The Difference Between Wax, Dab & Vape Pens - HØJ

The Difference Between Wax, Dab & Vape Pens

Estimated 5-minute read

Don’t you just get confused by the amount of different pens available to smoke weed? An alternative to pipes, joints or one-hitters are electronic pens, specifically used to smoke concentrates instead of grinded cannabis. Pens offer a whole new world of possibilities, where smoking gets you higher while being more discreet than the usual hassle. In this article we’ll look at the different characteristics of pens, their pros and cons.

First Things First: What Are Concentrates?

To understand how pens work we need to fully grasp the concept of concentrates. Weedmaps explains what they are exactly: a category of products (hashish, kief, oil, butter, wax, etc.) that are made by stripping away the inactive ingredients from the cannabis plant using a distillation process to get a hold of the most desirable parts, eventually turning into a product with very high potency.

While you need cannabis concentrates to smoke from a pen, remember that the processed substance doesn't always serve the purpose of smoking. Concentrates are also used to make other types of cannabis products, like edibles and topicals.

So, back to the pens! I’m going to simplify your life by starting off with the following statement: dab pens and wax pens are pretty much the same thing! Let me explain a bit further.

Understanding Dab & Wax Pens

There’s a concept inside the smoking community called “dabbing”. 

Dabbing is just a way of vaporizing cannabis concentrates in order to smoke them; these are added to a heated surface to vaporize them. This process started out a long time ago with stationary dab rigs, which are a bit similar to bongs. It’s simple: concentrates are placed in a heated surface to become vaporized, then are inhaled through the pipe and water filtration chamber. 

So a genius decided to make portable versions of dab rigs, leaving aside the water part. Today, these are known as dab or wax pens. According to Weedmaps, pens use an attachable concentrate chamber and an atomizer to vaporize the wax or concentrate of your choice. Given the fact that they require high temperatures to get vaporized, these electric pens reach temperatures from 157 to 371 degrees Celsius (315 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit).

As it was mentioned before, wax is a cannabis concentrate. This substance often looks similar to honey and it contains very high levels of THC. Both pens use the same technology, so it kind of narrows down to what you’re consuming. If you’re smoking wax, then you’re using a wax pen. If you’re smoking another concentrate such as THC oil, then you’re probably calling it a dab pen.



Smoking a concentrate will get you very high

Very discreet, since the vapor is almost odorless

Often require cleaning after each use 

Rechargable; will last longer if you only take a dab here and there

Meant to be discarded after a period of time if you’re a daily cannabis user

Since you can try different concentrates you don’t have to stick to one only, you have a lot of options to choose from

Super portable and easy to carry in bags and the pockets of your pants

Vape Pen

Since they’re modern and everywhere around us, you’ve probably heard a lot about vape pens; the reality is that they have become more popular. Similar to dab and wax pens, vape pens offer smoking concentrates as well, usually in an oil presentation. 

These vape pens are battery-powered devices with attachable and disposable cartridges, which you can discard once they’re empty. These tiny capsules are often sold at local dispensaries, they’re already loaded with cannabis oil. 



Super portable and easier to carry in bags and the pockets of your pants

Disposable cartridges, which is not very eco friendly

More discreet than wax and dab pens because of their smaller size

Limited to concentrate oils only

Ready to use once the device is charged

Use less powerful batteries

Don’t require cleaning

Wait… Aren’t All Dab & Wax Pens Also Vape Pens?

Technically, yes. They’re not exactly the same, but honestly? There is no difference between dabbing and vaping, since concentrates are still inhaled in both methods. Perhaps the easiest way of telling them apart is the disposable part. 

Dab and wax pens will probably last a bit longer, since you buy the pen and the concentrate separately and then you refill it every time you run out of substance to smoke. As it was mentioned earlier, vape pens will provide you cartridges with THC oil concentrate that you can discard once you’re done with.

Are Pens For Beginners?


Although concentrates have their own way of being made and used, never ever forget that they’re extracted from the active parts of cannabis. “Concentrate” is a broad term, but one thing is for sure: every form of concentrate is much more potent than the regular cannabis flower.

According to Secret Nature CBD, dab pens are not appropriate for beginners since they’re a bit hard to load and clean properly. On the other hand, a disposable vape cartridge and rechargeable vape pen is a great combination, since it’s made to be an easy method of inhaling cannabis, making it great for beginners to try and grasp the concept of smoking concentrates. 

Are There Potential Side Effects to Dabbing or Vaping?

Evidence suggests that cannabis vape pens are not exactly known to have any serious or dangerous side effects. However, I will advise you this: make sure that the concentrate contains substances that are naturally found in the cannabis flower. Secret Nature CBD mentions that over the last few years, studies have shown that some products get contaminated with other cutting ingredients, such as vitamin E acetate, which can be very toxic and harmful for the human body. 

Furthermore, as long as the concentrate only contains substances naturally found in cannabis flower, you should be fine. In addition, I can also advise that you consult reviews and comments before buying your pen. And last but not least, it’s always important to start low and go slow, since concentrates are much more powerful than the cannabis flowerbud. If you’re experimenting weed with pens, don’t forget to have a hit and wait about twenty minutes or so to see how it’s kicking in. If you desire to have a little bit more effect on your body, have another hit and repeat the process to avoid greening out

As always, have fun and be safe!


Author: Mary Jane

Gerald, A. (2022) 5 Best THC Vape Pens for Beginners to Try in 2022. HØJ. Retrieved from 

Mallen, B. Dab Pen vs. Vape Pen: What’s the Difference?. Secret Nature CBD. Retrieved from 

Weedmaps. Wax pen vs. dab pen vs. vape pen: What's the difference? Retrieved from 

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