One of the greatest things about the way cannabis products are increasingly entering the mainstream is that there are now so many options from which dry herb users can choose the best portable vaporizer. Fans of dry herbs, for example, must no longer stick solely with joints or blunts or glass pipes: they now have an increasing amount of portable vaporizer technology from which to choose and experiment.
And then there is the whole separate issue of cannabis extracts. Powerful cannabis derivatives like shatter and wax have redefined the ways in which cannabis is both understood and consumed, offering a more intense smoking or vaping experience and giving rise to an array of new and exciting products, such as wax vape pens.
For a person who is new to the vaporization game, however, all this new information and technology can seem pretty daunting. Since it's very difficult to understand how vape pens are different, here is a handy guide for those who may be interested in vaping wax or shatter but have no idea where to start.
The first step in understanding how to properly consume wax and shatter is to understand the difference between the two. While they are similar, there are a few key differences.
Wax and shatter are both concentrated forms of cannabis that have been distilled from dry herbs. They contain a far greater amount of cannabis’s psychoactive compounds – such as THC and CBD – and are far more potent than the regular plant as a result.
The difference between the two lies in their consistency and their methods of preparation. Shatter has a translucent, glass-like appearance; wax, on the other hand, is just that – waxy and gooey.
There are several overlapping ways in which to vape dry herbs and shatter.
The “true” vaporization of dry herbs that is utilized by vaporizers like the Stoner Joe or the E-CLIPSE is a process in which dry herbs are loaded into a heating chamber. Hot air is then blasted through the chamber that absorbs all of the dry herbs’ psychoactive compounds and produces flavorful and delicious ‘vapor.’ This process is known as convection heating. Another form of true vaporization is conduction heating, which relies on the transfer of heat energy through direct contact.
The last method of heating dry herbs is called combustion heating. This occurs when the heating element – also known as a coil – is brought into direct contact with the dry herbs in a way that essentially burns them. Think of the vaporizer functioning the same way as a pipe, in that it is producing smoke. If you want to learn more about the differences between the three forms of heating you can read our post called Combustion vs Convection vs Conduction: Which Vape Pen is Yours?
Some of the technologies available for the combustion of dry herbs may also be used for vaping wax or shatter. The Atmos Jr. or the AGO G5 vape pen utilize what is called a ‘pancake coil’ – a circular and flat heating element that heats dry herbs or concentrates.
Another type of vape coil used for vaping shatter or wax is a single rod quartz coil, such as the Pocket Vape Pen. This push-in style vape coil has a funnel style ceramic dish with a titanium coil wrapped around a quartz rod. Although it looks very similar to the original Micro G Pen, the Pocket Vape has a much better quality wax atomizer.
The Yocan Evolve and Yocan Evolve Plus consist of a dual quartz coil, which helps burn the shatter or wax that much more. People say it burns more consistently. If you try vaping the Yocan Pandon wax vaporizer with quad coil technology, it's like using a dab rig to vape shatter.
There are a multitude of products out there that allow for the smoking or vaporization of wax and shatter. There is no ‘right’ way to accomplish this task, meaning that much of the decision largely comes down to the consumers’ personal preference.
There are two major factors that determine how wax or shatter are vaporized, starting with the type of coil. Some vape coils are able to conduct more power than others, which often times means the difference between the power of the battery.
Besides the pancake coil like we described before, you have the ceramic rod vape coil. It's a step up from the old wick coil, this option has higher heat retention and may also last longer. However, like the wick coil, it is important that the ceramic rod coil is kept as clean as possible, as consistent wax usage may oftentimes result in the coil becoming clogged with excess wax that slips to the bottom of the heating chamber.
Finally, there is the quartz rod coil. This glass-like option is the best available option for conduction of heat and ensuring that as little wax as possible goes to waste: This is accomplished by the quartz rod reaching heating levels that leave little wax behind.
Vaporizers utilize different coils in different ways, with some of the portable-dabbing vaporizers utilizing multiple quartz rod coils. For example, the Yocan Evolve Plus, which is one of the Best Yocan Vape Pens, uses two quartz rod coils in a sizable heating chamber. There is also the Yocan Pandon – one of the most powerful and best wax vape pen ever created – that uses dual quartz coils in two chambers that are both connected to the battery, meaning that one hit will likely be intense for even the most experienced of wax lovers. The more intense the better, right?
The second major factor in determining the way in which wax or shatter is vaporized is the strength of a vaporizer’s battery. The amount of wax a person is able to vaporize is correlated to the strength of the vaporizer’s battery, meaning that great and powerful vape batteries can provide users with very powerful hits, such as the SteamCloud A-40 box mod vape.
A vaporizer with a lower battery power, such as 360mah, will not have as long of a battery life and will not be able to vaporize a great deal of wax at a given time. An example of this phenomenon is the AGO G5 Junior or Pocket Vape. They're affordably-priced vape pens in which the consumer is able to load a small amount of wax in a given vaping session.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are box mod vape kits. Box mods – which are commonly associated with the use of e-liquids – are hyper-powerful batteries that are able to deliver far more power than a standard vaporizer battery. When paired with a wax-only heating chamber – like the large screw-on atomizer Yocan Cerum – the consumer is able to vape a gargantuan amount of wax that is most likely suited to the more advanced vape pen lovers. When vaping a SteamCloud box mod with a Yocan Cerum Atomizer, you want to set the wattage between 15 and 25. Make sure not to set the wattage any higher because you can burn out the wax atomizer.
To Sum Up: The consumption of wax concentrates and shatter can be a fun and an illuminating vaporization experience, provided that the consumer has both a vape coil and battery that is up to the task.
If you're interested in purchasing any of these vape pens mentioned in the article, please visit our Wax Vape Pen section in our store and you can see which vaporizer is most suitable for you.