Whether you’re just starting out or looking to replace your old oil rig or nail, we have you covered. In this guide, we’ll show you what makes a great dab pen and help you to make the best choice for your budget.
Dab pen basics
It’s important to respect your vape pen and only dab the concentrates that the device is designed to. Wax pens are for wax only, not your dry herbs or shatter, so establish if you need a single-purpose or multi-purpose pen beforehand.
Standard vaporizer pens allow you to vape e-liquid, while dry herb vaporizers, such as the Magic Flight Launch Box, are for your ground herbs (i.e. marijuana). Dab pens work with hash oil and wax products like CBD wax, while some devices that wouldn’t normally let you vape such substances can be modified – for example, Dr Dabber has a mod for this. Each dab pen has a heating element, a rechargeable battery and a mouthpiece. Once up to operating temperature, it will take just a few seconds for your vaporizer to start forming vapor for you to inhale.
All-in-one vaporizers are appealing, but if you’re only vaping one substance, then you don’t really need a multi-use device. For one, hybrids are more expensive and only worth it if you plan on fully utilizing them. And, if you’re just vaping wax, it’s best to have a vape pen designed for that purpose.
Great vape pens for dabbing waxes and other concentrates include the Keymaker from MigVapor, the Aurora and Ghost devices from Dr Dabber and the Kandypens Galaxy. We’ll tell you more about them and other vape pens further down.
Features to think about before buying a dab pen
You can choose the right vape pen for you by understanding your specific vaping needs and considering the following factors:
To better understand what vape pen will best suit your requirements, it’s vital to consider essential features, such as the pen’s portability, battery life, aesthetics, the products you can use with it and, of course, the overall price. Moreover, you must decide the importance of each of these to you.
Even experienced vapers make mistakes sometimes, more so now with all the new products and features. Long-term users may have also picked up bad vaping habits that wouldn’t make for good advice for novices.
If you plan on daytime use then picking a portable device that offers discretion may be paramount to you. There’s no value in buying a dab pen that promotes big clouds if you won’t have much chance to show it off.
There are plenty of small e-rigs on sale, including the Cloud V Electro Mini – a tiny device that even comes with a temperature control screen. Not worried about causing a scene? Perhaps a bigger, more powerful dab pen is for you. And for those on big budgets, maybe even think of investing in a desktop e-nail, so you can enjoy the ultimate vaping experience from the comfort of your own home.
Design probably won’t be a priority if you’re carrying your dab pen around with you regularly, with scratches and general wear and tear a given. But having an ergonomic device is nice, and if you can couple that with great aesthetics then it’s a bonus. We’ve seen from Dr Dabber that it’s possible to make high quality pens that look stunning too. Beyond performance and design, think about heat-up time, battery life, and recharging functionality when choosing a pen.
Dab Pen FAQs
In this section, we’ll clear up misconceptions about dab pens, and give you an idea on how much a good one will cost.
What makes dabbing different to e-cigarette vaping?
E-cigarettes are devices that vape e-liquids, typically containing nicotine, whereas dab pens vape wax concentrates, often extracted from the marijuana plant.
How does a dab pen work?
Before loading your chamber, scrape off waxy residue from your previous session to prevent charring. Apply a tiny dollop of wax onto the coil, fully assemble your device and follow the instructions specific to your purchase.
What dab pen should I buy?
There’s more than one vape pen on sale because people look for different things. No vape pen is great for everybody, but using guidelines such as portability and battery life, you can make an educated decision on the best dab pen for you.
What guidelines are they?
First off, pick a reputable brand like Kandypens or Dr Dabber to ensure quality, reliability and safety – vape pens get hot when in use, so you want a trusted product. Then your focus should be on build quality and the size of the device.
How much should I spend on a dab pen?
If you’re on a tight budget, you can still buy a dab pen for as cheap as $25 and expect decent performance. For around $100 you can get a good all-round vape pen, and if money’s no object, indulge in the premium $200-or-higher devices.
Can I dab shatter, crystals or other materials with my dab pen?
Dab pens are only designed to vape waxes and thick, liquid substances like hash oil.
More purchasing tips
There is such a thing as too much choice. Novice vapers are often wooed by the low prices of budget vape pens, and are then left disappointed at sub-standard performance. Meanwhile, vape enthusiasts sometimes shell out on expensive vape pens that don’t back up their price tag – at least as far as they are concerned. This is because we all like different things vaping. Some love the hard throat hit they get from a toke, while others demand high-viscosity vapor so they can immerse themselves in the wax’s intense flavors. Here are another six key questions to ask.
1) How good is the battery life?
Do you vape throughout the day or only when you have a few friends together. If the latter, then battery life isn’t much of a concern, but if you’re a frequent vaper then you’ll need a powerful battery or you’ll often find yourself out of charge. Pricy vape pens usually have you covered, with a single charge offering hours of use, which ultimately accumulates to days without needing a recharge. Look for vape pens with USB or micro USB charging so you can recharge from devices such as your laptop.
2) What product do I want to vape?
Beginner vapers may prefer an all-in-one vaporizer, so they can experiment with wax, shatter, e-liquids and other vape-friendly substances. Wax-only vapers won’t need multi-purpose features, so have no reason to shell out on a more expensive device.
3) How portable is my chosen dab pen?
Small, ergonomic vape pens are perfect for stealthy, discreet vaping, but the tiny dimensions mean these models don’t boast the power others do. The battery will inevitably be smaller so must be recharged more often, while the smaller heating chamber means it takes longer to heat up wax.
So if you’re going for a small vape pen, ensure that it has good charging features – otherwise it may not be as portable as you initially thought.
4) Are aesthetics important?
Dab pens come in various shapes and sizes. Premium pens boast extravagant, flamboyant designs while smaller pens impress their users with discreet aesthetics and a compact design. Aesthetics have no direct bearing on vapor quality, although it’s a fair assumption that a good-looking vape pen will produce good vapor. Metal pens are also much better portable picks than plastic pens. Remember, if your wax pen breaks in your pocket, it will leave a mess, so you want something sturdy.
5) How expensive is too expensive?
Providing you aren’t spending silly amounts, there’s good reason to be flexible on price when purchasing a vape pen. Ultimately, if you buy a top quality pen, not only is it more satisfactory, but it will probably last longer too, making it a good economic investment. A cheap pen is ideal if you just want to trial wax pen vaping. However, if you’re serious, you should back that up with a brilliant pen to maximize your concentrates.
6) Does my dab pen come with a warranty?
You’re invariably good hands if your vape pen comes with a one-year warranty or longer. Good brands are confident in their products and are happy to give their customers a safety net should their pen malfunction. No warranty should set alarm bells ringing.
7 fantastic dab pens
1) MigVapor’s Keymaker Wax Vaporizer
At just $39.95, the Keymaker Wax Vaporizer from MigVapor is an affordable wax pen that delivers impressive quality. At first, the small dimensions are deceptive, but once you’ve sampled the Keymaker, you’ll be blown away by the potent vapor. For a pen that’s stealthy enough to vape just about anywhere, it offers big on-the-go hits. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better quality vape pen for less than 40 bucks.
Aesthetically, the Keymaker admittedly lacks, but it’s not style that will attract people to this MigVapor product – customization is possible though with the green, black and silver skins. What will, however, is the two-second heat-up time and 360mAh battery that’s good for more than one hour of charge. Using the Keymaker is a dream with the activation button rapidly warming the device up to a toasty 455 Fahrenheit. The one-button design clearly had portable vapers in mind – you can heat the pen up, take a hit and be finished in under a minute. If value without compromising on quality is what you’re seeking, then the Keymaker is a savvy pick.
Included with the Keymaker package are two coils, made of quartz and ceramic. These materials provide much better tasting vapor than titanium coils, although quartz is more durable than ceramic. One USB charger and four silicone mouthpieces also come with the purchase.
2) Series 3X Dab Pen
The Series 3X is an example of a hybrid vaporizer. This nifty dab pen vapes your e-liquids, concentrates and dry herbs, and still comes in cheaper than $125!
Fears that this multi-purpose dab pen could fall short in performance are quickly allayed after a couple of tokes, with the Series 3X forming the type of vapor that you’d expect from a desktop dab rig. Furthermore, this vaporizer has impressive battery life and a solid design that can withstand heavy use.
3) Brain Fogger Dab Tank
Vape pens or mods using the 510-threaded connector system open up a world of dabbing opportunities. Have one of these devices and you won’t need a special pen to vape your waxes, just a Brain Fogger Dab Tank to attach to the vaporizer you already use. This will transform your standard vaporizer into a mighty e-rig to vape potent wax.
Beautifully designed, this steel tank with a glass body looks classy and professional, and is simple to fit – thanks to the 510 connectors; you can just screw it on and start vaping!
4) Dr Dabber Aurora
An excellent wax pen cheaper than $100, the Aurora from Dr Dabber offers a glorious vaping experience, utilizing low-heat technology to fully extract all the cannabinoids in your wax. Where the Aurora really shines though is with the wide-ranging customization options on the atomizer. Switch between the quartz and quartz-ceramic atomizers and dishes, mixing and matching until you’ve found the perfect combination.
For experimental and enthusiastic vapers, the Aurora allows you to tailor your experience. This pen isn’t for those who just want to start vaping, but for people who want immersive and personalized vape sessions.
In addition to the atomizers, the Aurora comes with a USB charger, a loading tool and a cute branded keychain. At $99.95, this is a practical pen if you want to get more serious with dabbing.
5) Grenco Science’s G Pen Vaporizer
Easy use for the vaper was paramount for Grenco Science in designing the G Pen Vaporizer. Therefore, this pen isn’t the most stylish, but what it lacks aesthetically it compensates for in portability and performance, not to mention stealth. The G Pen measures just five inches so will fit in your bag or inside pocket. For its size, the G Pen has solid battery life and charges rather speedily.
This device has a dual quartz atomizer, a material which promotes quality vapor. Designed for concentrates, the G Pen is easy to load and heats up in seconds. The vapor never gets too hot, so every draw is smooth and relaxing. Providing you maintain the G Pen, it’s relatively easy to clean, notable given how messy wax can be. This is thanks to the build, which consists of fewer parts than many vape pens – simply put, there’s just not as much that can get dirty!
6) Grenco Science’s Micro G Vaporizer
Another entry from Grenco Science, the Micro G is even tinier than the G Pen. This supremely stealthy pen will fit just about anywhere, but don’t let the size fool you. The Micro G is capable of making monster clouds with your concentrates. Furthermore, the Micro G is very efficient, vaping at the optimum temperature, never letting your product go to waste.
Grenco Science knows portability extends beyond vaping itself. That’s why the Micro G is simple to load, so you can top up while on the move. For a vaporizer smaller than a pen, the rechargeable battery is phenomenal – a full charge lasts for two days, thanks to the 15-second automatic shutoff feature designed to conserve energy.
The Micro G comes with two mouthpieces, two batteries, two coils and yes, two vaporizers! Also included is an A/C adapter with a USB port along with a loading tool and instruction manual.
7) PAX Era
We thought about leaving the PAX Era off this list since it only ships to California, Colorado and Oregon, but the incredible $19.99 price tag meant we had to give it a mention. Vapers in these states really are treated with a bargain device from one of vaping’s most recognizable brands.
PAX Labs is renowned for making fantastic vapor, and the Era offers cool interactivity too, with official apps to control the device with on the App Store and Play Store. The Californian manufacturer could probably sell this vape pen at double or triple the price.
However, there’s one more catch: You can only use disposable concentrates with the PAX Era, which will see costs mount long-term. But even so, this is a brilliant budget dab pen you should check out if you’re living in CA, CO or OR.
There’s a lot that goes into buying a dab pen. Not all of the information in this article will apply to you, as everybody looks for specific features in a pen, but this should cover each individual area. From starter pens for beginners to more ambitious pens for experts, the dabbing world has it all, and it costs less than you might imagine!
With this enhanced understanding of battery life, build quality, customization and more, you are better placed to make an informed choice when buying a dab pen!