Vaporizers & Vaping

What Types of Vape Pens Can I Buy?

Gabi Antunes

Jul 18, 2019

Vape pens offer consumers a varied selection of highly portable, discreet devices that are easy to use. However, that is often where the similarities end, as vape pens include devices with a wide range of designs and features. How could a device so simple come in so many shapes and sizes?

Sometimes selecting a vape pen that will best suit your needs can be challenging, but understanding which options are available to you can help narrow down your choices. This guide will help you understand which vape pens are on the market, how they work, and the type of experience they offer, helping you to choose the one that will best suit your needs and preferences.

What is a vape pen?

A vape pen is a small, electronic device used to vaporize dry herb or cannabis concentrate easily. Each type of vape pen is slightly different in how it is made and how its components work together, but all are relatively simple and offer consumers a vaping method that requires very little learning curve. Before diving into the different types of vape pens available on the market today, let’s take a brief look at how vape pens work.

How do vape pens work?

Vape pens generally have two main components: the battery and the cartridge or compartment for cannabis materials. Others feature a battery, mouthpiece, and built-in chamber for loading material. A vape pen works by warming up the heating element with the battery, at which point the material is vaporized. You can then simply inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece.

While the process is straightforward, each type of vape pen has its own spin on design and functionality. Here’s a look at the different types of vape pens you can purchase, how they work, and what types of uses for which they might be best suited.

Types of vape pens

While vape pens are simple devices, there are a cornucopia of designs available that support different uses. Some vape pens are just for concentrates, while others specialize in vaporizing dry herb material; some types of vape pens can be used with both. Some boast advanced features, like customizable temperature settings or connectivity with a mobile application, while others are more basic in their functionality. Some vape pens require pre-filled cartridges or pods, while others allow you to load the material into a chamber or oven. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of vape pens you can choose from.

1. Cartridge vape pens

Cartridge vape pens consist of a battery and a screw-in cartridge of concentrate material, such as oil. These vape pens generally employ a standard 510 thread so that cartridges can be used with most batteries. Many cartridge-style vape pens offer a simple one-button design which controls the on/off settings and temperature. When a cartridge is fully consumed, simply unscrew it, dispose of it properly, and replace it with a full cartridge.

2. Dry herb vape pens

Dry herb vape pens are altogether different than those with screw-in cartridges. These vape pens are designed to work with dry herb material, such as cannabis flower. As such, they tend to be slightly larger than the cartridge vapes, because they are built with a chamber or oven somewhere on the device.

To use a dry herb vape pen, pack the oven with your chosen, finely-ground cannabis material, replace the lid or cover and activate the battery. Like cartridge vapes, you might have a device with one-button functionality, or it might be a buttonless model that activates when inhalation is detected. Not all dry herb vaporizers work exclusively with dry herb material, though. Some, like the PAX 3, can also be used with concentrates.

3. Pod vapes

Pod vapes or pod systems are vape pens designed for use with a pre-filled “pod,” a container for housing cannabis concentrate. Pods are often manufactured to work with a specific device, similar to coffee makers that work with single-cup pods. Unlike cartridge vape pens, pod systems can be loaded and unloaded with a simple click. They tend to be compact and discreet, such as the PAX Era, which clocks in at under 4”. Pod vapes also reduce the need for cleaning and maintenance when compared with a dry-herb vape pen, because there is no chamber or oven to clean.

4. Disposable vape pens

If you’re looking for a vape pen that supports quick and easy one-time use, disposable vape pens are the way to go. These vape pens differ from other types in that they are pre-filled and are not rechargeable. They are thrown away according to the manufacturer’s instructions once they are fully consumed. However, these less expensive vape pens come with less features, so if you’re looking for a long-term solution that will provide you with better sessions, consider a reusable vaporizer instead.

5. Dab pens

Dab pens are used to vaporize a small amount of concentrate, typically wax, directly on a heated coil. Powered by a small battery, dab pens feature an exposed coil that heats when activated. To use a dab pen, you place your chosen concentrate onto the coil. The material will vaporize as the coil heats up. Most dab pens feature a button which is used to draw the vapor through the mouthpiece when you’re ready to inhale. As the name suggests, these vape pens are also usually long and slender devices.

How to choose the right vape pen

Your personal preferences will drive your vape pen choice. When choosing the model and style that’s right for you, consider your preferences on the following points:

  1. Portability/Discretion: Virtually every vape pen is portable, but they come in several different shapes, lengths, and sizes. Some vape pens are a bit bulkier and don’t fit as easily into the palm of your hand. Consider how important portability and discretion are to you before selecting a vape pen.
  2. Product choice: Knowing which cannabis materials you intend to vaporize will help you narrow down the field. If you only intend to vaporize oil, for example, a cartridge vape pen or pod system could be most suitable. If you’d like to switch back and forth, a vape pen with a chamber and concentrate inserts is for you.
  3. Features: Many vape pens are straightforward, supporting the vaporization of one material type at one temperature setting. Others offer advanced features, like multiple temperature settings, Bluetooth® connectivity, and special app-controlled settings to fine-tune your vapor sessions.
  4. Pricing: Cost is always an important consideration, so you should research the market with a budget in mind. Vape pens begin at around $10 for a basic battery and increase in price from there.
  5. Ease of use: Many consumers love the simplicity of the cartridge or pod, with no mess, packing and unpacking, or cleaning required.

Every consumer wants something slightly different out of their vape pen, so the variety of options on the market today is just a testament to the customizability of your vape experience. Whether you want a simple device that allows you to quickly vaporize concentrates or a portable-yet-powerful pen that can vaporize your dry herbs, there is a vape pen out there for you.