How to use an Oil Cartridge Vape Pen

How to use oil cartridge vape pens

Oil cartridge vape pens are a popular option among cannabis consumers due to their portability and virtually odor-free smoking experience. They’re also easy to use, which makes them appealing for first-time users.

If you’re considering using an oil cartridge vape pen, check out our guide to learn everything there is to know about vape pens, from storage and cleaning to charging and use.

What Is a Vape Pen?

Vape pens are portable, battery-operated devices that vaporize substances like marijuana and oil. Also referred to as vaporizers, vape pens are discreet and often refillable, making them a popular option for many users. They’re also versatile and customizable, offering appealing options for both experienced users and those who haven’t smoked before.

Vape pens offer the following benefits:

  • Smoke-free: When using a vape pen, there’s no flame or ignition, so it’s a cleaner, healthier experience.
  • Discreet: Vape pens are portable, sleek and odorless, making it easier to transport and smoke without attracting attention.
  • Easy: Vape pens are simple to assemble and use, thanks to pre-filled cartridges, temperature regulation, batteries and other features.

How to Use a Vape Pen

Most vape pens use similar parts, such as:

  • Battery: The battery powers the device and is also the longest part of the pen.
  • Heating chamber/atomizer: The heating chamber is the area where your oil gets heated and vaporized.
  • Mouthpiece: The mouthpiece is where you draw the vapor to smoke it.
  • Charger: The charger is a separate piece from the pen that’s usually attached to a micro USB and is used for charging your vape battery.

A vape pen works by powering a heating chamber that heats the oil to produce a vapor, which users then inhale through the mouthpiece.

How to Load Your Vape Pen

Loading your oil cartridge vape pen with pre-filled oil cartridges is quick and easy. All you have to is unscrew the empty cartridge counterclockwise and replace it with a new one by screwing it on clockwise until it stops. Be careful not to overtighten your cartridge, as this can damage it.

Once loaded, your vape pen is ready to use. Some vape pen models come with activation buttons. These offer control over the temperature of the vapor. Most vape pens that have buttons require five clicks to turn them on, three clicks to adjust the heat setting and five clicks to switch them off. The button heats the chamber as it’s held down, so it’s important to keep it depressed as you take a hit.

If your vape pen doesn’t have a button, a type that’s known as an “auto draw,” you simply inhale. When you’re just starting out, be sure to start with small draws until you adjust to the experience.

How to Charge a Vape Pen

Like e-cigarettes, vape pens use a liquid that’s heated to become a vapor, and they are powered by batteries. These batteries can be internal or external.

If your battery is internal, it will look like a tube that’s attached to the atomizer, whereas external batteries look like the standard batteries you’d find in your TV remote control or other electronics.

With an internal battery, you simply plug your vape pen into your charger via the USB cable, taking care that both were designed for your specific vape pen. Using a charger or cable that wasn’t intended for your vape pen could cause the pen to overheat or explode, due to the differences in voltage.

Once your vape pen is plugged in, it can take several hours for it to charge fully. A green light on your LED screen indicates your vape pen is fully charged and ready to go, and a red light means it’s low and needs to be charged.

Avoid charging your vape pen longer than necessary, since this can wear out your battery sooner. If you find that your battery begins to die too soon or doesn’t hold its charge, it could mean that you need a replacement battery.

A word of caution: Never use a mobile phone, laptop, vehicle or other electronic devices to charge your vape pen. During charging, batteries may overheat, so keep your vape pen on a surface that isn’t flammable.

If you need to charge an external battery, you’ll need to remove the batteries and charge them in an external charger that’s designed for your specific batteries.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Vape Pen and Cartridge

The amount of time vape pens and cartridges last can vary by how often you use them, but there are some ways you can extend the life of your vape pen and cartridge.


Keep your cartridges stored in a cool, dry place and in an upright position with the mouthpiece facing down. Avoid leaving them exposed to direct sunlight, like in a hot car, which may cause the oil to evaporate.

You should also store your device in a manufacturer case. Most pens come with storage cases that are designed to keep your device and cartridge protected from damage. These are ideal for storage at home or in your bag, and they may even fit in your pocket.

Without a case, storing your oil cartridge vape pen in your pocket can leave it vulnerable to damage. It could shatter if it hits nearby objects or you sit on it, as vape pens are not typically durable.

Unscrewing the cartridge from the vape when not in use also helps both last longer. This prevents the oil from heating or leaking, which can damage your vape pen.


Traveling to high altitudes affects your vape pen due to the change in air pressure. This pressure forces air into the vape pen, which can cause leaks or hurt its performance. Some higher quality equipment is designed to adjust to altitude changes, so you may want to invest in one of these pens if you live in or routinely travel to high altitudes.

Choose the Right Equipment

Oil cartridges and pens have different designs, threads, coils, power levels and features. It’s important to match your cartridges with the appropriate vape pen. Even if they appear to fit correctly, using incompatible cartridges could be causing you to waste your oil unnecessarily.

Check for Leaks

Leaks can cause you to waste a lot of your oil. If you notice leaks in your vape pen, contact the manufacturer of the pen for a replacement. You can also replace the cartridge if you find that it’s leaking. Remember that a disposable cartridge that has been refilled or otherwise altered is unlikely to be replaced by the manufacturer.

It’s also important to clean your vape pen after a leak since oil could damage it beyond repair.

Keep It Clean

If your vape pen isn’t operating properly, make sure that there isn’t any oil or debris affecting the connection between the cartridge and the pen. Using a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol, wipe down the connection point to be sure that the residue is gone. This will also kill bacteria on the mouthpiece and pen.

Check the Wick

If the oil doesn’t cover the wick adequately, it can’t vaporize to create smoke. Before taking a hit, turn the cartridge upside down to ensure the wick is coated with oil, which will give you better vaporization.

It’s always best to keep the tip of the cartridge point upright as well, so the pen should be smoked in a vertical position, not a horizontal position like a cigarette.

Ready to purchasse a vape pen? We have an extensive selection of vape cartridges, batteries, and disposable vape pens at HGA. Find them here.