Here we will gather all the relevant information to get you started in this fantastic world of vaping. Describing key components and explaining them as best as we can to give you some basic knowledge to start with (and some more advanced too). Don’t be afraid, all e-cigarettes work essentially in the same way and once you have basic functioning understanding you will see how easy they are to use and enjoy: They consist mainly 4 key components:
- Battery - The battery is in charge of heating up the coil when you press the firing button and has to be charged with its specific charger as any other battery would.
- Tank - It’s the piece that contains the coil head/resistance and houses the e-liquid that you’re going to use (vape) throughout the day.
- Coil Head - It’s the component in charge to heat up when you press the firing button on the battery to then vaporize the e-liquid.
- E-Liquid - It’s the nicotine solution available at different percentages that is vaporized by the coil head to then be inhaled by the user.
Let’s get more into details with these 4 key points:
Regardless of your experience level, batteries must always be used with caution. They come in many types, shapes and sizes, but the ones where going to discuss in this section are the most commonly used and globally extended batteries, and those that we’ve all used at some point in our vaping journey. These batteries are commonly called "eGo batteries", as they are the first to go to market with that shape and form, which then everyone replicated from eGo (the brand). Ego batteries have eGo and/or 510 threading which is the name given to the "universally compatible" threads. That way they can be used with compatible components and accessories worldwide.
The batteries are usually charged by plugging them into the computer with they’re designated USB charger or a wall adapter, which we suggest you purchase in one of our stores to avoid being given a higher voltage charger that may damage your battery. There’s also eGo batteries with "passthrough" system, which is simply a battery with the option of directly plugging it in to charger via a mini USB cable, giving you the possibility to still use your e-cig while its charging, instead of having to unscrew the atomizer to plug the charger to the positive contact every time your battery runs out and you need a vape.
We don’t need to get into depth with specific terms for these types of batteries as we will go through some more battery details on a later stage in the advanced section.
Here are some terms that may sound familiar too you. If not, hopefully they can be of help you if you didn’t know about them yet. These are just some of the terms found in our "Vaping Dictionary":
- mAh - The milliamps. In simple terms, it is what indicates how long your battery life lasts between charges. The more "mAh" you have the longer your battery will last before needing to recharge it.
- Voltage - Is the power delivered to the battery. Standard eGo batteries (non-variable voltage) typically work between 3.8 and 4.2 volts.
- Variable Voltage – A variable voltage device is one where you can regulate how much power is delivered to your atomizers from your battery. The more voltage is delivered the more power is given to the coil of your atomizer and therefore it will heat the coil up faster, which will then result in a faster delivery and increased vapor production.
- EGo thread – It’s the "external" universally compatible thread at the top of your eGo battery.
- 510 Thread – It’s the "internal" universally compatible thread you can see on the other inner side of the eGo thread.
- Passthrough – A system to "charge while you use". To avoid having to wait for your battery to charge if you want to vape.
The clearomizer; a small tank that holds e-liquid, also within that tank is a component called the atomizer head/coil. As well as the clearomizer, there’s an atomizer and a cartomizer, all serve the same purpose, all hold e-liquid and have an atomizer head/coil and are essentially where the e- liquid is percolated into vapour. When either a clearo/ato/cartomizer are attached to a battery, the power from the battery causes the atomizer head/coil to get hot, which then vaporises the e-liquid to be inhaled!
When you fill a clearomizer for the first time, it will become apparent that there’s an air tube/pipe that goes through the middle of the tank, this is not where you’ll be putting the e-liquid, when you fill the tank. Clearomizers are filled from the bottom, or the top, it just depends on the type/style/model that you have. When you’ve filled your tank and screwed back in place, the cap/top, or whatever the model has for the purpose of closing the tank, you will need to just take a small break, whilst the e-liquid in the tank has had time to soak into the wicking material, which passes through the clearo/ato/cartomizer coils and atomizer heads. The wicking material, when soaked, after you’ve left the e-liquid long enough to soak it, is good to go. All that needs to happen now is for the battery to be operated, usually with a button, to supply power to the coil/atomizer head and when that gets hot, the e-liquid suspended in the wicking material will percolate into vapour, which you’ll inhale through the mouthpiece of the clearo/ato/cartomizer.
Coils / Atomizer Heads
As mentioned above, the wicks are a key part of the electronic cigarette as it is responsible for heating and atomizing/vaporizing the e-liquid to be inhaled.
A wick is generally composed of a resistive wire forming a spiral (coil) and a strip of cotton that goes through the center, which is responsible for transporting the e-liquid to the resistance to be evaporated.
Coils have a shelf life that varies depending on various factors such as continued use, the viscosity of the e-liquid and power (voltage/wattage) that is being delivered to them. We normally say they have from 2 weeks to 1 month of life, but as mentioned earlier, this varies greatly depending on several factors and each person’s usage. Therefore, it is impossible to make this an exact science. Generally, your palate will be the best judge to indicate when it is time to change the coil. If you notice less vapor, your e-liquid does not taste how it initially did or even taste like burnt, it will be indicating you that it is time to replace it.
Make sure the cotton is always saturated with enough e-liquid to prevent the resistance from running dry, which would degrade its shelf life even faster as you would be burning the wick and not vaporizing the e-liquid. It is also good to note that the more vapor productions delivered, the lower the amount of nicotine you will need in your juice to feel the same sensation and throat hit. In essence, you’re carrying more vapor to your lungs in one go, so you will notice more fullness and intensity with each puff. An effective way to go down nicotine levels is increasing the power of your electronic cigarette to notice more satiety with less nicotine gradually. This is the key to the great success of electronic cigarettes in helping you quit smoking.
The e-liquid is just as important as the rest of the 4 key components as it’s the one in charge of transporting the nicotine via an aerosolized solution when you press the firing button on your device and the coil heats the e-liquid, and it’s composed from 4 main ingredients:
- Propylene glycol (PG) - Used as a solvent in food and cosmetic industry (among other applications) since 1959 and is considered safe for human use. It’s also the one in charge of delivering part of the throat hit and creating the vapor you see when exhaling.
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG) - It’s the one in charge of creating the dense white cloud of vapor you see when exhaling the vapor. It’s also a solvent in food and cosmetic industry, same as with PG, thanks to its inert properties. It more viscous than PG and with a bit of a sweet tooth to it. If you use higher VG concentrations in your DIY mix it’s generally a good practice to add a bit more concentrated flavoring as it has the tendency of dulling down the aroma.
- Hydrosoluble food flavoring - They can be either natural or synthetic food flavorings but they must mix homogeneously when diluted into water. As the name suggests, it’s the ingredient in charge of giving a nice taste to your e-liquid. There’s as many flavorings as different foods there is on the planet. On a side note: All our juices are made only with natural ingredients and extracts.
- Nicotine - This ingredient is the one in charge of quenching your nicotine addiction as if it where tobacco. But without all the nasties found in smoke. It’s synthetic nicotine as its produced in a laboratory in opposed to extracted from tobacco leaves. Recent studies class nicotine similarly to caffeine, and is not all that bad as we were told to believe years ago. It’s even been proven to kill certain cancer cells.
A step up from vaping for beginners to intermediate electronic cigarettes. In this section we will show the most commonly used terms and a concise explanation of how they work.
As the name suggests this section, you need a little more information to take full advantage of all the features of these types of electronic cigarettes, but not too much. With these devices will experience a better vapor production if desired and can fully suit your tastes or vaping style for a fully tailored vaping experience.
As the day’s progress, technology and innovations do so too. If you’ve experienced the rapid growth of the world of vaping, you will have noticed that some of the most used vaping devices today do not use the same technology as a few years ago.
Sub-Ohm vaping is the term used to describe vaping with an atomizer or tank whose resistance is less than 1.0 Ohm (Sub-Ohm = Below one Ohm). Unlike basic electronic cigarettes, these may include extra features like higher power, USB charge, passthrough, removable batteries, variable voltage/wattage, a better taste and more functionality overall. Not only you will not have to plug your device to the charger so often, but you will also benefit from being able to regulate their power among other things. You will eventually make your experience of vaping personalized and comfortable for your own specific needs as a vaper, as you will also be able to adjust every little detail to your style of vaping.
If in doubt about some terms described in this section, remember to visit our "vaping Dictionary".
Sub-Ohm tanks and Wicks (coils)
As mentioned above, tanks or Sub-Ohm atomizers are what atomizers have evolved over time too and what most good vapers will end up evolving too in the end. More durability, better vapor production, better materials and premium finishes are just some of the benefits associated with using this type of atomizers against the more basic ones. With most of them, replacing your coils is just as easy as with the more basic models although you might find that some rebuildable ones are a little more difficult.
For this reason Sub-Ohm tanks or atomizers are usually categorized into two groups: rebuildables and non-rebuildables.
Basically, what this means is that you can make the coils yourself or you can buy readymade coil heads for a quick and easy replacement.
You can also find tanks with the two systems, so that you can switch between premade coils system (throwaway coil heads) and the rebuildable RBA system so you can make your own coils by hand and adapt the vapor and flavor production manually to your personal taste and needs. This kind of tanks are often put in the rebuildable category" as they have the possibility of doing so. We will go into more detail about rebuildable atomizers in “Advanced Vaping” section.
Note that the lower the resistance (OHM) that you use the more battery power you need and therefore more voltage or watts your device must output to function properly. Be especially careful with the batteries safety limits, having to adapt them depending on the coil you build onto your atomizer so that you never surpass its safety limits. The lower the resistance the more Amperes (A) or faster discharge rate will be needed to be safe without overheating your battery. So it is good practice to always use an OHM’s meter to verify that the coil has been done within the safety limits of your battery.
The market is constantly evolving and we're probably forgetting many more models or technical details that would fit in this section. But I hope that this will give you a broad idea of the different types of tanks and basic information on how to use them properly.
Introduction to Advanced Vaping
The more advanced higher powered electronic cigarettes are commonly known as "MODs" and are classified into two categories: electronic and mechanical MODs.
They are so called because the first models were experiments or home "modifications" of normal electronic cigarettes in order to gain more performance out of them. Today there are thousands of models, shapes, sizes and different functions ranging from temperature control (electronic MOD’s) to simple tubes with a button that just close the circuit on the atomizer, without any electronics whatsoever (mechanical MOD’s).
With both types you should be especially careful with the type of batteries that you’re going to use, having to adapt your coils to your batteries specific safety limits. It is very important to understand the basic operation of these devices because they can be dangerous if used incorrectly.
The higher the amps (A) are the faster your battery will discharge to match your coils specific discharge needs, avoiding to overheat your batteries if it doesn’t discharge quick enough.
In conclusion, these atomizers need a little practice and safety knowledge because we have to adapt the coils we build or buy, in terms of the batteries safety limits to get the most out it without any risk whatsoever. If you are a handyman or and have some patience and time to practice, these atomizers on the long run will be more comfortable than their smaller more basic ones, as well as giving better flavor and vapor production to match vapers specific needs, and are overall cheaper.
Rebuildable atomizers are all those in which you can house a handmade coil rather than a premade coil head. Coils can be made out of Kantal (Kn), Nickel (Ni), titanium (Ti), Stainless Steel (SS316L) and even ceramic coils like the Donuts Vaping, among many others. As new info and studies about these materials arises, new materials come out to the market and they evolve and adapt to improve in safety and performance.
Rebuildable atomizers are usually categorized into two: RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer) and RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizer).
The RDA is an atomizer with a base in which you insert the coils into and then thread a piece of organic cotton through so it absorbs the e-liquid you drip on it from the base towards the coils to create vapor.
Once it is time to change the coil you only have to replace the old cotton unless you feel that the resistance also needs to be changed after a few cotton swaps. As you might have deducted, the use of this system can be cheaper than buying coil heads every time besides it being the type of vaping that best adapts to each individual vapers need as you’re in full control of how you make the coils tailoring to your specific flavor and vapor production needs.
These atomizers are basically the same as the RDA’s with the difference that they carry a tank over them to house the e-liquid instead of having to drip your e-liquid onto the coil manually. These models are increasingly popular because they are getting much better in all aspects. They have the advantage of you being able to rebuild the coils and the flavor and vapor production of an RDA apart from the convenience of not having to drip every time because you will have a steady flow of e-liquid directly onto the cotton from the tank. You only have to fill your tank and you can stop worrying about filling it as often or dripping throughout the day.
These mods are so named because their activation is fully mechanical and without brain or circuitry that controls everything. In other words, it is activated manually by pressing a button which closes the circuit between the battery and the atomizer to heat resistance. You must have advanced notions on how to build your coils and take into account the OHM’s law and safety limits according to your batteries amp discharge rate.
As the name suggests, these electronic cigarettes carry a chip or "brain" that controls everything and that allows you to adjust the power to your liking among other things. Depending on the model, they have extra features such as charging via USB, display, ohm meter, reverse battery protection, over discharge protection, short circuit protection, variable wattage/voltage and temperature control among many other functions. Some even give you the time or have mini games like Flappy Bird. There are models for all tastes and styles of vaping. Normally MODs are higher voltage devices ranging from 30 watts to over 200 watts. So again I emphasize to keep well between the safety limits of your battery, although in this case have the protection of the electronics, which in a mechanical you haven’t.