Pen vaporizers are the latest trend in the portable vape world, with many opting for discretion and tiny, pocket-friendly designs you can take anywhere. Convenient and discreet, it’s easy to see why so many people are steering away from chunky portables for the promise of something even smaller, even more undetectable.
Their trending status means there’s a world of pen vapes from a multitude of different brands to choose from, some good and some….not so much. Making sure you buy a quality pen vaporizer is only half the battle. Due to their size and the fact that many use exposed metal coils, pen vaporizers are often finnicky to use and require a bit of a learning curve.
We’ve spoken to enough disappointed customers to know that many people splash their cash on a trendy vape pen only to be let down when it doesn’t perform well or parts need to be constantly replaced.
5 Things You Should Know Before You Buy a Pen Vaporizer:
1. Lots of pens claim to “do it all” but probably can’t
Many vaporizer pens that claim to vaporize oils, waxes AND dry herb probably won’t do all of these things effectively. The fact of the matter is that concentrates and dry herb require different conditions to vaporize.
When using a pen vaporizer that claims to have one tank that can do it all, many find that their waxes/oils may perform well but dry herbs burn. This is because waxes require much hotter temperatures and more direct heating to melt and vaporize, and the resulting coil used gets too hot, too fast for dry herbs. Couple this with the fact that pen vaporizers are analogue and don’t have a means of temperature control, and it’s unlikely that any pen vape will work equally well with herbs and concentrates.
2. Most vape pens don’t perform well with dry herb
A lot of customers who purchase herbal vape pens come back to us for things like glass screens and spacers because their pens are combusting the herb rather than vaporizing.
This is often because the majority of vape pen manufacturers use metal coils because they require less battery power to heat and fit easily into a tank so small. Dry herbs making direct contact with an exposed metal coil attached to a battery with no means of temperature control = high risk of combustion.
Unless you’ve figured out the perfect technique, then you’re fairly likely to combust your herb when using a vape pen. Then again, if portability and discretion is absolutely paramount to you, there are some things you can do to improve your vape pen and prevent combustion.
Tips for using a dry herb vape pen:
- Buy a dedicated herbal pen/tank. A pen dedicated to vaporizing dry herbs still won’t be perfect, but will yield better results than a pen made for concentrates. Some brands have interchangeable tank systems with different wicks or coil setups, which are ideal for people who want to use a vaporizer pen for multiple materials.
- Use glass or ceramic honeycomb screens. Placing a glass or ceramic screen between the element and your herb will create a barrier of protection and distance your herb from the exposed element. Glass or ceramic conduct heat well and will provide more even heating than an exposed coil.
- Don’t hold the power button down for more than 10-15 seconds. Coils are extremely sensitive and heat very fast. When you engage the battery on a vape pen, you’re funnelling a lot of power through a very narrow tube, causing the coil to get very hot very fast. Ideally, you want to keep the element as cool as possible between draws so that when you do engage heat, you aren’t pushing it overboard. Never hold the power button down for longer than 10-15 seconds, and never burn an empty tank (this can pop the coil).
- Clean your vape pen regularly. Most pen vaporizers are designed to minimise the need for cleaning, but keeping your tank clean will keep it performing well and will preserve the quality of your vapour. A clean vaporizer will always perform better than a dirty one.
All of these tips may help improve the performance of your vaporizer pen but they still aren’t guaranteed to yield good vapour production. You may still find that the vapour is thin or too harsh for your liking. It’s just the trade-off of a device so small. The chamber/tank itself doesn’t provide enough surface area for all of your herbs to come into contact with heat or vaporize evenly. You can remedy this by stirring your herbs.
At the end of the day, you can spend money on screens and accessories to make your vape pen work better, but should you really have to? We don’t think so. A quality vaporizing unit shouldn’t need to be improved upon or require any additional accessories to function properly. It should just work.
3. Vape pens work better for oils
Vape pens may fail to vaporize dry herbs effectively, but they do provide a discreet and portable way to vape your oils. Waxes and essential oils perform much better than dry herb inside vape pens, as the red hot wick and coil provide enough direct heat to work effectively with more viscous substances. While we don’t recommend pen vaporizers for dry herbs, we can acknowledge their effectiveness for other materials.
4. You will spend more money on replacement parts
When it comes to pen vaporizers, the costs don’t stop at the device itself. One of the biggest complaints we have received about pen vaporizers is that their components need to be replaced too regularly, and so many customers find they are spending more money than they anticipated on keeping their pen in working condition. A lot of manufacturers don’t offer components like the coil, mouthpiece or tank separately, so users have to shell out for a whole new tank system even though only part of their tank needs replacing.
Over time, the cost of maintaining a pen vaporizer will end up outweighing the cost of a better quality portable.
5. There are much better vaporizers that are just as portable
If size matters, you can still find a herbal vaporizer that is both tiny and discreet. While pen vaporizers are definitely the smallest, there are other options out there that are still small in size and will actually do what they’re supposed to!
If you need a herbal vaporizer that is discreet, small in size and stealthy, units like the Pax 2, Magic Flight Launch Box, the Crafty, and even the new Arizer Air 2 are better choices that will perform well and use better quality materials.
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