OK, so you are curious about vaping - that is why you are here. You may have seen your family, your friends, your colleagues, or strangers on the street start vaping. Could be for fun, but most of the time it's an attempt to give up the smokes. That may be you soon too, but you don't know where to start, what to do, which one to buy, or if vaping is right for you at all. That's fair enough, we all have to start somewhere right? To make this guide as simple and as easy to understand as possible I won't get into technicalities or use much jargon.
Basics you need to understand
Before you start, understand there are two styles of vaping:
- Mouth to Lung (MTL)
- Direct to Lung (DTL)
With MTL vaping, vapour is pulled into the mouth before it is inhaled. This is pretty much like smoking a cigarette. This is where most beginners start as it imitates one. The flavour stays in your mouth and your tongue allowing you to taste it nicely, and has a very low throat hit when pulling into your lungs. Vapour production is also smaller, allowing you to be more discreet when needed. MTL Vapes are generally low power pen and pod devices.
With DTL vaping, vapour is directly inhaled to the lungs. This is like having a shisha. Because more vapour is inhaled, more is exhaled allowing for thicker cloud production and also an immense flavour boost. It can also make a lot of beginners cough, which is why we recommend first to start with MTL vaping unless you are already use to it. The DTL vapes are higher power devices with 'Sub-ohm' tanks. They will also consume more e-liquid than their MTL counterpart.
If you are a smoker and have ever tried a vape which made you cough, it was probably a DTL device. Although you get used to it pretty quickly, the coughing and cloud production may turn you off, which in that case we recommend an MTL device. However if you love the flavour and cloud production then DTL is the only way to go. Understand that neither is better or worse and it purely comes down to personal preference, some vapers have one of each just to change things up a little.
There are many types of vapes on the market (pods, pens, mods, squonks etc). But they all operate on the same principle. A battery heats up the coil in the vape and turns the eliquid into vapour which you inhale. We can split the 'Vape' up into three components.
- The Mod - this is basically the battery and computer chip in a housing. Some mods have internal batteries, and others require external batteries (purchased separately). More advanced mods have chips in them to adjust the power settings.
- The Tank - stores the e-liquid and houses the coil inside. In normal tanks the coil is removed separately and replaced, in pod systems they are generally built into the tank and replaced as one piece.
- The Coil - this unit is made of cotton and wire. The cotton soaks in e-liquid, and the wire connects to the battery and heats up the cotton thus producing vapour. Every vape has a coil and it is a consumable so it needs to be replaced.
The easiest way to start is to buy a starter kit, which has everything you need to start (except the juice). You buy it once, and then your ongoing costs will be coils and juice. You can always upgrade your tank or mod later down the track if you get into it. They attach via a universal connection (known as 510 thread) which makes upgrading easy.
Types of starter kits/mods:
Pen kits - Really good place to start vaping at entry level because they are inexpensive to purchase and maintain. Can't go wrong as functions are mostly non-adjustable (or very little adjustment), just press the button and start vaping. Simple and easy to use. Most of them are MTL devices. Cost of coils around $3-4 ea.
Mod kits - Bigger in size, bigger in power. You can adjust the power (wattage) on these units to your preference. They can either have internal or external batteries. With internal battery mods you charge them by USB. But once the battery is completely dead the whole unit is useless, whereas with external batteries you can always change the batteries out when they are flat or dead. With external battery mods, it is always recommended to charge the batteries outside the unit in a separate battery charger. The USB port should only be used for updating firmware. These mods are usually paired with a DTL tank that will produce more clouds and flavour. Recommended for intermediate or advanced users. Cost of coils around $4-8 ea.
Pod kits - The small form factor attracts a lot of people to this as their first vape. They have grown in popularity over the last year because of the size and ease of maintenance. Similar to a pen vape but smaller. Coil and tank is usually one part (known as a cartridge or pod) so saves the hassle of fiddling around with changing coils as you can just throw out the cartridge once it's worn out. Cost of pods/cartridges are around $5 ea. I recommend it for beginners, but also as a secondary vape for intermediate/advanced users who already have a mod kit, simply because it is smaller and easier to carry around when going out.
Squonks - This type of vape is really for pros. It requires the use of a rebuildable tank known as an RDA Tank (explained further down) and knowledge of how to build your own coil with wick and wire. The squonker has a bottle inside the mod for storing e-liquid (because the RDA cannot store e-liquid) and when pressure is applied to it it sends the juice into the RDA to soak the cotton. The advantages of this are immense flavour and cloud production and very low cost of replacing coils because you build them yourself ($1-2 ea, or less). However some people might find building their own coils time consuming or troublesome. That's why this is really for enthusiast level users.
Extra notes: This does generally cover most devices but understand because there is such a large variety of products out there you can have variants of each. For example there are pen vapes with removeable batteries and high power DTL tanks, and there are also mod kits with MTL tanks to suit beginners. And then you can mix and match them because upgrading is easy. That's why its always best to come into store and try them out to see which one is most suitable for you..
I have separated the starter kits in my shop to Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced for ease of selection.
- Beginner - Mainly Pen MTL vapes
- Intermediate - Mainly Mod DTL vapes with internal batteries
- Advanced - Mainly Mod DTL vapes that require the purchase of external batteries and a battery charger
- Pods - For every type of user whether beginner or expert
Types of Tanks:
There are a many different types of tanks on the market but we can split them up into two categories:
Prebuilt Tanks - The most common type people use. They can be MTL or DTL, but the main point is that they use coil which is prebuilt from the manufacturer. When it wears out you change them as you go and they often come in 3-5 packs. Very rarely are the coils are interchangeable with another brand tank.
Rebuildable Tanks - They are usually DTL (though there are some MTL), and come in the form RDA or RTA tanks. With these tanks you will need to make your own coil using wick (cotton) and wire (either pre-rolled or roll yourself). They can be single coil or dual coil (need two sets of wick and wire). These tanks are usually reserved for enthusiasts as they require more time to build but the result can be very satisfying. You get really nice smooth vapour production with luscious thick clouds and massive flavour. You will need to change your own cotton and clean the wired coil as it blackens so it is a bit more maintenance.
- RDA - Rebuildable Drip Atomiser - A rebuildable tank often paired with a squonker because it has no capacity to store e-liquid. Juice is poured in through the top to keep the cotton wet or squonked from the bottom if you use a squonker.
- RTA - Rebuildable Tank Atomiser - Like and RDA, but has a tank to store e-liquid, allowing you to pair it with any mod and not have to use a squonker/dripping from top to keep the cotton constantly moist.
Thats it! That should have you covered in basics of Vape device basics.
Last Update 20/2/2020