Vape 101

What You Need to Know About Vaping

The vaping industry evolves so fast that the language couldn’t keep up. It seems like no one has tried to clarify what the parts are actually called (or select properly descriptive terms), so it’s been difficult to communicate or find what you’re looking for. We’re hoping to help change the trend by using clear common-sense terms to identify certain products and components. The vapor industry is growing at an alarming rate due to the success stories of those who have dropped the use of cigarettes. The intention for vapor products is to provide an alternative in which users are getting the same hand-to-mouth function as well as intake similar to a cigarette without the harmful additives it carries. The idea is that a battery powered device evaporates e-liquid (which may or may contain nicotine) and provides the same simulation that keeps users away from using cigarettes. Because the industry is still developing, there aren’t enough research studies that actually prove vaping is terrible for you. For many, it has reversed their health, curved appetites, and even saved lives.

Mouth-to-Lung Vaping

Mouth-to-Lung or “MTL” vaping refers to the type of vaper who favors taking a hit, letting it linger in your mouth, and inhaling to your lungs. This method is preferred by former smokers as it closely resembles the act of smoking cigarettes and doesn’t produce as much vapor to be considered obtrusive. To find the right setup for this, you should take a look at starter kits. Low powered devices work great for MTL vapers because this style doesn’t require a huge output in power and vapor. For coils, you would want something with a higher resistance than most coils, anything 1.0 ohms and higher. For e-liquid, look at something higher than 12mg to start and something around the 50/50 range for VG/PG ratio or something with higher PG content for better flavor. These setups should run you about $50 or less. There are also POD style devices that give you the same MTL style vaping and are a lot more fool-proof.

Direct-to-Lung Vaping

Direct-to-Lung or “DTL” vaping consists of inhaling vapor straight to your lungs. You inhale like you’re taking a deep breath of fresh air straight to your lungs then exhale the vapor. This type of vaping doesn’t come naturally so it will take a couple of tries to get your throat used to it. DTL style vaping produces a lot more vapor as it’s generally used with high powered devices. You might favor this style if you like to do tricks or “cloud chase”. This method is far from the sensation of smoking a cigarette. Generally you would need a high powered device paired with a sub-ohm tank that’s capable of holding more e-liquid in the tank and lower resistance coils. For e-liquid, you should look at flavors with higher VG content than PG as VG will offer more cloud production. You should not sub-ohm e-liquid higher than 6mg for new vapers as it will be a painfully uncomfortable, harsh hit. These setups usually cost more.

The Device

The device can also be referred as “Mod”, “Box Mod”, or “Battery” depending on which source or vape store you’re looking at. They all mean the same thing in that it is a device that would be used to make a vape functional. You might see different sizes, variations, etc. but the main thing to know is you can’t fire a tank without a battery unit. Internal battery devices and external battery device options are available. The difference between the two are that internal battery mods don’t require a separate battery that you can interchange. The benefits of built-in batteries are that you won’t have to worry about taking batteries out of the device to charge however, if something goes wrong inside the unit from manufacturer defect or mishandling, you would need to replace the entire battery unit. Simply plug in to charge when needed (also known as passthrough charging). Internal battery mods have a maximum mAh capacity meaning you can’t change how long the device can power for. External battery devices allow for the ease of swapping out batteries when they’re dead and replace them with new ones. You would still have to worry about the circuit board going bad but most of the time, that’s hardly ever the issue. Most external battery devices provide the option for plug-in charging making it preferred for most vapers to have the luxury of both. But, that would require the cost of purchasing batteries separately as most mods are sold without batteries.

There are regulated and unregulated devices. Most devices on the market are regulated meaning there is a chip or circuit board in the unit that would make it function more safely than unregulated. Unregulated ones are favored more towards “vape enthusiasts” or “cloud chasers”.

Wattage

Watts are a measurement of electrical power. It is a combination of voltage (volts) times current (Amps). In vaping terms, higher wattage means a hotter coil, which produces more vapor and a warmer vape. Ensure that you keep your wattage at the recommended range listed on the atomizer (some don’t list them). If you are not sure, always start at a lower wattage and gradually increase it to your preference. Higher wattage will always drain battery faster than a lower wattage. If the wattage is too low, it will not fire properly thus draining battery even further. Always double check if the device is correctly set at desired wattage before vaping.

Ohms (Resistance)

Ohms are a measurement of resistance. As the power unit sends power to the coil in the atomizer, the resistance of the coil is the first thing that determines how hot the coil will get. Lower resistance will produce more vapor production whereas higher resistances will produce less. To determine if it’s high or low, a low resistance can be something like 0.15 oHms and a high resistance will be 1.8 oHms. Typically cigarette users switching over to vaping will start with a higher resistance because it would be similar to hitting a cigarette, very restricted, low power, and low vapor. For the best flavor and vapor, users will prefer extremely low resistances.

mAh

Milliamps (mAhs) is milli-(thousandths of) Amp Hours. Comparing the same battery chemistry, the Amp-hour rating is the primary functional variable between models and makers. A higher mAh rating generally comes with a higher price (due to a more perfect production process and material purity). In less technical terms, a higher mAh rating means that the battery will be able to perform longer between charges. All batteries lose their total storage capacity over time, so an old high mAh battery may not perform as well as a new, lower mAh battery. Battery mAh can be found on the wrapper. For built-in battery devices, the same mAh guidelines apply.

Keep tank leaks to a minimum and prevent it from leaking into the inside components of devices. If your device has a wattage lock and/or firing button lock feature, take advantage. You don’t want to accidentally fire, or fire at wrong wattages.

Tanks

Tanks are used to produce the vapor. Each tank varies in size, brand, and features so pay close attention to understanding what you want out of it. The main components to acknowledge in a tank is the threading, coil that is used, drip tip, what it’s made of, drip-tip, airflow, and juice-filling option. The threading is how the tank will screw onto the device. Most tanks have a 510 threading that would make it compatible to most devices however, there are some that use eGo threading, some that are proprietary to a specific device, and some that are built into the device that you can’t interchange. eGo threading tanks are more common with older pen style vapes that users still love and there are adapters available to make eGo threading tanks fit onto other 510 devices and more. Coils are also known as “atomizers” and are the main factor in a tank. Coils range from different sizes and resistance and some are actually interchangeable with different tanks. Drip-tips are the mouth piece that is used on the top of the tank. Some drip-tips can be changed out to a different color but some are built onto the tank that can’t be removed. You can check out the tips on different tanks as that range from small holes, flat pieces, big round holes, or even curved ones. It is mainly a preference for the user. Some tanks even come with different tip options in the box itself to adapt to users preferences. The airflow is a slot where air enters the tank when inhaled. Some airflows are small, some are large, most of them are adjustable whereas some aren’t. Larger airflows allow for a more cooler hit preventing the tank from getting too hot. Some are small are restricted making vapor production very minimal. The juice-filling capability is another thing that is based on users preferences. Most tank have a top-fill option where the juice is filled from removing a top cap. Other tanks have bottom-fill where the tank would need to filled upside as the bottom base would need to be removed when filling.

Atomizers (Coils)

Atomizers can be also known as “coils” or “coil head”. They are the part that contains the coil/wick assemble and perform the process of vaporizing the e-liquid. Atomizers are the heating elements within a tank, and consists of a coil/wire wrapped around some form of wicking material such as cotton. When the power button is pressed, the wrapped coils heat up and vaporizes the e-liquid. Coils last anywhere from one day to a couple of weeks or even more depending on the usage. You’ll know when it is time to replace the coil if it starts to taste burnt and looks like black gunk inside. “Chain vaping” will cause a coil to burnt faster than normal because there isn’t enough time allowed for the e-liquid to soak back into the cotton after use. It is recommended that for lower resistance coils, you allow time for the juice to reach the cotton in the coil since higher wattages will run through the juice that is currently soaking the coil.

Coil Maintenance

The first thing you do when installing a new coil is to make sure that your device will be able to read the coil. Some devices won’t be able to power extremely low resistances thus leaving you empty handed. When you open a new coil package, the coil will be dry. Before putting into your tank and filing it up, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you “prime” your coil. To do so, simply place some drops in the middle of the coil where the cotton is, put some in the side juice ports, and allow for the coil to properly soak e-liquid. By doing so, you’re eliminating the risk of getting a “dry hit”. These usually taste awful and we wouldn’t want anyone to suffer through one. Make sure not to add too much juice as it would make installing a coil really messy. Allow for several minutes before hitting the vape and start at a lower wattage if it’s a new device. Replace when necessary.

Vape bands help protect your tank glass from accidental damage. If you don’t have one, a hair-tie or rubber-band will suffice. For the best flavor, keep the tank free from debris, dust, and crumbs.

E-Liquid

E-liquid or e-juice all mean the same thing. They are the liquid that is used in order to vaporize in the coil. They come in all sizes and flavors ranging from unflavored, to the most exotic flavors (even some terrible flavors as gag jokes). Some vape stores will carry their own line or distribute lines from other companies. Hundreds of e-liquids to choose from and not all e-liquid is the same. You’ve got quality e-liquid and cheap e-liquid and the only way to determine what’s what is to do research on the reviews, see if the company is reputable, and/or test it yourself. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Really cheap e-liquid in large bottles can sometimes not be worth it due to poor flavor and/or poor quality.

VG/PG Ratio

VG/PG ratio is the ratio of Vegetable Glycerin to Propylene Glycol. E-liquid companies vary in ratios from one line to the other. You will see numbers such as 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, 80/20, and 90/10. This refers to the ratio of the contains with vegetable glycerin usually being the first number. The higher number in front will mean a thicker type of juice. Thick juices are preferred for sub-ohm vaping to produce huge vapor and flavor. 50/50 ratios are preferred among older pen style vapes and when using 50/50 in a tank that produces a lot of vapor, you may get some leaks. Higher ratios will be less likely to leak but the trade-off is that it will take a bit longer for the juice to soak the coil after use. When a bottle states “max vg” it generally means it is a thicker juice either 70/30 or above. If a juice is too thick, you can always dilute it with some pure Propylene glycol or 50/50 additive sold separately.

Nicotine (Milligrams)

You have the option to decide whether or not your e-liquid will contain nicotine. Nicotine is a very addictive chemical. For new vapers, we suggest using a pen-style kit or a small starter kit that doesn’t produce much vapor which provides a restrictive and minimal vapor production that simulates a cigarette. For nicotine, new vapors should start somewhere around 18mg to provide a noticeable nicotine hit but no lower than 6mg and no higher than 24mg. For sub-ohming, it is not recommended for vapers to use higher than 6mg as the amount of vapor produced will be harsh on the throat and cause them to stop using their vape. You may notice that higher nicotine will mean a more harsh throat hit and it varies between users how much can be taken in without discomfort. It is not advised to use a nicotine level that is too much. The goal is to stick to vaping.

Nicotine Salts

You may have noticed that nicotine salts are being introduced in many vape shops and you’re probably wondering what it is. Higher nicotine usually means a harsher throat hit. However with nicotine salts, it allows vapers to vape higher milligram nicotine with reduced harshness than you would typically get with standard 50mg e-liquid. The reason for this is because nicotine salts are derived purely from tobacco leaves. They have an ingredient called Benzoic Acid which makes the nicotine a lot more smoother to hit. Typically nicotine salts are for new vapers as they allow them to start with a high nicotine amount without the harshness. Daily vapers might opt in to use nicotine salts in smaller devices if they are expecting to be in a situation where vaping isn’t allowed and they have a brief time-frame to get their nicotine intake. Do not use nicotine salts in high-powered devices.

Darker colored e-liquids will typically burn out coils faster. Keep your e-liquid bottles away from exposure to sunlight since it would cause slight discoloration. Always get e-liquid from reputable companies. Keep bottles away from children and do not drink the liquid.

Batteries

Batteries are sold separately and are used for mods that require them. They range from different sizes for different devices. Make sure to read what batteries are used with each device you purchase. You’ll see numbers like 350, 18350, 18500, 20700, 21700, 26650 but the most common one used in devices are 18650 batteries. You would need to check if a device requires one, two, three, or even four batteries. There are some unique devices that can be powered from one OR two batteries as well as devices that can be powered with two DIFFERENT sized batteries. The Vandy Vape Pulse Box Mod for example, can be used with a 18650 battery or 20700 battery. Batteries come with different capacities meaning a higher number would allow for vapers to use it longer before the batteries die out and you would need to charge it. Batteries last roughly around 6 months with use and can vary depending on the user’s vaping methods. You would never want to use a battery if it’s dented, damaged, or leaking. Dispose of them safely and handle the batteries safely by putting them in a case.

Vaper’s Tongue

It may be strange to come across but there’s a thing called “Vaper’s tongue” and it’s common to happen for new vapers. You’ll know when you have it when you’ve been hitting your new vape and all of a sudden you can’t taste the flavor as much anymore, regardless if you’ve filled it with new juice. The reason for this is that when you’re vaping, the vapor is drying up your mouth and making it hard for your mouth to salivate again. You won’t be able to taste anything and it kind of sucks. The best way to prevent it from happening is to drink a lot of water when you vape. The water will keep your mouth hydrated and for higher nicotine, you definitely need to be drinking some water. Especially if that harsh throat hit is making you hack up a lung. What also helps is switching around flavors every couple of days. This will help your taste buds adjust to different vape flavors. It will usually go away within a week if you are consistently staying hydrated. It is most common for new vapers hitting high-powered devices as it would dry up saliva quicker than low-powered users. Pretty soon you will be tasting the same great flavors as you did on day one!

Safety

Always read the manual included in the package when it comes to knowing how to handle the device. It is highly advised that with new purchase, you read instructions on how to use the device as well as knowing how to care for it. For some instances not listed in manuals, here’s a brief guide to give you an idea of what NOT to do:

1. Use the charging cables that came in the package contents. Unplug the charging cable when device is fully charged.
2. Use batteries from reputable companies. Inspect them periodically for damages and leaks.
3. Turn off the device when not in use and when placing them in enclosed spaces (bags, pockets, purses, etc)
4. Keep your units clean and free from any dust, liquids, particles, and out of the center shaft of your tank.
5. Do not leave batteries charging unattended. External battery chargers should be used with a surge protector.
6. Do not expose your device to long periods of heat and direct sunlight.
7. Do not place loose external batteries near metal objects.
8. Do not charge devices with high amperage wall adapters. Standard are 1 amp wall adapters.

Troubleshooting

Read through our list of troubleshooting options that may help you get your hardware up and running. Always check with your stores return/exchange policy as well as the manufacturer warranty of each new purchase. Bring your kit to one of our store locations and we will be happy to assist you with any trouble regardless if you bought it with us or not. We want to make sure you are enjoying your vaping experience.

Devices:

1. CHECK ATOMIZER: If its a new coil, make sure your device can handle coil resistances in that range. Check the threading of the tank and device and make sure its clean from rust/debris/dried e-liquid. If it’s adjustable, adjust the center pin and make sure the pin can make contact with the device.
2. BATTERY WON’T TURN ON: If it’s an internal battery unit, check to make sure the batteries are placed in correctly. Check the batteries in an external charger to see if it will read the voltage. Check your manual to make sure you’re powering on your device the right way. If it’s an internal battery, your device might need to be charged. Check with the charger and see if there is any light that indicates it’s charging.
3. BATTERY WON’T HOLD CHARGE: If it is an external battery that can be replaced, check to see if the old battery just might be worn down. Battery life degrades over time. Check your charging cables and adapters to make sure you’re using the right ones and don’t overcharge a device. Do not plug into gaming consoles to charge. Check with your coils to see if the resistance is too low. Using low resistance with high power output will drain a battery faster than normal. Try switching for a coil that’s not as low but still produces flavor and vapor. We recommend something around 0.5 ohms.
4. EGO BATTERY NOT CHARGING: Check to make sure there is no e-liquid in the firing pin. The firing pin might be stuck. Your charger might be faulty and doesn’t work correctly. Make sure the battery is off when charging. The device itself might have given out. The pin might not be making contact with the tank. Try a new tank and see if it will fire.

Tank:

1. LEAKING: Tanks leak for many reasons. Check your tank O-rings for any missing or damaged pieces. Try not to overfill the tank. Check to make sure the coil that is being used fits the maker/model of what should be used. Some interchangeable coils might fit however, there might be a slight difference in size to the coils O-rings. Check to make sure the juice you’re using is appropriate for the tank. Too thin of a juice would make it more susceptible to leaks than a higher VG e-liquid. Check to see if tank components are assembled properly. Take your tank apart and wipe down any lingering e-liquid in hidden components. Make sure e-liquid is not in the airflow holes. Do not leave tanks exposed to heat for a long time. When flying, empty your tank as the air pressure will cause juice to be pushed out of openings.
2. NO FLAVOR: Check reviews on the flavor/company. It might not be as high of a quality than you expected. It may also be you have Vaper’s Tongue which happens when you vape one flavor too long. Your taste buds will be too accustomed to it. Try a new flavor and drink plenty of water.
3. BURNT TASTE: Your coil is probably burnt and due for a new one. They last roughly a week or two depending on usage. If it’s new, check to see if there is any debris that may have fallen in the center shaft of the tank. Always prime a coil before use and allow for the wick to soak up e-liquid. If you chain-vape, allow time in between hits to allow for absorption. Try reducing the duration of your vape hit.
4. GURGLING/SPLATTER: There might be too much e-liquid in the tank. Don’t fill tanks up to the top. The e-liquid might also be too thin, try adding some VG to the e-liquid and/or get a bottle with higher VG content. There also might be e-liquid lingering in the center air hole. Give your vape a good whip and slightly blow out any e-liquid with tissue covering the airflow.
5. COUGHING: If you’re switching from cigarettes to vaping, it might be a new thing to experience for your throat. It will take time to get used to the feeling. If you’re a new vaper using sub-ohm devices, try switching to a lower powered, more restricted device. This will simulate a mouth-to-lung vaping style that resembles cigarettes. Your nicotine level might also be too high. Try lowering the nicotine. Sub-ohming nicotine higher than 6mg will cause some coughing because of the high vapor production it outputs. Try nicotine salts in pod devices to limit the coughing and it’ll provide a more smoother hit.
6. HEADACHES/DIZZINESS: Your nicotine intake might be too high. If it is, reduce the amount of hitting your vape or reduce your nicotine level. Drink plenty of water and don’t engage in physical activity after a high nicotine vaping session.
7. NOT ENOUGH VAPOR: Check your e-liquid bottle to see if there is a higher VG content than there is PG. If it is a 50/50 ratio, try switching to a flavor/line that has a higher VG mix. Check your device settings to see if you’re producing the appropriate power output for the coil. Check the coil if it is burnt.
8. COIL BURNS OUT FASTER THAN USUAL: If you switched to a new e-liquid flavor, it might be that e-liquid messing it up. Darker e-liquids will burn out coils faster. Anything with a high citrus or sweetness will be more acidic and will cause coils to burn. If it’s a new coil and you’re using a higher power setting, try lowering it to the minimum recommended power setting.