Vape Pens: Which Vape Pen is Right for You?

If you’ve left your house this past year you’ve probably made the same observation as me. Vape pens have exploded. Not literally of course (well maybe literally). What I mean is you can go to any popular bar or just walk around San Francisco and see people huffing on vape pens. Getting high has never been as easy as it is today. I mean come on, some vape pens don’t even have a button. All you need to do is inhale to get a nice big puff. The low odor, stealth, and ease of use makes me think that vape pens are taking off and won’t stop any time soon.

Whether you’re completely new to smoking, to vape pens, or just want a change of scenery I’ve got you covered. I’ve had all of these different pens in my days and though they all make you feel similar, different things work better for different people. Here are my recommendations for which vape pen is right for you.

1. For The Marijuana Newbie

If you’re completely new to cannabis and like the idea of a vape pen, my recommendation for you is this: take it slow. Most vape pens are going to get you pretty high if you take a big puff for your first time. On top of that, the concentrate (wax) is a lot higher THC percentage than your typical flower. ~75% THC compared to ~20% for regular marijuana.

Dosist Vape Pen
Dosist vape pen

The Dosest Vape pens (not affiliated) are my #1 pick for marijuana beginners.

The Good

  • Your hits are dosed (hence the name Dosest). Meaning you it cuts you off after a certain amount, ensuring you won’t accidentally get too high
  • Its incredibly easy to use, just inhale. That’s it
  • Their formula contains a 9:1 THC:CBD ratio (read this post why this is important) TL;DR: it will prevent you from getting paranoid.
  • It tells you the exact cannabinoids present in their formula. Branding something as indica or sativa tells you almost nothing about the high you’re about to experience. It’s refreshing to see companies start to use cannabinoid profiles in their packaging

The Bad

  • They are disposable so when you run out you’ll need to get a whole new pen instead of just a new cartridge. R.I.P the environment
  • There is no indicator how many hits you have left. They have a 50 and a 200 puff version but you have no idea if the next hit is going to empty it. This would be disappointing in a group setting

The Cost

Dosist sells two versions, a 50 dose pen, and a 200 dosepen.
50 Doses (185 mg): ~$40 before tax = ~$0.22 per mg.
200 Doses (500mg): ~$100 before tax = $0.20 per mg.

I’m actually surprised the 200 hit pen isn’t that much of a better deal than the 50 dose pen. I say get the 50 dose pen and if you like it try out another 50 dose pen in a different formula.

Read why Indicas and Sativas are a poor indicator of what your high will feel like

2. For The Vape Pen Newbie

Universal battery

Choosing your first vape pen is the most important decision any smoker will make…just kidding. Vape pens are practically disposable (well some actually are) and it’s not likely you’ll have yours for over a couple years without losing it or running it through the washing machine (been there done that). If you’re just looking to test the waters or even use one regularly, getting a universal battery will work with most cartridges on the market and are very inexpensive. Literally all you do is screw in the cartridge to the battery and you’re ready to rock and roll.

The Good

  • They work with just about any cartridge on the market
  • They are inexpensive and easily replaceable
  • So many different companies make them so you can try out different colors and styles
  • It isn’t hard to find cartridges on sale at your dispensary

The Bad

  • Buying cartridges can get expensive if you smoke often (or lose them)
  • Battery life degrades over time (but again they’re cheap so buying a new one is no issue)
  • You don’t know how much battery charge is left
  • Sometimes the cartridges burn unevenly and you’re left with some wax left inside that you can’t vape out

The Cost

For the universal battery, you can spend from $6-$20 so this cost is pretty minimal compared to the cost of the cartridges. But hey give away the razors and sell the blades right? For the cartridges here is what you’ll be paying:

500 mg: $20 pre-tax (on the low end) = $0.04 per mg

3. For Those on a Budget

Hey, I get it. Who wants to spend $50 for a cartridge of wax really worth $20? If you’re on a budget or plan to be a more frequent vaper I think you’ll do well with a wax vape pen that doesn’t use cartridges. You instead buy the wax and load it into the chamber. Buying the wax is much cheaper considering you can often find sales.

The Good

  • Money saved over time
  • More freedom and control over the wax you’re smoking
  • Control the size of your hits
  • You can upgrade to some really nice vapes if you want to eventually

The Bad

  • Wax. Is. Sticky. Seriously it is a real pain in the ass to deal with
  • Need to clean your vape every once in a while
  • Upfront cost is high.
  • More work to load the vape makes it less portable to events if you need to reload on the go.

The Cost

One caveat to this method is the startup cost is more expensive than a vape pen that takes cartridges. I recommend The Dr. Dabber vape (not affiliated) which goes for $50. You can find some for cheaper but I haven’t used one that cheap and it might not hold up as long as you need it to. $50 seems like a good price to get the most bang for your buck. If you really want to get fancy they sell better vapes or rigs that go for hundreds.

Here’s the best part. After the initial cost of purchasing your vape which is about $50. You are beating the vape pen folks in the cost per mg especially if you can find those sales.
1g (1000mg): $35 before tax = ~$0.035 per mg

3.5 cents per mg. Assuming you use that vape for a while this is going to beat the cost of those vape pen cartridges in mere months.

4. For Those Looking For Quality

Maybe you like a little more quality and brand recognition on your vape or just want some cool features. Well, I have the vape pen for you. Check out the Pax Era. If you’re willing to fork over the $30 for the vape I think it’s worth it. The biggest difference between this and a universal battery vapes is that the Pax takes “pods” instead of the cartridges. Even though these aren’t universal, they’re still abundant enough to the point it’s not inconvenient to find. Pax is one of the biggest brand names on the market and they do a good job of getting their products in most dispensaries.


The Good

  • They have a mobile app for you to control the temperature
  • You can also check your battery life on the phone app
  • 1-year warranty on the vape
  • Pods seem to burn more evenly than cartridges so you aren’t left with unsmoked wax
  • It just looks more sleek and sexy

The Bad

  • More costly than a universal battery
  • Technically more features than the batteries so more points of failure
  • Cartridges aren’t quite universal and only made by Pax (to my knowledge)
  • The pods are more expensive than most cartridges

The Cost

Your startup cost is going to be $29.99 for the Pax Era itself according to their website. The pods themselves will cost around:

500 mg: $35 pre-tax (on the low end) = $0.07 per mg

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