Vaping is growing in popularity, with both non-smokers and smokers buying vaporizers in all shapes and sizes. Vaping offers a safer, cheaper and more convenient alternative to the smoking experience and for many people, the lack of tobacco odor is a big benefit. Taking the first steps into vaping can be tricky though as there are so many different types of vaporizers on the market, and so many ways to enjoy vaping.
In this 101 guide, we look at how vaporizers work and give you advice on the best vaporizers on the market so that you know what to ask for when you go out to buy a vaporizer. We also discuss the many benefits of switching to vaping which is of particular interest to people who are currently smoking. Let’s start by looking at what defines the essentials of a vaporizer.
What Is a Vaporizer
All electronic vaporizers or e-cigarettes we know today perform more or less the same function: a vaporizer is a device which converts a liquid source, called the e-liquid, into a breathable vapor. The vapor you breathe in can contain nicotine or could be free of nicotine, depending on your choice of e-liquid. Some vaporizers can even use dry herbs as a fuel.
A Quick History
Converting a material into breathable vapor is not new, with records going back to ancient times. The Scythians are just one ancient population who are recorded to have a history of vaporizing substances for inhalation, as they used boiling hot stones to burn cannabis, resulting in a breathable vapor. The 20th century saw a couple of attempts to make a viable electronic vaporizer, with the first related patents issued in 1930 to Joseph Robinson, while Herbert Gilbert produced a number of working prototypes in 1963. Neither of these attempts resulted in mass production, however.
Mass-produced vaporizers arrived in the early years of this century. A Chinese pharmacist was inspired to produce a compact, reproducible unit after a family member passed away of lung cancer. The pharmacist, Hon Lik, managed to get an industrial concern to market and produce his e-cigarettes and these were the devices which inspired the mass-market vaporizers that everyone uses now, as well as building the foundation for some of the best vaporizers on the market today.
Why Vaporizers Are So Popular
The popularity of vaporizers can be described as two-fold: on the one hand, vaporizers bring significant health benefits over smoking tobacco products. Yet vaporizers also offer their users the option to have unique and interesting experiences both via using different e-liquids and by customizing the actual vaporizer.
Smoking is widely known to cause many poor health outcomes in the long run, with smokers of cigarettes prone to cancers and lung diseases. The particles contained in a classic cigarette are dangerous, and the health concerns are exaggerated by the fact that nicotine is addictive. Vaping offers a much safer way to ingest nicotine, and can also help smokers to reduce their nicotine intake over time.
While enjoying a safe way to use nicotine, users of vaporizers can also increase the fun factor. Most vaporizers are compatible with a wide range of e-liquids which carry different flavors and tastes. Everything from green tea to raspberry is on offer, so you can customize the way your vape tastes. There are also a lot of options to customize other aspects of the vaping experience, including the ability to boost the size of your vape cloud and to intensify the throat hit, all depending on how you configure your vaporizer.
Types of Vaporizers
One of the big differences between smoking cigarettes and vaping is the sheer number of options you have when you vape. Rushing out and buying a disposable e-cigarette to try is fine, but you are better off considering the entire universe of vaporizers because vaping offers such a diverse and interesting experience. Here we discuss the main differences between the various types of vaporizers currently on the market.
Disposable or Re-Usable
Vaporizers fall into two categories: some devices are made to be used for a short time and then disposed of, while a much larger range of vaporizers are built to last and can be re-used for a very long time. Mass-produced, disposable vaporizers in a pen shape are very popular as they offer consumers a way to emulate smoking a cigarette and to copy many cigarette smoking habits, including the quick and easy disposal of a used device.
However more interesting vaping experiences can be had with re-usable, durable devices. In addition to offering great customization options, a reusable device is an excellent way to save money. As long as you regularly clean and maintain your reusable device you can get many years of quality vaping out of it.
Desktop or Portable
All disposable vaporizers will be portable, but many of the more durable vaporizers are desk-bound. These physical devices are capable of fine-tuning and experimenting, so you can have a unique vaping experience. Desktop vaporizers are usually directly connected to a power source, so you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries. As with any other electronic device, a desktop vaporizer simply uses better components because there is more space in the device. As a result, your vaping experience is likely to be much better than with a portable vaporizer. However, if you want to vape on the go, you will need a portable device too.
Mass Produced, Mods or Box Mods
Most of the vaporizers we see in use are mass-produced units. Whether the device someone is using is disposable or built for re-use, it is most likely made in a large factory to a specification that would suit most people, but not everyone. There is nothing wrong with using a mass-produced vaporizer, and the convenience of an e-cigarette product has won over many fans.
Nonetheless, a lot of experienced vapers prefer going down the custom or MOD route, which offers you many more options when it comes to creating a unique vaping experience. With MODs you can customize both the look and feel of your vaporizer in the physical sense, and customize the vaping experience including the ability to intensify the flavor and to produce very large vaping clouds.
For the ultimate in customization, you could opt for a box MOD, which offers even more control over vaping variables, including the vaping temperature. In essence, you could build your own custom device from the ground up, combining individual component to build a vaporizer to meet your exact requirements.
How Vaporizers Work
The basic design of a vaporizer has not changed since the first prototypes in the 1960’s, with all the same essential elements of a functional electronic vaporizer still in place. Vaping involves a simple process: your device is built with the straightforward purpose of heating the e-liquid in the tank to such a high temperature that it turns into vapor, which you inhale.
The Elements of A Basic Vaporizer
Every vaporizer will have a combination of essential elements. First, your device needs a tank that holds the e-liquid that is the source of the vapor. Durable vaporizers that are made for re-use typically have a removable tank which you can easily clean out and refill with your choice of e-liquid.
The second crucial element is the atomizer. An atomizer heats the e-liquid to boiling point, the boiling liquid, in turn, releases the vapor which you inhale. For the atomizer to work it needs to be connected to another essential element: the battery, or in the case of desktop vaporizers, a wall plug.
Finally, your vaporizer needs a mouthpiece which is an important protection mechanism. The atomizer in your vaporizer is extremely hot and a mouthpiece makes sure you don’t get into contact with the atomizer while you vape.
What You Can Achieve with A More Advanced Device
Custom vaporizers or MODs can offer a unique vaping experience, and it is good to have a basic knowledge of how these work so that you can know whether a more advanced device is right for you. Advanced vaporizers are all about tuning the vaping experience, including the ability to vape for longer and the ability to create larger vape clouds.
A custom-built device can, therefore, feature a larger tank holding more e-liquid to keep you vaping for a long time. You can also enjoy experimenting with very large vape clouds by customizing the airflow over the coil, the main component of the atomizer. In fact, almost every element of vaping can be tuned, from the amount of e-liquid vaporized through to the temperature of the atomizer coil.
One of the most popular ways to customize your vaping experience is to opt for sub-ohm vaping. Typically, coils are set to a resistance of over 1.0 ohm as this provides a vaping experience most people like. However, some devices allow you to set the resistance of the atomizer coil to less than 1.0 ohm and many expert vapers like the resulting effect as a sub-ohm device can offer not only larger vape clouds but also more intense flavors using the same e-liquid.
Best Vaporizer for You
People take up vaping for many different reasons and your reason for vaping will in large part be what determines which device you choose amongst the different vaporizer types. Your level of experience is key too, as more experienced vapers tend to look for custom, interesting experiences when they purchase a device. Here are the main points you should think about when you start out with vaping.
Are You New to Vaping?
For a cheap and easy way to start vaping nothing beats a vape pen, or what is also called an e-cigarette. These affordable devices are popular for obvious reasons: they are compact, cheap to replace when lost and can closely simulate the experience of smoking a cigarette. The last point is important for many new vapers, as a lot of people switch to vaping from smoking cigarettes. If you want to make the transition from cigarettes to vaping, a device that looks like a cigarette will make the transition easier for you.
Just because you’re new to vaping does not mean you have to stick to a vaping pen, however. MODs can also be a good choice if you are starting vaping because you are curious about the experience and because you like tinkering. It is not difficult to assemble your own custom vaporizer, including tank, atomizer, and battery. Though if you are new to vaping you may want to hold off on more advanced features, including sub-ohm vaping.
Convenience Vs. Durability
At the outset, you should try and decide whether you would prefer a device which offers the ultimate in convenience, or whether you are looking to save costs by buying a durable device. Depending on your lifestyle you may prefer the convenience of using a device for a limited time, and simply disposing of it when its useful life is over. These disposable devices are also a great option if you are simply looking to dip into vaping without making a commitment to switching over.
Re-usable devices are a better long-term solution, however. With a more durable device, you can keep your costs low as you will only need to replace the e-liquid to keep vaping. You do need to regularly maintain a re-usable device, including cleaning the tank. Over time you may need to replace component parts too, including the atomizer itself. Nonetheless, if you are willing to use a bulkier device you can keep your vaping costs extremely low.
Customization and You
It is worth thinking about customization when you consider the different vaporizer types, even if you are new to vaping. Though switching to a pen-style vaporizer is an excellent idea for people who are currently smoking cigarettes, others might find they enjoy their steps into the world of vaping more if they start with a device which offers the opportunity for tinkering.
The best advice concerning custom-built vaporizers, including MODs, box kits, and enhanced desktop devices is this: you have to study the topic of custom-built vaporizers. Vaporizers are not complicated, but if you are unfamiliar with electronics you may find it difficult to get the results you like, while there is also a safety risk which you should be aware of before you start customizing extensively.
Switching from Smoking
There’s no question that a large proportion of people who are currently vaping have chosen to buy vaporizers after smoking tobacco cigarettes for many years. The benefits of vaping are clear, and people who are used to smoking cigarettes often make the transition to vaping with relative ease.
Benefits of Vaping
Vaping carries many benefits above smoking, we will address only a few. The primary benefit of vaping over smoking relates to your health: though vaping typically still involves consuming nicotine, vaping does not involve all the other harmful chemicals that are contained in cigarettes. Nicotine is not a healthy chemical, but it is the toxic gasses and tar in cigarettes that cause the real harm over time. Vapers can still be addicted to nicotine, but they are less susceptible to lung disease and cancers compared to smokers.
Cost is also a factor. Vapers can significantly cut costs if they use re-usable vaporizers and maintain their devices regularly. The disposable nature of cigarettes implies a high cost, and taxation on cigarettes worsens the situation. You are likely to save substantially by switching to vaping. Also, keep in mind that vaporizers are generally safer to use than cigarettes from a fire risk point of view too. Finally, many people are irritated by the smell of tobacco smoke, whereas vapor from an e-cigarette is less noticeable, and does not travel quite as far. Overall, vaping is considered to be more socially acceptable.
Switching and Nicotine
Smokers should be mindful of their current nicotine intake when they switch to vaping. Cigarettes have a fixed amount of nicotine per unit, but vaping involves a new variable for smokers: each e-liquid has a different nicotine level, measured in mg. E-liquids can contain as little as 1 mg of nicotine or as much as 30 mg.
If you are currently smoking your body will be used to taking in a certain level of nicotine every day. Nicotine is an addictive substance, and your body will not respond well to a sudden change in nicotine intake. For this reason, you need to try and determine a baseline level of nicotine intake when you start vaping so that you know what nicotine intensity you need to shop for when you are buying an e-liquid.
It helps to talk to other ex-smokers to see what number of cigarettes of a certain brand equates to what level of nicotine in e-liquids. Also, consider slowly stepping down your nicotine intake once you have found your baseline level. With vaping, you can taper down to no nicotine intake by adjusting the content of the e-liquid you buy, and many smokers buy vaporizers with the aim to completely stop their addiction to nicotine.
No matter what type of vaporizer you have, you will eventually need to change out the coil, wick, and battery. Not all parts are the same, however. Read on to discover what accessories you might need for your vaporizer.
Coils and Wicks: The coils are what provide resistance to the battery’s power and they are what turn your product to vapor. The wick soaks up e-juice or oils and carries it to the coils for vaporization. You will need to replace your wick every time you switch e-juice flavors, switch products, or they look a little burnt. Cleaning your coils often can help them last longer, but eventually these will need replacing as well. A change in vapor taste will alert you to when this is needed. Coils are either single or double. Double produces more vapor but require double the replacements. When purchasing replacement coils, always make sure you choose coils with the same Ohms as the original coils to prevent dangerous combinations with your battery.
Pod Systems: Some vaporizer designs, such as pod systems, allow users to switch out the coils, wick, and e-juice all at the same time for simple replacements. This way users don’t have to worry about buying the right coils or inserting them correctly for each change.
Batteries: Some vaporizer models have a built-in battery, so when it starts to die you will need to get a whole new vaporizer. Other models allow users to switch out an old battery or use a backup when the original needs to charge. When using a different battery than the one that came with your model, always make sure you use a battery with the same voltage, amps, and size to your original battery. Using a battery that’s incompatible with your vaporizer may result in short battery life at best, or an explosion at worst.