Vape Pens vs Portable Vaporisers – What’s The Difference?

Okay, we’ll admit it. Competing with cigarettes is a pretty tall order, especially when it comes to variety. When we realized we couldn’t compete with tobacco- unfortunately, we don’t offer endless cancers and diseases as choice, we knew we had to come up with some variety of our own.

You could say we’re joking, but we’re really not. Smoking increases your chances of dying prematurely by 33.3%. Vaping, on the other hand is 95% safer than smoking, officially endorsed by the NHS, plus it’s got the backing of TV’s Doctor Christian Jessen. Whether you’re a complete newbie who jumped on the #Vapril bandwagon, or one of the 2.9 million vaping Brits, you’re likely here because you want to know more.

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Alongside endless juices to fill them, there are also endless mods. As super-discreet vape pens and all-in-one Pod Mods gain popularity though, many vapers are left wondering:

Can someone please explain how a vape pen is different to a portable vaporiser?

We’ll cover the main differences, liquids/dry herb/extract use, plus which is best for you.

In a nutshell: all vape pens are portable vaporisers, but not all portable vaporisers are vape pens.  

It’s a portable vaporiser if:

  • It’s hand-held. Basically, any vaping device that you can hold in your hand is classed as a portable vaporiser. This includes popular box mods like the super-powerful SMOK X-Priv and the dinky Innokin Pocketbox AIO.

It’s a vape pen if:

  • It’s pen-shaped (duh). Vape pens get their name from their pen-like shape, sleek design, and practical, on-the-go use. If you’re walking near train stations or outside pubs and you’re seeing fine wisps of vapour and a tiny device, it might be the Aspire PockeX Kit, Eleaf Icare Solo, or stealth king, MyBlu Starter Kit.

All Chickens Are Chickens (Yes, It’s Linked)

Here’s a thought. All chickens are chickens. Some chickens are hens. Some chickens are roosters. Roosters and hens are different from each other, but they’re all chickens. Vape pens and portable vaporisers are a similar deal. Both work with some form of tank or atomiser, a battery, and the ability to vape a wide range of e-liquids, everything from hot-out-the-oven bakery and mouth-watering berry fruit juices, to tobacco flavours.

Alongside the fact that all vape pens are portable vaporisers and not all portable vaporisers are vape pens, here are some more differences:

  • Design- This is the main one. Vape pens are slender, discreet, light-weight, and generally much smaller than box mods. You’re looking at a mostly oblong shape and in terms of aesthetics, a pen-like device that can almost look like a thicker, oversized cigarette. Vape pens are formed from a battery, mouthpiece, and heating chamber. You’ll get a single-power ON/OFF button, but not much in the way of temperature control. To be fair, you’re trying to get your nicotine habit under control, so let’s keep the big picture in mind, here.
  • Functionality- All vaping devices have the same function- inhaling and exhaling of heated e-liquids to create the unique vaping experience. Generally though, the larger and bulkier the device, the more advanced the functionality. Vape pens keep things nice and simple. For a smaller size and mostly lower price, you get decent vapour, throat hits, usability, and always great quality. You might not be blowing monster clouds like you would from the SMOK Alien, but you’ll find it does the job.
  • Charging- Nearly all vape pens come with a handy micro-USB charging mechanism. It’s provided free in the kit, you can charge it on the go, and you get pretty decent battery life. Although most portable vaporisers including box mods can be charged via micro-USB, it’s better for the device and overall performance to use an external charging bay for larger box mods. If you’re super hardcore and using a mech mod, you’ll need to know a lot about batteries overall, and that definitely doesn’t allow a micro-USB.
  • Heating systems- Because vape pens are small, they have a less-developed heating system (although it’s still safe). Given that vape pen users want something easy that they can pop in their pocket, work bag, or glove compartment, they generally don’t mind. Vape pens rely on conduction, and this design makes them excellent for waxy oils (we’ll get to that). The atomiser heating element in vape pens might not last as long as more heavy-duty mods, so vapers looking for dry herbs might want to steer away from vape pens. Portable vaporisers use either conduction or convection as their heating mechanism.
  • Kind of vapour produced- This one piggybacks off heating, as conduction is less for the clouds and epic flavour, and more for the convenience. Vape pens fit the bill for a nicotine hit (if vaping with nicotine), a push-to-fire or mouthdraw experience, and a still very reasonable vapour result.
  • Price- For the most part, vape pens are on the lower end of the price scale however you still get fantastic durability and quality from cheaper models.
  • Extra features- The more advanced the mod, the more you can expect a heavy dose of customisation and nifty features. All portable vaporisers (so yes, that’s vape pens too) come with full safety features, and plenty have some form of variable voltage/wattage. An advanced mod will let you cherry-pick everything from amps to the exact voltage, plus some even come with futuristic bluetooth features or LED displays.

What’s Best For Me- A Vape Pen Or A Portable Vaporiser?

Now that you know all vape pens are portable vaporisers (but not all portable vaporisers are vape pens), you basically need to decide whether you want a vape pen or a more heavy-duty mod.

If you’re a transitioning smoker, want something super-portable, discreet, lightweight, and low-priced, try a vape pen.

Consider the:

  • Kanger Subvod 1000
  • SMOK TFV12 Stick Prince
  • Vaporesso VECO Solo

If you’ve been vaping a while, want beastly clouds, champion flavour, and a truly customised experience, it’s time to up your game.

Consider the:

  • Wismec RX Mini
  • New sensation, Squonk Mods
  • iJoy Captain Box Mod

What About Dry Herbs, Wax And Oil?

What you put in your vape has become as much a hot topic as the device itself. Most users still stick to regular juices, but if you’re looking for well-rec’d liquids, give Attitude Vapes, Electric Dew or Mont Blanc a go.

Alongside regular liquids and holistic CBD liquids (keep reading for the details), more vapers are turning to wax and oil concentrates. Dry herbs are even available, but you need to make sure you’re using the right device for any of these. Whatever you do, read the next line. We put it in bold for a reason.

Always check with your vendor before attempting to use herbs, wax or oil in a vape pen.

  • If someone you know says herbs, waxes or oils “work in their vape pen”, don’t assume they’ll necessarily work in yours
  • Bear in mind putting the wrong substance into the wrong device can be dangerous, as heating coils in vapes aren’t meant for dry herbs
  • Like all dry herbs (that require burning), you can’t use weed in a vape pen or vaporiser

What If I Want A Legal Cannabis Experience Through Vaping?

Well isn’t it your lucky day. CBD (or Cannabidiol) is flying off shelves thanks to its calming, holistic, Cannabis-based benefits without the illegal or smoking health risks. This stuff won’t just relax you and ease pain, it gives you the whole #healthvibes package, with 100% organic or plant-based flavours, and a true hemp experience.

Whether you’re vaping CBD, something custardy, or your favourite staple, vaping will always be an experience. It’s safer than smoking, way cheaper, and let’s face it, way cooler.

For more about vaping, or if you have any questions, speak with leading retailer Vape Superstore, these guys have a ridiculously huge range of vape supplies. They’re not called Vape Superstore for nothing.

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