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An Introduction to Vaping - What You Need To Get Started

Although in its relative infancy, the e-cig has already changed the lives of millions of smokers worldwide.

All emerging technologies develop and improve over time - the electronic cigarette is no different.  The industry is home to many innovative companies that have driven the evolution of the product considerably over the last decade and in today’s market a dazzling array of hardware options exist.

Innovation has been great for improving the end-user experience, but on the flip side it has left many people who are new to e-cigs bewildered and confused.  Knowing what to buy can be very confusing, especially if you’re completely new to vaping.

Take a quick browse on any of the vaping forums and you’ll soon realise there are many debates raging on about the best ecigs, who uses what and why brand x is better than brand Y and so on. 

Sharing experiences, product information and trying out different hardware can be all part of the fun of your new vaping experience.  However, the downside when you’re a total newbie can be spending hours in front of the computer researching what to buy.  You’re bombarded with a host of information with the end result being that you’re even more confused than when you started out!

Fear not.  The purpose of this blog post is to try and provide an introduction to electronic cigarette hardware.  The aim is not to get too technical but merely to provide you with an overview of the options available with some pointers for where to start.

Selecting an electronic cigarette can be a very personal experience.

Are you brash and flashy?  Or, do you fancy yourself as more of a James Bond type with the latest cool gadget ecig to hit the market?  Or, are you the more understated demure type, requiring a fine, discrete and sophisticated e-cig?  Or…do you just blooming well just want one that works!!! 

The phrase “different strokes for different folks” comes to mind here.  Just as smokers cherish their favorite brand of ciggie, vapers have become quite particular about their hardware.  The good news is that whatever you’re personality, there’s an ecig to fit.

Let’s simplify the process and get back to basics. 

First, it’s useful if you understand how an electronic cigarette works. To get an inital grounding you can read our article about how ecigs work. Then hop back here and continue where you left off.

Ok, now you have got to grips with the basic components of the electronic cigarette we can talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each particular style.

The Cigarette Style Ecig

Most people are introduced to the world of electronic cigarettes through the cigarette style ecig – sometimes referred to as Mini or Super-Mini.

These models are small and discreet because they are similar in shape and size to traditional analogue cigarettes (in the vaping world we refer to traditional cigarettes as analogues).  The familiar look and feel and the fact that the mini ecig fits nicely between the fingers can be very comforting, especially for those ‘attached’ to the actual physical process of smoking cigarettes.  The tip lights when the ecigarette is activated and this too can reinforce the ‘feeling’ of smoking in the mind.

The main advantage of the mini style ecig is that it is easy to troubleshoot and has relatively low maintenance.

These devices are basically made up of a battery, and an atomiser/cartridge combimation or all-in-one cartomiser that holds the liquid and converts it into vapour. Batteries can be either manual or automatic.  Manual batteries are activated through the user depressing a button, whereas automatic batteries respond to the user inhaling relying upon a sensor to activate the battery.

Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. 

Some companies that supply these types of mini style ecigs tend not to let on to their users that they can refill them with their own liquid, because it has become big business to sell ecig users replacement pre-filled cartomisers or cartridges.  This is a direction that we at ENjuice purposefully decided not to take since we believe buying your own eliquid gives much better value and choice.

One of the reasons we vape is to be free of the constraints of big tobacco companies and so by having the option to purchase and refill your eliquid from whoever you choose, you are taking back control.  It’s also much cheaper than purchasing pre-filled cartomisers or cartridges.  Buying bottles of eliquid makes sense and it will save you a considerable amount over disposable cartridges and cartomisers and an absolute fortune when you compare it to tobacco cigarettes.  

But that’s not all… the clear disadvantage to the MinI Ecig is performance.

You are still very much limited by the battery life.  Depending on usage, battery life is usually between 1 and 2 hours. Most users purchase a portable carry case (PCC) to charge batteries on the move.  Some even just choose to carry a number of charged batteries on them, interchanging throughout the day.  A pain in the neck to say the least.  Many users of the mini-style ecig are quick to seek alternative options, not least because the lack-lustre power leaves you wanting a more convenient and reliable solution.     

Stepping Up…

Ok, so you’re frustrated by the short battery life and you’re yearning for something that will last longer than a spin cycle on your washing machine!

The next step up in electronic cigarette performance is the mid sized models such as the eGo 510 – by far the most popular ecig on the market for those who just want a convenient ecig that works well.  User’s stepping up from the mini “cigarette style” ecig’s will be astonished at the difference in vapour and battery life - it’s here that you start to notice that not all e-cigarettes are created equal.

The eGo’s are about the size of a small cigar, this slight increase in size adds a real boost in output.  Batteries are bigger and therefore, last between 4 and 5 hours of heavy use.  In addition  eGo models are compatible with a wider range of atomizers and tanks.  A tank is a small chamber that attaches to the ecig and means the user has the option of bypassing the cartridge “filler” type method of storing ejuice and being able to hold the equivalent of up to a day’s worth of eliquid in the tank directly. 

The end result is a more convenient solution with less back-up supplies needed by the user.  The eGo also opens up new ways to vape by allowing for the use of tanks and also direct dripping.  Direct dripping is an option to allow e juice to be poured directly onto the atomiser. This is an alternative technique of vaping, which won’t work with automatic batteries. 

The crème de la crème.

Finally, at the top end of the spectrum we have the ‘power’ ecigs, commonly known as “mods”. These top-end devices can have a whole range of features to meet your personal needs and tastes.

The Holy Grail in the vaping community are the variable voltage devices such as the Provari (ENjuice were the first distributor in the UK of Provari ecigs, and remain a market leader). 

The great thing about being able to alter the voltage of your device is that you can adjust the power output of the device and subsequently change your vaping experience dramatically. 

Buying a high-end variable voltage device such as the Provari will help you get the most out of your ejuice.  If you’re underwhelmed by the flavor produced by your ejuice consider that it is most likely down to the quality of your hardware (or the fact that you haven’t yet tried ENjuice Primo! ;-) ) A good PV coupled with a good quality atomiser, tank or cartomiser will tantalise your taste buds and dramatically increase the flavor of your eliquid as well as the throat hit experienced.

The downside of course to all this oomph is the price. 

ProVaris are expensive starting at £160 from our Provari shop. They are also pretty substantial in size and so might draw more attention to you when used in public, which is not always a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Final Thoughts

Having tried, tested and tinkered with more models than we can remember the best advice we can extend to newbie’s just starting out is not to waste your time with anything that resembles an actual cigarette. The battery life is too short, it will leave you exasperated and probably heading straight back to the analogue ciggies because of the hassle.

A great strategy can be to get an ecig for different occasions.  Work might call for the more discrete option, whereas a dinner party with friends will be your chance to show off your new all-singing all dancing variable voltage mod.  

The Bottom Line

If budget is not a limiting factor, then the Provari variable voltage is clearly the best option if you feel you will benefit from the wide range of performance and safety features it offers. 

If you are new to vaping then we recommend you go straight for the eGo kits.  They are affordable and have impressive battery life and performance.  Our Ego 510 Duo Deluxe Kit is great value for money on special offer at £27.50 and comes with everything you need for day-long vaping - you get two complete units (2 batteries, two cones and 2 atomisers) – just add ejuice!

Whatever you decide.  You will discover a new world beckons once you find an ecig you can rely on.  All that remains now is to get stuck in and start enjoying our sumptuous range of 120 ejuice flavours.

So Newbie’s – Get yourself an eGo 510 Kit!

08 Jan 2013 Posted in: Vaping

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