Hello, and welcome to EVCigarette’s Overview to Vaping! Either you must be new here or you just want to learn more about vaping—either way, you’ll find more than enough knowledge and know-how below to get you well on your vaping journey. This guide is essentially your Guide to Vaping Success, designed to quickly run through the concept of vaping, the methodology behind it, and the equipment most comfortably used at each experience level, as well as make the transition from each level to the next as smooth as possible. We're going to touch on just about everything so keep this guide close at hand and refer back to it often for hardware suggestions as you grow as a vaper.
"So...What Exactly is Vaping?"
Traditionally, the intake of nicotine hinged on burning tobacco — a combustive process that passes along many, many carcinogens that are present both as the result of combustion as well as the result of being added when manufacturing said tobacco. However, vaping uses an entirely different mechanism to pass along nicotine: instead of using combustion to create smoke, vaping applies heat to evaporate e-liquid & produces nanodroplets of liquid that are either absorbed quickly by the lungs or dissipate/evaporate within seconds when exposed to air. This is where the key distinction between cigarettes and e-cigarettes as nicotine delivery systems exists.
History Of The E-Cigarette
In 1963, the patent for the first prototype e-cigarette was filed—drafted by a Mr. Herbert A. Gilbert, this design was very similar in size, shape, and science to today’s cigalikes (cigarette shaped e-cig) and pen-style devices. Mr. Gilbert brought his proprietary prototype patent to the many tobacco companies in business at the time, but unfortunately, he was turned away at the door every single time. After all, there was no basis for reducing the use of tobacco at the time—not to mention, they could simply wait for Mr. Gilbert’s patent to expire, then steal the concept for themselves.
Over 40 years later, a Chinese doctor named Hon Lik introduced the first commercially successful e-cigarette. Inspired by the cancer-provoked death of his father and a nicotine patch–fueled fever dream, this device’s initial design used an ultrasonic atomizer to aerosolize the liquid as opposed to a heating element, but by the time the first e-cig hit the Chinese market, this mechanism was swapped for the one we know today.
Now, after nearly a decade and a half of innovation, the e-cigarette marketplace has truly taken on a mind of its own. Prompted equally by necessity and inconvenience, consumers and manufacturers alike have each had a helping hand in the evolution of e-cigarette technology. From batteries to box mods, and cig-a-likes to cartomizers, e-cig tech has been the posterchild of free market innovation. What was once a one-off contraption now has so many different components, add-ons, extras, and options that it can seem incredibly overwhelming and nonsensical to newcomers. But don’t fret! We’re here to help you find exactly what you’re looking for—all you need to do is read on!
You're definitely going to want to start here and keep it close at hand in your bookmarks for whenever you come across a confusing vaping term or phrase! This carefully compiled codex will keep you caught up with all the jumbled jargon, puzzling phrases, and inexplicable idioms that vaping has spawned over the years.
"I’m super new to all this vaping biz. What do you think I'll need?"
No worries at all—after all, we all started somewhere! Rather than letting you get lost in the sea of atomizers, mods, settings, modes, and batteries, we’ll simply set up with a combination of devices that are super easy to use won’t overwhelm the senses, but is sure bring you the satisfying deliciousness you crave.
These kits will contain all of the hardware you’ll need to get started immediately. By definition, a starter kit will include the most important components: the Atomizer (the hottest part of your vape) and the Mod (the powerhouse of your vape that holds one or more batteries).
In a starter kit with a pen-style device, the atomizer will most likely be a small clearomizer and the mod a long, thin cylinder that holds the built-in battery. These two pieces will be separable via the 510 threading—this threading will be compatible between 99.9% of modern vaping products, but just because a tank will fit on a battery doesn't mean it will work well, so for smaller pen-style devices, it's best to stick to the tank/atomizer that's provided.
Small Box Mod Kits (w/ Integrated Battery)
While we suggest getting a simple pen-style setup—simply because there’s no settings or extra buttons to worry about—if you want to add an extra dose of power/battery life to your day, selecting a small, low-wattage (≤50W) device with a built-in battery (such as those found in the iNano & QBox starter kits) is a great way to do so.
Just don’t get too caught up if there are numbers and abbreviations flashing on the screen.
Don’t worry, they’ll make sense soon enough—for now, just stick to “wattage” or “power” mode.
Replacement Atomizer Coil Heads
And no matter what kind of device you have or how experienced you are, giving your user manual a once-over or watching instructional videos on Youtube is always a good idea—that’ll quickly teach you the ins-and-outs of navigating in and out of the menus displayed by your device’s firmware.
The starter kit will most likely include an extra replacement atomizer coil head or two, but that isn’t a guarantee against the future, so if you plan on using your e-cig for a while, it couldn’t hurt to pick up an extra pack for convenience’s sake.
For best results, always remember to prime your coil heads prior to use. You can do this by simply saturating the cotton(or other wicking material) in the atomizer coil head prior to installing it. This will help avoid singeing the wick, which could ruin the flavor of your e-liquid.
The last thing you’ll need to complete your vape is the tastiest part—the juice! This part is the most fun—simply pick whatever flavor catches your eye/tastebuds! Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out even the ones that sound weird (like I LOVE Popcorn), because in e-juice form, you'll be very surprised how good they taste.
Thinner, e-juices will have have a 40% PG (Propylene Glycol) content or higher & are most likely to work best with smaller, low-power tanks associated with older pen-style kits. Modern tanks can usually handle current high VG (Vegetable Glycerin) liquids with relative ease. Read more on PG/VG in our Vaping E-liquid 101 Guide below.
E-liquid will most commonly come in a select number of strengths—0mg (zero nicotine), 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg—although juices with irregular strengths such as 1.5mg, 11mg and 32mg can be found with relative ease.
When it comes to selecting a nicotine strength or level, it’s important to consider a number of variables: the type of setup and amount of wattage you'll be using, how much you want to use your vape each day, and your current tolerance to nicotine.
Below is a loose set of guidelines to help narrow down your choice in nicotine strength and assist you in finding the perfectly correct level for you:
|Average Wattage Used / Cigarettes Per Day||≥10 cigarettes||≥20 cigs||≥30 cigs||≥40 cigs||≥60 cigs|
While it’s worth taking into consideration any existing personal tolerance to nicotine and select a higher concentration when the user has been previously using nicotine frequently, this isn’t the only time you may want to select a higher concentration.
For example, if you’re looking for a small device that you only need to puff on a few times—such as an
iCare or Top eVod—it’s okay to choose a higher nicotine level than what’s normally suggested. Similarly, if you’re looking to always puff away day-after-day or are starting out with a high-powered device, you'll most likely want a lower nicotine level.
"Anything else I should know?"
"I’ve been vaping for a few weeks, but I want to broaden my horizons."
That’s great to hear—I’m glad you’re finding vaping to your liking! Thankfully, there’s scores more to explore in the world of e-cigarette tech!
Medium Regulated Box
Now that you’ve become accustomed to the process of vaping, it’s time to up the ante a little by setting you up with a more powerful device. Keep in mind, just because you have a device with a higher wattage limit doesn’t mean you’ll need to use all of it all the time—it’s just a good idea to get one in order to open up your future options in atomizers, functionality, and battery life.
Now is when you’ll almost certainly come across the extra features and modes that come with bonafide regulated devices, such as TC and Preheat functionality. Feel free to experiment with these aspects of your vape—after all, they’re there for a reason! Just make sure to do your research—the suggested reading is a great place to start!
If you like your vape so far but think you’d like it even more if the vapor were thicker and richer, you’ll probably do very well with a sub-ohm tank. These little beauties are the natural evolution to the clearomizer.
Where a clearo’s airflow is restricted, a sub-ohm tank’s airflow is open and free. Where the clearo will have a small juice capacity, a sub-ohm tank not only utilizes a larger capacity, it needs it more so than anything else in order to keep pace with the increase in juice consumption.
A sub-ohm tank gets its name from its replacement atomizer coil heads that typically have a resistance below 1.0Ω. These types of coil heads won’t necessarily work with less powerful pen-type devices—not because they need more power (i.e. voltage), per se, but the reduced resistances of sub-ohm tanks require advanced circuitry that can handle the subsequent increase in amperage.
Just make sure you pick a tank that works well with the wattage limit of your mod: if your mod can’t reach the suggested wattage range of the tank, it’s a better idea to just find a tank that’s more compatible.
Now that you’re using a more powerful device, you’ll need a more powerful battery to...well, power it! There’s plenty of batteries on the market and not all cells are created equal, so it’s important to do your research in order to ensure you’re choosing a quality and trusted type of battery.
For the relatively low-powered device you’ll be using, you won’t need too high of an amp draw, so a good 20A battery with a high capacity is a great choice.
A battery is only as good as its charger, so your best bet is to get the best model you can as early as possible in order to treat your cells as well as you can for as long as you can—by using quality high-tech equipment, you’ll greatly extend the overall lifespan of your batteries, getting you more bang for your buck in the long run.
"Any extra reading material?"
By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that your mod has a number of modes other than wattage mode, such as TC-Ni. This is designed to do something called Temperature Control: this allows users to designate a maximum temperature that the attached coil can reach—the device will automatically cut power from the atomizer when it reaches that temperature. Follow the link above to learn even more about this technological vaping phenomenon.
Vape Life in the Spotlight
Personally, I find that the most intriguing aspect about the e-cigarette industry is that it’s both typical and unique in it’s own way: on one hand, the fast-paced innovation and seemingly spontaneous budding of independent consumers-turned-retailers/manufacturers around the globe is reminiscent of the free market that birthed the modern economy we enjoy today—back when immigrants started successful businesses from nothing but what they had carried in their pockets across the ocean. On the other hand, however, the e-cigarette industry is unique in that the existence of such a marketplace in today’s economic and regulatory atmosphere is just about unheard of. In no other field do we see such a wild, breakneck dash towards consistent improvement and customer satisfaction—if it were to exist, there’s no doubt that such an area would improve drastically in efficiency and functionality.
Tyra From Saigon
Company: SMAX / Routine / KOMB
Company: Czar Mfg.
This is what truly interests me and what I wanted to find out even more about, so I’ve begun a quick interview series called Vaping in the Spotlight, where I ask the founders of prominent e-cigarette companies how they came to start walking towards their respective dreams. While there’s only two pieces (so far), they’re both fantastic reads for the curiously-minded vaper.
As a freshly fledged believer in vapes, it’s important to realize the gravity of the regulatory and political actions being brought against the industry. If the “deeming regulations” are kept in place, the financial and political pressure will be too great for 99% of vape retailers and manufacturers to withstand, forcing them to close their doors forever and essentially reduce the entire industry to nothingness.
So, that's why it’s absolutely crucial to show as much support for vaping as you can to your local Congressmen—they’re the ones who have the most say in pending bills such as Rep. Hunter’s legislation that would save the industry outright if it should be so fortunate as to pass without a hitch—so write, call, email, and send vapor signals straight to the offices your your local representatives.
"Vaping is awesome!"
I know, right? =D And it only gets cooler! Just wait until you pick up your first RBA and find out just how amazing your vaping should be.
Large Regulated Box (101W - 200W) / Small Unregulated Box
This upgraded power source will have all you need to push the volts you desire to the atomizer you love—now with more features and functionality for you to enjoy.
At this stage of your vaping evolution, you’ll most likely do best with these larger regulated mods, as they always have the best and latest features. However. if you think you’ll be upgrading to a mechanical mod before long, it may be a good idea to try out a small unregulated mod such as the Wismec Cricket II, if only to get a better understanding of building for a mechanical device—just read up on your essential vaping knowledge beforehand (e.g. Ohm’s Law, Joules Law, etc.)!
Where we’re going, we won’t need...coil heads. Just one of the many benefits of a rebuildable atomizer alongside the impeccable flavor and competitive vapor production you can’t find anywhere else. This impressive performance is achieved thanks to the large user-designed, -constructed, & -installed coils made from specific materials such as Kanthal and Stainless Steel. The vaping platform you’ll be utilizing most for rebuilding is, of course, an RBA! Short for ReBuildable Atomizer, a number of different types of atomizer fall under the category of “RBA”, but the ones you’ll be using most often are:
|Types of RBA||Features|
In order to begin your journey towards “master rebuilder”, there’s a few supplies you’ll need to pick up in order to promote your vaping success. If you’re looking to save your money/time, it’s a great idea to pick up a premade Build Kit that includes everything you’ll need to get started with rebuilding, but if you’re looking to compile your own customized set of tools, it’s important to know exactly what you’ll need.
Screwdriver / Allen Key
You’ll need something to tighten and loosen the screws in your RBA as well as wrap coils around. Typically, the average screwdriver serves both these functions. A cheap micro screwdriver and/or Allen key is usually included in the box with an RBA, but you’ll want a nicer set at home before long.
Wrapping Rod / Coil Jig
And if you don’t like tools being on double-duty, you can pick up some rods made specifically for wrapping coils—drill bits and screwdrivers also make fantastic coil wrapping rods. There are also specialized coil jigs that make the process of wrapping your coil very easy, but are typically only usable with basic types of coils.
As far as safety is concerned, an ohmmeter is one of the most important components of your arsenal. While regulated devices by definition have a fully functional ohmmeter integrated into the circuitry, it’s a great idea to have a backup to double-check fresh builds.
And when it comes to vaping, your wire and wick are the most important! When first choosing wire, try getting a variety of gauges and types in order to discover which you like using the most. Same with cotton: there’s a number of brands of organic cotton to choose from—each with their own unique manufacturing process—so it’s a good idea to try out a few to see which you like the best.
As one of the most versatile instruments in your collection, it’s important to pick up a quality pair of wire cutters that will last a while. Thankfully, most of these are pretty well-built to start with, so it’s hard to go wrong. These are used to clip your wire when making and installing coils as well as cutting apart wicking.
Tweezers are an excellent addition to any rebuilder’s toolbelt—they help to straighten out coils and squeeze together wraps right after installation. For even more precise positioning and coil wraps, pick up a set of ceramic-tipped tweezers—this allows users to squeeze the coils even whilst they’re firing for super easy movements.
If you’re always down for a great vape, but don’t always feel up to wrapping your own coils, don’t worry! Thankfully, manufacturers are as lazy as we are, so they’ve given us plenty of options in terms of coaxing maximum performance from your RBA with minimal effort. Simply pick up a pack of coils—these come in a variety of styles and types—install the coil, wick it, and that’s it, you’re good to go!
"I want to learn more!"
This short piece will give you a quick run-down of the different types of atomizers and features in the world of RBAs—use this to help narrow down which type of RBA you’re looking for.
Once you’ve rebuilt one, you’ve rebuilt them all, so in this upcoming piece on rebuilding, we’ll be guiding you through each step of wrapping and installing your first DIY coil into your RBA. Keep an eye out!
"Hey, bro, where’s the mechs?"
Oh, dude, you’ve been vaping for a minute, huh? Well, I don’t have to tell you anything—I’m sure you’ll find your way around our stock of impressive products. Check out our New Products section for all the latest and greatest devices and products to hit the vaping market!
Large Box Mod / Unregulated / Mech
Now that you’ve read up on Ohm’s Law, Joule's Law, and battery safety, you’re ready to run with the big guns! A good first purchase would be a series unregulated mod: while the 8.4V max voltage can seem intimidating at first, as long as you build for it correctly (i.e. a higher resistance than normal), you’ll love it. Plus, the safety circuitry in an unregulated mod will help keep you safe should worst come to worst.
After a few weeks of using an unregulated mod with no issues, you’re ready to graduate to a mechanical mod! Same building techniques as before, just taking off the training wheels, so always make sure to double check your resistances and builds on a separate ohmmeter before installing them onto your mechanical mod.
Of course, if you don’t feel up to risking life-and-limb for your vape, you can always pick up a high-wattage (250W+) regulated device—this will provide all the power of an unregulated device (even ones in series) with all of the safety you’ve come to expect from regulated devices.
If you’re a mech user with safety on the mind, you can’t go wrong by picking up some of these HB2s & HB6s. As bar-none the best 18650 battery cells for mechs on the market, they’re the perfect choice for sub-ohm mech users. Sitting at a impressive true 30A (unlike many other cells advertised as “30A+”), these cells push low resistances harder than other cells with a lower CDR. They may have a relatively small capacity (1500mAh), but this is to allow for such a high CDR.
But if the small capacity is a real turn-off (pun), you’ll most likely find the Efest 4200mAh 26650 Battery to your liking. Granted, this cell requires a 26650 mech mod, but the 4200mAh capacity alongside a solid 30A CDR makes it a tempting pick-up.
While not necessary, I find that a larger RBA (26mm+ diameter) is easier to build for an unregulated device, especially high-powered ones: bigger build space, more airflow, better aesthetics—what’s not to love?
"Tell me something I don’t know."
I’m sure you’ve read a cloudchasing guide or two in the past, but this guide goes past the shallow coverage of other CC’ing guides. Diving deep and delving in-depth into the supplies, preparations, builds, and safety tips you’ll need to succeed, this guide is the end-all be-all to cloudchasing tutorials.
Even the most unskilled of vapers can master vape tricks with a little guidance (and a lot of practice!). My Vape Tricks guide is designed to break each trick down into easy-to-understand steps with troubleshooting tips so that even the most novice of readers can master them. This upcoming trick guide will most likely be a series, due to the large number of tricks I’ve compiled.
In order to better understand these tricks and explain them fully to you guys, I’ve been practicing a lot of these tricks for the past two months now, and I’m getting kinda good! =D I’d like to embed self-made videos of these tricks, but for the sake of timeliness, I may simply borrow clips of other vapers doing the tricks—regardless, I’m having a lot of fun learning these tricks, so I’m positive you will, too! Make sure to keep the other eye open and on the lookout for this release.
If you’ve reached here, you’ve graduated with the highest honors—you’re officially ready to enter the amazing, impressive world of e-cigarettes! But don’t get it wrong, your education is a continuing phenomenon! Don’t shy away from staying up-to-date with all thing related to vaping on Youtube, Facebook, Reddit, ECF, and anywhere else you can get vaping knowledge! And if you have any other questions at all, feel free to contact our expert staff—we’ll be more than happy to answer any inquires you may have as well as help guide your hand in finding your perfect setup. Now, go! Vape free and vape hard!