For concentrate users, vape pens offer portability and efficiency in a compact and sleek device capable of producing flavorful and thick vapor clouds. Cannabis vape pens consist of a rechargeable battery to power a small atomizer that produces the heat necessary to vaporize cannabis extract in a chamber or cartridge.
Variations in the components can affect vapor quality and experience. An atomizer is a broad term for any heating element that contains coils and wicking material. The wick is responsible for delivering cannabis oil to the heated coils to produce vapor. Wicking material can range from cotton to ceramic to quartz that can affect the flavor and harshness of the vapor.
The traditional cotton wick was popularized by e-cigarette technology for its ability to absorb cannabis extract. Cotton fibers are also affordable for concentrate producers and consumers. Despite the budget-friendly aspect of cotton wicks, they don’t tend to produce the best tasting hits. A lack of temperature control results in overheating that affects the extract’s intended flavor.
While cotton wicks may seem like an outdated technology, they may still be useful for heating high-viscosity liquids. Some people prefer the thick clouds and flavor of cotton wick cartridges and vape pens. Because they are low in cost, users should be prepared to replace them frequently.
Quartz-based atomizers typically consist of a tiny quartz rod wrapped with a thin coil made of titanium or other materials. Some vape pens use two quartz rods with coils or more. More rods and coils mean higher maximum temperatures. Some users may find it difficult to load extracts directly on the coils. Despite the issues with loading concentrates, quartz can vaporize cannabis oil in under 5 seconds producing large, flavorful vapor clouds.
Quartz’s high-temperature and unadulterated hits require relatively low energy from the battery to heat meaning the vape pen can last for a long while. A downside of quartz is that it doesn’t retain heat very well. Low heat retention means users need to power on their batteries more often. The resulting vapor can be too harsh for some and cause cracking to the quartz from the high temperatures.
Ceramic technology is touted for its excellent heat retention and vapor quality. Concentrate users may choose ceramic heating elements for the strong flavor profile produced and no burnt cotton taste. Ceramic-based coil enables users to take low-temperature dabs. The drawback is that ceramic coils can take between 20 and 30 seconds to heat completely.
Essentially, oil absorbs into ceramic’s porous surface and gets heated by the coils. The pores in the ceramic provide a large surface area that can retain heat for longer than most wicking materials. Like quartz, ceramic provides extract users with flavorful vapor every time.
There are pros and cons to any type of technology including vape atomizers and wicks. It’s important for concentrate users to do their research to determine what quality is most important to them in a vape pen. Regardless of the choice consumers make, they’ll be sure to enjoy their favorite extracts on-the-go.