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Comparing Dry Herb Vapes with Wax Pens


Nov 16, 2020

It seems like just overnight the options and availability of vape pens have exploded. There are dozens of options for vaping liquid, dry herbs, and concentrates, not to mention hybrid options and some portable vaporizer pens that even produce actual smoke! Never has there been a time where you had so many choices in vaping products.

However, as choices arise, so too do questions and confusion. One of the most common general questions we get is the difference between how a dry herb vape and a wax vape function. Though you will have some specific differences depending on the exact model you are looking at, there are some general differences between portable dry herb vapes and wax vapes that you can count on spotting every time. Understanding these differences can help you make the best product choice for yourself, so read below!

The Major Differences Between Dry Herb Vapes And Wax Pens

Here are some of the key differences between dry herb vapes and wax pens.

  1. The Product Consumed

This is the most important (and probably obvious) difference between the two different kinds of vaporizers. Dry herb vapes are specifically designed to handle and vape dry herbs, whereas wax pens are specifically designed to handle wax and concentrates. The best version of the early models of dry herb and wax vapes specialized in one substance or the other (although recently hybrid devices are beginning to offer great choices, too).

  1. Wax Coils vs Dry Herb Chambers

The way that your preferred substance is heated also differs depending on what kind of vape pen you use. Dry herb vapes generally use a heating chamber, where all sides of the wall heat to slowly back the dry herb, producing vapor. Concentrates, like wax, need a more direct heat source and higher temperatures to produce vapor, which is why a heating coil is used. The wax concentrate is placed directly on the heating coil. There are some dry herb vapes that use a heating coil with direct contact to dry herbs, but those products are producing actual smoke, not vapor.

Maintenance between these two heating choices is different, too. Heating chambers in a dry herb vape will generally last the lifetime of the device (though you will need to pay attention to the vapor path and metal screens, as they can get clogged over time). Heating coils in wax pens, on the other hand, tend to collect residue and gunk over time and will eventually need to be replaced.

  1. Vape Battery mAh

The average battery capacity between a dry herb vape and a wax pen will also differ. Since a heating chamber provides heat to a larger surface area, the battery powering a dry herb vape will generally have a pretty high mAh. Wax Pens, because they are only heating a small coil, need less battery capacity to reach the high temperatures necessary to vape shatter or wax.

  1. Chamber Loading Process

Loading the heating chamber of a dry herb vape is pretty straightforward. Just be sure to grind your dry herb first, and then gently pack the dry herb into the heating chamber. Generally, loading a dry herb vape creates little to no mess. Loading wax into a wax pen can be a bit more complicated and, if you are not careful, much messier. You should always use a dab tool to place your shatter or wax onto the heating coil and be sure not to overfill the heating chamber (which can also cause huge messes). If finagling with a dab tool and a loading chamber sounds a bit burdensome for vaping wax, a great vaping choice would be a nectar collector style vape. The heating coils are at the end of the vape pen and exposed, so all you have to do is turn the vape on, heat the coils, and then place the coils onto your preferred concentrate, and inhale!


  1. Vaping Temperature

We have touched on this briefly, but now we have a chance to go a bit more in-depth. Vaping dry herbs require much, much lower temperature when compared to vaping wax. The combustion temperature for dry herbs is about the lowest temperature you can use to begin vaping concentrates.

  1. Temperature Control

This is becoming less of a difference between newer, more modern models of vapes, but this was a significant difference in the past. Dry herb vapes have generally always had some kind of temperature control, as heating the dry herb at different temperatures produced a noticeable difference in the flavor and vapor thickness. In general, lower temperatures allow for more subtle tasting notes to be detected but produce little vapor. Higher temperatures produce much more vapor but have a harsher, hotter flavor that can make you miss some of the more delicate flavors.

Wax Pens, on the other hand, started with offering just a single temperature. However, as wax vaping has become more popular, users have begun to notice that temperature differences in wax vaping produce a similar difference in dry herb vaping. This has caused modern wax pens to begin offering variable voltage to cater to the “flavor chasing” crowd.

  1. Maintenance

Wax is a stickier, messier substance than dry herbs, so naturally, wax pens are going to require more cleaning and maintenance. Heating coils will need to be regularly cleaned (and eventually replaced), and residue will need to be regularly wiped from the heating chamber, mouthpiece, and any other part of the vape that has come into contact with the wax.

Dry herb vapes, on the other hand, use dry herbs. When vaped, they do not leave much of a residue behind, so the only maintenance that needs to be done in the heating chamber is dumping the spent dry herb out when you are done vaping it. However, as we have mentioned, dry herb particles can break away and get stuck in the vapor path and mouthpiece of a dry herb vape. Metal mesh screens help prevent this, but those screens will need to be cleaned and occasionally replaced to allow for maximum airflow.

The Major Similarities Between Dry Herb Vapes and Wax Pens

Though there are a lot of differences, you will find a lot of similarities between dry herb vapes and wax pens, too!

  1. Portability

Both kinds of vape pens are extremely portable and are a much better option for traveling than their traditional counterparts (glass pipes and dab rigs). If you do not have a way to safely pack up all the components needed to smoke from a glass pipe or fragile dab rigs, then dry herb and wax pens are the go-to solutions.

  1. Discreetness

Vaporizers for dry herbs and wax are very discreet. The entire vaping process is self-contained into a single compartment, and the only thing you exhale is vapor, which dissipates quickly and has less of a smell than smoke. Glass pipes for dry herbs are very noticeable, produce a lot of smoke and smell, and require an external flame, all of which are quite obvious. A dab rig for shatter or wax essentially looks like a mini bong, which is immediately noticeable and not usually an option for public use.

  1. Easy to Use

While either product has a few steps to learn, they are much, much easier to use than traditional smoking methods. It is one of the reasons that beginners flock to vaporizers for dry herbs and wax. Packing a pipe, controlling airflow, lighting the bowl, or potentially trying to figure out a water pipe like a bong is daunting for many. The same goes for dab rigs, especially because you have to manually super-heat the nail to get the wax to vaporize. Vaporizers cut out all of these extra steps into a quick, easy experience!

Dry Herb Vape Tips vs Wax Pen Tips

Again, depending on the specific model of vape you are using, the actual steps for use will vary. However, there are some general steps for both dry herb vapes and wax pens that you can count on experiencing with almost any model.

Dry Herb Vape Tips

  1. Use A Grinder

If you try to cram a whole nug into a heating chamber, you are going to have a bad time. Grinding your dry herbs allows for easier and more even heating, and it lets air pass through much easier.

  1. Use A Mouthpiece Sleeve

Dry herb vapes can get hot (around 400F), and that heat will slowly transfer into the mouthpiece. If you are not careful, this can cause you to burn your lips! Most dry herb vapes have silicone mouthpiece covers or rubber extensions that keep your mouth safe from harm. We strongly recommend you use them!

  1. Clean Or Change The Filter Screen Regularly

This will ensure you always have the best airflow, which means you are getting the most vapor in the fastest way with the best flavor!

  1. Temperature Trial And Error

If it is your first time using the dry herb vape, start with the lowest temperature and work your way up. This will help you find that sweet spot for the best vaping experience personally for you!

Wax Pen Tips

  1. Always Keep Your Wax Vape Upright

Remember, that wax turns to liquid when heated at high temperatures, and tipping your vape on its side means you are spilling stick wax everywhere! The last place you want wax is in the vapor path or mouthpiece, which can prove exceptionally difficult to clean.

  1. Do NOT Overpack Or Press Too Hard On The Heating Coils

The heating coils are relatively fragile, and pushing down hard to pack in wax can permanently damage your coils or other electrical components.

  1. Maintaining Your Mouthpiece and Coils

If you start noticing it is too difficult to take a pull from the vape pen, it is probably time to do some cleaning. Make sure your mouthpiece is clear, any filter screens are cleaned or replaced, and make sure that your heating coils are properly heating.

  1. Test Coils Before Loading Your Wax Pen

Always turn the coils on and make sure they work before applying your wax or other concentrates. If your coils are damaged and do not work properly, you are just going to end up wasting time and wax trying to figure out what is going on.

Written By: Matthew H.

By admin