The availability of waxes and concentrates seems to be growing by the day, and as this happens people’s exposure to them is growing as well. More and more people want to make the switch from dried herbs to concentrates, but it come seem a bit overwhelming when it first comes time to do it. Let’s get one thing covered right away: don’t get suckered into buying a cheap wax pen from your local shop until you’ve had the chance to read some reviews! Most of them are terrible. Read through this guide and you’ll be in a much better position to make a good purchase. Why Wax? To understand why using wax is becoming so popular, you have to understand a bit about how concentrates are made. As the name suggests, they are concentrated versions of the original herb, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The concentration process also purifies and filters out almost all of the plant material, leaving nothing but the desired compounds behind. This means waxes are incredibly efficient, and you’re also less likely to get a lungful of the bad compounds that are the byproducts of heating plant materials to high temperatures. Wax Pens Versus Dab Rigs Concentrates have been around a lot longer than wax pens have, but wax pens are the reason that concentrates are growing in popularity. This is because wax pens offer great improvements in convenience, safety and durability over traditional rigs. The traditional method of consuming concentrates is commonly referred to as ‘doing dabs’ or ‘dabbing’. This process involves a glass rig and a butane torch which is used to heat a ‘nail’ that is part of the rig. The biggest problem with this is the inherent danger with using an extremely hot butane torch, but most rigs are also known for being relatively fragile and easy to break. While traditional dabbing has a cult following, wax pens are the clear choice for anyone who wants to regularly enjoy the benefits of concentrates. The Basics of Wax Pens There are three main components that you will find in every wax pen. These are: Batteries Atomizers Mouthpieces Batteries The battery makes up the base of the unit and is responsible for supplying power to the atomizer. Most cheap units will only be able to be turned on or off, but higher quality options offer variable voltage which allows you to control the amount of heat used to create your vapor. We’re big fans of any type of temperature or power control because it gives you more control over vapor production and allows you to customize the experience to your own preferences. Higher temps will lead to denser clouds, while lower ones will deliver better flavor. Battery size is measured in mAh, and the bigger this number is the longer your device will last in between chargings. You’ll notice that there is a direct correlation between the size of the pen and the size of the battery, so this is a trade-off you’ll want to consider when considering portability. Atomizers The atomizer is the heating element responsible for vaporizing your wax. Atomizers aren’t designed to last forever. They break down over time and you will notice a severe drop off in flavor and performance if you attempt to use one too long. Most need replaced at least once every two months, though you may need to do so more frequently based on how frequently you use it. These come in several different materials and styles, so we’ll go over the most common ones to make sure you understand what you are getting. Many options feature interchangeable atomizers with multiple different styles available for use on a single base. Materials: Ceramic is popular because it has a high heat resistance and is good at preserving the flavor of the material you use in it. The biggest problem with ceramic is the fact that it gets increasingly difficult to clean as it’s used more. Quartz is also very popular, with most people reporting better flavor profiles when compared to ceramic. It’s also easier to clean, but quartz atomizers tend to break down faster and need replaced at smaller intervals. Silica wicks were the original style of atomizer, but you should avoid these if possible. They are very hard to clean and deliver a much worse flavor when compared to the alternatives. Styles: Rods can be made out of either ceramic or quartz and are the most common atomizer setup. They have a coil wrapped around the outside for providing heat, and most wax pens have coils made from titanium. Any one atomizer can have between 1 and 3 rods, through 3 are rare. Additional coils don’t do anything for flavor, though they do increase the rate of vaporization and the size of the vapor clouds. Pads or dishes are a coiless style of atomizer. Without an exposed coil, the wax is able to be heated more evenly and efficiently. Less heat is needed with this style, which means the vapor produced is more flavorful as well. Mouthpieces The final part of any wax pen is the mouthpiece. Every unit has its own, and some offer multiple different options for you to customize your experience. While this is probably the least important of the three main components, it shouldn’t be completely overlooked as they provide subtle changes to overall enjoyment. For example, we prefer wider openings for increased airflow and bigger draws. Other Ways to Consume Concentrates Wax pens and dab rigs are not the only way to consume concentrates. There’s also a hybrid between the two, and these are commonly called e-nails or e-rigs. These e-nails are battery operated just like wax pens, but where wax pens are designed similarly to portable vaporizers, e-nails are more like traditional glass rigs. The big difference between e-rigs and traditional rigs is the fact that the nail is heated electronically and no torch is needed. The big difference between e-rigs and wax pens is the fact that there is a water filtration system built into the unit that allows bigger, smoother draws to be taken. E-nails are a great option for someone who enjoys the traditional dabbing experience or for anyone who wants to take bigger draws than they can from normal wax pens. There are many good options on the market, but one that we know is great is the Dr. Dabber Boost. Some Units to Consider As soon as you go to look for a good wax pen, you’re going to realize just how many of them there are. Always look for reviews on any unit you think about buying, but we’ll give you some places to start looking now. Kandypens is one of the most popular manufacturers right now. They’re known for very sleek designs and the Galaxy offers temperature control. ZEUS recently launched the Thunder 2, which features a ceramic dish atomizer. This makes it a great option for people looking for great flavor with discreet delivery. Dr. Dabber is another very popular manufacturer, with several awesome pens to check out. The Aurora offers a ton of customization with 3 different atomizers, temperature control, and multiple mouthpieces. Source Vapes offer some awesome kits as well, check out their Source Orb 4 Premium kit, featuring tons of atomizers and a unique mouthpiece. LinxVapor is a relatively new wax pen company but there latest unit the Linx Hypnos Zero has been impressing critics with its amazing vapor quality, it was even named High Times Best wax pen of 2016! This should give you a great base to work with when looking for a new way to enjoy concentrates. If you follow the advice here, you’ll definitely end up with something better than you’ll find at your average shop. If you have any additional questions, we’re here to help. Leave a comment on this page or shoot us a message and we’ll help you solve your problem. If you have a favorite pen that you’d like to share, please do so as well! 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