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Can a Portable Dab Mod or Pen Really Compare To An E-Nail?

By February 23, 2019 June 12th, 2019 No Comments

Can a Portable Dab Mod or Pen Really Compare To An E-Nail?



When I think about portable dabs I normally imagine it going down without water filtration. This is probably because I started with the infamous globe-style eGo, and at the time there weren’t any good bubbler attachments on the market that I knew of. This is also because with pens I am normally on the go and a lot of times when I’m dabbing “on the go” it might be in a park or place where I would prefer it to be somewhat inconspicuous (even though legal where I live). Until people who vape tobacco products start using water filtration, this will be difficult to impossible to accomplish with a bubbler attachment in public. Even if it blended in a little better and didn’t sound like I’m slurping a ginormous strawberry milkshake through a straw, the issue remains of having to find water and dispose of it after used– being very careful not to leave too many drops in the attachment to later drip into my pocket, backpack, car, etc.,

Sometimes I actually prefer the taste of dabs without water filtration– but usually I prefer the water. Terpenes get somewhat filtered out with water, which is one thing you notice right away after an unfiltered rip (extra flavor). Unfiltered is great sometimes to get an unfiltered flavor; but it can be a on the harsher-side compared to a water-filtered dab. That being said, it definitely can pack quite a loud flavor and deliver an amazingly clear terpene profile when keeping the temperature settings of the vape mod in the #lowtemp range. The fact is: terpenes are solvents, and can therefore be harsh without that water filtration, so it’s good to go easy on it with slow breaths to reduce lung irritation.

I like the idea of a portable vape that can attach to a rig, like the Megatoke (see video on the Dab Spot channel). This may be a better way for you to bring the dab rig setup around to different spots a little easier than with an e-nail controller (compact or not) and having to pack the power cable, heat coil, and nail to bring along. Some like the Pelican case (or similar versions) to bring their e-nail to an outside sesh, but for some reason many of those designs have all of the electronics sticking out of the sides! Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a waterproof, impact-resistant, pressure-regulated case? It’s nice when you can get a case that is big enough to fit the entire dab setup inside– but that can get pricey as you go with the larger cases (over $100 just for the case) and isn’t ideal for everyone. That’s why I really prefer solutions like the Sai Top Airflow which packs a rather large isolated Ti bucket over a ceramic doughnut-shaped coil and works really well for me on a KBOX200 mod. Many really like portable vapes like the Megatoke (if your have the means), which has models for both dry herb vaping as well as oil attachments.


The other issue that arises from potable dab solutions that try to match an e-nail is the fact that the heating coil on a standard e-nail is much larger than on a portable vape. The extra mass and surface on an e-nail coil allow a larger dab surface to be heated at once. Larger coils allow for a much more even and full vaporization compared to the smaller and thinner coils designed to conserve battery power. Given current battery tech. on the market, power requirements are just a little too much for a full e-nail coil on today’s models. It can be done, but you need to find a battery pack that is quite large. None of the current lithium technologies allow for a battery pack that will fit into a standard e-nail case on the market. Never mind the compact/mini e-nail controllers

Again, if you are not using some sort of water filtration it may seem like you got a larger pull than you would have with water filtration simply because it will hit a little harsher. For me the pull is more full and satisfying with water filtration– but then again sometimes it’s nice to mix it up with the slow-burn #lowtemp #terpalicious draws without water to put that cannabinoid entourage into full-effect with the extra terps that normally get filtered.

One option to make a full e-nail heat coil portable is to get a “laptop power bank” and haul that sucker around with your kit. This will work with a standard AC-powered heat coil, however there are DC heat coils and controllers available which makes the DC battery last much longer since it bypasses the need to invert (and therefore lose energy to the conversion). Laptop battery packs that are 200W are the min. requirement for standalone battery cells being inverted to AC power. This is because the efficiency should be conservatively estimated to cut the output in half– meaning a 200W pack is needed to power a 100W coil (at minimum).

Another option is to use a car inverter that plugs into your car lighter port. This converts energy created by your automobile’s alternator while it is running. These are inexpensive (normally under $40 for a 300W) and work well if you are camping or parked in a private area.


Many now swear by the next gen vape mods that have come out such as the Saionara Top Airflow, which have isolated heat coils that never come in contact with the concentrate. This eliminates off-flavors that result from residues and deposits collecting on the heat coil. As long as the bucket stays relatively clean, the flavors will stay clear for a surprisingly long time. The flavor is also greatly improved as the heat coil indirectly heats the concentrate through the bottom of the Ti bucket rather than contacting it directly. This serves to slow the heat down just enough to give a perfect, even rip (and avoid burning/charring). With this atomizer design, there is much less maintenance to worry about (especially with an extra atomizer that you can let soak in ISO and switch out later). It can use temperature control mode to balance the perfect temperatures, and with Eleaf mods this can be even further improved by flashing Arctic Fox firmware to get the latest, most precise software (free). Bottom line as of writing this is: if you are looking for a portable dab solution that is easily refillable with any type of dab, so far an isolated coil and bucket setup such as the Sai is the clear choice for portable dabbing and vaping on any type of oil or concentrate available.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to drop a line.