Vaping 101 – A Quick Primer on Everything You Need To Know If You’re New To Vaping, From Types of Tanks and Mods to Batteries and E Juice…
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 once 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, realized 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 whatnot, 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 as a resource page for new vapers; it will tell you about each type of vape device, then link to our A-List Articles for the best products in each category.
Have a read through each section – tanks, mods, batteries – and then, once you decide on the style of kit you want, check the links to our A-List Product articles.
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 with 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.
For More Information: Check Out VapeBeat’s Best Vape Tank Guide
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.
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 one 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: The Best Box Mods & Vape Mods You Can Buy Right Now
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.
- For More Information: Read My Guide On The Best Vape Batteries
Vaping 101 – Other Types of Tanks (Rebuildables) | 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 coils (pre-made or hand-made), cotton, and some tools and make your own coils rather than paying $15 for three pre-made ones.
The benefits of rebuildable atomizers are threefold:
- Better Flavor
- Cheaper To Run (Cotton & Coils Are Cheap)
- More Clouds & Vapor Production
1) RDA Tanks
RDA tanks are the simplest of all rebuildable atomizers; it’s basically just a deck and a tank, with limited internal juice capacity.
Nearly all professional or serious vapers build their own coils and most favor RDA tanks as they’re simple, straightforward, and offer up the best flavor.
RDAs are 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 unless you’re running a squonk mod. Then vape juice can be stored in the mod and sent up to the tank via a simple squeeze (find out about squonk mods here).
- For More Information: The Best RDA Tanks Right Now | Rated N’ Reviewed
2) RDTA Tanks
RDTA tanks have juice storage capabilities, so you get all the benefits of a standard sub-ohm tank, just with the power and flavor of an RDA.
Squonking has grown massively during the last couple of years, and RDTAs have become less popular.
Their USP of having an RDA deck with some vape juice capacity pales in comparison to a squonk-compatible RDA that can access up to 8ml of E Juice with a single squeeze.
I do still like RDTAs, they’re just not as popular (with vape brands or consumers) anymore, sadly.
- For More Information: My Favourite RDTA Tanks
3) RTA Tanks
RTA tanks tend to be a little more fiddly than RDAs and RDTAs, as they contain standard-tank-size E Juice capacity.
And without correct wicking, they can leak – everywhere!
Therefore, it’s important to get the right one – as A LOT of them leak.
There are some very good, leak-proof RTAs around now, so it’s not as bad as it once was.
They sound great on paper (sub-ohm tank E Juice capacity, RDA-style decks) but in practice, a lot are very tricky to set-up properly (especially if you’re a newbie).
However, ALL the RTA tanks listed below are very simple to live and work with.
They are the best in the business right now. Period.
- For More Information: The Best RTA Tanks | Advanced & Newbie-Friendly Setups
Should You Use Rebuildable Vape Tanks?
My advice? Rebuildables are definitely the way forward.
You’ll save a fortune on coils, as you’ll be making your own.
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
Want to use rebuildable tanks, but don’t want to make your own coils? No problem.
You can buy ready-made coils for RDAs, RTAs, and RDTAs at most online vape stores.
My personal preference for pre-made coils right now are these bad boys via VaporDNA.
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.
Make Sure You ONLY Buy High-Quality Vape Juice
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.
I get most of my vape juice via VapeDeal – they offer big brands, in big bottles (60ml & 100ML), at really low prices.
As you vape more, you’ll try new things and discover all kinds of crazy flavors.
I started off vaping fruity E Juice back in the day, but now I am MAD about dessert and cereal-style flavors.
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.