Vaping Wax Concentrates vs E-Liquid
A friend of mine recently purchased what she thought was a vape pen, but instead it turned out to be a “wax pen.” My knowledge surrounding wax pens was nonexistent until she had made her purchase and came to me for help. After many hours of research I’ve learned quite a bit about what makes a vape pen unique from a wax pen, and the differences between wax concentrates and e-liquids. The primary takeaway – stay away from “e-solids.”
The Inner Workings of a Vape Pen
The basic function of a vape pen is to turn e-liquid into vapor that can then be inhaled. The pen itself is composed of several parts. An LED light functions as a way to see when the vape pen is finished charging, in use, or in need of charging. The lithium ion battery provides power to the pen, and in some models can hold a standby charge of up to three days. A microchip stops the device from overcharging and switches the battery off when it’s empty. This is essential to battery safety and maintenance. The clearomizer holds the e-liquid, which is then absorbed by the wick, which is then heated to create the vapor.
What is a Wax Pen?
Wax pens are very similar to e-cigs, but typically include a single use cartridge that has either a poly fill material or an interchangeable coil and wick system. The concentrates are loaded into this cartridge, which brings them to the heating element to be vaporized. On the inside of a wax pen is an atomizer that has a metal coil and a glass fiber or cotton wick system. Most contain convection heating, which is a form of heating where the air around the wax is heated. This is different from conduction heating, where the wax is placed directly on top of the heating element, which runs a greater risk for combustion.
For a wax pen to work properly the oils being used must be liquid enough, or waxes thin enough. This ensures the wax is heated to the appropriate temperature without combusting. If the wax or oil is being combusted, it’s almost the same as smoking the wax, instead of vaping it. The liquid oil or wax is placed onto coils where it is then heated until it melts into the wick, where it’s then heated into a vapor that can be inhaled.
Primarily used in pens and other vape devices, e-liquid is comprised of base ingredients. Propylene glycol is used as a flavoring carrier in food products, and is key in the flavor of e-liquid. PG is also responsible for the level of throat hit someone experiences when vaping. In contrast, Vegetable glycerin is what gives vapor it’s “thickness,” the higher the level of VG the smoother it is. Higher VG levels are great for sub-ohm vaping. Flavor is a key ingredient in e-liquid, and while not needed for vaping, many e-liquids contain levels of nicotine.
The biggest difference between vape pens and wax pens is what they’re designed to turn into vapor. The devices have small internal differences, but these small differences make a world of difference. If you’re looking to vape e-liquid, you’re going to want to purchase a vape pen over a wax pen. Trying to save a few dollars by buying a wax pen won’t be worth it in the long run, as you’ll find yourself needing to dish out more money to buy what you actually need. With most things in vaping, it comes down to proper research. I never would have known about wax vapes had my friend not bought one thinking it would work the same as a vape pen, in an attempt to save a few dollars. Save yourself the hassle and do the research before you buy, check out reviews, and buy from a reputable site.