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Not long ago, a reader sent me an email saying that, with all of the e-cigarette reviews I’ve written and all of the hardware available to me, it must be difficult to choose a best e-cigarette. He wanted to know what my personal vape setup is. I’ll tell you — it’s a ProVari. A ProVari Mini, to be exact. I also have the original ProVari as a backup, just in case — that’s how much I like this e-cigarette. I’m in a pretty fortunate position; as a journalist who has covered the e-cigarette industry for some time, I occasionally receive e-cigarettes that I don’t have to pay for, which allows me to keep up with the latest happenings in the field. That was the case with the ProVari. If I’d had to cough up the over $200 needed to buy the kit, I don’t know if I would have done it. The ProVari is an expensive e-cigarette and it’s hard to understand what makes it worth the money when an e-cigarette such as the Lavatube has the same specifications and costs half as much. Specifications aren’t everything, as it turns out; the ProVari is definitely the best e-cigarette mod on the market. Is it twice as good as the Lavatube, though? Read on to find out in this ProVari review.
View the ProVari or ProVari Mini at the ProVape website. Both e-cigarettes cost $159.95 for the body only or $211.95 for the full kit. Both items ship for free in the United States. International shipping is also available.
About the ProVari
At this point, you might be asking yourself why anyone in their right mind would pay over $200 for an e-cigarette kit that includes virtually nothing but an e-cigarette, a couple of batteries, a charger and some cartomizers. The answer is that the ProVari is an e-cigarette marketed to experienced e-smokers — people who already have their favorite e-liquid and know what attachments and accessories they like. People who like their e-cigarettes but wish that the experience could be a little more fulfilling in terms of throat hit and flavor.
The ProVari has an internal component called a “boost circuit” that converts the voltage received from the battery to a higher voltage that you select. The result is a more intense e-smoking experience; while a regular e-cigarette generates a little under 7 watts of total power, the ProVari generates 12 watts with a single-coil cartomizer or high-resistance atomizer and over 16 watts with a dual-coil cartomizer. If you could imagine what it would be like to use an e-cigarette that generates more than twice as much vapor as the one you’re using now, that’s essentially what using the ProVari is like. The ProVari, though, is going to be completely different — and a bit more complicated — than the e-cigarette you’re used to.
Using the ProVari
As is the case with most e-cigarettes, using the ProVari begins with charging the battery. The charger included with the Kit charges two batteries simultaneously, so take advantage of it; plug both batteries in and wait for the indicator lights to turn green. Next, twist the bottom cap off, insert the battery with the positive side facing up and replace the bottom cap.
Now, set the voltage. Press the button five times until the screen reads “Pu.” Wait for the screen to display the current voltage and then press the button again until it reads “4.0.” Wait for the screen to clear before you continue. This is how you’ll raise the voltage in the future.
If you’re using one of the Boge cartomizers included with the ProVari, fill it with a syringe or by dripping e-liquid slowly into the filler material from a bottle. When the filler is wet, twist it into the threading at the top of the e-cigarette and add a drip tip if you like. If you’re using an atomizer, twist it into the ProVari and push the drip tip into the top of the atomizer. Drip a bit of e-liquid into the drip tip and wait for it to flow down to the heating coil.
Now you’re ready to go. Hold the button and puff. If the vapor tastes dry, add a bit more e-liquid. If it’s good, you can begin raising the voltage to your desired level. When you use the ProVari for the first time, I suggest raising the voltage no more than a half volt at a time until you get used to vaping at high power levels. It can really be intense at first.
You’ll need to get used to tapping the button constantly as you make adjustments. The ProVari has several commands in addition to the one that raises the voltage. You can also lower the voltage, check the battery power and atomizer resistance, turn the button’s light off and turn the entire unit off. Every command requires several button presses. While this means that the ProVari has a beautiful, sleek design with just one button, it also means that you’ll be pressing that button a lot. The good news is that the ProVari remembers your last voltage setting when you switch batteries, so you won’t need to re-set it constantly.
ProVari vs. ProVari Mini
So, you might be wondering, what’s this I keep hearing about a ProVari Mini? The ProVari Mini is a truly amazing device, and since it’s my primary e-cigarette it’s just about always within arm’s reach. With the ProVari Mini, you get exactly the same features as you’d get with the original ProVari, but you get them in a package that’s almost an inch shorter. Instead of a 1100 mAh battery, the ProVari Mini uses 700 mAh batteries, so you get a bit less battery life. Otherwise, it’s the same e-cigarette. That inch makes the ProVari Mini feel so much smaller than the original ProVari — I’m really a big fan.
ProVari vs. Lavatube
You might also be wondering why you should buy a ProVari when the Lavatube costs less than half as much. Unfortunately, here’s where I have to stop drinking the ProVari kool-aid for a bit; I’m not entirely sure that you should buy the ProVari instead of the Lavatube. The ProVari certainly looks nicer — although that’s obviously a matter of opinion — and it’s made in the United States. It also maintains its full power under load, which is something the Lavatube sometimes has trouble with — especially as you drain the battery. On the ProVari, the first puff on a newly charged battery is exactly the same as the last puff before you recharge. So, that’s a big point in favor of the ProVari. However, you can get almost the same experience with the Lavatube simply by charging the battery more often. So, while the ProVari is clearly better than the Lavatube, I can’t say the difference is big enough that you shouldn’t buy the Lavatube instead if you’re on a tight budget.
In terms of vapor production, appearance, fit and finish, battery usage and overall experience, the ProVari is undoubtedly the best e-cigarette on the market. However, at over $200 you’ll pay dearly for the privilege of using it. The ProVari is not an e-cigarette I can strongly recommend if you’re a complete beginner to e-cigarettes because it’s really a bit complicated to use properly and you don’t need complications when you’ve just stopped smoking cigarettes. If you haven’t switched to e-smoking yet, I strongly suggest looking at VaporFi as their product is ideal for beginners. If you’re a heavy smoker and feel that your nicotine needs are higher than average, the Lavatube performs nearly as well as the ProVari and is much simpler to use. For other e-smokers, if you have the room in your budget, buy the ProVari and never look back.