Tutorial: Guide to Selecting the Right Vape Device
When entering the world of vaping the massive selection of different styles and types of devices available can be a bit overwhelming. Our goal is to help evaluate your needs in order to streamline the process of selecting the device that's best for you. To do this we will examine the different styles of devices and what type of vaper they suit most so you are able to choose the right device with confidence.
Basic Anatomy Of a Vapor Device:There are a few basic parts that all vaping devices have in common. Often they look different in appearance from one another, but perform the same basic functions. Let’s take a look at their different parts.
- Vape Tanks: This part of the device houses the wicks, e-liquid and heating coil.
- Vape Coils: a replaceable assembly or section of wire that has been wound into a spring like coil shape. The coils are then wicked with an absorbent material, like cotton, which absorbs the e-liquid. The wire coils(s) are then heated to vaporize the e-liquid on the wicks.
- Batteries: This powers the device or Mod, some devices use an integrated battery while the others use replaceable cells.
- Vape Mods: The device housing batteries that connects and transfers power to the clearomizer/atomizer.
- E-Juice: A mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavorings, and sometimes nicotine which is heated to create vapor for inhalation.
Selecting the Right Vape Device
Complete Systems vs. Al A Carte Systems
Some systems like Cig-a-likes and most pen style vaporizers are complete systems. You can add juice and either go with an easily replaceable coil or a disposable atomizer. Many newer devices are sold as individual components allowing users to mix and match parts to custom tailor their device. This helps users get the most customized vaping experience possible. There is no right or wrong in this department, it comes down to a matter of personal preference and convenience. A fully complete system allows you the ability to easily purchase one item (plus maybe a battery in some cases) and go. There is certainly more time involved in picking out individual components, however there is also a greater degree of customization possible this way. We have taken the time to put together some of the more common device configurations as kits in order to help simplify finding combinations of items that perform well without breaking the bank.
Pen Style Devices / eGo
Pen style devices are slightly larger than cig-a-likes but offer a larger battery for longer life and usually come with a clearomizer style tank. These devices are often inexpensive and simple to use. While they do have a longer battery life and the tank helps to eliminate refilling as quickly. Some Pen style devices allow the user to adjust the voltage allowing for a more customizable experience, but similar to the cig-a-like they also tend to use coils on the high end of the resistances used in vaping and as such do not provide a lot of vapor or the greatest flavor.
These devices are currently the most popular devices on the market due to their effectiveness and wide array of features including the emergence of high power VV/VW devices. Some of these types of device use an internal battery. It is still very common for this type of device to use one or more replaceable IMR or INR hybrid lithium batteries. Users can adjust their output power by adjusting their voltage, wattage or in some cases both. This gives a much larger range of output options, compatible atomizers and greater customization overall. For more information on VV/VW visit Tutorial: Variable Voltage vs. Variable Wattage and Tutorial: Variable Voltage and Vaping Power Chart
Temperature controlled devices are the newest devices on the scene. These devices work by detecting the change in the coil's resistance as it heats. It then limits the power based on the user’s setting to prevent the coil from heating past the specified threshold. These are the most effective and safest devices currently available. For more information on Temperature Control Vaping visit Tutorial: Guide to Temperature Control Vaping
Mechanical mods are very simplistic in design. Their construction has no wires or circuitry and very few moving parts that can wear out or go bad. These devices are very rugged and durable. Because of their lack of protection and safety features they are also potentially dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced user. The lack of safety features allows the users of these devices the ability to push the limits of vaping. These devices are only recommended for advanced users with appropriate knowledge of battery safety, ohms law and other associated electrical concepts. For more information on Mechanical Mods visit Mechanical MODs Infographics.
Cig-A-Likes Disposable & Refillable
Cig-a-likes are the most commonly known type of vapor device and usually fall into one of the two main types, disposable and refillable. Both of these devices function in the same way with the exception of that the disposable cig-a-likes that are simply thrown away when the battery dies or the liquid in the cartridge runs dry. Whereas a refillable cig-a-like can be refilled with you favorite e-liquid and the battery can be recharged when it gets low. Some use a manual battery which must be pressed while others use a suction activated switch that powers the device on when you take a pull off of it and shuts it off when you stop. While these devices are compact and simple to use they are not the most effective at producing vapor or flavor and users typically rely on the strongest of nicotine strengths to be sated by these devices. They also have a notoriously short battery life resulting in the need to recharge after only a few hours of use at most. While these devices are small and compact their coils typically function at a relatively high resistance and as such are typically not as effective as other devices.
Cartridge / Cartomizer
Cartridges and cartomizers are two very similar styles of atomizers. They are now only commonly used with cig-a-likes. These devices have either a heating coil which uses a removable tube-like mouthpiece holding the wicking material and the e-liquid (cartridges) or an attached tube with a removable tip at the mouthpiece which holds the wick and e-liquid. Both are considered disposable, but can be refilled. This type of atomizer has little airflow and a restrictive draw. They typically produce the least flavor and vapor of all atomizer styles.
Clearomizers are the most common style of atomizer used today. They are essentially a tank system which can easily be refilled and houses an easily replaceable coil head. Many clearomizers offer adjustable airflow. These are typically the best for beginners because they provide moderate vapor and flavor production and are often included with pen style devices. There are various styles, colors and designs. Find out more information on different types of clearomizers by visiting Tutorial: Atomizer vs. Cartomizer vs. Clearomizer
Sub-Ohm Clearomizers / Tanks
Like the clearomizers described above these sub-ohm atomizers are intended to function with sub-ohm resistance coils, have substantially larger juice inlets to the coils and a much larger airflow that's almost always adjustable. These atomizers are also designed to resist the heat generated by sub-ohm vaping. Sub-ohm clearomizers are prefect for any user who desires greater flavor or vapor production of sub-ohm vaping without the hassle of building your own coils. For more information on Sub-Ohming visit Tutorial: Guide to Sub-Ohm Vaping
RDA's or Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers are another style of atomizer that uses self-made coils and wicks. Unlike RTA’s this style of atomizer does not use a tank. Instead it uses a drip well which is essentially is a shallow open topped reservoir below the coils. The wicks sit in the drip well absorbing the e-liquid and feeding it to the coils through surface tension. This style of atomizer requires dripping a few drops of e-liquid on to the coils every few pulls and can sometimes be messy if it isn’t kept upright when it has juice in/on it. To some, an RDA is just a messy atomizer that requires frequent attention; to others it is a mighty powerhouse of vapor and flavor. RDA's have the potential to hold a wider number and variety of coils of varied sizes compared to most other atomizers. Some people might find frequent dripping an inconvenience, but on the other hand an RDA allows you to change flavors every few pulls. This is great if you decide to try something different. To change it up there is no need to wait until the tank is dry. Simply take a few more pulls and drip the new liquid on to the coils and wicks. RDA's are prefect for a vaper who wants to be able to rapidly change flavors. Typically they are considered to produce the best vapor and flavor. Similar to an RTA because RDA's do require you to build your own coils. It helps if you like to tinker and are willing to learn some basic mechanical skills and electrical knowledge.
Similar to clearomizers an RTA or Rebuildable Tank Atomizer is a tank system that allows for easy refilling of e-liquid with 1 large difference. For these tanks you have to build your own coils and wicks instead of using pre-made coil heads. While many prefer the convenience of pre-made coil heads there are a few advantages to building your own coils as well. You have the ability to create a coil of the exact resistance of your liking. By changing the coil style, wire size and number of wraps you can get complete control over your atomizer. Not even mentioning the long term cost effectiveness of doing so. RTA's are great for the discerning vapor who demands top notch vapor and flavor production. Best suited for someone who likes to tinker and doesn't mind learning some basic mechanical skills and electrical knowledge.
Coil Resistance and Why It Matters:
Coils for your device can come in various resistances. Some people prefer different coil resistances. Standard resistance coils are typically considered those that are above 1.0Ω. Sub-Ohm coils are those that measure less than 1.0Ω. Each have their pros and cons however it seems more and more vapers are moving towards sub-ohm coils. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a lower resistance coil.
- A lower resistance coils are typically larger and have more surface area. The larger surface area allows for more juice to be in contact with the coil resulting in increased flavor and vapor production.
- A lower resistance coil will take more power to operate. This results in shorter battery life per charge, more frequent charging and reduced overall lifespan for your batteries.
- Lower resistance coils will also generate more heat. The lower the resistance the warmer the vapor will be. This could be considered a pro to some but only to a certain point. Too much heat can cause burnt wicks, burnt e-liquid, battery damage, or even physical burns.
A note on batteries:While some devices come with an internal battery, a large portion of them do not. Not all batteries are created equally. For your safety and well being please take a look at our Tutorial: Best Batteries for Mods and Vaping Safety.
A Note On Nicotine:When a smoker first quits smoking cigarettes it is important to note that vaping is an entirely different source of nicotine delivery and as such people often react differently to it. While different nicotine strengths of e-liquid exist, it is purely subjective as to what is the right nicotine level for you. Several Factors including how much and how often you smoked as well as the type of device you are using will determine what is right for you. Typically a smaller standard resistance device will produce vapor less effectively and users will often find they need a higher nicotine content to be sated where as a person using a temperature controlled or sub-ohm device would likely require a lower strength liquid to be effectively satisfied. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous, stop vaping for a bit as those are signs of a mild nicotine overdose. Furthermore if you experience the previously mentioned symptoms you should either vape less or lower your nicotine level. If you find your vapor is very harsh tasting or hard on your throat, a lower nicotine level might be in order. If you are not a smoker we do not recommend vaping liquid with nicotine in it. For more information on e-juice visit Tutorial: Propylene Glycol (PG) vs. Vegetable Glycerin (VG) E-Juice.
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