vape pen reviews

Vaping’s Hottest Commodity: A Guide on How Vape Pens Work

Vape pens account for as much as 15% of booming marijuana markets in Colorado and Nevada. This growing preference in delivery, for both marijuana and nicotine, is only going to get bigger. If you’re new to the world of vaping, it can seem like a magic trick from afar.

Vape pens are pretty high-tech, but how they work isn’t all that complicated. How vape pens work is the result of smart engineering and the evolution of batteries. This guide will break down all the components of vape pens and their accessories.

Parts of a Vape Pen

Vape pens can vary in shapes and sizes, but the mechanisms inside are the same. Quality of these components determines not only the longevity but also the quality of the vape that is produced. For example, a cheap heating element burns your vape liquid and gives off a foul and bitter taste.

Vape Cartridges/Tanks

Source of e-liquid/juice comes in two forms: refillable tanks and disposable cartridges. Buying e-liquid for tanks gives more savings and more variety. Cartridges are easy to use and find anywhere. You can find cartridges at convenience stores, even.


This is the heating element that causes your e-liquid to transform into vapor. It’s a small coil that heats up a few drops of e-liquid at a time. This is how vape pens can be activated within seconds.

Activation Sensor

A tiny piece of electronics controls when the heating element turns on. For some models, this happens when the user inhales. Even if the pen only responds by a button press, it still requires a sensor to control the atomizer.


Before lithium-ion batteries evolved to the point they are today, vintage vape pens were not very user-friendly. Now, cigarette-sized vape pens can last all day, as long as you have the juice.


Most vape pens easily plug into any micro-USB charger, the same as a phone charger. Some vape pens have a USB port built right into them. You can plug the pen right into your computer and it looks like a long antenna or flash drive.

How Vape Pens Work

Step one: charge your pen.

Step two: make sure it’s filled with e-liquid. If it needs to be filled manually, follow the directions carefully. Overfilling e-liquid tanks could damage your vape pen and possibly burn you. Vape pen safety is important.

Once you have your e-liquid set, make sure all the vape pen pieces are secured back in place. Depending on your model of vape pen, you may need to press the activator button several times in a row to take your first hit. This minor inconvenience is a lifesaver for those who want to drop their pen in their pocket.

Breath-activated pens are great, too. Remember to control the strength of your inhale, the vapor can be harsh on the back of the throat.

Vape Accessories

Vape pens are an all-in-one product, but there are some accessories that come in handy. Heavy vape users will definitely want to check off a few from this list.

Portable Herb Grinders

If your vape pen uses dry herbs, never be without a fresh supply. Keep a small portable grinder for your buds.

Backup Batteries

Going on a road trip or don’t spend a lot of time at home? Backup vape batteries are cheap and small enough to keep in your car, pocket, or purse. Always purchase backup batteries that match your pen’s model.

Pen Bands

These are little covers for your vape tank. This offers more protection if you were to ever drop your pen. Vape pen bands look cool, too. It’s one of the cheapest ways you can customize your pen.

Extra Chargers and Adaptors

You can never have enough chargers laying around. These things constantly disappear into the void, get left at houses, coffee shops, and etc. The more devices you have that use them, the more you’ll need.


The shape of your mouthpiece can affect the mouthfeel and overall hit. For dry herbs, you need a good mesh and mouthpiece to get a consistent draw.

Reusable Bottles

If you plan on mixing together your own e-liquid concentrations, you need to have good bottles. Child-proof bottles are ideal, they prevent accidental spills and curious minds from opening.

Drip Tips

After you’ve gotten used to using a vape pen, you should try using a drip tip. This allows a fuller hit of the e-liquid but requires a bit more finesse. It skips the wick and goes directly on the atomizer, which allows the juice flow unimpeded onto the heating coil.

We recommend doing this with either a high-end vape pen or a vape mod.

Vape Mods

Experienced vapers eventually move onto the grandaddy of vape pens, the vape mod. Vape mods are like pens, but with tools to adjust and fine-tune the experience. Want a stronger hit from your vape pen? Want a bigger battery?

Control each component of your vape mod without being limited to manufacturer’s specifications. Vape mods allow you to fine-tune your flavor, which can transform an e-liquid entirely from what it tasted like in a vape pen. Mod kits are more expensive than your standard pen, but it’s a long-term investment.

Shopping for Vape Pens

If this guide on how vape pens work has made you more curious about vaping, congratulations! Vaping does live up to the hype, unlike many cultural trends (we’re looking at you, Crocs and fidget spinners). So, what are you waiting for?

Start here, browse our Vape Starter Kits and pick out the first one that you like. Don’t overthink it, your first vape pen is likely not going to be your last. Enjoy the experience, share it with your friends, and try some vape tricks while you’re at\

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