A pen vaporizer is a compact portable unit that is not much larger than a Sharpie marker, but in some cases can be as small as a cigarette (e-cig). The sleek handheld design of a pen unit allows for very discreet vaporization while on the go. These vapes are often powered by a one touch button and can be locked to prevent accidental use. Most feature a USB charger, making it easy to keep the battery at full capacity nearly anywhere. There are three types of pen style vapes: dry herb, oils and waxy concentrates.
A dry herb unit is comprised of a battery and heating chamber that is often made of a metal coil or ceramic rod. With the metal coil, the herb sits on what looks like a little coil stovetop, and is heated through conduction. As air runs through the vaporizer while inhaling, the temperature is regulated. A glass screen is often used as a buffer to prevent combustion, because the herb will quickly overheat if directly touching the metal for too long. This style can be found in units such as the Atmos RX and Vaporite Budy Pen Pro.
The ceramic rod generally runs up through the middle of the heating chamber, and the herb is then packed around it. This style allow the unit to vaporize your herbs more efficiently and evenly, as the herb is more spread out and not sitting directly on hot metal. The ceramic can be a little fragile, so care is advised when packing in herb. This version of heating chamber can be found in the Pulsar 7 unit.
The chambers on both styles are often rather small and require frequent stirring to avoid overheating of the herb. It is good measure to not clamp when inhaling, allowing some air flow around your mouth and the mouthpiece. A pen vape for dry herb will create rather small hits and is best for an individual looking for quick draws out and about.
An oil pen vape is designed for use with a glycerin based concentrate or e-juice. It is important to not put sticky wax in your oil/e-juice pen, as it will likely ruin your device. The presence of a cotton wick will designate the tanks as either "wicked" or "wickless". The wicked style has a pair of cotton fiber strands inside that siphon the oil toward the heating element. These narrow pieces of string allow for an easy delivery of the e-juice and help to prevent leaking. The style can likely be considered the most common style of atomizer cartridge.
The wickless style of vaporizer generally provides a tastier vaporization experience. However, due to the higher temperature that wickless vaporizers can achieve, the oil/e-juice tends to burn up a little more quicker than in a wicked device. Though the flavor may be improved, the wickless cartridges can leak easier, as there is no cotton to absorb the liquid. These tanks usually feature helpful volume markers on the side so you know exactly how many more millileters of oil or e-juice remain before needing a refill. These tanks can be quite difficult to clean, so it's important you add your oil or e-juice carefully.
The quick heating of the oil or e-juice creates instant vapor in large amounts. Certain pens have panels or dials that can regulate either the voltage or the wattage, allowing the user the ability to truly control their vapor production. Over time the tank will burn up and need to be replaced, however they generally last for months before replacement is necessary. Take care when filling up a wickless cartridge, as e-juice can be quite messy if you do not have a steady hand.
The standard waxy concentrate style features an atomizer that is rather similar to the oil vapes'. This atomizer has a small wire that runs across the middle which heats up within seconds. Small amounts of wax are vaporized at a time, efficiently creating large clouds through rapid atomization. The wire can be rather easy to damage and it is a good call not to scrape the concentrate, but warm the middle of a metal load tool slightly and allow the wax to gently melt onto the atomizer. Like an oil tank, the waxy atomizer will need to be replaced over time.
A newer design for waxy concentrate vapes is the glass globe that allows for the user to see the vapor production. The glass globe surrounds your oil or herb atomizer, usually with a rubber stopper that both creates a tight seal for ideal airflow and also secures the globe onto the vaporizer. The glass also creates a tastier vapor as opposed to being transferred through a metal mouthpiece. This glass attachment will slightly reduce the portability of the vape, as it can certainly break easier during transportation. It is advised you pick up a vaporizer case along with your pen to ensure safety. Some of the glass globe designs can even be filled with water and cool the vapor prior to inhalation.
Atomizer — A heating chamber generally comprised of a wire and metal or ceramic base for converting a substance instantly into vapor
Battery — Power source that connects to a heating chamber in order to vaporize a liquid. Most batteries are a one touch button or can be powered directly through inhaling.
Charger — The piece used to recharge the battery. These usually plug into a USB port and may offer an available plug adapter.
Cartridge — A plastic or glass tank for holding an e-liquid; often available with a cotton wick or wickless.
Cartomizer — Device consisting of an atomizer and cartridge all in one single unit.
E-Juice — A liquid that is used for vaporization; often available in varying flavors and nicotine levels.
Glass Globe — A glass housing for an atomizer that allows for the user to physically see the vapor production. Certain glass globes offer a small bubbler for water filtration.