As cannabis legislation is beginning to change across the states, and potentially across Europe too, more and more people are gaining access to both medical and recreational marijuana. Despite popular campaigns and the plant now being legal for recreational use in eight states plus the District of Columbia (and legal strictly for medicinal use in twenty more), there is still a number of taboos surrounding weed.
Due to the obvious restrictions on smoking cannabis, those who do enjoy lighting up (whether it’s medically or recreationally) can often feel judged, embarrassed or ashamed of their habit. We all know that weed has a pretty distinct smell, and non-smokers often turn their nose up at it when they catch a whiff of the aroma.
Nowadays, weed smokers are turning to vape pens instead of rolling up a joint when they fancy a smoke. But before making the transition, many people are left with the lingering question: do vape pens have the same smell? Or better yet, can you use a weed vape pen right out in public without anybody being the wiser?
This article is here to debunk any myths you might have about vape pens, so read on if you want to find out more.
How do vape pens work?
Vaporizers have several components that allow users to “light up” a little more subtly. First off, there is the tank, where cannabis oil or the herb itself is placed. This is linked to the atomizer, which is the heating mechanism in the device. As new models are designed, new jargon is entering the market (such as cartomizers or clearomizers, among others), but in reality, they are all types of an atomizer.
Then, there is the battery, which provides the power to the pen. Vaporizers usually use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which have a high energy density and are very unlikely to explode if improperly charged.
There are two types of heating methods when it comes to vape pens. Convection heating involves passing hot air around the herb or cannabis oil, heating it up without making direct contact. In modern vape pens, this is the most common heating method. Conduction, on the other hand, involves placing the herb in direct contact with the heating mechanism. This method is more common in desktop vaporizers than vape pens, but there are pens available that use this technique.
Most vape pens nowadays use marijuana concentrates, or hash oil, in their chambers. This yellow liquid is extracted from the cannabis plant, but something to note about it is that it is much stronger than the flowers themselves. Marijuana flowers usually contain up to around 20% THC, but hash oil can contain up to 90%, or even more. It is vital to be aware of this the first time you take a hit using hash oil – know your limits, and take it slowly until you get used to vaping concentrate.
Joints vs. Vape pens
Whether you use more traditional smoking methods or switch to a vape pen to get your hit of cannabinoids is really up to you. There are quite a few differences between the two, however, which is why it’s important to make an informed decision. The main difference, quite obviously, is that vape pens are powered by USB ports, while cannabis cigarettes obvious require a lighter.
Vape pens can use either cannabis oil cartridges or ground up cannabis flower inside a heating chamber to deliver a hit. The crucial difference is that neither of these options involve combustion – a fact that makes vaping much safer since there are (usually) no carcinogenic chemicals released. This, of course, doesn’t mean that excessive weed consumption via vaping is overly “healthy,” but it is certainly a safer option than rolling a blunt.
What’s more, vaping can be a more convenient choice. With numerous vape pens already on the market and more in design, these are a portable, handy option.
Traditional cigarettes and joints are probably going to seem like the ‘cooler’ option for years to come, but the vape pen craze is really catching on. And the reason for this trend may lie in the answer to one simple question… do vape pens smell with the same sort of obvious marijuana “pungency?”
What does weed smell like?
In reality, the precise scent of weed differs depending on the specific strain, since each and every strain has different terpenes (this refers to the compounds in the essential oils of the plant).
For example, some marijuana strains have high quantities of limonene, which is also found in fruits like lemons and limes; therefore, strains high in this terpene have a more citrusy smell.
However, this is what the herb smells like when its pure. The scent of weed when it’s smoked is quite different, as combustion adds a more acrid, pungent tang to the aroma.
Weed smell can last up to a few hours, depending on the environment in which you light up. There are a few ways to mask this scent, including using air freshener or scented candles, but they do not always amount to success. Besides, the smell can linger on clothing or in hair, meaning that masking the scent is not always enough to cover up your habit.
So, what can you actually do about the odor?
Do vape pens smell?
Vape pens definitely do not hold the same level of notoriety as joints or even bongs. They resemble e-cigarettes in appearance, and these devices definitely don’t carry as much of a stigma as smoking marijuana through any means (strange, when you consider the infamous addictive quality of nicotine).
Furthermore, many vape pen users will testify to the fact that vape pens do not have the same aroma that comes with burning your herb. This is due to the lack of combustion involved in using a vaporizer, which means that the pure cannabis smell does not get mixed with the nasty tang of smoke.
No need to panic, though – even though the scent is purer, it tends to dissipate a lot quicker. A lack of smoke particles means that it won’t cling to your clothes and hair, so no need to worry about getting caught.
That said, it is important to know that the strength of the scent will actually depend on the pen itself. Some vaporizers release a stronger smell than others, but these tend to be older models that use conduction heating methods. Since the herb is in direct contact with the heating surface, it releases a much stronger odor than convection vaporizers.
If you’re looking for a super discreet way to vape weed without anyone noticing, you’ll have to invest in a more advanced (and expensive) convection-style device. Let’s check out some real reviews from weed vapers that can help you mask the scent of smoking pot…
Vape pen reviews: Which ones hide the smell?
As discussed above, there are a range of vape pens available on the market. The sheer variety of vaporizers makes it difficult to say for sure whether vape pens emit the same smell as lighting a joint, but by looking at some specific reviews, you should get some idea about which pens are best for hiding the scent of weed.
Created by the vaping company PAX Vapor, the PAX 3 is one of the latest additions to their range. This is a dual-use vaporizer that can use both dry herb and extract. PAX Vapor provides two options for buying this model. Buying the device only means that you can gear up to vape with 8-10 sessions per charge, 60+ temperature settings, 22 second heat-up, vibration notifications, and Bluetooth that connects to the PAX Mobile App; this will set you back $199.
There is also the option to purchase the complete kit, which, for the more expensive price of $249, comes with a 10-year warranty, a concentrate insert, a half pack oven lid, a multi tool, 3 screens and a gloss finish on your device.
The PAX 3 is available in four different colors, if you prefer to vape in style, coming in black, teal, silver and rose gold. The half-oven chamber on this device allows you to get the same quality vaping experience with less herb. Furthermore, it has lip-sensing technology – you don’t need to fiddle around with buttons just to take a hit.
This model is known for being one of the best dry herb vapes around. Through the smartphone app, you can choose between different vaping modes to suit your style or mood:
- Standard mode: just as it says on the box, a pretty balanced mode that works for first-timers
- Boost mode: the temperature will increase faster and cool down more slowly; ideal for hurried vaping sessions
- Flavor mode: the faster temperature increase and faster cool down increases flavor preservation
- Stealth mode: low-key vapers can choose this option to create less vapor and odor by speeding up the cool-down time and dimming the LED lights
- Efficiency mode: this mode preserves battery life by increasing oven temperature by 1 degree during your session.
But what about its drawbacks? The PAX 3, although compatible with THC concentrates, doesn’t perform as well with this method. And, even though the battery can last you quite a few sessions, it takes 2.5 hours to recharge from zero if you use a USB charger.
Does it smell? Since users of this device often prefer to use dry herb, the PAX 3 does, unfortunately, create an odor. However, the rapid heat up time “cooks” the herb less than some other pens, meaning it might not be quite as strong; plus, the rapid cool-down time means that it will stop smelling very quickly after it switches off. Moreover, there is always the option to use stealth mode in order to lessen the scent.
One of the more expensive vape options – with a retail price of $274.99 – the DaVinci IQ, lives up to its price as one of the best dry herb vaporizers on the market. Made with a brushed aluminum exterior and featuring a ceramic chamber, DaVinci spared no expense when it came to the construction of this superb device. It contains a powerful battery, with 3500 mAh.
What’s more, DaVinci incorporated a flavor chamber using zirconia Pearl that enhances the flavor quality of your herb. The zirconia Pearl works to enhance heat distribution and ensure that it remains even throughout your session.
There are two heating modes:
- Precision mode: select your exact preferred temperature setting.
- Smart Path Mode: the device gradually increases temperature during your session.
The flavor chamber in this pen means that the herb will be super potent when you take a drag. Even if you don’t use the flavor chamber, the DaVinci IQ promises great flavor and plenty of clouds, along with a very smooth, light vape.
Does it smell? Since it is a dry herb vaporizer, the IQ tends to produce quite a smell. Furthermore, the sheer amount of clouds produced by this vape means that the odor can travel further and be detected more easily. In short: it packs quite a punch when it comes to scent.
Cloud Pen 3.0
Once again compatible with smoking herb, the Cloud Pen 3.0 is a discreet pen that also allows you to use wax to vaporize. Shaped almost like an ordinary pen, this is a great option for discreet vapers, and retails at just $79.99. The designers really took customer feedback into account when creating this pen, crafting a vaporizer with a longer pull duration of 25 seconds and a longer battery life.
This pen comes in a range of colors, including black, dark blue, gray, green, light blue and red. The ceramic coil vaporizes the wax slowly, giving the user smooth puffs that are full of flavor. It is great for newbie vapers, since it has a standard 650 mAh battery rather than a more powerful one. Plus, there is a convenient micro-USB port for charging.
Does it smell? Generally, since it is a vaporizer that uses wax, the Cloud Pen 3.0 does not emit nearly as strong a smell as using dry herb. However, as some reviews note, the coil inside tends to get very hot and can produce a burnt smell. That said, it tends to deliver a flavorful hit in general, without the too-strong smell. Since this is also compatible with smoking dry herb, be aware that using it in this mode will produce a stronger scent.
Another expensive option, the Firefly 2 comes in at a whopping price of $329.95. It is an extremely stylish vaporizer, with the range available in Zebra Wood, Oak, Black, Blue, White and Jet Black.
It’s the perfect choice for vaping on the go, heating up in just 3 seconds. The Firefly 2 has a multitude of 5-star reviews, with many applauding its excellent vapor quality and taste. It is compatible with both flower and concentrates, using convection heating to cook your cannabis at precise temperatures.
Holding around 3-4 hits in the chamber, the 7.4V battery is both rechargeable and replaceable and lasts more than enough time. What’s more: it charges in a mere 45 minutes with a Quickcharge AC adapter. The Firefly 2 comes with 2 of these batteries, meaning you can change them out on the go (if you go through the effort of carrying around a spare).
Does it smell? As we have learned so far, vaporizers that use convection heating and those that use extract instead of herb will always produce less smell. The Firefly 2 meets both of these requirements, meaning it can deliver great flavor (thanks to the even heating of convection), without the addition of a pungent odor. Usually, if you clean it after roughly every 10 hits (which is extremely easy thanks to the strong magnetic top), you’ll find that the smell is kept to an absolute minimum.
And the winner is…?
Basically, any vaporizer that uses extract instead of dry herb, and any vaporizer that uses convection rather than conduction heating, will win on the “does-it-smell-bad” front. Another factor to consider when searching for a vape pen that produces minimal odor is the heating time – the quicker it takes to heat up, the less the herb is cooked, and thus the less it smells.
The Firefly 2 clearly wins on all these fronts: it uses convection heating, is compatible with marijuana extract, and it is ready to go in just three seconds. If you’re looking for a low key vape pen that you can use without paranoia, then this is the one for you.
Having said that, it is an expensive choice. If you don’t have that much cash lying around to splurge on a vape pen, try opting for something like the Cloud Pen 3.0, which uses extract instead of herb but has a much lower retail price.
If, after all this, you have decided that smell doesn’t matter to you, dry herb pens like the PAX 3 or the DaVinci IQ are certain to deliver strong, flavorful hits, even if they do give off a fair amount of weed aroma.
So… What’s the Conclusion, Do Vape Pens Smell?
Some weed smokers are quite concerned about the smell that lighting up produces. Unfortunately, there’s no real way around this when smoking joints. Vaping is a viable option for those looking to reduce the smell, although there is no way to get rid of it completely.
There are two types of heating methods in vaporizers: convection and conduction. Convection heaters will produce less smell than their conduction counterparts, making them a good place to start when trying to reduce the scent produced. Secondly, try using vaporizers that utilize marijuana extract or wax rather than dry herb or flower, because the latter involves a stronger aroma produced during the heating process. Finally, any vaporizer with a lower heating time will generally produce less odor.
Ultimately, when choosing a vaporizer, you need to consider all the factors and select one that’s best for you. If you want some more indication about what vape pens are on the market, check out our list of the best 5 wax vape pens available. Happy shopping!
Recommended Portable Vapes – Our Best Picks
- Da Vinci IQC
- Dual-use with herb and oil
- Excellent vapor quality
- Warm-up: 30 sec
- Battery: 2 hours
- Temp: up to 430°F
- Pax 3
- Highly discreet and portable
- Comes with a maintenance kit
- Warm-up: 20 sec
- Battery: 50 to 60 min
- Temp: 360-420°F
- G Pen Dash by Grenco Science
- Complete temperature control
- Lightweight and affordable
- Warm-up: 20 sec
- Battery: 1-2 hours
- Temp: 375°F to 428°F