The Cartomizer is Dead? Not so fast!

While I was gone a couple of weeks back the Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team conducted a review, and was headed up by John Manzione. The company being reviewed was Mt Baker Vapor and the review will be completed and published on Monday or Tuesday. From what I have been hearing this is going to be Mt Baker Vapor’s best review to date. Whoever chose the flavors this time around did an amazing job. There was a milliliter here and a milliliter there for some of the flavors so I was able to sample (and I mean sample) a few, and let me tell you, I was amazed and delighted…and then sad that I wasn’t here to enjoy 96 hours of vaping Mt Baker Vapor. (Oh, how I would love to vape some caramel coffee right now!)

Anyway, I tell you this because in every e-liquid review we have ever done we have always included a cartomizer in the mix. Most of the time each team member would receive at least one prefilled cartomizer of each flavor, and then for those on the team that use the Texas Tuff Tank, there would be a few extra cartomizers ready to fill with whatever e liquid we chose (notice I’m spelling eliquid in different ways? According to Dave, this helps us get this article better seen in Google, Bing and Yahoo, we’ll see…). Cartomizers were once critical to the reviews so I was alarmed to hear that this Mt Baker Vapor review was conducted without a single cartomizer. Did they do the right thing? I wasn’t so sure.

I know I have done my fair share of complaining about cartomizers, especially Boge cartomizers. Boge does deliver a clean taste, but if they have been sitting here for more than a month they are difficult to fill without a blunt needle, and sometimes even then. They form a very hard surface on the polyfill material and lose a lot of their absorption characteristics.
So lately, thanks for Jon at MyVaporStore, we were introduced to Kanger cartomizers. These carts are a whole new level of greatness when it comes to filling them. A Kanger cartomizer literally sucks the e-liquid into the material in a blink of an eye. They fill fast, and they saturate well. They can also drip out of the bottom pretty easily if you’re not careful. They deliver a nice clean taste, and I have been able to refill a Kanger cartomizer a good four times before having to toss it out. Well, four times with an eLiquid that plays nice, some juice, like Ginger’s eJuice “Cinnamon Candy” or Mountain Oak Vapors “Cinnamon Swirl” will cause the Kanger to withstand no more than three refills before dying out. Still, they are wonderful cartomizers.

The Year of the Clearomizer?

In 2012 no one here at Spinfuel really enjoyed using a clearomizer. Most of the year the one we were using was a CE4 by various companies, and CE4’s are disposable clearomizers that don’t wick very well. Since they cannot be opened you can’t tweak them either. Plus, the cost in early and mid 2012 was plenty high so we tried to get the most out of them and wound up with plenty of unpleasant vapes. At the time we were getting most of the CE4’s from Apollo Cigs. I’m not going to bash Apollo, but I will say that their CE4’s were the worst of the bunch for some reason. All in all though, whenever we used a CE4 there was disappointment in a matter of a day or so.

It seemed like the CE4+, with replaceable atty heads appeared overnight, and when they did we dumped all the Apollo CE4’s and bought up a whole bunch of CE4+ clearomizers from various vendors and a bunch of replaceable heads. While the ability to replace the atty and tweak the wicks were a Godsend we were still unsatisfied with the quality of clearomizers in general. Not enough to complain about them openly because everyone on the planet that vapes seemed to really like them while we preferred to stick to the Texas Tuff Tank, which we believed then, and still believe today it is the best carto-tank available, in certain circumstances.

Texas Tuff Tank vs. Who’s Your Daddy

If you perform a search in Spinfuel for Texas Tuff Tank you would get tons of results because we talked about them all the time. As long as you’re using a single coil double punched cartomizer (Boge by the way), and the e-liquid you’re using isn’t acidic or otherwise unsuitable for plastic, the amount of vapor you could pull from one of these tanks is outright astonishing. They fill so easily that I am always bewildered that this side-screw feature isn’t on ALL carto-based tanks. If I was vaping a nice eLiquid that wasn’t about to destroy a plastic tube then the chances are I was vaping it with a Tuff Tank… if I could get the double-punched single coil standard ohm cartomizers that is. They seem to be available only at VapeDudes. We love us some VapeDudes, but it still takes a while to get stuff from them, and they sell out of their pre-punched cartomizers fast! If you don’t get them in that short window of opportunity you have to wait weeks to try again.

The Who’s Your Daddy Carto-tank from Big Daddy Vapor are also amazing carto-based tanks. They will vape anything. You could probably fill it with acid and it would still vape. But, for me anyway, filling them, or refilling them, is a bitch. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost 5ML of e-liquid over a slip of the hand. Their cartomizer tool called “Slap Yo Momma” makes things easier, but good god it can still be a royal pain in the ass to fill and refill. Now, understand, this is MY opinion. Some here swear by them, I don’t any longer.

I admit I had quite an affair with the Who’s Your Daddy Carto-Tank when we first got them, but I discovered that if I left them alone for any length of time I had to relearn how to deal with them. Once you get the hang of it they are almost easy to deal with, but since we had only two tanks they were passed around constantly and I hardly ever had the chance to use them. If a week went by before I had another opportunity to use one I would try to get the caps off or pull the cartomizer out with the carto-tool and it was like relearning how to do it without killing yourself all over again. But that’s just me, not everyone on staff. If only Big Daddy Vapor would drill a hole in the side… that would be a perfect tank, and I wouldn’t have to relearn how to get the rubber caps off. Of course, there is still the expense of an American Made tank, $47 is a lot to pay for one, which is why we never did order them from Big Daddy.

The Untimely Demise of the Cartomizer

In the four months of 2013 I’ve noticed a marked improvement in clearomizers. Not just one type, but rather in all types. From the bottom coil Kanger’s to the Halo Tritons, and especially in the mini-clearomizers, they are performing better and better. In addition to the performance jump, they are delivering a better tasting vape too. And since 99% of them (the non-mini versions) now sport replaceable heads the cost of vaping in general has come down.

The Non-Cartomizer Review

Getting back to the Mt Vapor Baker review: instead of cartomizers John decided that everyone was going to use clearomizers. Mini-clearomizers on G6 batteries, on 777 Bullets, and even on the Panda’s that we had here. (Panda’s aren’t a bad ecigarette. They are priced too high and the capacity of their clearomizers is an issue with some people. They do work nicely though). When larger batteries were used the team used ProTanks (3), iClear 30’s (2), Halo (6), and a bunch of CE4+ we have around here. Oh, and Kanger T3’s, T2’s, MT3’s and EVOD’s. As you can see, why use a cartomizer or a carto-tank?

Starter Kits and Clearomizers

When you see that more and more mini-ecig batteries are coming with, or are an option for, mini-clearomizers you begin to understand the appeal is growing. A mini-clearomizer allows you to top off your vape anytime with the least amount of hassle. The wicking makes the clearomizer perform better than a cartomizer in most cases (the exception I think would be the LR, low resistance, cartomizers you can get at Halo) because the vendor can put a lower resistance atty in the clearomizer for the same price as a standard resistance one, and the LR version is going to put out a better vape. With battery technology getting a tiny bit better the mini-batteries are lasting about the same length of time as they did with cartomizers attached, so why not use a low resistance head in a mini-clearomizer?

The Halo G6 Starter Kit

It’s been quite a while since we reviewed the Halo G6 Starter Kit. Since that time they’ve repackaged them into the same sleek box the Triton ships in, they’ve upgraded their wall adapters, and their batteries output at 3.7v instead of 4.2v. It’s time to revisit them, and we are, next week.

Despite the improvements to the G6 (well, I’m assuming here, I haven’t done the review yet) Halo has lowered the price to $44.99, a full $10 less than last year. You still get 2 batteries, a 5-pack of carts (prefilled or empty), the USB adapter, Wall adapter and the nice new case. I mean, come on, and compare that to ANY other similarly equipped starter kit.

Now yes, the starter kit comes with cartomizers, but Halo, like 777 and Panda, offer clearomizers as well. (I guessing here but I’m willing to bet that when the dust settles over at Halo they will offer a G6 starter kit that comes with 2 clearomizers instead of cartomizers. A mini-version of the Triton kit, if you will). The idea is that now, if you want to stay with the mini-battery, and many people do, you can now use a clearomizer instead of a cartomizer.

Looking Ahead

All of this mini-clearomizers action has taken place in the last couple of months; this is all new to the vape community. Looking down the road, and acknowledging the better vape you can get with a clearomizer over a cartomizer the popularity of the mini-clearomizer will skyrocket. And it should skyrocket because it makes sense. It’s a better value, it’s a better experience. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this will trend out for months and then become the norm.

So, the question is put out there. Is the Cartomizer on the way out? If so, how long does it have before it disappears? If not why not? If you are planning to always stick with a cartomizer tell us why. If you’ve already dumped your cartomizers tell us why, and what did you jump to?

In Conclusion…

Things change fast in the e-cigarette business. Some things work, some don’t. From what I am hearing from the crew about the Mt Baker Vapor review I have a feeling that our next review, scheduled to begin tomorrow, and another on Thursday, and another the following Monday, will all feature clearomizers and not a single cartomizer will make an appearance. I’m willing to give it a go. Having said that, if I had a steady supply of double-punched SR cartomizers for the Tuff Tanks, well, perhaps I would save some vape time for the Triple T (Texas Tuff Tank – ed)…