How to Choose a Vape Pen

Vape pens are becoming one of the most popular ways to smoke marijuana. It’s not surprising considering they are super portable, discreet, and virtually odorless. Plus, a vape pen heats marijuana to temperatures that are just hot enough to evaporate the active ingredients but not enough to combust (burn), exposing cannabis smokers to less toxins than traditional pipes.

For all the reasons above, not the least their increasing popularity, vape pens now come with all sorts of features and functionality. To help you narrow down the choices, here are some questions to consider:

Disposable or Multi-use?

Many vape pens are pre-loaded with cannabis concentrate, so you don’t have to worry about loading, refilling, or cleaning. Once you’ve finished the doses (up to a few hundred for some), you can toss or recycle them. The downside is that you have to stick to whatever formula is pre-loaded, although choices (sativa, indica, THC levels, CBD levels, effects, etc.) abound.

Multi-use vape pens can be refilled and recharged (often by USB), making them more cost-effective in the long run. Note, some vape pens are only compatible with its own brand of cartridges.

Push-button or Buttonless?

Depending on the model, push-button vaporizers may feature a button that needs to be pushed to activate the device, change the temperature, pre-heat the oil, and turn off. The temperature settings allow you to apply different heat to different strains, so you can get the most flavor and desired effects from your cannabis.

Buttonless vape pens simply require you to inhale to activate, making them easier to operate. However, some terpenes and compounds in cannabis are lost if not heated to a correct temperature, so your hit may not be as flavorful.

Oil, Wax, E-liquid, Flowers, or Combo?

Vape pens are designed to be compatible with concentrates (oil, wax), e-liquid, dried flowers, or even a combination. Concentrates have higher potency and can affect you much quicker than flowers. Flowers offer more choices in terms of strains and may be less intimidating. E-liquid is a manmade concoction of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, distilled water, nicotine, and added flavoring. Of these, wax may offer the most concentrated dosage of THC.

How Much Do I Want to Spend?

A vape pen can range anywhere from $20 to $250, making it easy to buy one that fits your budget. Those that are on the higher end may offer more customizable features and better materials (stainless steel vs. plastic).

Ultimately, know that pens can break or get lost, so it’s really about finding one that fits your lifestyle and interests.


vape pen diagram
Anatomy of a vape pen