Vaping 101 – A Quick Primer on Everything You Need To Know If You’re New To Vaping
I quit smoking almost six years ago now. That’s over half a decade. It wasn’t my first time quitting, though – no, I think I tried to quit smoking one a year, on average, for about 15 years.
It wasn’t until I discovered vaping that things changed; once I got my first vape, tried it, realised it ACTUALLY worked and it didn’t blow my face off, I knew there was something to the technology.
Fast-forward six years and I am still smoke free. Sure, I’ve had the odd one here and there, at parties and what not, but that’s it – I went from 30 a day to zero a day. And I did it ALL thanks to vaping.
If you’re in that place now, thinking about quitting smoking and/or switching to vaping, congrats, you’re doing a very positive thing.
So… how does one go about vaping? Where do you get your gear from? What’s the best gear? Who makes the best E Juice? These are ALL good questions, questions I asked myself back in the day, only back then options were, umm… a little more limited.
Today, you have SO MUCH choice and so many excellent devices to choose from. Whatever your budget, there is a vape setup out there with your name written on it. I put together this article to help you through the first initial stages of getting into vaping, which can be tricky and confusing in equal measure.
Vaping 101 – Jargon Busting
The vaping world is FULL of jargon, but like most things in life it’s not too confusing once you understand what everything means.
This section will basically describe all the things you’ll be dealing with from here on out as a vaper. I’ll keep the descriptions nice and short and link out to other posts where applicable so you can read more about them in detail.
Vaping 101 – Sub-Ohm Tank Explained
These are your standard vape tanks, the type that comes inside vape kits. These tanks come with pre-made coils which you install and normally have an E Juice capacity of anywhere between 2ml to 6ml.
They’re called “sub-ohm tanks” because of the resistance of the coils used inside them. Most of the time, when you’re starting out, you’ll buy a starter kit – in these you get a mod and a tank and some coils.
These types of tanks are great if you just want a plug-and-play solution, as all you have to do is add E Juice, prime the coil, switch the mod on, and, BOOM, you’re vaping!
The only downside is that you will have to buy more coils, as they do burn out after prolonged use. You will know when this happens because it starts to taste, well… awful.
- For More Information: Read My Guide To The Best Vape Tanks
Vaping 101 – Box Mods/Mods Explained
A box mod is basically the engine that powers the tank. You can buy mods in all shapes and sizes, though a lot of them are square, which is where the “box” bit comes from. Most modern box mods and mods are regulated and run chipsets (just like your phone) that help ensure they run as safely as possible.
There are literally thousands of options out there, far too many to name in once place, and they all feature a myriad of vaping options and settings from different vaping modes to things like power curve settings (don’t worry too much about these for now though).
You’ll notice that a lot of mods have a number at the end – usually 220W or 225W. This is the mod’s maximum power output measured in Watts. Most vapers – myself included – vape in power mode (Watts), as it keeps things nice and simple. Just keep in mind that you will never likely go above 100W.
The upper limits of these mods are for more experienced vapers that are building insane coils. For you, me, and 90% of vapers, the highest you’ll ever need to go is about 120W – though this will depend entirely on the tank you’re using.
- For More Information: Read My Guide To The Best Box Mods
Vaping 101 – Batteries
This one is important: always buy high-quality, decent batteries for use inside your mod. You do not want to mess around in this regard, as that’s what causes things to go bad and mods to explode.
As I said: all standard mods are regulated, so if something is wrong they simply won’t fire. Mech Mods – which are unregulated – are where you can run into trouble, but you don’t want to mess around with them until you’re very experienced.
Even if you’re running a standard mod, you should still invest in quality 18650 batteries. Why? Because they’re safer and as a vaper, you need to be ALL ABOUT safety.
Also: never charge your mod via USB. Always charge your batteries in a proper, external battery charger. I’ve been using the one listed below for four years, and it’s never missed a beat.
- Capable of setting the charging voltage of each bay individually
- Active Current Distribution (ACD) technology ensures optimal dispersal of charging current amongst installed batteries
- Compatible with: Li-ion / IMR / LiFePO4: 26650, 26500, 25500, 22650, 22500, 21700, 20700, 18700, 18650, 18500, 18490, 18350, 17670, 17650, 17500, 17350, 16650, 16340 (RCR123A), 16500, 14650, 14500, 14430, 14350, 13650, 13500, 13450, 12650, 12500, 12340, 10500, 10440, 10350, 10340 ; Ni-MH / Ni-Cd: AA, AAA, AAAA, C, D
- Reverse Polarity Protection prevents damage to both batteries and charger
- Bundle include EdisonBright BBX3 battery carrying case
- For More Information: Read My Guide On The Best Vape Batteries
Vaping 101 – Other Types of Tanks (RDAs, RDTAs, RTAs)
If you want to build your own coils, you need to be looking at RDA, RDTA and RTA tanks. With these, you get wire, cotton, and some tools and make your own coils rather than paying $15 for three pre-made ones.
It’s A LOT cheaper and the overall experience is better. Nearly all professional or serious vapers build their own coils and most favour RDA tanks as they’re simple, straight forward, and offer up the best flavour.
RDA is pretty easy to work with, but they do not have ANY E Juice capability, so you have to constantly drip E Juice directly onto the coil.
- For More Information: The Best RDA Tanks You Can Buy
RDTA tanks are better, IMHO, as they have juice storage capabilities, so you get all the benefits of a standard sub-ohm tank, just with the power and flavour of an RDA.
- For More Information: My Favourite RDTA Tanks 2017
RTA tanks – again, IMHO – are the work of satan. They sound great on paper (sub-ohm tank E Juice capacity, RDA-style decks) but in practice they are almost always impossible to set-up properly.
- For More Information: The Best RTA Tanks Money Can Buy
My advice? If you want to go this route, get an RDA or an RDTA.
If you want to start building your own coils from the get-go, that’s cool – just make sure you know what you’re doing or have someone that can teach you.
- For More Information: How To Build Your Own Vape Coils
Vaping 101 – E Juice
Again, like batteries, E Juice is really important. Do not buy cheap stuff from dodgy-looking places online. You’re just asking for trouble doing this. Always go with established brands and retailers, that way you know you’re getting quality stuff.
Where do I buy my E Juice from? Here’s a list of my preferred brands as of right now:
|E JUICE BRAND||MICRO-REVIEW||RATING||PRICE||BEST PLACE TO BUY|
|ONE HIT WONDER||OMFG!||10/10||$49.95 (180ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
|ANML E JUICE||TASTY AS HELL||9/5/10||$29.99 (60ML)||VAPORDNA|
|DINNER LADY E-LIQUID||GORGEOUS||10/10||£14.99 (10ML)||UK ECIG STORE|
|VAPORFI – MULTIPLE LINES||HIGH-QUALITY-SHIZZ||9/10||VARIES BY RANGE||VAPORFI|
|COSMIC FOG||LEGENDARY STUFF||8.5/10||$23 (60ML); $44.95 (100ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
|NAKED E-JUICE||SO VERY MOREISH||9/10||$21.95 (60ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
|BEARD VAPE COMPANY||EPIC. JUST EPIC||9.5/10||$23.95 (60ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
|JUICE ROLL UPZ||FLAVOUR-EXPLOSION||9/10||$24.95 (60ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
|ELEMENT||EXTENSIVE LINEUP||8.5/10||$29.95 (60ML); $12.05 (20ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
|FLAWLESS||LOVELY STUFF ALL ROUND||9/10||$24.99 (60ML)||VAPORDNA|
|VAPETASIA||LIKE LICKING A STAR||9/10||$23.95 (60ML)||DIRECTVAPOR|
Again, E Juice is all about personal preference. My advice to you would be to go to your local vape store and just try a bunch, see what you like, and take it from there.
As you vape more, you’ll try new things and discover all kinds of crazy flavours. I started off vaping fruity E Juice back in the day, but now I am MAD about dessert and cereal-style flavours.
And if you want to vape tobacco-flavoured E Juice, well… you can do that too. The best tobacco E Juice around is made by Black Note – check my review of Black Note for more information.