Culture | 03.03.2023

Dab Pen Vs. Vape Pen: What’s The Difference?

Most believe these terms are interchangeable. We'll help you sharpen up your cannabis lingo.

Vaporizers have become one of the most popular options for cannabis consumption. They’re discreet, fast-acting, potent, and sometimes resemble nicotine vape pens, meaning you can take and use them practically anywhere. 

However, consumers often refer to all vaporizers as vape pens, sometimes even dab pens. Turns out, there’s a difference between dab pens and vape pens. We’re here to share the rundown.

All dab pens are vape pens, but not all vape pens are dab pens. We know it sounds confusing. With our explanation below, you’ll have no problem understanding the difference between dab pens and vape pens. Read on to learn more.

What Are Dab Pens?

Dab pens were the first cannabis vaporizers on the market. Yes, they technically are vape pens, but there’s a key difference. Dab pens require manual loading and packing, some of which even work with flower.

The first vaporizers in the cannabis industry we big clunky devices that consumers used to vaporize separately-purchased concentrates like wax, shatter, budder, etc. Instead of using them in a traditional dab rig, dab pens made inhaling cannabis concentrates:

  • Easier
  • Safer
  • More discreet
  • Portable

Instead of heating up a rig with a butane torch, dab pens take a fraction of the time to heat up, meaning they’re also faster and more efficient than dab rigs. Plus, dab pens are usually more potent than vape pens, as the substance being inhaled is usually stronger than what’s inside pre-filled disposables and cartridges.

The key to remembering the difference between dab pens and vape pens is that the former is basically traditional dabbing in a portable device. See below for our rundown on cannabis vape pens.

What Are Vape Pens?

There are a few cannabis vape pen options on the market. Yes, dab pens are technically one of them, but let’s put that aside for a moment. 

The two most popular vape options are disposables and cartridges with accompanying batteries. Both of these devices contain pre-filled and refined cannabis oil, which is usually thinner and runnier than cannabis concentrates used in dab pens.

Vape pens often use live resin, distillate, or oil, whereas dab pens use thicker substances that are waxier and heavier. The pros of vape pens are mess-free devices that don’t require manual loading and heating. 

Instead, vape pens have instant heat-up times compared to dab pens. That said, dab pens are more versatile regarding potency, enabling the consumer to use higher potency concentrates than what’s available in cannabis cartridges and disposables.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned above, all dab pens are technically vape pens, considering they produce vapor that’s inhaled.

However, not all vape pens are dab pens, as dab pens consist of manually loading a cannabis concentrate like wax or budder into a vaporizer chamber, which is then heated to produce vapor.

There is no better or worse option, as it all comes down to your preferences. If you prefer convenient and automatic draws, vape pens are your best bet. If you’re looking to consume strong and waxy concentrates on the go, choose a dab pen.

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