Vaporizers & Vaping

How to Load a Vape Pen with Wax

Gabi Antunes

Aug 4, 2019

If you like to vaporize concentrates, chances are you’ve encountered a specific variety of material known as wax. Wax is a unique type of material made by extracting the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from cannabis. Wax is often made of 80 percent THC or more.

To vaporize wax, you will require a wax vaporizer or a device that can support the use of both dry herbs and concentrates. There are many types of wax-compatible vaporizers on the market, but a critical aspect to operating any of them is understanding how to properly load your wax before vaporizing it. This guide will take you through the basics of wax vaporizers, breaking down what you’ll need, how to pack and load your wax properly, and how to clean your device once you’ve completed your session.

What you’ll need to load the pen

The first thing you’ll need to vaporize wax material is a device that is compatible with concentrates. There are many wax vapes and dab rigs available on the market, and there are many devices that support the use of both dry herb and concentrate materials, including waxes. Before loading any wax into your vape, be sure your vape is compatible with this material. Attempting to load an unsupported material into any vaporizer could result in irreparable damage.

Most wax vapes come with a dab tool that is used to load a small amount of concentrate into the chamber. Typically, these tools are small, metal, and shovel-like in appearance. Handling wax with your hands can be messy and loading it into your vaporizer this way could damage the coil. Having a dab tool on hand is always recommended. The PAX 3’s complete kit comes with the necessary accessories, including a concentrates insert, half-pack oven lid, and a multi-tool, to easily load and unload concentrates into the portable vaporizer’s oven.

Once you’re certain your vape can be used with wax, charge the battery fully. Wax vapes, in particular, require a great deal of energy to heat the material to its vaporizing point, so a fully-charged battery is a must to ensure your heating element is supplied with all the power it needs.

Most wax vapes employ a heating coil. Check to ensure the coil is heating properly by powering it first, without any wax loaded into your vape. The coil should glow a light red-orange color, indicating that it’s heating. Once you confirm the coil is heating properly, you’re ready to prepare your concentrate. If your coil is not heating, it might be time to replace it. Dab coils require replacement every few months, so it’s wise to keep an extra coil handy at all times.

Prepare the concentrate

Wax is one of the stickiest forms of cannabis concentrates out there. Handling wax with your hands is never advisable, as it will stick to you and make a big mess. Instead, use your dab tool (which was likely provided with your vape) to gather a small amount of wax. The ideal amount of wax for most vaporizers is about 0.1 grams or less, depending on the size of the chamber.

It is also recommended that you store your wax in an appropriate container, such as a silicone jar, plastic jar, glass jar, or parchment paper. Using the right container can make it a bit easier to remove your wax with a dab tool. If you find the wax is still difficult to handle at room temperature, you can place your material in the refrigerator or freezer to solidify it a bit. This also works for long-term storage.

Add the concentrate to the chamber

Once you have a small amount of wax on the end of your dab tool, it’s time to load your vape. Remove the cover of the heating chamber, which is typically found beneath the mouthpiece or at the opposite end of the vaporizer. Gently apply your material directly to the top of the heating element; be careful, because these coils can be very delicate. It may take a bit of effort to get all of your material loaded into the chamber. Simply be patient and lightly drag your dab tool around the chamber at different angles until all the material is loaded in.

Dual-use portable vaporizers such as the PAX 3 can work with both dry herb material and concentrates. Make sure the oven is free and clear of material before placing the concentrates insert into the oven. PAX 3 also includes a multi-tool to help pack and unpack concentrates into your portable vaporizer.

A word of warning: do not overpack your device’s chamber. It is always best to err on the side of caution and pack less wax than needed; after all, you can always pack more later. Overpacking your chamber risks short-circuiting your device and damaging it. It will also make the process of cleaning your vaporizer after use much more difficult. The deeper the chamber, the more concentrate it can handle. Still, a good rule of thumb is to only pack the chamber about 50% full.

Turn on your device

Once your material is loaded, turn on your device. Some vapes work best when you “prime” them. To do so, simply heat your vaporizer without drawing on the mouthpiece. This will begin the process of melting your wax around the coil, ensuring you get a nice, even vaporization throughout the rest of your session.

Every vaporizer is somewhat different. Some have a single button on the battery, which you click several times to turn it on or off. Others heat when you draw on the mouthpiece. Consult your device owner’s manual to confirm how your vape works before using it for the first time.

Set up the temperature

Selecting the proper temperature for your material is key. At different temperatures, the flavor, vapor production, and potency of your material will be different. Whatever type of session you find most desirable, temperature setting has a huge effect on outcome. Experiment with temperature to find which suits your preference best.

The ideal temperature range for vaporizing wax is between 420°F and 550°F. Most vaporizers offer several temperature settings, which can either be selected with the use of on-device buttons, by shaking or tapping the device, or connecting the device to a mobile application. Again, it is important to consult your device owner’s manual to understand which methods of temperature selection your vape requires before first use.

Typically, vaporizing wax at lower temperatures produces a less-dense, flavorful vapor, while dabbing at higher temperatures increases vapor production and vaporizes more compounds. For example, cannabis contains compounds known as terpenes, which affect flavors and aromas. Some terpenes vaporize at higher temperatures than others, so it is possible to create a different experience using the same material at different temperature levels.

Vape it

Once you’ve selected your desired temperature, you’re finally ready to vaporize your wax. Depending on the type of vaporizer you have, you might need to hold down a button to heat the chamber or simply draw on the mouthpiece. Either way, be careful not to overheat your vaporizer, as excessive temperatures could result in worse flavor.

While vaporizing your wax, hold your device as vertical as possible. This will make it easier for the vaporized material to enter the vapor path and travel through the mouthpiece. After several draws, your material might be fully vaporized. If you aren’t finished with your session, simply allow your device to cool down and then repeat the process of loading your material and priming the device.

Don’t forget to clean it

Wax pens and vapes typically don’t require excessive maintenance if loaded correctly. However, proper maintenance is still key to getting a long-life and high-quality sessions out your vaporizer. The primary components that require cleaning are the mouthpiece and the chamber, though you may periodically want to clean out the vapor path as well if it is accessible.

To clean your vaporizer, disassemble the device. Each device will be slightly different, so consult your device owner’s manual to identify each component. Once disassembled, take a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol and gently rub it around the mouthpiece. Some mouthpieces break down into several parts; if that is true of your device, be sure to disassemble the mouthpiece and clean out all the airways.

To clean the heating chamber and coil, very carefully use your dab tool to remove any residue from the sides. Some vaporizers require the chamber to be lightly cleaned using isopropyl alcohol as well. Again, always consult the owner’s manual before cleaning your device.

Finally, if your device’s vapor pathway is accessible like with the PAX 3, you can use a wire brush or pipe cleaner to clear out any residue that might be blocking the airways. A clean vapor path will result in smoother draws, a cleaner taste, and an overall higher quality vape session.

Wax on, wax off

Wax vaporizers are a great tool for enjoying a specific type of concentrate material. They’re relatively easy to use, especially if you properly maintain them, and they can result in some great vape sessions. If you’re a veteran of wax vaping or interested in trying out the material for the first time, a wax vaporizer is for you. Simply stick to the recommendations above and your wax vape will serve you well.