Everyone is hopping on the vaping trend. It’s, therefore, no surprise that a report by BDS Analytics estimates that concentrates will match cannabis flower revenues in 2022. If you’re new to THC carts, you must be wondering which ones to try and how to use them efficiently. Well, you’ve come to the right page. Here’s the ultimate beginners THC cart guide

What Is a THC Cart?

THC carts are devices users fit their vape pen into to inhale cannabis. Two types of cartridges exist; standard and pod-style. Standard THC carts are the most common, and they come with a “510” thread that allows different vaping batteries with the same threading to fit inside.

Not all manufacturers use the “510” thread. Therefore, to use their vape kit, you must have their entire range—from cartridges to batteries. These carts are what we refer to as pod-style. These types are sleeker and have apps with safety and temperature controls.

Reusable vs. Disposable Vape Cartridges

Disposable vape carts are single-use. They come with a fitted cartridge plus a charged battery and are ready to use. They often hold about 0.5g of cannabis, and once it’s over, you can’t refill them (hence the term single-use). These cart types are ideal for infrequent tokers.

On the other hand, reusable carts are refillable, and they contain a battery, an atomizer for heating the concentrate, and power settings. Moreover, they require proper maintenance to ensure a smooth smoking experience.

Understanding the Concentrates Used in Cartridges

When you visit the HIKEI dispensary, you’ll notice three concentrate cart types; live resin, distillate, and CO2. The primary difference is the preparation process, affecting the flavor profile and potency.

CO2 is the most popular extraction method as it preserves most of the strain’s original taste
Distillation involves winterizing concentrates like butane hash oil and making the vape oil more potent

Live resin involves flash-freezing uncured flowers to retain all of their terpenes.

Top THC Cart Brands of 2022

Are you thinking of getting a vape cart? Here are the top THC brands we recommend purchasing (click each link to shop our current selection). Also see our THC Pen Ultimate Guide.


Founded in 2017, STIIIZY creates unique, pod-style carts in three versions.


Each of these three pod types offers over a dozen strains to meet a users’ flavor and potency expectations. They come in .5 and 1 grams and don’t have draw resistance.


Raw Garden began the production of its carts in 2015. This California-based company prides itself in its hands-on production process and harvesting that involves cryogenic freezing.

Their carts come in three sizes, .3g for sampling, .5g, and 1g. They are also pre-charged and reusable.


Established in 2016, Rove manufactures 100% organic cannabis and uses vape cartridges’ live resin extraction method.

Their carts use “510” threading and are color-coded based on the strain phenotype. Expect a potency of 70 to 80 percent THC. They come in .5 and 1g and are rich in flavor.


Platinum Vape is a family business that offers a varied line of vapes. Their products undergo a clean carbon dioxide extraction process.

What’s more, the company assures its customers of pesticide-free and highly potent vape oils. The company prides itself on using CCELL technology, eliminating the burnt taste from heating the vape oil.

Their disposable pens come in .4g and contain over 90% THC.


Cresco labs are a cannabis company that is new in the market yet fast-growing. The production of their cartridges began in 2010 and are color-coded by strain type.

The Cresco vape pens are portable and reusable with a 360mAh battery. They also have temperature settings that allow you to customize based on experience.

Their carts also use CCELL technology, ensuring thick, flavorful, and consistent draws.


PLUG & PLAY** **

Launched in 2017, PLUGplay is a highly-rated cannabis brand that creates original strain terpenes.

Their pods contain high-quality and pesticide-free vape oil. Plus, these pods come with premium magnetic 500mAh batteries and feature ceramic heating.

Expect more than 300 puffs of odorless clouds—also easily rechargeable.

Source: Upends


Alien Labs specializes in what users refer to as celestial cannabis products. Unlike most brands, the company grows a small range of strains, each always becoming an instant hit among tokers.

Their vape carts use “510” threading. The pen comes with a battery and has two temperature control settings.

Its glow-in-the-dark logo feature and auto draw are additional reasons users love Alien Labs.

Source: Highest Critic


Founded in 2009, the Connected cannabis brand is another fan-favorite that has won twice in the Hightimes Cannabis Cup.

Its vapes come in both standard and pod-style. They are also available in .5 and 1g in various exotic strains.


Jetty Extracts is a California-based brand specializing in live resin and solventless carts.

The live resin carts are wholly unrefined and undergo cryoextraction to preserve most of their original flavor and terpenes. The live resin carts use the ice & water extraction method and have similar properties as the plant due to the lack of curing.


Established in 2014, the Kurvana brand has strived to offer whole-plant and organically produced cannabis.

They offer two THC lines, Originals, and ASCND. The former is a perfect choice for those looking for fewer aftereffects. The latter is more potent and highlights the cannabinoid contents.

How to Avoid Counterfeit Carts

The vaping industry has over the years experienced a counterfeit problem that puts tokers at risk. But what exactly is the issue with counterfeit vape carts? You must note that all licensed vapes undergo rigorous testing for heavy metals.

When you purchase a vape from the black market, you have no idea what’s in it. The contents could be harmful as they may contain pesticides and heavy metals. Moreover, fake vape carts often leak. Even scarier is that they could explode due to poor-quality batteries. So how can you spot fake THC carts?

Packaging. The packaging is almost always a dead give-away. Real products have rigid packaging material. Furthermore, each box must meet the state’s packaging requirements. For instance, California state laws require that items have the following information: manufacture date and name, UID and batch number, government warning, ingredients, allergens list, and sell-by date.
Cartridge. Unless it is your first time buying a vape pen, you’ll know a counterfeit cartridge based on its appearance and contents. Real vape oil has a specific consistency due to two primary ingredients, i.e., vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol.
Price. THC carts with over 80% THC are pricey. Therefore, beware of vendors selling carts at a highly discounted price.
Vendor or dispensary. Another factor that may determine the authenticity of your vape is the place of purchase. If you visit a dispensary, you’ll notice that the shop’s license number is in plain sight (often next to the register). You can even run a quick search to confirm whether the shop appears on the Bureau of Cannabis Control registry.
Benefits of Cartridges Over Cannabis Flower

Now that you know how a THC cart works, you should know several benefits of carts over cannabis flowers.

More potent. The process of converting e-juice to vapor preserves more terpenes than smoking a joint does, offering a better high.
Easy to use. Not everyone can use a grinder or roll a perfect joint. Vape carts come prefilled and ready to use, thereby more beginner-friendly.
Portable. Unlike flowers, you don’t need to walk around with an entire kit. Also, they rarely spill, unlike flowers which require extra care.
Microdosing. Vape carts have the right amount that allows you to reap their benefits without the risk of a bad trip.
Low profile. Vape carts are odorless, and their innovative packaging makes them undetectable. Cannabis flower requires proper packaging either in glass or smell-proof pouches to mask the odor.

THC carts are a fantastic alternative to smoking cannabis flowers. And while many brands exist, we recommend trying those mentioned in this list to get value for your money and an overall smooth smoking experience. Avoiding counterfeit products means buying from licensed vendors. HIKEI is a San Diego-based dispensary that offers a wide range of authentic cannabis products. Whether you need a vape cart or edibles, you can find it all here.