The Science Behind Dab Vape Pens

Dab pens use heat to melt solid and semi-solid cannabis extracts. They also feature a battery and mouthpiece.

Unlike prefilled delta 9 THC, CBD, or cannabis oil cartridges, dabs are inserted directly into the atomizer’s coil or chamber. Once activated, the pen’s power button heats the coil and vaporizes the concentrate into smoke that can be inhaled.

Heating Element

A dab pen’s battery powers a heating element, a coil. The coil heats the concentrate inside the atomizer, turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled. Depending on the coil type, dab pens can produce high temperatures that result in potent hits. The best dab pens feature multiple precisely controlled temperature settings, allowing users to customize the experience based on their preference for cannabis concentrate and desired effects.

Most dab pens use ceramic or quartz coils to deliver a clean and flavorful vape. Quartz coils can reach higher temperatures than ceramic, so some users prefer these options. Dab pens usually have a mouthpiece that unscrews, revealing the atomizer. After the pen is charged, the user can load a small amount of their chosen concentrate into the atomizer. It’s essential to avoid over-loading the atomizer, as too much wax will cause it to overheat and potentially break down. Ideally, the user should start with a piece of material the size of a grain of rice.

Some atomizers have wicks that absorb the wax and help it melt onto the coil, while others are wickless and work better with runny concentrates. Regardless of the atomizer’s configuration, most dab pens have a donut-shaped dish holding the concentrate. Once the dab pen is loaded, the user can press the power button and inhale to take a hit.


Dab vape pens rely on a lithium-ion battery that powers the atomizer. The atomizer contains the chamber where you load your wax or concentrate, a heating element, and a mouthpiece to inhale the vapor. Most models allow you to adjust the temperature setting, which is essential for different types of concentrates. Live resin and distillate, for example, require higher temperatures to vaporize completely.

Despite their size, dab pens are potent devices with intense, immediate effects. 

Keep batteries charged properly. Overcharging can damage the internal components and cause the device to malfunction. Regularly clean the heating coil and chamber with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs.

Also, consider the most essential features – maximum portability or precise temperature control. Choosing the best wax vaporizer for your priorities ensures you’ll get the most enjoyment out of your device.


The mouthpiece enables you to inhale the vapor produced by the heating coils. This vapor is then drawn into the mouthpiece by your breath, and you’ll enjoy the cannabis concentrate in a much more convenient and discreet way than from a traditional dab rig.

You may notice some slight odor when using a dab pen, but not as much as you would from smoking dry herb or e-liquid with a vape device. This is because the vapor produced from a dab pen is very clean and contains minimal particulates that would otherwise be found in smoke.

Before using your dab pen, you should ensure it is fully charged. Most pens will come with a charging cord, so plug it in and let it charge completely. This will help you avoid wasting your product if the battery fails in the middle of your session.

Once the dab pen is fully charged, remove the mouthpiece from the pen to expose the atomizer chamber. Use a metal tool to scoop up a tiny amount of the concentrate you want to vaporize and place it into the chamber. Make sure to fill the chamber evenly. Replace the mouthpiece and click the button to activate the heating coil.

Depending on the type of concentrate you have, you will need to select your ideal temperature setting. Start low and work until you find the best setting for your flavor and vapor thickness preferences.


Dab pens require a little more finesse than vaporizers, as they’re designed for high-concentrate extracts and have smaller ovens. However, they’re straightforward to use once you get the hang of it. First, ensure your dab pen is charged and loaded with extract. Loading your cartridge in the center is best, avoiding the edges.

Once you’ve plugged in your dab pen, set the temperature to your liking (lower temperatures preserve flavor and are less harsh on the throat). Push and hold the button and inhale slowly. You can do as many hits as you want, but it’s essential to take it slow so you don’t inhale too much and end up with a coughing fit.

You can also dab your concentrate on the go with a dab rig, a more complex device offering more freedom and portability. To do this, you’ll need a rig with a heating element (often a titanium coil) that can be heated and cooled, a glass bowl for your concentrate, a dab tool for loading the concentrate, and a portable power bank to recharge your battery when it’s done. Remember that a dab rig can be expensive and require more maintenance.