In the last few years, there have been a lot of developments that have completely revolutionized the way that people smoke.
While dabbing is not necessarily new to the Stoner Community, improvements in technology and glass blowing over the last couple of years have turned dabbing from an underground experience to a national phenomena.
At the same time, vaping has also evolved quite a bit over the last couple of years in order to allow for people to begin vaping concentrates.
Naturally, this has caused a lot of debates in the community about whether vaping or dabbing is best.
We wrote this complete guide to Vaping vs. Dabbing in order to help you understand the difference between the two, and figure out which one is best for you.
In this guide you will learn:
Before we dive in deep, let’s just outline a few basic things to get started.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the process of heating up a concentrate or oil in order to make a light vapor that you inhale. This can be done in a variety of ways, but is most commonly done by:
- Vape pens
- Vaporizer machines
A few other less common methods of vaping exist, but these are the two main ways that people choose to vape.
Depending on the preferences of the user, some people choose to vape oil concentrates like vape juice or e-juice which are simply for the flavor. While other vape smokers like to enjoy cannabis-based concentrates that give them a certain feeling from smoking.
Why Do People Like Vaping?
People like vaping because it is a social thing to do, much like drinking. Other people prefer it for the taste and the wide variety of e-juices that are available.
Even more people prefer vaping because of how convenient it is. Most vape pens can easily fit in your pocket, are odorless, easy to Interchange Parts, easy to clean, and are relatively cheap compared to other types of smoking devices.
What is Dabbing?
Dabbing is the process of superheating and oily or waxy concentrate in order to inhale the vapors and smoke from it. This is traditionally done with a dab rig, nectar collector, portable e-nail, or dab pen.
Why Do People Like Dabbing?
Lots of people like dabbing because it is a more conservative way to smoke cannabis. The higher concentrations of THC found in dabs and other cannabis concentrates drastically reduces the amount you need in order to reap the benefits of the substance.
On top of that, people also like dabbing because it is:
- Easy to accessorize
- Easy to take on the go
Overall, dabbing allows you to smoke a lot of different types of concentrates, from oil, to wax, to shatter, crumble and more.
On top of that, there are a ton of different ways to smoke dabs, such as using a rig with a quartz banger, a nail, recyclers, mini rigs, dab pens, and more.
Vaping vs. Dabbing – What’s the Real Difference?
Now that you understand the basics of vaping and dabbing, 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
Dabbing and vaping can be fairly similar, but also can be very different. This may sound confusing, so let me explain.
Dab Pens vs. Vape Pens
If you have a vape pen or a dab pen, vaping may seem very similar to dabbing. After all, both allow you to carry a portable pen size smoking device that can be easily recharged and refilled.
However, the main difference between using a dab pen vs. a vape pen is that vape pens can only except cartridges of oil concentrates, whereas dab pens can accept all types of dab concentrates, 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
The next most popular way to smoke dabs is with a dab rig. Dab rigs are essentially modified water pipes that focus on percolation and diffusion in order to cool down the smoke for a smooth 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
Aside from the different types of rigs, there are also a few different types of dab rig accessories that you can use with your water pipe in order to smoke dabs differently. These include things like dab nails, quartz bangers, and diffused downstems.
Vaporizers refer not so much to vape pens, but other types of ways to vaporize concentrates. Usually, these are a bit less portable, but can include portable vaporizers which allow you to smoke more than just oil concentrates. The prototypical vaporizer that comes to mind is the Volcano Vape, or the Puffco Peak.
Both have large basis, and use electricity to heat coils which vaporize concentrates. They have superior temperature control, but require more setup time than vape pens or portable vaporizers.
Nectar Collectors & Other Ways to Dab
Nectar collectors are one of the newer ways to smoke dabs. They recently hit the scene a few years ago and are somewhat of a cross between the traditional dab rig and a dab pen.
Overall, they are an interesting way to smoke, but we don’t necessarily prefer them over dab pens or dab rigs.
If you want to learn more about nectar collectors, what they are, who they are good for, and more check out these resources:
2. Tools – What Tools You Need for Both
Dabbing definitely requires a lot more tools than vaping. For the most part, vaping is done with either a vape pen, or less portable desktop vaporizer like we described in the section 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:
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
- Dabber tool
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 a bit smoother than dabbing. This is dependent on the way that you choose to vaporize though. For instance, dab pens and vape pens are very similar in their smoking experience, and many often 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.
This isn’t to say that dab rigs aren’t smooth, as many of the best dab rigs include percolators and recyclers which make for an extremely smooth 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, vaping and dabbing 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.
For more information on how to get a smoother smoking experience, check out some of these resources we have made:
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.
Overall, dab rigs are a lot harder to control the temperature of, and unless you have an email caramel or one of the best dab torches on the market, it can be hard to get the perfect temperature for dabbing every time.
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, check out some of these helpful resources we’ve created:
7. Supplies – What Can You Smoke from Them?
This is one of the main differences between vaping and dabbing. 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.
Vaping vs. Dabbing – Pros & Cons
Now that we have gone through all of the differences between vaping and Diving and what makes each of them great, let’s take a quick minute to compare the pros and cons of each.
|Smooth||Not a lot of variety|
|Lots of temperature control||Pretty expensive price for table top vapes|
|Relatively affordable||Limited to a few types of concentrates|
|Efficient on concentrates|
|Lots of variety for designs||Can be harder to control temperature|
|Usually cheaper||Not as quick to smoke|
|Easy to accessorize||More potential exposure to toxins|
|Wide variety of concentrates||More work to clean generally|
Vaping vs. Dabbing – Our Final Take
Overall, dabbing and vaping are two very different types of smoking that are meant to seem fairly similar. They provide a completely different taste, smoking experience, and type of smoke for the user.
Both are great ways to smoke depending on the setting and your personal preferences.
For smoothness and taste, we personally prefer vaporizing over dabbing. However, for intensity, ease-of-use, variety, and group smoke sessions, we prefer dabbing.
Learn More About Vaping vs. Dabbing
Want to learn even more about how to dab or vape? We have created tons of resources that can help you get started. Try these ones out for starters:
What is the Best Vape Pen?
What is the Best Dab Rig?
Find Great Deals on the Best Dab Rigs & Vape Pens! – Best Gifts for Stoners
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