What to Know Before Buying the Proper Disposable Vape Pens

By Kyle Battle Updated March 8th

Whether walking down the Venice Boardwalk, scooting along in traffic or sitting outside your favorite coffee shop, it’s no longer strange to see and smell a large plume of flavorful marijuana vapor bellow out of someone’s mouth.

That’s because more and more people are embracing vaporizing, or vaping, as their preferred method of consuming cannabis.

Here we’ll take a look at some disposable vape pens to suit any mood or condition, along with some suggested brands and helpful tips on how to find the right one for you.

What’s Vaping?

Vaping is the process of heating marijuana flower or extracts to a temperature hot enough to cause it to vaporize without burning it. Water vaporizes at 212°F, so most agree that vaping between 350° and 400°F is best for cannabis.

How Do Vape Pens Work?

Essentially, what happens is the vape pen powers the heating chamber, which in turn provides the heat needed to warm up the oil or other cannabis concentrate, which produces the vapor that you smoke. Then you pull the vapor through the mouthpiece and inhale.

It’s a pretty simple and straightforward process.

Why Do Some People Prefer Vaping?

Vaping has become the method of choice for many consumers due to its lower perceived health risk, numerous product choices, convenience, and discretion. And with both tabletop and portable solutions like disposable pens, vaping can be enjoyed discreetly on the go or at home with friends.

While further study is needed to understand if vaping is truly safer than smoking cannabis flower, it's easy to see why consumers would feel this way. Smoke of any kind, including marijuana, contains harmful toxins. And though marijuana has never directly caused a fatality, the fertilizers and pesticides used during cultivation can result in higher levels of ammonia and other chemicals.

Vaping avoids many unwanted toxins, resulting in increased respiratory function among former smokers, according to a study by the Harm Reduction Journal in 2007. That said, some vape products are manufactured using solvents like butane that can be toxic if not properly filtered out, and consumers should only purchase vape products from licensed dispensaries and brands that are transparent about their testing procedures.

What Are Vape Pens?

Vape pens are cannabis devices designed much like e-cigarettes, making them generally small, thin and discreet. They can cost as little as $15 or as much as $200 and require maintenance like recharging the battery and refilling the cartridge.

Many vape pens have a button that must be pushed while inhaling in order to activate the heat source. And most include a light that indicates when a dosage is complete.

There are five main parts to a vape pen, with many interchangeable from one device to the next. In order from bottom to top:

  • battery,
  • button,
  • tank/cartridge,
  • atomizer (heat source),
  • mouthpiece.

A majority of pens currently on the market follow an industry standard known as 510 threading, which allows you to interchange almost any cartridge onto any battery.

If you’re thinking of experimenting with vaping, disposable vape pens offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative before you buy a potentially expensive pen that you don't know how to maintain, let alone if you’ll like it or not. Disposable vapes are pre-loaded devices that require no maintenance, cost less, and can be thrown away (or recycled at a hazardous waste facility) when empty.

How to Use a Vape Pen

Using your vape pen comes down to 5 simple steps.

  1. Make sure your device is fully charged before you try to use it.
  2. Read the owner’s manual to get a good sense of how to operate your device. Traditionally, buttons on vape pens serve three main functions: Powering the device on and off, pressing and holding to take a hit, and -- for some devices -- allowing you to change the temperature on the device.
  3. (When necessary) Put the device together. Usually, this means assembling the mouthpiece, the battery, etc.
  4. Attach the desired cartridge. Almost all cartridges nowadays come pre-packaged, pre-filled, and easily screw into the device to significantly minimize assembly time.
  5. Once your pen is fully assembled, fully charged, and you are familiar with the device-buttons, it’s time to enjoy!

Why Use a Disposable Vape Pen?

Disposable vapes are to vape pens what training wheels are to bicycles. They’re available at most dispensaries and cost around $15-20. Coming in a variety of brands and strain specific flavors, disposable vape pens don’t have rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to worry about a dead battery unless all of the extract is also gone—in which case, you’d just throw it away.

With disposable vape pens, there’s often no button required to activate the heat source. Just inhale and enjoy.

Factors to Look for When Buying Disposable Vape Pens

disposable vape pensPhoto by Clear Cannabis on Unsplash

While there are several brands and flavors to choose from, finding the right one(s) can be overwhelming; so we’ve made it easier. Here are a few simple things to consider when shopping for disposable vapes to optimize your experience.

  • Ask how many hits a new pen gets. Each pen should get you no less than 100 hits, upwards of 200. Depending on whether it’s filled with wax or oil, the measurement can vary so make sure to ask how many doses the amount equates to.
  • (Where you can) Test the pen before you leave the shop. Even if you have to unpack it and it takes an extra minute of your day, you don’t want to leave the shop with a bad pen. Dispensary refund policies are rare, and you don't want to have to schlep back to the shop. Just make sure you're allowed to use the cannabis vape pen at the dispensary, and have a friend who can drive if you're taking a hit of THC oil.
  • Choose a brand that has your favorite strain(s). Several companies make strain-specific pens. If Sour Diesel is what you’d normally smoke, find a manufacturer that offers that strain.
  • Do your research. Spend some time on message boards, do Google searches, and ask friends or family members which disposable vape pens they like most.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vape Pens

When will I know my vape cartridge is empty?

It may seem like common sense, but the best way to know if your oil cartridge is empty is if it feels significantly lighter than full. You can also tell if you hold your cartridge up to the light, and it looks like all of the liquid was absorbed. Lastly, if you continue to vape from an empty cartridge, the aroma from the cannabis oil will be much weaker, and instead, you will experience more of a harsh, smoky scent.

What is it that I’m smoking inside of a vape pen?

This question largely depends on the type of vape pen that you’re using. The biggest difference between traditional vaporizers and vape pens is that most vape pens were strictly designed to handle solvent-based cannabis oil. But there are vape pens that are designed to vaporize cannabis flower, as well as dab pens (for dabbing on the go).

What’s better: vape pens or dab pens?

This is actually a very prevalent debate amongst the dabbing and vaping community. Many people chose dab pens over vape pens because they are typically designed to handle multiple types of concentrates and often “smoke smoother.” On the other hand, there are those who prefer vape pens because they are much easier to maintain, clean, and refill.

Are there different types of vape pens?

Yes, but it really only comes down to two main types of vaporizers: those that have a box mod and those that don't. Box mod vapes are essentially standard vape pens in a disguised package so they look like a car fob or other device. Other differentiators cannabis connoisseurs may wish to consider when choosing a pen include battery power, product design, unique features (like temperature control), and overall performance.

What kind of cannabis products can be smoked in a vape pen?

It’s important to remember that most vape pens are strictly designed to handle solvent-based cannabis oil. If you attempt to fill your vape cartridge with other types of cannabis concentrates, you could damage your vape pen.

Do vape pens cause harm?

This is the million-dollar question. At the moment, there is not enough public research available that one can conclusively say how vape pens affect the human body.

With that being said though, it’s important to remember that inhaling any type of smoke -- even cannabis vapor -- is not considered to be good for you. When it comes down to it, you’re inhaling a vapor that may include unwanted chemicals, toxins and carcinogens.

We strongly suggest that you take the time to understand any potential health risks associated with vaping before purchasing a vape pen. In addition to that, we also recommend that you use your vape pen to only smoke legal concentrates purchased from licensed dispensaries and brands.

What’s the best way to clean my vape pen?

When taking apart your vape pen for cleaning, you first want to ensure the pen is no longer hot. From there, your best bet is to treat cleaning each section of the pen differently.

Starting with the mouthpiece, it’s best to take a Q-tip, dip it in isopropyl alcohol, then slowly dab and rub the Q-tip against the mouthpiece until you have removed any residue.

For the atomizer, the best way to clean it is to let it soak in isopropyl alcohol overnight. Once it has soaked, you will want to rinse it thoroughly and let it dry completely before using it again. Try to stay clear of using cotton swabs to remove any residue from the atomizer. It’s very likely that material from the cotton swab will get stuck on the atomizer, and can cause damage once you turn it on and heat it back up.

Why is my vape pen not working?

If it appears your device isn’t working, there are a handful of things you should check before declaring it broken.

This may sound silly, but before assuming your device is damaged, make sure it's turned on.

Another factor that often snags people is the batteries. There are three main things to check when it comes to batteries, and you should use the process of elimination to determine which of the three main things is causing the problem.

  1. First, make sure your battery is fully charged.
  2. Second, you need to check if the battery cover is fully closed and in place. If the batteries are uneven, power may not be going to the device.
  3. If neither of those two issues are causing the problem, try replacing the battery to see if it just got to the end of its lifespan.

If your device is turning on but is not dispensing any vapor, or if you're having trouble taking a hit, it may be because there is residue blocking the connection. You’ll want to check if any oil seeped out of the cartridge and obstructed the mouthpiece or the battery circuit.

There are some vape devices on the market that have something called “stealth mode.” This particular setting allows the device to work when the screen or light is off or unlit. To check if you accidentally turned this mode on, see if the device is heating and allows you to smoke. If so, then it may be a simple fix of toggling stealth mode off in the settings.

If you have checked these factors and still can't use your vape pen, your device may be faulty or damaged beyond repair. Do you remember if the device fell into or came in contact with an excessive amount of water? If so, there could be an interference with the internal connection, and the device could be permanently damaged.

Before throwing out your device, try contacting the dispensary where you purchased it. While refunds aren't common, you may be able to secure a replacement at a lower cost.

Best Brands of Cannabis Vape Pens

There are seemingly countless brands making disposable vape pens and there’ll be plenty more to come. It’s really a matter of which brands your dispensary carries and how specific your tastes are.

We encourage you to try all the brands until you find the one (if any) that’s right for you; but to speed up that process, here are a few reputable disposable vape pens you can start with.


Sleek, smooth and silver with the signature logo, the FlavRx pen is a great one to start with because it comes in several of the most popular strains and the pull is smooth. Plus, it’s so discreet it can fit right in the palm of your hand.

This pen’s good for about 150 hits and every hit tastes just as good as the first. Flavored to taste like the flower strain, FlavRx makes for a great transition for the marijuana purists wary of artificially flavored vapes. Get one for $20-$25.


If you’re looking for a CBD product, Evoxe is a good place to start. Moderately priced at $40-$50, Evoxe uses oils made of cannabis as well as other natural herbs to include aromatherapy in crafting your vaping experience.

With a small selection of products designed to both calm you down and amp you up, Evoxe is a great value for those interested in testing out vaping. Each type comes in a different color and is about the size of two stacked Chapsticks.


Costing closer to $100, the innovative dosist vape pen (formerly hmbldt) was voted a “Top 25 Invention of 2016” by Time Magazine. Rather than dividing their product by strain, dosist pens are designed to stimulate different areas of the mind and body to improve sleep, increase blissfulness, provide pain relief, and even activate arousal. A cool feature? Rather than a light to indicate a full dose, there’s a gentle vibration. These pens are shaped like the old-school, five-in-one colored pens: small, white with a colored band around it changes between pastel colors based on the flavor.


Marked by its logo, a squared-off marijuana leaf that looks like a modified asterisk, Wildflower pens are top notch. Their CBD vapes with 150 doses are a solid value at $39. Their immunity CBD cartridge is CO2 extracted for highest purity. With a smooth hit and a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, Wildflower is a great way to get your toes wet before diving into the deep end of vaping.

There’s still an underground feel to vape pen usage as the technology behind it hasn’t yet become common knowledge among consumers. We highly recommend that you explore this space and find the vape pen, disposable or refillable, that’s right for you.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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