Dry herb and wax vaporizers work very differently, and except for a handful of special cases, they can only help you enjoy one material or the other. As a result, the vape you choose will largely depend on whether you prefer dry herbs, wax, or both.
When it comes down to it, there are good—and not-so-good—reasons to go with either of these options. To help make your decision easier, we have listed some critical differences between dry herbs and wax, and different reasons why either choice might be the way to go for you.
Below, we will list some of the critical differences between dry herb and wax, and explain what they might mean for you in the real world.
Although wax is relatively brittle at lower temperatures, it becomes increasingly sticky as it nears room temperature. When the wax is very hot, such as after vaping, it then transitions into an ultra-sticky semi-liquid, similar to thick molasses, that can leak into places and get everywhere.
Furthermore, this sticky residue builds up on the coils inside your wax pen's chamber to the point that you will eventually have to pay for new replacements.
Comparatively, dry herbs are often vaporized in a permanent chamber that is attached to the battery and only leaves behind dried herbs after vaping, without any of the stickiness.
Wax starts as dried and cured flower that’s frozen into a solid mass at low temperatures, placed into an extraction system, and exposed to a hydrocarbon solvent like butane, which separates the cannabinoids from the plant.
After the process is complete, you are left with a much more concentrated, powerful product, pound-for-pound.
Typically, dry herb vapes feature a larger battery capacity (measured in mAh) than wax models. However, in the process of vaporizing dry herb in their chambers, these types of vaporizers also consume meaningfully more energy with each use.
As a result, wax pen batteries can typically go more extended periods of time than herb vapes between charges, simply due to the fact that they do not use as much energy to heat their coils.
Because wax is a concentrated, more potent version of dry herb, and entails a much more involved manufacturing process, it is also generally more expensive than flower.
Operating a wax vape pen often involves nothing more than loading your wax inside a chamber and pressing a button, which triggers the battery to heat an interior coil to the point of vaporization.
On the other hand, after pre-grinding your material and adding it to a chamber, dry herb vaporizers frequently also give you the ability to adjust your output temperature within a pre-set range.
Vaporized dry herb has a similar odor to combusted material (e.g., pipes, joints, etc.). Still, because vaporizing doesn't actually burn the flower, the scent is typically much weaker and less overpowering.
On the other hand, vaporized waxed has a very distinct smell, which can significantly depend on the terpenes left behind after the manufacturing process—everything from floral to fruity. Furthermore, wax vapor is typically weaker than even vaped dry herb and tends to dissipate faster than dry herb vapor.
Whether you prefer dry herbs or wax, the accessories you need will largely depend on which option you choose.
For example, you will need a grinder to generate a fine powder from your dry herbs, which can be more evenly heated by the vape’s coils and help you achieve an optimal user experience. However, this always leaves behind some particles on the grinder’s interior, which can cause it to clog and stick with repeated use.
One of the most common dab tools is the daub-n-spread, with a shovel-like apparatus at one end, and a tiny rounded head at the other, which, combined, make it easier to work with your wax. These tools will become sticky and require frequent cleaning with alcohol.
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