I am sure you may find yourself overwhelmed with the many devices on the market designed for vaping. This guide will give you a better idea of what they are and what purposes they serve.
Let’s Start With Vaping Devices Explained
Cigalike or Disposable E-Cig:
These are often shaped to resemble a traditional analog cigarette, they are readily available everywhere from pharmacies to gas stations. These are definite beginner products and do not allow you to change flavors on the fly. The prices for these average from $4 to $10. They are convenient and the easiest of all vaping products to use. Cigalikes and pod mods offer simplicity.
Ego Vape Battery:
Ego batteries are the first upgrade from a cigalike. They offer the flexibility of using a ton of tanks and even the ability to recharge. Ego batteries come in different sizes from small to full-sized. Traditionally these batteries run from $7 to $20. You use these batteries with cartomizers or cartomizers which we will show you further down this page. These vape batteries do not have interchangeable batteries so it’s really simple to use.
Mechanical Vape Mod:
This is an intermediate to an advanced user device. It requires having a vast knowledge of Ohm’s law, battery capacity, and wattage. Mechanical mods do not have safety protection of other devices because they are unregulated and do not contain protection chips. These devices are popular because they have the cylindrical form of an ego battery. The devices traditionally use one or two batteries which you must charge externally regularly. Mechanical mods can overheat and vent. Venting is when a battery becomes too hot, does not have enough airflow, swells out, and can potentially explode. I recommend using this once you have gained a good deal of knowledge about vaping, this is not for beginners at all. This device may sound scary but it is used by many in the vape community safely because they know and understand the limits of what they can run and use it with. Mechanical Mods can run you from $20 for a clone to several hundred dollars for higher-end mods. These devices feature a lock ring to prevent them from firing when you carry them in your pocket, purse, or backpack. You can use everything from a clearomizer to atomizer on these.
Variable Voltage Vape Devices:
These are devices with built-in safety provisions. These range from ego batteries to box mods (we’ll explain these further down). These devices allow you to play around with your vape experience from testing out which level of voltage you prefer to enjoy your vape. Lower end device range from 3.3 volts to 6 volts, these devices also run wattage mode. The wattage can run from 6 watts to 20 watts. Higher-end devices start from 3 volts to 15 volts and 6 watts to 250 watts. Depending on what Variable Voltage device you purchase they may require external charge batteries to internal batteries. Some examples of these are the ego spinner, the innokin CLK, the Istick by eleaf, the MVP, the IPV, Sigelei to name a few. These devices start out around $20 and can run up to $400 each.
Box Mods or Vape Mod:
These come in all sizes and levels of vaping expertise. These devices are powerful little boxes that can provide very good vaping experiences. They come with several levels of protection and safety because they commonly come with built-in chips that monitor your device and prevent it from firing if there is any cause for concern. Weight and width can vary from 8 grams to several ounces in weight. From a mere couple of inches in height and width to something that may take up your entire hand. Box mods range from $35 to $400 dollars. Lower end devices have onboard charging to interchangeable batteries. They provide great battery life and customizable vaping experience. These are the box version of variable voltage devices. Some may require additional parts to fit your tank depending on your tanks connection style.
Cartomizers are disposable cartridges with atomizers built into them. These were the first advancement in vaping and one of the earliest adopted upgrades available. The idea is you drip down a few drops of e-liquid down the chimney let it soak and then vape. These can be used on ego batteries, mechanical mods, and VV devices. These aren’t commonly recommended for vaping because they can be hit or miss. Prices for these range from $5 to $30. These can be messy but they allow you to switch flavors practically easier than any other device available for vaping. They do not require much knowledge to use. Some cartomizers come preloaded with juice that require no dripping.
Clearomizers are the most popular device in the market of vaping. They are cylindrical tanks that are part metal and pyrex glass tanks. Clearomizers can hold from 2ml of juice up to 10 ml if you have a jumbo tank. Predominantly clearomizers feature bottom coiling. Bottom coils use the pressure of the juice to saturate your wicks fast. These tanks can vary from in design, vapor production, and cost. Clearo’s start at $5 for something truly low end and can run you up to $100. These tanks require coil heads (I’ll explain this further down), a typical coil can last you anywhere from one day to up to two weeks. You must keep an eye on your coil to ensure you aren’t using one that has either burnt or has grown disgustingly abused. You should be able to taste a difference in your juice when this happens or see some discoloration of the juice inside your tank. Clearomizers are easy to use, require little to no knowledge of vaping, and are very easy to fill.
Rebuildable Dripper Atomizer:
A rebuildable atomizer is an advanced way of vaping. It requires the use of Kanthal Wire (explained further down) and wicking material such as silica, organic cotton, Japanese cotton, rayon, etc. The thing with RDA as they are most commonly referred is that you have to make your own coils. This can be a challenging experience the first few times but with the vast tutorials available online and a bit of practice you should be able to learn within a day or two. The benefits of RDA is the ability to drip a few drops of e-liquid at a time onto your wicks and getting much more vapor than you normally would using a traditional clearomizer. RDA’s are popular because of the flavor experience since the vapor has less room to travel before inhaled the flavor is vastly superior. You should not use an RDA on an ego styled battery even though you technically could simply because there isn’t enough power to give you the full experience. RDA’s allow you to build coils to the resistance of your choice (make sure your device can handle the ohm’s you build for). RDA’s can handle ohms as low as 0.15 to 3 ohms. Remember the lower your Ohm’s (coils built) the more power you will need. Most RDA’s handle single, dual or even quad coil builds. The prices for these can range from $15 to $200.
RTA/Rebuildable tank atomizers:
The RTA is another extremely popular choice with people who vape. Unlike RDA’s these do not require you constantly add drops of e-liquid in order to vape. They are more like clearomizers but feature coil building decks like the RDA. Traditionally the deck sits higher than on an RDA within a chimney that features holes that push up the juice to your coil inside the chimney. The RTA can handle anywhere from 2ml of juice to 6ml. They come in a variety of sizes and capacities. The RTA is similar to the RDA in terms of cloud and flavor production with the simplicity of a clearomizer. It does require you know how to build your own coils and a bit of finesse in placing your wicking material so it does not block your juice channels. RTA’s range in prices from $30 to $200 for high-end ones. These devices can be run on anything from an ego battery to box mods.
Kanthal Vape Coil Wire:
Known as Kanthal wire is the most commonly used type of wire used for making coils for vaping. Kanthal offers high heat resistance, flexible, and easy to use wire. As the dominant material, kanthal had its primary use in industrial situations but has since been used to heat up the juice on your wick creating vapor. Kanthal wire comes in a variety of gauges which helps you reach desired levels of ohms. There are calculators available online that will tell you how many loops of this you need to reach your desired ohm number. Prices for Kanthal can run from $1 a foot to a 100-foot spool for as little as $10. Temco Kanthal is the preferred and trusted brand amongst the vaping community.
Nickel Chrome Vape Coil Wire:
Temperature control vaping. Nickel Wire has recently gained popularity with the vaping community due to new devices with chips that can detect the temperature of your vape. NI200 or Nickel Wire is a high resistance wire similar to Kanthal but with the ability to push information to devices with DNA40 temperature gauging chips. Nickel Chome Wire typically consists of 80% nickel up to 99% and has a heat resistance of up to 1400 degrees. This wire can handle heat up to 1000 degrees higher than I would recommend for vaping.
Silica wick material is a rope-like material used for wicking. It has a high resistance to heat and is slow to break down in the process of vaping. Silica does not wick as fast as other materials but is the most commonly used wick amongst beginners. Most clearomizers have coils wicked with silica. Silica does offer great use but is not the best material for wicking as it does not offer the best flavor choices or the best saturation speed. You can dry burn silica without issue as it is capable of handling high heat unlike dry cotton and other materials.
Organic cotton is very popular with us people who vape. This type of organic cotton is commonly used in RTA/RDA devices which you build coils for. The downside to cotton is that it cannot be dry burned but the benefits outweigh that fact. Cotton saturates considerably faster than silica even if it breaks down and gets ugly faster. In terms of flavor, you will not taste cotton as long as it is saturated with e-liquid. It does not distort the flavor of your juice and best of all its the cheapest option of all. Make sure you use 100% organic cotton, some cotton may contain peroxides or bleaching agents that should never touch your tank. Local chain stores like Duane Reade, CVS, etc all carry at least one brand of 100% organic cotton you can use to vape. Some people boil and dry their cotton before use.
Japanese Cotton Sheets/Koh Gen Do:
Japanese Cotton Sheets otherwise known as Koh Gen Do was a popular beauty supply cotton for the removal of makeup. Since the cotton is unchanged from its form and pressed into square sheets its perfectly good to use for wicking your devices. One sheet of KGD can wick anywhere from 5 to 7 times depending on how much of it you use. Since it doesn’t have the traditional shape of cotton balls you simply cut a strip from the big sheet and slide it into your coil. KGD has been proven to be superior wicking material to regular cotton. PBusardo actually has done a video showing various wicks and how they absorb eliquid. KGD won over them all. KGD is a bit more expensive than regular organic cotton and can run from 3 sheets for $5 to packages of 20 for $10 on places like amazon or eBay.
Coils/Coil heads are what process the power of your battery and converts your juice into vapor. Freestanding coil heads are metallic chambers with a coil and wick inside. In most cases, these cannot be rebuilt although some as myself do open them and rebuild to save money. Coil heads can range from 0.5 ohm’s (for sub-ohm devices) up to 2.4 ohms. Coil heads come in single or dual coil formats.
They are simple to use, simply remove from the package and screw them on to your tank. Coil heads are not one size fits all, different clearomizers use different coils and wide wicking materials from silica to cotton. Coil heads should be changed regularly to maintain a consistent vape experience, a week to two weeks is a good life span for a coil head. Freestanding coils commonly used inside RTA/RDA devices are wire twisted around a drill bit or small screwdriver using loops to reach your desired ohm level.