Every vaping journey requires you to use the best hardware for the job. More often than not, the decision depends on your present smoking habits. But there are other equally important factors too that you need to take into consideration when buying the best vape.
These include determining if you want to purchase an e-cig with maximum power/battery life or getting something that’s discreet and small. Many people prefer buying a larger-sized device as it has the capability to last for the whole day. And let’s not forget the budget factor. Are you willing to splurge or spend wisely?
When you enter the vaping world, there’s a sea of options to choose from. The market offers different types and styles of devices. So it’s only logical to assume that the selection process can get confusing. And this is where my expertise comes into play.
My aim is to streamline the entire procedure. This way you can opt for a unit that suits your requirements the best. So let’s get to know more about these vapes and how they work. Are you ready? Time to begin!
1. Understanding The Anatomy Of The Device
The vapes available in the industry now vary when it comes to the design, form, and size. Even though they don’t have the same physical appearance, the parts underneath those layers are quite similar. These include battery, tank, mod, e-liquid, and coils.
Battery: It’s the power source of every device, isn’t it? In that case, batteries are either rechargeable or disposable. The latter is no good after it has been exhausted. Meanwhile, the former plugs into any power outlet or USB port to recharge.
Tank: The coils, wicks, and e-liquid are located in one spot known as the tank. And the tanks for vaping devices vary in functionality and design.
When using a simple vape, the tank contains the pre-made wicks and coils along with the e-liquid. On the other hand, advanced models give you the opportunity to create your own wicks and coils. And this allows you to achieve your desired throat hit, vapor output, and resistance.
Also, tanks of vaping units are either disposable or refillable.
Mod: This particular part stores the batteries that are connected to the atomizer (tank) of the vape.
E-liquid: The solution responsible for providing flavor along with throat and vapor hit is called the e-liquid of the device. More often than not, it contains nicotine, flavoring, vegetable glycerin, and propylene glycol. And what the e-liquid does is heat up the unit once it’s turned on. This function converts the heat into vapor when you exhale. (1)
Coils: The wired part of the vape, known as the coils, is found in its tank. These coils are either customized or pre-made. Not many people know this, but cotton or any other absorbent item is also pushed into the vape’s tank to absorb the e-liquid once the coils heat up.
2. Desktop Or Portable: What Do You Prefer?
The majority of people interested in vaping indulge in the activity while on the move. In that case, nothing beats the portability of a handheld device.
But the desktop versions are considered to be more powerful as well as capable of giving out thicker vapor. However, such a unit requires a power outlet. So it’s best to pick a tabletop or desktop model if you enjoy vaping your dry herbs at home.
Let me add another point for portable vapes here. The price of their desktop counterparts is slightly on the higher side. So it’s not such a bad idea to opt for a portable option even when vaping at home. (2)
But if you’re a newbie, then my best advice to you would be to buy the latest desktop vape. Nevertheless, let me highlight the features of both the versions so you know what to pick depending on where you like to vape.
The battery-powered portable units offer more efficiency. They come with rechargeable batteries that need plugging in periodically. While some devices have the disposable kinds of batteries.
The flame vaporizers produce smoke as a result of heating from a standard lighter. More often than not, they are affordable and easy to use. But on the downside, flame vaporizers produce relatively thinner vapor and are considered to be less efficient.
The butane vaporizers use butane for heating. Butane is the same liquid used in lighters. This means you might have to refill butane often if you vape regularly.
The whip vaporizers are small devices that consist of vinyl, silicone, or glass wand tubing. They have a mouthpiece that helps you pull the entire vapor from the device.
The bag or balloon vaporizers give you the opportunity to inhale from the bag or balloon directly. These are considered to be the most suitable desktop vapes for groups.
Lastly, the dual vaporizers add tons of flexibility to the whole vaping experience. You can either fill a bag/balloon or opt for a whip.
3. Concentrates Or Flowers: What Do You Smoke?
Concentrates include waxes, oils, etc. while flowers are marijuana trees or dry herbs. So when choosing a vape for yourself, buy a device that’s suitable for your vaping needs.
Portable devices accommodate both concentrates and flowers. And the deluxe desktop units often come with oil attachments. But if you’re more into vaping herbs or marijuana than concentrates, then you’re better off buying a vape created for just dry herbs.
Daily smokers prefer using the desktop devices as their portable kin don’t deliver strong medicated feelings.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that concentrates give you a comparatively more powerful hit. This means that flowers offer less potency with about 30 percent concentrated THC. But with concentrates such as hashes, shatters, taffies, and waxes, the value increases to 90-95 percent concentrated THC. (3)
So what does that tell you? It means that concentrates require minimal medicine to vaporize. At the same time, their effect is more intense.
4. The Price Factor Of Vapes
Don’t decide how much you’re willing to spend after looking at what’s available on the market. You should know your budget beforehand. But why is that? It’s because there are many high-quality desktop units that cost a lot of money. And this can turn out to be quite intimidating.
But don’t let this lead you to believe that you need to drill a huge hole in your wallet if you want to start vaping. The industry offers a broad range of options that fall at both ends of the price spectrum.
In that case, if you’re a budget-friendly consumer who doesn’t want to spend too much money on a vape, then what’s your best option? The answer is concentrate pens. They don’t cost anything more than sixty bucks and come with a battery and cartridge.
5. Consider The Different Types Of Vape Devices
This section helps in answering an important question. Should you buy an A La Carte System or a Complete System?
The majority of pen style units along with a few cig-a-likes vaporizers feature complete systems. You can bring in the juice and opt for either a disposable atomizer or replaceable coil atomizer. The latest models on the market are nothing but individual components that allow you to assemble a single device with different, customized parts to suit your particular vaping needs. (4)
So don’t look for a wrong or right answer here as the decision depends on convenience and personal preferences. Complete systems give you the opportunity to purchase a single device in one go. But the other option offers more customization, thus a better experience.
What you see below is a list of the most common configurations of vaporizers. Understanding each of them helps in simplifying the process of finding different combinations in an easier and more affordable manner.
Pen style vape devices/eGo: These have a large design with a more powerful battery life. The tank style of pen devices is clearomizer (check next section for more info on atomizers). They are more suitable for budget-friendly buyers. Plus, the ease of use is also another deciding factor.
However, one disappointing aspect of pen style vapes is that the high resistance of the unit uses coils. This means that they can’t provide great flavor or abundant vapor.
VW/VV vape devices: Many people prefer these types of vaporizers due to the high effectiveness and advanced features. The VW/VV models come with internal batteries, which are either replaceable INY or IMR hybrid lithium versions.
You will also be quite thrilled to know that these devices allow you to adjust the output power with the help of wattage, voltage, or sometimes both. So you get a larger output range and compatible atomizers along with better overall customization.
TC vape devices: TC stands for temperature control. Never heard of this before? Well, the temperature controlled units are new on the market. They work by adjusting to the heat changes in the resistance of the coil. This keeps the power of the vape in check depending on the settings you select to keep the coil from overheating.
Mechanical vape devices: If there are any simple devices to use, these are it. The construction doesn’t include any circuitry or wires. Even the design doesn’t have many moving parts. So you don’t need to worry about durability.
But this also highlights the lack of safety or protection features. And that means mechanical devices are not suitable or safe to use when it comes to inexperienced users. They might end up pushing the limits associated with vaping.
But if you’re an advanced user who knows much about ohm laws, battery safety, and other electrical concepts, there’s no cause for worry.
Cig-a-likes vape devices: Nothing beats the popularity of cig-a-likes in the industry. These come as either refillable or disposable options. Both of which perform in a similar manner with only one exception. The disposable devices are of no good once the battery or liquid gets exhausted. But when dealing with the refillable cig-a-likes, you can recharge the battery and refill the e-liquid as and when required. (5)
But here’s the drawback. The thing about cig-a-likes is that they don’t produce enough flavor or vapor. The battery life is also quite low, which means you might not be able to vape for long hours without going through the trouble of plugging in the device all the time. On the upside, the compact, small structure of the devices brings portability into the picture. And that seems to make up for the lack of other things.
6. What Type Of Atomizer To Choose?
If you want to purchase a vape that offers high performance, it’s important for you to understand atomizers. So let’s find out, shall we?
Cartomizer/Cartridge: These two have a lot in common. They are a part of only cig-a-likes. The devices come with the heating coil that uses a tube-like removable mouthpiece. This is the component responsible for holding the e-liquid and wicking material. Another design composition consists of a tube with the removable tip of the mouthpiece that serves the same purpose.
Both the options are disposable and refillable. And here’s the negative point. Cartomizers and cartridges offer restrictive draw and little airflow. So the vapor and flavor are as not as great as the other atomizer styles.
Clearomizer: This is considered to be the most popular option available on the current market. The tank system has a refillable structure with a coil head that you can easily replace.
The majority of clearomizers deliver adjustable airflow. This makes them suitable for beginners as they have the ability to offer moderate flavor production and vapor. Usually, clearomizers are found in pen style vape devices.
Sub Ohm Tank/Clearomizer: Just like the clearomizer, this version functions with sub-ohm equipped resistance coils. It has a comparatively larger inlet for juice and greater airflow that’s adjustable.
These types of atomizers can resist heat often accompanied by sub-ohm coils. They are an ideal choice for users who desire more vapor production or flavor without having to build coils for sub-ohm vaping.
RDA’s: It stands for Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers. These use self-made wicks and coils, but without any tanks. This means they come with the drip well instead. Such a component is located under the coils and houses the wicks that absorb the e-liquid before feeding it to those coils with the help of surface tension.
So when working with this kind of an atomizer, you need to keep dripping some e-liquid on the coils. And more often than not, this can get quite messy. What does that tell you? It means that the unit demands frequent attention. But when done right, it works as a powerhouse of flavor and vapor.
RDA’s have the ability to hold a larger variety and quantity of coils, and that makes up for all the inconvenience caused due to frequent dripping. Plus, you don’t need to wait for the tank to dry for a new change. So it sounds like an apt choice for people who enjoy changing flavors rapidly. (6)
RTA’s: These are Rebuildable Tank Atomizers, and they work just like clearomizers. They feature the tank system, which enables easy e-liquid refilling. But unlike clearomizers, RTA’s have tanks that require you to build customized wicks and coils instead of making use of the pre-made versions.
Now we all know how convenient it is to work with head coils that are pre-made, don’t we? But that takes away the pleasure of creating a coil with your desired resistance. When you have the chance of changing the wire size, coil style, etc., you can achieve better control over the atomizer. And this offers long-term effectiveness even when cost is concerned.
All in all, RTA’s are an excellent option for people who require top notch flavor and vapor production. They are more suitable for you if you already possess or don’t mind acquiring basic electrical knowledge and mechanical skills.
7. Coil Resistance Of Vapes: Why Does It Matter?
When taking the coils of the vapes into account, you should know that they deliver various resistances. The standard coils are considered to be above 1.0Ω while the sub-ohm models have a lower value. But the latter isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Let’s find out why!
Lower resistance means coils have a larger size and surface area. Due to the latter, more juice meets the coil, which results in an increase in the vapor and flavor production. (7)
But the two major drawbacks tend to outweigh this single advantage. With lower resistance, you need additional power for operation. So you get a shorter span for your battery life. And this leads to charging your device more frequently.
The second disadvantage comes in the form of extra heat generation. When resistance is low, the vapor becomes warm quickly. Now there’s nothing wrong about the unit heating up, am I right? But excessive heat might cause battery damage, physical burns along with burnt e-liquid and wicks.
8. Buy Pure Titanium, Avoid Titanium Alloy
When it comes to locating the most popular selling point of vapes, it’s the titanium construction of the device. But not all manufacturers use the same type of titanium. Some opt for Grade 1 titanium while the other go with Grade 2. These two are considered to be high in quality, unlike titanium alloy that a few companies use instead of the original material.
So how do you tell if the unit you chose has a pure titanium design or not? The answer is quite simple. Any titanium equipped product has a label that states the grade of the metal. But when that’s not the case, you should know that titanium alloy has been used instead.
The part where metal alloys let you down is associated with testing. More often than not, they are not subjected to testing. So you don’t have a clue about the health effects of such a device.
As far as vaporizing coils are concerned, they come in a variety of options. These include the two titanium grades, titanium alloy, kanthal, nichrome, or any other unknown alloy. The material used for construction depends on the brand. (8)
Also, you should know that the Grade 2 version of titanium contains an iron content of at least 0.30 percent. And remember that more iron tends to lower the quality of titanium.
If you really care about this aspect, then here’s what you can do to test the quality of your vape. First, know that the majority of original titanium atomizers work with only sub-ohm version batteries. And that’s because of the low resistance range. This means that if you spot a device whose manufacturer claims that it uses either Grade 1 or 2 titanium with a regular e-cig battery, don’t trust those claims.
And secondly, always make it a point to talk to the vendor about the composition of the vape’s materials. If they don’t agree to provide you with the testing results, avoid buying that product.
9. The Temperature Control Technology Of Vapes
When it comes to TC technology, you ought to know its limits. Many vendors have a habit of claiming that their batteries deliver larger degree temperature control, but that’s not always true. (9)
Just like the titanium material, batteries that guarantee temperature control specificity are tricky and expensive to produce. In that case, most of the batteries that you come across on the market target temperature with the help of the voltage traveling through the unit’s atomizer coil. As a result of which, the temperature continues to rise and reach beyond the desires value. And what this does is compromise the cannabinoids and terpenes effects along with the flavors.
The most accurate way of stating the function of these batteries comes in the form of “temperature estimation.”
10. With Or Without Teflon Coating: What To Pick?
When portable vaporizers came into being, their structure involved the use of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This element has a simple name too, it’s called Teflon. And it comes in the form of a non-stick type of coating. (10)
But it didn’t take time for people to realize that Teflon has the ability to melt when in use. And working with such a device means exposure to dangerous gases and chemicals, even polymer fumes. The fumes, in particular, lead to the development of Teflon flu, medically known as polymer fume fever.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about this when buying a vape from a well-reputed brand. Most of these companies don’t use Teflon when manufacturing their products. Nevertheless, don’t forget to check if your choice of vape device includes Teflon or not.
11. What Are The Best Materials For Atomizers?
If high performance is your absolute concern, you should take the material of the atomizer into account as well. The options in this department include titanium alloys, titanium, copper, ceramic, and quartz. Now let’s find out the limitations and benefits of each material.
Quartz atomizers are coil-less versions, and they are considered to be the smoothest and most efficient of the lot. Another excellent choice is titanium as it offers great taste with huge hits. Then comes titanium alloys that tend to vary from device to device.
Lastly, the ceramic atomizers are the least favorite. And that’s because they don’t yield large vapor hits like the quartz models. But in their defense, the ceramics are safer to use. (11)
12. What You Should Know About Vape Pen Attachments
These attachments have either a stainless steel or copper design. With the latter, the safety factor tends to get compromised. But that doesn’t take away the effectiveness of the material. What I mean to say is that copper exudes fumes when it reaches a temperature above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. And these fumes put your health at risk. (12)
On the upside, not many vaporizers hit that temperature. But if you’re dealing with a low-quality device, the chances of the atomizer reaching such a high temperature only to burn the concentrates and deliver dense vapor clouds are likely.
On the other hand, attachments with a stainless steel construction are quite limited on the market. So you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that most atomizers that use the standard e-cig batteries don’t cross the 1000-degree Fahrenheit temperature limit. Nevertheless, vape pen consumers are opting for box mod type of batteries that have nothing to do with copper attachments.
So it’s only logical to believe that stainless steel attachments are a better option as far as safety is concerned.
13. Get To Know The Chargers And Batteries Of Vapes
Without understanding the batteries of the units, how do you expect to buy something that ranks high in performance!
Most of the e-cig models charge by plugging in directly. The majority of first-timers prefer using automatic batteries. And the reason is quite evident, isn’t it? It’s because they want the cig-a-likes and traditional cigarettes to not look and feel too far apart. This helps in making the transition to vaping from smoking more natural and easier.
Automatic batteries can register when you’re inhaling; this is how they turn on automatically. But with the manual counterparts, you have to press a button and hold it down for the thing to start working.
When batteries offer variable voltages, you get the opportunity to decrease or increase the voltage. And doing something like that is a piece of cake now, thanks to technology. It allows you to adjust the amount of throat hit and vapor according to your preferences.
The capacity of every battery comes in the form of mAh (milliamp hours). When this value is high, you know that the battery is going to last longer. In that context, most of the e-cig device batteries provide an output of 3.7 volts. (13)
Now it’s time to talk about battery life. This particular factor depends on the way you use the unit. When working with a larger voltage value, the chances of the battery draining quickly are quite high. But that’s not the case with lower voltages and those who take short drags. Longer drags, on the contrary, exhaust the battery life sooner.
So it’s important that you charge the device completely before using it. And thanks to the lithium ion construction of these batteries, they don’t overcharge. So you don’t need to keep a check on that aspect.
14. What Vapor Quality Do You Prefer?
One of the most important factors to look into during the buying process is the quality of the vapor. This means the overall vapor consistency and flavor that the unit is responsible for producing. So keeping that in mind, two elements contribute to influencing the quality. And they are temperature control and heating method.
First, let’s talk about temperature control. When you get a vape device that allows you to change the temperature setting, it constitutes as a huge advantage. This implies that you can achieve the perfect kind of consistency and flavor you enjoy at your vapor sessions.
And here’s an incredibly valuable piece of information. When the temperature is on the lower side, the more flavorful and thinner the vapor will be. But this might not work for you if you’re trying to quit smoking. In that case, you require a thicker vapor with more consistency. (14)
The next factor to discuss is the heating method. Vapes use either the convection or conduction process. Conduction vaporizing allows the heat source to come in contact with those herbs. It is considered to be the most suitable option for portables as they contain small heating chambers.
But here’s the disappointing part. The conduction versions offer flavor that tends to diminish during the session. They also give rise to hot spots, which means uneven herb cooking. And lastly, the vapor becomes harsh at a high temperature.
This brings us to convection vaporization. The process involves the heated air being pulled through and over the herbs either by the internal vaporizer fan or manual inhalation.
You will be quite thrilled to know that the convection models deliver good flavor throughout the entire session. And even at a high temperature, they give you an even cook with a smoother vapor. Such an installation is mainly found in the high end units of the market.
15. How Convenient To Use Is The Device?
Easy usability is a part of every good product. Even maintenance plays a major role in determining the convenience factor of electronic devices. Some vapes come with multiple adapters and parts that require more attention before you begin the process of vaping. And such a structure might cause inconvenience.
But then there are portable options too that are just as user-friendly as you’d want them to be. These units don’t have too many bells, whistles, and buttons. So don’t forget to think about maintenance and ease of use when choosing a vape.
You should know that many vaporizers feature removable parts, which means you can clean them easily. So it’s best to opt for such options if you don’t mind cleaning your vape once in a while. In that regard, get something with a glass construction as it is easier to clean.
If you want to buy a decent product, it’s necessary to do a thorough research. Apart from the points discussed above, also look into the warranty of the vape. Most models offer standard warranties, but it’s always advisable to get a better deal.
And it doesn’t matter if you enjoy short vaping sessions or you vape for longer hours. Buying the best vaporizer device enhances every experience. So feel free to opt for more advanced units even if all you require is a starter kit.