What Is a Dab Pen? Beginner-Friendly Intro to Dabbing

by Jan 4, 2024Dab Pens0 comments

Dab pens are vaping devices that are designed to vaporize waxy herbal concentrates. They’re some of the most popular vapes on the market because they offer a great combination of portability and potency. There are several different types of dab rigs, but they all fall into two general categories: traditional desktop rigs and portable dab pens. We’ll describe all of the main types in this article, and we’ll also provide a beginner-friendly overview of how to use a dab rig and what you can expect from your first experience. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll feel much more comfortable about dabbing and should be ready to jump into it with both feet even if you’ve never used a vaporizer before.

Are you new to dabbing and wondering which vaporizer to buy? Try the Stinger electric dab pen. Priced at just $79.95, the Stinger never limits your options because it works with both oily and waxy concentrates. It’s also the cleanest and simplest dab pen on the market because there’s nothing to load. Just preheat the device and touch the heating tip to the material you want to vaporize. Dabbing couldn’t possibly get easier!

What Is Dabbing, and How Does a Dab Pen Work?

Dabbing is the act of vaporizing a waxy herbal concentrate. Concentrates come in many different styles and consistencies with names like shatter, crumble, rosin and budder. The thing that defines a waxy concentrate, though, is that it’s solid at room temperature. Oily concentrates, on the other hand, are liquid at room temperature and aren’t suitable for use with most dab pens.

A dab pen has a heating element with a surface that’s usually made of titanium, quartz, ceramic or glass. The element usually operates on battery power, although there are also some dab rigs that require manual heating via butane torches.

When you place a piece of wax – also known as a dab – on a dab pen’s heating element, it liquifies and then turns to vapor. You inhale the vapor and feel its effects within moments.

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What Are the Differences Between Dab Pens and Oil Pens?

Along with dab pens, 510-thread batteries – also known as vape pens or oil pens – are the other types of vaporizers that you’ll find for use with herbal concentrates. As the name implies, oil pens are intended for use with concentrates that are liquid at room temperature. Instead of placing the concentrate directly on a heating element as you do with a dab pen, you fill a vape cartridge with oil or buy a pre-filled cartridge and connect it to your device. Here are the key differences between dab pens and oil pens.

Pros and Cons of Dab Pens

Dab pens tend to be significantly more potent, allowing you to reach your desired state more quickly and with fewer puffs. That’s partially because of the potency of waxy concentrates and partially because dab pens usually have very open airflow to facilitate deep inhalation. It’s also common for dab pens to have built-in bubblers, which cool the vapor and make it even easier to inhale deeply.

A dab pen, however, only holds enough wax for a few puffs – and once you’ve used the wax, you need to add more. Dab pens can also leak if they aren’t handled carefully during use because they have large airflow vents, and wax turns to liquid when it’s heated. These factors combine to make dab pens less suitable than oil pens for on-the-go vaping.

Pros and Cons of Oil Pens

Oil pens tend to be less potent than dab pens. That’s partially because the concentrates themselves are less potent and partially because vape cartridges produce smaller vapor clouds compared to wax coils. However, the major benefit of oil pens compared to dab pens is that a vape cartridge holds enough oil for many puffs. Although oil pens may be less potent than dab pens, they’re still more potent than traditional dry herbs and are the most portable and pocketable types of vaporizers by far.

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What Are the Different Types of Dab Rigs?

Aside from the Stinger – which is a unique type of device called an electric nectar collector – dab rigs typically fall into three main categories. Those are:

  • Traditional dab rigs: A traditional dab rig is a desktop apparatus that usually has extensive glassware and is intended for use on a tabletop. This type of dab rig has a bowl – also called a nail or a banger – that’s made from glass or quartz. You heat the bowl manually with a butane torch before placing a dab in the bowl and inhaling through the dab rig’s mouthpiece. Because an electronic dab rig provides much the same experience without the need for manual heating, we’ll end our discussion of traditional dab rigs here.
  • Electronic dab rigs: Electronic dab rigs tend to be smaller than traditional rigs. They’re usually small and light enough to pass around during a group session, but they’re also too large to carry in your pocket. An electronic dab rig works on the same principle as a traditional dab rig, but the heating element runs on battery power and doesn’t require a torch.
  • Dab pens: A dab pen compresses all of the elements of a full-sized dab rig into a smaller form factor that fits in your pocket. A dab pen may consist of nothing more than a 510-thread battery and a wax tank, or it may be a slightly larger device with a built-in bubbler like the Stinger.
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How to Use a Dab Pen or Dab Rig

We’ll conclude this beginner’s guide to dab pens with a brief walkthrough describing what you can expect from your first dabbing experience. Before using any dab rig, we recommend reading the instruction manual. There are many different devices for dabbing on the market today, and they all have their own unique quirks. The basic operation of any dab rig, though, is usually fairly simple. Here’s how it works.

  • If you’re using a dab rig with a bubbler, you’ll start by adding clean water to the bubbler. The instruction manual will explain how much water you should use; you usually don’t want to fill a bubbler all the way to the top.
  • Next, you’ll turn the device on. This preheats the nail or coil. When the selected temperature is reached, the dab rig may notify you via a blinking light or haptic vibration.
  • Once the dab rig is preheated, you’ll use a spatula-shaped tool called a dab tool to retrieve a small portion of wax from your dab container and place it on the rig’s heating element. The wax will immediately begin to liquify and vaporize.
  • Finally, you’ll inhale through the dab rig’s mouthpiece to draw the vapor into your mouth.

If you’re using a push-button dab pen with a wax tank or coil, it works a little differently than described above because you need to put the wax on the coil before turning the device on. After loading the coil with wax, you’ll need to liquify the wax before inhaling deeply. You can do this by using your dab pen’s preheating function if it has one or by pressing the device’s fire button in brief pulses to warm the coil. Once the wax is fully liquified, you can hold the fire button and inhale.

When you use a dab pen or dab rig for the first time, it’s important to remember that herbal concentrates are much more potent than traditional dry herbs. If you’ve never vaped a concentrate before, you should start with a very small amount until you become familiar with the effects.

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