Frequently Asked Questions
Here are common questions I have received by email and through this site.
Q. I bought a disposable electronic cigarette from my local convenience store and it only lasted a few hours. These eCigs are junk, why are you reviewing them?
A. It doesn't matter what product you buy, there will always be a small percentage that are defective. Take your electronic cigarette back to the store you purchased it from and request a refund or replacement. eCigs are not junk, there are a considerable number of people who use them for convenience and as a stop smoking aid. In my case, I used a variety of products and have been completely quit regular tobacco cigarettes. I also ran into a few "duds", electronic cigarettes that did not taste right, did not provide any satisfaction or did not work. Compared to the price of smoking regular tobacco cigarettes, I considered these part of the cost of getting rid of those 4000+ chemicals in tobacco smoking products. You also need to be aware that convenience stores, and any other retailer that sells these on the counter top along with other confectionary items, are usually selling 0% nicotine (no nicotine) eCigs. What you are buying is flavored vapor. There is nothing wrong with that ... but keep in mind one of the strategies of using eCigs to stop smoking is to replace the nicotine in a regular tobacco cigarette with an eCig so that you eliminate the craving for cigarettes. It's the nicotine in a regular tobacco cigarette that causes you to crave them. Tame the craving with an eCig and you have a great strategy for quitting the nasty tobacco.
Q. Can you really use an eCig anywhere?
A. The answer is yes, legally. eCigs contain no tobacco and does not fall under regular tobacco smoking bans. That being said, you need to be aware that eCigs produce a vapor that looks the same as exhaling tobacco cigarettes. You are likely to raise some eyebrows and attract a lot of attention by using your eCig at commercial establishments indoors. There are a number of commercial establishments that are "vaping-friendly" and explicitly allow this. On a personal note, I do not vape indoors anywhere but at home or where a commercial establishment explicitly states they allow vaping.
Q. What is the difference between an atomizer, a cartomizer, and a clearomizer?
A. This is particurly confusing to anyone new to eCigs. All of these have one main function: that is to heat the eLiquid and provide the vapor through a mouth piece when you inhale from the eCig. A clearomizer is a tank-based system to hold eLiquid. A clearomizer usually has replaceable parts, especially a replaceable coil. You can also replace the mouth piece (drip tip). Clearomizers can be top or bottom loading (how you put in the eLiquid), and the coil can either be at the bottom (no visible wicks) or top (you will see two to six wicks hanging down the inside of the tank to wick-up eLiquid). Clearomizers are most commonly available for mid-size cigarettes, although there are some smaller units for mini eCigs too. A cartomizer has the same functionality, but usually much smaller and shaped more like the filter part of a regular tobacco cigarette. These are self-contained units that have a coil and filler material. There is usually a small cap at the top with a very small hole that you pry off to load eLiquid. The filler material acts as a wick to make sure the coil always has eLiquid (when enough eLiquid is in the cartomizer). This is usually a one-piece system with only the top filler cap removable and are disposale. You can reuse these 4 to 10 times before replacing. An atomizer can be one of two types: 1) they can be part of a two-piece system for mini eCigs; or, 2) part of a large tank based system most often used with "mods". Atomizer-based types separate the coil from the tank. What you end up with is a tank that holds the eLiquid and the atomizer that heats the eLiquid for you to vape. Atomizers used with mini eCigs are disposable (reuse 4 to 10 times). Atomizers used with "mods" are rebuildable.
Q. I keep reading about variable voltage, spinner, and twist batteries. Are these really better than the regular battery I bought?
A. Tough question to answer. I am assuming the battery you bought is a constant voltage. These are designed to output 3.7 volts. In practice, all constant voltage batteries have a range: when fully charged they can output as much as 4.2 volts and when nearly drained can output as little as 3.3 voltts. Most constant voltage batteries will stop working when they reach 3.2 volts. This also depends on the quality of the battery too. There are batteries that can sustain its maximum voltage longer than other inferior quality batteries. Variable voltage, spinner, and twist batteries all refer to the same thing. They provide functionality to the user where they can adjust the voltage output. With Variable Voltage batteries, this is usually done either with a dedicated + or - button or by repeat presses on the actuator button of the battery. With spinners and twist batteries, this is usually done with a dial on the battery. Voltage output can be adjusted between 3.2 volts and 4.8 volts. The theory behind adjusting the voltage is that at a higher voltage you are generating more power delivered to the coil and the coil generated higher heat which more effectively heats the eLiquid: result should be more vapor and a more efficient heating process. I personally really like the adjustable voltage batteries. There are some types of eLiquid that respond better to either higher or lower voltage settings. I'd recommend them, they are not that much more expensive than constant voltage batteries. But, you need to be aware they always add a bit to the height of your eCig.
Q. Are mods the only way of getting all-day vaping without recharging all the time?
A. NO, absolutely not. You have several options.If you are using mini eCigs, you can get a PCC (Portable Charge Case) to recharge your battery on the go. My favorite is the Innokin AIO system. You charge the PCC at night and put your battery in the case between uses. That keeps the battery charged all the time. There is also a Joyetech eRoll system with fairly small eCigs. These might even be more convenient than the AIO system because you can leave your eCig fully assembled and put it in the PCC to recharge between uses. You have two eRoll eCigs, you can be using one and charging the other in the PCC. The PCC can be recharged at night and holds enough power to keep both eRoll eCigs going through a full day. By the way, whether you can recharge a fully assembled eCig or need to remove the cartomizer doesn't matter much. To get through a full day (as a former pack-a-day tobacco smoker), you will need to swap out the cartomizer several times through the day anyhow. For mid-size eCigs, a 1300mAh battery will usually last you an entire day (at least for a smoker that was at one pack a day or slightly more). You can also get yourself a pass-through USB cable. A pass-through USB cable costs about the same as one small battery. The output voltage is adjustable. They provide you the ability to plug directly into your computer USB port, car USB charger, or wall USB charger. They usually have both a 510 and eGo thread, so using a cartomizer or clearomizer is possible. If you are at a fixed location (sitting watching TV, for example), they let you use power from a direct source rather than use your battery. Save the battery for those times when you are more mobile or moving around a lot. There is one type of "mod" that you might want to consider. There are small mods that are almost identical to a mid-size battery in that they are completely self-contained, have threads for 510/eGo ... and are half the height of a 1300mAh eGo battery (but slightly larger diameter). They are available in constant voltage or variable voltage. Those are the types of mods designed for one single 18350 battery. They also offer the convenience that you can swap out the battery element without replacing the entire unit, so you can carry a very small 18350 spare battery too in case you run out. An 18350 battery should last the entire day.
Q. Thanks for the email reply (same as above question/answer) but that brings up another interesting point. Where can I get a cartomizer or clearomizer that needs a fill up only once a day?
A. That's a bit more difficult to answer. It depends on a number of variables. If you are using mini eCigs, the answer is you are likely going to need to refill your cartomizer several times through the day. There are three part cartomizers available that look more like a clearomizer that can reduce the number of refills. The largest capacity three-part system that I am aware of is the Vision Nano. It holds about 1 ml of eLiquid (that is about .5 ml more than a regular cartomizer). There are also others that can hold up to 1.3 ml. If you are using mid-size eCigs, there is a huge choice. Clearomizers range in capacity from 1.3 ml all the way up to 6 ml. For mid-size eCigs, the battery is about 14 mm. Clearomizers that hold above 3 ml of eLiquid are always larger diameter than this. An excellent clearomizer that holds almost 3.5 ml and is 15mm (a perfect fit for 14 mm batteries) is the Aspire ET bottom dual coil (BDC) clearomizer. They also make an ET-S version (the S means it has a shroud with a small window to see remaining eLiquid). The Aspire ET BDC is tied with my other choice, a KangerTech Unitank Mini. This only holds 1.5 ml of eLiquid, but it is top-loading meaning that you can leave the clearomizer connected to the battery while refilling (very convenient). The KangerTech Unitank Mini is a bottom coil clearomizer (BCC, single coil) but provides the same type of vapor and experience as a BDC. So, several choices. The Aspire ET will provide a full day of vaping (for a former pack-a-day smoker) or the KangerTech Unitank Mini (which will need to be refilled at least once, but quite convenient to refill).
Q. Nothing to do with actual vaping and a dumb question, but how to you carry your eCigs and eLiquid around?
A. No such thing as a dumb question.When I am using my mini eCigs, all I bring with me is one very small PCC (Portable Charge Case). These are even smaller than a pack of regular cigarettes. When I want to use my mid-size eCigs, I have several cases depending on what I want to bring with me. My go-to case is an eGo red mid-size case. It can hold four mid-size eCigs plus eLiquid and other accessories. I also have a smaller case that can hold two smaller mid-size eCigs (stealth type, 450mAh batteries) and other accessories. These keep all my "stuff" from gathering lint from my pockets, etc. These cases are also too large to put in a pant pocket. I am also planning on getting an even larger case. I have to carry around some diabetes supplies (insulin pens, two types) and blood glucose meter. The larger case will accommodate my eCigs and diabetes supplies – and the case is actually smaller than just my diabetes supplies case that I have now.