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What is a Vape Pen? Your Guide To Vaporizer Pens

Aaron Pua

What is a Vape Pen? Your Guide To Vaporizer Pens

Vaping is a recent addition to modern society. Until very recently they were a niche product that hobbyists online knew about, but they remained pretty obscure even then. It’s only been a few short years since that time, and now the vape industry is a multi-billion dollar international affair. Why is this?

The forefront of vaping was with cigarette smokers looking for a healthier means to get their nic-fix. Some of the first vape “mods” were hobbyist flashlight battery tubes that people attached coils and cotton to. This was before pre-made coils were readily available, so you had to measure out your ohms (electrical resistance) with a reader or you could mess up your batteries. They’re a far cry from where we are today with the easy to use pen style, boxes and  other styles of professionally made vaporizers.

During the rise of this style of vaping there were also cannabis users looking for more discreet and safer methods of inhalation. The first vapes of this style were large and unwieldy, and they could not be taken into public without getting quite a few stares.

These two styles of vaping have something in common. There was a need for safer, more discreet methods for ingesting these two substances. As word got out about the tech there’s been an exponential rise of users and manufacturers that have created a massive world of different devices that work much better than what was available in the early days of vaping.

Styles of Vapes

Initially checking out vaporizers can be a bit confusing. There’s a ton of different styles out there and many look quite different from one another. Which vaporizer to purchase is going to depend on the needs of the individual and what they want out of their vaporizer.

Pen Style

These are some of the most common types of vaporizers available. Their appearance is that of a slender cylinder (pen-like) with a connector at one end of it where you’re tank or charger generally hooks up. Some of these have a USB adapter at one end. With these types of vapes you can charge them with the tank still attached, allowing you to use while charging.

Pen styles are a bit more versatile than some other types of vapes. Most use a connector that fits a large amount of different types of tanks. Generally if they screw onto the vaporizer they’ll fit a pen style, but that’s a general rule and there are indeed exceptions.

Because of this pen styles allow you to change out the type of tank you’re using, which we’ll get into more later on, with ease. This is why pen, also known as vape pens, styles are so popular among vapers.

Box Style

Vapes like these are easily recognizable by their, well, box-like shape and are a fair amount larger than the pen styles. Box Style vapes tend to be a bit more specific with how they’re vaped from. Some come with built in containers for loose leaf that generally cater to the cannabis crowd, while others have tanks for nicotine liquid to be put into. These are another popular style of vape you’ll see around as they have a long battery life and generally perform leagues better than pen style, at the cost of a bit of versatility.

Auto-Draws and Cigarette Style

This type of vape is mostly used for an easy transition between cigarettes and vaping. Most of these have either built in or proprietary tanks that need to be replaced after being used too much. Though these are bit more disposable than other styles of vapes they are an excellent way to quit smoking and many offer a great and satisfying vape, even when compared to real smoke.


Outside of the bubble of the mainstream vaporizers are the mods that enthusiasts use. They’re generally fairly large, box style e-cigs that contain multiple large batteries. These are very powerful devices that are overkill for beginners, but they offer the best hits and the best flavor around. Not recommended for beginners, but they’re more than worthwhile if you know what you’re doing.

There’s plenty of other types of vaporizers available as well, but these are just a few to get you started understanding what you’re looking at when browsing around. Now that we’ve covered the basic styles of e-cigs and vapes available, let’s check out the parts and what they do:

The Parts of a Vape

Now that you know the styles of vapes available you may be wondering how the different parts function, and what they’re for. There’s quite a few working parts involved and it may seem complex at first, they vaporizers are actually simpler than they look at first glance

The Battery

This is the main meat of the vaporizer. The battery is enclosed in a housing that is usually stylized in some way to make it easier to grip. These small lithium-ion batteries are actually very powerful and they are used to power the heating element that makes a vaporizer do its job.

The Atomizer/Coil

Heating elements in vaporizer are known as atomizers. They are generally a coil of some kind that heats up when power is introduced from the battery. When heat is applied to e-cig juice or loose material it is converted into tiny particles that can be inhaled. No burning should occur here, only vaporization.

The Tank

This is where the atomizer is housed in a lot of vaporizers, though not all use one. The vape tank holds a suspension of liquid around the atomizer to ensure the coil never drys out. A tube connected to a tip you inhale from sits above the atomizer as the tank slowly allows juice onto it.


Certain types of vaporizers have an auto-draw feature that causes the atomizer to heat up when you inhale. The sensor are usually located beneath the tank and on top of the battery housing. They should be kept clean to ensure a long life out your vaporizer.


Nearly all vapes come with a charger of some sort, except for very specific niche box mods with removeable that need a specific battery charger. Usually it is a micro-usb that connects into most USB ports for a convenient charge, however some pen styles need to be connected to a special adapter that comes with the pen.

Vape Juice

If you’re using a device that uses an atomizer for juice and not loose-leaf or an oil mix, then it is general a mix of Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerine (VG), Nicotine and flavorings. PG offers more flavor and a stronger throat hit, while VG is smoother and offers larger vape clouds. A good blend has a nice mix between PG and VG without flavor loss. The nicotine level varies to your preference, experiment some!

There are also THC infused vape juices available from dispensaries and shops, depending on legality, that offer an incredibly satisfying and discreet vape experience. These operate in a similar way to the nicotine blends.

Using it All Together

The first things you’ll need to vape is your battery. Make sure it’s charged and ready to go by charging it as soon as you get it.

If you’re using a refillable tank pour your juice into the repository and let it sit for about 5 minutes before attaching it to the battery. This is so  the juice has time to absorb into the cotton material located within the atomizer. You don’t want a dry hit. Trust me.

After that simply put the parts together and you’re ready to go. Be sure to top of your juice every now and then and to keep an eye on your battery level. Most lithium-ions these days last for quite a few hours of heavy vaping, but it’s never great to have it run out at an inopportune time.

What Else?

These are the basics you’ll need to understand how a vape operates and to get one of your own. However, this doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the vast variety and types of vaporizers available on the market.

Be sure to browse around and read up before making any purchases. They’re great products that outclass smoking in just about every way, as long as you get the vaporizer that suits your needs.

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