Cannabis usage has become a widely accepted part of our culture. In the US alone, according to a survey, over 22 million adults use cannabis regularly. With this popularity comes an array of options, including vaping. And in the world of vaping, two popular options for cannabis consumption are dab pens and carts.
Dab pens, also known as wax pens, are portable vaporizers that are used to take dabs or concentrates. On the other hand, cartridges (or carts) are pre-filled tanks of THC oil that require a specific wax pen battery to be used.
Discover the differences between Dab pens and carts. Let's dive in and explore more!
What is a Dab Pen?
A dab pen is a small, portable device designed to vaporize cannabis concentrates like weed wax, shatter, and budder. Dab pens are often referred to as vape pens and function through a rechargeable battery that heats a coil, which then vaporizes the THC concentrate. Dab pens work by quickly heating marijuana concentrates, creating a vapor that users can inhale. That's why they're a handy alternative to using a dab rig.
Most wax pens are portable, easy to use, and ideal for those who prefer discreet consumption. Unlike a traditional dab rig, Dab pens are handy and do not produce as strong of a smell compared to other methods of consuming marijuana.
Dab pens are especially beneficial for people who want to be cautious about their cannabis consumption. In addition to saving your lungs from the harmful effects of smoking, dab pens ensure that you don’t consume more than intended. They provide a way for measuring intake, as these pens come in different sizes and are designed to control dosage.
How Does a Dab Pen Work?
But how exactly does a dab pen work? Let's break it down step by step.
Step 1: Heating element
The first component of a dab pen is the heating element. This can come in various forms, such as a ceramic, quartz, or titanium coil. The purpose of the heating element is to heat the concentrate to its boiling point, turning it into vapor for inhalation.
Step 2: Battery and power button
Next, we have the battery and power button. These are used to power the heating element and control the temperature at which the concentrate is vaporized. Some dab pens have preset temperature options, while others allow users to adjust the temperature to their preference.
Step 3: Chamber
The heating chamber is where you place your cannabis concentrate. It is usually located directly above or attached to the heating element. This is where you use a dab tool to load the concentrate which is then heated and turned into vapor.
Step 4: Mouthpiece
The mouthpiece is where you inhale the vapor from. It is typically located at the top of the dab pen and can be made from different materials, such as silicone, glass, or metal.
Step 5: Airflow control
Some dab pens come with airflow control, allowing users to adjust how much air flows through the device. This can affect the density and smoothness of the vapor produced.
Step 6: Rechargeable battery
Most dab pens come with a rechargeable battery, making them portable and convenient to use on the go. The battery life can vary depending on usage and can be charged through a USB port.
Step 7: Maintenance and cleaning
Just like any other device, you must ensure to keep your dab pen clean all the time. This includes regularly changing the heating element, wiping down the chamber and mouthpiece, and keeping the airflow vents clear.
Pros and Cons of a Dab Pen
Convenient and portable: Dab pens are compact and can easily be carried around in a pocket or bag, making them suitable for on-the-go use.
Discreet: Dab pens produce minimal odor, making them a hidden option for consuming cannabis concentrates.
Potent hits: Dab pens can produce solid and potent hits due to the high temperatures they can reach.
Easy to use: Dab pens are relatively easy to use, with minimal components and simple instructions.
Requires maintenance: As mentioned before, dab pens require regular maintenance and cleaning to function properly.
Cost: Dab pens can be more expensive than other types of vaporizers due to their specialized heating elements.
Limited capacity: Dab pens have smaller chambers, meaning they can only hold a limited amount of concentrate at a time.
High temperatures: The high temperatures used to vaporize the concentrate can sometimes produce a harsh and unpleasant taste.
What is a Cart?
The global vape cartridge market size was USD 1.8 Billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 2.18 Billion in 2032. A vape cart is a pre-filled container that contains cannabis oil or concentrate and is designed to be used with a battery-powered vaporizer.
These cartridges come in various sizes and can contain different types of concentrates, such as distillate, live resin, or CO2 oil.
While they may seem similar to dab pens, they have some key differences. Vape carts are typically disposable, meaning they cannot be refilled or used with different types of concentrates. They also have a lower temperature range than dab pens, making them better suited for beginners or those who prefer a milder hit.
How does a Cart work?
A vape cart works similarly to a vape pen but with some slight differences. Let's take a closer look.
Step 1: Cartridge and atomizer
The first component of a vape cart is the cartridge, which contains the cannabis oil or concentrate. The cartridge is usually attached to an atomizer, which vaporizes the oil when activated. Some vape carts have a fixed atomizer, while others allow for interchangeable ones.
Step 2: Battery and power button
Like dab pens, vape carts also require a vape pen battery to power vaporization. Most vape pen batteries are button-activated or draw-activated, which turns on when inhaling from the mouthpiece. Some batteries also have variable voltage options, allowing users to control the temperature of the vapor.
Step 3: Mouthpiece
The mouthpiece is where you inhale the vapor from. It is typically located at the top of the cartridge and can be made from different materials such as plastic, metal or ceramic.
Step 4: Airflow control
Similar to dab pens, some vape carts also come with airflow control, allowing users to adjust how much air flows through the device. This can affect the density and smoothness of the vapor produced.
Step 5: Maintenance and disposal
One significant difference between dab pens and vape carts is that vape carts are typically disposable. Once the oil or concentrate has been used, the cartridge is disposed of, and a new one is needed. This means there is no need for maintenance or cleaning, making them a more convenient option.
Pros and Cons of a Cart
Easy to use: Vape carts are simple and easy to use, with minimal components and no need for maintenance.
Discreet: Like dab pens, vape carts produce minimal odor, making them a discreet option for consuming cannabis concentrates.
Convenient: With their disposable nature, vape carts are convenient for on-the-go use.
Lower temperature range: The lower temperature range of vape carts makes them better suited for those who prefer a milder hit.
Limited options: Vape carts typically only work with one type of concentrate and cannot be re-filled or used with different types.
Lower potency: Due to the lower temperature range, vape carts may not produce as strong or potent hits as dab pens.
Cost: Like dab pens, vape carts can be more expensive than other types of vaporizers due to their specialized components.
Waste: As vape carts are disposable, they contribute to waste and may not be the most environmentally friendly option.
Dab Pen vs Cart
Both dab pens and vape carts offer convenient ways to consume cannabis concentrates, but they have some key differences. Let's compare the two:
Can be re-filled and used with different types of concentrates
Produces strong and potent hits due to higher temperature range
Requires maintenance and cleaning
More expensive than other vaporizers
Disposable and convenient for on-the-go use
Simple and easy to use with no maintenance required
It only works with one type of concentrate
A lower temperature range may result in milder hits
Personal Preferences: Which one should you choose?
- Factors to consider
Ultimately, the choice between a dab pen and a vape cart will depend on personal preferences. Some factors to consider when making this decision may include:
Type of concentrate:
If you prefer using different types of concentrates or have access to a variety of options, then a dab pen may be more suitable.
If you prefer solid and potent hits, then a dab pen with a higher temperature range may be a better option.
A vape cart's disposable nature may be more appealing if you're always on the go and value convenience.
Consider your budget when making this decision, as dab pens can be more expensive than other types of vaporizers.
Similarities Between Vape Pens, Wax Pens & Dab Pens
All three types of cannabis pen have specific similarities, such as being versatile, portable, and having good battery life.
Vapes, wax pen and dab pen are the best substitutes, as smoking cannabis flower can be done at any location effortlessly with no or minimal storage costs for a stoner.
One of the most obvious similarities between these three types of pens is their design. They all have a similar pen-like shape, with a slender and cylindrical body that makes them easy to hold and use. This design also allows for discreet vaping, making it possible to use these devices in public without drawing too much attention.
All three types of pens work similarly, using a heating element to vaporize the concentrate or oil. They also have a mouthpiece for inhaling the vapor and a battery to power the device. The main difference between them is the type of material they are designed to vaporize - e-juice for vape pens, wax for wax pens, and concentrates for dab pens. However, some devices on the market are designed to work with multiple materials, blurring the lines between these categories even further.
Another similarity between these pens is their features. Most of them have a single button or no buttons at all, making them easy and intuitive to use. They also typically feature a rechargeable battery and come with USB charging capabilities. In addition, many devices have variable voltage or temperature settings, allowing users to customize their vaping experience. Some models also come with additional features such as adjustable airflow control and different coil options.
Vape pens, wax pens, and dab pens are all designed with portability in mind. They are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry around in a pocket or bag. This makes them a convenient option for on-the-go vaping and allows users to enjoy their favorite concentrates wherever they are.
While high-end options are available, most vape pens, wax pens, and dab pens are relatively affordable compared to other types of vaporizers. They also require less maintenance and upkeep, making them a cost-effective choice for those who use concentrates frequently.
The Bottom Line: Dab Pen VS Cart
Ultimately, choosing between a dab pen and a vape cart will depend on personal preferences.
Both options have pros and cons, so it's essential to consider factors such as the type of concentrate you prefer, your desired potency level, convenience, and cost when making this decision. Whichever option you choose, be sure to research reputable brands and read reviews to ensure you're getting a quality product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dab pens and carts the same?
A dab can sometimes have much greater potency than hitting from a cart. Dabbing pens have a much higher vapour output than carts. You have three or more large hits in a cart for the same effect as a simple hit on a dab pen.
Are dabs better than carts?
Dab pen and cartridge are distinctly different products. Typically dabpens are regarded as stronger than carts because it contains ten times more cannabis extracts. If you do so, you vaporize cannabis concentrate or wax, which often contains much higher THC (psychoactive component).
Are dab pens stronger?
Vape Pens use less heat to apply more cannabinoids extract in the air. Dabs apply higher temperatures directly onto denser concentrates. Both of these dabs offer a more powerful high with a hit-for-hit effect.