Blog Menu

A Guide To Buying Your First Vape Pen

by Christy Coy 6 min read


Vape Pen Beginner's Guide

There is a lot of information circling around about vape pens and how to use them. With the popularity of these devices at an all-time high, the option available can be overwhelming, especially to those new to the scene.

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about vape pens, from what they are to how to buy the one that is just right for you!

There are many considerations to go over before making your first purchase. The places you will be smoking, the type of concentrate you wish to use, and your budget all matter when it comes to selecting your new pen. 

Let’s start with the basics and dig in deeper as we go along…

What Is A Vape Pen?

A vaporizer pen, better known as a vape pen, is a device uniquely designed and engineered to heat up a substrate (usually e-juice, dry herb or concentrates) to a temperature at which this substrate or material “vaporizes” but does not combust.

Vape pens are similar to e-cigarettes in shape, offering a popular way to enjoy concentrates and other materials that otherwise would need to be smoked or dabbed. Considered healthier than a traditional smoking device, such as a paper cigarette, vapes use e-liquid, herbs, wax, or oils that are vaporized into an inhalable vapor full of potent botanicals and active ingredients to elicit the desired effect.

There are different types of vape pens, just as there are different types of smoking devices. Many people choose vaping over smoking for the purported health benefits, ability to use discreetly, convenience, portability and more. Others want to quit smoking and use vapes as a transitional device, helping them wean off of tobacco.

The (Possible) Health Benefits of Vaping

As the health risks of smoking become more of a concern among today’s educated consumers, people have turned to vaping in order to quit smoking. Although the jury is still out, many studies have alluded to vaping being less harmful as compared to smoking.

The consumables that can be used with vapes are also varying strengths, allowing vapers to decide how intense of an experience they want, and affording them more opportunity to adjust dosing of everything from nicotine to THC to best suit their needs, tolerance and goals. Concentrates also last longer, especially when it comes to waxes and oils. Since the point of combustion is never reached, smoke is not produced and concentrates last even longer.

Items to Consider When Choosing a Vape Pen

There are many factors to consider when looking to purchase your first vape pen. You may have a specific budget to stick to, or may have a specific use for your vape in mind. Here are a few things to think about before making your first purchase.

Where Will You Be Smoking?

Are you planning on being out and about or do you want to smoke at home? Some vapes come in more portable, discreet sizes, while others have a larger setup with different accessories that can be purchased to enhance and customize the experience.

Desktop vapes:

  • Can be more expensive
  • Are not able to travel with you
  • Work best for long vaping sessions or for vaping in groups
  • Are not restricted by a low battery life
  • Are better for use with medicinal concentrates

Portable vapes:

  • Have a shorter battery life
  • Are discreet
  • Ideal for travel and on the go use
  • Are best for single-person use
  • Fit better within most budgets
  • Are often more affordable

As a beginning vaper, it may be best to start with a small, portable unit and invest in a desktop unit with accessories later. The best choice for you will ultimately rest on why you are vaping and how much you have to spend.

What Is Your Vape Budget?

Have you been saving up for your new purchase, or do you need to keep this as cheap as possible? While a portable vape can be as cheap as $60, a desktop unit can cost hundreds. For many new to the space, going with an economical, yet reliable model is often the best route. Going too cheap can sacrifice quality and end up costing you more in the long run. On the other hand, there is no need to break the bank on your first vape pen. Stick with reputable manufacturer and opt for a pen in the middle of their range.

If your budget is tight or if you are unsure if you’ll even like vaping in the first place, consider a “disposable” vape pen. These pens typically come pre-filled and are intended for single use until their internal batter (non-rechargeable) runs out. 

What Will You Be Consuming with Your Pen?

There are different substances that you can place in your vape pen. 

The options include:

  • Wax
  • Herbs
  • Oils
  • Vape juice

Different pens use different concentrates, so make sure you look at what you want to consume before you decide which pen to buy.

While most pens are designed to be used with only one type of material, there are those which are capable of using both dry herb and concentrates.

Tips on Locating the Right Type of Pen:

  1. If you are looking to vape oil or e-liquid, look for a pen that uses wicks and coils or a tank and an atomizer.
  2. Waxes will do better in a pen with a chamber instead of a tank.
  3. Chamber pens that use convection or combustion heating are best for herbs.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Vape

When you are choosing your vape pen, there are many other things to consider, as well. 

1) Battery – Portable vapes have built-in rechargeable batteries of various strengths and capacities that will typically last for a couple of days with light use. A desktop unit, however, will have to be plugged in.

2) Flavoring – Flavoring is a feature dependent on the material you use, airflow, temperature and heating methodology. Vape pens with customizable temperature settings may be ideal for those looking to play with how temperature impacts the flavor of their vapor.

3) Design – Vape pens are made of many different materials and also come in many different designs. 

Learn More: Difference Between Vaporizing and a Bong

Common materials include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon fiber
  • Ceramics
  • Pyrex glass

There are also materials to avoid because of their low melting point. 

These include:

  • Teflon
  • Silicon
  • Titanium alloys

Cheaper materials can cause your pen to melt, meaning that it is necessary to keep a close eye on your device at all times especially if you have control over the temperature settings. Poor builds also tend to be less durable and prone to damage and wear over time.

4) Heating Process – There are three main types of heating used in vape pens.

  • Convection – the pen takes longer to heat up, but the consumable is never directly touched by heat, which reduces waste
  • Conduction – Consumables are directly touched by heat, resulting in a faster ability to use your pen but increasing the waste of your consumable by up to one-third
  • Induction – This process uses magnetic fields to heat materials. There is also no waste this way, but this is a newer process, making it difficult to find pens that use it.

5) Features – Some pens are simple one-button operations. Other pens offer temperature control, pre-set profiles, and other options. Don’t be afraid to explore those aspects most important to you. For some, customization is important, for others, you can’t beat the simplicity of simply firing up your pen without any fuss.

Different Vape Types

There are a few basic types of vape pens that will be covered in this section.

  • Cartridge pens – These are pre-filled cartridges that heat your oil as the battery heats up. This is the cheapest option when it comes to vape pens.
  • Flower vapes – These are packed in a similar way to a bowl and use herbs instead of oils or waxes.
  • Concentrate vapes – These vapes use wax, which can reduce the mess that is possible when using a flower vape. 
  • Desktop vapes – Comparable to a bong in more traditional thinking, desktop models are bulkier but high quality. These models often have different features and accessories that can be used to enhance your vaping experience.

Find the Vape That Is Right for You

By looking at your budget, personal needs, and desired level of complexity, you can decide which vape is right for you.

Whether you want a lot of features to play with or a simple “plug and play” version, there are many different vapes to choose from. Just make sure that you pick the correct vape device for the consumable you are choosing to smoke.