Electronic Cigarette / ECIG Buying Guide
THIS IS NOW QUITE A OLD GUIDE (WEVE BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME) BUT PLEASE FEEL FREE TO HAVE A BROWSE MUCH OF IT IS STILL VALUABLE
Welcome to Sir Vapealot LTD I am writing this guide to help all the newbies to the vaping world understand the terminology and devices a little easier and explain some of the more common questions we get asked first thing is not to be intimidated, electronic cigarettes can be as simple or complicated as you want to make them so find your slot and be happy to say goodbye to ridiculous expense, stinking like a ashtray and health risks galore.
What is a electronic cigarette?
Even this can throw up questions, there are 2 main types of electronic cigarette available, ones you can refill and ones you have to buy cartridges for (cartomizers or whatever the brand decides to call them) The non refillable type are usually shaped like a cigarette and are the size of a cigarette and are often sold and produced by the big boys of the industry who want you in their brand and want to keep you there therefore you must buy their cartomizers and are limited to whatever liquids and flavours are available they also usually have terrible low capacity batteries which seem to be constantly on charge and end up in the long run costing a fortune one cartridge equals 20 cigarettes sounds great and cheap at first but the expense soon starts to show when there is no real beginning and end to a electronic cigarette so you don’t get the closure of stubbing one out and seeing 9 left in your packet you basically puff along to you run out then have to attach a new cartridge, Sir Vapealot LTD does not stock these type of electronic cigarettes/ecigs as we believe they may well be a good first step but are not financially beneficial or practical and at the end of the day why do you want something that looks and reminds you of the terrible habit your trying to extinguish.
Now this is the category you want to be aiming for and for this section I am going to keep this as limited as I can as most of this article is made for this type of electronic cigarette and everything will be explained in time. You can buy the refillable type as a set or build your own, its best to start with a set as it’s all there and you can get your feet under the table, The refillable type are basically made up of 3 essential bits of kit
Basically with the refillable type you can keep your journey in electronic cigarettes as simple or as complicated as you like there are thousands of different styles and sizes of battery, Clearomizer and Juice and these will be explained in more depth in the appropriate sections. With this type of kit you generally attach a battery to a separate Clearomizer (atomizer) and fill the atomizer with a liquid of your choice with millions of different flavours and tons of different strengths you can really tailor your vape to exactly what you want.
Now this is extremely important as this is the part that is going to drive you mad and can make you succeed or fail in the world of ecigs, there are literally thousands of companies making ecig batteries and not all of them are fixed batteries some use separate dry cell batteries (batteries you take out and charge separately in a charger) so how do you know what you should buy? I will try and explain the main things for you to look for in them in the order of importance I rate them in.
Without getting to technical, mAh it stands for milli Ampere hour and shows you the capacity of the battery (how long it lasts before it needs a charge) now it’s not to be taken literally, a 900mAh battery will not last you 900 hours but it’s a excellent standpoint to compare batteries and their charge life. A 600 mAh battery is really the lowest end (unless you’re dealing with those horrible all in one fixed cartridge devises that really are useless for a ex-heavy smoker) batteries go all the way up to 4500 mAh and above so you can see its going to last you almost 8 times as long before you have to charge it.
Fixed batteries are the simplest kind and are in nearly all of the devices you will find, the electronic cigarette body (battery) is all in one it has the button you press and the battery as one complete unit and is charged by connecting the whole device to a charger (often ego charger or USB on the better devices) most cannot be used while charging but some feature pass through technology that let you use them whilst charging (more of this beneath).
Dry Cell batteries are batteries you remove from the device to charge on a separate charger, Devices that use dry cell batteries are nearly always either Mechanical MODS or variable voltage/ wattage MODS (explained below) and are usually at the higher end of the market. Dry cell batteries tend to feature much higher mAh levels and can make things easier for the fact you can just carry around a separate battery to pop in your ecig when yours dies. The downside is that the devices are usually quite large and can be complicated and when it comes to Mechanical Mods you really need to know what you’re doing as the safety is basically regulated by your battery so you don’t want to go there without some decent knowledge.
Threading refers to the area which you connect your atomizer (the bit that holds the juice) as a rule of thumb there are 2 main connections Ego Threading and 510 Threading. You can see in the picture below the difference, Ego threading is the thread on the outside of the connection and 510 is the threading on the inside usually any device with ego threading has 510 threading inside but 510 threading can come on its own (usually on higher end devices) we will go into more on the threading in the atomizer section.
Now all this gets a little technical so feel free to skip it but I will keep it as simple as possible and break it down into the main types.
This is where the major proportion of simple batteries sit and is the simple ground, the batteries give out a standard voltage (power) of between 3.4-3.7 Volts you press a button and vape away and stay at this power until your battery needs a charge, simples! But what if you need more oomph or you don’t like the hit your getting, well on these devices you have to then rely on messing with atomizer resistances (don’t worry I delve into this later HERE) . or you can just buy a variable voltage/variable wattage battery and worry no more.
These batteries let you press a button or spin a dial to alter the amount of voltage (power) your battery kicks out it’s like a dimmer switch on a light bulb turn it up the light gets brighter turn it down and you get the opposite effect, with ecigs if it’s too harsh turn it down if it’s not harsh enough turn it up, it lets you change the amount of hit and the amount of vapour and also changes the flavour (flavour alters at different voltages) they can be very helpful when your atomizer begins to die as you can pump more voltage through it but can also taste awful if the atomizer really has had it. They usually cost more but personally I couldn’t use a standard battery at 3.4 Volts it’s just not enough and there is no spectrum to play and tailor your vape, if you stick with ecigs you really need to try these out.
This is a little complicated and often gets greeted with blank faces when being explained so I’m going to glide over it but basically voltage is the first side of the equation and Wattage is the answer to the equation with the resistance of your atomizer in the middle. Therefore you put power Voltage into the atomizer which has a resistance and the sum of this gives you the resulting wattage. Variable wattage mode is like auto pilot you choose your setting for a juice and whatever atomizer you choose you will vape at that wattage, the device sets the voltage up for you to get to the correct wattage. In comparison variable voltage just decides on the power your forcing at your atomizer and your atomizer will then deal with this to give you a resulting wattage, therefore vaping at 4 volts will have a different final outcome when using a atomizer with a different resistance varying the vape greatly so unless you use the same atomizer all the time making a statement like “I vape at 4 volts” really means nothing as what you vape will be totally different depending on the coil of the atomizer. For anyone who wants the formula its below but you really don’t need to worry or over complicate this, variable voltage lets you alter everything how you like it almost like a manual mode and variable wattage is like auto pilot.
V = Volts
R = Resistance (Ohms)
W = Wattage
(V/R)V = W
Passthrough batteries or vape as you charge batteries as Innokin call them allow you to carry on vaping when the item is on charge which is great for people who charge there ecig near where they sit, it stops those couple of hours when you’re forced into using your spare battery which is often not the one you prefer or even more stressful for some, going without. They are also extremely useful to drivers who can plug them into the cigarette charger and keep them going all day on those long drives!
With any industry there are low quality items, High quality items, fakes and miscomprehension. The low end of the market is generally unbranded and this is where miscomprehension comes in as people say I have a EGO or is that a real EGO or how come this EGO was half the price on Ebay? EGO isn’t a brand as such it’s really a type of device such as saying vacuum cleaner and not Hoover, Hoover is a brand vacuum cleaner is a device. There are thousands of factories making EGO batteries and some are good and some are really bad the chances are when you get devices from a market stall or eBay the seller has just taken the lowest quote possible to make more money putting you at risk and usually they snap or stop working relatively quickly making it a false economy. At Sir Vapealot LTD we have found a manufacturer we trust and have got them to add battery monitors into our devices to make sure the quality is there and they are not just mass produced dangerous rubbish. If you don’t mind spending a little more money it’s often very worth it in the long run. The manufacturers which brand there devices such as Innokin, Kangertech, Smok, Provari, Aspire and many more are putting their name on the product to show its quality, a Kangertech EVOD battery for instance may be £5 more expensive than a standard ego of the same power but you can bet your pocket it will last a lot longer and will be much more robust.
Fakes, then fakes come in and if you want to find a industry which is absolutely littered with them look no further than electronic cigarettes the amount of fakes on the market is unbelievable and they are usually in exactly the same packaging and look exactly the same. The ecig manufactures do their best to keep altering security tags and scratch panels to try and combat this but eventually the fakers find a way through, stick to a vendor that is authorised and if you have any doubt contact them and see what they have to say about the authenticity of their products, Sir Vapealot LTD are authorised Kangertech and Innokin dealers and we order all our products directly from the original factory and can be verified.
Electronic cigarette clearomizers / atomizers
Now after you have digested all that on Batteries we get to the bit that holds the liquid and actually creates a vapour the Atomizer or Clearomizer. This little bit of magic is basically like a light bulb with a coil but instead of creating light by firing electricity through a coil it is used to create heat to turn the liquid into a vapour again generally through a coil in order for you to inhale.
Throw away atomizers are usually very low budget and don’t produce anywhere near the quality of vapour that the others produce, they are usually 2 parts a tip and a body you remove the tip and fill the device with liquid and when it stops producing much vapour or tastes burnt you throw it away, the CE4 is the main culprit for this and really is one of the atomizers that are great for a starter kit but it drives me nuts when I see people still on them after they have made the move to ecigs permanently, other high quality atomizers end up as cheap when you only need to swap a coil and the comparison in vape, flavour and build quality are not in any way comparable. One pet hate is when you see a user with a CE4 that’s been vaping 6 months and it’s wrapped in tape as it’s cracked or leaking, get a decent Clearomizer, they are only a few quid more and less than half a day’s smoking costs! Rant Over.
Most atomizers these days that are worth speaking about have a removable coil this means that the atomizer/clearomzier comes in 3 or 4 pieces,
1. The base
2. The coil
3. The top (sometimes with drip tip physically attached)
4. The drip tip
with these devices you change the coil instead of throwing the whole device away for a new one. Coils usually cost around the £2 mark and make retaining a decent atomizer cheap.
Rebuildable atomizers (RBA) Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA) and Rebuildable dripping atomizers (RDA) are a complete topic on their own and are devices that you actually make your own coils for they are for the DIY market and make it almost costless to maintain but do require further skills and knowledge as if you build a coil at 0.1 ohm be prepared to see a exploding battery! I’m going to gloss over this and may write a separate article for it at some point as it gets very deep very opinionated and has so many options it’s impossible to go into in this kind of guide.
This is the main factor of a Clearomizer and is what dictates how hot, how much vapour and the flavour of your vape. Low resistance atomizers such as 1 ohm or indeed lower burn a lot hotter that a higher resistance of say 2.5ohm and as so produce more vapour and more hit but they do tend to burn out quicker If you use a variable voltage or variable wattage battery the resistance (ohms) is not quite as important as you apply more voltage (power) but when you use a fixed voltage battery it’s the resistance that will seriously effect everything about the vape you get. Basically 1 ohm and below is SUB OHM are very low resistance and most devices won’t be able to work with them for safety reasons. 1ohm-1.5ohm are low resistance 2ohm-2.5ohm are mid and above 3ohm you’re looking at sucking a golf ball through a hose unless you fire a lot of voltage.
Different body’s come in stainless (GREAT) or covered copper (Cheaper and not so good) or other low quality materials but the main difference you will see is the tank these are either polycarbonate (plastic) or Pyrex glass. Certain aggressive liquids can effect a plastic tank after a while and are generally called tank crackers but with Pyrex you know it’s going to last a long time! Well unless you smash it. Pyrex and Stainless steel is what I look for but there are probably reasons people use to choose other combos.
This is a easy one, how much liquid you can put in it, this will obviously effect the size though so be careful what you choose. Seen many stick style ego batteries with a giant tank on the end and it’s not a great looking setup!
As a rule of thumb the main threads are 510 or ego threading. Ego threaded atomizers/Clearomizers have a collar style fitting and fit over the ego threads of a battery and screw down, the threads on these are internal (inside the collar) so if you can’t physically see a thread its almost definitely a ego thread fitting, 510 is a threading that comes straight out the bottom of the atomizer and screw into the battery if you can see a threaded almost screw like area on the bottom of the atomizer/Clearomizer then it’s probably 510 there were a lot of other fittings and probably still are but these are the factory standards these days and all we sell at Sir Vapealot LTD. If you use a 510 device on a ego threaded battery they often look really ugly and don’t fit smoothly this is why 510 atomizers usually come with a beauty ring to attach to your ego threads and then the 510 atomizer sits flush on the end making it all look nice and to keep the airflow more regulated. A 510 atomizer/ Clearomizer will fit on any ego threaded device a ego threaded atomizer/Clearomizer will not fit on a 510 battery without a adaptor.
In the higher end atomizers/clearomizers airflow control has become a standard it consists or a ring or other method that you can turn to allow more or less air into the atomizer making the drag more airy or less airy its really down to personal preference but there is times when it’s very desirable for instance my partner vapes mouth to lung like a cigarette she draws the vapour into her mouth and then breathes it back so too much airflow does not give her a good draw at all and is like sucking on a bag of air, I personally like to take long big hits straight back to my lungs and so need high airflow, regardless to say if airflow is to low it will always be like sucking through a cork.
This is the part you place in your mouth or on your lips there are many different styles shapes sizes and materials the main ones being stainless steel, plastic, ceramic and latex. Many people change the drip tip to make their Clearomizer more attractive or comfortable but there are more reasons some people are allergic to placing certain materials into their mouth and others just got so used to cigarettes having give in the tips that they can’t get on with a solid stainless steel tip don’t feel like you can’t use a Clearomizer just for the tip most of them are changeable you can always contact us to find out.
Eliquid E-Liquid E Juice etc
E-liquid is what contains the nicotine and flavour that you are after to kerb your addiction and is the ingredient that you should be picky about there’s a awful lot on the subject of eliquid but I will again just discuss the main points for you to have a little more knowledge and can think about.
The main ingredients for eliquid e-liquid or e juice (whatever you choose to call it) are PG, VG, Nicotine and Flavouring sometimes distilled water is also used.
There are thousands of different flavours out there, you do not need a tobacco tasting eliquid to deliver you with the nicotine hit you need. Find a flavour you like and your well on your way to saving money and making a beneficial difference to your health in relation to traditional cigarettes. Many moons ago when ecigs ridded me of the dreaded stink sticks I had started smoking menthol which made the transition easier as menthol is already a non natural tobacco taste and I soon ended up with more flavours then I could of ever imagined and was enjoying trying new ones. Now some people can’t ever get away for the quest of something that tastes exactly like a cigarette but a cigarette is essentially setting fire to leaves and paper and nothing will ever be exactly like a cigarette although some e liquids do come as close as possible. Distancing yourself from the quest of something that tastes like a cigarette and embracing the fact you are still getting the nicotine hit your body craves is in my opinion one of the biggest factors of someone succeeding or failing with ecigs don’t see it as a fake cigarette see it as a alternative to smoking!
This is the biggest proportion of your eliquid and is what the nicotine and flavouring basically float in. PG stands for Propylene Glycol, VG stands for Vegetable Glycol. PG It usually used in a higher percentage than VG in most liquids. PG gives you better flavour and more of a throat hit than VG and is a lot thinner so stops your coils getting gunked up so quickly. VG throws bigger clouds of vapour and is softer on the throat. Being that they both have their own positive and negative points is why they are usually mixed and you will see liquid as a percentage of say what we do 65/35 65 percent PG giving you good flavour and a hit and 35% VG making the clouds a bit bigger and softening the vape. Some people are also allergic to PG and so choose to use 100% VG which is often diluted slightly with distilled water as its very thick almost like treacle! 100% VG liquids are generally used more by people using RBA’S ( Rebuildable atomizers) and sub ohming (vaping at under 1 ohm) as a 0.4 ohm coil can be somewhat harsh with a high PG percentage and high percentage VG liquids do not like standard coils very much as it really gunks them up, expect to be changing them every few days. A vendor that truly creates their own eliquid like we do at Sir Vapealot Limited can create any percentage you want or need, a good test on a vendor is to ask them for what percentage they use and to ask if they can do a different mix, just because they have a liquid with their name on it doesn’t mean they make it which leads me on to the next category.
A lot of shops simply sell re-branded Chinese eliquid, nearly any eliquid wholesaler offers the option to put a shops label on it so it looks like they have created it here in the UK with the UK flag etc and then charge a stack load more for it, don’t be silly enough to believe that a vendor creates eliquid themselves here in the UK with the highest quality ingredients just because it has their company name on it just something to keep in mind. Sir Vapealot Limited uses nicotine and pharmaceutical grade PG and VG sourced in the UK for all its eliquid and chooses only the best tested flavour concentrates for all its e liquids.
The part your body needs and the part you have to experiment with to get right nicotine levels come in 0-32mg typically and can also be purchased as 0-3% it depends how the manufacturer chooses to label their products. 18MG-24MG is the normal for a heavy smoker and 6MG-12MG is usual for someone that didn’t smoke as much or smoked light cigarettes. If someone that smoked 40 a day of harsh cigarettes vaped a 12mg eliquid they would probably not succeed in ditching the habit as the throat hit and the actual amount of nicotine inhaled would not be the same level as the cigarettes they were used to. If someone that smoked 5 silk cut a day tried 24mg eliquid they would probably not succeed as the throat hit would be far to harsh and the amount of nicotine would be far over the level they were used to, taking more nicotine than your body is used to can cause you to feel nauseous and produce a head rush and dizziness if this happens immediately go on to a lower level don’t try to ride the dragon it’s really not worth you gaining a higher addiction, ecigs are here to help not to hinder! A lot of users start on a nicotine strength that they are happy with and slowly wean themselves off going lower and lower until they end up going from 24mg to 0mg and essentially ridding the addiction of nicotine, at Sir vapealot Ltd we have actually gone on the whole journey with some of our customers dropping a nicotine percentage per order from 24mg to 23mg etc all the way down to 0mg a good vendor is here to help you quit not just take your money and keep you addicted!
Typical problems and trouble shooting
This is usually down to a battery lock or being out of power. Many batteries have a lock built in for safety reasons. Battery locks are usually released by pressing the power button a set amount of times very quickly such as ego batteries (5-6 clicks within 2 seconds). If nothing seems to start it and you think its charged then it might be worth checking to make sure the charging system is actually working, your charger or device should show a light or change a light or have a indicator or something to indicate its charging.
This is usually caused by a faulty cable or a connection problem. 510 charged devices which feature a charger that screws into the top threads can stop working if the centre pin in the device ( positive pin) has been pushed to low, Please click here to see “lifting a centre pin” advice.
This can be down to a broken coil, a loose coil or a connection problem. Coils in Electronic cigarette atomizers / Clearomizers have a lifespan and will break after time, 2-4 weeks is the usual time for a coil to work but will downgrade with use until it breaks or becomes unbearable. Please ensure that the coil and all fittings are tight. And try a different coil to see if this fixes the problem. If you still encounter a problem the issue is usually down to a connection problem and its usually the center pin within your 510 or ego thread connection its very easy to fix Please click here to see “lifting a centre pin” advice.
This can be down to a faulty coil, using the device at a voltage or wattage you don’t get on with, or indeed just a juice you’re not keen on. For dead coils please click here for the dead coils guide. If your still having a problem and its usually that its far to harsh, check what voltage or wattage you are using your device at and lower it until the vape becomes pleasant.
This can be down to a faulty coil, using the device at a voltage or wattage you don’t get on with, or indeed just a juice with a far to high nicotine level or PG content. Coils will taste terrible when they are on their last legs if you have been happy with a juice and it starts tasting bad swap out the bad coil and you should be back to normal. If it’s far too harsh, check what voltage or wattage you are using your device at and lower it until the vape becomes pleasant. Using a juice with a high nicotine content can also make it a lot harsher try reducing your nicotine level. Liquids with high PG level are also harsher than liquids with a high VG level try a mix with a higher VG content.
As with anything this can be down to the “too much of a good thing” situation, you will be using your ecig a fair amount and constantly using the same flavour can end up with your taste buds being overloaded by it and you will end up hardly tasting it, remember the taste of that first cigarette compared to what you taste after 5 years of smoking the same brand! Switch out to another flavour for a while or a flavourless liquid to give your taste buds time to reset and you will be good to go again on your favourite liquid, people suggest a menthol or strong alternative flavour to speed up the process.
One of the most misunderstood aspects of ecigs that are often made is about issues caused by tired or dead coils, as with most devices Clearomizers have a section that needs to be changed and that is the coil, a old coil can taste terrible or hardly give a vape or can cause shorts or faults on a battery physically stopping it from working, 99% of problems are caused by a dead or faulty coil so if your device stops working or tastes terrible and burnt its often worth changing the coil first, different coils for different devices last for varying amounts of time but a good rule of thumb is 2-4 weeks a coil, it all depends on how much it is used and what juice is put in it. Thick juice (with a high VG level) can punish and render a finicky coil useless within a couple of days! People can get very emotional about having to pay to replace coils but hey you have already chosen to give up cigarettes for either the extensive cost or for health concerns so what’s £2 every few weeks, let’s get this situation in context people or get a rba and build your own coils making it basically pence.
This is part and parcel of ecig maintenance and is really easy to sort out. If you remove the top and look down on the top of the battery you will see a little metal disc, this disc has free movement to allow for different sized atomizer pins and chargers to be connected and can be pushed to low with cleaning, over tightening or indeed a different atomizer. To sort out the connection just slide something under it and lift it slightly, 1-3ml will usually do it, just don't lift it the full length of the threads as you can break the connection if they are pulled out to far. This should allow the center pin to make contact again and your device should charge normally.
If you feel that you need more information or that some information in this guide is misleading or incorrect or if you want to add to this guide please feel free to contact us on email@example.com or give us a call on 01425 83 73 73.