Dab Pen vs Vape Pen

Differences & Benefits You Should Know 

Vaporizers have been around the block for a while now. Recently, they have been gaining even more popularity as cannabis use has become more widely accepted in many states across the country! Now in portable sizes, they provide a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis because you can take them with you pretty much everywhere! There are many types to choose from, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. If you are trying to choose between a dab pen vs. vape pen, you might have wondered, “What’s the difference between dabbing and vaping?” Don’t worry, we got your back! We can share some insight on the dab vs vape pen confusion to help make your shopping experience a little more enjoyable. While dab pens and vape pens share some similarities, they both have their own specific uses.   

Is a Dab Pen a Vape? 

So is a dab pen a vape, you might ask? Since dab pens can help inhale vapor, yes, they are technically a vape! Don’t let this confuse you, though, because this does not equally mean that vape pens are dab pens. The main difference is that a dab pen is a device made specifically for dabbing concentrates on the go. On the other hand, a vape pen is made specifically for using with pre-filled cartridges containing cannabis oil. We are about to go over the basics, so you can learn more about the differences when it comes to dab vs. vape. First, let’s dive into how dab pens and vape pens work.  

How Does a Dab Pen Work? 

A dab pen is basically a portable dab rig that makes dabbing easier than ever before. Unlike a dab rig, a dab pen heats up quickly and is discreet enough to take anywhere, thanks to its compact size. A dab pen uses a coil heating element designed to reach higher temperatures in order to vaporize your concentrate of choice. There is a wide variety of concentrates that can be used in a dab pen, including wax, budder, or shatter just to name a few. You use a metal dabber tool to scoop up a small amount of wax and place the wax on the coil to load it up. These concentrates are available in diverse strains and possess a significantly higher potency compared to the cartridges that are pre-filled for use with vape pens. These concentrates are available in diverse strains and possess a significantly higher potency compared to the cartridges that are pre-filled for use with vape pens. Once you’ve loaded your concentrate, you are ready to let your dab pen heat up and take a puff. It is best practice to clean up after each use.   

How Does a Vape Pen Work? 

When it comes to vape pens, you have some different options to choose from; a pen or disposable. Most vape pens are used with cannabis oil, which is more like a liquid compared to the wax-like concentrates you would use in a dab pen. The majority of vape pens are mostly just a battery that you can twist onto a pre-filled cannabis oil cartridge, or cart for short. They don’t require any heating beforehand, so they are ready to go after attaching your cart. There are also disposable vape pens available that come pre-filled with cannabis oil and can be thrown away when they are finished. Overall, a vape pen is going to be less messy than a dab pen because you don’t have to worry about scooping up wax or cleaning coils, just twist on a new cart or grab a new disposable. Carts and disposables also come in many strains to choose from, but they aren’t going to be as potent as the concentrates that are meant to be used in a dab pen.  

Dab Pen vs Vape Pen: What’s the Difference? 

If you are still wondering, “What is a dab pen vs. a vape pen?” here is another way to think about it. Some dabs pens and vape pens look alike because of their compact size, but they have some key differences that are worth mentioning. While dab pens and vape pens are both portable and use similar components, they each work differently because they are made for vaping different types of cannabis products. A dab pen is designed to heat up to the higher temperatures needed to vaporize concentrates. On the flip side, a vape pen uses lower temperatures to vaporize cannabis oils. Here is a breakdown of some of the main differences between a dab pen vs vape pen.   

Type of Cannabis Concentrate 

Are dab pens and carts the same? The simple answer is no. A dab pen is used for vaping a variety of cannabis concentrates like wax, budder, and shatter. With a dab pen, you must manually load your concentrate of choice before each use. These concentrates provide a very potent cannabis effect after just a single dab. A vape pen is used for vaping pre-filled cartridges containing cannabis oil. These pre-filled carts will provide a convenient and less messy experience. Another plus is that the carts can easily be switched out if you would like some extra variety throughout your day. The cannabis oil in pre-filled carts will also deliver a less potent cannabis effect, which makes it easier to control with multiple puffs until you reach your desired level.  


One of the main differences between dab vs vape is the temperatures that they use. Most devices will have a temperature control function that adjusts the power being sent to the coil, which in turn adjusts the temperature it will reach. (You may also choose to run a lower, medium or high temperature, depending on if you would like a lower temp to taste more flavor or higher temp to produce more clouds. A medium temperature will give a more balanced hit.) A dab pen uses a more powerful battery, allowing it to heat up to a higher temperature in order to vaporize the concentrate. Some dab pens may also need to heat up before you can use them. Then you have vape pens that have a less powerful battery because they use a lower temperature to vaporize the cannabis oil in a pre-filled cart. Unlike a dab pen, it will be ready to go without heating up beforehand.    


When it comes down to maintenance, a dab pen is going to be a little more demanding since it needs to be cleaned regularly. It is best practice to clean out the coil and chamber after each use to prevent build up so that you can be sure to get the best dabbing experience. You can clean it out easily with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. A dab pen will also need to have its coil replaced occasionally, depending on how much you use it. The maintenance for a vape pen is going to be much more convenient because there is no cleaning required. Once the oil cartridge is empty, you can simply just throw it away and replace it with a new cart. Since disposable vape pens have a pre-filled cartridge that is built into the device, once the cart is empty, you can simply toss the entire device.  

Dab Pen vs Vape Pen: Which is Right for Me? 

We understand that with all the different devices available today, it might be hard to choose which one is right for you. While you really can’t go wrong with either choice, there are some qualities that might make one option more preferable over the other, and it all really depends on what you are looking for. If you prefer instant gratification, a dab pen would be a better choice since the strong, waxy concentrates will give you a more potent effect in just one single hit. A dab pen is also a good choice for flavor connoisseurs. If convenience is more your style, a vape pen may be more suitable for you since it requires zero maintenance and is ready to go once it is charged and the cartridge is in place. A vape pen may also be a safe bet if you would rather slowly build up to your desired level instead of getting hit with it all at once.   

Vaping Essentials from Strio 

With all the key differences between the vape pen vs dab pen mentioned, any confusion you once had should be cleared up, and you can now have some peace of mind when choosing your next vape device. If you are still unsure if you should get a dab pen or a vape pen, remember, it never hurts to have one of each. That way, you’ll be ready for any occasion! So, whether you decide on getting a dab pen, vape pen, or even both, you can find the highest quality devices here at Strio. We are always designing new and unique products so that you can have the latest smoking and vaping gadgets in your collection that are sure to impress your best buds!