Which should you buy?

In this blog, we’ll be going over the differences between dab pens vs carts, which are mainly used on 510-thread batteries.

  • As Weed Vaporizers have grown in popularity in recent years, there’s now a huge selection and variety to choose from, so it’s important to know the differences on which one is right for you.

In short, if you want tons of different options to try, 510 carts might be right for you & If you consider yourself more of a dabbing connoisseur and want more potent hits instead of microdosing, then dab pens are the better choice.

Let’s get more into it so that you have a better understanding of which might be better for yourself.

Dab Pens & Wax Pens vs. Weed Carts & Vape Pens: Major Differences

In summary, the major differences between a dab pen and a cartridge are:

  1. Usage: Dab pens are for solid or semi-solid cannabis concentrates, while cartridges are pre-filled with liquid cannabis oil.
  2. Concentrate Form: Dab pens require direct contact with the concentrate in the coils they use, while cartridges come pre-filled and are good for tons of hits before they run out.
  3. Portability: While dab pens are the same size as vape pens, cartridges are more convenient for on-the-go usage because you don’t have to clean in between every usage.
  4. Customization: Dab pens offer more customization options with different concentrate varieties, whereas cartridges have limited customization options.
  5. Potency: Dab Pens are more potent because you’ll be consuming more THC in every hit compared to a cart inhale.

vape pen carts vs dab pens major differences

What is a vape pen cartridge?

  • A ‘cart’ AKA THC oil cartridge contains your selected cartridge of 0.5mL, 1mL, or 2mL cannabis oil.

They come in all different types of concentrations of THC, CBD, CBN, or even the new delta strains of synthetic THC. These cartridges contain 510-threading which will secure them into a vape battery’s 510-threading or attach via a magnetic adapter.

Either way, this connection will pass a current to the heating element that connects to the oil in the tank which will produce vapor as you inhale.

Some cartridges are even refillable up to three times and can save you a lot of money if you enjoy making your oil distillates.

What is a dab pen?

  • Dab pens use an atomizer or coils as their main source of heating the concentrated forms of THC that they vaporize.

You can think of this as more of a manual style of heating because of this since you will have to always load in and clean your concentrate for probably every 4-5 sessions average.

Utillian 5 Different Coils

Wax Pens vs. Dab Pens

Wax pens and dab pens are actually just different names for the same type of device! Since wax is the most popular type of dab, the terms “dab pens” and “wax pens” are often used interchangeably in the vaping community to refer to these versatile and compact devices.

In other words, dab pens and wax pens are essentially the same thing as they are both types of vaporizers specifically designed for consuming wax or concentrates.

Vape Batteries and 510 Vapes

They all act as the battery base for your cartridge. While they might come in different sizes and forms, you’ll still be inhaling from your cart’s mouthpiece regardless of how they look.

Disposable weed vapes are a different category of products since they’ll have a proprietary tank that can’t be swapped and will have to be thrown out once finished.

What does a cart session look like?

Assuming that you’ve already bought your vape battery and cartridge, it’s as easy as screwing on your cartridge, and then inhaling from draw-activated models, or pushing the button on power button models.

What does a dab pen session look like?

For a sample dab pen session, you’ll need to get some waxy THC concentrate from your local dispensary to load into the atomizer.

Once you’ve got that, you can use a dab tool to load a rice-sized grain of concentrate onto the coil or ceramic atomizer that it has.

After the coils are loaded, just snap the mouthpiece back on and fire up your pen and within five seconds, you’ll have some potent vapor to inhale.

Utillian 5 Dab Tool

Loading the Utillian 5v3

Dab Pen vs. Cart Potency

A dab will almost always be much more potent than a hit from a cart.

A dab pen’s atomizer is simply much more powerful than a cart pen’s atomizer.

Because of this, you will need to take three or more big hits from a cart to get the same effect that a small hit from a dab pen can provide.

As dabs come in different forms, some will have very high THC levels that can make the high between these two types of devices even more different.

Some dab pens like the Utillian 5 V3 will also have the added benefit of a specifically made bubbler for additional vapor cooling that a cart can’t give you.

Utillian 5 v3 Bubbler

Dab Pen & Wax Pen vs. Carts Pros and Cons

Dab Pens Carts
✅Powerful and Portable Dabbing Solution
✅Huge variety of cartridges to try out
✅Somewhat affordable
✅Most are as easy as inhaling to produce vapor
✅Compatible with most waxy THC concentrates
✅Portable and ready to go at any time
✅Often have multiple heat settings ✅Very affordable
✅ Better if you have a higher tolerance ✅Odor isn’t very noticeable
🚫Can be difficult to load while traveling
✅ Draw-activated batteries are prone to clogging your cart
🚫Limited session battery lives ✅ Great for microdosing
🚫Wicks are prone to clogging
🚫Heavy users will go through cartridges and vape pen batteries quickly
🚫Carts are fragile to dropping and exposure to sunlight

Most Popular Concentrates for Dab Pens & Wax Pens

  • Wax

Wax concentrate is a soft, wax-like form of THC concentrate that is produced through a solvent on cannabis flower. Often times it will come out yellow and perform well with a good mixture of flavor and cloud production.

scooping concentrates with puffco hot knife

  • Shatter

Shatter is similar to wax but comes in a glass-like texture that you’ll work by breaking off pieces from before loading it into your dab pen.

  • Live Resin and Live Rosin

Live resin and live rosin contain a high amount of cannabis terpenes and will smell and taste better than other concentrated forms of THC. They work by flash-freezing a live plant, and then separating the THC from the flower material so that the result is a liquid gold

Most Popular Types of Carts for Vape Pens

  • High percentage THC carts 

Although you can expect to pay more for high percentage THC carts, they can be more efficient if you’re after a microdosing high now and then.

  • Delta 8 Distillate Carts 

Delta 8 carts are a concentrated form of the cannabinoid Delta-8 and are cut by using distillate. These carts will often have a very high percentage of Delta 8, and because of the more difficult manufacturing process, you’ll be paying a premium effect for its euphoric effects.

  • CBD Carts 

As the name implies, CBD carts are a very relaxing form of carts and are often made via CO2 to preserve as many terpenes as possible. Because they aren’t as popular as regular thc carts, you’ll be paying a bit more for their stocking fee.

Dab Pen vs. Carts: Where to use?

Cartridges and dab pens are suited for different situations and preferences. Here are some common scenarios for each:

Cartridges: Cartridges are convenient and discreet, making them ideal for on-the-go usage. They are often used in public settings where you want to be discreet about your cannabis consumption. Cartridges are also popular among beginners or those who prefer a hassle-free experience, as they come pre-filled and ready to use.

tools420 510 batteries

Dab Pens: Dab pens are better suited for those who want a more customizable and potent experience with cannabis concentrates. While they can be hit on the road, they’re a little easier to use at home because you’ll be loading more frequently for each session and needing to clean every few sessions.

where to use dab pens

Dab Pen vs Cart pen – Which is easier to clean?

The only real part that you have to worry about cleaning on your 510 battery is the mouthpiece opening if it ever gets dirty.

Dab Pens, on the other hand, have much more maintenance involved to keep them working their best:

  • Cleaning the atomizer with Vape Cleaning Sticks every few uses to remove
  • Cleaning the mouthpiece to keep it free from grime and resin buildups
  • Occasionally wiping the atomizer’s threading to keep it clear from resin leaks

There are more cart options

Carts allow for a lot of different flavor and concentration types that will let you play around with different types of strains like Black Berry, Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Gorilla Glue, Jack Herer, and much more. To test out a different cart, it’s as easy as having a spare $20 lying around and then threading it onto the 510 connection.

For dabs, you can expect to pay at least $40 for a decent gram of good concentrate and have potent hits in fewer puffs. 

Cheaper carts can go for as little as $25-30, and you can expect at least 200 hits before you go through a standard 1mL cart. 

Who are carts best for?

Carts and vape batteries are by far the more convenient route, but you’ll be stuck with less potent hits. If you prefer microdosing throughout the day, no matter where you are, then I’d suggest carts for you.

Who are dab pens best for?

Dab pens are best for people with high tolerance levels that need more powerful hits. While they aren’t as convenient as carts, they can be in if you have the time and effort to get a good setup going.

When to transition from to a dab pen from a cart?

Transitioning from carts to dab pens is recommended when you start to seek a stronger and more potent vaping experience than carts can offer. Dab pens allow direct vaporization of concentrated THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids, resulting in a more intense and immediate high. They offer customization options and require more skill to handle and use correctly. Overall, this switch is best suited for experienced users looking for a more potent experience.

The next step up after dab pens is erigs. Erigs work similarly to dab pens or your typical dab rig, but they are more user-friendly. They have a stronger battery and a water bubbler attached to them. At Tools420, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the Best Electric Dab Rigs and everything there is to know about them. This resource can guide you in exploring the world of erigs and taking your vaping experience to the next level.

Dab Pens vs Vape Pens Conclusion

Because their entry points are about the same between a cartridge and battery, and a dab pen and a cheap concentrate, you might find that it’s easier to just get both!

Neither option is going to break the bank, and you will learn a lot more about what you do and don’t like by trying them both out.

As another alternative, the G Pen Micro+ is a wax pen that will let you vape both dabs and cartridges thanks to its smart 510-threading connection. While it’s a bit on the pricy side of things at $80, it will let you easily change your heating system in just a few seconds.

G Pen Micro 510 Cartridge

Frequently Asked Questions

Are weed carts stronger than bud?

While cartridges have higher THC percentages than dry herb, hits from a joint or bong will have a bigger headrush.

How long do carts and dabs last before they go bad?

THC carts and THC concentrates will last about one year before their terpenes lose a lot of their potency and taste – Even less if they are stored in direct sunlight.

What does a cart high feel like?

A cartridge high is similar to a small headrush because they aren’t as powerful as dab pens.

Do THC carts or dap pens smell more?

By themselves, THC carts do not smell. When you hit them, they have a small smell that will quickly dissipate into the air. Dab pens might have a tiny bit more smell because they are heated more, especially on a dab pen with an exposed coil.

Is a dab pen a cart?

No, dab pens are their own type of vaporizer, and there is also no such thing as a dab pen cart.

What are the best dab pens?

We would consider the Utillian 5, the Tronian Gammatron, and Puffco Proxy to be the Best Dab Pens.

What are the best 510 batteries for weed carts? 

Currently, we think the Best 510 Batteries for carts are the Dr. Dabber Universal Battery, and the CCell Palm.

Why you should trust us

Hey there, curious minds! Let’s talk trust, shall we? At Tools420, we’re not just your run-of-the-mill bloggers – we’re your vaping companions on a journey of flavor-filled clouds. With a combined passion for all things vaporizer-related, we’ve been hitting, testing, and reviewing cannabis vaporizers since 2016.

But hold on, what makes us the trusted voice in this cloud-covered realm? Well, let’s break it down. Over the past years, we’ve not only dissected every vaporizer’s build quality, vapor quality, and ease of use, but we’ve also tackled the tough questions about safety, functionality, cleanliness, and wallet-friendliness. Manufacturers? Yeah, they know us – we’re the ones providing them with real, no-nonsense feedback.

But we don’t just rely on our own vaping prowess. We’re a collaborative bunch, teaming up with vaping virtuosos like Tvape, To The Clouds and 420 Vape Zone alongside our invaluable customers’ insights, to paint the full picture. Meet the dream team – Drew, Jason, and Josh – the fearless trio on the lookout for the next big thing in vaping. We get our hands on those devices before they even hit the shelves, giving you real, on-the-spot feedback.

Why the unbiased approach, you ask? Simple – we believe in quality. The better the product we recommend, the happier our readers and customers become. And happy folks? Well, they always find their way back to the source they trust. So, fellow vaporizer adventurers, buckle up – we’re in for a cloud-chasing, flavor-savoring, trust-building journey together!

why buy a wax pen from tools420

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