E-Cigarettes / Vaporizers - How to pick a starter Kit April 18 2014

  

E-CIGARETTES/VAPORIZERS: HOW TO PICK A STARTER KIT

First and foremost, congratulations! You have made the decision to quit smoking and are determined to invest in a resource to assist you in kicking that nasty habit. In this article we will focus predominately on the basics of a starter kit (rather than how much money you will save), how you will no longer smell like smoke, etc. For someone who hasn’t had the time to research electronic cigarettes, also known as vaporizers, there are a lot of features and options that can make choosing one to start with a daunting process. At your local vapor store, you could be inundated with terminology that makes no sense to you at this point such as “atomizer resistance”, “variable voltage”, “pass through USB charging”, and so forth. All you really want is something that can replace the act of smoking with almost no effort on your part, aside from swiping your card and picking a flavor, am I correct? Then you are in the right place.

 

THE MEDIA

First of all, if you watch the mainstream media, all you have probably seen up to this point is that e-Cigarettes are explosive, poisonous devices that taste like candy to get kids addicted like crack. The fact that you are still reading means you are seeking unbiased information and may know people who swear by their e-cigarettes after quitting smoking successfully. I am biased in the sense that I quit smoking after twenty years and have not looked back, but I do still love to use electronic cigarettes. However, I know every type of non-smoker and smoker and continue to make acquaintances that have either quit, still smoke, are in the process of quitting, or hybrid personalities who still smoke 3-4 cigarettes at the bar WHILE using their vaporizer (rather than smoking a pack at the bar during a night of heavy drinking). We are all different, all have different habits, and all have a different desire level when it comes to not smoking. We cannot make a generalized statement about how e-Cigarettes will work for you specifically. We also can’t guarantee that electronic cigarettes will get you to stop smoking. We can, however, make sure you start out right so you don’t give up immediately and go right back to the old trusty “analog” cigarettes. People who start with the right eCig kit, versus those who start with an eCig kit that doesn’t “do it for them,” have an almost three times higher success rate when it comes to giving up traditional cigarettes.

DRUG STORE E-CIGARETTES

One of the most common mistakes people make is trying a name brand e-Cig that looks identical to a cigarette (or similar enough) because they believe this will make the most seamless transition. These e-cigarettes are the same size and the same feel, so it makes sense right? Most of the popular brands of “cigarette like” e-cigarettes, such as Blu®, Lucky 7®’s, NJOY®, and others can be found in convenience and drug stores. They are usually the same size as a traditional cigarette, sometimes have an LED “cherry” that glows upon inhalation, and rewards the user with a vapor that is similar to cigarette smoke. That is the point which we draw the line between drugstore e-cigarettes and vaporizers. First, all of the aforementioned brands are owned by big tobacco. RJ Reynolds (Camel), Phillip Morris (Marlboro), and Lorillard (Newport) are all heavily invested in the electronic cigarette industry in an attempt to hedge their losses from the millions of smokers that are quitting the habit. These “drugstore” e-cigarettes, we’ll call them, are very lucrative, and for some people may just be the cure to quit smoking. However, they are extremely limited in capability and are designed to get the customer addicted to one specific brand rather than to help them stop nicotine all together. First, their small size greatly limits their battery capacity. To someone trying to stop smoking, an e-cigarette with a dead battery in a room full of people with real cigarettes to bum can bring an immediate stop to their “smoke break”. If you are used to smoking a half pack or more per day, a battery that’s half the size of a pen will not give you the electronic vapor equivalent. Next, the nicotine in these popular brands of “drugstore” e-cigarettes is attached by means of a cartridge that contains the flavor & nicotine. To make the transition, you will require lots of these little cartridges, but surprisingly Big Tobacco has not opted to make them dirt cheap. Yes, they make considerable profits on the refills and they are much more expensive that the liquid refills you get from a vapor / e-cigarette specialty store. Just like traditional cigarettes, with drugstore e-cigarettes you are paying for hundreds of millions of dollars of primetime advertising (some even had ads during the 2014 Super Bowl), hence the higher cost(s). That being said, these types of “drugstore” e-cigarettes and traditional electronic cigarettes / vaporizers vary greatly.

DRUGSTORE E-CIGARETTES VERSUS E-CIGARETTE/VAPORIZER KITS

Initial Investment

Battery Life

Nicotine Flavor

Options (Flavors, Nicotine Levels, Styles, Colors, etc.)

“Drugstore” e-Cig

$25-$50

Very Short, Less than half a day when heavily used

$20 = 2 Days -1 Week

Currently 12-25

eCig Starter Kit (Online, Retail may be 2X as high) 

 

 

$25-$50

 

 

 

2-5 X Longer, 1-3 Days between charges

 

 

 

3-5X More affordable

$20 = 2 Weeks -4 Weeks

Over 1,000 Styles from hundreds of vendors, over 1,000 types of liquids and flavors from 0mg Nicotine to High Nicotine from thousands of vendors – Many organic and made in the USA

I’M GAME, WHAT STARTER KIT DO I WANT OR NEED?

Let’s first define a “starter kit”. A “vaporizer” or “electronic cigarette” is simply a nicotine delivery device. In order to use the device, you need a charger, a tank to contain the fluid used, and any extra accessories, such as a carrying case or extra tank/battery. Starter kits include everything the novice user needs to get started, except for the fluid. So at the very least, you have a battery, tank, and some sort of charger to recharge the device. You will purchase the fluid separately and have thousands of flavors and/or nicotine levels to choose from (which we will cover in our next article in this series). Now let’s examine all of the components that come in your first starter kit:

1. Batteries: Your starter kit will always contain at least one battery, two is better (so you can always have one in use and always have one on the charger). The batteries are the most highly produced, replaced, and commoditized part of your vaporizer. They are available in thousands of configurations, different colors, different capacities (amount of energy stored), different connectors, finishes (some of our most popular starter kits are covered in rhinestones), different output connectors, and different charging options. The most popular by far are what’s called “universal connector” which features what the industry calls “510” or “eGo” capability. In a nutshell, some tanks screw into a small cavity in the center of the battery top (510 connection) and some tanks screw around the outside collar of the battery top (eGo connection). If you purchase a “universal” a.k.a. “510/eGo” connector, 95% of the tanks in the marketplace will work on your device. Most starter kits have this universal connector but be cautious of batteries which have only one option as they will limit which tanks will work with your battery in the future. There is an adaptor you can buy to convert one format of connector to another, but why pick a model that starts with either when you can simply start with one that supports both? Here is an illustration of a universal connector:

a. 

The next aspect of the battery to look at is capacity, which is measured in Milli-Amp-Hours (mAh). The higher the capacity, the larger the storage of the battery. Therefore a 1,000 mAh battery has twice the capacity of a 500 mAh. This is a much larger consideration for heavy smokers trying to quit than casual smokers, because if you are dedicated to quitting smoking and can’t live without nicotine then you definitely don’t want to run out of power. Reputable manufacturers of vaporizers, like Innokin, Joyetech, and Kangertech rate their batteries pretty honestly. However, there are hundreds of generic models out there that flat out lie. There are plenty of 600mah vaporizer batteries listed as “950 mAh” because these factories know most individuals don’t have the capability to test and there are no repercussions to face if you do actually call them out on it. The average smoker should shoot for at least 500mAh and if you are a heavy smoker, look for a higher (800mAh+) capacity battery for more run time.

Another popular feature we are now seeing on starter kits, which used to only be available on more expensive vaporizers, is “ variable voltage”. This allows you to increase from low voltage (around 3.2V) to medium (3.6V neighborhood) to high voltage (4.2V and higher). The benefit to this is simply more power = more vapor. As with all good things, an increase in one attribute often results in a decrease in other attributes. Using higher voltage will almost always result in more vapor, but it will drain your battery more quickly, cause your tank to burn out more quickly (explained later in “Tanks”), and can cause a burned taste. Some ex-smokers enjoy the warm “throat hit” caused by higher voltage but everyone is different so this will be an option that you will set completely to your own personal preferences.

Charging styles vary but most starter kits will have one of two options. First, by far the most popular, is a USB cable with a round connector that screws around the top of the battery. This technology is very affordable (i.e. replacement chargers will cost $5 retail or less), easy to use (almost all feature an LED where red=charging, green=charged), and can be used anywhere you have USB output (even your iPhone or Android charger starts at a USB base). Nicer starter kits also include the AC charger that plugs into the wall which you can plug your USB cable into. The only real downside to this technology is that you have to disconnect the tank from the battery to access the top of the battery for charging, so you can’t use your vaporizer while it’s charging unless you have another charged battery waiting to go. An alternative to this is direct USB charging. Some pens feature a direct USB or Micro USB port on the bottom of the battery which allows you to plug directly into your vaporizer without having to remove the tank. Most units that have direct charging also have a technology called “USB Pass-Through” which allows you to continue to use the vaporizer, even when the battery is dead/charging. Once end users get used to this feature, they are hard pressed to ever go back to the old round connector because of the inconvenience. It’s also very nice if you’re an Android user (which uses micro USB) to be able to plug your car charger into your vaporizer for a top charge while on the road or at your desk. The next charging option after these two are removable batteries, but those are very rare on starter kits so we will cover those in a later lesson.

2. Tanks: Your tank is by far the most important aspect of your device, not simply because it contains the liquid you use to vaporize but because it contains the actual element where power is converted to heat and vapor is created. Without getting very technical, your tank (regardless of what it is called) has an atomizer, which simply converts the energy from the battery into heat, which in turn changes the liquid into the vapor you inhale. This can be the most confusing subject for a beginner, especially if you go into a vapor store where employees are often “Vapor Gurus” after their esteemed three month careers in the “vaping” world. We will call the device that holds and vaporizes your eliquid a “tank”. Technically, it can be called “Clearomizer”, “Atomizer Tank”, “Drip Tank”, “Cartomizer”, and the terminology continues to grow daily. The little component inside the tank that converts the liquid to vapor is called an “atomizer,” but is now commonly referred to as a “coil”. All you need to know as a beginner is you need a tank! Almost all starter kits come with either a CE4 or CE5 tank. The differences are negligible, even though some say a CE5 for example can be rebuilt, but all you need to know is these things are disposable. You simply use them until they either stop working or start tasting “burned” (trust me, you will know when you taste it). These are readily available for a few bucks each brand new, and if you are lucky you will get a starter kit that comes with several. Once you move past your starter kit you may opt to spend $15 to over $50 on a nice tank with re-buildable and replaceable components, but that’s another lesson. Here are some great starter tips for using the tanks that come with a starter kit:

a. They work by wicking the liquid up and then heating it. Do not put fluid in your tank and vape it immediately. Allow the fluid to absorb into the tank’s wicks (even if it says “wickless”, there are still wicks – you just can’t see them) for a minute or two before using the vaporizer. This prevents a nasty burned flavor and prevents prematurely killing the atomizer.

b. The atomizer (aka Coil) in your tank operates like an air cooled engine. Your inhaling is what keeps the atomizer cool, which in turn keeps it tasting good and operating for a long time. That being said, inhale before and after you depress your “vaporize” button to keep your coil cool. Try to avoid pressing the vaporizer on button in your pocket or purse while not inhaling, otherwise the heating element will get very hot, causing premature failure.

c. Almost all starter tanks will get clogged up, especially if left upside down in pockets or if overfilled. Try not to ever overfill your tank above the top marker line, and try to keep the tank flat or right side up (the part you inhale out of should be facing the sky / ceiling).

d. Allow your tank to “break in”. You will not take your first puff and fill the room with a cloud, it takes several hits for your tank to become “broken-in”. If you are lucky enough to start with a variable voltage starter kit, use the lower voltage until your first refill to break the heating element in properly.

e. Proactively replace tanks at least every three weeks, BEFORE they start tasting bad or burned. It’s a very inexpensive task you won’t regret.

3. Aside from the battery, tank, and charging mechanism – everything else in your kit is a bonus. Carrying cases are useful, extra tanks will save you weeks or months from having to spend more money, and included wall chargers are nice when there’s no USB around. Investing in a decent starter kit will get you going for the first few months to even a year with minimal additional investment if you buy one that’s solid quality. Here’s a review of 6 of our most popular starter kits under $50, compared side by side:

6 STARTER KITS UNDER $50

Model

One Pen

Dual Pen

Single Voltage

Variable Voltage

Single Tank

Multiple Tanks

USB Charger

Pass Through USB Charging

Wall Charger

Gift Box

Price

Capacity

Cost Per Pen

Rejuve Vapor Pen Kit

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

14.95

650 mAh

$14.95

eGo Deluxe Kit

 

X

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

X

29.95

650 mAh

$14.98

Ego-GT Vapor Pen Kit

X

 

 

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

29.95

900 mAh

$29.95

Innokin iTaste Inno

 

X

X

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

39.95

600 mAh

$19.98

Innokin iTaste LEO Pro

 

X

X

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

44.95

1000 mAh

$22.48

Innokin VV 3.0

X

 

 

X

 

X

X

X

X

X

49.95

800 mAh

$49.95

Rejuve Vapor Pen Kit

You really can't complain about a $15 kit, and it even includes a tiny 0mg Nicotine bottle of Italian Coffee sample liquid. This kit costs less than two packs of cigarettes in many states!

eGo Deluxe Kit

By far the most popular starter kit of all time, originally manufactured by Joyetech and now copied by everyone, this unit comes in multiple colors with matching carrying case. At just under $30, that's about $15 per vaporizer since there's two in each kit

Ego-GT Vapor Pen Kit

At under $30 you’re getting a full color matching tank & battery, plus high capacity battery, plus variable voltage, plus a larger than average tank. However, it comes with a 510 connector only, which limits which aftermarket tanks you can use. Also, not a name brand.

Innokin iTaste Inno

Probably the best value all around, as it comes with two batteries, five tanks, USB charger, wall charger, and USB pass-through capability for under $40. That equates to less than $20 per complete pen and tank. You would be hard pressed to find a kit like this for less than $75 in most retail markets

Innokin iTaste LEO Pro

Another great value from Innokin, the manufacturer with the lowest return rate in the industry and highest durability we've seen in years. This kit features everything the Inno above it has but upgrades from 600mAh to 1000 mAh batteries for a $5 surcharge (only $2.50 per battery). Most websites offer the "express" kit that doesn't feature the wall charger, 5 extra tanks, two batteries, etc. - but we feel like that’s what customers like best about this kit

Innokin VV 3.0

This is the most expensive starter kit because it does have all of the cool stuff: Variable Voltage, Digital Display, Micro-USB Pass Through, Gorgeous design (pearl chrome), and its unique design (rectangular rather than cylindrical) keeps it from rolling off the table. Still a great value at under $50, it comes with 5 tanks, USB charger, wall charger and a plethora a features it will take you weeks to find & play with. Our number one seller to staff & friends.


 


So there you have it! All you really need is a battery, a tank, and a charging mechanism. After that you’re off to the fun part of sampling different flavors of liquids to vape. Whether you purchase from Big D Vapor or elsewhere, we hope you do so armed with a basic knowledge and don’t let someone tell you that you need a Variable Voltage, Variable Wattage, APV with a dual bottom coil atomizer adjustable airflow tank to start off with. Get a starter kit, and if you like it, trust me it’s only a matter of time before you drop it, lose it, break it, or do something that will get you on track to making your next purchase as a rookie.

-Adam Winfrey, Founder, Big D Vapor

©2014 Big D Vapor