<<<Chapter 1: An Introduction to Vaping
Chapter 3: Getting e-liquids right >>>
Quick Links to sections in this Chapter:
The Structure of a Vaping Device
Vaping devices all have the same basic elements.
The more advanced vaporisers have additional elements which give you more control over your vaping experience but these tend to be alterations to the same basic structure as the others.
The basic structure
The mouthpiece is the bit you draw the vapour through.
Cartridge or tank
These are what contain the e-liquid.
A cartridge is a pre-filled pod that can be clicked into place, used and then thrown away.
A tank can be screwed into the device and filled (or re-filled) with whatever e-liquid you like.
For more information to help you decide whether you want to consider a cartridge or a tank device, go to Choosing e-liquid compatible with your device.
This can be known as the atomiser head and is what actually vaporises the e-liquid.
It is made up of a metal coil (which can come in different shapes and sizes - see Choosing coils compatible with your device) and wicking material (usually cotton) that draws the e-liquid into it.
When the coil is heated, it vaporises the e-liquid in the wicking material.
This is what powers the whole device.
Without the battery, the coil would not heat and no vapour would be produced.
Batteries are either built-in and charged via USB port or they are replaceable batteries.
To make sure you know how to look after your battery, go back to How to use your device safely.
The battery casing is sometimes called a mod, especially when it is used with an all-in-one or a tank system.
This is because you can 'modify' your settings using the microprocessor.
These modifications options are covered in Different devices and how they vary.
How it fits together
All vaporisers have the same basic structure but there may be variations in the fittings (like, for example, whether the cartridge clicks in or screws in).
The battery casing is the bottom of the vaping device.
Attached to that is the electronic element that switches the device on or off, whether that's a fire button or a flow sensor that automatically detects when you inhale.
Connected to the battery is the cartridge or the tank.
These will contain both the e-liquid and the coil that heats the e-liquid.
At the top of the device is the mouthpiece, which is attached to the cartridge or tank so it can draw the vapour up and into your mouth.
What they look like
There is quite a variation in the size and shape of vaping devices.
The smaller pod or pen systems can be as small as a cigarette or USB sticks.
They then go up in size to longer pen or cigar-sized devices.
Larger devices like all-in-ones or tank systems are more box-like (and don't worry if you don't yet know what these are - we cover the range of e-cigarettes in Different devices and how they vary).
They tend to have a square base (the mod, where the battery is) and the tank and mouthpiece are screwed into the top of that.
They can still be very compact, though. Some are larger and sturdier but you can still grip them in one hand.
How they vary
Each device can vary from the others in small ways but there are certain elements that tend to change.
This is because some devices are made to be as simple and easy-to-use as possible, whereas others are designed to allow you more control over each aspect of your vape.
That makes them more complicated but much more versatile.
This is covered in much more detail in Features of different devices.
Most devices are manually operated by a fire button which activates the batteries and causes the coil to heat the e-liquid, but some - especially the smaller e-cigarettes - are automatic and activate when you inhale.
Now you know the basic structure of the device, go on to E-cigarette parts and how they work to find out what all of the elements of an e-cigarette do, or - if you want to dive straight in to choosing your device - go to Different devices and how they vary to find out what the five main types of vaporisers are and what they'll mean for your vaping experience.
E-Cigarette Parts and How they Work
This is a simple guide to the parts in a vaping device.
It's not an exhaustive list and different devices will vary, but most devices will contain these elements.
This is the plastic piece through which you inhale the vapour.
You can get different kinds of mouthpieces depending on what you want.
You can also get covers and mouthpiece protectors if you're going to carry your device around in a bag and need to ensure the mouthpiece stays clean.
Coil or atomiser head
The metal coil can vary in size and shape but it will always need a wick in it and will need to be attached to the battery to work.
It is the coil which actually vaporises the e-liquid, making it a key component.
Replaceable cartridges will contain a coil as well as the e-liquid so, when they're used up and you throw them away to replace them, you'll be replacing the coil as well each time.
If you're using a tank system and refilling the e-juice, you'll still need to change the coil regularly (we have a step-by-step guide on how to do just that - go to Changing your coil
to read it).
The wicking material acts like a wick and soaks the e-liquid up.
The wicking material is threaded through the coil so it is in contact with it and, once the wick is saturated, the coil can vaporise the e-liquid.
Unless you're building your own custom coils, you can expect coils to already contain the wicking material and be ready to use.
Your e-cigarette will either have a tank or a cartridge to supply the e-liquid.
A cartridge is an individual pod which can be clicked into place and used immediately.
When they're empty, you simply dispose of them and replace them.
It's easy to swap them around so you get to change flavours quickly.
This is a glass tank which contains the e-liquid and which screws into the top of your mod or battery casing.
They're simply designed to hold the e-liquid and the coil.
Tanks manufactured and sold in the UK will comply with UK law and have a 2ml capacity.
You will either need a tank or a cartridge to supply the e-liquid you're vaping.
If you're using an all-in-one or a tank system, your base will be a box mod.
It contains the battery and the electronic systems that allow you to customise your vaping experience.
They tend to be box-shaped but can also be cylindrical.
Because they have additional features (which requires additional electronic connections and a display screen), they are bigger than the simple battery casing of other e-cigarettes.
The battery is what powers your device.
It heats the coil when you press the fire button or when you inhale, if it's automatic.
They can either be built-in batteries that are charged via a USB port or replaceable batteries.
Smaller devices tend to have built-in batteries whereas tank systems often have replaceable batteries.
Now you know how a vaporiser fits together, you can move on to choosing which style of e-cigarette you like.
Each kind has advantages, so it's a matter of working out which one will suit you best.
Different Devices and How they Vary
When you are looking at e-cigarettes and vaping devices, the amount of choice can be overwhelming.
How do you decide which is the right one for you?
Here, we explain the different types of vaping device on the market.
It's a clear guide to what type of devices are available and what factors you need to consider when you're choosing the right vape for you.
Categories of Vaping Device
Once you have decided to switch from smoking to vaping, all you have to do is choose a vaping device.
It sounds simple, but - as you may have discovered - it can look confusing.
Once you know about the five basic types of e-cigarette, choosing which one is for you is easy.
All e-cigarettes work in the same way: they use an electrically-powered heating coil to vaporise e-liquid, and it's the vapour you inhale.
However, they begin to differ particularly in things like size, shape and how much vapour they produce.
You can choose which style you like best.
Types of e-cigarette:
Cigalikes (or cig-a-likes) are called this because they are roughly the size and shape of a conventional cigarette.
Pod systems are a more modern version of cigalikes and are just as easy to use but are more efficient and have a longer battery life.
Pen systems are pen-sized, making them portable and discreet; you can tailor your vaping experience with these.
All-In-One Starter Kits are a great choice if you want some flexibility as they have detachable atomiser heads and coils.
Tank systems are larger devices with box mods. They have a lot of additional features for more experienced vapers.
Cigalikes are designed to look as much like a cigarette as possible.
This is because some people giving up smoking can want the familiar feel of a cigarette even though they want to vape instead.
Although these are popular types of e-cigarettes and are easily found in garages and service stations, they are not the most efficient vaping device.
Each one does not last very long and they do not contain a high strength of nicotine so smokers who switch to them often don't get the nicotine to satisfy their craving and are more tempted to go back to smoking.
Cigalikes have been superseded by the pod system, which is designed to be just as simple to use but much more efficient.
Some people - especially if they're quitting smoking - want their e-cigarette to look and feel as much like a real cigarette as possible in order to replicate the feel of their smoking habit.
Cigalikes are extremely small; they are only a few millimetres longer than an average cigarette and they're the same diameter.
2: Pod systems
These are the latest generation of e-cigarettes and are often considered the best vape for a beginner.
Like cigalikes, they are straight-forward to use but they are much more efficient.
They are easy to use and assemble, which makes them the most popular e-cigarette for beginners and people who want to vape with as little fuss as possible.
They have pre-filled vape juice pods that can simply be clicked into place, used and then discarded.
Because the parts are disposable, you don't need to clean them or replace parts like the coil.
Pod systems come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you can find one that suits you.
From the slim cigar-like pod system to the box-shaped one, you can pick one that feels comfortable in your hand and has the features you want (from battery power to discretion).
There is a much wider range of e-juice flavour options than with cigalikes.
These vaping devices are cylindrical and pocket-sized, from about the size of a pen to the size of a large cigar.
Because of their size and shape, they can be very discreet.
Their batteries are rechargeable and you can change the atomiser head, refill it and change your coil (unlike pod systems) which means they last longer.
Because you add or refill your own vape juice with the pen system, there is a huge range of e-juice flavour options as you can use any shortfill or make your own flavour with DIY mixing (go to Mixing E-Liquids
to find out more about this).
There is a wide range of vape pens which have different features.
For example, some have adjustable power output which allows you to tailor your vaping experience according to how strong a hit you want and how much vapour you want to produce.
You can buy all-in-one vape pen starter kits that contain everything you need either to start vaping or to move on from easy pod systems to a more tailored experience.
Pen devices are efficient and not much bigger than cigarettes so they will feel familiar in your fingers. However, they look more like pens than cigarettes.
4: All-In-One Starter Kits
All-In-Ones (AIOs) are some of the easiest vaping devices to use.
While other starter kits contain what you need to start vaping, these come with several advantages.
They offer much more flexibility than pod systems and pen vapes as they have replaceable coils, which means you can choose from a range of coil types, and also you can use your own e-liquid rather than pre-filled cartridges or pods.
Using an AIO gives you a greater choice in your vaping experience.
This makes it an excellent in-between vaping device.
It has a lot of flexibility for those vapers who want to mix their own e-liquids and adjust their device to produce more or less cloud, but it it's not as complicated as a tank system.
Unlike with pod systems, the tank and atomiser head detach from the mod (the battery housing) so you can replace them and even change what type you have.
Because they come with replaceable coils, you don't need to buy a new cartridge every time your coil is used up.
This makes it cheaper to run. You can use larger coils in AIOs than in pod systems, which means they perform better and last longer.
If you want to produce a lot of cloud, then either an AIO or a tank system is for you as you can use sub-ohm coils with these.
5: Tank and mod systems
Tank systems come in a range of shapes and sizes but they tend to be bigger than pen systems.
They are often box-shaped (and can be called 'box mods') and contain a larger battery that lasts longer, as well as having a range of additional features.
These are the vaping devices that DIY vapers usually choose.
Unlike the simple pod device which is a battery and pod tank which clip together and are ready to go, the tank system is much more hands-on to assemble but it is designed that way so you can tailor your e-cigarette to your own specifications.
Many mods are compatible with different kinds of tanks.
Some take pre-made coils, which can be easily replaced.
Others, called Rebuildable Atomisers (RBAs), allow you to build your own coil and wick to the specifications that suit you.
When making your own coils, you must be careful that their resistance is compatible with your mod.
For beginners, we recommend starting with pre-built coils, until you get the hang of it, and using a mod with suitable built-in safety features.
You can fill up the tank with your own e-liquid, which means you have a limitless range of flavours available to you.
You also change the coils rather than throw away the whole tank, which means that - in the long term - this is a much cheaper option.
Some of the extra features of tank systems are:
- display screens to keep track of how you're vaping and how often
- the ability to adjust the wattage and change the volume of vapour you're creating
- the ability to set a temperature range which will make your vapour production more consistent and will mean you're less likely to burn your coils
- adjustible airflow to change the amount of vapour you produce.
Tank systems are great for mouth-to-lung (MTL) vapers and they are the best choice for cloud chasers who like to create huge clouds of vapour.
To get a large cloud, you need to use a sub-ohm tank and use the range of settings to your specification.
Once you know what different kinds of vaping device you can choose from, the next step is to make that choice.
However, there are several things to consider.
One of the most important is cost, as you need to know whether you can budget to ensure you find vaping a satisfying alternative to smoking.
Read the Cost of Vaping Using Different Devices below to find out more about the upfront costs and the ongoing cost of vaping.
Cost of Vaping Using Different Devices
How much do vapes usually cost?
Well, switching from smoking to vaping should save you money but the biggest cost is actually the device itself, which is a lump-sum payment.
You can get pod device starter kits from as little as £9.99 (such as the popular myblu Pod Starter Kit
) so it doesn't need to cost the Earth.
If you are serious about switching from smoking to vaping, you might want to get a high-quality device to ensure you enjoy the experience and sate your nicotine craving.
We've listed three quality vaporisers and their features for you to choose from.
If you're not sure whether you'll enjoy vaping and want to check before you commit to a big purchase, there are a couple of things you can do:
Firstly, you can buy a pod system starter kit which is low-cost, to see if you like it.
The only trouble with this is that a different vaping device will give you a different experience so it's best to try out a few before you decide it's not for you.
Secondly, if you know someone who vapes, ask them if you can try their e-cigarette.
It will give you an idea of whether you like that particular vaporiser and it will help you get used to the experience of vaping rather than smoking.
Once you have your device, the cost of vaping is very low as you only need to buy fresh e-liquid and new coils.
The cost can vary, depending on which type of device you choose and the particular brand you choose.
Pod systems are the most expensive to run because the e-liquid comes in cartridges which contain the e-liquid and the coil, all ready to use.
Less expensive are pen systems, all-in-one starter kits and tank systems, which are all designed to be used with a variety of vape liquids.
This means there is a much wider range of options and the price of your e-juice can vary depending on the brand you choose and whether you are mixing your own e-liquid or buying shortfills.
The same applies to coils, since they have a limited lifespan and you have to replace them regularly.
With pod systems, the coil is contained in the cartridge and so you'll replace it every time you change the cartridge.
With the other types of vaping devices, you'll need to change the coil independently.
This is less expensive because you won't need to change the coil every time you change your e-liquid.
As well as cost, there are several other considerations when choosing an e-cigarette.
Next, go to Features of different devices
to see what other factors will play a part in your choosing the most suitable device for your lifestyle.
Features of different devices
There are several elements to think about when choosing your vaping device, not just the cost.
It's important to choose one that gives you the vaping experience you want, whether that's something simple, something that tastes great, or something that stays charged all day.
Below are some of the key factors that vapers consider when choosing a new device.
If you are already a vaper and want to get a new e-cigarette, then you'll need to think about these same things.
However, you'll have experience under your belt and will have much more of an idea of what you want from your device (things your vape doesn't do that you wish it did, or things it does that you wish it didn't).
If you want to be a cloud chaser and produce a huge cloud of vapour then you'll need a powerful device.
Either an all-in-one or a tank system will be best as you can choose your coil and alter the wattage.
The vapour is mainly produced by the VG in your e-liquid so if you're a cloud chaser, you'll need a vaping device that is compatible with a high ratio of VG to PG.
You'll be able to use a high VG ratio in most all-in-ones and tank systems.
If you want to know more about producing large clouds, then check out our post How to make high VG e-liquid
which explains exactly what you need to do.
For the best vapour production, most vapers will choose tank systems.
They are designed to be built to your specifications and so you can use different types of coil - to get more vapour production, you want a larger coil with a larger surface area (like a twisted coil; the most common of these is the Clapton coil).
The control you can get over the style of coil and the compatible power means tank systems are the best choice for cloud chasers.
If, however, you are more concerned with flavour than cloud production, then a device that works with a high PG ratio is better as the PG carries the flavour.
Using either a vape pen, an all-in-one or a tank system means you aren't restricted in your choice of e-juice flavours - you can by a huge variety of shortfills or have infinite choice by mixing your own.
Pod systems are the only ones to restrict your choice in this way.
Stealth vaping is when you deliberately try to conceal the fact that you're vaping.
It's a contentious subject but being discreet while you vape can be important to some people.
Even if you are allowed to vape in a space (such as at work or in a public place), you might not want to be too obvious about it.
There are two things to consider if you want to be discreet when vaping, and that is the size of the device and the amount of vapour it produces.
Size of device
If you want to be discreet, then a device that you can conceal in your hand will be ideal for you.
Vape pens are small and are some of the best devices if you want to be discreet.
There are some extremely small pod systems that are designed to be discreet when you're using them in public.
Amount of vapour it produces
As we said with regard to big clouds, it is the VG which produces the vapour.
For less vapour, you want a high PG e-liquid.
Also, a less powerful device produces less vapour so if you want to be subtle when you vape then pod systems are ideal as they're both small and don't produce much cloud.
All-in-ones and tank systems allow you to alter the settings such as the wattage, meaning you can programme it to produce less cloud.
Any device which has an adjustable airflow will allow you to increase or decrease the amount of vapour you produce when you inhale.
Most tank systems and all-in-ones will have that, but some pen systems also have adjustable airflow too.
Whilst we assume you'll only be vaping in places it is legal and safe to do so, some environments are better than others.
If you plan to vape mostly at home, then your e-cigarette doesn't need to be very portable and it doesn't need to have a long battery life as you'll have easy access to a USB port or plug socket to re-charge it.
If, however, you want to vape at work or on the go, portability becomes a factor to consider.
There are various elements to portability:
The size of the device
You can get extremely small pod systems which can be carried in your shirt pocket without anyone knowing what it is.
Pen devices are pen-shaped and so easy to transport without taking up much room.
The size of an all-in-one varies but they can be relatively small and compact.
The smallest ones will be about the size of a large cigar.
How durable it is
If you're on the go or have an active job, you might want a tank system or an all-in-one as they are the most durable and the most likely to withstand a few knocks (but they're not indestructible, so beware).
The battery life
Smaller devices have smaller batteries and so will need to be re-charged.
A lot of pod systems and pens are charged via a USB cable so they can be charged at a computer desk or in your car.
Larger devices have bigger batteries and so will last longer.
This means you don't need to have access to a USB port or a plug socket.
Larger devices like all-in-ones and tank systems can use rechargeable household batteries which makes it easy for you to carry spares and, again, means you don't need access to a charging port.
If you're going to use your vaping device all day, you will either want one with a big enough tank to last, or one which is easy to refill.
All-in-ones and tank systems tend to have the biggest tanks so they will last you all day and you don't need to refill them.
Some vape pens are easy to refill but you do need to take a few minutes to do it and you'll need a clear, flat surface.
Pod systems are the easiest to refill as you simply detach the old cartridge and click the new one in its place.
It's easy and mess-free, so the best option for refilling on the go.
Because e-cigarettes work by heating e-liquid to produce vapour, it relies on having a battery to power the coil (which does the heating).
Therefore, if you're going to want to vape throughout the day, you'll need a battery that lasts or you'll need somewhere to plug it in to re-charge.
Many chargers are discreet and often they are USB chargers, so if you work at a desk with a computer it'll be easy to re-charge your e-cigarette.
However, if you're not at a desk then you might want to consider getting a vaping device with a long battery life like an all-in-one or a tank system.
Some of the larger vape pens also have a good battery life.
If you don't want to vape all day (perhaps only at work or only in the evenings) then battery life won't be as important to you.
Ease of operation
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the terminology and you just want a simple and easy-to-use device, then pod systems are the ones for you.
Pen systems are only slightly more complicated and have additional benefits, so if you can get the hang of them, they're highly recommended.
If you don't mind something more complicated - or are even keen to try out the whizzy features - then tank systems are the most versatile and therefore you're more likely to find the one that perfectly suits your needs.
They tend to be the vaping device that experienced vapers choose.
Flexibility of use
If you want something that you can adapt to suit your vaping style, then there are a range of things to consider:
Tank systems and all-in-ones are the best vaping devices if you want a flexible power setting.
All-in-ones have some flexibility but tank systems are designed to have the widest range of power settings.
Something like a pen or a pod system is usually designed to be easy to use and therefore tends to be simpler, like just having an on/off switch and a fire button, and there is no variation in power output.
Some people prefer cooler vapour, in which case you want to be able to adjust the temperature of your vaping device. Tank systems and some all-in-ones will allow you to do this.
To produce more cloud, the coil needs to be a high temperature to vaporise more e-liquid.
This means that, for cloud-chasers, tank systems (which can be adapted to use high temperatures) are the best vaping device.
Different VG/PG ratio liquids in it
Tank systems are the most flexible and they can be used with a variety of coils, so they are the vaping device that allows the biggest range in PG/VG ratios.
Some all-in-ones work best with high-VG e-liquid as it is thicker and more viscous, which prevents leaking.
Many pen systems work best with high-PG e-liquids since they are smaller and the runny vape liquid won't clog them up.
Tank vs dripper
Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers (RDAs) allow you to drip vape juice directly onto the atomiser head, which means that you can change flavours quickly and easily.
Tank systems are the best device for this as you can change the atomiser head on a tank system to a dripper.
Every other vaping device has a tank which contains the liquid.
Obviously the bigger the tank, the more e-juice it will hold and the longer it will last.
If you want to vape all day, you'll need an e-cig with a large tank. Tank systems and all-in-ones are best but some pen systems can have a reasonable tank size too.
Particularly if you're switching from smoking to vaping, you'll need an e-cigarette that gives you the nicotine level you require.
Vaping will need to satisfy your cravings in order for you to stick with it.
Light smokers (such as social smokers or those who smoke a few cigarettes a day) won't need something as heavy-duty as a tank system, so a pod or a pen system will be fine.
Heavier smokers will need something that'll last throughout the day so you'll need an e-cigarette with a lot of battery power, like a tank system or an all-in-one.
With pod systems, you buy the e-liquid in ready-made cartridges and this means you don't get to choose your nicotine strength.
With vape pens, all-in-ones and tank systems, you can use any e-liquid and so you can choose the nicotine strength you want.
Overall usability score
Pod systems are portable and easy to use - they don't create any mess when changing e-liquids so it's easy to change them when you're on the go.
You use replacement cartridges when your e-liquid runs out which means you are restricted to the flavour options produced by the brand.
The running cost can be higher than with other e-cigarettes.
Overall, this has a usability score of 6/10.
Pen systems are pen-sized, making them portable and discreet.
Because they tend to be smaller, their battery life is not always very good but this does vary.
They are easy to use and are a no-fuss option.
You can use a much wider range of e-liquids with these so you have more flavour options and nicotine-strength options.
Overall, this has a usability score of 7/10.
All-In-One Starter Kits are a great choice if you want some flexibility.
Their detachable atomiser heads and coils, along with the range of controls, means you can tailor your vaping experience.
However, they don't have the full range of controls that a tank system has - this can be a good thing as they're less complicated.
You can use almost any e-juice and choose any nicotine level you want.
Overall, this has a usability score of 9/10.
Tank systems are larger devices with box mods.
They have a lot of additional features which means you can tailor your vaping experience exactly the way you want it.
The complexity of building your own atomiser is not ideal for new vapers but a tank system is the best vaping device for experienced vapers who want more control and variety.
You can use any vape juice you want in these, so your range of flavours is limitless.
Overall, this has a usability score of 9/10.
For those of you who already have an idea of which kind of device you want, go straight to Recommended devices
to see what our expert vapers recommend.
Experienced Vapers: choosing a better e-cigarette for you
If you're already a vaper but you want something more from your e-cigarette, choosing a new vaping device is much easier as you know what it is you like about your current device and what else you want that you're not getting.
There are a lot of things that you could be getting or not getting from your device that makes you want a new one.
These are some of the common things that experienced vapers begin to want from their vaping device:
If your e-cigarette does not produce the amount of vapour you want, you will probably want a tank system as they are more powerful.
A lot of pen systems aren't compatible with other coils and pod systems are dependent upon the type of coil in the liquid pods available.
In a nutshell, sub-ohm coils are the best for producing big clouds of vapour.
This is because they heat faster and burn the e-liquid faster, producing more vapour.
Sub-ohm coils are under 1 ohm.
It is possible to get more cloud even without changing your vaping device. If it has an adjustable airflow then you can open it further, which will mean you get a bigger cloud when you inhale.
Also, using more VG in your e-liquid will create more cloud as it is the VG which produces most of the vapour.
If you want a lot of cloud, try a 70VG/30PG e-liquid - it's a popular ratio for cloud chasers.
This can be remedied in some cases without changing your vaping device.
Some e-liquid is more flavoursome than others and, if you are mixing your own vape juice, you may need to use the flavour concentrates at a higher percentage, steep it for longer or use a different brand or flavour profile.
See our full range of flavour concentrates here
If you want to find out about steeping your e-liquid for flavour, then check out the section on Steeping
If you're not getting enough flavour from your vape, it might also be because you have 'vaper's tongue' which is when you stop tasting your vape juice.
If this happens, switch flavours to give your taste buds a break and ensure you drink plenty of water (as this is exacerbated by dehydration).
If you want to know more about this, go to the section of the Troubleshooting chapter about Vaper's tongue
The PG/VG ratio of your e-liquid can also play a part in getting the most flavour from your e-cigarette.
PG carries flavour much more efficiently than VG, so a low concentration of PG will mean less flavour.
If none of these are the cause, then it is indeed your vaping device.
More powerful devices with better atomisers create better flavour, so a tank system will get you the flavour you crave.
More battery life
Bigger batteries tend to last longer.
While pod and pen systems can vary, the most reliable battery life comes from tank systems.
If you're using household batteries in your tank system, we recommend using good quality ones.
If they're rechargeable ones, they will retain their charge and will not wear out as quickly as poor-quality ones.
It's also easy to carry spare batteries with you as they don't take up much room, so you can change the battery in your tank system quickly and easily without having to worry about finding somewhere to charge it - this is particularly handy if you're out and about but not quite as important if you're going to be at a desk or in the house where you'll be able to charge your vaping devices easily.
Once you have an idea of what kind of device you want, the next step is to work out what kind of e-liquid you want.
Obviously the two have to be compatible.
To find out which e-liquids you want to vape, and which devices they can be used with, read on for 'Choosing e-liquid compatible with your device'.
Choosing E-Liquid Compatible with Your Device
As you will see, with some devices you can use a range of e-liquids but with others your choices are more restricted.
There are advantages to each type of e-liquid, so read on to find out which one is for you.
These are small pods that can be just clicked into your compatible pod system device.
They contain the e-liquid and the coil so they're ready to vape straight away.
What makes these so good is their convenience.
Unlike vape juice for refillable tanks, these are completely self-contained pods that you can carry around with you without worrying about spills from loose caps.
They're so small, they'll hardly take up any room. As well as clicking easily into place and being ready to vape, they click out again when you've finished the e-juice.
Disposable pods are the most convenient way to change e-liquid because you don't have to change the coil independently of the pod and you don't need to clean the tank when you change flavours.
Although you are restricted to the brand of pods which is compatible with your device, there is usually a range of flavours to choose from.
Shop for myblu, J-Pod and JAC Vapour e-juice pods here
and choose from a range of fruit, menthol and tobacco flavours.
Although they're highly convenient, these pods can also be one of the most expensive ways to vape as you need to buy a whole new pod again each time.
You can get a range of nicotine strengths, depending on the availability within your brand.
The nicotine is already mixed with the e-liquid so you don't need to do anything other than choose which one you want and get the pod ready to click into your e-cigarette.
You can use shortfills with pen systems, all-in-ones and tank systems - basically, any vaping device which has a refillable tank.
They give you a range of options that you don't have with liquid pods.
Shortfills do not have any nicotine in them already - they're designed to have nicotine added by each individual so you can choose your nic strength or even whether you want nicotine at all.
They are commonly 60ml bottles which are 'short filled' with 50ml of e-liquid in order to leave room for a nic shot to be added to the bottle.
It's an easy way to mix your own nicotine with the vape juice and it's easy to calculate.
If you want to calculate your nicotine level now, go to Choosing your nicotine level
where you can find the calculations already done for you.
Even though you get some options with shortfills, their base mixture is usually 70%VG and 30%PG.
There is a large number of flavours available in shortfills, so you have plenty of choice.
The main advantage of shortfills is that they're easy to use.
The e-liquid is already mixed and flavoured, so all you have to do is add nicotine - if you want it - and pour it carefully into your vape tank and you're ready to vape.
DIY e-liquids means you can make your own vape juice to your own specifications.
It's completely based on your personal taste.
As with shortfills, the e-liquids you mix yourself can go in pen systems, all-in-ones and tank systems - any device except a pod system or cigalike.
To make your own e-liquids, you need:
PG and VG
When you make your own vape juice, you get much more control.
You can choose the ratio of PG/VG that you want to use.
You add your own nicotine so you can get the exact level you want.
Perhaps most importantly, by making your own e-liquid, you get a limitless range of flavour options!
You can choose any flavour concentrate and add it to your base e-liquid.
A lot of them are flavoursome and work well on their own, so making e-juice is even simpler.
Some flavour profiles are:
(berry, citrus and tropical)
If, however, you want a more complex flavour profile, like a fruit mix, drink flavour, bakery or confectionary mix, you can blend flavour concentrates together.
Either have a go at mixing them yourself (using your judgement or wild experimentation) or, if you want to be sure of success, follow an established recipe.
For more detailed instructions on how to make your own e-liquid, go to Mixing E-Liquids
which guides you through the whole process.
Browse through our list of flavour concentrates here and decide which one you're going to start with.
If you're overwhelmed by choice, start by going to our recipe page
and taking a look at some of the mixes that other vapers have developed over the years.
There are so many that you'll definitely find something you'll love.
If you want some recommendations for simple and tasty recipes to start you off, here they are.
For those who love a fresh fruit-flavoured vape, you could try making our delicious Honeydewlicious
, for those who want a rich dessert flavour, try making the delicious Heavenly Cake
, or for those who want a chic cocktail taste, check out our Lemon and Lime Mojito
In the past, there have been scares about certain ingredients used in vape flavourings, most notably diacetyl.
However, these days the standards of testing and submission in the UK and EU means that, as long as you are buying vape liquids registered and tested in the EU, you can be sure that they are compliant with regulations and do not contain any dangerous substances.
In the UK, the responsible agency is MHRC.
When mixing your own vape liquid, it is vital that all your ingredients come from a trustworthy source and from a vendor who can trace their supply chain back to manufacture.
It's not worth taking risks with unknown or untraceable substances.
At Make My Vape, all of our products comply with these safety standards, so you can be confident your vape juice is safe.
These tips will make sure you never vape anything dangerous:
Only buy e-liquid that has been tested and notified under TPD
Only buy vape liquid from reputable sellers
Only mix with other pharmaceutical-grade ingredients
Always know where your ingredients have come from
If you've already decided that or you're going to use pod systems, you can go straight to Getting E-Liquids Right
which will guide you through the process of getting your nicotine strength right as well as storing and changing e-liquid.
Choosing Coils Compatible with Your Device
To find out which coil you need in order to get the most out of your vaporiser, read the guide below.
It tells you what kind of coils there are and what each one is designed to do.
Not only can you choose the right one for your vaping device but you can choose the one that will give you the vaping experience you want.
There are several factors to consider:
What type of device you are using
What ohm rating you want
What design you want
Getting a coil that is compatible with your device
Some e-cigarettes have coils which are specially designed for their tanks, in which case you'll get optimum performance by using those.
Others have a range of options, particularly (but not only) all-in-ones and tank systems.
Obviously you have to use a coil that connects to your device.
It must sit securely within the tank so that it draws the vape juice up and vaporises it efficiently.
It also has to connect to the battery (the mod) in order to work.
Because it is an electronic device, and because it contains liquid, it is important to ensure all the elements are compatible so there are no loose connections or faults.
To help our customers be sure they're using coils that connect safely and efficiently, we list the kinds of coils that are compatible with the device on each hardware product page.
Most packs of coils come with recommended output settings so you know which vaping devices to use them with and how to adjust things like wattage on your box mod.
If you follow the guidance on the packaging, you can be sure your coil will perform well and give you the vaping experience you want.
If you don't follow the guidance, you're likely to have problems, such as burning it out prematurely.
Generally speaking, the higher the ohm rating, the less wattage you use.
The lower the ohm rating (and therefore the higher the resistance), the more wattage you use.
The material of your coil can affect your vape due to the diameter of the wire, its resistance and the ramp time.
Different materials can be used best to suit specific purposes, like vaping with temperature control, for example (go to Temperature control vaping
Nichrome coils have a low resistance. It is easy to work and holds its shape well.
Kanthal coils have a good resistance and they're easy to work with but they retain their shape when formed, making them popular to use as single-wire coils.
They're widely available and inexpensive.
However, they are not compatible with temperature control vaping.
Stainless steel is very versatile as a coil material.
It can be used for straight wattage vaping (in simple devices like pen systems) or temperature control vaping.
It is easy to work and holds its shape, so is very convenient.
However, it can contain a low percentage of nickel which is one of the most common allergies people have.
Nickel coils can only be used for temperature control vaping.
The drawbacks are that it can be difficult to work and doesn't always hold its shape.
Also, since many people are allergic to, or sensitive to, nickel, they may wish to avoid handling it.
Titanium coils are also designed for temperature control vaping.
It is not as readily available as other wires as it is not considered very appropriate by some vaping companies.
If you want to know more about the effects of different coil materials on your vape, go to 'Using different kinds of coils to create different effects'.
Getting the right ohm-rating on your coil
The resistance of the coil is measured in ohms (Ω).
Essentially, the higher the resistance, the hotter the coil will become.
In very simple terms, if you have a thin wire and a thick wire, and you put the same wattage through both, it'll be easier for the power to travel through the thick wire and harder for it to travel through the thin wire, which will make it hotter.
The ohm-rating on your coil will change your vaping experience because it will affect the vapour that is produced.
There are advantages and disadvantages for each type, so it's a matter of working out which one you prefer.
Standard ohm coils (which have a resistance of 2.0 to 2.8 ohms) don't produce much heat.
This means the vapour they produce is cooler, which some people prefer.
Because they don't heat the e-liquid as much, they don't vaporise as much as other coils.
This means you don't get through your e-liquid very quickly, so if you want to vape all day without having to worry about refilling your tank, you might find these coils are the ones for you.
Also, since they don't vaporise as much e-liquid, they don't produce as much cloud.
If you're a cloud chaser, you will need a lower-ohm coil than this in order to produce the amount of vapour you want.
However, if you're more concerned about being discreet then producing less cloud will be a definite advantage.
One advantage of the standard-ohm coil is that they don't use your battery as quickly as others, so it's more likely to last all day, even with constant use.
These coils are suitable for most e-cigarettes (though we still recommend checking the manual before using any type of coil, just to make sure it's safe and appropriate).
These coils (with a resistance of 1.0 to 1.9 ohms) produce a warmer vapour than standard-ohm ones, which some vapers prefer.
Because they heat up more, they vaporise more e-liquid.
This means you'll get through your tank quicker but you'll also get more cloud. Whether you want more vapour is a matter of preference.
Also, because they heat up more, they use more battery power to do it.
This will drain your battery faster but it might not necessarily drain it too quickly.
Depending on how much you vape (how often and for how long), you might find that your battery still lasts most of the day.
If you like to produce a lot of cloud when you vape, these are the coils for you.
They have a resistance of below 1.0 ohms.
These tend to be the coils of choice for vapers using tank systems (or box mods) as they are one part of the adjustable settings that tank systems provide - cloud chasers tend to use the control which tank systems offer to tailor their vaping experience (using the adjustable wattage, their choice of coil and e-liquid).
Sub-ohm coils aren't suitable for all types of e-cigarettes, so check the manual before installing one.
They have a high resistance and so they get hot quickly.
It means they vaporise the e-liquid quickly and produce a lot of vapour.
This has disadvantages: you will use your e-liquid quickly and you will use your battery quickly.
It also makes it more likely that you'll get a dry hit because the e-liquid is used faster.
If you are using a regulated vaping device, it will automatically adjust to the coil you install (assuming you've checked the manual and are using one which is compatible).
This means you don't have to worry about calculating Ohm's Law just to use your e-cigarette - you can simply put in your new coil and start vaping.
However, if you're using either an all-in-one or a tank system so that you can adjust the power settings, you will need to be aware of it.
That's one of the reasons why experienced vapers tend to use these box mods (so-called because you can 'modify' their settings). As long as you take reasonable precautions, there's no reason why your box mod won't be perfectly safe.
A lot of vaping devices these days are made with built-in safety measures and will automatically detect the resistance of the coil and will shut down if the power settings are not compatible with it, so you can vape with peace of mind.
Getting the right coil design
This is something that you may want to learn about as you become a more experienced vaper.
It's particularly relevant to those who want to sub-ohm and build their own RBA.
If you're interested, even though you're just starting out, we've listed some of the most popular kinds of coils below and given a brief outline of what they do.
This is a single wire coiled round.
It is the simplest one you can get.
A single has just one wire winding through it, whereas a dual has two.
This provides twice the heat and therefore twice the vapour.
Twisted coil or the Clapton coil
The term Clapton is used to describe a range of coils that have two or more strands.
A standard Clapton is a length of wire with a much thinner wire wrapped around it, like a guitar string.
This is a strip of Kanthal which has a porous structure which means it absorbs e-liquid faster.
Because it has an even surface area, it heats e-liquid evenly and gives quality flavour production.
This is made with Kanthal wire and flat ribbon wire twisted together. The flat ribbon wire produces great flavour and not much heat, which some vapers prefer.
This has a huge surface area, which means it produces a lot of vapour.
Other types of coils with a large surface area are larger and need more power to heat them.
Mesh coils have the great surface area but are compact and don't need a huge amount of power.
This means your battery will last longer while still producing big clouds.
If you're looking to buy your device (now you know what type of e-cigarette you want, what e-liquid you can use with it and what coil you might want to try first), browse through our shop to find your perfect starter kit
To make sure you have all the information you need about the product you're buying, we include on the product page details about which coils are compatible with the device.
It means you can see the range of coils you can choose from at a glance and you can be sure the vaporiser will work safely when you install it.
If you want some more advice on which vaporiser to buy, then go to Recommended devices
which is a short list of some of the best vaping devices in each category.
Once you have your device, you can move on to Getting E-Liquids Right
which is a practical guide to getting nicotine in vape juice right, as well as storing and changing e-liquids.
Since there are so many vaping devices on the market, we thought we'd recommend some of the best ones so you're not overwhelmed by choice.
If you want to do some more research online, then go ahead - you need to choose the vaporiser that will suit you best.
If you want some more guidance, then we recommend contacting our team, who will help you decide which option is best for you.