So you have decided to start Vaping and look on the internet for some information and there are millions of pages, most of which are completely unintelligible. Vaping, like pretty much any subject has its own terminology and it can be pretty overwhelming for a beginner.
When I started to Vape, I went through a fair few devices (and dollars) over a very short time as I wasn’t clear on what I wanted and had a few false starts. I no soon as got a set up, than I found out its shortcomings and out came my credit card again. Hopefully this article will help you to duck out on some of my mistakes and have you up and vaping easily and converniently.
There are a few things to consider before you pull out your payment card.
How much hassle are you willing to put up with to vape?
How much are you willing to stand out from the crowd when you vape?
How much are you willing to spend on your new habit – both in upfront and on-going costs?
Let us look at the first which is convenience.
There are really two main types of vaporizers – you remember what an vaporizer is from the previous article – it is the thing that turns your e-liquid into a vapor.
The first are the disposable cartridges which you tend to buy by the pack – just like cigarettes. To introduce you to some of the terminology – these are called cartomizers.
These are the most convenient, as they are a tube filled with e-liquid with a built in coil. You pull em out of their package, plug em onto your battery and vape. Once they are empty you throw them away and get out a fresh one. You don’t have to clean them, you just use them and throw them away. Each cartridge is supposed to be the equivalent of about a pack of smokes – but I’d tend to say that is a little overly optimistic and you would be better off assuming half a pack. They are about the size of the filter on a king size cigarette and many of them are actually made to look like a filter.
Easiest and most convenient – no mess, no fuss
As they are disposable devices, the per unit cost isn’t very high (about $2 to $3 each), but they are an on-going cost, so over the long run they are the most expensive approach to vaping,
The types of flavor that is available is somewhat limited.
The other type of vaporizer is a re-usable, and they are more expensive to purchase up front, but the on-going cost is less as you clean them and use them again. There are many many types of reusable, ranging in cost from $10 to over a hundred, but this is a beginner guide, so I will concentrate on my personal favorite, which is the Kanger Pro Tank Mini (rough cost about $18). This is relatively easy to clean, is made of metal and glass and the parts to rebuild it if you need to are very easily obtainable. Quite frankly all you should ever really need are some replacement coils and even then a coil can last for months. The replacement coil packs are about $8 for 5, so again – not a big outlay.
Lower on-going cost
Usually a better quality item
You are not restricted in the e-juice you use as you will buy it separately to fill up the tank
Higher up front cost
More hands on – can be a bit messy until you get the hang of it.
Lets look at the next – Discreteness
Be really honest with yourself here – are you a person that doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd, or are you happy having people ask you what you are doing. When I started vaping, I used the small devices that look just like a cigarette, and most people didn’t even notice I was vaping rather than smoking. I progressed to using reusable vaporizers and bigger batteries, and now people come up to me and ask what I am doing, so it is nowhere near as discrete. If you are going to hate that? The trade-offs are if you are going to use the small discrete devices, then you won’t have much available in the way of battery power, so you will be recharging your unit more often and because the device is smaller it tends to have less bells and whistles such as adjustable voltage etc. A lot of the bells and whistles are limited value, but having adjustable voltage is nice, and I”ll cover that in a later article.
When compared to the cost of smoking, especially over the longer term, there is a significant saving to be made, both in terms of dollars spent on cigarettes vs vaping supplies and hopefully in longer term cost savings by being more healthy. That being said, there are some upfront costs to Vaping that can quickly add up. Using my personal story as a benchmark, I went through three different set-ups of devices/batteries over the first month for a total cost of over $300 of which I can say at least $150 was a complete waste.
Let me tell you about it and hopefully you can avoid my mistakes. I started out looking at the smaller cigarette lookalikes and went and got the kit from Green Smoke. I bought their best kit which came with three batteries and a set of cartomizers that were mainly tobacco flavor = this ran about $100 or so. This worked reasonably well to start off with, but I was soon getting a bit peeved by the amount of cartomizers I was throwing into the bin, and also I was continually having to recharge the little batteries. I was finding each battery was good for about half a day before it needed recharging and the cartomizers were lasting about half a day also. On the plus side, I was off the evil weed, so a net saving of $5 a day and breathing a whole heck of a lot better.
So onto step two. I ordered a Kanger EVOD starter kit. It was a basic kit that consisted of two Kanger EVOD batteries, two EVOD Clearomizers and a battery charger. Here we go again – more terminology. A clearomizer is the next step from a cartomizer. It consists of a unit with a coil at either the bottom or the top with some wicking material and a tank to contain your eliquid. You can get them in various sizes of tank, and the tradeoff is smaller footprint vs having to fill it up more often. It was pretty cheap at around $39, and I also ordered a bunch of juices at my nicotine level of 24mg. This came in the mail and I was a happy camper. By buying your own juice and using a refillable, I reckon the daily cost is now around $1-3 depending upon how much I vape.
To be honest, I could have stopped at that point. I had a unit that worked well, was still small (about the size of a medium cigar), it vaped really well (better than the cigarette lookalike) and I could shop around for a variety of flavors of juice.
On the plus/minus side it wasn’t as discrete as my original e-cigarette, as it looked like a long black tube rather than a cigarette copy, but I found that I didn’t care that people noticed. In fact I was getting less dirty looks as it was pretty obvious to anyone with any visual acuity that I wasn’t smoking. It was also a different experience, as this was not an automatic device – to Vape you had to press a button rather than just taking a drag. Again – this wasn’t something that bothered me.
I was also finding that going through my collection of juices, that I was getting away from Tobacco flavored juices.There are just so many juices available once you go away from pre-filled cartomizers.
Now after a few weeks I noticed that some of my juices were working better than others, so I did a bit more research and found out that depending upon the resistance of the coil in your vaporizer, some juices need a little more “oomph” from your battery. It isn’t that they are bad at the voltage you have – it is just that they could be better.
So out came the credit card again – and this time I ordered another kit that consisted of two variable voltage batteries and they happened to come with a Kanger Pro Tank Mini cartomizer. Total outlay for this purchase about $55. Now we were cooking. The new cartomizer was much better built – it was glass and metal, rather than plastic and was easier to clean as it came apart completely. The Kanger VV Batteries came with a little dial on the bottom, so you can play with your voltage. They are about an inch longer than the EVOD batteries – but still not large, and as I was not trying to be discrete I got these in stainless as they just looked cool. I went at it by trial and error – started low on the voltage scale and just wound it up slowly until it tasted right, and I was a happy camper again.
rechargeable battery for vape
The final step in my purchases to date was to buy an itaste MVP from Innokin. I got this at a bargain basement $36 cost and really bought it for two reasons. I wanted to have a device that supported variable wattage, rather than variable voltage (if you want to know why – ask me) and I also wanted to be able to go longer between battery charges. This gadget is shaped like a small brick (1″ x 1.5″ x 3,5″) so it definitely isn’t stealthy – but it has a honking big battery that lasts me two days.
So that is the journey so far. What would I buy again and what would I skip? I’d skip the cigarette lookalikes completely. Once I upgraded, these have sat on the shelf. All of the rest of the kit I use on a daily basis, but if I had to pick, I would go with a couple of the VV batteries, the MVP and a few of the Kanger Pro Tank Mini clearomizers. I like having a few juices on the go at any one time, so one clearomizer just wouldn’t cut it for me, and the Pro Tank Minis just work extremely well. The MVP would be my main battery, with the others being used when I wanted to go with a smaller form factor.