What is a Vaporizer?
Vaporizers have become commonplace but with so many options, how do you know which type of vaporizer to get? Wax vapes and oil vapes are the two most common types vaporizers today due to their ease of use, portability and the popularity of these two types of concentrates. While there are 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 vapes that use interchangeable atomizers to vaporize wax, oils and even dry herbs, we’ll look at the fundamental differences and similarities between wax and oil vape pens in this article. These vaporizers are designed for one particular substance and they are optimized to vaporize either wax or oil/e-juice. People often have a personal preference of either wax or oil but we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each type of vape.
How are Wax Pens and Oil Vapes Different?
- Product Consumed – Obviously, the main difference between oil vapes and wax pens is based on what product you will be consuming. Wax vapes are designed to vaporize wax, whereas oil vapes are designed to vaporize oil. While some vaporizers can do both, most vaporizers focus on vaporizing one particular substance well. If you have an affinity toward either wax or oil, you should choose the correct type of vaporizer for the substance you prefer.
- Wax Coils vs Oil Chambers – The best vape pens use either quartz or ceramic coils to heat wax to the temperature at which it will vaporize. These can be used for about 6-8 weeks before the coils wear out. At this point, you’ll need to get replacement coils. On the other hand, pre-filled cartridges are common in oil vapes. These sealed cartridges have the heating element packaged into the cartridge so you don’t need to worry about replacing coils. When the cartridge is empty, just replace it with a new one. The other benefit of pre-filled cartridges is they typically limit mess as you don’t need to worry about refilling them. In addition to pre-filled cartridges, there are box mods that use refillable oil atomizers. Just like wax coils, these atomizers need to be replaced when they burn out, usually after about 6-8 weeks.
- Chamber Loading Process – Wax is loaded directly onto the coils in the chamber. Wax can get messy, but if you use a dab tool and are careful not to overload the chamber or get any wax on the outside of the chamber, you can keep your wax vape pretty clean. Pre-filled oil cartridges can save the mess of loading yourself. However, some users prefer to mix their own oils and will want to go with a refillable chamber. In this case, make sure not to overfill the chamber and ensure the chamber is completely sealed when putting it back in your vaporizer.
- Vaping Temperature – As wax is closer to a solid concentrate, it requires a bit higher temperature to vaporize. In general, you want to vaporize oil between 340°F and 445°F and wax between 420°F and 550°F. A lower temperature results in smooth, tasty vapor but you may not be ingesting 100% of the compounds in your wax or oil. A higher temperature provides a thick, heavy vapor that ensures you vaporize all the compounds in your wax or oil. However, a high temperature may start burning your wax or oil, resulting in a harsher smoke-like vapor. This can be especially hard on those new to vaporizing.
- Maintenance – While leaky oil can get a bit sticky, most oil cartridges are pre-filled and sealed, meaning there is typically very little mess unless something goes wrong. On the other hand, wax is sticky and messy. Even if you are careful, you’ll probably end up with sticky wax outside the chamber of your pen, sometimes even clogging the mouthpiece or airway. You can reduce this by frequently cleaning your wax vape with a cloth and 95% or higher isopropyl alcohol. If you want to avoid this altogether, go with an oil vape and pre-filled cartridges.
How are Wax Pens and Oil Vapes Similar to Each Other?
- Portability – Both oil and wax vapes are light, compact and run off batteries, making them very portable and great for travel.
- Discreet – As both oil and wax vapes are usually compact and portable, they can easily be slipped in and out of a pocket. Additionally, they heat up quickly, allowing users to vape quickly. Wax and oil vapor also dissipates quickly, so you don’t have to worry about bothering others around you.
- Easy to use – While some dry herb vaporizers can be a bit confusing and difficult to get the perfect temperature and pack, most wax and oil pens are super easy to use. They often just have one temperature setting and often you don’t even need to load oil vapes. Just turn your vaporizer on and you can start to vape. How much easier could it get?
- Battery – Oil and wax vape batteries are lithium-ion batteries, just like the kind in your cell phone. These batteries are measured in milliampere hours (mAh). This is essentially the amount of power the battery can hold. Wax and oil pens typically have a capacity around 600 mAh, however some have batteries as large as 1400 mAh. The bigger batteries will last longer and are often seen in higher-powered devices but they will also take up more space.
- Temperature control – While you see specific temperature controls in dry herb vaporizers, this isn’t typical in wax and oil vapes. When wax and oil vaporizers first hit the market, they didn’t have temperature settings at all. However, with the growing demand, there have been some box mod vaporizers introduced which usually have some sort of variable temperature, letting you choose between three heat settings for a more fine-tuned experience.
Wax Vape Tips vs Oil Vape Tips
Wax Vape Tips
- Keep your wax pen clean and clean it often to prevent build-up
- Always keep your wax pen upright to limit leakage, especially right after use
- If it becomes difficult to take a pull, the airway may be blocked. This can usually be fixed by soaking the mouthpiece in 95% or higher isopropyl alcohol. Just make sure to rinse the mouthpiece in warm water after.
- A variable voltage vape pen will let you fine-tune your vapor, getting either cool, tasty vape hits at a lower temperature or massive rips at a higher temperature
- Store wax in the freezer for easier loading. It will be less sticky and will only take an extra few seconds to heat up
- Never overpack the chamber – just place a dab about the size of a grain of rice directly onto the coils
- Avoid touching the coil or pressing down on it as this can damage the coils
Oil Vape Tips
- Make sure you are using the correct oil cartridge for your battery. Too much power flowing into a cartridge can burn out the heating element. This can happen immediately but, more often than not, will over time. If you burn out a fresh pre-filled cartridge long before it is done, it will be very frustrating as it is near impossible to drain the oil from the cartridge. Even if you could get it out, it would be difficult to consume as you can’t use it with your vape pen.
- Use a box mod for maximum temperature control and long lasting quality. Many box mods will also allow you to vaporize concentrates like wax in addition to oils.
- The SteamCloud Mini is a great box mod vape option for those with pre-filled and sealed skinny 510 oil cartridges
- If your vapor is too harsh and you don’t have variable voltage settings, just let your oil vape cool down for a minute and then continue vaping. Many oil vapes will just keep heating up, so if you’re using it for an extended time, it can get quite hot and start to burn the oil.