What’s The Difference Between Dabbing vs Vaping?

by Apr 19, 2022Vape Pens, Dab Pens0 comments

For generations, cannabis users have been limited in the ways to consume cannabis. All they could do was smoke a joint or use a bowl. Some tried cannabis gums and other edibles but still went back to smoking, as it was better. Thanks to advances in technology, now there are many other ways to consume the flower as a cannabis consumer. Two of the most common ways are: dabbing and vaping. Rokin is here today to explain the differences between dabbing vs vaping.

Both ways give you the ability to vaporize the cannabis concentrates and smoke the cannabis flower.

Due to their popularity, the options have led to a serious debate on which method is better.

This article will analyze how the two methods differ and answer the question of which is the best method to use.

Before we dig deeper into the topic, let us define what is dabbing vs vaping.

What is vaping?

Vaping is heating oil or concentrates to generate a light vapor that you inhale. You can do this in various ways, often using vape pens and vaporizer machines.

Cannabis consumers opt for vaping due to a variety of reasons. One reason is that the vapor from vaping tastes better, and you have a wide array of e-juices to choose from.

Vaping is also highly convenient as most vape pens can easily fit the pocket, they are odorless, easy to clean, easy to interchange the parts, and relatively cheap compared to other smoking devices.

What is dabbing?

Dabbing is the process of superheating an oily or waxy concentrate, then inhaling the vapors and smoke. Dabbing is traditionally done with a nectar collector, dab rig, dab pen, or portable e-nail.

People dab because the process is more potent than vaping. The higher concentrations of THC you will find in dabs and other cannabis concentrates significantly reduce the amount you need to reap the cannabis benefits.

Dabbing is also quick, different, easy to accessorize, cheap, versatile, and easy to take on the go.

Dabbing allows you to smoke a variety of concentrates such as shatter, wax, oil, crumble, and so on.

There are also a variety of smoke dabs, such as using a rig with a quartz banger, recyclers, mini rigs, a nail, dab pens, and so on.

Dabbing vs Vaping: What’s the difference?

Vaping might seem similar to dabbing, as both devices allow you to carry a portable pen-sized smoking device you can easily recharge and refill.

While this is the case, there is a difference between a vape pen and a dab pen, the main difference being that vape pens can only accept cartridges of oil concentrates (unless they use a wax tank) while dab pens can accept all types of dab concentrates, except for oils.

To understand how the two devices differ, we need to dig deeper.

Vape Pen Information

This section will educate you on the specifics of using a vape pen.

What is a vape pen?

A vape pen is battery powered, and you use it to inhale the vapor produced by oil or liquid cartridges. Vape pens have four major parts: sensors, tank, atomizer, and battery. These parts work together and heat up, producing the vapor you inhale.

When using the vape pen, the vape oil or liquid gets into the atomizer, where it’s heated into vapor, and you inhale it. You inhale the vapors through the mouth, consequently feeling the effects of cannabis and other essential oils that you have vaporized. Most vape pens are rechargeable and accept a wide range of pods and cartridges.


They are extremely easy to use. Even as a beginner, you don’t need any handholding.


  • You can’t easily customize or personalize them
  • They use cartridges / liquid forms of THC.
  • They can be cheaply constructed, especially if they aren’t from a reputable brand

Who are vape pens best for?

Due to their ease of use, vape pens are best suited for beginners just getting started on vaping.

Can vape carts expire?

Nothing good lasts forever, so yes, vape pen cartridges expire.

Most manufacturers indicate the expiration date as one year, but the cartridges can go bad before or after one year, depending on how you handle them.

How to make your THC & CBD Oil Cartridges Last Longer

It’s simple to do it. Some of the things to do include:

  • Protect your cartridges from direct sunlight by storing them in a drawer, glove box, fridge, or any other place, away from direct sunlight.
  • When it’s too hot, it’s unwise to store the cartridges in the glove box in the summer. Instead, store them in a cool dark place such as in the fridge.
  • Aim to keep the cartridge upright at all times, even between hits, as keeping the cartridge on its side is bound to cause leaks. There is also an increased risk of dust and dirt getting inside the cartridge and clogging the vape.
  • When you aren’t using the vape pen, turn the battery lock on to avoid mistakenly heating when in your pocket.

What causes vape carts to break down?

The vape cart will breakdown due to several factors:


It’s probably the biggest offender when it comes to damaging the cartridges. Heat degrades the cartridge’s potency and taste and can lead to leaks and damage to the battery.

To protect your cartilage, avoid leaving your vape cart sitting in your hot car or on a windowsill for hours. Put it in the glove box, pocket, or any other cooler place.

Light (UV radiation)

UV radiation is extremely harmful to cartridges as it breaks down THC molecules leading to loss of potency and flavor.

You should keep your carts in your backpack, pocket, or purse to avoid this.


Over time, oxygen will break down the active ingredients in your oil. In most cases, full vape carts will have a longer shelf life than half-used carts as there is less room for oxygen inside the container to degrade the THC.


Even if you keep your cartridge in the best possible shape, time will eventually take its toll. Even the most properly maintained vape carts have a shelf life, usually 24 months, after which you have to replace them.

Dab Pen Information

This section will educate you on the specifics of using a dab pen.

What is a dab pen?

It uses denser vaping substances, known as dabs, which are THC concentrates that produce more potent cannabis effects.

Dab pens use the same components you will find in vape pens and work almost the same. As a user, you place the dab/concentrate onto the coil included in the pen, then you melt the dab onto a wick. You can also use a Dab Straw that allows you to dip the straw directly into the concentrate. The pen’s wick then absorbs the liquid dab and heats it further into a vapor that you can inhale. Some dispensaries and packaging often refer to dab pens as wax pens. While the two are quite similar, dab pens specifically use dab concentrates. We can say dab pens are a subset of wax pens.


  • They provide you with the most control and room to try out different flavors.
  • You tend to take hotter vapes compared to vape pens
  • They use dabs that you can also use on a traditional rig


  • They are often more expensive than the more basic vape pens
  • They require a lot of upkeep and cleaning
  • Less discreet than vape pens and require some handholding

Who are dab pens best for?

Dab pens are best suited for those that have been vaping for some time and looking for a more intense vape. Since they are a little advanced, they require someone committed to maintaining them and fully understands how to load properly, clean, and replace different parts such as coils.

To get the most from your dab pen, avoid over packing it with cannabis concentrates as some heating coils can short circuit. You also should keep the dab pen clean by regularly wiping it with a q-tip and isopropyl alcohol.

Are dab pens better than vape pens?

There is no direct answer to this, as it depends on your preferences. Go for a vape pen if you are looking to vape with extreme ease and aren’t keen on using the most potent product or having a more involved experience.

On the other hand, if you are looking to vape with more control and use wax concentrates rather than oil cartridges, go for a manual dab pen.

How do you know that your dab concentrate is bad?

Like an old weed, an old dab concentrates won’t put your life in serious health danger, but it’s unwise to use it. This is because when you use bad concentrate, there is the risk of the taste being off, coughing too much, or even getting sleepy and developing a headache.

How do you know that you are using an expired dab concentrate? There are a number of things you can look out for. One is the viscosity and clarity of the concentrate. You can also tell if the concentrate is expired by its vapor. If expired, the vapor will have a noticeable bitter or sour taste.

How do you extend the life of your dab concentrates?

It is best to properly store wax, or any other cannabis concentrate because it can change and lose potency over time. A silicone container is perfect because dabs do not stick in this type of container. A cool dry place is also ideal, and you should keep it away from direct light. Exposure to direct light and excessive heat will break down your dabs. Also, excessive moisture can create mold which will make your concentrates unhealthy to consume.

Do vape shops carry dab pens?

Yes, they do. Vape shops stock vaping-related products, including nicotine and cannabis-related devices such as dab pens.

When you visit a vape shop, you will find a huge selection of vaping products and related products, such as tank-type cartridges and vape batteries dab pens and dab straws. You will also find a wide array of cannabis-compatible vaporizers that work with pre-filled THC and dry herb cannabis flowers and concentrates.

When you are buying a dab pen, take your time and find a reputable shop stocking high-quality pens that will give you an excellent vaping experience and last for a long time. 

Vape Pen TSA Rules

Are dab pen batteries allowed on planes?

Yes, you can bring your dab pen battery on the plane but ensure that you only carry it onto the plane. This means that you can’t pack them in the checked bag.

According to the FAA, each lithium-ion battery you have with you shouldn’t exceed a Watt-hour (Wh) rating of 100 Wh. If you are carrying a lithium metal battery, the lithium content shouldn’t exceed 2 grams.

In the event you forget and put it in the luggage that is x-rayed by the baggage handlers, you risk losing your batteries, and someone will likely rough your suitcases and their contents up. You risk having your luggage left at the departure airport sometimes.

When flying, it is recommended that you keep your batteries in your carry-on luggage. To be safe you can take your device out and keep it in your pocket after boarding. When carrying your dabbing batteries, it’s your responsibility to prevent accidental activation of the heating element. If traveling with extra batteries, keep them in safe plastic battery cases to avoid accidents If your mod uses external batteries, come with a battery charger.

Dab pen vs. wax pen (they are the same almost)

Both dab pens and wax pens make it possible for stoners to smoke discreetly anywhere and at any time. Both are also easily portable, and you can fit them in the purse, pocket, and plenty of other places. When comparing dabbing vs vaping you can see they are very similar.

Each type of pen comes in a variety of styles and shapes, so you have plenty of options to choose from.

Despite these similarities, they have their differences. One major difference between them is the concentrates they use. Vape pens are limited to cartridges using refined cannabis oil, (unless using a wax tank cartridge) while wax pens will vape thicker concentrates such as shatter and rosin.


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