Vaping devices come in many different sizes and shapes because no two people want exactly the same kind of vaping experience. Some people want to mimic the experience of smoking as closely as possible. Some people want to taste bold, highly developed flavor profiles, and others simply want to make some huge clouds. Whatever you’re looking for, the perfect vaping device for you is out there. Finding it is a matter of knowing what types of devices are available and understanding what their strengths and weaknesses are. This guide will walk you through choosing the right vaping device – whether you’re completely new to vaping or an aspiring cloud chasing expert. Read on to learn how to pick the best e-cigarette for your needs.

What Are Vape Pens?

A vape pen is typically a bit larger than a cigalike and often includes a compatible tank. Compared to cigalikes, vape pens generally feature vastly superior battery life and vapor production. A vape pen also gives you the ability to use any e-liquid. Vape pens strike a great balance between simplicity, flexibility, affordability and performance. A vape pen is usually a great choice as a first vaping device.

What Are Disposable E-Cigarettes?

A disposable e-cigarette is an e-cigarette that’s ready to use as soon as you remove it from the package. The battery is already charged, and the cartridge is full of e-liquid. The typical disposable e-cigarette provides about as much total nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. When the battery dies – or the e-cigarette loses its flavor – you’ll dispose of the whole device. A typical disposable e-cigarette costs almost as much as a pack of cigarettes, so it’s not the most affordable way to vape unless you’re only a social smoker. Despite their drawbacks, buying a disposable e-cigarette is a good way to get a basic idea of what vaping is like. If you decide to try a disposable e-cigarette, though, do so with the understanding that your experience will only scratch the surface of what vaping has to offer.

What Are Cigalikes?

A cigalike is a vaping device with roughly the same shape and size as a tobacco cigarette. Since cigalikes are the smallest vaping devices, they also have the shortest battery life and poorest vapor production. Cigalikes are extremely simple to use but generally only work with one brand of pre-filled e-liquid cartridges. If you buy a cigalike, you’ll have an experience that looks and feels very much like smoking. The downside, though, is that you can’t fill the cartridges with the e-liquids of your choice. While there are hundreds of different e-liquid flavors available in the world, only a small handful will work with your device.

What Are All-in-One Vaping Devices?

An all-in-one vaping device has a permanent built-in tank rather than a removable tank. An all-in-one device may be either a vape pen or a mod. Using an all-in-one device means sacrificing a bit of flexibility because you can only use your device with the built-in tank. Since all-in-one devices have internal e-liquid storage, though, they’re often very small and pocketable. In addition, the design of an all-in-one device makes leaking almost impossible.

What Are Automatic and Manual E-Cigarette Batteries?

Most disposable e-cigarettes and cigalikes have automatic batteries. An automatic battery has an airflow sensor that automatically turns the battery on when you puff. You can hold an automatic battery between two fingers as if it were a cigarette. The downside, though, is that an automatic battery always has a slight delay before it begins to produce vapor.

A manual battery has a button rather than an airflow sensor. You’ll hold the button to turn on the battery while puffing. If you have an e-cigarette with a manual battery, you’ll need to hold it differently than you would a tobacco cigarette. When you use a manual battery, though, you can push the button before you begin inhaling. You’ll therefore get more vapor with a manual battery than you would with an automatic battery.

I Want to Try Vaping. Should I Buy an E-Cigarette From a Convenience Store?

We don’t recommend buying a mass-market e-cigarette from a convenience store or gas station. Cigarette-shaped e-cigarettes – and the slightly newer pod vaping systems such as the Juul – have a number of problems:

  • Some use outdated technology and don’t produce enough vapor to satisfy the needs of a smoker.
  • Most have proprietary cartridges or pods that don’t work with other companies’ e-cigarettes and aren’t refillable.
  • Most have only a handful of different e-liquid flavors available.

What Features Should My First Vaping Device Have?

If you’re new to vaping, we recommend selecting a device with these two features:

  • A tank that you can fill with the e-liquid of your choice. If your device has a tank, you can buy inexpensive bottled e-liquid rather than overpriced cartridges or pods. Using a vaping device with a tank also means that you can experience a much wider variety of e-liquid flavors than you could with an e-cigarette using pre-filled cartridges.
  • A simple one-button control scheme. Later, you might decide to upgrade to a vaping device with variable wattage and temperature settings. In the beginning, though, we think that a simple vape pen is best.

What Type of Vaping Device Should I Buy First?

If you’re new to vaping, we suggest choosing one of these types of vaping devices.

  • Choose a vape pen for bigger vapor clouds and longer battery life.
  • Choose a pod vaping system and a nicotine salt e-liquid for a stronger throat hit and a more cigarette-like vaping experience. Avoid any pod system with pods that you can’t fill yourself.

What Are Mouth-to-Lung and Direct-to-Lung Inhaling?

When you vape, you can inhale in two different ways. The ideal inhalation style depends mainly on the vaping hardware you use.

  • Mouth-to-Lung Inhaling: If you have a small tank with a narrow mouthpiece, you’ll draw the vapor into your mouth before inhaling it into your lungs. Most people prefer this inhalation style when they’ve just made the switch from smoking to vaping because it feels more like smoking. Mouth-to-lung inhaling works best if you use an e-liquid with a higher nicotine strength.
  • Direct-to-Lung Inhaling: If you have a large tank with a wide mouthpiece, you’ll inhale the vapor directly into your lungs. Many experienced vapers prefer this inhalation style because it produces very large vapor clouds. Direct-to-lung inhaling works best if you use an e-liquid with a lower nicotine strength.

Why Shouldn’t I Start Vaping With a Large Device?

You shouldn’t start vaping with a large mod because a large device won’t provide the experience that you want as a new convert from smoking to vaping. Large devices are designed to operate at very high power levels and create huge vapor clouds with low-nicotine e-liquids. To facilitate the huge cloud production, larger mods include tanks with little airflow resistance. When you use such a tank, you’ll inhale the vapor directly into your lungs. As a new vaper, though, what you really want is a tank with slightly restricted airflow because you’ll want to inhale from the mouth to the lungs as you do when smoking. You’ll also want to use higher-nicotine e-liquids to get a sensation in the throat and lungs that feels like smoking.

What Are Mods?

A mod is any vaping device that isn’t shaped like a cigarette, a cigar or a pen. A mod often has a boxy shape and is about the same size as a pack of cigarettes. Mods have the most advanced features available in vaping – features such as temperature limiting, custom wattage curves and USB-based firmware upgrades. When you first make the switch from smoking to vaping, though, you may find that you lack the patience to learn how to use a mod’s complex menu system. You may also dislike the included tank as most mods include tanks designed for direct-to-lung inhaling. Most new vapers prefer to inhale from the mouth to the lungs, but today’s larger vaping tanks work poorly when used for mouth-to-lung inhaling.

What Are Pod Vaping Systems?

A pod vaping system is an e-cigarette that stores its e-liquid in a plastic pod. Pod vaping systems are similar to e-cigarettes in that the ones you find in convenience stores don’t have refillable cartridges. They differ from the “cigalikes” in convenience stores, though, in that they use a different form of nicotine called nicotine salt. Although we don’t recommend buying a pod vaping system with pre-filled pods, there are many pod-based devices available with pods that you can fill yourself. Some former smokers have reported that they find nicotine salt e-liquids more satisfying than standard e-liquids.

What Are Squonk Mods?

A squonk mod is a vaping device with an internal bottle that stores e-liquid in the battery compartment. Squeezing the bottle sends e-liquid up through a small tube, saturating the device’s heating coil from the bottom. Modern vaping devices can generate huge vapor clouds, and they use a lot of e-liquid in the process. For those who love to chase clouds, squonk mods provide ample e-liquid storage for all-day vaping. To use a squonk mod, though, you need to learn how to build your own atomizer coils. Squonk mods generally aren’t appropriate for beginning vapers.

What Are Mechanical Mods?

A mechanical mod is a vaping device with no electronic components. The mechanical force of you pushing a button completes a circuit and causes the atomizer coil to fire. Mechanical mods are inexpensive and very durable. Since a mechanical mod has no electronic parts that can fail, it can theoretically give you trouble-free operation for many years. Mechanical mods do have a serious drawback, though, in that they have no built-in safety features. If you don’t have the desire to learn about safe battery usage, you shouldn’t use a mechanical mod.

If Large Vaping Devices Aren’t the Best for Smokers, Why Do So Many People Use Them?

If larger mods do such a poor job of simulating smoking, you might wonder why so many people use them. After you’ve vaped for a while, you may discover that you love vaping for its own virtues and that you no longer vape as a replacement for smoking. You may find, in fact, that you no longer think about cigarettes much at all. When you reach that point, you might decide that you’d like to taste the flavors in your e-liquid without the nicotine getting in the way. Switching to a lower e-liquid nicotine strength eliminates throat hit from the equation and puts the flavor profiles of your e-liquids front and center. Using a larger vaping device generates much larger vapor clouds than a smaller device, it allows you to reduce the nicotine strength of your e-liquid without reducing the total amount of nicotine that you use.

Does the Wattage of a Vaping Device Matter?

When you look at high-end vaping devices, you’ll often see their wattages listed as selling points; some mods can deliver well over 200 watts of power. That amount of power isn’t necessary for most people, but the extra headroom ensures that your device can support any tank that might be released in the future.

What Safety Features Do Vaping Devices Have?

A vaping device houses a powerful lithium-ion battery and may deliver 200 watts or more of power. With the capacity to deliver so much power, your vape pen or mod needs to have some built-in features to ensure that you can vape safely. Some of the most common safety features of vaping devices include:

  • Short circuit protection
  • Reverse battery protection
  • Unsafe current protection
  • Overheating protection
  • Battery over- and under-voltage protection

Should I Buy a Mod With Fixed or Removable Batteries?

A mod with permanent internal batteries is often smaller and lighter than a mod with removable batteries due to the extra hardware required such as hinges and battery posts. Since the batteries are included, you’ll often pay less if you buy a vaping device with fixed batteries as few vaping devices with removable batteries include the batteries.

Devices with removable batteries, however, have several benefits of their own. The primary benefit is that you won’t have to throw the device away when your batteries stop holding a charge – you can just use a different set of batteries. Using a vaping device with removable batteries also means that you can charge your batteries with the battery charger of your choice rather than relying on the charging circuitry in your vaping device.

Should I Buy a Mod With More Than One Battery?

In most cases, buying a single- or dual-battery device is a choice. If you choose a dual-battery device, you’ll get better battery life. If you choose a single-battery device, though, you’ll get a device that’s smaller, lighter and more portable. Many dual-battery devices are difficult to carry in your pocket due to the size and weight. Some modern vaping tanks, though, have suggested operating power ranges that exceed 100 watts. Tanks such as the SMOK TFV12 Cloud Beast King fall into that category. If you want to use such a tank, you’ll need a dual-battery device because single-battery mods can’t reach power levels over 100 watts. Dual-battery devices can typically exceed 200 watts.

Can I Only Use My Vaping Device With the Included Tank?

If your device has a removable tank, it will work with other tanks because virtually all e-cigarette tanks on the market have compatible threading. To determine whether a specific tank will work with your device, you need to do two things:

  • Check the suggested wattage range of the tank’s atomizer coils and confirm that your device can operate within that range.
  • Check the resistance of the tank’s atomizer coils and confirm that the resistance isn’t below the minimum that your device supports. You can usually find that information in the device’s instruction manual or on the manufacturer’s website.

If your device supports the resistance and wattage range of the tank’s atomizer coils, the tank should work with your device.