How to Buy the Best 510-Thread Battery for Vape Cartridges

The pre-filled 510 vape cartridge is almost like the universal currency of vaping. A 510 cartridge will fit on just about any vaping device, and manufacturers use 510 cartridges for every type of liquid that you can vape. You can find them filled with e-liquid for nicotine vaping. You can find them filled with CBD vape juice. If you happen to live in a place where cannabis is fully legalized, you can even find pre-filled THC vape cartridges – and virtually every pre-filled vape cartridge on the market uses 510 threading.

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Best 510 Thread Battery for Vape Cartridges

If you want to use 510 vape cartridges, you need a 510-thread battery – and if you want to have a good experience, you need to choose the best 510-thread battery for your needs. There are many cheap and low-quality 510 batteries on the market, and you don’t want to end up with something that’s cheap and generic.

So, how do you buy a 510-thread vape battery if you’re new to vaping and aren’t sure what would be best? With these tips, I’m going to make the process extremely easy for you.

Buy From a Vape Shop, Not a Convenience Store

The most important thing to know about shopping for any type of vape gear is that you’re probably not going to have the best possible experience if you buy your gear from a convenience store, supermarket or gas station. If you buy a generic 510-thread battery in a blister pack from a convenience store, you’re going to end up with something that provides subpar performance. It’ll probably lack anything but the most basic safety features, and it probably won’t include any kind of warranty or return policy.

If you want to buy a 510-thread battery that really works, you need to buy it from a real vape shop like Simply E-Liquid. You want to get a brand-name product that’ll perform reliably. Getting your battery from a vape shop is the way to do that.

Consider Buying a Full Vape Pen Kit

One important thing to know about buying a 510-thread battery is that it’s not common for companies to sell batteries of that type on their own. It’s far more popular to sell 510-thread batteries as full vape pen kits that also include tanks and replacement coils. Even if you’re only planning to use pre-filled cartridges and don’t intend to ever use a refillable vape tank, it still might be worth your while to buy a full vape pen kit instead of a bare battery because a vape pen kit is likely to include a battery with more modern features. A bare battery, on the other hand, might be a product that’s outdated and underpowered.

Another thing to consider is that, even though your current preference is to use pre-filled 510 vape tanks, you might decide in the future that you’d rather use bottled e-liquid. Compared to pre-filled cartridges, bottled e-liquid costs less and makes it possible for you to use a much greater variety of flavors. If you decide that you’d like to make the jump from pre-filled cartridges to bottled e-liquid, you’ll be glad that you bought a full vape pen kit instead of a bare battery because you’ll already have a tank that you know will work with your vaping device.

Buy a 510-Thread Battery With a Manual Fire Button

One of the most important things to know about shopping for a 510-thread battery is that a vaping device has two different activation methods: automatic and manual. If a battery has automatic firing, it’ll detect the airflow when you puff on the cartridge and generate vapor automatically. With a battery that has a manual fire button, on the other hand, you’ll hold the button to vape.

On the surface, a vape battery with automatic firing probably sounds like it would be more fun to use than a battery with a fire button. However, automatic batteries have two potential shortcomings that you should consider. The first shortcoming is that it takes a moment for an automatic battery to detect the airflow and begin producing vapor. With a manual battery, on the other hand, you can hold the button before you start inhaling. A manual battery will always produce bigger and more satisfying clouds.

The second potential shortcoming of an automatic battery is that it may not work well with all of the 510 vape cartridges that you’ll want to use. If a cartridge’s air intake vent isn’t positioned where the battery’s sensor will detect the incoming airflow, that cartridge won’t work with an automatic battery. Even if you don’t care about the fact that you’ll get bigger clouds with a manual battery, it’s still wise to choose a 510-thread battery with manual firing because it’ll prevent potential compatibility issues. If you’re certain that you’d rather use the automatic firing option, then you should at least choose a battery offering both automatic and manual firing.

Buy a 510-Thread Battery With the Correct Output Power

Even more than the automatic vs. manual firing type, the biggest thing that determines whether a 510-thread battery will work with a wide variety of cartridges is its power output. You can find 510 vape batteries with four types of power output.

  • The battery can have an adjustable power level and will allow you to change the voltage or wattage by turning a dial or pressing a button.
  • The battery can use direct voltage output and will operate within a range of about 3.5-4.2 volts depending on the battery’s charge level.
  • The battery can be regulated to operate at 4.2 volts for the full charge.
  • The battery can be regulated to operate at 3.7 volts for the full charge.

If you’re new to vaping, you might be tempted to buy a battery that operates at a higher power level because higher power means bigger vapor clouds. If you want your battery to be compatible with the widest possible range of 510 vape cartridges, though, you’re going to have a better experience with a battery that either offers variable power or is regulated to operate at a constant 3.7 volts. That’s because most pre-filled vape cartridges are designed to work best at lower power levels and may produce a burned flavor if the operational power of your battery is too high.

What Are Mesh Coil Tanks?

Mesh coil tanks are the future of vaping, and if you aren’t using one yet, you should be. Find out why in this overview of mesh coil benefits.

The vaping industry has really changed over the years. In the early days, it was all about finding the right tobacco e-liquid with the perfect throat hit and creating a vaping experience good enough to replace cigarettes. That’s still the case for the recent converts to vaping who have just recently given up smoking. Elsewhere, though, there are millions of vapers who haven’t touched cigarettes in nearly 10 years. For many of us, vaping stopped being about throat hit long ago. We’re vaping low-nicotine e-liquids, and we’re looking for new and novel flavor experiences. When we buy premium e-liquids, we want to taste every nuance.

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Mesh Coil Tanks

Phrases like “cloud chasing” and “sub-ohm” vaping are terms that hardly anyone uses anymore because having a vaping device that produces enormous clouds simply isn’t remarkable anymore. Buy just about any vaping kit with a tank included, and I guarantee that you can create your own personal weather system. Unless you happen to be the type who participates in cloud competitions, cloud chasing has never really been about the clouds themselves – it’s about getting the biggest, boldest flavors possible.

That’s why mesh coil tanks exist. If you’re not using a tank with a mesh coil yet, get ready because your vaping experience is about to change in a big way.

Maximizing Flavor and Vapor Production

So, what determines the flavor quality that you experience when you vape? Ultimately, it comes down to two factors. The first factor is the volume of vapor that you inhale, and the second factor is the amount of air that you inhale. Air, after all, dilutes the vapor because it has no flavor.

Increasing vapor production is relatively easy; if you increase the surface area of the coil, you’ll get more vapor. More surface area means more heating area, and more heating area means that the coil can vaporize the e-liquid more quickly. With a traditional spring-shaped coil, though, you can’t increase the surface area except by using a greater length of wire or a thicker wire gauge. In other words, increasing a coil’s surface area also increases the mass of the coil and the power required to drive that coil.

For several years, vaping product manufacturers continued down the track of releasing coils with ever greater mass. That culminated in the development of tanks such as the SMOK TFV12 Cloud Beast, a tank with a 12-wire coil that that requires up to 200 watts of power for effective operation.

Tanks like the TFV12 Cloud Beast are very impressive in terms of flavor and vapor production, but they simply aren’t practical for most people. They suck batteries dry, and with less powerful vaping devices, the coils take time to heat up. If your coil isn’t at its ideal temperature, much of what you inhale is air. Your powerful coil, therefore, isn’t doing a very good job of delivering rich flavor.

Mesh Coils Provide the Way Forward

If tanks like the TFV12 Cloud Beast prove anything, it’s that we’ve reached the limit of what we can do with traditional spring-shaped vaping coils. The power requirements for those coils have already gone way beyond what’s practical. The only way to move forward is to completely reimagine what the ideal shape of a vaping coil should be.

This is what the future of vaping looks like.

What Are Mesh Coils

As you can see, a mesh coil isn’t a coil at all. Instead, it’s a strip of mesh that looks a bit like a window screen. Mesh coils are extremely thin, but the surface area of a mesh coil is similar to that of a high-end spring-shaped coil. With a mesh coil, you get the vapor production of a traditional cloud chasing coil without the huge mass of metal and high wattage requirement.

So, how does it work in practice – what are the wattage requirements for high-end mesh coils? Let’s look at how they compare.

  • The 12-wire T12 coil for the SMOK TFV12 Cloud Beast tank has a recommended power range of 130-200 watts and most likely won’t give you a good vaping experience with any single-battery mod. It’ll push even a dual-battery mod to its absolute limit.
  • The quadruple mesh coil for the Freemax Mesh Pro tank has a recommended power range of 90-120 watts and will work with many modern single-battery devices. If you use the coil with a dual-battery device, you’ll get even better vapor production and excellent battery life.

The power requirements for mesh coils are extremely reasonable. If you don’t own a vaping device that operates at 90 watts, that’s no problem. Single-mesh and dual-mesh coils deliver incredible performance at just 50-60 watts.

Mesh Coils Are a Flavor Chaser’s Dream

The greatest benefit of mesh coils is that they have the vapor production that you’d expect from traditional high-end cloud chasing coils without those coils’ extreme power demands. For flavor chasers, though, mesh coils have a second benefit that’s just as important.

If you’ve used a traditional wound vaping coil with a thick wire gauge, you know that those coils can take what feels like forever to heat up. Since mesh coils have much lower mass, they heat up almost instantly. Is your vaping device completely cold? No problem. If you’re using a mesh coil, you’ll get immediate vapor when you push the button. Fast coil firing means that you’re inhaling less air, and inhaling less air means that you’re always getting the best flavor that your e-liquid can produce.

The instant heating of mesh coils also has a secondary benefit in that mesh coils also dissipate heat quickly. Have you ever noticed how hot a vaping device can get after extended use with a traditional wound coil? That’s because the coil is dissipating its heat into the body of your vaping device. That causes your battery to get hot, and heat reduces a battery’s lifespan. Since mesh coils don’t retain heat to the extent that traditional coils do, they also don’t cause excess heat to radiate into the body of your mod.

What Are Ceramic Vape Coils?

What are ceramic vape coils, and is a coil with a ceramic wick the right choice for you? Learn about the pros and cons of ceramic coils for vaping.

Technical advancement in the vaping industry is a march that never ends, and one of the areas in which we’ve seen the greatest advancement is in wick materials. Vaping product manufacturers are using better cotton than ever. Some manufacturers are experimenting with alternative materials such as flax fiber and wood pulp. Still others are experimenting with ceramic. Ceramic is one of the most interesting wick materials to hit the vaping industry in a while, and it’s really started to reach a critical mass in popularity over the past year or two – but not in the e-liquid vaping industry. What are ceramic vape coils, and where are they really making an impact? Let’s learn more.

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Ceramic Vape Coils

What Are Ceramic Vape Coils?

The first thing to know is that when someone uses the phrase “ceramic coil,” they’re not actually talking about the heating wire itself. As with all other vaping coils, the heating wire in a ceramic coil is made from kanthal or another metal/alloy. Rather, a ceramic coil is a vaping coil that uses ceramic rather than cotton as its wick material. While ceramic might seem solid, it’s actually porous; oily liquids can seep through it. In a moment, I’ll discuss why someone might want to use a coil with a ceramic wick. First, though, I’ll discuss the different types of ceramic wicks that are available.

What Are the Different Types of Ceramic Wicks?

Ceramic that’s useful to the vaping industry can be produced in two different ways. One method involves spinning the molten material so that it dries as a soft fiber. The process is a bit like making cotton candy; you can change hard sugar crystals into soft, fluffy candy if you melt those crystals and spin them in a cotton candy machine. You can braid ceramic fibers to create a rope, or you can make the ceramic fiber into a sort of blanket and wrap the blanket around a heating coil.

Ceramic Fiber Wick
A blanket of insulating material made from spun ceramic fiber

The second method for building a ceramic wick is by using sintered ceramic. In this method, you take a liquid mix and pour it into a mold to harden. Sintering is a process that uses heat and pressure to create a very solid final product. A sintered ceramic wick basically looks like a hard, white shell around a heating coil. In some cases, the ceramic might be poured around the heating wire to create a product in which the ceramic wick and the heating wire are almost bonded together.

Although it may not appear so on the surface, a sintered ceramic wick is full of microscopic pores. The pores allow e-liquid to travel through the wick and reach the heating coil.

So, why should you care about ceramic wicks for vaping? Let’s learn more about their benefits and drawbacks.

The Pros and Cons of Ceramic Vape Wicks

Ceramic Fiber Vape
A vape coil with a wick made from spun ceramic fiber

As you likely already know, cotton is the most popular wick material for vaping by a wide margin. Cotton works very well in sub-ohm vaping scenarios, and most people agree that it produces a good flavor. Cotton is a compromise as a material for vaping, though, because it isn’t particularly resistant to heat. Cotton will burn if it’s dry. A few people also disagree that a cotton wick produces an acceptable flavor for vaping. Some people actually use terms like “burning t-shirt” to describe the flavor that you get when you vape with a cotton wick; flavor is subjective!

Ceramic Wicks Deliver Superior Flavor and Heat Resistance

If you could lose some of cotton’s efficient wicking performance and get superior flavor and heat resistance in exchange, would you want to make that trade? That’s essentially what you’ll get if you vape with a ceramic wick. As a vaping wick, ceramic is absolutely impervious to heat. No matter how hot your vaping coil might get, there’s no way that you’ll ever have to worry about burning a ceramic wick. Many people also agree that a ceramic wick can produce a much purer flavor than a cotton wick. That’s why some have begun referring to ceramic vape coils as “flavor chasing coils.”

Ceramic Wicks Work Poorly for Extreme Sub-Ohm Vaping

If ceramic wicks are so much better than cotton wicks, why haven’t they really caught on in the world of e-liquid vaping? The reason is because the wicking action of ceramic isn’t as quick as that of cotton; cotton simply moves liquid more efficiently.

Ceramic vaping coils from companies such as Vaporesso and Atom Vapes were briefly popular at the beginning of the sub-ohm vaping era. During those days, the typical pre-built coil for a vaping tank had a resistance around 0.5 ohm and operated at a much lower wattage than many of today’s pre-built coils. Even with those relatively modest specifications, you couldn’t chain vape with a ceramic coil; you had to wait between puffs for the wick to absorb e-liquid from the tank.

More recently, the typical resistance of a sub-ohm tank coil has moved toward the 0.15-0.20-ohm range. More than ever, people are vaping at or near 100 watts. If a ceramic coil has trouble getting up at 30 watts, there’s no way that you’ll have a good experience at 100 watts. With one of today’s high-output vaping coils, a ceramic wick would produce dry hits galore.

Ceramic wicks have pretty much come to the end of their usefulness for sub-ohm vaping – but they’ve found new life elsewhere.

Ceramic Is the Next Big Thing for Cannabis/CBD Vaping

As you’re likely aware, the cannabis/CBD vaping industry has come a long way over the past several years. As more liquid- and oil-based THC and CBD products have become available, the cannabis vaping industry has taken more and more design cues from the e-liquid vaping industry. The ceramic wick is the latest development to catch hold in cannabis vaping, and companies like HZC Vapor are taking the ceramic wick to new heights with innovations such as Turbo Permeate Technology.

Why are ceramic vape coils perfect for cannabis vaping? It’s because, for the most part, people who vape THC and CBD products aren’t concerned about blowing huge clouds. In fact, they’d rather vape discreetly. They’re far more concerned about consistent dosages, smooth flavor and avoiding dry hits. When you’re vaping at a lower temperature – and you’re not chain vaping – a ceramic wick is an absolutely perfect fit. Although ceramic wicks never fully caught hold in the e-liquid vaping industry, it seems likely that they’ll end up dominating in the THC/CBD vaping industry.

E-Cigarette Cartridges vs. Cartomizers

[red_box]2016 Update: The e-cigarette industry has changed greatly since I originally wrote this article more than four years ago. To the best of my knowledge, there are no e-cigarette companies that still sell e-cigarettes with disposable plastic cartridges. As such, the term “cartomizer” — which was very confusing for new e-cigarette users to begin with — is rarely used today. Regardless of the term that an e-cigarette company uses to describe it’s e-cigarette refills, you can safely assume that the refills will work as they should.[/red_box]

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The term “refill cartridge” can mean many things in the world of e-cigarettes, and knowing the specifics of how the different types of cartridges work can prevent you from having a very bad time if you are new to this hobby. Continue reading “E-Cigarette Cartridges vs. Cartomizers”

How to Clean a Clearomizer

Learn how to clean a clearomizer with this easy and fast guide. Works with most modern disposable clearomizers.

Your vaping delight can quickly turn to disgust when your clearomizer becomes gunked up and dirty. You probably need to clean your clearomizer if you experience any of the following when vaping:

  • Decreased vapor production
  • Flavor ghosting, or the ability to taste hints of a past flavor even after you’ve added a new flavor
  • A sickening, burnt taste that kind of reminds you of singed cat hair or charred wood

Yuck is right. While you can certainly ditch your clearomizer and buy a new one, you also have the option of cleaning it to get a few more days or weeks of work out of the device. While some cleaning methods involve disassembling the entire clearomizer and rinsing out the wicks, a much easier method involves cleaning the tank and coils while leaving the rest of the clearomizer components intact. Here’s how.

[green_box]Thank you to Black Note for providing this article. Read my Black Note review or visit the website.[/green_box]

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Step 1: Clean the clearomizer tank.

clean-clearomizer-dry-burnRemove the clearomizer tank from the battery, then open the tank the same way you would open it to refill it with vaping liquid. For some clearomizers this involves removing the top; for others, the bottom.

Dump out any remaining vaping liquid. Fill the tank about halfway with warm water, place your thumb over the opening, and shake the tank vigorously for several seconds.

Dump out the water and repeat until the water you dump is no longer dirty. Dry your tank as thoroughly as possible, shaking out moisture, toweling it down and blowing through it.

NOTE: If your tank is particularly filthy, you may want to insert a small brush, cotton swab or tightly rolled portion of paper towel to wipe out the interior. Make sure to get the little crevices around the top and bottom where gunky stuff can hide.

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Step 2: Dry burn the clearomizer’s coils.

The coils inside the atomizer are notorious for building up layers of gunk, ruining vapor production as well as the flavor. One way to get rid of the gunk is a method known as “dry burning.”

Attach your clearomizer to a manual battery that supplies power when you press the button. Press your battery button to heat the coil in short bursts, each burst lasting about two to three seconds. Wait a second or two between bursts to allow the heating element to cool down.

You’ll notice vapor coming off the coils as your wicks are drying out and the gunk is being burned away. Blow the vapor away from the coils, but be careful not to blow directly into the coils while you’re heating them.

The more vapor your clearomizer is producing, the more wetness and gunk is being burned away. Drying the clearomizer as thoroughly as possible before starting the dry burn can help speed up the process.

Keep up the dry burn process for several seconds, continuing to blow away the vapor, until the vapor production stops and your coils glow a brilliant orange. You can check on the coils by looking straight down the middle of your clearomizer from above, which gives you a bird’s eye view down into the coils.

Bright orange means the coils are gunk-free, at which time you can let them cool down and then give them one final blow to remove any remaining debris.

[red_box]NOTE: Cleaning a clearomizer by dry burning the coils only works if the clearomizer doesn’t have a cotton wick. A silica wick, for example, won’t burn — only the gunk on the coil will. A cotton wick will burn.[/red_box]

Step 3: Don’t forget the drip tip.

The drip tip is another component that can get gunked up and rather gross. Use a small portion of a rolled-up paper towel, toothpick, or cotton swab with part of the cotton pulled off.

Insert the item into the drip tip, rubbing it around the interior to remove any built-up gunk and debris. Repeat as needed, then give your drip tip one final rinse under warm water. Dry the exterior with a towel, the interior by blowing through it.

Step 4: Reassemble the clearomizer and start vaping.

Once your tank is cleaned out, your coils are dry burned and your drip tip is gleaming, you can refill your clearomizer with vaping liquid and once again enjoy your vaping experience.

Cleaning your clearomizer removes the gunk, but you can help prevent gunk from forming in the first place by choosing a high-quality vaping liquid. Cheap vaping liquids that contain tons of additives typically produce tons of gunk. A naturally extracted tobacco (NET) vaping liquid can cut down on the gunk factor dramatically.

E-Cigarette Tanks

The e-cigarette tank is an accessory that resolves one of the most common problems faced by owners of large e-cigarettes such as the Halo Reactor or VaporFi VOX II. With these large e-cigarettes, so much vapor is produced that you would need to refill a standard attachment such as a cartomizer or dripping atomizer several times each day. This makes it necessary to bring a bottle of e-liquid if you’re going to be out of the house for a while. An e-cigarette tank greatly increases your e-cigarette’s capacity for e-liquid and requires refilling much less frequently. In addition, e-cigarette tanks feature replaceable atomizers that cost very little per unit. Since e-cigarette tanks are both very functional and very economical, most of the people who use larger e-cigarettes seem to prefer them.

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E-Cigarette Tank Parts
The typical components of a modern e-cigarette tank. Left to right: mouthpiece, glass enclosure, pre-built atomizer, fully assembled tank, rebuildable atomizer top, RBA base, tank base.

Update for 2016! When I originally wrote this article, the term “e-cigarette tank” actually meant something different than it does today. Originally, the term referred to what we now call a “cartomizer tank” — a tank enclosing a standard cartomizer with holes punched in the side. Modern e-cigarette tanks work much better than cartomizer tanks, so cartomizer tanks are now rarely used. You’ll find the original content of this article at the bottom. Otherwise, join me as we explore modern e-cigarette tank systems. I’ll explain how e-cigarette tanks work, discuss how to troubleshoot them when they go wrong and point you in the direction of what I believe are the best e-cigarette tanks currently on the market.

What Are E-Cigarette Tanks?

An e-cigarette tank has a glass enclosure and a replaceable atomizer. The atomizer typically has holes on its sides, exposing a wick that allows e-liquid to travel from the tank to the heating coil. Vapor travels through a tube from the atomizer and exits through the mouthpiece. An e-cigarette tank has a base section that unscrews from the glass enclosure, allowing you to refill the tank or replace the atomizer easily. The base section usually has an airflow control as well. If you use the maximum airflow setting, you can inhale vapor directly to your lungs. Alternatively, with tighter airflow, you can inhale from your mouth to your lungs.

Modern e-cigarette tanks feature superior vapor production and hold enough e-liquid to last several hours between refills. Replacement atomizers usually cost about $2-3, making e-cigarette tanks very economical as well. Because e-cigarette tanks tend to produce so much vapor, many people find that switching to a tank system enables them to begin buying e-liquids containing less nicotine.

What Are the Best E-Cigarette Tanks?

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank

E-Cigarette Tanks VaporFi Volt

Balanced Flavor and Vapor Production

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The VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank is an upgraded version of the popular Kanger Subtank Mini, featuring a more leak-resistant design and widened holes for e-liquid flow. This wonderful e-cigarette tank has the ability to use pre-built coils or a tiny rebuildable atomizer. The package includes two pre-built organic cotton coils and two pre-wrapped RBA coils, giving you a chance to try every possible configuration and choose your favorite. Although I’ve tried many different e-cigarette tanks, the VaporFi Volt is the one that I keep returning to. I haven’t found a better balance of reliability, vapor production and flavor quality to date.

Freemax Starre

E-Cigarette Tanks Freemax Starre

Best Vapor Production

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The Freemax Starre — also known as the Halo Reactor tank when sold by Halo — is the best e-cigarette tank that I have used to date in terms of pure vapor production. With its very wide atomizer component and large e-liquid holes, the Freemax Starre has no problem feeding e-liquid to the coil consistently even at high wattage settings — and the vapor production is astronomical. If you prefer your vapor clouds large and hot, and don’t mind compromising a little on flavor quality, the Freemax Starre is an excellent choice.

Aspire Nautilus Mini

E-Cigarette Tanks Nautilus Mini

Best Flavor Quality

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The Aspire Nautilus Mini is a slightly older tank than the two others on the list. It doesn’t quite hold as much e-liquid and isn’t sub-ohm capable. So, the vapor production is a bit lower, but that also means that you won’t go through your e-liquid as quickly with the Nautilus Mini. However, the Nautilus Mini probably has the best overall flavor quality of any e-cigarette tank I’ve used to date. The Nautilus Mini is also the best e-cigarette tank for mouth-to-lung inhaling, if that’s what you prefer. It also works well for direct-to-lung inhales, though.

How to Use an E-Cigarette Tank

All modern e-cigarette tanks are very similar in design. You’ll hold the tank upside down and unscrew the base from the glass enclosure to refill the tank or replace the atomizer. If you’re refilling, simply add e-liquid from a bottle until the tank is mostly full, avoiding the center hole. To replace the atomizer, twist the old atomizer out and twist in a new one.

When replacing the atomizer in an e-cigarette tank, it’s a good idea to add a few drops of e-liquid directly to the cotton before reassembling the tank. This helps to ensure that your first puff won’t singe the cotton. If the atomizer’s wick burns, the vapor will never taste right. Wait a few minutes to allow the e-liquid to saturate the wick fully, and you’re ready to go.

Maintaining an E-Cigarette Tank

E-Cigarette Tanks Coil Gunk
The flavoring agents that many e-cigarette users prefer can leave residue or “gunk” on the coil — it’s time to replace this one.

As you use your e-cigarette tank, you’ll need to replace the atomizer periodically. How often you’ll need to do this will depend on a number of factors including the type of e-liquid that you prefer, the wattage at which you use your device and whether or not you allow sufficient time between puffs for the wick to fully saturate. Heavily flavored or sweetened e-liquids will tend to leave deposits that collect on the coil and wick. After a while, you’ll start to detect some “off” flavors because the deposits will burn, rather than vaporize. Depending on all of these factors, you’ll need to install a new atomizer every couple of days — or perhaps every few weeks.

Sometimes, you might notice a bit of gurgling when using your e-cigarette tank. You might also feel hot droplets hitting your tongue. This happens because some of the vapor condenses inside the tank’s air tube, eventually forming larger droplets that settle on top of the coil. You can help to prevent this from happening by occasionally running a cotton swab or piece of paper towel down the air tube to soak up excess e-liquid.

Cartomizer Tanks: The Old Standard

[red_box]NOTE: Cartomizer tanks are no longer as popular as they were when this article was originally written. I have preserved the original content of this article below, but I do not recommend buying this older style of e-cigarette tank today.[/red_box]

The Tube Tank by Volcano is a good example of a cartomizer tank. It’s available in two sizes, holding either 4 or 7 ml of e-liquid. It’s also available in a low-resistance version for single-voltage e-cigarettes and a high-resistance version for variable-voltage e-cigarettes. It starts at $16.99. Is it actually worth your while, though? In this article I’ll explain the basics of the e-cigarette tank and help you come to your own conclusion.

E Cigarette Tank

Filling a Cartomizer Tank

The image above details the process of filling an e-cigarette tank. To fill one, pull the cartomizer straight down until you can drip e-liquid from a bottle into the tank’s reservoir. Do this until you’ve got a good amount of e-liquid in the tank and push the cartomizer back up. Fill the cartomizer as you would any standard Boge-type cartomizer, pop on a drip tip and go. The picture suggests filling the cartomizer directly from a bottle, but I prefer to use a syringe or needle tip bottle to inject the e-liquid directly to the bottom of the cartomizer.

You only need to go through this complicated process the first time you fill your e-cigarette tank and again each time you buy a new cartomizer, which you’ll probably need to do about once every month. While you continue to use the original cartomizer, you can refill the e-cigarette tank periodically by pushing the cartomizer down and adding e-liquid directly to the tank.

Cartomizer Tank Resistance

You should only buy an e-cigarette tank from a company that allows you to select the resistance of the cartomizer because one resistance definitely isn’t appropriate for all e-cigarettes. A low-resistance cartomizer allows an e-cigarette that operates at 3.7 volts to produce the most possible vapor. If your e-cigarette doesn’t have stacked batteries and doesn’t allow you to adjust the voltage, it operates at or near 3.7 volts. Buy an e-cigarette tank with a low-resistance cartomizer. Low-resistance cartomizers don’t work on most variable-voltage devices above around four volts, however. For this reason, good e-cigarette companies also offer e-cigarette tanks with high-resistance cartomizers. An e-cigarette tank with a high-resistance cartomizer operates at up to six volts with no problem.

Cartomizer Tank Maintenance and Troubleshooting

As I mentioned above, you’ll need to replace the center cartomizer in your e-cigarette tank periodically. You’ll know it’s time to do this because the vapor production will start to drop or because nothing will happen when you push the activation button on your e-cigarette.

Some people have reported getting a burned taste when using an e-cigarette tank. This can happen because you’re using a low-resistance cartomizer and the voltage on your e-cigarette is set too high. It can also happen because the e-liquid in the cartomizer isn’t reaching the heating coil, which is why I suggest filling the cartomizer with a needle.

There may be some cases, though, when no amount of troubleshooting will stop your e-cigarette tank from producing a burned taste. This happens because the hole drilled into the side of the cartomizer is too small, preventing e-liquid from feeding through from the tank. Unless you have the equipment necessary to expand the hole yourself, you’ve got a faulty product and should return the cartomizer to the vendor for a replacement.

Should I Buy a Cartomizer Tank?

I’ve owned two Volcano Tube Tanks and believe it is an excellent e-cigarette tank. It produces an excellent amount of vapor and holds enough e-liquid to last at least a day, if not several days. However, it has two drawbacks compared to a standard cartomizer or atomizer and drip tip. The first is flavor purity; I feel that an e-cigarette tank mutes the flavor of an e-liquid slightly, making the details less apparent. I also feel that an e-cigarette tank cartomizer can sometimes have a very tight draw. Both of these problems may stem from the fact that e-cigarette tank cartomizers are longer than tank cartomizers, which may impede airflow slightly. The extra e-liquid storage offered by an e-cigarette tank is an excellent value proposition. If you’re looking for the utmost in flavor purity, though, your purchase might result in disappointment.

Atomizer and Cartomizer Resistance

A lot of e-smokers probably begin with small, mainstream e-cigarette kits available from one of the “big name” vendors. If you begin to branch out and look at large-battery hardware such as the eGo e-cigarette and e-cigarette mods, though, you’ll often see the term “resistance” applied to atomizers and cartomizers. So, what are low-resistance and high-resistance atomizers and cartomizers, which is safe to use with your e-cigarette, and which is the best?

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E-Cigarette Atomizer Cartomizer Resistance Continue reading “Atomizer and Cartomizer Resistance”

Rebuildable Atomizers (RBA)

When you read forums and browse specialty e-cigarette shops, you’re likely to see rebuildable atomizers (RBA) mentioned frequently. These costly little devices tend to run upwards of $100 — although I’ve found one nice looking model for under $50 — but they are extremely popular among experienced e-smokers for two primary reasons. First, they can help you save money over time because instead of keeping yourself supplied with cartomizers or atomizers, you can buy kanthal wire for wrapping your own coils — this often costs well under $10 for 100 feet of wire. In addition, RBAs make “sub-ohm vaping” possible; using an atomizer with a resistance of well under one ohm — especially with a mechanical mod that doesn’t include any safety features — can generate some extremely large vapor clouds. By “extremely large,” I mean something like this:

Sub Ohm Vaping Cloud

[red_box]Warning: I do not use an RBA myself, nor do I recommend that you use one. If you’re looking for information about how to wire an RBA coil, you’ll find it elsewhere on the web. When using an RBA, you run the risk of personal injury and damage to your e-cigarette if you fail to wire and test the coil properly. You should therefore have at least a basic knowledge of electronics if you attempt to use an RBA yourself. As I don’t feel comfortable wiring my own RBA coils, I use off-the-shelf atomizers and cartomizers only. However, the rebuildable atomizer is one of the hottest trends in the e-smoking hobby today and I would fail to serve my readers properly if I didn’t write something about it. This article does an excellent job of covering the safety issues associated with rebuildable atomizers.[/red_box]

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How Rebuildable Atomizers Work

Essentially, an RBA is a device with industry standard threading — usually 510 — at the bottom and two posts at the top. To rebuild it, you take some kanthal wire, wrap it several times around a silica or cotton wick and connect the wire to both posts. After touching both tips of a resistance meter to the RBA threading to confirm that you’ve met the desired resistance and that there isn’t a short, the RBA is ready to use. Just like with a standard atomizer, the wick becomes saturated when you drip e-liquid into an RBA, holding it in close contact with the coil. The resistance of the coil is determined by the thickness of the wire, the number of times it is wrapped around the wick and the diameter of each wrap.

Suppose your RBA has two positive posts and two negative posts — this means you’ve got a dual-coil RBA. Running two coils from the same power source means that the total resistance will be half that of a single coil. Because of the variance inherent in wrapping an RBA coil by hand, checking its resistance is really a required step; the purpose is to check its safety before connecting it to a high-output battery.

As with a standard atomizer, you’ll eventually start to see decreased vapor production as the wire begins to wear out. At this point, you’ll simply remove it, take a new length of silica wick and wrap another coil. Because creating a new coil costs just a few cents each time, your RBA will begin paying for itself after a dozen coils or so.

Rebuildable Atomizer RBA

RBAs vs. RDAs

While “RBA” is short for “rebuildable atomizer,” “RDA” is short for “rebuildable dripping atomizer.” In short, an RBA has a tank for storing excess e-liquid while an RDA does not. You may therefore have to add e-liquid to an RDA more frequently. The trade-off is that you’ll experience less restricted airflow. The cost is about the same; whether you use an RBA or RDA, you can expect to spend anywhere from under $20 to well over $100 depending on the materials used. You can find both types of devices at DirectVapor. I haven’t used any of these products, though. Since I initially wrote this article, though, I tried the VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank for the first time. The Volt tank has interchangeable atomizer heads like a standard tank system and actually has sub-ohm atomizer heads that you can buy in packs of five. It also has a rebuildable atomizer head that allows you to build you own coils. The Volt is a great product that makes sub-ohm vaping easy; I have used it full-time since reviewing it.

Benefits of RBAs

Rebuildable Atomizer RBA Coil
RBA with wrapped coil

In the long run, using an RBA will save you money compared to using a conventional atomizer or cartomizer. This is because you only need to buy the hardware a single time; after that, you can buy wicks and wires in bulk — and a single roll of wire is sufficient for wrapping many, many coils.

Even if you choose not to build a rig for sub-ohm vaping, RBAs can also benefit you thanks to the sheer variety possible in wrapping your own coils. When you wrap a coil, you get to choose the gauge of the wire used, the space between coil wraps, the number of complete coils and so on. Over time, you’ll become accustomed to the differences between wrapping techniques and will eventually find your own ideal e-smoking setup. You’ll never again have to worry about variations from one atomizer or cartomizer to the next, because you won’t be using a mass-produced product — you’ll be using something you assembled and tested yourself.

Drawbacks of RBAs

Aside from the technical hurdles to overcome when learning to wrap your own coils, the only real drawback of RBAs is the danger inherent in using them incorrectly. I’m not just talking about the potential of frying the circuitry in your APV, although that possibility certainly exists — I’m talking about maiming or killing yourself or those around you. I hate to be blunt, but that’s the reality. There are people today using RBAs who have no business doing so because they lack even a basic understanding of electrical engineering and are reckless enough to do things such as using an RBA with a stacked-battery mechanical mod.

Just a month ago, attendees of the e-cigarette convention VapeBlast nearly experienced a tragedy when a sub-ohm vaping rig exploded. According to stories posted about the incident, someone was watching a vapor cloud contest when he realized the e-cigarette in his pocket was becoming uncomfortably hot. The e-cigarette in question was an unprotected mechanical mod with a sub-ohm RBA. He threw the e-cigarette on the floor and ran. Shortly thereafter, the e-cigarette exploded. This reportedly damaged both the floor and the ceiling and reduced the e-cigarette to shrapnel. Thankfully, no one was hurt. One day, someone will be and Big Tobacco will use the incident to justify the view that open vaping systems should be banned.

What E-Cigarette Should I Use With an RBA?

In case it isn’t clear by now, I don’t recommend using an RBA at all. If you’re going to use one, your best bet is probably to pair it with a mechanical mod such as one of the devices mentioned on my list of USA-made e-cigarettes. If you’d like to spend a little more, go with a power-regulated mod such as the VaporFi VOX 50. Although it costs $250, my link includes an embedded coupon code good for a 12% discount if you’ve never purchased from VaporFi before. The VOX 50 is the device that I use every day, and I love it. Whichever device you use, make sure that it supports sub-ohm attachments. The ProVari, for example, will not support sub-ohm attachments at any voltage.

[green_box]Did You Know“Kanthal” is a trademarked term for an alloy of iron, chromium and aluminum. Hans von Kantzow of Sweden is the original developer of Kanthal wire, also known as “resistance wire” due to its ability to withstand high temperatures. Kanthal wire can withstand temperatures above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit without melting.[/green_box]

E-Cigarette Battery Problems

E-cigarette battery problems are a constant reminder that although the electronic cigarette is a wonderful device, it isn’t perfect. Whether it’s slowly or suddenly, all e-cigarette batteries eventually die, which is why I usually recommend against buying a starter kit with only one battery. If your e-cigarette battery isn’t working properly, your only recourse is usually to simply dispose of it. However, when some e-cigarette battery problems occur you may be able to revive the battery — or you may not have a battery problem at all. If either of these is the case, there may be some hope. Read more: Ultimate E-Cigarette Battery Safety Guide

E-Cigarette Battery Problems
E-Cigarette battery problems can occur because of liquid, corrosion and overuse.

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Why do E-Cigarette Battery Problems Occur?

Unsealed Battery Terminal

Many e-cigarette kits include automatic batteries. When you inhale, the battery turns on. This is usually accomplished through the use of a flexible membrane inside the battery. When air passes through, the membrane causes the battery terminal to touch the atomizer or cartomizer, turning it on and generating vapor. Usually, the membrane has a hole so puffs on the e-cigarette don’t feel tight and restricted. The downside of this is that e-liquid can sometimes run through the hole and short out the battery. This is especially common with dripping. If your e-cigarette has an automatic battery that fails suddenly, try placing it on a paper towel with the terminal facing down for a day or two. You may find that the battery begins working again after the e-liquid drains from it.

Charger Corrosion

Even if your e-cigarette battery has a sealed terminal, it may not be completely immune to the problems caused by leaking e-liquid. If you don’t clean your batteries before charging them, moisture on the terminal can eventually cause your charger to corrode. If this has already happened, you may be able to clean the corrosion and get your batteries to charge normally again. It’s far better, though, to prevent it from happening in the first place. Before charging an e-cigarette battery, push a paper towel into the threading to clean away any e-liquid that may have dripped through the atomizer or cartomizer.

Faulty Charging Case

I know of at least one e-cigarette brand that doesn’t include a standalone USB or wall charger. Instead, you have to charge the internal battery in a portable battery charging case, which you then use to charge your e-cigarette batteries. This creates a huge potential for battery problems because if the battery in the charging case fails, you’ll have nothing to charge your e-cigarette batteries with. If your e-cigarette works this way and all of your batteries appear to have failed suddenly, blame the charging case — not the batteries.

Limited Life

Although there’s no way to guarantee how long a lithium-ion battery will last, they’ll generally fail before they’ve been used 500 times. Now, suppose you have an e-cigarette kit with two batteries, and you recharge each battery twice every day. This means that both batteries are highly likely to fail within the first year. You can’t do anything about this — it’s simply a limitation of the technology. Your best bet is to plan ahead and buy a spare battery at least every couple of months. This way, you’ll have plenty of spares and can simply dispose of old batteries when they stop holding a charge.

[green_box]Did You KnowAccording to Wikipedia, the lithium ion battery was first proposed by M. S. Whittingham — then an Exxon employee — in the 1970s. Because metallic lithium burns when exposed to air, only lithium compounds are used in lithium ion batteries. Nevertheless, lithium ion batteries do pose a potential safety issue in e-cigarettes and other devices because the contents are flammable and stored under pressure. Some companies sell battery charging bags as an extra measure of safety against explosions.[/green_box]

How to Fill a Cartomizer

In e-cigarettes, “cartomizer” is a generic term for any attachment that contains both e-liquid and the heating coil needed to vaporize it. The cartomizer replaced the old style of e-cigarette cartridge which was placed on a separate atomizer. The most common type of cartomizer is the 510 cartomizer made by Boge and Smoktech, although there are also some interesting new styles that incorporate large tanks and are much easier to fill. Although there’s no way that a single article about how to fill a cartomizer could cover every type available, I will discuss how to fill the standard 510 cartomizer in detail because it’s the most difficult to get right. I’ll also provide some pointers that will help with filling almost any type of clear cartomizer or “clearomizer.”

How to Fill a Cartomizer 510 Smoktech Boge
Boge/Smoktech 510 Cartomizer — Top and Bottom View

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How to Fill a 510 Cartomizer

The standard 510 cartomizer is a black or stainless tube about the same size and shape as a cigarette filter. When you remove the soft cap, you’ll see a white filler material wrapped around an air tube. Although taste is a personal thing, this is my favorite type of cartomizer because it’s the only type that doesn’t taste like plastic to me. Unfortunately, filling this type of cartomizer can be hard. There are three common methods for doing so, and the type that works best for me actually requires the purchase of an additional accessory.

How to Fill a Cartomizer With a Syringe

Filling a CartomizerIf you’ve ever wondered why so many e-cigarette companies carry syringes or needle tip bottle caps, now you know why. To fill a cartomizer this way, fill a syringe with about 1 ml of e-liquid and place the needle between the filler material and inner wall of the cartomizer. Inject e-liquid until the top of the filler material is very wet, and then remove the syringe and inject e-liquid into the opposite side of the cartomizer. Wait a few minutes. If the filler material looks very dry, inject a bit more e-liquid before using the cartomizer. In my opinion, this is the best way to fill a cartomizer because it forces the e-liquid down to the bottom of the cartomizer — where the heating coil is — with no mess.

How to Fill a Cartomizer From the Bottom

Some people call this the “condom method” for filling a cartomizer. If you don’t have a syringe handy, this is the next best way to fill a cartomizer. You’ll need to have some paper towels, though, because it can be messy. To fill a cartomizer from the bottom, you’ll need to remove both of the soft caps. Place the bottom cap on a table and fill it at least halfway with e-liquid. Position the cartomizer directly over the cap and push down, forcing the e-liquid into the bottom of the cartomizer. You’ll most likely have a wet table and cartomizer at this point, which is where the paper towels will come in handy. If the filler material of the cartomizer looks dry after waiting a few minutes, add a little e-liquid directly from a bottle.

How to Fill a Cartomizer With a Bottle

This is my least favorite way to fill a cartomizer because it is both time-consuming and unreliable. I’m mentioning it anyway because some people do fill their cartomizers this way and are happy with the results. To fill a cartomizer with a bottle, simply hold the cartomizer at an angle and drip e-liquid from a bottle to the inner wall of the cartomizer. The e-liquid runs down the wall and soaks into the filler material. When the filler looks wet, stop and wait several minutes. When you come back to the cartomizer, the filler material should look dry again. Add more e-liquid and wait. Do this until the filler material looks wet after several minutes of waiting. In my experience, this method for filling a cartomizer has often left the heating coil dry, causing the cartomizer to produce a burned taste. You might have better luck, though.

How to Fill a Clearomizer

How to Fill a Clearomizer
The many types of clearomizers

Pictured above are just a few of the most common types of clearomizers. Although the designs being produced today are innumerable, the one thing they have in common is that the e-liquid is stored in a hollow reservoir rather than a white filler material. Also, clearomizers are almost always filled from the top. Some require a syringe or needle tip bottle cap for filling, and almost all have an air tube running down the center. To fill a clearomizer, you’ll begin by removing the top. If the clearomizer has a soft top, pry it off. If it has a hard top with threading, twist it off. Under the top, you’ll either see an open reservoir or a small filler hole. Sometimes, the filler hole is plugged with a rubber stopper that you’ll need to remove with tweezers. If the clearomizer has a filler hole, inject e-liquid with a syringe. If it has an open reservoir, you can fill the clearomizer directly from a bottle. However you fill a clearomizer, you should make sure that no e-liquid goes down the center tube.

How to Fill a Cartomizer Tank

How to Fill a Cartomizer Tank
How to fill a cartomizer tank

A cartomizer tank is essentially a long Boge-type cartomizer enclosed within a plastic or glass tank. As you use your e-cigarette, the cartomizer continually draws liquid from the tank through one or more small holes. As long as the cartomizer produces a sufficient amount of vapor, you can keep it going by simply refilling the tank rather than refilling the cartomizer repeatedly. The downside is that, with the cartomizer submerged in liquid, airflow is restricted a bit. The benefit is that many people can go all day on a single tank. To fill a cartomizer tank, you’ll first fill the cartomizer using one of the methods described above. Next, insert the cartomizer partially into the bottom of the tank so that the top of the tank is still exposed. Tilt the tank at an angle, fill the tank at least halfway and push the cartomizer through fully. The picture above illustrates these steps.

[green_box]Did You KnowAccording to Wikipedia, the cartomizer was originally invented by the British founders of Gamucci e-cigarettes in 2006. In 2013, Umer and Tariq Sheikh were granted a UK patent for their invention.[/green_box]

How to Drip With an E-Cigarette

You’ve probably heard the term “dripping” applied to e-cigarettes more than once if you’ve done any reading on forums. Although the term might sound a little strange, it actually refers to a way of delivering e-liquid to an atomizer by dripping it directly from a bottle or other container rather than using a cartridge, cartomizer or tank. In this article, I’ll explain how to drip with an e-cigarette and tell you why you might want to do so. I’ll also explain why e-cigarette dripping may not be for everyone.

E-Cigarette Dripping

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Why Should I Drip With an E-Cigarette?

Compared to other methods of e-liquid delivery, dripping is a lot of work because it requires you to keep e-liquid nearby while you use your e-cigarette. People who prefer dripping, though, like it for the fact that it removes all obstructions between the vapor and your mouth. Instead of traveling through a filler material or plastic tank, the vapor only has to travel through a hollow tube before reaching your mouth. Therefore, it could be said that dripping results in the most vapor and purest flavor possible from an e-cigarette. If you’ve tried many types of cartomizers, clearomizers and tanks and are of the opinion that they all make the vapor taste like plastic, you’ll probably love dripping.

Why Shouldn’t I Drip With an E-Cigarette?

My first e-cigarette was one of the old three-part models that few companies still sell. I found that the filler material in the disposable cartridges failed to deliver e-liquid to the atomizer consistently. When the cartridges did work, the vapor tasted like plastic. Dripping turned out to be a perfect solution for me because it resolved these problems while allowing me to use the e-cigarette I already had. When I found a cartomizer I liked, though, I began using that instead of dripping. If you started with a newer two-part e-cigarette, there may be no need to consider dripping because the e-cigarette that you’re using already works perfectly well. A two-part e-cigarette is also less of a hassle; with dripping, a few drops of e-liquid will last for just a few puffs before you’ll need to drip again. If you try dripping at work, in your car or just about anywhere other than home, you’ll quickly find that it’s quite inconvenient.

What do I Need for E-Cigarette Dripping?

To try dripping with an e-cigarette, you’ll need to purchase a drip tip compatible with your e-cigarette atomizer. If you aren’t currently using an e-cigarette with an atomizer, you’ll also need to buy an atomizer compatible with your battery. The most common types of atomizers used for dripping are 306 and 510 atomizers, both of which are compatible with eGo batteries and most USA-made e-cigarettes. You’ll also need an e-liquid container that allows you to release e-liquid in a controlled manner; plastic bottles work best for this.

[green_box]Tip: Remember to select the correct atomizer resistance for your e-cigarette. Large eGo batteries tend to work best with low-resistance atomizers, while mods with the ability to operate at multiple voltage levels work best with high-resistance atomizers.[/green_box]

How to Drip With an E-Cigarette

If you’re using a brand new atomizer, you’ll want to get the wick and heating coil nice and wet before you begin. I like to put the drip tip over the atomizer and send about ten drops of e-liquid down the drip tip. Some of the e-liquid may leave the atomizer through the hole in the bottom, so you’ll want to have a paper towel handy. After you’ve allowed a few seconds for the e-liquid to penetrate the wick, gently blow through the drip tip into the paper towel to remove the excess e-liquid.

Next, twist the atomizer into the threading of the e-cigarette, hold the fire button and puff. You should get a full, satisfying puff of vapor. If the e-cigarette gurgles, remove the atomizer and blow the excess e-liquid out again. If the vapor tastes burned or dry, add a few more drops of e-liquid through the drip tip.

Now you’re off and running. You’ll continue using the e-cigarette in this fashion until the quality of the flavor starts to decrease, at which point you’ll add a few drops of e-liquid. Expect to add more e-liquid after about every ten uses of the e-cigarette. If you want to change e-liquid flavors, you may find my advice about how to clean an atomizer helpful.

[green_box]Did You KnowA study published in 2013 by The Lancet suggests that e-cigarettes may be as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers discontinue tobacco usage.[/green_box]

How to Clean an Atomizer

People who prefer to use e-cigarettes with atomizers and drip tips generally feel that way because they believe atomizers have flavor and vapor production characteristics superior to cartomizers. The drawback of atomizers, however, is that they cost more per unit — generally at least $10 for a good atomizer and sometimes even more. If you prefer atomizers and want to keep your e-cigarette use affordable, you need to make your atomizers last as long as possible. In this article, I will provide some suggestions on how to clean an atomizer and remove the residue that collects after weeks of use. With these suggestions, you can potentially improve the flavor and vapor production of your e-cigarette while greatly extending the life of your atomizer.

How to Clean an Atomizer E-Cigarette Continue reading “How to Clean an Atomizer”