commonly used, too). What are dab pens and how exactly do they work? And more importantly, what should you know about them if you want to purchase one?

What are Dabs?

Dabs is an umbrella term for a wide range of concentrated cannabis extracts. These extracts contain elevated levels of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, including well-known cannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

Generally, dabs are made with the use of a solvent, such as butane or carbon dioxide. Extractors then heat the extract to burn off the solvent, which leaves behind the sticky, resinous concentrates known as dabs. Some examples of dabs include shatter, budder, crumble, and butane hash oil.

Traditionally, dabs are consumed using a dab rig. The extract is partially vaporized and partially combusted by touching a small portion of extract to a heating element attached to the dab rig. Dabs are often sticky or messy, making the dab rig method a cumbersome process. Moreover, pre-heating the metal nail of a dab rig can be dangerous, as it requires a blowtorch. Luckily, advancements in vaporizer technology have brought to market devices such as e-nails and dab pens which help minimize mess and simplify use.

What is a Dab Pen?

Dab pens are a type of electronic vaporizer specifically designed to work with concentrates. These devices not only turn dabbing into a mobile practice, they also prevent the partial combustion of the extract which is common with the conventional method.

Dab pens tend to be compact and portable, making them far superior to glass dab rigs in terms of mobility. Similar in design to a vape pen, dab pens consist of a battery which often attaches to a mouthpiece. Internally, there is a chamber for loading your extracts which typically abuts the heating element of the vaporizer. Many dab pens use a one-button functionality for powering on the device and cycling through any available settings. Some employ mobile apps to fine-tune settings.

Instead of relying on a blowtorch-heated nail, dab pens employ heating elements that conduct electricity. Some dab pens use metal coils as a heating element, while others rely on ceramic components. Both methods are designed to fully vaporize the extract, preserving flavor and reducing bitterness which can occur when material is combusted.

While most dab pens are similar in concept and design, there are significant differences between devices that could make a big difference to your vape sessions. To choose the best dab pen for you, it’s important to understand what your priorities in a session are and how a device would best support it.

How to Choose the Right Dab Pen for You

Choosing the right dab pen is all about identifying what you value in your vape experience. Do you want a straightforward, simple device that allows you to vape without any fuss, or do you prefer a customizable experience with a wide range of settings from which to choose?

Everybody is different, so choosing the right dab pen often comes down to personal preference. That said, you should always consider the following factors:

  • Cost: How much a dab pen costs is naturally a key point of consideration. Devices with multiple settings and durable designs will likely cost more, but you don’t always need to pay for the top-shelf models either. Determine your budget before shopping around.
  • Battery: It’s important to understand how powerful a dab pen battery is and how long it can be expected to last. Dab pens tend to have batteries ranging from 300mAh to 900mAh. The higher the milliamps (mAh), the longer the battery life.
  • Heating element: The heating element of your dab pen influences vapor production and flavor preservation. You should check to see what the chamber is made of, as well as whether it uses a coil. It’s also key to determine how frequently any coils might need to be changed.
  • Temperature settings: Some dab rigs have just one temperature setting while others have a range. Temperature settings are usually designated by different voltages. Before buying a dab pen, it’s important to find out how many temperature settings it supports and how to cycle between them, whether through the device or through the companion app.
  • Design: Design refers to both aesthetics and durability. Naturally, you’ll want to consider the appearance of the device. You should also scrutinize the quality of its components to ensure your device will be in working order for years to come.

If you’re still not sure where to start, consider researching some of the most popular dab pens out there. The differences in features and specifications, as well as which of those are the highest priority to you, can be a key differentiator when choosing a dab pen. To help you get started, we’ve assembled a shortlist of some well-known devices on the market today.

Popular Dab Pens in 2019

If you’re interested in dab pens, check out some of these popular models. There’s a lot more out there as well, so be sure to do your research to find the device that will be the best fit for your vape session.

  1. Kandypens Crystal: The Kandypens Crystal features an all-quartz coil-less heating element and is made of medical-grade stainless steel. It boasts a powerful 900mAh battery with four temperature settings.
  2. MigVapor Sol E-Nectar Wax Pen: The Sol E-Nectar Wax Pen from MigVapor is designed to heat quickly across three temperature settings. It contains a quartz heating element with interchangeable ceramic and dual rod can coils.
  3. MigVapor Wasp: The MigVapor Wasp is a simple, straightforward device that gets the job done. It’s a highly portable dab pen that contains a carborundum and stainless-steel coil. It also employs a 900mAh battery.
  4. ATMAN Ceramic Pen With Triple-Coil Quartz Technology: The ATMAN Ceramic Pen with Triple-Coil Technology contains three quartz coils designed to preserve flavor and is less expensive.
  5. Cheech and Chong’s The Ripper Ceramic Vaporizer: The Ripper Ceramic Vaporizer is designed for high vapor production. It uses a ceramic heating element and large oven to evenly heat hefty amounts of material. It also includes a locking feature to disable the device when not in use.

Can you use Dab Pens for Other Materials?

Dab pens are generally considered specific to dabs, which means they are inflexible when it comes to using other materials. For example, you couldn’t use dry herbs in a dab pen. If you want a device that can support multiple materials, you need a portable vaporizer.

While some portable vaporizers are designed only for the use of flower or just for concentrates, there are many that work with both. The PAX 3, for example, supports the use of dabs with the addition of its concentrate insert. The insert is an attachment that essentially acts as a second, concentrate-specific oven. In a single step, it can turn your PAX 3 from a dry herb vaporizer into a dab pen.

Whether you prefer a dab pen or something more versatile, electronic vaporizers have changed the way people think about cannabis extracts. Dab pens and vapes have made dabbing more accessible and portable in places where consumption is permitted, allowing more consumers to experience concentrates. If you’re looking for a better way to dab, these electronic devices could be for you.