Dab Pens vs. Vape Pens: What’s the Difference?

Vape Pens vs Dab Pens
November 8, 2019 By Kyle Broussard

Was in the Vaping and Stoner communities, there is a huge debate between dab pens and vape pens.

At HelpingPot, we like to provide the community with the best information and products on the market.

So, we wanted to lay it out all on the table in order to provide an objective look at Wax Pens vs. Dab Pens, and determine which one is truly the best. 

In this guide, you will learn:

Before we dive into deep, let’s start off with some basics.

What is a wax pen?

What is a Wax Pen? 

A wax vaporizer pen, or vape pen is a small handheld smoking device used for vaporizing wax concentrates. This is done by placing the wax in a chamber on top of the coil, which is heated by an atomizer in the vape pen.  This heat causes the wax concentrate to vaporize, collect, and be inhaled by the smoker.

Why Do People Use Wax Pens?

People use wax pens for a number of reasons, but the main reasons that a lot of Stoners prefer them are:

  • They’re extremely easy to conceal
  • They’re relatively odorless
  • They have replaceable parts
  • They have rechargeable batteries
  • They are affordable
  • They’re very portable
  • They are easy to customize
  • They allow for a lot of temperature control
  • They’re very potent

Basically, using a wax pen is an extremely convenient way to smoke wax concentrates. They are extremely durable, easy to conceal and relatively easy to travel with because they are so light and odorless.

On top of that, they tend to be less bulky than a lot of other types of vaporizers and vape pens on the market. 

Lastly, they have a pretty decent price point and affordable parts and upgrades can easily be found online. This makes dab pens something that you can hold onto for years and years, and keep getting the same performance out of.

What is a Vape Pen? 

They pens are very specific type of vaporizer that are designed to strictly take oils and distillates. These liquids are preloaded into disposable or refillable chambers, and then heated from below with a coil much like with dab pens.

Why Do People Use Vape Pens?

A lot of people prefer vape pens vs. dab pens because they have refillable chambers, which makes them far more convenient because there’s a lot less need for cleaning, and the refueling process is much easier. 

Other than that, they have the same perks as dab pens. They are extremely convenient to travel with, relatively the same size, relatively the same price point, and just as easy to use and clean.

Over time though, this can add up to additional costs, which is why some people prefer dab pens.

Some people prefer dab pens over vape pens because they allow you to smoke more than just one type of concentrate – whereas with vape pens you can only smoke oils. 

Dab Pens vs. Wax Pens vs. Vaporizers - The Full Breakdown

Dab Pens vs. Wax Pens – What’s the Real Difference? 

All right, now that you have a little bit down about the basics of dab pens vs. vape pens, let’s take the time to dive a bit deeper and examine what exactly the difference is between the two and which one is best for you.

1. Smoking Experience – Which One is Smoother? 

More often than not, dab pens provide a smoother experience than vape pens. There are two main reasons why this is the case:

  • Dab pens tend to have more temperature control, which allows you to take cooler hits
  • The vapor from dab pens is much less harsh than the thicker smoke that comes from oils

Overall, both are relatively smooth, but you can definitely notice a difference between smoking a dab pen vs. vape pen.

2. Types of Concentrates – What Can They Be Used For? 

As we said earlier, vape pens can only be used for oils or distillates.

Meanwhile, depending on the type of dab pen you have, you can smoke a multitude of different types of concentrates, such as:

  • Wax
  • Shatter
  • Butter 
  • Crumble 
  • And more…

Basically, you can smoke just about anything besides oils with the right type of dab pen. 

3. Accessories  – What Can I Add to Them? 

For the most part, dab pens and vape pens don’t get as complex as traditional vape rigs (sorry young vape gods).

With both dab pens and vape pens, there are quite a few accessories that you can upgrade them with, including:

  • New batteries 
  • Coils 
  • Atomizers
  • Mouthpieces
  • And more…

Depending on how often you travel, it may also be worth investing in a carrying case for your vape pen or dab pen.

4. Price Point  – How Much Do They Cost? 

Pricing for dab pens vs. vape pens is relatively similar. For the most part, you can find pretty decent value in between the $50 to $100 range. 

If you spend anything less than that, you are more van likely to run into problems with performance, poor durability, lack of temperature control, and other common complaints that people have about cheap dab pens.

Dab Pen portability

5. Size  – How Portable Are They? 

Dab pens in vape pens are relatively the same size, usually ranging between 4” to 5” tall and about 0.25” in diameter. 

This makes them a super convenient way to smoke on the go and easy to fit in your pocket. When you couple that with the fact that they are more or less odorless, it makes for a very concealable way to smoke.

6. Cleaning – Which One is Easier to Clean? 

Vape pens definitely get a one-up on this category because they have refillable or disposable cartridges. This drastically reduces the amount of buildup that happens inside of your pain, as long as you do not spill.

However, unless you are smoking more oily types of concentrates in your dab pen, they are also not very messy. With both types of pans, you do have to worry about getting concentrate inside of your coil, as that causes it to burn and meltdown to the atomizer, which can cause problems, breaks, and clogs. 

Overall, cleaning your dab pen or vape pen is relatively easy if you know how to do it the right way. 

7. Durability – Which One Lasts Longer? 

Generally speaking, if you purchase a high-quality dab pen or vape pen and treat them right, with periodic cleaning, you should be able to make them last quite a long time. 

Neither is necessarily more durable or long-lasting, it really all just depends on the brand and how you treat it. That being said, there are some brands and different products that definitely stand out above the rest:

8. Safety – Which One is Safer to Smoke? 

Let’s get this very clear: no type of smoking is safe. Anytime you inhale smoke or vapor of any sort, there are carcinogens and other harmful chemicals in that mixture that can cause damage to your lungs and other parts of your body. 

Both dabbing and vaping are relatively new, as are different types of concentrates. For that reason, there’s not a lot of scientific evidence that points towards exactly how safe or dangerous smoking dab pens or vape pens really is. 

Look, we are Stoners, not doctors. We’re not chemists either. But, when asking the question of which one is safer between using a dab pen vs. a vape pen – we definitely I would have to say that using a dab pen is safer. 

Just think about it, with using a dab pen, you are only really inhaling the vapors from the concentrate you are heating. Most of the concentrate is not evaporated, and most of what is evaporated is done so at a relatively cool temperature compared to smoking a vape pen. 

When using a vape pen, however, you are basically superheating a syrup-like liquid filled with known carcinogens into steam, then inhaling that steam into your lungs, where it can cool and crystallize. Given the recent news on the newfound dangers of vaping, we do not recommend that anybody smokes a vape pen until further research is done. 

If you choose to do either, we hope you understand the potential risks to your health, are of legal age within your state or territory, and are only smoking legal concentrates. 

Dab Pens vs. Wax Pens – Pros & Cons

Let’s take a closer at some of the advantages of dab pens and wax pens.

Dab Pens 



Good for multiple types of concentratesHarder to clean
PortableNot as intense
Smoother smoking experience

Wax Pens 



Easier to cleanOnly for use with oils and distillates
More intenseNot as smooth
More temperature control

Dab Pens or Wax Pens? – Our Final Take 

At the end of the day, both types of smoking devices have their own advantages. Vape pens are easier to refill and clean, and therefore are the go-to for some people. They also tend to be slightly more potent.

However, dab pens are far more versatile in terms of the types of concentrates you can use them with, and they also are much less dangerous in our opinion. 

Lastly, dab pens are also a little bit smoother been vape pens in terms of the smoking experience, and usually offer more temperature control. 

So, overall with so many similarities between the two, we have to give the upper hand to dab pens for being more versatile and smoother. 

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Learn More About Wax Pens and Dab Pens

Want to learn even more about wax pens, dabbing, and other smoking accessories? Check out our blog, or get started with some of these related resources:

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