The advantage of simple vape pens is the supreme convenience they offer cannabis and nicotine users. But you can’t enjoy a vape unless your pen is charged!
Relax—the process of charging is pretty universal for all kinds of pens. Generally speaking, both weed pens and e-liquid pens are charged with a USB outlet, which the pen attaches to with a 510 thread adapter or a common USB cable. We’ll explain below.
Most vape pens, including dab pens, don’t use removable batteries, but just in case you have one that does, we’ll go over procedures for using an external battery charger too. Our one-stop guide to charging pens will also show you how to recognize a low battery, and easy steps to maximize the lifespan of your pen’s battery.
What batteries do vape pens use?
Vape pens by definition are simple, small devices with self-contained batteries and a 510 connection. Most have very limited user controls—they turn on, turn off, and sometimes have adjustable voltage settings. There are also 510 thread batteries, which usually offer more battery capacity and additional controls and settings.
A standard vape pen charges via USB—either with a common cable or an adapter that screws into the 510 threads. As long as the vaper has a USB port available, and a cable or adapter on hand, they won’t need to remember which charger is compatible with which device.
Rarely, vape pens have specialty or replaceable batteries.
Specialty batteries: Some THC, nicotine, or CBD vape pens have batteries that are specific to the device. These batteries are often USB-compatible.
Replaceable batteries: Usually, we call the large pen-shaped vapes that use removable batteries tube mods, but sometimes they’re called pens. In an effort to cover all the possibilities, we’re also including those devices, which use 18650 or other sized batteries that usually must be removed and charged in an external battery charger.
How to charge a vape pen with USB
After determining that your vape pen has a USB-compatible battery, the charging process is simple. Follow these steps, and your device will be at full power in no time.
Check to see if you need a cord or adapter: While the handiest vape pens charge through a 510-threaded USB connector, some require a micro-USB or USB-C cable. These may be supplied by the manufacturer, but if not, they use the same cords as other common devices like cell phones and tablets.
Plug the adapter into a computer or outlet: Start by plugging the USB adapter into your computer. A standard USB connection on a computer puts out 5 volts. Don’t use any connection that exceeds that.If you use a separate charger or a wall outlet with a USB connection, the same advice applies.
Attach your vape pen’s battery to the adapter: Hook your battery up to the adapter. If the battery screws into its adapter, avoid overtightening it. Too much pressure can result in damage to the connection plate.
Check the indicator light: Make sure your battery’s indicator light is lit. For most devices, the light will be red as it charges, and turn green once you’ve reached full power.
Disconnect your vape pen after charging: Unplug your weed, nicotine, or dab pen as soon as it has finished charging. Enjoy your vape cart or e-liquid of choice.
How to charge a vape pen with replaceable batteries
As widespread as USB compatibility has become, not all vape batteries charge this way. There are still pen devices that—like many box mods—rely on removable batteries, which are usually charged with an external battery charger. (Some vape devices allow you to charge a removable battery inside the device with a USB connection.)
Here’s how to charge 18650 batteries and other sizes of rechargeable lithium-ion cells used in vaping devices:
Open the vape pen’s battery door and remove the battery: Find the battery cover on your device. This cover will be located on the side or bottom, and you can press on a thumb latch to unhook it. Pop out the battery.
Plug in your external battery charger: Before inserting the battery, plug your external charger into a wall outlet (or a car accessory outlet if you have the proper DC adapter). Ensure that the indicator light or display screen has turned on. For optimal performance, use your charger in a space between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Insert the battery into your external charger: Checking that the poles are lined up correctly, put the external battery into your charger. It should slip in easily with a clicking sound. If the battery doesn’t fit, don’t force it. Your charger may not be compatible with that size.
Wait until the charger indicates the charge is complete: From dead to fully charged, most removable batteries will need 2-3 hours. Older batteries, or those with a higher capacity, may take longer. It’s best not to leave the house while a battery is charging; it’s extremely rare, but damaged or defective batteries can sometimes cause a fire when charging.
Remove the full-capacity battery: Information about your battery’s capacity should be displayed on the charger’s screen, or signaled by an indicator light. Avoid overcharging a battery, as this could damage it.
Reinsert the battery into your vape pen: Keeping an eye on the poles, reinsert the battery into your vape pen’s casing. Seal the cover, and your pen is ready to use.
How to know when a vape pen needs charging
Keep a close eye on your vape pen’s indicator light. Different devices have their own signal for a low battery, so you can refer to the manual for details. For instance, the light may start flashing red when your device is running out of power.
Certain devices have lights that change color at medium power. A flashing blue light can indicate that your battery is half empty, for example.
Alternatively, a green or white light usually shows that the battery is fully charged and ready to use.
Some (usually cheap) vape pens have no way of indicating battery capacity. They’re best avoided, unless you want to gamble (or always carry an extra).
How long does it take to charge a vape pen?
If your internal battery is drained, it will require between one and two hours to fully charge. Higher-capacity batteries can take longer. A battery that is only partially drained may charge in sixty minutes or less.
Integrated batteries often charge more quickly than their replaceable counterparts. A depleted removable battery charged on an external charger may take as long as three hours to charge.
Important: While some articles and videos give tips on charging vape pens “faster,” it’s better to let your device charge at its own pace. Attempting to speed up the process artificially could result in a fried battery, or even a fire or explosion. Stear clear of adapters that provide more than 5 volts of power or “rapid charging” adapters.
How to extend a vape pen’s battery life
With the proper charging practices, it’s possible to maximize your vape battery’s lifespan.
No battery lasts forever. In general, lithium-ion batteries will handle about 500 full charges. Good batteries will last for at least a year. Use these tips to extend your battery’s life as much as possible.
Never charge your vape pen using more than 5 volts of power: Vape pens are compact devices that rarely require large amounts of power. Stick to standard 5-volt USB connections.
Always use a compatible charger or adapter: If your battery arrives with a charger, only use that one. Otherwise, do your research and abide by any charging information the manufacturer provides.
Don’t let a dead battery sit around for long: It’s helpful to use your battery on a regular basis. But if you need to store it for a while, the battery should be partly (60-80%) charged while it sits unused. A dead battery that’s been sitting around is less likely to accept or hold onto a charge.
Avoid storing a battery in hot or cold locations: Both hot and cold temperatures can damage your battery and shorten its life. If you need to bring your vape somewhere cold, try storing it in a protective pouch and keep it next to your body in a pocket.
Disconnect your battery once it’s done charging: Charging your vape pen overnight can seem convenient, but you risk overcharging. Whenever possible, unplug your device as soon as it reaches full capacity.
Are all vape pens rechargeable?
While some disposable vapes aren’t rechargeable, most batteries are. Learning how to charge just about any vape pen, including weed pens and e-liquid devices, is easy. Time to give your pen a charge and get vaping!
I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.