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TLDR: Buying your first vape kit can be an absolute minefield. We know, we’ve been there, and helped thousands of others get past it too. If you are wondering what vape to buy, here’s our deep dive on everything you need to know to buy the right electronic cigarette .
On the surface, vaping seems pretty simple. You simply ditch the cigs as a first step, then go online and look at what vape to buy. You are then faced with 100’s of pod kit this, sub ohm that, high VG cloud this, high nicotine that – it gets pretty confusing, pretty quickly.
We’re here to take the confusion out of the equation. We will explain the different types of vape kits on the market, which ones suit heavy smokers, which is best for discreet vaping and those looking for all out cloud beasts too.
This is your guide that you should read before you even click on the product page of a vape website. This is your education into the world of vaping.
Once you have done your homework you’ll be able to confidently know what vape to buy when you add it to your shopping cart and checkout.
A vape kit is a device used to vaporise e-liquid. A vaporiser is nothing new, they have been on the market for years and over that time have evolved to suit the needs of a wide range of vapers.
A vape kit can come in a few different styles. The main ones are:
Then under the umbrella of these terms comes more devices to suit your needs.
Today, cig-a-like’s aren’t such a popular choice, but back in the early days of vaping, these were the go to. They are shaped and designed like a cigarette and you inhale just like you do on a ciggie, with a mouth to lung draw.
This type of electronic cigarette would require you to either replace the whole device when the battery goes, or if the battery is rechargeable you would have to buy new cartridges each time the vape runs out.
While they’re cheap to buy initially, even from a supermarket, the cost of these can quickly add up due to the fact they are not refillable.
A vape pen moves away from the cig-a-like design. Vape pens can be thin, or chunky, depending on the style you go for.
A vape pen has a refillable tank which most often has replaceable coils. The refillable tank allows you to choose from one of the many vape flavours available and the replaceable coils mean you do not need to replace the entire tank when the coil starts to taste off.
A vape pen is about the size of a cigar. Some are thin and best for new vapers, others are chunky better suited for cloud chasers.
Pods have come a long way in the last few years. They started off as very basic devices that required you to buy cartridges, much like the cig-a-like. However, mostly nowadays pod kits are refillable and even offer different vaping styles.
Some ‘pod mods’ allow you to alter the settings so that you can customise your vape. With temperature and wattage control, as well as the ability to use a variety of coils. While this might sound confusing right now if you are completely new to vaping, pod systems are still quite simple, however, they have room to grow with you as a vaper as they can be very versatile.
A box mod is box shaped, hence the name. They have a tank, just like a vape pen, however, they pack bigger and longer lasting batteries.
This means that the higher powered devices can produce more watts, which equates to bigger clouds. A box mod will also have a bunch of additional features which suit someone looking to tailor their vape experience. They look nothing like a cigarette and more like a bit of tech.
You might like a box mod if you think your vape might take a battering. Generally they are less fragile. You can even get some with built in speakers and torches – this aims them well towards people who work or spend lots of time outside.
A mech mod can be either a a pen or box style device which has the coil wired directly to the battery. This is an unregulated mod which doesn’t have any alterations that you can make on the device. Instead, you tailor your vape with the coil builds and battery power. The raw battery power is delivered to the atomiser with no power adjustments or safety features.
A mech mod is rarely chosen by someone who is brand new to vaping as they are powerful cloud devices that require knowledge of vaping and coil building.
While we are on the topic of box and mech mods, we need to mention regulated vs unregulated mods. Unregulated mods are available but best suited to someone who is an advanced vaper. An unregulated mod, such as a mech mod, doesn’t have the same safety features and auto shut offs that a regulated mod would have.
The circuit board in a regulated mod will not only allow you to have better control over your vape, but will prevent a fire if there is a malfunction.
A new vaper, and even an experienced one, may prefer a regulated one as it takes away the responsibility of keeping the device safe. However, if you are into tech and electronics and really want to have ultimate control over your device and absolute max power, then you might choose to have an unregulated box mod.
An unregulated box mod is much simpler looking than a regulated one. It is just a battery, atomiser and place for components such as batteries.
Here are a few features of a regulated box mod:
We covered the different types of vape kits above, but what are the differences between them? How do you determine which electronic cigarette you go shopping for? Now we understand the different types of devices, let’s put them head to head in a versus battle.
Quick recap – a box mod is a device that is box shaped with a tank and adjustment buttons. A mech mod is a pen style device, with no tank, raw power is delivered to the atomiser without adjustments and vapor is dropped directly onto the coil.
Box Mod benefits
Mech Mod benefits
Box Mod Con
Mech Mod Con
Quick recap – Vape pens are pen like devices with a tank and a battery, they are rarely adjustable. Pod kits are small, pocket-sized devices that can vary between being very basic to having various functionality.
When you are making a buying decision between a pod or a pen, it is important to think about your own personal reasons for vaping and how you want it to fit in with your life.
Pod kit benefits
Vape pen pros
Pod kit benefits
Vape pen cons
Let’s just quickly skim the surface of the different types of vaping styles, keeping it simple.
MTL – This stands for Mouth to Lung. It is called this because it relates to how you inhale. You draw the vapor into your mouth, then your lungs. This is how you would smoke a cigarette so most often it is how newly ex smokers feel most comfortable vaping.
DTL – This stands for Direct to Lung. It relates to how you inhale the vapor directly into your lungs. This type of vaping style would require a cloud device with adjustable airflow, such as a box mod, sub ohm kit and even some pod mods.
DTL will give you a great cloud production, however, the nicotine levels in direct to lung juices are lower and the throat hit smoother. For this reason, newly ex smokers don’t always enjoy going straight into DTL vaping or sub ohm vaping.
You will easily be able to see whether a device is meant for MTL or DTL vaping when you make your device choice. An e-cig suited for MTL vaping will have coil resistance above 1 ohm and a thinner drip tip (this is the mouth piece). The DTL devices have a wider drip tip and coil resistance below 0.5ohm for sub ohm vaping.
If you want to learn more about sub-ohm, check out this great guide:
When you make the switch to vaping you will save money, however, the start up costs might feel a little daunting. The prices can range from £10 right through to over £100.
You could pick up a closed pod system or cig-a-like for around £10. However, these are likely to cost you more in the future as they are not refillable and the coils can not be replaced. This is something you will want to consider.
You might look for something mid range that will offer a little more for when you get confident with vaping. The mid range devices are more likely to grow with you and actually work out cheaper in the long run as you are not replacing the pods each time they run out.
We suggest that you set yourself a budget before you start shopping for your vape kit. Maybe your budget is the same as you would spend on 2 weeks of smoking.
When you have invested in your kit the upkeep costs are not very high at all. You would just need to replace coils every few weeks and buy e-liquid, which is much cheaper than cigarettes.
Most vape kits will come with:
Sometimes vape kits will come with:
The best vape to buy is one that ticks all of the boxes for you.
Once you have narrowed your choice down to two or three electronic cigarettes, make sure you watch YouTube reviews and read reviews on that specific device. This can help you make your decision a little easier.
Ultimately, the best vape to buy is down to personal choice. You might buy a cheap device to start with just to see how you get on, then invest in something a mid range once you have decided vaping is for you.
Some people have two devices. One for a nicotine fix, such as a simple pod, then one to blow some crazy clouds. The box mods are much bulkier and so they might not suit taking on a night out, whereas pods and pens are very portable.
New vapers often prefer a mouth to lung device with a simple to use system. Too much functionality and settings can be a little overwhelming for new vapers. Particularly when the goal is simply to curb nicotine cravings while they quit smoking.
You might find that a mouth lung device suits you best as you transition away from the smokes, as this closely replicates the draw. It also provides a harsher throat hit which you will be used to from cigarettes.
Mouth to lung devices with a coil resistance above 1ohm will be a ideal for high PG, beginner juices which come in 0,3,6,12 and 18mg nicotine.
As a beginner vaper you might look at something discreet that fits in your pocket or purse, such as a pod vape or vape pen rather than a box mod. These are also simple to use and are very effective in delivering a satisfying vape with nicotine.
Key points when buying vape kit for beginners
If you have decided that you want to blow the world away with a cloud beast then you will want something that uses high VG e-liquid. High VG juice produces more cloud than high PG. However, while this type of juice might provide cloud, nicotine levels are much lower for sub ohm vaping, generally 0mg, 3mg and certainly no higher than 6mg.
If you want a huge cloud then you will be best off selecting a mod that has adjustable watts. This could be a pod mod or a box mod.
If you are pretty knowledgeable on electronics and happy to safety check your own coil builds then you might look at unregulated mods. These will certainly produce some cloud, but they always need to be tested to keep safe. If you are a beginner vaper, then building your own coils or using an unregulated mod probably wouldn’t be the best place to start.
Key points when buying a vape for cloud:
If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day you would be classed as a heavy smoker. If you fall into this category then you will want a device suitable for liquid that really curbs those nicotine cravings so that you keep away from the cigarettes.
High PG juices are higher in nicotine, ranging from 3mg right up to 18mg. You could also look at a modest pod device or basic pen which suits nic salts eliquid. Nic salts is up to 20mg and is an eliquid designed to curb cravings quicker and for longer, which will be ideal if you are an ex heavy smoker wanting to get your nicotine in without having to vape lots, or if you don’t have many opportunities to vape through the day.
Here are a few key points when buying a vape for heavy smoker:
There are quite a lot of considerations to make when you are shopping for a vape, but hopefully you feel less confused about it all and have some idea where to start.
The key things to think about when making your selection is what you want from your vape, what your budget is and which one you actually like the look of. From this vape buyers guide you should have an understanding of the basics to get you your first vape kit and finally crack the cigs.
Do make sure you read reviews and watch YouTube videos of the kits that you like so you can really get a feel for it before you buy a vape. Last thing you want is it to arrive and not be quite how you thought.
Getting the right vape for you is going to be make or break with your vaping journey, so it really is important to do your research and get it right.