Vaporizers & Vaping

510 Vape Pens: What You Should Consider Before Getting One

Gabi Antunes

Aug 25, 2019

As you research the world of vape pens, you’ll probably see the number “510” crop up on devices and cannabis products alike. This little number dictates how your cartridge and the supplies you’ll need to vape the oil inside. When you see a vape pen describe as a “510,” what does that mean? Here, we’ll go through the ins and outs of a 510 vape pen so you’re well-equipped to weigh its pros and cons.

What are 510 Vape Pens?

A 510 vape pen is any vaporizer battery with 510 threading, whether it’s long and slender like a vape pen or not. The 510 vape pens get their name from the type of connector with which they’re outfitted: 10 .5mm threads on the cartridge. This type of connector, called an “ego thread” by some, is a universal standard in the cannabis and hemp CBD industry; nearly all brands manufacture pre-filled cannabis oil or hemp CBD vape cartridges with these connectors. There are also many attachments available as 510 threads.

Sometimes, 510 vape pens are referred to as vape pen batteries. While all 510 vape pens are batteries, not all vape pen batteries are 510-thread. For example, there are vape pen batteries with built-in chambers which do not need an external cartridge.

The temperature control varies from device to device. These 510 vape pens often have a single button for all controls, such as on/off and temperature control, while some variants may have a dial to control the voltage. The most basic models only have one temperature setting; it is common to find pens with low, medium, and high options. Advanced models allow for more direct control and support a greater range of temperatures.

What are 510 Vape Pens Made Of?

All 510 vape pens are comprised of a battery and a cartridge that’s either pre-filled or needs to be filled with the oil of your choice. Detachable and replaceable hemp CBD and THC vape cartridges are made of glass, plastic, or stainless steel, or some combination of the three materials. Typically, the canister will be glass or plastic, while the mouthpiece will be plastic or stainless steel. The heating element, powered by the battery, is located inside the detachable cartridge. They’ll typically come with a small plastic cap to protect the 510 threads when not in use.
The battery inside the device is a lithium ion rechargeable battery. Generally, the larger the battery, the larger the vape pen. The casing is typically made from metal such as stainless steel or plastic.

How do 510 Vape Pens Work?

The battery and the cartridge work together to vaporize the material inside the chamber. The rechargeable lithium ion battery powers the heating element inside the cartridge, transforming the oil or other material inside into vapor for inhalation.

To use a 510 vape pen, attach the cartridge of your choice by screwing it in until it fits snugly. Set your pen to the temperature of your choosing, if more than one setting is available. Depending on the model of your choosing, the 510 vape pen is activated by holding the power button or sensors react to the strength of your draw, which switches on the vape pen automatically.

When the battery runs low, the LED indicator will likely begin to blink. When this happens, connect your 510 vape pen battery to the charger as soon as possible. Every vape pen will come with a charger, typically a USB that can be connected to a charging port. The larger the battery, the longer it will take to recharge.

Different Styles of 510 Vape Pens

510 vape pens are available in many designs, colors, shapes, and sizes. One of the most common and basic devices are the pen-style, slim vapes, clocking in at only a few inches tall and barely half an inch wide. Other designs include keychain-style vapes that flip open and expose the cartridge at the touch of a button. You can also find square or rectangular shapes that fit perfectly in a palm. A few models, called “e-pipe style,” are designed to mimic the experience of using a regular glass pipe. Some vape mods utilize 510 threads or magnetic connectors to switch between cartridges with ease.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 510 Vape Pens

Advantages:

  • They are lightweight and ultra-discreet. Vape pens are widely celebrated for their high levels of discretion. Light enough to carry without adding weight and skinny enough to fit easily in your hand, 510 vape pens make consuming cannabis or hemp CBD easy and non-intrusive in markets that allow the inhalation of cannabis and hemp CBD.
  • There is no learning curve. A 510 vape pen’s design is straightforward. All you need to do is attach the cartridge – there may not even be a button to press, depending on your device. This makes it easy for users to select their battery and go.
  • Maintenance is basic. Unlike pipes or large vaporizers, which need frequent cleaning and maintenance to perform at their best, 510 vape pens don’t need a lot of regular cleaning. The best practice is to wipe down with a cloth as needed and ensure that no dirt and debris make way into the connectors.

Disadvantages:

  • You’re limited to 510 thread-specific devices. While there are plenty of options for pre-filled cannabis oil cartridges available with this connector thread in legal markets, it will take significant work and modification to use different materials. If you want to consume flower or concentrates, you would need to purchase separate accessories with 510 threads or different devices altogether, depending on what you want to consume. For those who prefer more flexibility, a portable vaporizer may be a better option.
  • A damaged cartridge may be unusable. It is not uncommon to purchase a cartridge with defective 510 connectors. When the connectors can’t contact the battery, the material inside won’t heat up. You’ll probably see the LED indicator on the vape pen blink to indicate that contact is not being made. Some consumers may elect to remove the oil from the damaged cartridge and place it in another empty cartridge, but that can be messy work.

Are 510 Vape Pens Right For You?

Whether 510 vape pens are right for you is a complicated question. On the one hand, the 510 vape pen system is one of the most straightforward when it comes to vaping cannabis or hemp CBD in states that allow the inhalation of these products. All you need to do is screw in the cartridge or accessory and begin your session. On the other hand, options may be limited: special attachments are necessary to expand your options.

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference. For many, 510 vape pens take all the guesswork out of vaping. Once they see the number “510” or “universal” to describe a cartridge or vape pen, they know the two components will work together without needing to take a shot in the dark. With many strains and strengths of cannabis and hemp CBD available, consumers have myriad options to choose from in legal markets, making 510 vape pens a fine choice.