Cannabis vapes are relentlessly growing in popularity and are available in a vast array of different shapes and sizes. Thanks to their portability, discretion, and advanced controls, vapes are the most reliable way to enjoy cannabis at home and on the go. If you’re thinking about buying a cannabis vape but not sure where to start, this detailed guide will teach you everything you need to know.
Here at CaliConnected, we categorize our vapes into five buckets:
- Vaporizer Pens
- Handheld Vapes
- E-Nail & E-Rig Vaporizers
- Desktop Vaporizers
- And Vapes for Pre-Filled Cartridges
There are a lot of vapes that end up in multiple collections, but we find these categories easiest to navigate through depending on your vaping needs and type of consumption.
What are the different types of vaporizers?
Vapes for Pre-Filled Cartridges
If you’re new to using cannabis vapes and have access to pre-filled cartridges, we recommend starting with a cartridge-based device. That’s where our Vapes for Pre-Filled Cartridges collection comes in handy. These vaporizers are easy to use and don’t require any setup or maintenance. Just screw your pre-filled cartridge onto the battery and start vaping!
Vapes for pre-filled cartridges are also known as cartridge-based vapes and 510-threaded vapes (because of their universal 510-thread size). Pre-filled cartridge vaporizers are relatively inexpensive, so they’re a great option if you’re on a budget. The two most popular styles of vapes for pre-filled cartridges are shaped like a pen vape, or in a box mod form seen in the picture below.
Vaporizer Pens get their name from their skinny, pen-like design. Pen vapes are easily the most discreet type of vaporizer and can be effortlessly concealed in your pocket.
Vape Pens typically come with atomizers optimized for use with either dry herbs/flower, concentrates/oil, or both. Some dual compatible vaporizer pens come with more than one atomizer that allows you to switch between materials, while others have atomizers capable of handling dry herbs and concentrates, it just depends on the brand. A lot of the time, the atomizers are 510-threaded (the universal thread size), allowing you to use industry standard pre-filled cartridges with your vape pen as well.
The most popular type of cannabis vape pens are the pens intended solely for pre-filled cartridges mentioned in the section above. These type of vaporizer pens have a rechargeable battery with universal 510-threading that screws onto a disposable cartridge filled with pre-packaged cannabis oil. There are no atomizers for vaping flower or concentrates with these types of vape pens. Cartridge-based pens are super easy to use—just screw on the cartridge and start puffing!—and they’re relatively inexpensive too.
Handheld vaporizers are a bit more advanced than vape pens but are still easy to use for beginners. These devices typically have precision temperature control and can be used with dry herbs, concentrates, or at times both. Handheld vapes are sometimes categorized as portable vaporizers on other websites but considering a lot of vapes are portable, we prefer the term handheld.
The vapor produced from a handheld vaporizer is usually of higher quality than that of a vape pen. This is because handheld vaporizers are generally bigger, allowing the manufacturers to add more features like cooling paths, fans for cooling, convection heating, filters, and more, inside the body of the vape.
E-Nails and E-Rigs
E-Nails and E-Rigs are abbreviations for electric [dab] nails and electric dab rigs. An E-Nail or E-Rig may be the way to go if you’re looking for a high-quality, customizable vaping experience. These devices were initially invented for use with wax concentrates, but nowadays they are often compatible with both dry herbs and concentrates.
E-Nails and E-Rigs have a variety of advanced features to take your vaping experience to the next level. These devices allow for precise temperature control and do an incredible job of creating dense clouds of vapor while preserving the natural tastes of your materials.
E-Nails and E-Rigs typically offer larger and more durable chambers, meaning you can vape more at once, or more for longer periods of time, without replacing the atomizer. However, these types of vaporizers can be more expensive and require slightly more maintenance.
Desktop vapes are the biggest, baddest vapes on the market. Desktop vaporizers offer unparalleled customization and control, thanks to features like multiple temperature settings, fan speed control, accessories for group sessions like refillable party bags, and compatibility with both dry herbs and concentrates.
Don’t let their size fool you, desktop vapes are usually very easy to operate. This type of vaporizer almost always has a digital screen that displays the temperature along with anything else you might want to customize.
Desktop vapes tend to have larger chambers that can hold more materials and allow for way longer vaping sessions compared to pen vapes or handhelds. The biggest drawback of a desktop vape is that it usually requires a power source (wall outlet) while in use.
What are the different parts on a vaporizer?
Vape pens and handheld vapes typically have a rechargeable battery that powers the device. Some vape batteries can be recharged via USB, while others require a separate charging cable. Vape batteries with USB-C charging capabilities offer the fastest charging times available right now.
This is the part of the vaporizer you inhale from. The vape mouthpiece can either be detachable or fixed to the device, and is often made from different materials and/or shapes for added comfort. Removable mouthpieces allow for deeper cleaning.
The vape chamber is where you place your dry herbs or concentrates for vaporization. The size and material of the chamber can vary depending on the type of device and the material being used (some chambers are better for dry herbs, others for concentrates). Some vapes offer removable chambers for easier cleaning.
Vaporizer Heating Element:
The heating element in a vaporizer is usually connected to the battery and consists of a coil of materials that is used to heat your products inside the vaporizer chamber. The heating element is typically below the chamber and above the battery.
A vaporizer atomizer is the combination of the heating element and chamber. Most vaporizers nowadays no longer have an exposed heating element and instead incorporate the heating element inside or below the vape chamber that holds your materials.
Temperature control/setting buttons:
The buttons found on a vaporizer allow you to adjust the temperature of the device and change other customization options that your vape allows. The changes you make with these buttons are usually indicated by LED lights on the device’s screen or body.
What materials can I use in a vaporizer?
Pre-filled cartridges designed for cannabis vapes come in three main varieties: THC oil, CBD oil, and hybrid oil. THC oil is made with concentrated THC extract and provides users with the same potent psychoactive effects associated with smoking marijuana. Pre-filled cartridges filled with CBD oil contain concentrated CBD extract and are non-psychoactive. Hybrid oil cartridges are made with a combination of THC and CBD extract to provide users with both psychoactive and therapeutic effects.
When deciding which pre-filled cartridge is best for you, it’s important to consider your personal needs and preferences. If you’re looking for powerful psychoactive effects, THC oil is the way to go. CBD oil is your best bet if you’re looking for therapeutic relief without the high. If you want a balance of both, go for a hybrid.
Dry Herb / Flower
Some vapes can be used to consume dry herbs, such as marijuana flower or tobacco. The chambers on herb vaporizers are typically larger than those for concentrates and often require more maintenance in terms of cleaning and replacing the chamber. When using a dry herb vape, it’s important to grind your material finely before placing it in the chamber to ensure even vaporization.
Vapes can also be used to consume cannabis concentrates, such as wax or shatter. These chambers are usually smaller than dry herb chambers and require a specific atomizer compatible with concentrates. It’s important to clean your device regularly when using concentrates, as they can leave behind a sticky residue.
It’s important to remember that not all vapes are compatible with every type of material. Be sure to check the compatibility of your device before purchasing if you intend to vape specific cannabis products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to buy vaporizers online?
The short answer is yes, it is legal to buy vapes online. The US government introduced legislation called the PACT act in 2021 that restricted certain vaporizers from being shipped across state lines. The law, although targeted at e-cigarettes, made the legality of shipping some cannabis vaporizers uncertain. We have since removed those vaporizers from our store to stay PACT act compliant.
Some states have also implemented abnormally high tax rates on vaporizers to discourage retailers from shipping vapes to their state. We unfortunately restrict customers in certain states from ordering vaporizers because of these taxes. If you are unsure if CaliConnected can ship to your state, please reference the notes at the top of any vaporizer collection page.
How do I maintain my vaporizer?
Cleaning and maintaining your vaporizer is specific to the type of device you use, as some require more upkeep than others. The most common maintenance will be keeping your battery charged and chamber clean. Many vapes today use a rapid USB-C charging system to recharge the battery. Just plug in your vape and the device will indicate when it’s ready to go. Most chambers can be cleaned with a q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol. As always, refer to the user manual for the best methods of cleaning and maintenance.
If you are dealing with a wax vaporizer, the atomizer will need to be replaced every few months depending on how frequently it is used. Most wax vaporizers have the capabilities of alerting you when the atomizer needs to be replaced.
Desktop vaporizers often come with bags and whips that periodically need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. It is smart to take a look at all the parts of a vaporizer and check their availability and price before you purchase your vape.
Are ceramic atomizers safe?
Yes, ceramic atomizers are safe! Quartz and ceramic are the two most commonly found atomizers because they retain heat and provide flavorful vapor. Some vaporizers give you the option of different atomizers, so it is best to try both ceramic and quartz to see which you prefer.
Can vaporizers be used for both cannabis and nicotine products?
It’s rare to find a cannabis vaporizer that also works with nicotine products. Typically oil, wax, and dry herb vaporizers are each explicitly made for their intended substance. You may find some dispensaries that offer Juul THC oil pods, but those are an exception. If you are trying to use your cannabis vape for a nicotine product, you may run into issues with compatibility and heat settings, so it is best to purchase them separately.