What are the important considerations that should be taken when considering a vape pen?

Written by Cannabis Photojournalist and Photographer The Camera Dude.

When deciding whether or not a portable vape-pen is right for you, there are a few key elements to be aware of. I’ll lay out some pros and cons of a few different styles that are currently dominating the market, with the purpose of helping you determine what you’re actually looking for. Dab-pen, e-liquid or dry herb? Do you know the difference? Surprisingly, a lot of patients these days do not.

Dab Pens

This refers to a style of portable vape that utilizes a two-part system, a battery and heated coil.


  • Near instant vaporization of your desired concentrate-oil.
  • Less is more! The simple fact that this style of pen is reserved for concentrate use only means that you will experience far less lung irritation while vaporizing hence the name “Dab-pen”.
  • A tiny-dab will likely deliver an ample amount of potent Cannabis oil delivering a strong effect.



  • The Stink. Most concentrates contain significant amounts of terpene-rich (smelly) oils. Instantly-vaporizing said concentrate will likely inform those around you as to what exactly is inside your inconspicuous little pen. Be aware, the vapor that is produced by this style of vape-pen does smell like cannabis, no matter what they say.
  •  Precious Globes. Traditionally, this style of vaporizer is accompanied by a glass globe. This globe houses the heated coil/melted concentrate-scene that is contained within a small ceramic, or sometimes titanium bowl.  I can’t tell you the number of ways I’ve heard about these things shattering, essentially ruining your dab of oil contained within, and forcing you to the neighborhood vape-shop for a new globe.
  • Visibly Oily. Walking around in public with this style of vaporizer may not be discreet as you desire. Just a few puffs into your new purchase, and you’ll notice that fancy little globe is now covered from the inside with a thick layer of your pricey oils.

E-Liquid Pens

This refers to any style of pen that utilizes a battery, and a refillable tank meant for Cannabis oil extract.


  • No Smell! Because most medicated e-liquids consist of cannabis-extract, mixed with natural and artificial flavors, and either glycol or glycerin, the vapors that are produced by this style of pen are relatively odorless.
  • Discrete. Nothing says discretion like gently-drawing from what appears to be a harmless Bic pen. No resinous glass globe, no visible concentrate


  • No-Wick, Sherlock! Most e-liquid vapes these days come equipped with a tank that uses a “bottom-wick” system to draw your oils down to the heating unit slowly. Unfortunately, the first time you heat that lil’ wick up past a certain temperature, the majority of what you are then vaping is just a wick.

Dry-Herb Pen

This refers to a style that closely mimics the dab-pens, with the exception of a large tank reserved for dry-herb use.


  • Cost Effective. Since today's concentrate cost is typically around 300% more than dry-herb, feel free to vape to your hearts content with these little guys. Maintenance for this style of vape-pen is also significantly lower since the combusted material isn’t sticky, messy-oils.


  • Pungent-Pens. That’s right, another vape-pen that emits an exaggerated medicine smell once used. Be careful where and when you partake in this pens’ party. You never know who you could be subjecting to a cloud of vaped-cannabis.