Electronic cigarettes, while not an entirely new craze, have advanced extremely quickly in the past few years. Now there are hundreds of devices to choose from, ranging from the simple ego-battery with a single coil clearomizer to a quad-coil RDA with a 150 watt mod. There are so many options, how can anyone choose? Well that’s where we come in, giving you a brief introduction of an e-cig, all its parts, how they all fit together, and some suggestions for getting started.
Keep in mind that this guide is for e-cigs, not vape pens for your herb/wax/oil. If you’re looking to pick something up for your cannabis products, check out our vape pen buyer’s guide here.
The Bits and Pieces
Lets break this ting down into all it’s parts. First, you have the clearomizer or cartomizer, or the tank you put your e-liquid in:
There is also a third type called an atomizer, but unless you are building your own, they tend to not be very good. We’ll cover them more in our “Advanced Vaping” guide. Clearomizers and cartomizers are actually a combination of words, a combination of clear and atomizer, and combination of cartridge and atomizer.
The main difference between a clearo- and a carto- is the wicking. Cartomizers use a poly-fil material for wicking inside the metal tube in the center of the tank pictured above. This material usually surrounds and is inside of a coil, which is usually a small hole near the base of the tube.
These tend to taste burnt after minimal uses, and the clearomizer tanks are an improvement to this because they use either silica or cotton, depending on the coil used and possible modifications.
The clearomizers is just that: clear. Clearo’s will have either a clear window or a clear body, so that you can see the juice. They also use different wicking material than the cartos, as mentioned above.
My personal recommendation is to go with a clearomizer if you’re just starting out. Don’t waste your time with the cig-alike ecigs, because clearomizers just give a much better vape experience. Better flavor, better vapor production, higher capacity, all of these are benefits of a clearomizer.
Now, there are two types of clearomizers: top fed and bottom fed. A top fed has wicks leading to an atomizer which is at the top of the tank, and the bottom fed is the exact opposite. Bottom fed usually get liquid to the could easier, but are more prone to flooding (filling the atomizer with too much juice, leading it to gurgle and sometimes spit juice into your mouth).
The way the juice wicks depends on the ratio of PG (propylene glycol) and VG (vegetable glycerin). PG is a flavor carrier as well as the part of e-liquid that gives it the “throat hit” that cigarettes have. VG makes juice thicker, and produces more vapor.
When just starting out, you should use a 50/50 PG/VG ratio or higher, as you want more PG because it wicks easier in clearo’s and carto’s. You also want a high nic level, something like 18mg-12mg, so that you get you nic fix without needing to puff a bunch of times.
My suggestion is to go to a vape shop and try out their juices. Until you know the flavor profile of juices that you like, you will have a lot of hit or miss juices, and it will be hard to find one you love. Just give it time, and keep trying new juices until one fits.
If you typed “ecig batteries” into Google, you would get hundreds of results, and you’d have no idea where to start. Batteries are, overall, pretty simple, and finding the right battery for you is easy once you know a few things.
For starters, almost all ecig tanks are 510 threaded. So, when you buy a battery, make sure it is 510 threaded (or whatever threading your device is). Basically, when you’re starting out, it all comes down to what works fr you battery wise.
If you hate having to charge things a lot, get something with a lot of battery life like a 1100 mAh ego battery. For me (a guy with big-ish hands), the 1100 mAh ego is the easiest battery to hold. It’s big enough that it fits the width of my hand nicely, and it has good battery life. If you want something more adjustable, you can check out the eGo-C Twist, a variable voltage battery that you adjust by twisting the dial on the base. By adjusting the voltage, you can increase or decrease the heat up time, the heat of the vapor, and the battery life by increasing or decreasing voltage respectively.
The best thing you can do is go to a vape shop near you and check out how each battery feels in your hand. Most vape shops will have all different sizes and types of batteries, so go there to test them out, and afterward go home and research whichever one feels best to you online so you don’t overpay for the battery.
Most batteries will come with chargers, which look like the picture below. If your battery doesn’t, you can find them really cheaply online.
When you’re just starting out, you have a few options. Most people are not going to want to invest a ton of money on something they don’t know if they’re going to enjoy, so I’ll start with the cheapest possible option first.
The eGo C4 – $13.86
This is the cheapest kit that comes with a charger, battery, and tank. It’s a 1.6 ml tank (it’s plastic, so certain juices will crack it) that is top fed, but it gets the job done when you’re first starting out. For the price, it’s hard to beat, but there are better options.
The Kanger EVOD Kit – $29.49
The Kanger EVOD Kit includes 2 batteries, 2 clearomizers, a USB charger, and a AC Power Adapter. The specific kit linked also includes a free bottle of juice, 5 extra atomizer heads, and a blunt tipped needle for filling the tank.
With the two batteries and two tanks, you can have two flavors in two different tanks so you can switch whenever you want, or you can convert one of your friends over too. The added battery life alone is worth the money on this one. The tank is bottom fed too, which wicks better than a top fed tank. The tank is plastic though, and plastic tanks crack if you uses certain juices (most vendors put warnings on their juices if they’re tank crackers)
Aspire Nautilus Mini – $23.95 with 50w eLeaf iStick – $54.95
This is the best of the best for a beginner, with the price to go with it. Total comes out to around $78, and it’s worth every penny. If you’re serious about starting out, and you know you want to quit smoking using an e-cig, then getting this setup is the best way to do that.
The Nautilus Mini has the best flavor you can get out of a clearo, and it’s glass so you can use any juice in it without cracking it. It uses a type of coil called a bottom vertical coil (BVC), which performs better than any other coil head on the market.
The eLeaf iStick can push 50 watts, has a great battery life, and it’s incredibly small. At only 75mm tall and just under 33mm wide, this is shorter than most eGo batteries with over twice the battery life and more than twice the power.
Quitting cigarettes can be a nearly impossible task. But e-cigs are a step in the right direction. They deal with the nicotine cravings, they have no cancer causing carcinogens, and they taste great (once you find the right flavor). Plus, there’s a great vape community to help you if you ever need anything. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments, we’re always here for you guys.