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So, you finally decided to switch to vaping? Good for you! Whatever it is you’re smoking right now, it’s definitely not doing you any good – be that cigarettes, cigars, weed, or something else. Cigarettes are arguably the worst, producing around 6,000 chemical compounds while burning, 60 of which are carcinogens. However, smoking weed, while not as toxic, still has you inhaling carbon monoxide, which you definitely don’t want to do. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide on how to choose a vape pen that will perfectly fit your lifestyle. Since vaping has proliferated in the last couple of years and you can now vape on pretty much anything, we’ll try to cover as much as we can in one post – from e-liquid vaping and oils, all the way down to concentrates and dry herbs.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing a vape pen. A choice that was once a no-brainer (mainly because we didn’t have too many options) became very complex in 2017, with manufacturers putting out new vape pen models almost constantly.
Whenever you have to choose a vape pen you’ll be using for a while, stay focused on the following points.
- Vaping material – e-liquid, dry herb, concentrates, or oils?
- Heating method – convection, conduction, or induction?
- Functionality – looking for bells and whistles or a plain, old vaping pen?
- Battery life – always traveling about or have ready access to a wall socket?
- Materials and design – want it pretty or want it robust? Or both?
- Budget – how much money are you willing to part with?
As the title up there says, what we’re focusing here are vape pens – small, portable devices powered by built-in batteries. Why? Because we live in a fast-paced world. Whatever we’re doing we’re probably doing on the go, if not constantly then definitely throughout a good chunk of our day. That’s why choosing a vape pen that’s good, durable, and reliable is such an important (but, often, a painstakingly difficult) task.
What Are You Vaping On?
Different vaporizers and vape pens are intended for different vape materials. There’s a huge difference between a vape pen designed for dry herb vaping and one design for e-liquid vaping. If you want to do both, you will most likely have to buy two different vape pens, although there are pens that you can use to vape all materials – the ingenious V2 vape pen immediately comes to mind.
E-liquid or Oil Vape Pens
Even though you can generally vape both e-liquids and oils in a same pen, there are manufacturers that produce equipment geared toward one type of material. What you’re looking for in these pens is a tank (a glass chamber) equipped with an atomizer (with coils and wicks) where you can put your oil or e-liquid so it can get heated up.
A great example of this type of vape pen is The Kind Pen’s Discreet. Although not a true pen, it features a 0.8 ml glass tank that you can fill with e-liquid, THC oil, or essential oils and is packed with other features that will make your vaping easier and more enjoyable.
Concentrate Vape Pens
Concentrate pens are quite different from oil vape pens. The biggest difference is the fact that the material is not liquid so you need a bowl on which to place it to evaporate it and that bowl needs to be easy to clean (because residue tends to stick on it).
The Kind Pen’s Dream has a deep ceramic chamber for concentrates, equipped with quartz rods and titanium coils for a perfectly clean, unadulterated flavor.
Dry Herb Vape Pens
There are two types of dry herb pens – ones that use convection heating and others that use conduction heating. Both types heat up the material in a heating chamber but with the convection heating method that material is in direct contact with the heating element – a good example is this V2 vape pen that, with the added burner, can be used to vape dry herbs.
On the other hand, vape pens using conduction heating have a heating element that doesn’t touch anything else – the heat is transferred to the botanical chamber via hot air. The Truva vape pen is such a device.
So, which type is better? Let’s find out!
Convection or Conduction? Or Maybe Even Induction Heating?
We already mentioned two types of pens when it comes to the heating method. In fact, there are three and they are:
- Convection – your vaping material is direct contact with the heating element.
- Conduction – the botanical chamber is NOT in direct contact with the heating element.
- Induction – heating via magnetic fields.
Convection heating is used primarily by first-generation vape pens but that doesn’t mean it has no pros. Vape material that’s in direct contact with the heating element will heat up more rapidly and you can usually start vaping as soon as you press the fire button. Unfortunately, this also means that it’s that much likelier to combust and start burning. When that happens, you’re losing up to 30% of the good stuff to smoke, in addition to inhaling various chemical compounds that are produced by combustion.
Conduction heating has also been around for quite some time and it’s considered to be a step up by most – the vape material is not touching the heating element so there’s no risk of combustion. However, they need to heat up so you have to give them some time before taking a big puff. They also tend to be pricier than their convection counterparts.
Induction heating is slowly making an entry although there aren’t many vape pens on the market that boast this technology. It’s a fairly new heating method for vaporizers but it’s been around for years in stoves and welding rigs. One of it’s biggest pluses is the fact that you will get even treatment of your material and there’s zero chance of combustion occurring.
When we’re considering heating methods alone, it becomes pretty clear that choosing a vape pen is no easy task. Your choice will, again, depend on the type of your vaping material, how soon you want to be vaping after you load it, and your budget. Beginners should start with a simple vape pen using conduction heating to lower the possibility of the vaping material catching on fire.
Functionality – Simplicity or Bells & Whistles?
We’re not using the term bells and whistle here as anything derogatory – although the more electronics and functionality in a vape pen, the bigger the chances that something will go wrong. We use it to signal how easy to use a pen will be. Simple vape pens are a no-brainer – you put your vape material in, press the button, and voila! – you’re good to go.
However, there’s something to be said about expanded functionality. It allows you to perfectly tailor your vaping experience. Some examples are:
- Temp control or the ability to adjust the temperature
- OLED screen on a vape pen
- All-in-one vape pens used for more than one vaping material
- Programmable pre-sets
- Built-in safety measures
You would be correct in assuming that the more stuff is included with your vape pen in terms of functionality, the more it will cost you. Essentially, your choice will come down to how picky you are and how much money you want to invest. Added functionality is great but keep in mind that you can vape perfectly well on a vape pen that costs a reasonable $60, like The Kind Pen’s V2 model.
Vape Pen Battery Size & Life
Vape pens are powered by Lithium-Ion built-in batteries (for the most part, although there are better alternatives out there, such as Li-Polymer batteries) and there’s a great variety between them. As with everything else, you have to make a compromise here – this time it involves battery capacity and vape pen size.
For example, if you want a 1600mAh battery that will last you throughout the day (or several days, depending on your vaping habits) you’re going to have to make peace with the fact that the pen you buy will probably be sticking out of your pocket.
On the other hand, a 600mAh battery will hold a smaller charge but that charge will be packed in a compact vape pen that you’ll easily carry around and probably be able to conceal in the palm of your hand if needed.
Your choice in this matter will depend on several things but two of them are extremely important – what sort of output you’re expecting from the battery and do you mind if anyone knows you carry around a vape pen? The first question generally concerns eliquid vapers who can make a choice between how much power they want and who low they want to burn their coils. Lower resistance coils create more flavor and vapor but also draw more power, necessitating a bigger and more powerful battery.
The question of stealth vaping mainly concerns people vaping on marijuana (dry herb, oil, or concentrates). If you don’t want to advertise it you’re better off picking a smaller vape pen, despite lower capacity.
Construction Materials and Design
With so many vape pens flooding the market and so many manufacturers competing for the attention of the vaping community, duds are inevitable. So is cutting cost, skimping on testing, and using shoddy construction materials.
There’s a ton of materials a manufacturer can opt for when constructing a vape pen – stainless steel, titanium, quartz, high-quality plastic like PEEK or PP6, silicon, teflon, carbon fiber – you name it. The low-end stuff is usually made from silicon, teflon, or titanium alloys. You might want to avoid those – they might look like a bargain but their relatively low melting point makes them potentially hazardous.
The best choice would be high-grade stainless steel or carbon fiber body but those tend to cost a lot. Another (more than reasonable choice) are vape pens made from high-quality plastic with Pyrex glass components (for tanks and mouthpieces) and ceramic heating elements. If you’re using coils and rods make sure the coils are titanium or stainless steel and that the rods are quartz.
Budgeting for a Vape Pen
Your ultimate choice of a vape pen will, in the end, come down to one thing – how much you’re willing to spend. Pens made from high-quality materials, with powerful but small batteries, all-in-one capabilities, and expanded functionality will definitely cost you more than, let’s say a single-button-operated e liquid pen.
But that should be expected. This is a budding young industry with a lot of competition. The only advice we can possibly give you is to be careful when choosing a vape pen – it’s truly a case of you get what you pay for.
Luckily for you, you can always turn to The Kind Pen, a premium vape pen manufacturer. We have a wide selection of vape pens so making a decision will be easy, regardless of your budget. All our pens are made from high-quality materials and even though the cheaper ones might not have every single addition under the sky, they are more than capable of providing you with satisfying puffs throughout the day! Our high-end TruVa Mini + is definitely one of the best dry herb pens on the market, followed closely by our all-in-one champion, the V2. And, if you’re looking for an occasional oily puff, there’s always the affordable Slim Oil!
We hope this guide on how to choose a vape pen will prove useful when you’re making your choice. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!