When it comes to vape pens, it’s safe to say that you have your fair share of options to choose from. And with such a vast number of choices, it can be fairly laborious to compare and contrast every device on the market. A great way to dwindle down your options is to figure out exactly what you want to get out of your portable pen vape.
Some people prefer the ‘no fuss, no muss’ solutions like a pre-filled cartridge that you can find at your local dispensary. Whereas others favor going the Fill-It-Yourself coils route where you can maintain more control over the heating or vaporization process. We’ll go over both types of units and the benefits they offer so you can determine which is best for you.
What Are Pre-Filled Cartridges?
Cartridges (sometimes referred to as ‘carts’) are small, disposable tanks that are usually pre-filled with some type of concentrate and simply ready to “plug and play”. These cartridges typically feature the industry-standard 510-threading, which screws directly into any compatible battery. These cartridges are most commonly manufactured from a combination of glass or plastic, then typically some sort of metal for the threading portion and mouthpiece. They also feature a chamber that contains the actual atomizer, which is the source of heat that vaporizes the oil, thereby allowing vapor for your inhalation.
These pre-filled carts can usually hold around 0.5g to a full 1.0 gram of concentrate and provide anywhere from 50 to 400 draws of vapor (depending on the size of your hits). What’s great about them is that you only need to pair one of these cartridges with a compatible 510-threaded battery to get started. The main reason for their creation was due to the plethora of issues that come with vaping concentrates. The primary concern is portability, followed closely by the ease of use and discretion. Below, we’ll discuss in more detail the benefits that cartridges have to offer.
With regards to vape carts, there are several benefits they can offer and some distinct advantages they maintain over their counterpart – coils. And for those people that don’t want or need those extra features and complexities of an FIY coil, pre-filled carts may be just what the doctor ordered.
Using a concentrate cartridge could not be any simpler. Just screw the cartridge directly onto a vape battery, turn the battery on, then begin to inhale from the mouthpiece. That’s it! They take any guesswork out of the equation. And unlike coils, there’s no manual loading necessary. It’s this ease of use that attracts newbies and veterans alike.
If convenience is your thing, then you will love how portable cartridges are. Sure, coils are portable as well, but they are typically larger, which cuts down on their discreetness. The oil cartridges are so small that it can even fit into the coin pocket of your average pair of jeans. Just make sure you don’t accidentally lose the sucker when you’re out vaping on the town!
Do you plan on enjoying your concentrates while out and about? Then discreetness will undoubtedly be at the top of your list of requirements. And pre-filled carts offer some of the most discreet vaping you can find. When you use one while out on the town, there will be minimal vapor and odor to speak of. But having said that, we aren’t suggesting you go out vaping amongst the crowds without a care in the world. All we’re saying is, be smart about it, no matter where you decide to vape.
With prefilled cartridges, you also get the luxury of having a nice and clean vaping experience. Alternatively, with coils, you have to prepare your concentrate for loading prior to vaping. And not all units allow you to store your wax in the unit, which means you may need a wax container to hold your concentrates.
It’s safe to say that dealing with all of this can become quite messy if you don’t know what you’re doing. Heck, even if you do know what you’re doing, there’s always the chance of leakage through no fault of your own.
Choose a Brand You Can Trust
You’ll also want to only purchase from brands you can trust. That’s why we highly recommend you perform your due diligence in researching these companies before making any purchases. Mainly seeing as how not all companies that manufacture these cartridges are created equal. You don’t want to end up with a poor-quality or defective product that doesn’t perform properly, or even worse, causes you harm.
What Are FIY Coils?
Fill-It-Yourself coils, or dab pens as they’re commonly referred to, are devices that utilize a heating coil/atomizer that is specifically designed to be used with concentrates. But unlike the pre-filled cartridges, the user must apply the concentrate to the coil themselves. And as the name suggests, most of these devices are shaped like a pen and are used to take dabs. They consist of a mouthpiece, a battery, an outer shell, and a coil (AKA the atomizer), while some devices even come with a cap to allow for easy travel. Again, unlike pre-filled cartridges, you have to do everything manually. Which, depending on your experience level, is quite advantageous when it comes to vapor production and functionality.
Some devices need you to click a button to activate the battery before the atomizer can be used. While others are draw-activated, so you merely need to start inhaling to receive on-demand vapor. There are several advantages to using coils over carts and we’ll go over those benefits they have to offer in the next section.
Since you are now acquainted with FIY coils and how they work, it’s time to touch upon some benefits they have to offer. Furthermore, as previously stated, coils typically have more features than carts, making them more appealing to dabbing veterans. But that’s not to say that people new to the scene can’t take advantage of what coils have to offer. Let’s jump into some of the reasons why these units have grown so much in popularity in recent years.
The single biggest advantage of using FIY coils vs a pre-filled cartridge is the vapor production you can achieve. Quite simply, you can produce enormous clouds of vapor with FIY coils. That’s because these atomizers can get to much higher temperatures and can hold much more concentrate. They also utilize larger and longer air paths for allowing vapor to travel through. The result is huge vapor production that is sure to please any cloud-chasers out there. It’s also going to more closely replicate the type of “satisfaction” you can achieve with a glass water pipe. So a simple and great comparison would be that FIY coils are like bongs whereas pre-filled cartridges are more similar to a hand pipe.
Coils are completely self-contained, meaning everything necessary to operate the device is enclosed inside the device. That is, except for the concentrates that you add yourself. Unless you have the Terp Pen, which features a storage cap, where you can store a small amount of concentrates for an all-in-one solution. However, with cartridges, you have to deal with the mouthpiece, the battery, and the cartridge. You lose one piece and you’re out of luck.
Just like with carts, coils are specifically designed to allow for discreet sessions. But, there’s one feature that dab pens have over pre-filled carts, which is their design that resembles your average pen. It’s much more conspicuous holding a device with colored liquid inside than a metallic-looking pen. That makes coils the ideal option for those who enjoy nights out on the town.
Similar to pre-filled cartridges, and how easy they are to take with you wherever you go, coils are pretty darn portable as well. Since they are typically twice the length of a cartridge, and roughly the size of a pen, they may not be as portable though. But that’s not to say that they aren’t still portable. You can’t fit a dab pen in the coin pocket of your jeans, just as you can with cartridges, but you can easily toss it in your front pocket anytime you want to step out, which is still pretty darngood.
You’re in Full Control
When you opt to go the coils route, you are putting yourself in full control of your dabbing session. You decide how much wax or budder you want to place on the coil to vaporize. And again, how big your clouds are going to be is completely up to you. Many units even feature draw-activation technology, meaning the battery isn’t turned on until you begin to inhale – making things as effortless as possible. Plain and simple, you are in full control of your dabbing sessions when you use FIY coils.
A Device with a Proven Track Record
Do FIY coils sound like the best choice for you? Then we have to recommend our flagship device, the Terp Pen. Sure, we may be a bit biased…but you know who isn’t a little biased? The people over at the WEEDCon. And they have chosen our Terp Pen as a 2022 WEEDCon Cup winner. And, since they seem to know a thing or two about all things cannabis, we’re inclined to agree. 🙂
Final Thoughts on Cartridges vs. Coils
Both FIY coils and pre-filled cartridges have their share of benefits that you’ve become more knowledgeable with. But you may still be asking yourself, “Which one is right for me?”. Let’s just say, neither option is outright superior to the other. And, as cliché as it sounds, it all boils down to personal choice and what you’re looking to get from using your device. But we feel it ultimately boils down to vapor production (FIY coils) vs simplicy (pre-filled cartridges). Whichever type of device you decide on, just try to make sure you do some research before making any final decisions. And don’t be afraid to ask questions!