Probably the biggest growth in the electronic cigarette industry now (2014) would be that of more advanced devices such as vape pens and tank systems where users get into a more DIY approach, filling their own e-liquid, and even rebuilding or modding their device.
This is a real common next step for consumers that have grown an affinity for vaping through mini cigs, or cigalikes, which resemble the size of an actual tobacco cigarette. Some of the most well known are V2 and Blu Cigs, NJOY and Green Smoke.
Then for a number of reasons they are drawn to tank systems where you refill your own e-cig juice, and often use a more powerful battery, usually an eGo-style battery.
Why The Switch To A Vaping Tank System or Pen and E-Liquid?
1. Cost – One of the most attractive reasons for this is the cost savings over buying cartridges/cartomizers. A typical vaper who goes through 1-2 cartridges a day spends something like $100-$200 a month on restock. If they go through an equivalent amount of e-liquid in that time, after purchasing a vaporizer, they will probably be looking at around $30 per month or so.
Yes, it can be a massive cost savings, ESPECIALLY for someone switching from analogues!
2. More Options – Then there is the whole DIY feature, both in choosing whatever flavor they want, and there are a TON! (according to a recent study, there are said to be AT LEAST 7,000 flavors).
3. More Power/Battery Life – You can also choose a more powerful device, both in battery power, and the amount of voltage or wattage that is produced, which will create more powerful vapor. There are also variable voltage devices where you can fine tune your vapor, setting the voltage at just the right amount, as various liquids respond differently, as well as the fact that everyone has different taste.
But basically, if you make the switch to en eGo-style tank system, with a typically sized battery, you’re looking at something that will last you all day, without needing a charge or a refill, rather than just a couple hours.
Vaping Tanks And E-Liquid
Large e cig batteries or mod systems are compatible with tanks which hold e-liquid. The word “tank” is used interchangeably with cartomizer, glassomizer, clearomizer, and tank system, but they all differ. While each one is designed to work with e-liquid, prices and features range considerably. The type of e-liquid best used in each one can also vary.
Cartomizers and E-Liquid
Usually, the term “cartomizer” refers to an atomized cartridge. It either arrives filled with e-liquid or is “blank,” meaning the consumer refills it. These accompany mini cigs or electronic cigarettes meant to look like cigarettes.
These units work best when filled with thin e-liquid, and the thinnest juices contain the most propylene glycol. As a result, one will probably never see proprietary e-liquid made for a mini cig that comes with VG-dominant e-liquid.
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is thick, associated with thick vapor. PG (propylene glycol), while thinner, usually produces a bigger throat hit.
These are much the same as cartomizers but one can see through them to the wick. A number or clearomizers were designed for a maximum number of vape sessions: maybe 5 or 10.
After that time, the wick would become gummy or dry. The unit would cause e-liquid to taste funny or the plastic would become cloudy. These are disposable, with pieces glued together.
Top and bottom caps on a rebuildable clearomizer screw on and off so the user can change the mouthpiece, replace the atomizer, or even change the wick and coil. Many models are available in several colors.
Metal-coated versions leave a viewing window so the juice is not entirely hidden. A glassomizer is a tube with an atomizer attached, but instead of being plastic, the tube is made from glass.
The reasons glass is often preferred over plastic are:
• To achieve a cleaner taste
• To prevent clouding or cracking when vaping acidic liquids
A lot of clearomizers and glassomizers are compatible with VG-dominant e-liquid, but check ahead of time as very thick liquid might clog the atomizer.
A true tank works with a tube and a cartomizer inserted in the middle. The tank is typically very large and for specific use with high-powered units, particularly mods.
They are rebuildable in every respect. Replace the top and bottom caps. Change wicks. Replace coils. Add a new cartomizer.
The tank system can be very expensive, and high-end models are made from Pyrex. Pyrex offers the clean taste of a glass, acid-resistant toughness, with greater durability than glass.
A number of tank systems you might have seen are referred to as RBAs: rebuildable atomizers.
Most brands of e-liquid can be customized to contain a preferred ration of VG and PG, though not always a PG-free mixture. If you like cinnamon, lemon, lime, and many citrus-fruit flavors, always buy glass tanks. The tubes can be replaced in multiple colors without shelling out for the entire system.
Mods and The Cult Following
Then there is nearly a cult following with people using more advanced devices. There is nearly no end to all the modifications and styles available out there, from devices that resemble a grenade, to a sky scraper, and an endless amount of design and style by artsy manufacturers across the globe competing to make the coolest, most chic, beautiful or powerful device, and the competition is fierce.
Some of the price tags of more advanced items can get quite steep, up to at least a couple hundred dollars, and this keeps the hobbyists very happy with an endless sea of options available.
The Top 5 Vape Pens
It’s not easy making a top 5 list of vape pens when there are new ones being released weekly, and many of them share similar features. The following list contains 5 really good ones, and others are pretty good as well, but as a guideline look for vape pens using the following criteria.
Choosing Vaping Pens
For one thing, they should be within your price range but not too cheap. If you do not pay at least $60 for the pen, be suspicious, but don’t let anyone charge you more than $80 for a regular coil-system pen either. Another question to ask is what you can vape with the pen: wax, herbs, essential oils, or multiple materials. More questions arise as you look closely at reviews for different products, including the tendency for a pen to burn contents or to run out of power too quickly. Leaking can also be an issue.
Omicron Vaporizer Pen
Actually, anything by Omicron should satisfy you. There is no cotton but a silica wick, stainless steel, ceramics, and a clean-tasting result. The Omicron Vape Pen features a 900-mah battery: that should provide a day’s worth of vaping right there. Omicron receives excellent customer reviews, uses essential oils, and the battery lasts for 300+ charges. You get a 1-year warranty for this tough device that is also really easy to keep clean.
With the newest version of this pen, you enjoy upgrades internally such as a new atomizer called a funnel coil. Use the pen with solid concentrates for an intense vaporizing experience.
It heats up quickly: perhaps too quickly, with the tendency to burn concentrates. Users are not that concerned about this problem, however: they can control the atomizer using the button.
It does not leak or spill concentrates either, which some devices do, and that’s because of the new coil style. For less than $100, vapers receive a decent buy.
These are gorgeous vape pens, released long before a lot of the other pens on this and other lists you will come across. Trippy Stix has played around with their pens, improving them; beautifying them.
They come in purple, camo, gold, and chrome. There are pros and cons: Trippy Stix pens are prone to leaking, but the battery gives you up to 400 puffs on a single charge.
You also need to clean your Trippy Stix regularly, but it will keep you safe from accidental overheating or from being turned on unintentionally.
V2 Pro Series 3
A 3-in-1 pen does much for the vaper who would previously have been forced to buy multiple pens or choose one type of product to vape. With the 3-in-1 from V2, you change cartridges using the same battery and they connect magnetically.
Nothing could be simpler. Editions for autumn and winter release will provide variable temperature controls, but for now the battery sets itself to the right temperature by communicating with each cartridge.
For the initial price of around $60, consumers receive only the e liquid cartridge. Herbal cartridges cost another $25 or so and essential oil cartridges will be priced the same when they are released.
Getting started won’t cost more than $90, plus the price of herbs or liquid.
For $159.99, this is one of the most expensive pen-style vapes, probably because its looks belie inner workings more like larger portable devices. Combustion is a problem plaguing many pen vapes. Using an oven rather than a coil enables the TVape to warm but not burn materials. Square Smoke makes this compact device which cleans like a charm and heats herbs up in 5 seconds to 390F or, in a further second or two, 420F.
Electronic cigarettes in the old days (10 years ago or less) were cigarette-style items that lasted about an hour or two when the battery was fully charged. They were small and light but also ineffective. In the meantime, vaporizers for herbs were table top behemoths that required mains power to operate. The very idea of a portable vaporizer was the stuff of science fiction.
Today’s consumer is spoiled for choice. Whether one chooses e-liquid or herbs, there are numerous portable devices and more coming. The latest craze is pen-style vaporizers which electronically convert herbs or oils into vapor.
What is a Personal Vaporizer?
A personal vaporizer is often referred to as an APV. Although it is not the size of a cigarette, this is still a portable device which can fit in a pocket or a bag, preferably inside a case to keep the unit clean. APVs or Advanced Personal Vaporizers are digitally adjustable. Consumers only buy these when they understand how atomizer resistance and voltage contribute to their machine’s performance.
APVs come with digital controls: usually one or multiple buttons. These change the voltage and/or wattage setting on an e-cig. If you are using a vaporizer for herbs or oils, buttons allow the consumer to adjust temperature. Certain materials vape best at relatively low settings (less than 300F) while others need the highest heat they can get (around 400F).
The Price of Control
A handheld vaporizer is frequently cheaper than a desktop vaporizer, but not always. Take box mods, for instance: they cost around $90 to $100 for a basic unit without any fancy features. The Micro G vaporizer costs around $70. An eVic package (for e-liquid) will set you back roughly $100, but that model comes with a software component.
Then again, being able to see the pattern of your weekly or monthly vaping habits is optional and one might say it’s a frivolous thing. It has no bearing on the quality of your vaping experience.
If you are comparing a Davinci Ascent to the Storz & Bickel Volcano, however, the savings are obvious: about $250 compared to over $400.
APVs like the Vamo V2 and Provari Mini are costlier than e cigs but their battery power and tank capacity are greater. They tend to pay for themselves quickly.
Who are Vaporizers for?
Vaporizers were designed to offer smokers a way out of smoking. An e-cig vaporizer does not produce tar, although the jury is still out as to whether there are dangerous chemicals imparted from the liquid or internal parts into one’s lungs. As for herbal vaporizers, these are safer but not safe. In both cases, the major benefits are removing combustion and multiple chemicals from regular nicotine-based products. A lot of people are switching to these methods of “smoking” so as to reduce or eliminate nicotine.
As for portability, this is an important innovation. To quit smoking is ideal, but unrealistic. When vaporizers can go on the road with the minimum of hardware, providing a discrete way to vape, this frees the user from having to resort to smoking while away from home.
The Best Portable Vaporizers Money Can Buy
Advantages of owning a portable vaporizer (not a pen-style vape) include their convenience and stealthy profile. They slot into a pocket or bag easily and frequently resemble something entirely different.
Prices, compared with many top desktop models, are excellent. Portable vaporizers of quality are not linked to the issue of burning herbs, a problem that plagues pen vapes. What are the best portable vaporizers? The following list considers vaporizers I personally find appealing, but there are many others worth considering. I chose to profile the Pinnacle Pro, Firefly, Pax, and Magic Flight Launch Box.
The Pinnacle Pro
This Vaporblunt offering for around $210 is the company’s best model. It creates clean vapor consistently and the battery is excellent.
It lasts for hours, though how many is determined by the temperature selected. Lots of retailers carry this popular model because it sells well.
Five settings start at 370F and reach 470F: plenty to effectively heat concentrates so you can truly taste them.
Lower temperatures are advised for use with herbs. Measuring just 5″ x 1″, this is a stealthy little black number you can carry around discretely, barely noticing its weight.
It is easy to install bullets of wax or herbs, so named for their resemblance to used bullet casings.
If you have an old cell phone, maybe 5 to 10 years old, take it out. They aren’t as skinny as new models but are still pretty slick and easy to carry around.
Imagine yours in red, grey, or black and the Firefly could pass for one such item. That kind of deceptive design enables vaporizer consumers to conduct their business without strange looks and to carry devices which no one bothers to look at twice.
This device is elegant in solid, shiny colors and innovative in design. The cover is magnetic: there aren’t any screws to fiddle with if you have to remove the screen for any reason.
You can fully remove the cover for total access to the inner portions for cleaning and loading purposes. The vapor pathway is formed by putting the cover on: amazing.
Firefly batteries come right out to be charged and, ultimately, replaced. If you couldn’t do that, the device would have a finite life of perhaps 300 charges or around a year. The battery charges in around 45 minutes to provide more than twice that amount of vaping time.
When switched to “off,” the battery no longer stands ready to heat the element, so you can really make the battery last. Top temperature is 400F: ample for the herbs one can plant in here. Plan to hand over around $250, but expect to use your Firefly for years.
A Firefly is heavier than some models, like the others discussed here, but it’s all relative. Besides, a bit of heft is reassuring, indicating that the unit is made with quality materials.
Magic Flight Launch Box
Each Magic Flight Launch Box is a work of art in wood, engraved and assembled in the United States from renewable resources.
It is easy to operate and costs half the price of either product mentioned above: about $119. There is no plastic to create fumes or taint your vapor.
As a small item, there is a drawback: the need to refill it frequently.
Two AA batteries slide in and slide out: you can charge them externally and replace them when they die.
Heating requires mere seconds to produce a pure, fresh taste. Use it with herbs or concentrates.
Pax by Ploom
The people behind the Pax spent many years just thinking about, talking about, and drafting this unit. Over and over they scribbled and discussed until finally they could say their ideas were ready to be put to the test. What they came up with is one of the most popular vaporizers in America.
The magnetic lid is also a mouthpiece which can be opened, pushed in, or flipped to reveal the vapor hole and heating button. This part is replaceable if you lose it.
A light on the front shaped like an “x” lights up to tell you when the battery is losing power or what temperature you are at. All you do to change which mode you want is shake it. Then, instead of temperature, you see the color code for charge value.
The Pax comes with a built-in, rechargeable battery. That is a bit unfortunate; I mean it would be better to have a replaceable one. When you pay $250 for a vaporizer, you don’t want its life span to be decided by the longevity of something so silly.
But customers love their Pax. They love everything from the ingenious battery to the fact that it never gets too hot to hold. They love the colors and vapor, both its taste and density. It only works with herbs, and these will be fully, efficiently vaporized at the setting you select without creating ash.
Types Of Vaporizer Pens For Herbs And Oils
Vape Pens are either herbal and/or oil vaporizers or electronic cigarettes. This article is going to refer to the former group which work in a similar way but take a bit more work to look after.
The pen is one of many vaporizer shapes. Numerous other devices plug into a wall socket or can be used wirelessly and be plugged-in. Some come with butane, but most are wireless, portable devices that operate using a battery.
There are boxes with tubes coming out of them or balloons that fill with vapor plus a few with several tubes coming out at once for multiple users simultaneously. The most popular types of vaporizer, however, are those that are most convenient — the portable types.
Among these, novel shapes are always being developed so that vaporizing can be as discrete or as much fun as the consumer wishes. Some are classy, covered in wood-look materials or made from wood, coated in a metallic sheen, encased in heat-resistant plastic, etc.
Vaporizers cost as little as $50 or $60 and as much as $400. They can be purchased online from several dealers whose reputations are easy to check. Customers have posted reviews of products and retailers on vape forums for the benefit of new customers.
If you decide that a vape pen is the right device for you or choose one as a portable alternative to the one you have on your table at home, your reasons could be diverse. Vape pens look like real pens, so no one would give it a second thought unless the item was examined up close.
They fit into almost any pocket in one’s pants, coat, or bag. They are light to carry around. Sometimes consumers want to be seen using their vaporizers because they are beautiful and stylish accessories.
Several manufacturers make these devices and charge as much as $200 for a single one. The great news is that shipping is typically free for products priced over $100 (often less) so that is unlikely to be an added expense if you want the best and most expensive product.
A distinction between pens is that they might be used for oils or herbs but seldom both. Trying to adapt a device to do what you want is likely to destroy it.
Products in Brief
The Dube is a vaporizer for oils and dry blends, so this is great for someone who remains undecided. The pen is made by White Rhino, a well-known company in this industry. Their product is available in several colors, is very small, and affordable. On the down side, however, it is prone to overheating and only holds a small amount of material so refills will be frequent.
A G Pen is what some would call a starter model. For $80, it offers a simple introduction to vaping with oils only.
An Atmos RX, by contrast, is for dry blends only and for more than twice the price of a G Pen. The battery holds a charge for around 2 hours which is excellent for a battery this size achieving high temperatures.
Once upon a time, all vaporizers were tabletop vaporizers. With advanced engineering, they get smaller all the time. But tabletop or desktop machines are still favored by a lot of consumers. While they are bulky and do not lend themselves to vaping on the go, they bring several advantages with them.
A tabletop vaporizer plugs into a wall socket. Although this means you are stuck vaporizing wherever there is an outlet, that outlet provides consistent power. Unregulated batteries provide inconsistent power and they run out of power too. Unless you experience a power outage, your desktop vaporizer will run until your herbs or oils are gone.
Tabletop vaporizers can also be used in multiple ways. Choose the direct method, partial forced air, or full forced-air technique. Few vaporizers give you the option to do all three, but an Arizer Q (about $240) comes ready for multiple uses.
The whip is for direct-use (sucking). There is a forced-air assisted whip. Select the balloon method to enjoy effortless vaporizing.
Several models feature digital controls and others are analog-controlled (using a dial), but a few are available in both formats such as the Volcano by Storz and Bickel. Digital controls set the temperature more precisely and LED screens are pretty. Digital controls are more expensive than analog controls, however, and harder to replace when they wear out.
The Extreme Q adds another control option: remote control. Set temperature remotely or operate controls on the machine.
Ceramic is possibly the best heating element material around. It is neutral, a decent conductor, and holds its temperature well. The Easy Vape 5 Digital Hands-free vaporizer comes in 4 colors and features a ceramic heating element. The air pathway, however, is made of glass on glass. While ceramic is best for heat, glass is best for vapor. It will not add smells or flavors to your vapor the way heat-resistant plastics do.