What is a Wax Pen? What They are and How to Use One

What is a Wax Pen? What They are and How to Use One

A wax pen is designed for dabbing on the go. But what is a wax pen? And how does it work? 

This article explores these questions, dissects the difference between wax pens and dab pens, and delves into exactly how to use your device. 

What are wax pens?

A wax pen transforms the experience of smoking THC concentrates — be it wax, dab, budder, crumble, or shatter — into a convenient, portable affair. Instead of relying on your rig and torch, simply set your ideal temperature, load wax into the pen, and get high. 

Wax pens are one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, especially with seasoned cannabis users who want a convenient and discrete way of getting a potent hit. Compared to a vape pen, wax pens provide you with a more intense cannabis experience while keeping everything discreet, producing less odor, and drawing less attention.

How wax pens work

There are different wax pen models out there in the market, but they should all have the following main components:

  • Battery: This is the power source of the pen; usually rechargeable.
  • Heating chamber/atomizer: This is where the cannabis concentrate is placed and heated.
  • Heating element/coil: This heats up your concentrate, which turns it into vapor
  • Mouthpiece: This is where you inhale the vapor produced from the heated concentrate.

A wax pen operates by heating the cannabis concentrate in the atomizer until it vaporizes. Then, the user inhales through the mouthpiece to enjoy the resulting vapor, which is THC-heavy. Inhaling this vapor recreates the experience and side effects of dabbing — without all the butane.

With a discreet and user-friendly design, wax pens appeal to both cannabis novices and seasoned users who want a more intense cannabis experience.

How to use a wax pen

So, you know what a wax pen is. You know the basics of how it works. Now it’s time to learn how to use one. Follow these steps to take fat dabs from wherever you please. 

1. Assemble and turn on your device 

Connect your battery, chamber, and mouthpiece to assemble your device. Read the instructions to learn the details about your specific device. 

2. Set the temperature 

This step helps you customize your dabbing experience. Lower temperatures highlight the flavor of your concentrate, allowing you to taste the strain’s unique terpenes. Higher temperatures produce more vapor and bigger clouds. Decide on what you prefer (or settle somewhere in the middle) and play around until you find a temperature that works for you. 

3. Load your wax 

Give your device a second to heat, and prepare to load your wax into the chamber. Use your dab tool to scoop your desired amount of concentrate and place it on a coil in your chamber. Repeat for however many coils are in your atomizer: you can place a dab on every coil. 

4. Vape

Once your vape is heated and loaded, it’s time for the best part. Pull vapor from your mouthpiece to your heart’s content--or until your device is out of wax.

5. Clean your device 

While you don’t have to clean your wax pen every single time, buildup can occur if too much time passes between cleaning. Your pen can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol, salt, and a Q-tip. Quick wipedowns between dabbing sessions can be helpful to maintain your device in the long run. 

How to clean your wax pen: Step-by-step

Keeping your wax pen clean is crucial for its longevity and performance. Here's a step-by-step guide to effectively clean your wax pen:

  • Disassemble the pen: For efficiency and your safety, take apart your wax pen first before cleaning. Separate the mouthpiece, battery, and heating chamber.
  • Wipe the battery: Using a dry cloth, gently clean the battery of dust, dirt, and residue. Avoid using water or cleaning solutions.
  • Clean the mouthpiece: Get a small brush or cotton swab and lightly dip it in isopropyl alcohol. Gently clean in and around the mouthpiece and wipe it dry.
  • Clean the heating chamber: Gently scrub the inside of the heating chamber with a Q-tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Be thorough but gentle to avoid damage.
  • Air dry the Components: Let all parts air dry completely before reassembling the pen.
  • Reassemble and store: Once everything is dry, reassemble your wax pen and store it in a cool, dry place.

Regular cleaning of your wax pen is key to maintaining its lifespan and ensuring you get the best performance each time you use it.

Pros and cons of wax pens

While convenient, wax pens come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Consider their pros and cons to help you decide whether a wax pen is for you or not:

Pros of using wax pens

  • Portability: Wax pens are compact and easy to carry, making them ideal for on-the-go sessions.
  • Discretion: They produce less odor and vapor compared to traditional smoking methods, offering more discretion.
  • Potency: Wax pens are designed for concentrates, which provide a more potent high than dry herb vaping.
  • Ease of Use: With minimal setup and a user-friendly design, wax pens are user-friendly, even for beginners.

Cons of using wax pens

  • Initial investment: The initial cost of a quality wax pen can be pricier than other ways to consume cannabis, which may be a deal-breaking for budget-conscious users.
  • Requires regular cleaning: For optimal use and flavor, wax pens need to be regularly cleaned, which can be a hassle at times.
  • Limited Battery Life: Depending on the model, wax pens can have a limited battery life, so heavy users will need to charge them frequently.

What is the difference between a vape pen and a wax pen?

Dab pens and wax pens both vaporize THC concentrate. However, these two types of devices are very different. 

When using a wax pen, you load wax into your device dab by dab. While this feature allows you to customize the size of your dab, it also means your device needs to be loaded (and cleaned) more often than a dab pen. 

While dab pens are less customizable, they are also less maintenance than your wax pen. Dab pens are compatible with oil cartridges. While users can fill their own cartridges, cartridges that have already been measured out are available at local dispensaries. Simply buy a cartridge compatible with your battery, connect it to your battery, turn it on, and pull vapor from the mouthpiece. When the cartridge is empty, you can just throw it out and get a new one. 

What is the difference between a dab and wax pen?

Wax pens are designed to make the dabbing experience more convenient. 

Traditional dabbing involves a rig, torch, and dab tool. To dab, heat up your banger/nail with your torch until it’s red hot. Let it cool to your desired temperature, and use your tool to add your concentrate into your banger. Now, hit your rig like it’s a bong: pull vapor from the tube-like mouthpiece. (Use a carb cap to control the airflow through your rig). 

Though dabbing has its loyal following, carrying around a torch isn’t a feasible option most days.  As an answer to this problem, wax pen simplifies the process. Instead of a torch, your battery heats up the device’s atomizer, which in turn vaporizes the wax. It’s cleaner, safer, and much more portable than traditional dabbing. 

The bottom line

Dabbers make up a huge subsect of the stoner community: it’s hard to say no to a powerful, concentrated dab. Wax pens make dabbing easier, cleaner, and more discrete, so you can take dabbing anywhere and everywhere. 


What’s the difference between a wax pen and a vape?

Wax pens are used with cannabis concentrates like wax or shatter and are specifically designed to withstand high temperatures for potent hits. On the other hand, vapes are more versatile, suitable for e-liquids, oils, or dry herbs, and generally operate at lower temperatures.

How long does a wax pen work?

Usually, wax pens last around 1-3 years of use, depending on how frequently they’re used and cared for. Although there are different models available, you can expect the battery life to range from several hours to a full day on a full charge.

What are the types of dab pens?

There are different types of dab pens out in the market. First, you have standard dab pens that let you smoke concentrates on the go. You also have session dab pens with bigger batteries for longer use. There are also dab pens that have temperature control features for a tailored experience.

What is the point of a wax pen? 

A wax pen is a battery-powered device that vaporizes THC concentrate. It simplifies the dabbing process while keeping it discrete and portable. 

Are wax pens illegal? 

Wax pens are legal and can be purchased at most head shops. While public consumption of marijuana remains federally illegal, wax pens can be used to vaporize any concentrate. 

How much does a wax pen cost?

While most wax pens cost less than $100, the typical range for a wax pen ranges from $30 to $150. 

Where to buy a wax pen?

Wax pens can be purchased online or at most head shops. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to smoke shop employees about the devices they carry: Express what you’re looking for in a wax pen to get help in finding the best one for your needs.

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