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What Is a Dab Pen?


There are all kinds of vaping products to choose from nowadays. Oil vapes and dry herb vapes continue to be popular choices for many vaping enthusiasts. Dab pens are relatively new to the vaping scene, and many have questions. What are dab pens, what do they use, and how do they work?

Dab Pens Use Wax Concentrates

A dab pen can go by many names. They can be called wax pens, concentrate pens, and nectar collectors, depending on their design. Regardless of what they're called, they all do the same thing: use wax concentrates in order to produce vapor. Wax concentrate vaping is catching on with a lot of users because it provides a notably different vaping experience that traditional oil vaping. 

Wax Concentrates Are Potent

Wax concentrates are extremely potent, and you don't have to use very much to get hits equitable to several hits from a traditional oil pen or dry herb pen. Dab pens are attractive to those that are looking to feel the effects of what they are vaping very quickly and in just a few hits. 

Popular substances used in dab pens are CBD waxes and THC waxes. Potent CBD waxes provide quick pain relief, as well as helping to manage acute symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sudden muscle spasms, acute pain from inflammation disorders like Crohn's, and any other sudden onset pain make CBD waxes and their potency a popular choice. 

Legal THC waxes provide the traditional high from cannabis in a quick, concentrated package. It's an ideal product for those looking for quick pain relief caused by nerve problems, or for those that have a high THC tolerance created through long-term use. 

Dab Pens Use Heating Coils to Create Vapor

The use of heating coils is a unique characteristic of dab pens. Oil vape pens use an atomizer that is surrounded by vape oil, and dry herb vapes use a heating chamber with heated walls. Dab pens have a heating chamber, but the heat is provided by super-hot coils found at the bottom of the loading chamber.

The reason heating coils are used is because wax requires a high temperature in order to vaporize. The temperature used can be as high as 900F degrees, though a range between 400F and 800F is more common. Anything lower than 315F won't be hot enough to produce vapor, and anything above 900F will burn the wax. 

Heating Coils Are Easy to Replace

The combination of direct contact with wax and the high temperature needed to produce vapor means that heating coils will need to be replaced regularly. You'll know a replacement is needed when vapor is no longer produced, or the vapor that is produced has a burnt, unpleasant taste. 

Fortunately, most dab pen manufacturers account for this, and heating coils are easily replaced. Many dab pens will come with a spare set of coils, and it's common to find sets of replacements at physical or online retailers. 

Different Kinds of Coils Offer Different Vaping Experiences

Dab pen heating coils can be made from several different materials, though the most common are ceramic, quartz, and titanium. Each material provides a different experience, but you'll need to try each one to decide which is right for you. 

Quartz coils heat quickly but lose heat quickly. Ceramic coils take longer to heat but stay hotter longer, and enthusiasts focused on flavor swear by the crisp, clean flavor ceramic provides. Titanium heats easily and holds heat well but is usually the most expensive coils (and often are made for specific dab pen models). 

Dab Pens vs. Nectar Collectors

While dab pen, wax pen, and weed vape pen are all interchangeable terms, that is not the case for nectar collectors. Those are specific models of dab pens that use a different heating method to produce vapor from concentrates. 

A typical dab pen has a self-contained heating chamber where wax is loaded. Once the wax is placed on the coils within the heating chamber, the device is completed closed before heating begins. Vapor is produced from the concealed chamber, where the heating coils are never exposed while red hot.

Nectar collectors don't use a self-contained heating chamber. Instead, the heating coils are exposed and located on the tip of the pen. The wax is placed on an exposed, heat-proof plate, and the pen is turned on. After the coils are red hot, they are pressed against the wax, which produces vapor that is inhaled through the pen like a straw. 

Benefits of a Nectar Collector

While a nectar collector is much more cumbersome to use than a traditional dab pen, it has several benefits. First, they are much easier to keep clean, as the wax is never placed inside the vape pen. Fighting clogs or dealing with a sticky, overloaded heating chamber isn't possible with a nectar collector, since they don't have any loading chambers at all. 

Nectar collectors also offer more control over the vaping experience. You can be certain that no wax is being wasted and that you only produce vapor exactly when you want to. It's also easy to make sure that the coils are ready for use and if they are not working properly. 

Should I Get a Dab Pen?

You should only get a dab pen if you think it will help meet your vaping needs. Dab pens are great alternatives to traveling with a dab rig, which can be fragile and hard to pack (not to mention impossible to use while traveling). They are also safer since they don't require a blow torch for heating. 

Unless you're using a nectar collector, the risk of burns with a dab pen is essentially zero. Dab pens are also great choices for getting strong, concentrated hits of your favorite waxes if you want something stronger than traditional vaping oils or dry herbs. 

You're the only one that can decide if a dab pen is a good fit for your lifestyle. Of course, if you're unsure and feel curious, we recommend you try it! It is a great alternative to enjoying your favorite substances in a new, tasty way!

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