“Vape” was the Oxford Dictionary’s year of the word back in 2014, but that doesn’t mean we’ve all jumped on the vape train quite as readily as the University of Oxford has. It’s not for lack of trying, either, but there’s a fairly common cycle of events when it comes to investigating the world of vape pens for the first time: A browser tab is opened. Google is probably your go-to, but if you Bing, I won’t hold it against you. After a brief ten-minute session of being inundated with buzzwords and phrases with absolutely no frame of reference, a prospective convert from harsh smoke goes right back to hitting the bong.
Frankly, I can’t blame you. It’s an industry still feeling out its awkward puberty and precious few want to spend the time it takes to weed through available information to make a decision after hours and hours of research. You’re in luck, though: Finding the best vape pen for beginners can be as simple as knowing a few basic terms for the type of vape pen you’re looking for and being aware of what options you have. Let’s take a trip down the rabbit hole and try to cut through the haze of vape marketing together so we can all enjoy a fresher, airier world. It’s an investment worth making.
A Beginner’s Guide to Vape Pens
For those who have never touched a pen before, the concept of a vaporizer is fairly simple: A battery-powered heating element, often housed in a pen-shaped case, heats oils, dry herb or even wax to a temperature just below its point of full combustion. This produces vapor without actually burning whatever you’re about to inhale, cutting harmful smoke out of the equation. It’s not a perfect solution but vaping instead of smoking could save lives, according to long-term studies that are finally surfacing. It’s likely better for your lungs and respiratory system with the added benefit of not having the same pungent odors usually associated with having a smoke.
For an absolute beginner, what you plan to vape makes a big difference in what sort of pen you’ll end up with. Different pens work with different substances and finding a pen that works properly with everything you hope to inhale might be a fool’s errand, but rest easy knowing you don’t have to dive into this search alone.
As a quick refresher, keep in mind that not every pen advertising hemp oil actually contains THC. Many oil pens contain cannabidiol oil, or CBD, which is a non-psychoactive that contains little to no THC at all. If you’re trying to take the boredom out of another evening with the in-laws a CBD pen is probably just going to leave disappointed and terribly sober.
Disposable Pens: Your First Step Into Vaping
As a quick disclaimer, disposable pens of the past have gotten a fairly bad reputation for being on the shoddy, disposable side of the spectrum, but that’s exactly what they’re designed for. If you’re not sure whether vaping is even an option for you, starting off with something you don’t mind throwing away is a smart first step. Disposables are generally cheaper than refillable models and have much sleeker designs, which is important for those who want to be stealthy about their habits.
Look for a pen like the Charlotte’s Web disposable pen. It’s a CBD pen that will let you test out the draw and mouthfeel of a vaping pen without having to worry about mind-altering substances affecting how you judge the results. It boasts a simple design and plenty of draws to let you spend a few weeks testing it out, comes in several flavors for those who aren’t a fan of natural hits and has a low price point to keep you from regretting your investment if it turns out not to be up to your standards.
Custom Pens: Into the Lion’s Den
This is probably the part where things became fairly confusing even if you weren’t smoking while doing your research. Non-disposable pens come in so many styles, sizes, payload options and battery selections that you might feel like you need an engineering degree to choose one. We’ll keep it simple and shoot for identifying the best vape pen for beginners based on what you’ll be vaping while using these pens: Oils, solid herbal matter, and dabs. That gives us a chance to explain a few crucial functions, too.
For starters, oil pens offer benefits you just won’t get with solid matter or wax vape pens. Not only can you buy pre-packaged oil chambers to slot into pens, you can freely choose between CBD and THC oils to customize your vaping experience to your needs, whereas vaping straight-up cannabis doesn’t offer such an option. You might even take up CBD vaping if you aren’t a fan of intoxication or cannabis in general, considering it boasts several potential health benefits including anxiety relief and epilepsy treatment on top of potentially combating cancer. THC, on the other hand, is better utilized for treatment of things like glaucoma and chronic pain.
With oil pens, you have to consider issues such as the size of the reservoir your oil will enter and how that oil is heated. Opting for a pen like the PuffCo+ ensures you get a smooth first experience with its ceramic heater instead of metal coils that tend to scorch liquid when not properly handled. Its mouthpiece also helps guard against over-drawing and getting a mouthful of oil. You want it in vapor form, after all!
As a quick aside, ensure you know the real contents of your oil so you know exactly what you’re getting into when you try a new pre-filled oil cartridge. Some are way, way stronger than others and probably aren’t the best choice for focus-intensive activities.
If you want to go for dabs, the AirVape OM works with both oil cartridges and wax thanks to a swap-friendly chamber that can be totally concealed with a stainless steel shield. To most onlookers, it’ll have the appearance of a really nice e-cigarette. Having a solid unit made out of steel helps it stay in one piece during travel and heavy use, which is never a downside.
Vaping cannabis proper presents some difficulties, as you’ll probably be looking at options that are more one-hitter than a full bowl size when it comes to sleek pen designs. If that doesn’t bother you, options like the Series 3x Dry has a seriously impressive battery life and chambers for not just oils and wax, but also dry herb as nature intended. With that said, its function as a one-hitter is solid with mouthpiece and chamber fittings that are tight enough to ensure you won’t go leaving a tell-tale scent when you take your hit. If you want more than a one-hitter you may have to step up to a portable vaporizer that is larger than a pen proper, but that’s an article for another day.
The Bottom Line
We made it to the end! Feels good, doesn’t it? Not just the fancy pen you might be trying out, but rather that you stuck through a complicated web of information and came out more informed than you began. Finding the best vape pen for beginners is kind of a mess at the moment, but industry regulations might help smooth out bumps in the road as time goes on.
So for those of you loading up an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to put a new vape through its paces, I can only hope it’s helping you fly as high as the crew of the Satellite of Love. If not, there’s always edibles.