Automatic vs. Manual Batteries for Vape Pen - Everything You Need to Know

Deciding between a draw-activated vs. button vape pen is one of many dilemmas a newcomer will face when buying a vaporizer for cannabis. One requires finagling while the other pulls vapor on the spot. 

Then there’s the question of battery life, voltz, Ohm, atomizer, heating element, wattage, and airflow—all of which change depending on the type of vape battery you buy. Understandably, these questions aren’t easy for an untrained vaper. If you’ve ever felt like you needed instructions for buying the right e-cigarette, you’ve come to the right place. 

Automatic vs. manual vapes -What’s the difference?

The main difference between an automatic vape pen and a button vape is the source of power, or, types of batteries.

With a buttonless (auto-draw) pen, you simply attach the cartridge (which contains the cannabis oil) to the battery, then you’re ready to vape. This process happens through a switch located inside the battery. Once you inhale, the sensor activates the heating element (essentially how the electricity transfers heat), producing smokable vapor. 

Compared to a manual (button) vape, some people swear by the simplicity of the automatic version. You just attach the components, inhale, and voilà—you’re vaping. A manual vape, on the other hand, uses a button system to switch on the heating element. 

To turn it on, most models require you to push a button in a succession of clicks (usually a 1-2-3 pattern). From there, you wait a couple of seconds until the vape is ready to smoke. An LED light inside the button generally flashes, you push down the button while inhaling and turn it off at the end of your smoke sesh. 

Vape Type

Vaping Control


Best For


Pen draws power immediately when you connect the cartridge to the battery and inhale, then shuts down during inactivity. 

Models may not allow you to adjust voltage since they’re activated by an internal switch. 

New vapers, former cigarette smokers, and public discretion. 


Pen draws power when you push a button, can take a few moments to heat up, and stays on until you manually turn it off. 

With the push of a button or the turn of a dial, you can vape at different voltage settings. 

Experiencing terpenes, voltage customization, and leak-free battery protection. 

There are a few more specifics to go over about each vape, so we’ll cover those below if you’re still unsure. As any seasoned vaper will tell you, finding the “right” equipment is a matter of preference and experience. This list of pros and cons will help you narrow down your decision on which electronic cigarette to buy.

Pros of automatic vape batteries

  • Little to no learning curve: In terms of usability, vaping newbies shouldn’t run into an issue here. From start to finish, automatic vapes make it easy to vape without having to read pages and pages of instructions. There’s also no wait time, meaning you don’t have to push any buttons and standby while the vape activates. 
  • Battery may last longer: Generally speaking, automatic vapes preserve battery life longer than manual vapes because they’re optimized with an inhalation limit. In other words, you only have so long to inhale before the switch deactivates. That’s not to say that you can’t draw large vape clouds with an automatic model, but you will have to take smaller, shorter puffs. This feature is intended to lengthen the amount of time between charges. 
  • Great for outdoor use: Discretion is the name of the game with automatic vapes. Since these models attach and detach without the assistance of a button, you can use them without drawing much attention and quickly stow them in your pocket if an uncomfortable situation arises. 


  • May not be able to adjust voltage: Not all automatic vapes give you the option to customize voltage. This matters if you prefer slow drags that don’t hit your throat. 
  • Have to take primer puffs: In some cases, you may need to pull (inhale) a few primer puffs to activate the internal switch. It doesn’t happen every time, but the heating element may need an additional warm-up. 
  • Not the best for refilling cartridges: If you buy pre-filled cartridges, this shouldn’t be an issue, but people who prefer to replenish the oil on their own need to be careful not to spill any on the battery. Automatic pens typically don’t come with a sealed battery, which increases the likelihood of internal damage from leaky cartridges if you’re not careful. 

Pros of manual vape batteries

  • Ability to control voltage: For those who like to have more control over their hits, manual vapes feature an adjustable range of voltages. This affects the intensity of your hits. A lower setting (2.4V) produces less heat and can be useful formicrodosing cannabis. Higher settings (3.6V) generate more heat which allows you to consume more at once. 
  • You know what to expect: After a while, you’ll figure out your tolerance and how long/strong you need to inhale to get the desired effect. With manual vapes, there’s no room for surprises because you determine the voltage and length of hits. 
  • Terpene expression: Perhaps the biggest advantage of manual vapes is the ability to experience terpenes. Lower voltage settings allow you to taste and smell the unique properties of different cannabis strains. 


  • Some user savvy required: The button doohickey can be tricky at first. You’ll need to get used to pressing the button several times and then holding it down to engage the heating element.  
  • More strain on battery: Some, but not all, manual vapes stay on until you turn them off. Distractions happen, so if you accidentally forget to turn off the vape, you may need to charge it more often. 
  • Not as easy to blend in: Not to make you paranoid, but if you’re out and about manual vapes are arguably less discreet than the automatic version. Of course, this depends on the person and location, but all that button-clicking may draw unwanted eyes if you’re not careful. 

How do you use an automatic vape e-cig?

Here’s a step-by-step look at how automatic batteries work:

  1. Verify that the lithium-ion battery is charged. If it’s brand new, you need to charge it. 
  2. Take your cartridge in one hand and the battery in the other, then connect the two by gently twisting the cartridge into the battery. 
  3. Take a primer puff to test your lungs, then vape as you wish. 

Is manual better than automatic for vaping?

It’s a tricky question, but really what it comes down to is preference.Vessel’s Compass, for example, is a manual vape with four voltage settings. The interface looks like a small, single-button remote control. Unlike automatic vapes, you use the button-controlled power system to find the best voltage for you. 

Is it better than an automatic vape? Call us biased, but we think so! The discreet design also hides the e-liquid from view so you can be as private as you’d like. 


What does auto-draw vape mean?

A buttonless vape, also called an auto-draw vape, starts working as soon as you connect the cartridge to the battery. There’s no button mashing involved thanks to an internal switch that heats the vapor when you inhale. 

How long do manual vape batteries last?

Many variables determine vape battery life such as frequency of use, voltage setting, and cold weather. Vessel’s lithium-ion rechargeable batteries generally last 1-2 weeks for moderate vapers. These batteries are perfect for a vape starter kit too!

Is a manual or automatic vape easier to use?

Automatic vapes are said to be easier based on functionality and more user-friendly for new vapers. They don’t operate on a button system. That said, they have their drawbacks, such as not being able to choose voltage settings, which can skew the vaping experience.

What are the advantages of an automatic vape?

Overall, the advantages of an automatic vape include a longer battery life, more discretion when outdoors, and a short learning curve.

What is the difference between automatic and manual vaping device?

An automatic vape simply requires you to draw on the pen to produce vapor. A manual vape pen has a small button that you’ll need to press first in order to draw. Both require a charger. 

Which method is more popular?

It really depends. However, more people may use automatic vape pens or disposable vapes because they seem easier. Manual vape pens may be better quality and provide an elevated experience. 


Read more: How to Choose the Right Vape Pen Cartridges

Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.