Guide to Concentrate Vaping – All the Essentials In One Place

Are you tired of smoking? Poisoning your body with compounds that are a direct result of combustion? For example, marijuana contains over 400 chemical compounds – not all of them are good for you! Hundreds more are produced when you burn the plant. So if you want to say ‘goodbye to wheezing, coughing, and generally being short of breath, it’s time to switch to concentrate vaping.

Concentrate vaping is rapidly gaining in popularity, ever since laws regarding medical marijuana have become more lenient and some states in the US actually allow patients to get marijuana legally. Others have gone even further, such as Alaska, Colorado, and California, legalizing marijuana for recreational use. All of this has boosted the use of herbal concentrates, also called dabs by the community (dab is defined as a small portion of something, hence the terms dab vaping and dab vaporizer pens) and, in the process, encouraged vape manufacturers to focus on producing quality dab pens, paying special attention to wax pens.

Benefits of Concentrate Vaping

Why concentrate vaping?

That’s a fair question. There are dozens of great dry herb vaporizers on the market. For the most part, they are affordable and practical, so why would you want to switch from them? To answer that question, let’s take a quick look at the overall benefits of herbal concentrate vaping:

Increased Potency

As the name implies, concentrates are more powerful than run-of-the-mill dry herb vaporizers because more active ingredients are packed in a smaller amount used for vaping. This is a huge benefit to medical marijuana users who need to inhale (or ingest) larger quantities that are prescribed by their doctor. It’s also not half bad for recreational users who want a better hit.

Generally, there are four types of concentrates (or dabs), each with a varying potency. They are shatter, crumble, budder, and wax. In addition to differing potency, they will also vary in flavor and consistency.

  • Shatter – the most potent type of concentrate with up to 80% purity. Shatter is glass-like and will break into pieces if not handled carefully. Since it’s solid, handling shatter is pretty easy – you just break off a little piece and place it into an atomizer or a heating chamber of your concentrate vaping pen and you’re good to go.

  • Crumble – similar to shatter, crumble is also glass-like, although a bit more sticky. It’s easy to handle but not as potent as shatter.

  • Budder – budder resembles peanut butter, meaning that it’s more malleable than shatter or crumble. This also makes it a bit more difficult to handle so you usually can’t do it by hand – it needs to be done with a small, pincer-like dab tool. Budder is made differently from crumble and shatter and contains more terpenes (flavor-rich compounds) so it’s also more flavorsome. However, what it makes up in flavor it lacks in potency.

  • Wax – wax is probably the most popular entry on this list because it’s the easiest one to get and it’s the most affordable. Wax concentrate needs to be handled with a dab tool since it has a slightly runny consistency and it tends to stick to everything. Potency-wise, it’s the weakest out of four (generally around 60% purity, which is not bad but it’s nowhere near the 80% for shatter) but makes up for that by being extremely flavorsome.

Intensive Flavor

While flavor varies dramatically with the type of botanical extract you choose to use, it’s safe to say that concentrate vaping beats both smoking and dry herb vaping in that department. That’s because the flavor is concentrated and undiluted. When you’re smoking, a lot of other burning chemicals get in the way of pure flavor and color it. If you’re big on it, this purity of flavor is a benefit of concentrate vaping you’re definitely going to like.

Quick and Discreet Vape

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to go through that whole song and dance of rolling your doobie and then smoking it. Other times you just want to do it as low-key as possible. Vapor emanating from a wax pen is almost inconspicuous (not completely, of course) – it doesn’t stick to your clothes and it won’t smell up your house. Load up your vape pen, take a quick hit, and go your merry way without anyone being any wiser.

Types of Concentrate Vaporizers (Desktop, Dab Pens & More)

We can generally categorize concentrate vaporizers in four distinct groups: desktop concentrate vaporizers, e-rigs (e-nails), portable non-pens, and vape pens. Users, and the industry, are slowly moving predominantly towards concentrate vape pens but other gear also has its merits so will touch briefly on it.

Desktop Concentrate Vaporizers

These are very similar to all the other desktop vaporizers on the market. They are not portable and are larger than other types. Used primarily for group vaping sessions, desktop concentrate vaporizers can be corded (more common) or battery powered. The vapor is usually collected into a balloon and then inhaled from it. Alternatively, it can be inhaled through a tube (called a whip) directly from the unit.

E-rigs (E-nails)

Vapor from a concentrate tastes that much better when it’s cooled to a proper temperature. Small, portable e-rigs enable you to do just that. They are usually battery-powered and have a small titanium nail on which the concentrate is placed. The nail heats up rapidly, vaporizing the concentrate and delivering vapor through a water attachment, where it’s cooled, allowing for deeper, more satisfying puffs.

Portable Non-pens

If you’re not a big fan of vape pens and everything that comes with them – atomizers, wicks, and coils which can make use slightly complicated – you can opt for a non-pen portable vaping device. These portables use an ingenious skillet design for easier vaping. You simply place a dab of your concentrate on the skillet, which heats up when activated. The vapor is then inhaled through a whip. As far as these devices are concerned, their biggest pro is the fact that they can fit more concentrate and be used by more than one person, despite being small and portable.

Concentrate Vape Pens

Concentrate vape pens, such as dab vaporizer pens and wax vaporizer pens, are by far the most common way to inhale evaporated botanical extract. In essence, they are very similar to other vaping pens used for dry herbs and e-liquids, with a few minor adjustments made to the atomizer.

They are portable and battery-powered so you can vape on the go. Since this is a concentrate vaping device you’re most likely to end up buying, we’ll go into them in a bit more detail so you get an idea of your options and various pros and cons.

Anatomy of a Concentrate Vape Pen


Above is an image of a standard wax pen. As you can see, it doesn’t differ much from your e-liquid pen in a sense that it has a battery with a standard 510 connection, an atomizer, and a mouthpiece. Although this pen is marketed as a wax pen there’s nothing stopping you from vaping on any other type of concentrate with it (shatter, crumble, or budder – we’re not talking about oils here). All concentrate vape pens are pretty much the same – what you’ll be able to vape doesn’t depend on the pen as much as it depends on the type of the atomizer you’re using.

Here’s a quick rundown of concentrate vape pen parts and different styles and functions.

Battery

All vape pen batteries are designed for a single purpose – to power your vape. While there are differences in colors, capacity (800mAh, 1200mAh, 2000mAh, and so on), and advanced functionality, their principal purpose remains the same, regardless of the brand or the manufacturer. Most internal vape pen batteries are Lithium-Ion batteries because they are the safest and hold the charge best. They are usually fitted with a 510 thread connection so they can be used with various atomizers.

Depending on the brand, the battery will deliver either single pre-set temperature or be capable of delivering variable charge and allow for temperature control. Temp control batteries will have a small knob on the bottom, allowing you to choose a temperature between 350 C – 430 C. This is a great feature because not all botanical extract have the same evaporation point. A temp control unit allows you to vape different types of concentrates with a single setup.

Different Types of Concentrate Vape Pen Atomizers

What’s an atomizer?

An atomizer is a piece of your vaporizer that contains the heating element. It’s also where you put your concentrate – it can be placed directly onto the heating element or in a flat plate above it.


There’s a difference between the two approaches. The first approach uses the
conduction method of heating. The concentrate is heated up quickly and evaporates faster, resulting in a stronger hit. However, if a flat plate is used then the concentrate doesn’t touch the heating element. The heating method used there is called convection heating – hot air heats the concentrate resulting in a more even vape.

Conduction atomizers (the ones where the concentrate comes into direct contact with the heating element) are further divided into:

  • Wicked – usually used for highly viscous concentrates such as wax, these atomizers have an absorptive fiber running through the coils (usually silica), which absorbs the wax that’s then heated, creating a flavorful, consistent draw.
  • Wickless – these atomizers have a ceramic or quartz rod running through the coils. They are used by vapers looking for a clean, powerful hit but will also burn through your concentrate that much faster.

As mentioned, if you’re into convection heating (no direct contact with the heating elements), you can get a vape pen with a ceramic or quartz dish onto which the concentrate is placed. Your concentrate will burn slower (so there’s a lower chance for a burnt taste) and will generally last longer.

The new industry standard these days are titanium coils (featured in the V2 vaporizer by The Kind Pen) and quartz rods (available with the Bullet vaporizer). Manufacturers mostly used ceramic and SS wires in the past, but these new materials offer a better, cleaner taste and, at the same time, minimize the possibility of a dry hit (burnt taste).

Mouthpiece

The last (but essential) piece of your wax vape pen – or any other vape pen – is the mouthpiece. What do you do with it? Well, you suck on it, of course! It transports the vapor from the heating chamber into your mouth. A mouthpiece is usually made from heat-resistant plastic, glass, or ceramic, although it can be metal. Mouthpieces can be narrow or wide, long or short. It will depend on your preference. Do you want warmer vapor and a bit of a throat hit? Go with a short, narrow mouthpiece. If you prefer colder vapor, a wide bore mouthpiece will suit you better.

Concentrate Vaping in a Nutshell

As you can see, concentrate vaping is not as complicated as you might have believed. This guide gives you all the essential information to make an informed decision when buying your first wax vape pen. Just keep in mind that a lot of it will come down to your vaping style and personal preferences. However, there’s no denying that concentrate vaping has a lot of benefits:

  • Better, more powerful hits
  • More intense flavor
  • Ability to stealth vape

If you have anything to add, make sure to drop down to the comments section! If you’re ready to buy a vape pen (for concentrates, dry herbs, oils, or e-liquids) head over to The Kind Pen sales page – whatever it is that you’re looking for, we can guarantee that you’ll find it there!

Anthony

2 thoughts on “Guide to Concentrate Vaping – All the Essentials In One Place

  1. Kylie Dotts says:

    I didn’t know that a wickless atomizer uses quartz in order to vaporize the concentrate. Quartz rod products would probably make great conductor which would, in turn, make for a good clean vaporization of whatever you are using. I wonder what else they use this kind of conductive material for.

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