Wax Pens or Dab Rigs: Which One is Right For You?

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Concentrates have become increasingly popular over the past few years, morphing the landscape of the industry we know and love into something many people are not quite familiar with. There are a slew of new products that have come out as of late that make consumers do a spit take. From full-blown dab rigs with titanium nails to complex vaporizers, these heavy hitting pieces generally come with a bit of a negative connotation. A lot of what turns many people away from trying concentrates is the stigma behind the act of consuming them – how it looks when you are using a butane torch to heat up a nail and drop the wax directly onto it. But, once you move past this alarming aesthetic, concentrates become far less intimidating and offer brand new ways to enjoy your smoking sessions.

The act of putting blowtorch to nail and blasting away until the plate is red-hot turns many smokers away, acting as the first big obstacle from traditional flower use to concentrates. Though, with the proper knowledge, many smokers can move past the trepidation they initially have with trying their hands at concentrates. And if you really think using a big rig is not for you, then there are always portable concentrate vaporizers that will do just the trick.

Vaporizers have become incredibly commonplace in the past few years, thanks to the surge of anti-smoking sentiment across the nation. These little devices are not just for nicotine consumption, though; they are also quite handy when wanting to dabble in the wonderful world of wax. The majority of people that tend to have issues with using large dab rigs and nails are more open to trying out herbal vaporizers and wax pens. For the most part, they are far easier to deal with than their big, glass counterparts, and they are less conspicuous when you are out and about.

Both wax dab rigs and vaporizers sport their own pros and cons. There are a plethora of reasons why you should try out one or the other (or both), but the decision falls primarily on legal cannabis users themselves and what they are comfortable with. Once you have all of the information about both products at your disposal, you can make an informed decision on which of the two methods will fit your needs properly. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy concentrates; personal preference reins supreme in the wax game, much like it does with traditional dry herb.

Similarities Between Wax Pens & Dab Rigs

  • Dab rigs and wax pens of all varieties are built specifically for the vaporization and consumption of concentrates. However, there are ways to retrofit your piece or device (for the use of nicotine e-liquid in the case of a wax vape or traditional flower in the case of a dab rig).
  • Both methods for consuming wax work off of the basic principle of using a heat plate, providing intense heat to and vaporizing the concentrate, though ways in which the plate is heated and the material it is made of span a wide variety.
  • Proper maintenance is an absolute must when it comes to all smoking pieces, whether they are vapes or glass. Concentrates are especially gunky on pieces, and tend to require a more thorough and frequent cleaning.
  • Both vapes and dab rigs come with a bit of a learning curve, making them seem daunting to new users (and even some long-time smokers).
    • Mod vaporizers tend to have a much steeper learning curve due to intricate button layouts with the more expensive devices.
  • Both wax pens and dab rigs come in various shapes and forms. Rigs and nectar collectors (smaller, more portable pieces) are available across the spectrum of price and aesthetic, much like glass pieces for traditional flower consumption. Wax vaporizers, just like with their nicotine-delivering counterparts, span a wide range of sizes, prices, and builds.

Differences Between Wax Pens & Dab Rigs

  • Though there are more portable options available in the form of silicone rigs or small nectar collectors (available in both standard blown glass or silicone), dab rigs are far less portable than wax vapes.
    • There are devices like desktop vaporizers that are not nearly as portable as their handheld counterparts.
  • Dab rigs take a lot more to get set up for your toking session than vaporizers, though they don't have any intricate electronics to worry about. Getting out a torch to heat up your nail is more complex than just dropping some of your favorite concentrate in an atomizer and vaping away.
  • Sure there are electronic nails available for dab rigs that reduce the chance of burning yourself, the traditional use of a torch to heat up a glass, titanium, or quartz nail comes with the inherent risk of burning your hand or someone else if you are not careful.
    • There are ways to burn yourself on some vapes, especially with those that have atomizers with detachable top-caps, but they are generally seen as far safer options for newcomers to the use of concentrates.
  • Going back to the maintenance discussion, there is very little that you really have to worry about replacing with dab rigs. Every so often, you will run into a situation where a nail or piece breaks and you have to replace it, but for the most part there is not much you have to throw your money at after the initial purchase with a dab rig.
    • Wax vaporizers use coil heads that need to be replaced every so often. You can tell how burned out your coil is with a quick glance; if it is gunky and black, it is time to replace.

Dab Rig Terminology

A lot of legal cannabis users tilt their chins up at dab rigs out of sheer intimidation and lack of knowledge about all its components. One of the most common questions from these types of people is what the deal is with nails and carb caps. The simple answer is to equate them to atomizers, or coil heads, from wax or nicotine vapes.

Vaporizers come with top-loaded coils that heat up thanks to the electric current pulsing through the device with every press of the firing switch. Nails are essentially the same thing as an atomizer; they act as a hot plate that you drop your concentrates directly on to. The two major differences between a coil and a nail are that you have to manually heat nails up (through the use of a torch) and you do not pre-load the wax or oil onto them like you do with a coil head.

There are multiple different options for nails, both in function and form. Many nails come in titanium, glass, and ceramic options, allowing users some personalization opportunities. For the most part, they all work the same way, leaving the decision of which to go with up to personal preference.

Carb caps are the next element of dab rigs that confuse a lot of people, even though they are fairly straightforward. Carb caps come in various shapes and sizes, but are generally constructed from silicone or glass. Simply, they are small circular pieces that cover up the nail on a dab rig while you toking away. Like a top cap with airflow holes milled out from a vape, the purpose of a carb cap is to aerate the material being vaporized, allowing smoke to be pulled through the piece and inhaled. You can pick one up for pretty cheap from just about any head shop out there, and they definitely increase the enjoyment you get from using dab rigs.

Vape With Variety

Much like nails for dab rigs, wax vape coil heads come in an array of choices, allowing for a little bit of personalizing. Each of the options works in basically the same way, but there are a few differences when it comes to how much flavor you get and how well they vaporize concentrates. From quartz rod coils to pancake coils and ceramic donuts, wax vapes allow you to customize your toking experience.

Quartz rods and ceramic donuts are the most commonplace types of atomizers that come with wax vapes. Companies boast constantly about having the best coil for this and that. The only real way to determine which type of coil head you should use is to use a variety and see which one fits your needs best. There is really no right or wrong answer when it comes to coil heads. Only real thing you have to keep in mind is that you should change out your coils every so often to keep your vape hitting at its maximum efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are searching for something new to help you get the most out of your concentrates, or you are green to the scene and want to start dabbling in wax, then you can't go wrong with giving either a dab rig of a wax vape a shot. Concentrates may look daunting at first, but with the right information and a little courage to voyage into the unfamiliar you will find that they are not nearly as scary as they seem.

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