There are many types of e-cigarettes or starter vape kits on the market. These devices offer good performance without being complicated to use or expensive to buy. For easier explanation, we will group these kits into three categories and will explain the benefits and drawbacks of each group. By the end, you should be able to make an informed decision on which type of vaping starter kit is best suited for you.
Disposable Cig-A-Likes and Closed Pod Systems
The Disposable Cig-A-Likes and Closed Pod Systems are a great way to try switching to vaping. They are often inexpensive to start with, convenient and easy to use.
The devices consist of a rechargeable battery and a disposable ‘pod’ which contains the nicotine infused eliquid and the heating element that produces the vapour. To use the device, you simply connect the pod to the battery and inhale. These devices are generally activated by what we refer to as “auto-draw”, so when you inhale the battery is activated and the heating element inside the pod vaporises the eliquid.
On most cig-a-like devices, a small led light lights up to indicate the device is active. When the battery is running low, some devices will flash in a different colour to let you know it’s time to recharge the battery. Most cig-a-likes are recharged via a USB cable, just be sure to carefully follow your device manual and never leave your e-cigarette to charge unattended.
The benefits of these small devices is that they are widely available, inexpensive, lightweight and portable, and easy to use. They also look less intimidating and more socially acceptable in public places where vaping is allowed. But due to the compact nature of these devices, vapour production and battery life is limited and heavy users will often find they will need multiple batteries and sometimes pods to get them through the day.
This neatly brings us onto the next type of beginner kits we recommend.
Refillable Vape Kits
The Refillable Vape Kits offer a number of advantages over cig-a-likes, however they are heavier and larger in size. The main advantage is a refillable eliquid pod; or a ‘clearomiser tank’ as it’s commonly called. Before using your refillable kit for the first time, you need to fill the chamber with eliquid. You can purchase eliquid from same retailer where you buy your starter kit or from online retailers like Vape Club.
With the larger size, you will also get more battery capacity in your device. In simple terms the basic vape kits will often last 4-6 times longer than a smaller cig-a-like.
As you use your device, liquid will be vaporised from your tank and you will have to periodically refill your tank as well as recharge your battery. This does make things a little bit more complicated, but after the first few times of refilling your device the process becomes easy. Due to the reduced amount of disposable components in refillable tank systems, you will find that the on-going cost if vaping is also reduced.
There are two types of refillable vape tank kits you can buy. There are kits with disposable refillable vape tanks and there are refillable vape tanks where the heating element (commonly referred to a vape coil) is replaceable.
Disposable Vape Tanks
Over time with use, the vaporisation of eliquid will reduce the effectiveness of your heating element and the wicking material in the tank. As a result you will notice less vapour production and less pleasant flavour. As a rough guide, a vape tank without a replaceable coil will need to be replaced every 2 weeks with regular use. You just dispose of the entire tank and replace with a new one.
Refillable Vape Tanks With Replaceable Coils
If you prefer the benefits of a refillable tank, we recommend you buy a tank with an option to replace coils. Instead of throwing away the whole tank every 2 weeks, you just replace the heating element (coil) every 1-2 weeks. The advantage is that you are not throwing away the tank, so naturally you have more options for better quality tanks with additional features. These may include a child-lock or adjustable air-flow which makes it easier or harder to draw the vapour, kind-of simulating the difference between a lighter and a stronger cigarette.
So even for beginner vapers there is a wide choice of devices you can choose from, and all types have their advantages and drawbacks. In summary…
Cig-A-Likes & Closed Pod Systems
The smaller cig-a-likes are lightweight, easily fit in your pocket or purse and are easy to use. Battery capacity and vapor production is limited, but the convenience of disposable pods eliminates the need for refilling e liquid and changing coils. If convenience and a small form-factor are important for you, you want to consider these devices. Both Cig-a-likes and Closed Pod Systems function almost identically, but there are a few differences between them, namely in appearance; as the Cig-a-like actually looks like a tobacco cigarette, whereas a Closed Pod System does not.
Basic Tank Kits
The tank based kits offer improved performance and significantly better battery life, but they are larger and heavier. You can save a significant amount of money by refilling your eliquid and you will have a much wider and readily available choice of eliquid flavours and nicotine strengths to choose from.
Vape Tank Kits With Option To Replace Coils
Vape Kits with tanks that have an option for replaceable coils generally offer the best performance and increase your chances of successfully switching to vaping. It does mean you will have to buy and refill your eliquid and replace your coils every 1-2 weeks.
Think of it as the vape equivalent of rolling your own cigarettes, compared to buying pre-made ones. You have to put in a little bit more work, but you can save a lot of money and you have a lot more choice.
What we have found that for most people switching to vaping from smoking is a journey taken in small steps. We suggest you start off with a device you feel most comfortable with and try to use it to replace your regular cigarette breaks. You may find it hard at first to switch completely, so having a small convenient device can help significantly during the early stages.
As you get more used to the idea and feeling of vaping, you will naturally become comfortable with the technology and progression onto more complicated devices becomes much easier.
Thank you to Peaches and Screams for providing me with some vape hardware for the purpose of writing this review.