In 2014, Oxford dictionary declared Vape as the word of the year. This came after vaping started to gain popularity in the mainstream and that popularity has continued to grow into the huge industry it is today.
Newcomers to the vaping culture may feel a little overwhelmed at first. There are a lot of new terms and techniques to learn and there can be a bit of a learning curve when starting out. If you find yourself feeling this way, fear not, this guide is intended to educate you on the terms and components that encompass the vaping world so you can easily make the transition from Vape Newbie to Cloud Chaser.
All vaporizers incorporate 3 main components, your E-Juice (the liquid that you vape), the tank (where you put your e-juice), and the mod/battery (the power supply).
You can think of E-Juice similar to wine, it comes in different brands, flavors and strengths. Just like wine not all e-juice is made equally and a lot of time its personal choice that will determine a juice you will enjoy.
What is in E-Juice?
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
Vegetable Glycerin, also known as VG, is an organic sugar-alcohol compound that is derived from vegetable oil. It is comprised of just 3 elements, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. VG is a viscous liquid that is slightly sweet and is used to make clouds of vapor denser. The hit from a VG based liquid tends to be smoother on the throat and more inviting for new vapers.
Some people may still be uneasy putting a relatively unknown substance in your body. But the truth is that you have probably already ingested vegetable glycerin in your life countless times, if you brushed your teeth this morning than you definitely ingested vegetable glycerin as it is used in almost every dental hygiene product. Vape companies use pharmaceutical grade VG to further ensure the quality of their juices and is listed on the FDA’s “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) list. When ingested it is broken down and metabolized in the body by a process called “bet-oxidation” which turns it in CO2 and H20 which are natural elements the body can easily discard and is one of the most benign organic liquids in the world. The liquid is also hypo-allergenic, meaning that one cannot have an allergic reaction to it unlike its PG counterpart, more on that below.
What is it typically used for?
- Beauty moisturizers (plam oils, coconut oils etc)
- Baked goods (helps increase moisture)
- Replacement for alcohol in botanical tinctures
Propylene Glycol also known as PG, is a petroleum by-product. The liquid is colorless and odorless and is less thick than its VG counterpart and also produces less visible vapor. Within vaping it is used to more efficiently carry flavor and nicotine of the E-Liquid. PG also can cause more of a “throat hit”, which is a slight irritation experienced in your throat similar to smoking. Some former smokers will prefer a liquid that is higher in PG because the sensation is more similar to smoking.
What is it typically used for?
- Asthma Inhalers
- Medical products
- Pet foods
- Beauty products
Some people may find a solution like PG worrisome to ingest, as it is a chemical compound. Most of the concerns stem from the fact that most studies reference industrial grade propylene glycol, however the vapor community is following suit with the medical community by using pharmaceutical grade PG. The FDA recognizes pharmaceutical grade PG as safe and has included on its GRAS list. The one issue with PG is that some people may have a natural allergy to the substance; this may result in a slightly irritated feeling on your throat. For those who suspect they may be allergic to PG we recommend Max VG juices.
E-Juice companies often offer different PG/VG ratios for their juices. Different ratios can directly affect how you will enjoy your vapor.
E-Juices that are higher in PG will produce thinner clouds, have more distinct flavoring but will also cause more of a throat irritation. This is usually preferred by those who are quitting smoking but still desire the smoking sensation on their throat.
E-Juices that are higher in VG will taste sweeter, have thicker clouds, and will cause less irritation on the throat. This is preferred by most new users who wish to switch to vaping because it is easier to draw. It is also preferred by those who are looking for large cloud production.
Frequently Used PG/VG Ratios
- MAX VG
Finding the right ratio for you is entirely subjected and it’s recommended to try a few brands with different ratios to figure out what you enjoy. Newcomers will want to try a liquid that is higher in VG because it is much easier on your throat and will cause less irritation. If you are trying to quit smoking and are looking for something that will produce a similar sensation to smoke than you may want a liquid with a bit more PG.
Nicotine is the addictive chemical that keeps smokers smoking. In E-Juice it is added in liquid form and can be found in a variety of strengths. We do not advocate the use of juices with nicotine and would encourage users to consider nicotine free juices.
E-Juice companies use food-grade natural and artificial flavors in their juices. These are the same flavoring ingredients that are found in soda-pop, candy, etc.
Flavoring is very subjective, not everyone is going to enjoy the same taste. This is why companies offer a wide-array of flavors to excite the pallets of users. Flavors can range from baked goods, coffee, pop, fruits, candy, mints and so on. There are even tobacco flavoured e-juices for smoking “purists” or flavorless juices for those who want no taste at all.
Some companies even offer “Organic” E-Juice blends. These E-Juices contain only Organic Food Grade Flavor Extracts and do not employ the use of colorants, artificial flavors, fillers, diluting agents, or preservatives.
We recommend getting a couple of flavors if you are new to find out which one is right for you. Some shops even offer flavor bars where you can come in and try the flavors before you buy it. You can find all the flavors carried by TVape here.
The Anatomy of a Vape
Now that we know all about e-juice now it’s time to talk about what you will be using it with.
No, I’m not talking about giant rolling metal death machines, in vaping culture a tank is the part of the vaporizer where you load and vape your e-juice. It is usually comprised of 3 Parts:
The drip tip is the part of the vape you actually put your lips on. They are usually made out of heat resistant plastic or metal, though some 3rd party companies also offer wood. They are usually removable and interchangeable should you want to customize the look of your vape. Some people prefer drip tips with large openings to achieve larger draws. Others prefer a smaller hole for a more smooth and controlled hit.
This is the section of the vape where the e-liquid is loaded. These tanks are generally made out of glass, stainless steel or titanium. Some tanks are filled from the top, while others are filled from the bottom.
Generally top fill tanks are much easier to fill because you do not need to remove the tank from your mod or battery to refill it, making it much more convenient.
Most tanks also have an air flow control ring near the base of the tank. This allows you to manually adjust the airflow resistance of the vape to your own preference.
The Atomizer, often referred to as a coil, is the part that actually causes the vaporization. Inside each atomizer is a coil wrapped around a piece of cotton. As you draw, the e-liquid is pulled from the tank chamber to the cotton and heated coil inside the atomizer to cause vaporization. Coils are disposable and will need to be replaced every couple weeks.
Coils are calibrated in terms of OHMS. OHMS is a measurement of resistance and I could give you a big long technical explanation, but the easier way to explain it is the lower the OHM, the more power (wattage) needed to heat the coil, which ultimately results in larger vapor production.
Popular Coil Calibrations (OHMS)
.2, .3, .5, 1, 1.2, 1.5
Large clouds Smaller Clouds
If you are new to vaping you may want to look for a unit that offers a range of coil calibrations and more specifically a unit that offers coils of 1 OHM or higher. I find higher OHM coils are smoother and easier to start with.
Coils also need to be primed before first time use. This is something a lot of new users over look when filling their vape for the first time. If your coil is not properly primed before use it will struggle to flow juice from the tank to the coil resulting in a “dry hit”.
A dry hit is when only the cotton wick is burned without e-juice soaked in it. It can happen when you let your juice get too low before refilling or from not priming your coil before use. You will know you had a dry hit from the harsh burned vape taste you will experience.
To avoid this, before you use your coil for the first time take your e-juice and drip it onto the airflow openings of the coil and also onto the cotton in the middle of the coil. Make sure the cotton has become saturated; it may require applying the e-juice several times. Once you can see that the cotton is nice and moist, now it’s ready to be attached to the rest of the tank.
Once you assemble the tank I recommend letting the tank sit with the juice and new coil in it for about a minute. This will allow the juice to further soak into the coil. Next take a few draws without any heating to promote the flow of e-juice. Once you have done this you should be good to turn your unit on begin your first session.
The Mod refers to the part of the vape that provides power to the tank and atomizer. They also control the wattage and temperature that you are vaping at. Pen style vapes use a battery instead of a mod and usually offer limited control over your wattage.
Pen Vape Battery
Why do I want to control wattage?
You will want control of your wattage if you want to be able to customize your vapor experience. The higher you set your wattage the denser the vapor produced. Power control is also important if you intend to use different coils with different OHM calibrations. Lower OHM coils (.2 OHM – .5 OHM) require more power while higher OHM coils require less power (1 OHM – 2 OHM).
Temperature Controlled Mods
A lot of newer mods come with the addition of Temperature Control (TC). Mods that are temperature controlled allow you to set a specific temperature range to vape at rather than a wattage and only allow the unit to ever reach that set temperature. It works by monitoring the resistance of your coil while you are vaping. As coils heat up the resistance of the coil will begin to fluctuate, which on a regular wattage controlled vape will lead to vaping at a higher temperatures as your session continues. Temperature controlled units detect the change in resistance and adjust the voltage of the unit accordingly to keep it at the same temperature the entire session. This will also protect against dry hits when you do not prime your coils properly or let the juice get too low. The vape will sense the coil is heating too high too quickly and will just cease heating, rather than delivering a dry hit.
If you are new to vaping then a Starter Kit is the perfect place to start. Most companies offer Starter Kits, which include a tank, a couple coils, and the mod/battery. These kits are specifically designed for new comers and offer everything needed to start vaping right out of the box. You can check out the latest and greatest starter kits that TVape carries here.
First time users will want to consider a vape that is easy to use out the box. Think of it like a sports car with automatically transmission. Below are some aspects to consider when choosing your first vape.
- Pre-configured wattage (usually vapes without displays)
- Pre-constructed coils
- Higher ohm coils (1ohm or above)
- Small selection of atomizers
- Easy to fill tanks
- Always remember to prime your coils
If you are considering changing your lifestyle and want to start chasing clouds be sure to check out all of the units and accessories offered on TVape. Our team has tested and reviewed each vape ensuring we only carry the ones we truly enjoy.
We hope you found this article helpful in making an informed decision on your next vape, be sure to check out of other buyers guides for Vaporizers and Wax Pens as well for more useful info, tips and tricks.