Wax Pen & Oil Vape Differences

Vaporizing is becoming the most popular way of consuming materials like dry herbs and concentrates. It’s a healthier and cleaner way to consume compared to traditional combustion methods. Many vape pen models out there can accept a combination of concentrates and dry herbs, often with a separate attachment or atomizer. For the purpose of this article, we’ll be taking a closer look in comparing vape pens that are for oil and that are for wax only.

There are several main differences between wax pens and oil vapes, which we will cover in a moment. While the sizes, styles, and features may vary greatly, it’s important to note there are a few consistencies found across the board when it comes to vaporizers. Most portable vape pens feature a power button, five quick clicks should turn on the device. Holding the power button while the device is on will heat the coils, causing the substance inside to vaporize. The vape should turn off the same way it was turned on, five quick clicks. You load the concentrate into the chamber, heat, and enjoy the vapors. Let’s discuss the 5 major differences and similarities between oil pens and wax vapes.

Differences between Wax Pens and Oil Vapes?

There are many types of vaporizers and the differences are numerous. From design to function there is so much to consider. Continue reading below as we break down the important differences between wax and oil vape pens.

Oil vs Wax Concentrates

This first one is a bit obvious, but certainly worth mentioning. If you are looking to consume wax, you should look into wax specific vapes. Likewise, if you are going to be consuming oils, you should look into oil specific vapes. It is true there are several models of vape pens on the market that can do wax and oil, some herbs too. However, these vapes will not perform as optimally as a concentrate-specific model. Vape pens that focus on one type of substance are generally a higher quality product.

Vape Coils vs Vape Cartridges

Another major difference is the apparatus used to vaporize the concentrated material. Wax vapes generally use an atomizer coil system. Eventually these coils burn out or get gummed up, and will need to be replaced. Disposable oil cartridges are very popular right now, making for easy clean up after their one-time use. There are also larger atomizers for oil vapes, like those for 510 threads or box mods. The atomizers in these vapes will last much longer, but will eventually need to be replaced like coils.

Wax Vape Coils vs 510 Oil Cartridges

Chamber Loading Process

Wax can be messy! Though you can avoid the mess using caution and a handy dab tool. Also, be sure you are gentle when loading and don’t over pack, otherwise you run the risk of a spill and a big mess. Oils can be similar if working with the substance, but the pre-filled cartridges that are becoming increasingly popular leave little to no mess! Just screw the cartridge on, use, unscrew and throw it out.

Vaping Temperatures

Getting the right temperature when vaping is key to a pleasant and enjoyable session. The optimal temperature range for vaping wax is 350-400°F. The optimal temperature range for vaping oil is 315-385°F. You can certainly vape at higher temperatures, but you run the risk of scorching the concentrate, which imparts a burnt taste.

Vape Maintenance

Wax is super sticky and pretty messy, which means the vape pen can get sticky all over, from chamber to mouthpiece. You’ll eventually want to replace your wax atomizer or coil, but it can be maintained by scraping away excess wax. Also, make sure you leave the wax pen upright after using. When wax is hot, it will flow and pool with gravity. Oil vape pens typically utilize pre-filled cartridges. They’re generally no mess, no fuss. Oils are less dense than waxes, so generally when using straight oil, there is less mess and leakage associated. Oil vapes can be maintained by the occasional scraping when necessary. If you don’t maintain your vape, it can get hard to draw from or even clogged. This is especially true for wax vape pens - so keep them scraped from residue buildup.

Oil Vape and Wax Pens Similarities

Just how there are stark differences between the vaporizers responsible for vaping wax and oils, there are also a lot of similarities between these two types of vape pens. As we have broken down the differences above, below you will find the similarities explained.

Portable Vaporizers

Most vape pens, whether for oil or wax, are known for being super portable. They are small in size, slender, and easily tucked away. They usually come with a discreet carrying case, which is great for neatly keeping your accessories together for people on the go. With a vape, it can be as easy as grab and go, unlike other methods of consuming concentrates.

Saber Vape Pen for Wax Concentrates

Discreet Vaping

On top of being portable, wax and oil vape pens are incredibly discreet. This is especially compared to dab rigs or other typical methods of consumption. Vape pens are small, usually the perfect size to slip into a pocket or purse. You can easily enjoy a discreet vape session in less than a minute, especially at lower temperatures.

Easy To Use Vapes

No matter what kind of vape pen you choose, the operation of the device is simple and fairly straightforward. There are more complicated models out there with various extra features, like variable temperature control. A quick review of the user manual should be all you need to familiarize yourself with the vape before using. You’ll learn more and become a pro in no time with practice. Plus there are great sources out there to answer all your questions. Check out our Vaporizer Learning Center for product reviews, tips, educational guides and more!

Vape Battery mAh

“mAh” is a unit of measurement for the amount of energy a battery can store. The larger the mAh number, the more storage (or power) capabilities your vape pen has. When it comes to vaping, dry herbs are the quickest to use up a battery’s energy store. Wax and oil consume battery power about the same. When concentrate vapes first came out there was only one setting for power output. Now there are vapes that have variable voltage options which allow you to set the optimal power output for your vape and substance.

Vapor Temperature Controls

Temperature control was a feature necessary for optimal dry herb vaping. Not all wax or oil vapes have a variable temperature control option, but it is becoming increasingly popular among consumers. More and more models that feature temperature control come on the market each day. The best vape pens are ones with a variable heat setting. While they may cost a bit more, the optimal experience of vaping at the right temperature is worth it.

Variable Voltage Vape Pen Battery Settings

Wax Pen Vape Tips

  1. If you want to have the best flavor and experience, get a variable voltage vape pen. You’ll be able to set the optimal temperature for your wax to get the tastiest pulls.
  2. If you’ve been using your vape pen no trouble for a while, but it has become tough to draw from, then it is time to clean your mouthpiece. Just give the inside a good scrape with a dab tool. You can use a lens cleaning wipe to keep the outside of your vape clean. Never use water or soap on your vape pen.
  3. Keep your vape in an upright position. Don’t leave a vape on its side when it is hot. Otherwise, the wax will flow with gravity. This will cause wax to leak into the mouthpiece as well as other parts, requiring a cleaning much sooner. Storing a pen upright will also help prevent the device from getting clogged.
  4. Store wax in the freezer, in an airtight container (silicone dab containers work great). This will firm up the concentrate, making it much easier to handle and load. Just be sure you don’t over pack the coil with frozen concentrate or you’ll risk breaking the coil.
SteamCloud Mini Oil Vape

Oil Vape Pen Tips

  1. Know the vape cartridge and battery you are using. Too much energy flowing into a cartridge can burn it out, which can happen either over time or immediately. It is incredibly disappointing and really wasteful to burn out a new pre-filled oil cartridge long before it's actually spent. Try vaping on lower settings and working your way up to the optimal temperature.
  2. If your vapors are coming out of the device too hot and too harsh, there are a couple of things to try. First, try lowering the heat or voltage setting. If that doesn’t do the trick, try giving the coil a chance to cool down for a minute or two before resuming use.
  3. If you want maximum control, total customizability and long-lasting quality, you should think about upgrading to a box mod vape pen. While box mods are generally more pricey, you’ll be able to find one with all the features and controls you desire. Box mods are usually more powerful than other types of vape pens. Plus, they are typically more durable or rugged than smaller vape pens.
  4. If you are a fan of the pre-filled oil cartridges, there are many great options out there. One of the best for skinny, 510 thread oil cartridges is the Steam Cloud Mini oil vape. It has a 650mAh battery that will last all day even with prolonged use. Plus the design is sleek and super discreet.

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3 Responses


March 11, 2020

Thanks for all the super helpful info above..are the vape pens you get from dispensaries (trulieve, surterra, other FL) are those crappy quality??


January 29, 2020

Dean, I use a Snap Exxus that looks and functions the exact same as the SteamCloud. The newer Snaps have a slightly larger opening for larger cartridges (like the new/popular ceramic (or “C”) cartridges. Snap and SteamCloud might even be sourcing from the same factory (they’re… Pretty much identical). If you’re looking for another one, either try to find a new model, or look at the Snaps. I’ve been perfectly satisfied with mine – best $30 I’ve spent in a while!


July 16, 2018

I own a SteamCloud and love it, but many carts are too fat to fit. I saw a similar vape that has an open side so a fatter cart will slide in, then set in place. I believe it also uses a magnetic ring on the threads.

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