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How to Use a Vape Pen With Oil, Wax, E-Juice & Dry Herb

Dave Kriegel
May 7, 2019

Vape pens were a natural progression from e-cigs and cigalikes. They are most often used for vaping THC and CBD cartridges, CBD vape oil or good old nicotine-based vape juice. There are even vape pens available for vaping dry herb and cannabis concentrates.

Using a vape pen is a simple and easy way to vape, even if it’s your first time ever. In this guide we will look at the various types of vape pens and how to use them properly.

What is a vape pen?

How to use a Vape Pen Guide

A vape pen is a power source that heats up a vape tank or cartridge to produce vapor. They’re rechargeable battery-powered devices that are pocket-sized and cylindrical – hence, the name “pen.” Vape pens first hit the e-cigarette scene around 2010 from a company called Janty, then shortly after were popularized by Joyetech.

This device revolutionized the vaporizer market by offering larger battery capacity and longer running times, as well as providing the user the ability to swap atomizers or cartridges. Prior to vape pens, e-cigarettes were small self-contained units in the shape and size of a cigarette.

Vape pens are most commonly used with:

  • CBD and THC oil cartridges
  • E-liquids
  • Wax/dabs
  • Dry herb

Charging your vape pen battery

How to use a Vape Pen Guide

Before charging, make sure you are using the same charger that came with your vape pen. Always look at the specs of your device to determine an appropriate charger for it.

Vape pens are charged through a USB cord and are meant to be charged like other small electronic devices, like on a computer or laptop, or even in your car. There are two types of charge cords for vape pens:

  • The standard micro USB cord to be plugged into the side of the pen, or in the bottom of the device (sometimes hidden under a chrome cap).
  • A proprietary connection that threads directly onto the top of the pen (called a 510 connection).

If you need a vape pen charger replacement, and you have a vape pen with a standard connection, any other standard USB cord will work. If you have a proprietary connection that threads onto the 510, you can find replacements on eBay (search for “eGo charger”). A replacement charger for a vape pen should only cost a couple dollars.

How to use a vape pen

Before you begin, make sure your vape pen is fully charged. The higher the mAh rating of your battery, the more life it has, but it may take longer to reach a full charge.

If your vape pen is button-operated, then click the power button five times in rapid succession to turn it on or off. When vaping, always press the button at the same time as inhaling — if you press it too soon, the vapor might become too hot. Some vape pen batteries are draw activated, which means there are no buttons to play with. Most vape pens have a cut-off time of about 10 seconds and will shut off if your puff lasts longer than that.

Other vape pens may have some additional features like variable voltage or a preheat mode. Usually three rapid clicks adjust voltage, which is indicated by different color LED lights. Refer to your usual manual to find out the exact voltage specifications of your device. A good rule of thumb is to start at the lowest setting and work your way up.

For oil cartridges

How to use a Vape Pen Guide

Vape pens are some of the most common devices for use with THC and CBD oil cartridges. Remove the rubber seal from the bottom of your oil cartridge and connect it to the battery.

  • Take a small puff, and wait a few minutes to gauge the effects, especially if you are vaping THC-containing oil.
  • If your cartridge uses silica wicking, keep it at a low setting to avoid dry/burnt hits. The ideal range for most oil carts is 3.3-3.8 volts.
  • Many of the newer cartridge utilize ceramic-based coils can handle more voltage without burning out. Some may require more voltage to achieve a satisfying puff.
  • See our guide to the best 510 thread vapes to learn more about how to vape oil.

For e-liquid

How to use a Vape Pen Guide

E-liquid vape pens can be broken down into two categories: mouth to lung (MTL) and direct lung (DL) vapes. Mouth to lung vapes have a tighter draw and simulate the experience of smoking. Direct lung vape pens provide more airflow and produce bigger and denser clouds. Learn more about the different methods of inhaling in our full guide.

Most vape pens today are refillable, and use replaceable coils. They can be filled with the e-juice flavor and nicotine strength of your choice. Refillable vape pens are also becoming commonly used with CBD vape oils, which now come in a plethora of flavors.

  • Start by filling the tank of your vape pen with your favorite liquid. Don’t overfill it.
  • Give the coil at least 5-10 minutes to allow it to prime.
  • Take a small puff then exhale right away, you don’t need to hold it in for long.
  • Take small breaks between puffs to see how it affects you.
  • When the flavor starts to diminish, or tastes burnt, it’s time to replace the coil.
  • If your vape is battery operated, make sure it is turned off when putting it in your pocket.

For concentrates

How to use a Vape Pen Guide

Vape pens for THC and CBD concentrates are another option for cannabis vapers. They are compatible with wax, also known as dabs. These dab pens provide another way to vape concentrates aside from using a bong. Dab pens are more discreet and convenient. You can also vape pure CBD isolate crystals instead of wax using a regular dab pen.

  • Load a small amount of concentrate into the heating chamber using a tab tool.
  • Prime the coil by gently pulsing the fire button, which will begin to melt your material.
  • Take a puff while holding the fire button, always start with small puffs.
  • Try pulsing the fire button while inhaling to prevent it from getting too hot.
  • Wait a few minutes between puffs to gauge the effects, especially with THC wax.

For dry herb

There are vape pens for vaping dry herb. Many of the older dry herb vape pens had heating coils that didn’t properly vaporize weed. Today, we have ones that produce actual vapor through convection, conduction, or a combination of both. Learn more about the best dry herb vape pens available and how to use them in our full guide.

Tips for maintaining your vape pen

If you want to get the most out of your vape pen, it will require some proper care. Your vape pen can potentially last for years if you follow these tips:

  • Clean the threads of your vape pen periodically using isopropyl alcohol.
  • Keep the mouthpiece sanitary, use a case if necessary to prevent dust and dirt from getting in to your mouthpiece.
  • Keep battery out of extreme hot or cold temperatures.
  • Make sure your coil is always fresh, keep spares on hand.
  • If you’re using a wax or dab pen, never overload it to prevent leaking or clogging.

Are vape pens safe?

Almost every vape pen runs on a built-in lithium ion battery — the same kind of batteries that power our phones, tablets and laptops each day. Vape pens generally feature internal chips with multiple safety features like a cut-off limit, short-circuit protection, high and low voltage protection, low resistance protection, overheat protection, etc.

Though battery incidents are rare, most of them are avoidable. Even a study from the FDA confirms that the majority of these cases are due to user error. Learn the basics about battery safety, especially if your vape pen utilizes replaceable batteries. Take good care of your vape pen and make sure you are using the charger specific to your device.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dave has always had a passion for helping people quit smoking. As a former smoker himself, he knew how hard it could be. As soon as he learned about vaping, he instantly became obsessed with it and helped many people stop smoking. Vaping360 has given Dave a platform to do this on a much larger scale, by educating the public about the wonders of vaping. When Dave is not writing he is either listening to music, performing it, or cruising around on his Penny board.


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How do I break down oil that I make so it will smoke in my vape pen thanks


Can I use the battery of my Snoop Dogg dry herb pen for 510 thread vape cartridges? Like. The ones I get from the dispensaries.

Jim McDonald
Jim McDonald

Check the specifications in the manual. If it is 3.7-4.0 volt output, it will work fine. Don’t use it if it’s higher.


Hello, soy principiante en todo esto pero me compré una pen vape for oil pero no estoy seguro cuáles son los aceites para este tipo de vape!


hi i was wondering if i am making e- juice with shatter and liquidizer can i still use a cotton atomizer


Is there a device which could use all the different mediums? ie oils, e-liquids and concentrates?

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