For (semi) old-timers like me, dab pens were a miracle device when they first crashed the weed vaping scene. Suddenly, dabbing didn’t have to be an adventure sport where you were quite literally playing with fire. Questions lingered, though. How long does a dab pen last? How long does a dab pen high last? etc etc.
Now, years later, it seems that the same questions are still being asked so here is a comprehensive set of answers that covers all the basics of dabbing, together with a guide on the best dab pens available today.
If you are a longtime dab pen user, skip right ahead to the 5 best dab pens list. If you are new to the scene, the lead-up to the list covers all you need to know to get started with dab pens. so please read on…
What is Dabbing?
Dabbing is the action of inhaling small amounts of concentrated cannabis resins (Cannabis Dabs) through a device. The most popular being, a dab pen or dab rig.
The device is heated, vaporizing the Cannabis Dabs, which the user then inhales.
What Are Cannabis Dabs?
A cannabis dab is a cannabis concentrate in solid (albeit sometimes very soft solid) form. It is a byproduct of oil extraction from marijuana buds.
You can perform the extraction in several ways but there are two popular methods. One is to rinse the herb in a chemical like butane or alcohol. Another is to use a rosin press, which presses the herb between two hot plates to extract the oil.
I personally balk at the idea of drowning my herb in some chemical that I would otherwise never put in my mouth. Add to that the flammable properties of butane and it’s easy to see why the rosin press is the better choice. Especially If you plan on creating your own dab concentrate at home,
The method and the exact technique determine the kind of dab concentrates produced. Three of the most common forms are shatter, wax/crumble and more recently, Rosin. Visually, the obvious difference is texture.
The first two are fairly self-descriptive – shatter is hard and looks like shards of glass while wax is wax although it can come with a crumbly consistency. Rosin is becoming more and more popular and if done right will appear to look like something in-between both shatter and wax.
In my experience, crumbly wax or shatter are the best choices for dab pens because you can easily drop a bit into the chamber and there’s no sticky mess. However, rosin is the safest to make and use.
The one thing all concentrates have in common is high levels of cannabinoids such as THC. This means that they are extremely potent so use with care if it’s your first time.
What is a Cannabis Dab Pen?
The naming committee was definitely lucid when they chose ‘cannabis dab pen’. It is a pen-shaped device for vaping cannabis dabs. Most dab pens are made for wax and shatter but some are also compatible with vape oils.
Generally, a dabbing pen consists of a wax atomizer which contains a heating coil or heated chamber made from ceramic or quartz. As with most vaporizers, the wax is placed in the heated chamber or on the coil. Heat then converts the concentrate into vapor for you to inhale.
Dab pens with coils usually deliver a harder hit while those with ceramic chambers are geared towards flavor.
Dab pens are more efficient than dry herb vaporizers, especially when paired with quality concentrates. Better still, there is hardly any residue to clean up. It is unusual to find leftover burnt wax in the chamber of a vape pen and it’s a telltale sign of low quality concentrates.
However, the biggest advantage of a vape pen over other vaping devices is discretion. Firstly because of their size and shape and, secondly, the lack of smell.
You can take small dabs for a decent hit and most people around you will never even realize.
Living the dream, baby.
How to Use a Cannabis Dab Pen
If you have never used a weed dabbing pen before, it can take some getting used to.
Creating the best vaping experience is like learning to dance with three partners simultaneously: the device, the form of concentrate and the temperature. This device-concentrate-temperature combination is unique – change one and the others shift as well. With some devices, the amount of concentrate in the chamber can affect your session, too.
Of course, this is only an issue when you are dabbling and weighing several different options. Most veteran vapers eventually settle on one consistent formula after experimenting for a while. This is especially easy if you have a vape pen with adjustable temperature settings. (I can’t even remember the last time I messed around with the settings of my pen)
Apart from this tweaking, using a dab pen is almost academic. Here is a quick guide to get you started:
- Remove the cap to access the coil or chamber.
- Use your dab tool to grab a rice-grain-sized amount of wax.
- Load it directly into the chamber or onto the coil.
- Replace the cap.
- Turn the device on (and set to around 400°F, if applicable).
- Once finished, clean out any leftover residue.
Note: This will vary for all dab pens so it’s best to read the manufacturer’s guidelines in the provided manual.
What is the Best Temperature to Vape with a Dab Pen?
There is a saying about old fashioned dab rig which goes “you have to waste it to taste it”. It is a reference to how the nail only extracts the best flavor from a dab when it is cooled to the perfect temperature, which doesn’t leave enough heat to vape the whole dab.
Fortunately, most dab pens today come with built-in temperature control settings. The device maintains a constant temperature that you set for the entire session, making wastage a thing of the past. Of course, knowing what the best temperature is, makes a huge difference.
So, What is the best temperature for vape dabs?
If you are after flavor, the best temperature to vape a dab is between 300 and 340°F. This range extracts the terpenes to perfection but the high might not be as intense. If you need a heavier hit at the end of a hard day, a temperature in the 380 to 440°F range will do the trick.
To get a happy medium where you are in the delicious embrace of a high but can still function, aim for around 350 to 370°F.
The combustion point of most dab concentrates is 450°F – anything over that will start to burn and I can assure you it is not pleasant.
How Long Does a Dab Pen Last?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many variables at play. These are the factors which have the biggest impact on the length of time your dab pen will last:
- Type of dabs – shatter, wax, rosin, oil, etc
- The volume of concentrate – the amount you place in the chamber/on the coil
- Device – vape cart pens that contain dabs mixed with a carrier oil such as PG last longer
- Draw – how strongly you inhale, and for how many seconds
With a standard dabbing pen for shatter or wax, you will get about 2-3 decent draws with a rice-sized piece of concentrate. A 1 gram vape cart lasts me around 2 weeks. It will last my wife closer to 1 month.
How Long Does a Dab pen Battery Last?
Dab pens and other mobile vaping devices are popular because you aren’t shackled to one spot to get high. Just like with landline and mobile phones, though, battery charge is a new concern.
There is no standardization between companies. Here is a small sample of reviewers’ and manufacturers’ descriptions of vape pen battery life:
- (It lasts) between 100-300 puffs.
- …240 mAh battery that can last for 180 to 200 puffs and takes 45 minutes to charge.
- …900 mAh battery that clocks in more than 50 high-quality puffs.
- …3,500 mAh battery that can last an hour and a half or 140 to 180 puffs.
You can see that the battery mAh rating is not an accurate predictor of the number of puffs nor of the battery life. Battery type and size, the user’s draw style and draw duration, temperature settings and the form of dab concentrate all have an effect on the length of time your dab pen battery will last.
How Long Does a Dab High Last?
This is the first question that gets asked whenever a new device, product or technique hits the marijuana scene. Yeah, yeah, that’s all fantastic, buddy, but how long will I be wasted for?
I remember my first time dabbing. With 20+ years of smoking our sweet mary jane, I thought that I could handle anything she threw at me. So I got my dab tool, scooped up a massive dollop of wax then 30 seconds later, the room was spinning and I had to go lay down ha…
So how long does a dab high last? Let’s go straight to the specifics. The short answer is, 1-2 hours before you reach that peak high, with some residual THC floating around for 1-2 hours after that. So, 2-4 hours but the exact duration depends a lot on your personal tolerance to cannabis.
For me, the high from dab pen session does not last as long as the high from smoking. However, I still prefer dabbing because the experience is purer and the effect is instantly harder.
Why Does a Smoking High last Longer than a Dab High?
In a dab pen, there is only vaporization and no burning so all you inhale is cannabis vapor. On the other hand, a lit joint burns the rolling paper and the pot inside it.
I suspect that the longer-lasting high from smoking is because of those ‘extras’ in the spliff. from burning your weed. The extra sluggishness that accompanies smoking sessions just reinforces my theory.
You will also notice that a dab session gets you high quicker. Dabs are a lot more potent than buds and will certainly take you to another level. That is the pure THC coursing through your system, freed immediately from its plant prison by the perfect heating temperature.
So, three takeaways in summary:
- a dab pen session get you high faster than a smoking session
- the high from a dab pen session is shorter than a smoking session high
- the longer high from smoking may be caused by unknown chemicals
How Long Does a Dab Pen Hit Stay in Your System?
The simple answer is: The same amount of time as smoking a bowl or using a dry herb vaporizer.
The body processes cannabis at the same speed regardless of how it enters the body and the potency of the cannabinoids in the strain. In most cases, you should be clear in about 1 month, but it depends on your body’s metabolism.
There are some things that may have the potential to accelerate the process, for example:
- High fluid intake
- Good nutrition
- Regular exercise
- Sufficient sleep
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the right diet and regimen may have you in the clear within 10 days. However, instead of finding a cure for cancer, some scientists are currently busy devising more stringent cannabis detection tests. So, if your police force physical is in two weeks, you might want to get the flu or something.
Do Dab Pens Smell?
This is another one of those popular questions that follow the release of a new cannabis device or product.: Do dab pens smell like smoking a joint? Will the cops/my boss/mom/wife know I’ve been vaping dabs?
Unless you are vaping the flavorless THC distillate then cannabis dabs will smell.
On the bright side, though, the amount of odor is not even close to what a joint produces. There is also no smoke to stick to you and your clothes, just vapor which dissipates much more rapidly meaning once you finish a sesh it will be almost undetectable.
However, the type of concentrate you are vaping and the pen you use make a difference. Some waxes smell exactly like dried cannabis buds so anyone who recognizes that scent may suspect you’ve been getting high.
You could vape pot right in front of other people and they will likely think it is a normal vape pen for nicotine-based liquids.
What Should You Look For When Buying A Dab Pen?
Every penny you save on your dab pen is a penny that goes in your cannabis concentrate kitty. Unfortunately, the sheer variety of device choices can be a maze for the uninitiated. Here is what you should look for before you put cash down on a dab pen.
Coil / Oven Type
The perfect wax atomizers are made with ceramic or quartz chambers and some have titanium coils. Ceramic and quartz heat the extracts evenly and can help to avoid that burnt taste that cheaper pens can produce while titanium coils can produce a powerful flavorful hit.
It is important to go with a reputable brand because some of the cheaper brands are just that, cheap fragile ceramic or quartz and often made with hazardous plastics and glues.
Ease of Use
I like a dab pen that is easy to use, a simple ‘set the temperature and go’ type of vape. Some things to look out for that will make your dabbing experience easier are adjustable temperatures, internal concentrate storage compartments, built-in dab tools, and replaceable batteries.
A dab pen is usually for out and about use, so it is important to choose one that is small, discreet and has a decent battery life. If it has enough battery power to last several sessions and you can still hide it in the palm of your hand, you are onto a winner.
A good warranty is usually a good indicator of the quality of the device. Most reputable cannabis vape companies guarantee their products for at least 1 year but some on our list below even offer a lifetime warranty on certain components.
Top 5 Cannabis Dab Pens
I have put together a list of the top 5 dabbing pens to help get you started. And to be honest, the order of the devices is a rough guide. They all have little things here and there that will suit different people.
#1 Mig Vapor Sol E-Nectar Collector
The Mig Vapor Sol E-Nectar dab pen is small, discreet and will easily fit in any pocket. It has a 2-in-1 function allowing the user the ability to use it as a nectar collector or a dab pen.
The pen uses variable voltage which is indicated by a light on the device:
Green – 3.2volts
Blue – 3.7volts
Red – 4.0volts
The Sol E-Nectar dab pen comes with 2 options for dabbing your wax, a quartz atomizer, and a ceramic coil.
It comes with a 400mAh Big Capacity Li-Polymer Battery which charges in 2-3 hours and has the power to heat the vaporizer in 3 seconds.
And last but not least the device has a hidden storage compartment for your concentrate.
What’s not to love?
#2 Kandypens Prism+
Along with the Kandypen Prism, The Kandypens Prism+ is easily up there with the best dab pens ever made. The vapor quality produced from the device is easily comparable with the best portable devices.
The Kandypens Prism+ comes in a compact design at just 4inches (10cm) tall. It is made from high-quality stainless steel making it not only durable but aesthetically appealing as well. As well as being available in both black or white.
It comes with a choice of the ceramic heating chamber or a dual quartz titanium coil all powered by a 900mAh battery. It also gives you, the user a choice of 4 heat settings – 320, 350, 390, and 430°F.
The Prism+ quite simply, have nailed the important part, which is vaping your concentrates,
#3 Utillian 5 Wax Pen
The Utillian 5 is a real powerhouse of a portable dab pen. If you are looking to get a hit as powerful as one from an authentic dab rig then the Utillian 5 is as close as it gets.
The device comes with 2 coils. One is triple titanium, and the other a twisted kanthal, These are powered by a 1050mAh battery with 4 power settings which are: 2.2V, 2.4V, 2.6V, 2.8V.
The device itself is made of stainless steel with an adjustable airflow on the atomizer.
If big heavy clouds are your thing and you don’t mind sacrificing on flavor a little then the Utillian 5 is definitely for you. It is an exceptional value for the money.
#4 Kandypens Crystal
The Kandypen Crystal features and all quartz heating system with a glass mouthpiece providing smooth hits and intense flavors.
The device is constructed of medical-grade stainless steel and features a powerful 900mAh sub-ohm battery.
The Kandypens Crystal has 4 heat settings (2.6V, 3.0V, 3.6V, 4.2V) and the 2 click sesh mode, leaving you with plenty of options.
Standing at only 10cm tall the Kandypen Crystal is a must-have if you are on the move and need to stay discreet.
#5 Linx Blaze
The Linx Vapor produces a number of cannabis vaporizers but the Linx Blaze Extract vape is the top-level device they offer. It comes in at a premium price but the cost is more than warranted.
The Linx Blaze is constructed of medical-grade stainless steel and comes with coil-less atomizers which are also made of medical-grade ceramic or quartz.
The Ace Atomizer delivers a longer lifespan while the Zero heats up instantly and delivers excellent flavor. This is also helped by their signature glass mouthpiece.
The atomizers are powered by a 900mAh battery which offers 4 heat settings.
The Blaze is 4 inches (10cm) tall and weighs in at 72 grams and comes complete with a carrying case and dab tool.
The LinxVapor Blaze is a device for the person that wants a bit of everything from their wax pen.