Updated: September 20th, 2018
Over the last few years the popularity of vaping has grown substantially and manufacturers have been busy innovating the device to keep up with demand.
The result is an overwhelming amount of products varying in functionality and design, making it quite a confused marketplace.
For new vapers, the transition from tobacco products to electronic cigarettes or any vaping device can often be both exciting and overwhelming. It is exciting because they know that they are leaving the dangers of tobacco cigarettes behind and adopting a practice that experts say is 95% safer than traditional smoking. They are at the same time overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices and options available to them as they select their e-cig device. Fortunately, there is no need for confusion once you start understanding the different types of electronic cigarette products that you can buy. You can refer to our beginner’s guide for some basic information around the e-cigarette.
Before we begin, it is important to note that these products come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and capabilities. There are many dozens of manufacturers producing these devices, and an even wider selection of e-liquid options from which to choose. You’ll learn more about all of that as you progress on your journey through the vaping world. This guide is designed to help provide the basic insight you need about your e-cig device options.
The Disposable One-Piece
Sometimes referred to as disposable Cigalikes or minis, these devices are familiar to most new vapers and can be found in convenience stores and many vape shops throughout the United States. They are classified as disposables since the entire device can be discarded after use. Most are designed to be roughly the size of a tobacco cigarette and thus provide a comfortable way for smokers to transition to this safer alternative.
Their small size is matched by their lightweight and makes them a fairly discrete way for vapers to obtain their nicotine even in public settings. Most sell for between $5 and $10 and are advertised as being the rough equivalent of two packs of tobacco cigarettes – which makes them a cost-saving option for smokers. They have some disadvantages as well, of course. They offer neither the full flavor nor large vapor volume provided by more advanced e-cigs, and cannot be upgraded or modified to improve their performance. Still, they are an ideal entry point for most vapers.
The Rechargeable Cigalike
Many people who continue vaping after their transition from tobacco often move on from the disposable e-cigs and purchase a rechargeable Cigalike electronic cigarette device, consisting of a rechargeable battery and a clearomizer or cartomizer. These types of devices are known as Cigalike e cigs. Again, they lack the performance of the other e-cigs, but many manufacturers offer a far better flavor choice than the disposable options.
The two-piece Cigalike comes with a rechargeable battery (and USB charging cable) and an atomizer-containing cartridge. Hence the name cartomizer. The atomizer screws onto the battery, making the device ready to use with little fuss. This style produces better flavor and slightly better vapor but is still considered as a low-range quality option.
The Vape Pods
Vape pods are relatively new to the market and became increasingly popular after the success of the Juul Pod. Since then many manufacturers are now releasing their own versions of pod vaper. Usually, the pod vape is a little larger than a Cigalike, but not as big as the vape pen. They work on the same principles as the Cigalike, but instead of a cartomizer, they have a disposable pod which houses both the atomizer and e-liquid. Users buy replacement pods which simply snap into place with a magnet.
As they are slightly bigger than the Cigalike they also produce a little more voltage which makes for a more satisfying vape. These types of Pods are becoming the first choice for smokers wanting to quit smoking.
The Vape Pen
The standard vape pen is a three-piece device consisting of a battery which is usually considerably more powerful than the Cigalike, a tank to hold our e-liquid and removable atomizers. The atomizer can differ in size to suit different types of vaping, as a rough guide anything over 1-ohm is used for the traditional mouth to lung vaping, when anything below 1-ohm (or sub-ohm) is considered to be used with direct lung inhales. The battery is rechargeable but not usually automatic, so there is usually a fire button on the side.
These devices are generally considered to be mid-sized since they are about the size of a cigar or a fine writing pen. They offer a number of advantages over disposables and the simpler Cigalikes, including expanded battery life, increased vapor production, and wider access to flavor choices. They are usually slightly more expensive than both disposables and the two-piece, but still well within most vapers’ budgets.
Box or Vape Mods
For many vapers, the Pod and vape pen e-cigs meet their needs so well that they simply continue to use those products long-term. For those who want an even richer and custom vaping experience, however, there is a better option: the box mod, or sometimes referred to as the vape mod. These devices use to be named APVs (Advanced personal vaporizer) by many in the vaping community but recently are just known as box mods. They have a reputation for providing the ultimate in vaping enjoyment.
These advanced devices come in different sizes and shapes, ranging from a small box to a large cylinder. The batteries are most commonly removable and rechargeable, although some manufacturers to make internal battery versions. They come with a high degree of customization options, and detailed controls that maximize your ability to personalize both the device and your vaping experience. With the benefits associated with more powerful batteries, it enables more energy to be drawn by the coils, empowering users to achieve even greater vapor volume.
As a result of these customization options, users can obtain three or more times the vapor from a box mod than they can achieve with even the best vape pen. That makes these devices the ideal choice for vaping enthusiasts looking for powerful lung hits. Perhaps more important, these more expensive options are built to last, enjoy expanded battery life, and consistently score well during performance comparisons.
Squonk mods have started to be released to the market thanks to the popularity of dripping. This is a type of vaping that uses a box mod with an RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer), the RDA is basically built with the coils wound by the vaper, cotton inserted through the coil, then e-liquid dripped directly on the coil. This type of vaping is known to produce the freshest flavor and best-vaping experience, but you have to carry a bottle around with you.
To solve this problem, the Squonk box was invented. It is basically a box mod with half the mod containing a rubber bottle when the bottle is squeezed the juice runs up to the tank and drips onto the coil. Although the market is relatively limited as to the number of Squonk mods available, more an more manufacturers are promising releases soon.
Choosing Your Type
It would be unrealistic to suggest that everyone begin with an advanced box mod or squonk mod device. The truth is that many people simply have no interest in overcoming the learning curve involved in many of the more complex setups. Others simply have no intention of delving that deeply into the vaping universe and are just looking for a way to escape tobacco once and for all. As a result, the selection of one vaping device over another always comes down to personal preference.
We have also put together a guide on the best electronic cigarettes for smokers, this is specifically for the smokers out there who want to either cut down or quit completely.
If you’re a newcomer who plans to just quit nicotine altogether, a simple pod e-cig will likely meet your needs. Those who want a simple way to enjoy vaping long-term would probably be better served with a vape pen or box mod starter kit. And those who like to tinker and customize every aspect of their experience can find what they need with a more advanced box mod. The types of e-cigs listed are the most popular styles for the majority of users. However, there are other types such as dry herb vaporizers and e-cigars that are less known but still have their fans. There truly is something for everyone!