Cigalikes, Vape Pens & Vape MODs – All You Need to Know About Different Vape Devices & E-Liquid Vaping

Switching to vaping can be a grueling and difficult process. Beginners are so often baffled by the terminology (a quick look down the list will let you know why) and the sheer amount of available vaping devices that it seems overwhelming. If you’re one of those vaping ‘noobs’, don’t despair – we’ve all been there. We all faced that dilemma – should I opt for a cigalike? Or maybe a vape pen? And what the heck are these vape box MODs everyone is talking about? The vaping community tosses weird terms with abandon and sometimes there’s no way for a beginner to make heads or tails of it all.

Well, since it’s high time that someone brings a bit of order into all this chaos, we’ve decided to draw up this quick and dirty guide to vaping. We’ll focus exclusively on e-liquid vape devices here. You can learn more concentrate, dry herb, and oil vaporizers in their respective posts – just click on the links and that’s that!

Ready to learn more about vape MODs, vape pens, RBAs, vape e-liquid and all those other confusing terms? If so, let’s dig in.

Why Switch to Vaping in the First Place?

Before we move on to the fine details, let’s answer that first question you’re mulling over. A switch to vaping is the best thing you can do for yourself if you’re a smoker. The reasons are countless but here’s a quick list that you can refer to if you’re in doubt:

  • Supposed health benefits – even though the FDA disagrees, a lot of experts claim that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking. Read online testimonies of ex-smokers and current vapers and decide for yourself.
  • Associated savings – investing in vaping is slightly pricey in the beginning but, in the long run, it’s much cheaper than cigarettes.
  • Added convenience – although some states are toughening their laws on vaping, you’re still allowed to vape in most bars and restaurants.
  • More socially acceptable – the American society sees smoking as something dirty (although 15 of adults are at least occasional smokers). Vaping has way less of a stigma attached to it.
  • No associated odor – if you want, you can vape on completely odorless vape juices. Smokers always smell like an ashtray, despite their best efforts to cover it up.

The list goes on and on. Instead of inhaling close to 6 thousand chemical compounds just to get one that you crave (nicotine) isn’t it smarter to switch to vaping? You get the same kick but with far fewer toxins entering your system.

E-Liquid Vaping Guide for Beginners – Types of Devices, Vape Batteries, Atomizers, and E-Liquids

Since we want to be as comprehensive as possible, we’ll divide things up a bit. If you’re a new vaper or if you’re currently considering about switching to vaping, your questions tend to follow a logical pattern. You’re most likely curious about various vape devices first. Then you move on to different types of tanks (or atomizers – the part where e-liquid evaporates). You vape tank will make a huge difference to whether you stick with vaping or not, but the choice eventually boils down to personal preference. Last, but not least, you want to know about what you’re vaping so, naturally, you will have a lot of questions about vape juice (alternatively, e-liquid).

So let’s tackle each of those questions one by one:

  • Types of Vape Devices – Cigalikes, Vape Pens & Vape Mods

 

  • Different Types of Atomizers – Cartomizers, Tanks & Sub-ohm Tanks, RBAs

 

  • Vape Juice – Propylene Glycol & Vegetable Glycerin & Flavors

 

Types of Vape Devices

When it comes to vape devices, we generally divide them into three separate categories:

  • Cigalikes
  • Vape Pens
  • Vape Mods

 

 

They are all battery-powered but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t major differences between them – temperature range, coil preheating, presets, variable voltage settings, battery life. Those differences greatly affect flavor intensity and vapor production. Let’s have a closer look at each one and see what the pros and the cons are.

Cigalikes

Cigalikes are named like that because they resemble analog cigarettes: cigarette-like. Basically, they are the 1st generation e-cigarettes that mimic the analogs to perfection, all the way down to the LED tip that glows red when you take a puff.

Their biggest pro is that they are extremely small, making them very portable. They have another thing going for them – they look like cigarettes so the transition is that much easier. However, they do have a lot of shortcomings:

  • Short battery life
  • Limited vape juice capacity (1ml)
  • Non-refillable cartomizers
  • Overall cost is substantial (cartomizers are expensive)
  • Limited functionality
  • No real control

Cigalikes have, for the most part, been replaced by vape pens, which offer user way more functionality and the ability to play around with their setups more. Still, a lot of vapers still own cigalikes in addition to their other vape devices – some because they are hopeless romantics and others because they use them on the go.

Vape Pens

Vape pens are a big step up from cigalikes. They offer users a lot more functionality and are usually just slightly bigger, so there’s really no difference whether you are carrying a vape pen or a cigalike in terms of portability and size. They look like an oversized fountain pen, hence the name.

Vape pens have plenty of pros when compared to cigalikes:

  • Larger capacity battery and low battery consumption
  • Use refillable clearomizers or tanks instead of one-off cartomizers
  • Ability to easily switch out the flavors
  • Improved taste and vapor production
  • Cost-efficient since you can buy cheap vape juice
  • Ability to regulate voltage and temperature for a better vaping experience
  • Highly accessible and affordable

Some e liquid vape pens can be used with other vaping materials, such as oils and concentrates. The Kind Pen offers these all-in-one devices at great prices and you can easily find a vape pen kit that will ease you into the world of vaping right here.

Vape pen kits are easy to use, refill and clean. They consist of three separate parts:

  • Battery – a built-in battery that’s the engine of your vape setup. New technology has allowed manufacturers to really expand the functionality of vape pens so they now feature variable voltage and wattage, as well as temperature adjustment.
  • Clearomizer or a tank – a clearomizer or a tank is where you put in the vape juice. It holds a coil and wicking that soaks up e liquid and heats it up. Clearomizers are an older technology, similar to cartomizers in cigalikes. The main difference is that they can be refilled. On the other hand, a vape pen with a tank is a good investment because you can not only refill it but also change the wicking and coils, using the same tank for a good, long while.

 

  • Mouthpiece – usually made from stainless steel, durable and heat-resistant plastic, or ceramic. The mouthpiece is the part that you put in your mouth and draw vapor through.

Vape MODs

Vape MODs have been around for a while but are mostly used by experienced vapers who want more power so they can vape on lower resistances (lower resistance vaping means more vapor and a more pronounced flavor). MOD stands for MODified because first MODs were made from any old thing – a flashlight, a metal box, anything that could fit a large rechargeable 18650 battery.

These days, modern vape MODs are the pinnacle of vaping devices. However, they are not for everybody and have both their pros and cons, much like everything else.

Vape MOD Pros:

  • Provide a lot of power for lower resistance builds (under 1 ohm)
  • Can produce copious amounts of vapor
  • Packed with features
  • True temperature control (chip detects the coil used and adjusts temperature)
  • Will take all 510 threaded tanks
  • LED display with vaping information (wattage, voltage, number of puffs, battery life)
  • Coil preheat for rapid firing

Vape MOD Cons:

  • Dangerous when not handled correctly (as is pretty much everything that has an 18650 battery)
  • Big and bulky – box-shaped
  • Quickly burns through a battery, especially at higher settings
  • Portable but not very pocket-friendly

So those are the three types of most common vaping devices. Old cigalikes are slowly fading out but new vape pens and MODs are constantly being designed and manufactured. For starters, we would advise beginner users to dip their toe and go with a vape pen kit. These kits (such as the Discreet) are perfect for both home and on-the-go use. If you decide that you need more vapor or want a more powerful rig, you can always find a vape MOD that suits your vaping style. However, starting out with a MOD, especially when you know nothing about battery safety, can be dangerous.

Different Types of Atomizers

As we already mentioned, an atomizer is a key component of your vape kit, regardless if it’s a vape pen or a vape MOD. It’s where the coil and the wicking material are stored which then heat up the e liquid and evaporate it for you to inhale. There are a lot of different atomizers on the market but they will mostly fit in one of the following three categories:

  • Cartomizers/Clearomizers
  • Tanks/Sub-ohm Tanks
  • Rebuildable Atomizers (RBAs)

 

Cartomizers/Clearomizers

Cartomizers are first-generation atomizers that are used with cigalikes. They are disposable and can’t be refilled – in fact, they can’t even be opened unless you pry them open with a pin or a needle. Cartomizers are falling out of grace because they are expensive and limited in flavor choices.

Clearomizers are a step up from cartomizers – they are transparent (hence clear in the clearomizer) and refillable. First used with the old eGo-style vape pens, they are slowly being phased out in favor of tanks and sub-ohm tanks which offer users more choices and more customizability.

Tanks/Sub-ohm Tanks

Tanks are basically oversized clearomizers with replaceable coils but there are some marked distinctions that make them a couple of notches better. When you bump into someone vaping these days, it’s a safe bet that they are using a regular tank or a sub-ohm tank.

Sub-ohm tanks are the same as regular tanks. The only difference is that they have been designed for firing at sub-ohm resistances (less than 1 ohm). That means that they have larger wicking holes to keep up with more rapid evaporation.

Vape Tank Pros:

  • Bigger vape juice capacity (from 2ml up to 6ml, or even more)
  • 510-threaded – can be used with old eGo-style pens and new vape MODs
  • Airflow adjustability – tight draw versus more air for better cloud production
  • Made from glass and tolerate ‘harsher’ liquids that would damage plastic clearomizers
  • Better flavor and vapor production
  • Spit-back protection and no gurgling (a mouthful of juice is a real possibility with clearomizers)
  • Easy to use and refillable
  • Compatible with temperature control coils (minimizes dry burns)

Vape Tank Cons:

  • Require a more powerful battery – preferably a dual battery MOD
  • More expensive than a clearomizer but still affordable

Rebuildable Atomizers (RBAs)

RBAs, like vape MODs, are geared towards experienced vapers. The name says it – rebuildable atomizers. This means that you have to wrap your own coils (for the desired resistance) and thread your own wicking through it. This might look like a lot of work but most vapers do it because they want their coil in just the right style and resistance since they have a preference. It all comes down to your tastes, really. There are two different types of RBAs – rebuildable dripping atomizers (RDAs) and rebuildable tank atomizers).

RDAs have an open deck with exposed coils and wicking. The vape juice is dripped directly onto the coils. This allows users to quickly swap between different flavors because there is no need to empty the tank beforehand (since there isn’t one to begin with).

RTAs are basically just tanks (usually sub-ohm) that have a larger deck and use custom-built instead of factory-built coils. Intended for vapers who want the convenience of a tank but prefer to build their own coils.

RBA Pros:

  • Cheaper than pre-built coils
  • Affordable
  • Great performance with great flavor and vapor production
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Compatible with most batteries
  • Great for tailoring your own vaping experience

RBA Cons:

  • Knowledge of safe building and Ohm’s law highly recommended
  • More complicated than buying coils
  • Can leak if not built properly
  • Recommended for use with a vape MOD

A Quick Guide to Vape Juice Ingredients

Just because you finally stopped poisoning yourself with analog cigarettes doesn’t mean you get a free pass. Vape juices are important vaping consideration and you want to make sure that you’re vaping on quality ones.

As far as vape juice ingredients go, we can divide them into 4 categories:

  • Propylene Glycol
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Flavorings
  • Nicotine

Nicotine is a no-brainer – it’s what every ex-smoker is craving and e-liquid is just a way to safely consume it. While it’s not the safest of substances, it’s far less toxic than tar and other cancerogenics found in cigarettes. Flavorings, on the other hand, are just that – different types of flavorings that give vape juices their distinct taste and smell. They can range from chocolate and orange all the way up to more exotic ones, such as taro root, ylang-ylang, or even crab legs (yep, it’s true)!

Both Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are odorless, tasteless liquids that comprise the most of the vape juice. They are used as suspension liquids for nicotine and flavorings. Modern vape juices are a mix between PG and VG – since both liquids have distinct properties, mixing them in different amounts will produce different results.

We tend to talk about high VG or high PG vape juices. This can get complicated in this department but it’s enough to remember a few key pointers.

Choose higher PG (50/50 PG/VG mix) vape juices if:

    • You’re not into clouds – high PG juices produce less vapor.
    • You want a throat hit – PG mimics throat scratching associated with cigarettes.
    • You want to save your coils– PG will gunk up your coils less than VG.

 

  • You’re all about the flavor – PG does not affect flavor.

 

On the other hand, higher VG vape juices (20/80 PG/VG mix) might be more to your liking if:

  • You want smoothness – high VG juices have no throat hit.
  • You like a sweeter taste – VG is slightly sugary and alters the taste.
  • You love clouds – VG produces more vapor.
  • You don’t mind changing coils often – VG will gunk up your coils more than PG.

Both VG and PG are safe to ingest and have very low toxicity. However, there are people who have an allergy to VG or PG – or to both (although this is extremely rare). If you’re one of them you will want to avoid your allergen – if it’s PG, stick to high VG juices (90% VG or more) and vice-versa.

E-liquid Vaping – The Final Word

We hope that this quick overview of vaping gear and e liquids was helpful. Of course, there’s a lot more to tell about vaping so stay tuned because we’ll be putting out detailed posts about the subject and covering things in-depth. This post, however, should give you a pretty good idea of what to look for when you’re just starting out with vaping.

Our recommendation is getting started with a good vape pen because they are easy to use and uncomplicated, but still offer great flavor and good vapor production – pick one from The Kind Pen collection if you’re looking for quality and functionality paired with great design.

If you have any questions, make sure to drop us a line – we’ll be happy to give you some pointers when choosing one of our pens. For other questions gives us a shout in the comment section!

Anthony