Electronic cigarettes aren’t what they used to be. When e-cigs first came out, they were simple devices with few options to choose from. These days, there’s a whole world of e-cigarette styles to choose from, making it anything but easy for newcomers to vaping to figure out what to buy for their first e-cig. This guide will explain what the main styles of e-cigarettes are and why vapers choose to use them and look for them in the best online vape stores.
The Standard E-Cigarette: The “Cig-A-Like”
The original e-cigarette designs were reminiscent of cigarettes in terms of appearance and usage. While they don’t require a lighter and instead rely on internal batteries to heat the e-liquid that they use, they often don’t have any buttons on them and are activated through puff detection. This means that when the user puffs, a sensor detects that the e-cig is in use and starts producing vapor until the user stops inhaling. These types of e-cigarettes are known as cig-a-likes and they are what started it all.
Cig-a-like e-cigarettes are typically cylindrical in shape and roughly the length and diameter of a cigarette. They’re designed to work with cartridges that typically come prefilled with e-liquid and are not designed to be refilled, although there are those that are refillable. Many e-cig refills are only available in a limited number of flavors, however, there are brands that offer customers quite a few flavors to choose from. Due the e-liquid limitation of e-cigarette refills that are not designed to be refilled by users, some vapers prefer to use refillable cartridges, as this opens up a world of e-liquid possibilities otherwise unavailable when using prefills.
The main benefit of cig-a-likes is their similarities to cigarettes. Although they produce vapor and not smoke, they’re used in much the same fashion as a normal cigarette and they look and feel similar to the cigarettes that they somewhat emulate. This attribute alone is reason for some smokers to choose cig-a-likes when they move to vaping.
Another benefit of the cig-a-like design is its portability. Being small certainly has its benefits, especially when it comes to e-cigarettes that will end up taking space in a vaper’s pocket all day.
Cig-a-likes evolved to some extent to create pod-based e-cigs like those made by Blu and Juul. While they’re essentially the same as a cig-a-like and may very well be classified as such, they are what is known as pod vapes. Pod vapes, like standard cig-a-likes, use e-liquid cartridges, which are known as pods.
Like cig-a-likes, pod vapes are composed of two parts: the battery and the pod, which is also known as a cartridge or cartomizer.
Pod Vape Benefits
The main benefit to using a pod-based vape is ease of use. Like cig-a-likes, pod vapes are often designed to use a cartridge or “pod” that comes prefilled with e-liquid. Once the e-liquid inside of the pod is gone, the vaper simply tosses the pod and replaces it with a new one. Notably, some pod vapes work with refillable pods.
Another benefit to using a pod vape is portability, as most pod vapes are compact and easy to fit into a pocket.
Simple & Powerful: Vape Pens
While generally less compact than their cig-a-like rivals, vape pens have increased in popularity over the years in part due to their convenience and power. While cig-a-likes are often powered by small batteries, vape pens harness the power of larger, more powerful batteries. As a result, they provide more vaping power which can translate into more time vaping before recharging becomes necessary. Often times, they also offer multiple temperature settings, which provides a simple means by which to control the density of the vapor that they produce.
Many vape pens today are designed to work with vape cartridges that use 510 thread. This threading has become an industry standard, and as such, they are often easy to find as many retailers carry them.
Some vape pens provide options that are not seen in cig-a-likes, such as variable voltage and adjustable airflow. These options allow vapers to calibrate their vapes to perform to personal expectation. Through adjusting these features, vapers can ensure that their vape produces vapor to their liking. These features can also prove useful for vapers who use different types of e-liquid, as some e-liquids vape better at different voltage levels.
Vape Pen Benefits
The benefits of using a vape pen are many. They include the possibility of variable voltage, adjustable airflow, multiple temperature settings, longer-lasting batteries, more powerful vapor production, the ability to use virtually any e-liquid thanks to their refillable design, and compatibility with a wide range of cartridges thanks to the fact that they often support 510 thread cartridges.
While vape pens offer increased power over cig-a-likes, they are typically larger. However, the size increase is often perceived as negligible as they are still compact and portable.
Vape Mods: Custom Vaping For Advanced Vapers
For experienced vapers, vape mods are sometimes seen as the pinnacle of vaping hardware. They offer features that other vapes often forgo, however, they can be significantly more complex as far as usage is concerned, making them less than ideal for beginner vapers.
Like vape pens, vape mods are generally designed to be refilled. This allows for virtually any e-liquid to be used, which is a far cry from the e-liquid limitations of many cig-a-likes.
Typically, vape mods are seen as the powerhouses in the vaping hardware scene. They provide more power than their competitors, but this often comes at the cost of increased size or a lack of portability.
Vape Mod Benefits
The main benefits to using a vape mod are increased control over vapor production and more powerful vapor production thanks to their more powerful batteries. Another big benefit to using a vape mod is the possibility of larger tanks that can hold more e-liquid, which decrease the frequency of refills. The downsides, however, are decreased portability and complicated usage.
As they can be more complicated to use than cig-a-likes and vape pens, they are not often recommended for beginner vapers.
Drip Tip Vapes
Top loading vapes, known as drip tips, are designed to be loaded with e-liquid from the top. There’s no need to refill, as e-liquid is simply dripped directly onto the atomizer when it’s time to vape. They are also known as top-fill vapes as result of their design.
Drip Tip Vape Benefits
The main benefit to using a drip tip is enhanced flavor. Many vapers who use them claim that e-liquid tastes better when vaped with a drip tip, however, they are also seen as less convenient by some vapers.
Like vape pens and vape mods, drip tips are designed to work with virtually any e-liquid, which provides users of drip tips with the option to use the e-liquid of their preference. This comes in stark contrast to many cig-a-likes, which are only designed to be used with the prefilled cartridges that their manufacturer offers, greatly limiting the number of e-liquids that can be used.
Which E-Cigarette Style Is Right For You?
The best e-cig for you is likely the one that fits your needs and preferences. If you’re a former smoker who is just looking for something easy to use, a cig-a-like may be right up your alley as it is the most similar to a conventional cigarette. However, you may opt for something a bit more powerful with more e-liquid options like a vape pen.
Advanced vapers may opt for a vape mod, which offers the most powerful vapor production of today’s vapes.
Those who are after the best-tasting vapor may look towards drip tip vapes as their ideal, as drip tips are well known across the industry for the incredible flavor.
For many vapers, vape pens are the perfect inbetween. They’re powerful, yet still compact, and they’re also generally easy to use while still offering useful features and the ability to use just about any e-liquid.