About this list

Welcome all! I'm Oron Mati, aka the VapeGuy, and my journey into the world of vaping cannabis began over a decade ago. Since 2016, I've completely switched from combustion to vaping, making it a part of my daily life. 

Over the years, I've tested dozens of dab pens and concentrate vaporizers on both my website and YouTube channel. To get insight into my testing and review process, read more about me and how I evaluate these devices here.

A common question I get on social networks is, “Which dab pen is the best for the money?” The answer varies based on personal needs, preferences, and level of experience. 

The above list showcases my top selections and is frequently updated as new dab pens are released. Also, I've included coupon codes where available – feel free to use them and reach out if you encounter any problems.

Authorized Retailers: I only recommend authorized dealers with whom I have had personal purchasing experiences. As the VapeGuy, I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Read my affiliate disclosure for more info.

What are Dab Pens?

Dab Pens (aka wax pens) are slim vaporizers that heat solid concentrates (such as wax, dab, rosin, hash, etc.) to a set temperature (~450-600°F) and extract the active ingredients without combusting the material. 

They consist of several components: a battery, an atomizer or heating chamber, and a mouthpiece. Dab Pens extract active compounds like THC and CBD, turning them into an inhalable vapor.

Dab pens have transformed the way we consume cannabis concentrates by offering a compact and efficient solution when compared to traditional setups.

Benefits of Using a Dab Pen

Dab pens have seen exponential growth in popularity among cannabis enthusiasts, and it's not hard to see why. Here are some key advantages:

Potency in a Pocket-Sized Package: Dab Pens are able to deliver potent hits from concentrates in a device that's no bigger than a standard writing pen. This compactness makes it incredibly convenient to carry and use discreetly, whether you're at home or on the go.

Discreet and (almost) Odor-Free: Dab pens produce an odor that dissipates quickly and doesn't linger. This feature is especially beneficial for those who prefer to keep their cannabis use private or for use indoors.

Flavor Preservation: Dab pens operate at temperatures that preserve the delicate terpenes, which are responsible for their aroma and flavor, in concentrates. This means you get to experience the full, pure flavor profile of your concentrates, which is often lost in combustion.

Healthier Alternative: Since dab pens don't involve combustion, they are considered a healthier alternative to traditional smoking. By eliminating the creation of tar and other harmful byproducts, dab pens provide a cleaner inhalation experience. Source: PMC research paper published in 2021.

Common Features of Dab Pens

Dab pens, while varied in design and capabilities, often share some standard features. Here's a look at some of them:

Preset Temperatures: Dab pens come with (typically 4) preset temperature settings. These presets typically range from around 450-600°F. Lower temperatures typically yield more flavorful, less dense vapor, while higher temperatures produce thicker clouds with more “throat hit.” 

Sesh Mode: ‘Sesh mode' is a popular feature found in many dab pens and is accessible (in most pens) by clicking the power button twice. This mode will keep the atomizer firing for a session of ten seconds without the need to keep pressing the button.

Coil Types: Bowl vs. Rods Atomizers

Two predominant types of atomizers are found in dab pens: bowl atomizers and rods atomizers. Understanding the difference between these two can help you choose a dab pen that suits your vaping preferences.

Bowl Atomizers: Bowl atomizers are smooth, bowl-like heating chambers, typically made of materials like ceramic or quartz. The heating element is usually located beneath the bowl, providing indirect heat to the concentrate. This heating method offers a gentle heating process, which preserves the delicate flavors and aromas of the concentrate. Bowl atomizers are efficient in low-temperature dabbing, delivering a flavorful, smooth, and less intense vapor. Additionally, their design makes them relatively easier to clean, as they lack the nooks and crannies found in rod atomizers.

Rods Atomizers: Rods atomizers consist of one or more rod-like heating elements, often made from materials such as quartz, titanium, or ceramic, and wrapped in a wire that heats up when electricity is applied. These rods come in direct contact with the concentrate, providing a more intense and immediate heat. This design is preferred by users who seek a more potent and immediate vaping experience, which is similar to traditional high-temperature dabbing. Rods atomizers are ideal for users who prioritize vapor production over subtle flavor nuances. 

Dab Pens vs. Other Vaporizers

The choice between dab pens, dry herb vaporizers, and oil pens largely depends on the user's preference for the type of cannabis product they wish to consume.

Dab Pens vs. Dry Herb Vaporizers:

  • Temperature Range: Dab pens typically operate at higher temperatures compared to dry herb vaporizers. This is because concentrates require more heat to vaporize effectively than dry herbs.
  • Vapor Quality: The vapor from dab pens is generally more potent and dense due to the concentrated nature of dabs. In contrast, dry herb vaporizers tend to produce a smoother and more nuanced vapor that retains more of the herb's natural flavor.
  • Portability and Discreetness: While both types of devices are portable, dab pens tend to be more discreet due to their smaller size and the rapid dissipation of vapor, making them ideal for on-the-go use.

Dab Pens vs. Oil Pens:

  • Type of Concentrate: Dab pens are designed for solid concentrates (wax, hash, rosin), while oil pens are used for liquid cannabis concentrates, such as distillate or 510 carts.
  • Heating Mechanism: Oil pens usually use a wick system for heating, where the oil is absorbed and then vaporized. Dab pens, on the other hand, use direct heating elements like coils or ceramic bowls to vaporize the concentrate.
  • Potency and Experience: Dab pens typically offer a more intense experience due to the higher potency of solid concentrates. Oil pens provide a more controlled and consistent dosage, which can be preferable for medical users or those seeking a milder effect.

Health & Safety Considerations

While dab pens offer a convenient and effective way to consume cannabis concentrates, users should be mindful of a few key aspects to ensure a safe experience.

  1. Purchase Concentrates from Licensed Dispensaries: Licensed dispensaries are regulated and required to comply with safety standards, including testing for contaminants and accurate labeling of THC/CBD content. Unregulated products might contain harmful additives or residual solvents from the extraction process. 
  2. Proper Storage of Concentrates: Store your concentrates in a cool, dark place to preserve their potency and flavor. Many concentrates are sensitive to light and heat, which can degrade their quality over time.
  3. Battery Safety: Given that dab pens are electronic devices, proper care of their batteries is essential. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, and use only the charger provided by the manufacturer to prevent battery malfunctions or damage. Properly dispose of batteries in accordance with the EPA guidelines

Conclusion: Finding the Best Dab Pen

As we reach the end of this comprehensive guide on dab pens, it's clear that finding the best one is more than just about picking a device. It's about matching your personal needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Whether you are an experienced user looking for advanced features or a newcomer seeking simplicity and ease of use, you can find a dab pen on this list.

The best dab pen is one that offers the perfect balance between vapor quality, convenience, and user experience. With the information and insights provided in this guide, you are well-equipped to make an informed decision. 

Happy vaping, and here's to enjoying a potent, flavorful, and satisfying experience with your chosen dab pen!

FAQs

  • Is dab the same as oil?

    No, dabs and oil are not the same. Dabs refer to solid cannabis concentrates like wax, shatter, and crumble, while oil is a liquid cannabis concentrate.

  • Are Dab Pens 510 thread?

    Some dab pens are 510-threaded and designed to be compatible with universal cartridges and batteries, but not all. It varies by brand and model. Check out my top-rated 510 batteries of 2024 instead.

  • Where can I buy THC dabs?

    THC dabs can be purchased from licensed dispensaries in areas where cannabis is legal. It’s important to buy from reputable sources to ensure product quality and safety.

  • Can I use dry herb in a dab pen? 

    No, dab pens are specifically designed for concentrates and are not suitable for dry herbs due to different heating requirements.

  • What are dab straws?

    Dab straws are a type of vaporizer for concentrates. You heat the tip and directly touch it to the concentrate, inhaling through the other end. Check out my top-rated dab straws of 2024 for some good options.

  • What is the difference between quartz rod atomizers and ceramic atomizers? 

    Quartz rod atomizers heat up quickly and provide intense vapor, ideal for high-temperature dabbing. Ceramic atomizers heat more evenly and slowly, offering a smoother and more flavorful vapor at lower temperatures.

  • Do wax pens smell like weed?

    Wax pens do produce a smell, but it is less pungent and dissipate quicker than smoke from dry herbs.

  • What type of Extracts can be used with a dab pen?

    Dab pens are compatible with solid concentrates such as wax, shatter, crumble, and rosin. They are not suitable for liquid concentrates like oils.

  • Can I use wax in a dry herb vaporizer? 

    Generally, no. Dry herb vaporizers are not designed for wax or other concentrates. However, some hybrid vaporizers come with attachments for concentrates.

  • Do wax pens get you higher than dry herb vaporizers?

    Wax pens can produce a more intense high quickly due to the higher concentration of cannabinoids in dabs compared to dry herbs.

  • How to clean a dab pen?

    To clean a dab pen, disassemble the parts and gently clean the atomizer and mouthpiece with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Avoid using water and ensure all parts are completely dry before reassembling.