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In this article we will do a deep dive into the differences and similarities between portable and pen-type vapes. Which one of these is best for you? It’ll depend on your needs and budget, we hope to shed some light on the benefits of each. If you’re in the market for a new vape and you’re struggling to decide between these two options, look no further!

First of all let’s define what we’re talking about here. A portable vape is any vaporiser that isn’t dependent on remaining in a fixed location. This would be a table top vape where a power outlet is required to operate the device. 

A pen-type vape is actually covered under this definition, but they’re set apart by the fact that, well, they’re shaped like a pen. Aside from the obvious, we could also say that in general they are:

  • Less advanced, technologically.
  • Cheaper.
  • Smaller and more discreet.

The main distinction for our purposes are the price and the technology.

Why Pen-Type or Portable? What About Table Top?

A table top vape has its place, but for the majority of cases a portable or pen-type is going to be sufficient for most people. If you’re a heavy user and you’re not worried about your vaporiser being on display all the time, or you don’t mind the regular pack down and set up, then a table top might be a worthwhile investment.

We think that portable vape technology has come a very long way, they offer more than enough power and customisation that would cover almost all situations, and when you’re done you can just pop them away out of sight.

For these reasons and more, we think that unless you have the budget and you’re really set on having the power and functionality that a table top offers, the best choice is going to be portable. But you already know that or you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Pen-Type vs Portable: Round 1


When it comes to power, portable vapes generally outshine pen-type vapes. With more advanced heating systems and larger batteries, portable vapes can reach higher temperatures and provide a more wide ranging session. This is particularly important for users who prefer dense vapour clouds or want to vape a wider range of materials effectively.

Pen-type vapes, while more limited in their power output, still offer a satisfactory experience for casual users or those who prioritise discretion over vapour density. They’re ideal for quick, on-the-go sessions and are often more than sufficient for users who primarily vape oils or concentrates.


When it comes to portability, pen-type vapes take the lead. Their slim, pen-like design makes them incredibly easy to carry around, fitting seamlessly into a pocket or purse. This makes them ideal for on-the-go vaping, discreet use, and travel. 

Portable vapes, while still designed for portability (the name is a bit of a give away), are generally a little bulkier. Most portable vapes will still fit into a pocket without being too conspicuous. Overall, they’re still edged out of number one for portability by their pen-type counterparts.

Ease of Use

Pen-type vapes are often praised for their simplicity. With straightforward operation and minimal settings, they’re perfect for beginners or those who prefer a no-fuss vaping experience. Portable vapes, on the other hand, may offer more advanced features like temperature control and customizable settings, appealing to experienced users who are after full control of their sessions.

Being able to control the temperature comes into play when you begin to learn about the different effects available at different temps. 356°F for example, gives you a more clear head and focus inducing high. 392°F to give another example, is more of your lazy “body stoned” temp. To learn about why this is and some more about temperature and vaping, check this article out!

Pen-Type vs Portable: Round 2

Battery Life

Portable vapes typically have larger batteries, providing longer vaping sessions and less frequent charging. This is especially beneficial for heavy users or those who don’t have regular access to a charging source. Pen-type vapes, due to their smaller size, often have shorter battery life, which might require more frequent charging.

Bear in mind though, that even though pen-type vapes typically have a smaller battery, they also use less energy. This can provide a balance somewhat, but a portable will most typically outperform a pen vape in this area.

Vapour Quality

While pen-type vapes can deliver decent vapour quality, portable vapes usually offer superior performance in this area. The larger size of portable vapes allows for better heating systems and technology, resulting in smoother, more flavorful vapour. This is an important consideration for those who prioritise the quality of their vaping experience.

Pen Type vs Portable: Round 3

Maintenance and Cleaning

Maintenance is another key factor to consider when choosing between pen-type and portable vapes. Pen-type vapes are generally easier to clean and maintain due to their simpler design and fewer components. A quick wipe and occasional deep clean are usually all that’s needed to keep them in good working order.

Portable vapes, with their more complex systems and additional features, may require a bit more effort to keep clean. Regular maintenance is important to ensure optimal performance and longevity. However, many users find that the enhanced vaping experience offered by portable vapes is worth the extra upkeep.

Material Compatibility

The type of material you prefer to vape can also influence your decision. Pen-type vapes are often designed primarily for use with oils and concentrates. Some models can handle dry herbs, but they may not provide the same level of efficiency and vapour quality as portable vapes.

That’s something you won’t have to worry about when you shop with Chill Kiwi as we only stock pen vapes that can handle dry herb! 

Portable vapes, on the other hand, are typically more versatile when it comes to material compatibility. Many models are designed to work equally well with dry herbs, oils, and concentrates, offering a more flexible vaping experience. If you enjoy experimenting with different materials, a portable vape might be the better choice.

Additional Considerations

Customization and Control

For those who enjoy fine-tuning their vaping experience, portable vapes often offer more options for customization and control. Features like adjustable temperature settings, airflow control, and interchangeable mouthpieces allow users to tailor their session to their exact preferences.

Pen-type vapes, while more limited in this regard, still offer a straightforward and effective vaping experience. For users who prefer simplicity and ease of use, the lack of customization options may not be a significant drawback.

Durability and Build Quality

The durability and build quality of your vape are important factors to consider, especially if you’re planning to use it regularly or take it on the go. Portable vapes are often built to be more robust, with higher-quality materials and sturdy construction. This makes them better suited to withstand the wear and tear of daily use and travel.

Pen-type vapes, while still durable, may be more prone to damage due to their slimmer design. However, they are also easier and less expensive to replace if damaged. 

So Which is Best for You?

Choosing between a pen-type and a portable vape ultimately comes down to your individual needs and preferences. Consider the following factors:

Portability and Discreteness: If you need a vape that’s easy to carry and use discreetly, a pen-type vape might be your best bet.

Vapour Quality: If you’re looking for the best possible vapour quality, a portable vape is likely the way to go.

Battery Life: For longer sessions without frequent charging, a portable vape offers an advantage.

Ease of Use: If simplicity is key, a pen-type vape’s straightforward operation is appealing.

Budget: Pen-type vapes are generally more affordable, making them a good option for those on a tight budget.

Get a Portable Vape If…

You are someone who wants to upgrade from their pen-type vape and get something a little more powerful. Or, if you’re just starting out but you want to jump straight into a higher standard of session. Maybe you’re particular about getting exactly the effects you want out of your material. A portable vape is calling your name. Why not check out our range over at The Fenix Pro is a fantastic middle of the range option. If you’re feeling like splashing out, we’re nothing short of impressed with the luxury design of the Air Vape Legacy Pro.

Get a Pen-Type Vape If…

You’re just starting out and you want a no fuss, cheaper option to test the waters. They’re a low risk investment, you’ll get a huge amount of value out of very little money spent when you consider the awesome features of today’s pen-types.

Maybe you just don’t care much for the feature rich vapes you find in the portable group. A pen-type is a fantastic option.

The Xmax V3 Pro offers outstanding value. It’s a pen-type that offers the precise temperature control that many portable vapes offer. While still maintaining that slim and discreet build, it’s like you’re getting the best of both worlds!


In the end, the choice between a pen-type and a portable vape comes down to your personal preferences and vaping needs. If you value discretion, ease of use, and affordability, a pen-type vape might be the perfect fit. On the other hand, if you prioritise vapour quality, material versatility, and customization options, a portable vape is likely the better choice.

No matter which type you choose, both pen-type and portable vapes offer a convenient and enjoyable way to consume your favourite herbs and concentrates. Take the time to consider your priorities and choose the vape that best aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.