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There are many different models of e-cigarettes to choose from - far too many to mention. But there are two types that are more common than the rest – devices that look like cigarettes, and devices that are more cigar-sized.
The devices that look like cigarettes normally consist of a rechargeable battery and a “cartomiser”
The next post - click “Cig-alike” -talks about the different types of these, gives some suggestions as to what is best and how to use them.
Devices that are more cigar-sized have a bigger battery and a “clearomiser”
and most people on this forum think these are better than the cigarette-sized e-cigs for a number of reasons. The post headed “Cigar-sized” lists some of the reasons and has pictures of some of these devices.
Whatever you get, you will need e-liquid - also known as juice, and the “Juice” post talks about strengths and flavours.
There are a number of devices available which allow you to vary the voltage which the battery delivers. These cost a bit more, and it may not be worth spending your money on them until you have some experience of vaping. The post headed “Variable Voltage” is intended to give you an idea of what you get for the extra money.
Also available are larger devices that you put a battery into. The most popular of these (at the time of writing) are described and pictured in the section called “Mods”.
Whichever model you buy - make sure it comes with at least 2 batteries. Also buy at least one bottle e-liquid with your first order. Check our supplier listfor discounts
During your journey of getting to understand about e-cigs you will come across many terms and abbreviations that will no doubt be alien to you, so there is a list here
As the Riva/ego type kits are the most recommended to new members, Romelee has created a tutorial about them.
I hope you find this brief guide useful. There is a lot more information and advice on this forum. Have a look at these tips for instance. And if there is anything that you would like to know, just start a thread and ask - us users of this forum know an awful lot between us, and we really do like to help.
E-cigs that look like cigarettes are available from supermarkets, chemists, and other shops, and also on-line. Brand-names include E-lite, 10Motives, SkyCig. They are designed to look and work pretty much like cigarettes.
You can buy “disposable” ones, which come as a single piece with the battery fixed to the tip, but that is a very expensive way of doing it.
More usually the tip is a cartomiser which can be unscrewed from the battery, and the battery recharged. The cartomiser holds the juice and a heating element (“coil”). Inhaling turns on the battery (“automatic” battery) which heats the juice and turns it into vapour, which is what you inhale. When the juice runs out it tastes burnt. What the manufacturers want you to do then is throw away the cartomiser and buy a new one, prefilled with juice.
It is much better to fill the cartomisers yourself because you can choose between hundreds of different flavours and strengths of juices. And it is much, much cheaper.
There are cartomisers available on-line which are designed to be refilled, and so can be refilled more times. They still don't last forever (they get carbon deposits around the coil inside them), but they should last weeks rather than days. With a cig-alike battery you need SR (standard resistance). You don't want 'pre-punched' - they are for cartomiser tanks - see below.
You can replace the plastic plug after re-filling, or use a drip-tip – easier to take in and out, feels nice in the mouth, but makes it a bit bigger.
If you buy the batteries on-line you can get ones that last longer; and also you can get different colours which is handy because sometimes you want people to know that you are not actually smoking. Some of the batteries available are “manual”, meaning that you press a button to turn them on.
There is a standard connection for batteries and cartomisers called “510”, so everything you buy should have that connection. Not all of the major brands do – this thread lists the major ones that do or don't.
Cigarette-sized batteries don't last long before they need charging – typically two or three hours. So you need a lot of spares, or a device known as a PCC
which you charge while you are at home, and carry with you during the day. It can then charge one battery while you use another.
You can buy a wall plug so you don't have to use a USB slot on a computer, but if you have one that came with your mobile phone or Kindle that will work fine.
Some suppliers still sell “cartridges” which you fill with juice and plug into an atomiser.
Cartridges have rather gone out of fashion, but atomisers are still popular because you can also drip the juice directly into them, which is handy for tasting juices.
A cigar-sized battery can last all day between charges, are cheaper in the long run, and you can put devices on them which most of us think are better than the cartomisers.
They are cheaper because they last longer. Battery life is as variable as with light bulbs, but on average they last about 300 charges. Battery capacity is measured in mah. A cig-alike battery is normally around 200mah, and costs maybe £8, and if you charged it 5 times/day you'd need to buy a new one every couple of months, while a 1000 mah cigar-sized might cost £17 and last you all day between charges, so on average would last maybe 9 months.
But you should always get two batteries, so you have a spare.
The commonest are the Ego and the Riva. They come in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
If you have a charger for a cig-alike battery it may fit on the Ego/Riva, but it won't work very well, so buy a new one. And DON'T use the Ego/Riva charger on a cig-alike battery, which is unsafe.
Clearomisers are the most popular devices to put on these batteries because you can see how much juice you have left. And some vapers think that the taste is better than a cartomiser. You can buy a blister pack with a cigar-sized battery and charger and a clearomiser quite cheaply.
There are different types of clearomiser available, and a new type comes out every month.
There are lots of reviews on-line. You may need to preface the search with "e cig" - e.g. google "e cig mini nova"
Like cartomisers, the heads on clearomisers eventually get sooted up. These days they mostly come with replaceable heads, so when that happens you can replace just the head, rather than buying a whole new clearomiser. Washing the heads can make them last longer. You can also buy wick and wire and rebuild the heads yourself, but it is fiddly, and heads are pretty cheap.
These clearomisers hold about 1.7ml of juice, and vapers often get through about 3 ml per day, so you will need a plan to refill them or carry spares. You can get bigger clearomisers, but they look a bit ungainly on this type of battery.
Clearomiser heads come with different resistances. Unless you have variable voltage device (see below) then a lower resistance will use more power, and in general create more vapour and give you more taste and throat hit. It will also use your battery up faster and be more likely to be too hot for your juice (gives a burnt taste). Not all batteries are happy with very low resistance. You would probably do best to start with 2.4? or 2.8?.
You can also use cartomisers with this size of battery, and you may be able to use low resistance ones (LR). And there is a variety of other devices.
Leaking has been an issue with some clearomisers, but they seem to be getting better. There are tips for avoiding leaks here
There is a huge range of juices available. It is best to start buy buying small quantities of three or more juices, to try and find out what you like. Even then it is best not to buy too much at once, because peoples' taste buds often change when they stop smoking (whether they vape or not).
If you can resist the temptation to try out every new vaping toy then juice will be the most expensive part of vaping, so it is worth shopping around. An average vaper using ego batteries and clearomisers might spend less than £150 p.a. on batteries, clearomisers and heads, but over £500 p.a. on juice.
Some devices use more juice than others. If yours is fairly thirsty or you were a heavy smoker you might get through 3ml/day or more.
Most people probably start with tobacco-flavoured juices. If you search on line for your cigarette brand – e.g. google “e juice silk cut” - you will probably find several suppliers of juice which they claim tastes like the real thing, and quite likely a review or two as well. But you might do better with a popular generic tobacco flavour, and it is worth remembering that a lot of vapers (maybe most of us) move on to other flavours altogether. People who wouldn't touch a menthol cigarette enjoy menthol vapes and many of us use exclusively fruit or confectionery flavours.
Many juices are freshly made to order. The flavour of these juices will improve drastically by being steeped. Excellent information about steeping can be found here
Nicotine strength is measured in mg. Juices are available between zero and about 38mg. How much you smoked seems to matter more than strength of cigarette. Pack/day smokers often like 18mg. There is more information about suitable juice strength here
It is possible to make your own juice (guidelines in the mixology section here), but best to start with pre-made.
You can buy devices which let you vary the volts which you put through the coil to heat the juice. In general more volts gives you more vapour and taste and throat hit. Using more volts will use your battery up faster and if you turn it up too far it is likely to be too hot for your juice (give a burnt taste). So you may prefer to start with a fixed voltage.
At the time of writing the most popular cigar-sized devices which give you a variable voltage are the Spinner and the Twist (there is a newer and almost identical device called a Winder, and there will no doubt be others). They have a wheel at the bottom to change the voltage and are about 2cm longer and maybe £5 more expensive than a fixed voltage battery with the same capacity.
If you want to know more about the voltages and resistance etc., check out this thread
This is a brief introduction to a few of the most popular devices. Anyone interested in buying one of these should check out the Modders/Rebuildables/Repairables board. In particular you need to make sure you are using the right batteries.
“Mods” is a generic term for devices that you put batteries into. They tend to be quite a bit bigger than the “cigar-sized” described above.
Most of these are variable voltage with 3 or 4 buttons and sophisticated electronics and a small screen that tells you things like what voltage you are currently set to, how much charge you have left in your battery, what the resistance of your clearo is and so on. The batteries that go in these can have enough capacity to last even a heavy vaper for a couple of days between charges. They can also deliver more power. The spinners and twists go up to about 4.8 volts, many mods can deliver 6 volts. This means that they can work well with lower resistance devices.
Some designs of clearomiser or atomiser are more suitable in the larger form, or work better with the extra power provided by a mod.
“Mechanical Mods” contain no electronics, just a button to turn the power on. They come in all sorts of shapes, many quite beautiful.
It is common for vapers to have a mod which they use at home, and a cigar-sized for out and about. You might like to start with the cigar-sized.
The following is a list of abbreviations which get used on this forum and elsewhere. If an abbreviation that you are looking for isn't in this list, then you might find it here If it isn't there either then it might be just chat slang - there is a list here
AAE-C - All About E-cigarettes forum. ADV - All Day Vape. Your e-liquid of choice for regular usage. Analog - Traditional tobacco cigarette APV - Advanced personal vaporizer. a high end piece of vaping equipment or a mod. Atty/Atomiser - electric coil that vaporises e-juice to create vapour BCC - Bottom Coil Cartomiser – e.g. EVOD, Protank, Davide Cable.- Stainless steel wire rope used as a wicking agent in Genesis style RBA Carto/Cartomiser - sealed unit containing an atty, a wicking material and e-juice used with a battery to vape. Often refillable with e-juice Clearo/Clearomiser - similar to a carto although it is usually a see through unit, so that you can see the level of e-juice remaining. Refillable Coil - wire coil in an atomiser, that acts as a heating element for vaporising e-juice, to create vapour Condom/condom fill method - technique of filling cartomiser using its rubber cap DC/DCC - Dual Coil/Dual Cartomizer e.g. iclear Drip Tip - mouth piece on a PV Dripping - adding e-juice directly to the wick/coil area of an atty, as opposed to a tank style unit. Good for changing/testing new flavours. Dry burn - firing an atomiser dry (with no e-liquid) to clean the coil e-liquid/e-juice - flavoured liquid that is added to an vaporiser to create vapour. 100s of flavours are available including fruit, tobacco and more exotic recipes (e.g. vanilla custard!). Comes with or without nicotine ECCA UK - Electronic Cigarette Consumer Association UK IMR - A battery with lower internal resistance and a high discharge rate, good for high drain applications like e-cigarettes LED - Light emitting diode. a small light often fitted to a battery or PV to indicate its on/off status or to indicate battery charge level and for LED screens. LR - Low Resistance (Atomizer/Cartomizer) LT – Lavatube mAh - Milliamp hour. indicates the charge capacity of a battery, the higher the mAh number the longer a battery will last between charges. (A milliamp is a 1/1000th of an Amp. Ah = Amp hour) mg - milligram (often used as measure of nicotine per ml of e-liquid) Mix - Ratio of PG and VG in e-juice. e.g. 50/50, 70/30 etc Mod - Modification. Referring to a high end piece of vaping equipment Mod - Forum Moderator Nic – Nicotine Ohm - unit of electrical resistance, used in reference to coils OLED - A type of LED screen. A new type of easier to read LED screen now being fitted to some higher end PVs. OP - Original Post or Poster Passthrough (PT) - A USB adapter for the Electronic Cigarette which screws onto the atomizer like a battery, but draws power from a USB port. PCC - Personal Charging Case / Portable Charger Case PG - Propylene Glycol. One of the main ingredients of e-juice mix. More PG gives more throat hit PM - Private Message PV - personal vaporiser. device used for vaping RBA - Re-Buildable Atomiser. Used for atomisers which require the user to wrap their own coils. (You can do your own coils for most clearomisers, but you don't have to) RDA - rebuildable dripping atomiser RTA - rebuildable tank atomiser SR - Standard Resistance (Atomizer/Cartomizer) S.S - Stainless steel construction. Also applies for a stainless steel meshed wick. Tank - e-juice container on a PV TH - throat hit vape/vaping - the use of electronic device to create and inhale vapour. with or without nicotine VG - Vegetable Glycerine. One of the main ingredients of e-juice. More VG gives more vapour cloud. VV - Variable Voltage VW - Variable wattage Wick - method of transferring e-juice to the atomiser, usually a silica cord wtf - "I don't understand that"