Dabbing and Vaping: Key Differences

In recent years, there have been several breakthroughs that have revolutionized the way that people smoke.

While dabbing hasn’t exactly been new to the Stoner Culture, advances in technology and glass blowing have transformed dabbing from an underground pastime to a nationwide phenomenon in the last few years.

While some may think vaping is a recent invention, it has actually been around for many years. In the past few years, however, vaping concentrates has become increasingly popular.

Naturally, this has generated a lot of conversations in the community about which is superior: vaping or dabbing.

This guide was created to help clarify the differences between dabbing and vaping, allowing you to decide which method is better for you. Let’s briefly go over a few basics before we get started.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is a method to heat up oils or concentrates in order generate an inhalable light vapor. Vapers typically do this through one of the following ways:

  • Vape pens
  • Vaporizer machines

There are various less frequent techniques of vaping, but these are the two most popular types. Some people choose to vape for the flavor only, while others enjoy cannabis-based concentrates that provide a certain feeling.

Why Do People Like Vaping?

Some people vape because it’s a social activity, similar to drinking alcohol. Others appreciate vaping for the taste and many options of e-juices.

Many people vape because it is more comfortable than other smoking devices. Vape pens are small enough to fit in your pocket, do not produce an odor, easy to change parts, and require little cleaning. Additionally, vaping is less expensive than other methods of smoking.

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the process of using a concentrated amount of oil or wax and heating it up to create vapors that are inhaled. This can be done with different tools such as a dab rig, nectar collector, portable e-nail, or dab pen.

Why Do People Like Dabbing?

People frequently choose to dab because it is a more moderate way to consume cannabis. The higher THC levels in dabs and other cannabis products significantly decreases the amount required to receive the substance’s benefits.

On top of that, people also like dabbing because it is:

  • Quick
  • Different
  • Easy to accessorize
  • Easy to take on the go
  • Cheap
  • Versatile

With dabbing, you can smoke a variety of concentrates including oil, wax, shatter, crumble and more.

In addition, there are many methods of smoking dabs, like using a rig with a quartz banger or nail, recyclers, mini rigs, dab pens, and so on.

Dabbing and Vaping – What’s the Real Difference?

Now that you understand the basics of dabbing and vaping, let’s get into the deeper differences between the two in order to help you determine which one is best for you.

1. Process – How to Smoke Dabs vs. Vaping

Although dabbing and vaping may seem comparable, they are actually quite distinct from each other. Allow me to explain further.

Dab Pens vs. Vape Pens

If you have a vape pen or dab pen, you might think that dabbing and vaping are quite similar. For one, both activities let you use a small, portable smoking device that can be easily recharged and refilled.

However, the most significant distinction between a dab pen and a vape pen is that vape pens can only accept oil concentrates in cartridges, whereas dab pens may utilize all types of dab concentrate formats (with the exception of oils).

Other than these two ways to smoke dabs or vape, there are a lot of differences between the two in terms of process.

Dab Rigs vs. Vaporizers

Most people who smoke dabs use a dab rig. Dab rigs are water pipes that have been modified to include percolation and diffusion, which cools the smoke for a smoother smoking experience.

There are well over a half dozen different types of dab rigs, which all differ based on their design. A few examples are:

  • Mini Rigs
  • Recycler Rigs
  • Incycler Rigs
  • Multi-Chamber Rigs

There are different types of rigs you can use to smoke dabs, and each rig has its own set of accessories. These include dab nails, quartz bangers, and diffused downstems. With these accessories, you can customize your smoking experience to better suit your needs.

Not all vaporizers are vape pens; other methods of vaporizing concentrates are also referred to as vaporizers. These are generally less portable, but they do exist and can include transportable vaporizers that allow you to smoke more than just oil concentrates. The Volcano Vape, or the Puffco Peak, is one of the most well-known examples of a conventional vaporizer.

Both utilize electricity to heat coils, which vaporize concentrates. They have better temperature control and require less set up time than vape pens or portable vaporizers, but they both have a larger learning curve than that of vape pens or portable vaporizers.

Nectar Collectors & Other Ways to Dab

Nectar collectors are a kind of new dabs smoking technique. They’ve only been around for a few years, but they’re similar to the traditional dab rig and dab pen.

Overall, they are an interesting way to smoke, but we don’t necessarily prefer them over dab pens or dab rigs.

2. Tools – What Tools You Need for Both

Dabbing requires significantly more equipment than vaping. Vaping is most often accomplished with a vape pen or a more stationary desktop vaporizer like the one we discussed above.

Dabbing on the other hand is usually done with either a dab pen, which requires about the same tools as a vape pen, or dab rigs, which require a lot more tools.

Vaping Tools & Accessories

For vaping, you will probably need these tools and accessories:

  • Battery
  • Cartridges
  • Atomizer
  • Coils
  • Concentrates

Outside of that, you may need a few other tools for cleaning, and set up more specific types of vaporizers.

Dabbing Tools & Accessories

When using a dab rig, you will need the following tools and accessories:

  • Dab nail
  • Quartz banger
  • Dab torch
  • Diffused downstem
  • Concentrates
  • Dabber tool
  • Dome

You didn’t necessarily need all of these, as quartz bangers and dab nails are interchangeable, and domes are also optional for nails. However, in general, there are a lot more accessories and tools that can be used with a dab rig than with dab pens, vape pens, or vaporizers.

3. Smoking Experience – What Are They Like to Smoke?

Overall, vaping is definitely less harsh than dabbing. This is determined by the technique you use to vaporize. Dab pens and vape pens are similar in terms of their smoking experience, and many people recommend dab pens over vape pens because they are more versatile and a bit smoother.

However, when it comes down to large desktop vaporizers vs. dab rigs, vapes definitely take the win on smoothness.

Dab rigs, in general, aren’t lacking in smoothness. In fact, many of the best dab rigs include percolators and recyclers for a smoking experience that rivals most high-quality bongs.

Another important factor to keep in mind is how temperature affects the smoothness and taste of you are smoking experience. Generally speaking, dabbing and vaping in between the 400-450F range will give you the smoothest smoke.

Overall, I would say that the base model of vaporizers are smoother than dab rigs, but dab rigs can be upgraded in order to be much smoother than vaporizers.

4. Health – Which One is Better for You?

Okay, let’s get this out of the way to start: we are not doctors or researchers in this field, and have very limited statistical information about the effects of dabbing and vaping on the human body.

With that being said, it’s no secret that inhaling any type of smoke is bad for you over time. This includes vapor from oil and wax concentrates as well as smoke from dabbing.

At the end of the day, there is simply not enough research out there to suggest whether dabbing or vaping is a healthier option.

5. Cost – Which One is Cheaper?

Overall, dabbing is a bit cheaper than vaping in most instances. Here are a few examples:

  • A good dab pen will usually cost you between $70 and $100
  • A good vape pen will also cost you between $70 and $100
  • Vape pens require the additional purchase or refill of cartridges, which cost about $20 per
  • A solid dab rig with multiple accessories and the tools you need will cost between $70 and $150
  • Concentrate dabs will also run you about $20 to $40 per gram, but can sometimes be more expensive
  • A solid desktop vaporizer with all of the accessories you need will usually cost upwards of $200

So, overall as you can see, dabbing is a bit less expensive than vaping in the long run.

However, if you are using a dab pen or vape pen, the cost is more or less the same.

6. Temperature – Which One is Hotter?

Usually, most dab pens and vape pens offer a few preset temperature settings that you can adjust. Some of the more complex ones allow you to alter the temperature with more range, typically ranging between 300-650F.

For the most part, you have a lot more control over the temperature of your smoking experience when using a dab pen or vape pen over a dab rig. Tabletop vaporizers also have a superior amount of temperature control.

Dab rigs are significantly more difficult to control the temperature of, which means that unless you have an excellent email caramel or one of the best dab torches available, it can be tough to achieve the ideal temperature for each session.

At the end of the day, you really don’t want to be smoking dabs or vapes anywhere over 450F. Temperatures higher than this typically tend to have a negative effect on the taste, as well as lasting damage to your device. On top of that, this is the temperature range where excess toxins also happened to be released from concentrates, which exposes you to more health risks.

To learn even more about temperature control and how to get the most out of your dab rig or vaporizer.

7. Supplies – What Can You Smoke from Them?

This is one of the main differences between dabbing and vaping. For the most part, vaporizers allow you to smoke dry herbs, waxes, oils, and many other types of concentrates.

Meanwhile, dab rigs allow you to smoke just about any type of concentrate with the exception of dry herbs and oils or distillates.

Right in the middle are dab pens and vape pens, which allow you to smoke a more narrow range of concentrates. Vape pens typically only accept liquid or extremely oily concentrates. Dab pens typically except wax, crumble, butter, and anything except dry herbs or liquid concentrates. Portable vaporizers allow you to vaporize dry herbs and dryer types of concentrates.

Lastly, nectar collectors are a type of dab rig that allows you to smoke oily and liquid concentrates.

Overall, there’s something out there for everyone, no matter what your concentrate preferences are. The important part is understanding how each of these different types of smoking methods work in order to find out which one is best for you.

Dabbing and Vaping – Our Final Take

Overall, dabbing and vaping are two distinct forms of smoking that are meant to appear similar. They provide users with a different flavor, smoking experience, and type of smoke from traditional cigarettes.

Both are fantastic methods to smoke, depending on the situation and your personal tastes.

While we prefer vaporizing for taste and smoothness, we find that dabbing is better for group smoke sessions because it is more intense and easier to use. There is also a greater variety of products available.

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