Where Does The Cig-A-Like Belong Now?
Vaping Is As Simple, Or As Complicated As You Want It To Be … And for some people it can become a nightmare full of the obsessions for mathematical equations, constant adjustments, wrapping and rewrapping coils, and owning a few fluke meters and testing every atomizer and battery within your reach. It can be the slipperiest slope you’ve ever tried to take on. Then again, it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as opening a box of prefilled cartomizers, unwrapping a sealed cartomizer and screwing onto a slim cigarette-like battery and taking ‘drags’ from it like you would an analog smoke. It can also manifest itself somewhere in the middle.
Finding that elusive ‘perfect vaping experience’ can rob you of your joy, your work, your family, and even your very soul, should you slide into the nightmare of a full on obsession, so tread slowly before leaving your comfort zone. Arming yourself with knowledge is the best defense against falling for the obsessive need to find the ultimate vapor production, the maximum flavor output, and the most exquisite throat hit imaginable, in other words, “The perfect vaping experience” is one elusive mother****.
For many people staying with the cig-a-like electronic cigarette is the right thing to do. Sadly, some people are literally chased out of this level of vaping by more cough* advanced *cough Vapers who try to make the cig-a-like Vaper feel inferior. You don’t need any further proof than to pop in on any of the dozen or so ‘top’ eCigarette forums and see how someone is treated after they reveal their passion for “Blu Cigs”, an eCigarette with 30% of the market in the United States.
Blu Cigs users are often swatted away like an annoying fly because they ‘just don’t get it’. This very reason was our primary motivation for starting the Spinfuel Discussion Forum, to create a place where any level Vaper can feel at home and, at the same time, a part of the vaping community. Because, like it or not Mr. Variable Wattage, someone with a passion for Blu Cigs, or 777 eCigs, or Halo G6, or a Vapor4Life mini-battery have as much right to be in the vaping community as you do.
Keeping It Simple With The Cig-a-Like
There is much to be said for keeping it simple. Modern electronic cigarettes from companies I mentioned above, and perhaps a few others provide a more-than-adequate battery, acceptable-to-delicious tasting prefilled cartomizers in a myriad number of flavors and nicotine levels, and can produce plenty of nicotine-infused vapor to satisfy the simulation of smoking. These ecigarettes can easily provide enough satisfaction for the Vaper that he or she is able to live their life without so much as thinking about a tobacco cigarette.
But, what happens when “the thrill is gone”? The simple act of vaping can, and often does change over time, especially at this level of vaping. Certain flavors don’t work for you anymore, batteries wear down slowly and you might not notice the degradation, and you begin to think that the eCigarettes are not working anymore. You might even wind up being tempted to return to tobacco cigarettes or become interested in the larger, more powerful, mods.
However, with just a few minor to moderate changes in the inexpensive hardware and eLiquids you are using now, you can alter the current vaping experience enough to produce a more gratifying level of flavor, vapor, and throat hit instead of ditching it all for newer, larger batteries and eLiquid delivery devices, or worse, going back to smoking. Let’s look at some of the things you can do if that happens to you.
Improving the cig-a-like experience
When we talk about batteries at this level of vaping we are strictly talking about the small batteries shaped like tobacco cigarettes. The vast majority of these batteries are 3.7v; some of the newer ones are 4.2v on a full charge. That said, even the larger batteries in the much more expensive ‘mods’ are 3.7v batteries, but they use booster circuits to achieve a much higher voltage then the mini-cigarette size batteries.
Zen and the Art of Cleaning Your Battery
Some things you can do that won’t cost anything include cleaning your battery connector (where the cartomizer meets the battery). Often times a dirty connector, which happens to everyone, will cause a lousy connection. A bad connection can stop the cartomizer from working at all, making you think you have a bad cartomizer instead of a dirty connection. Solution? Clean the connector with a Q-Tip. Some people will use a little alcohol on the Q-Tip and some, like myself, will use a dry Q-Tip. Either way is fine, though you will hear more people talk about using alcohol than using a dry Q-Tip. If you do use alcohol make sure the battery connector is completely dry before using it again.
Most modern mini-eCig batteries can be charged and recharged up to and exceeding 300 times. Some, like the Halo G6 insist that in order to get the proper life, and power, from a G6 battery you must charge it up first by allowing it to charge 8 full hours. If you fail to do that the battery life will shorten and the 4.2v that it can deliver will fall far short of that very quickly. It pays to treat your batteries as though they cost much more than they do, not for financial reasons, though that’s a good one, but for performance reasons.
If you know someone with a multi-meter you might want to fully charge your battery and then attach it to the meter to see if it is putting out the 3.7v or 4.2v when fully charged. If it doesn’t, well it’s time to toss the battery and replace it. With the new battery(s), practice the methods I outlined above. With a properly working battery you won’t feel any less satisfied than you did when you began vaping.
Cartomizers – Prefilled cartomizers are mostly standard resistance cartomizers. That means that they output at about 2.5 ohms give or take. I don’t want to get very technical or detailed here, so let’s just get to the matter at hand.
You can drastically improve your vaping experience by using low resistance cartomizers. That will mean moving away from prefilled cartomizers and buying blank cartomizers and filling them with eLiquids. The downside to using low resistance cartomizers is that they use more power from the battery, but at the same time provide a thicker, warmer vapor. I think the tradeoff is well worth it.
The Starter Kit Reality
If you’re vaping cig-a-likes now then somewhere along the line you probably purchased a starter kit. Depending on the brand, you received either a 510-threaded battery kit (Blu Cigs) or an 808-threaded battery kit (777 eCigs, Halo G6). Unless you are prepared to start over, buy batteries and cartomizers that you already use. Don’t mix them up or you will wind up spending more money than you do and you will often find that you have an imbalance in fresh batteries and blank cartomizers. 510 cartomizers won’t fit an 808 battery, and vice versa, nor can you charge a 510 battery with an 808 charger.
Suggestions: If you are prepared to start over, either because you don’t like the product you have or you’ve had them long enough that its time to buy new hardware anyway, I can suggest two brands that will give you breathing room to grow a little. Those brands are Halo Cigs and 777 eCigs. Both companies offer the 808-thread connector and blank cartomizers, and they are completely interchangeable… best of all, both companies are honest enough to tell you that they are indeed interchangeable. The 808-threaded batteries are also stronger batteries. They are the ones that can output 4.2v on a full charge. Some have a larger capacity as well, offering 280 to 320 mAh (pronounced ‘maw’), and so will last considerably longer than a basic 510-thread battery.
Halo and 777 offer a couple of dozen different flavors of eLiquid; all of them better than 99.99% of the prefilled Chinese crap on the market. While 777 eCigs eLiquid is quite good, they are made in China. Halo Cigs, on the other hand, are 100% American Made eLiquids.
In any case, to improve your cig-a-like experience switch to low resistance cartomizers (2.0-2.2 ohm) and fill them with eLiquids of your choice. Not only will they taste better than they ever did, the vapor will amaze you with both volume and warmth.
Cheap Starter Kits
A starter kit is just an affordable way to obtain a couple of batteries and a charger, along with a few prefilled cartomizers. But that’s where it can end. There is no need to stick with any brand after you’ve purchased their starter kit.
Sometimes, using Groupon or learning about it online, you’ll see a major dumping taking place with starter kits that will allow you to restock your hardware for a fraction of the cost. Bull Smoke, a horrible company with lousy products is currently dumping their starter kits for $29.99. The starter kit contains 2 batteries (808-threads), a USB charger and a wall charger. It also comes with some prefilled cartomizers that are so bad you should simply throw them away. But the price is right, so if you like the shape and color of these batteries it makes sense to pick up a couple of starter kits to boast your inventory.
Last week Premium eCigs had a $25 starter kit dump on Groupon. Same kind of eCigarette (808), only better looking, and the same amount of hardware. Horrible tasting prefilled cartos, but the hardware is priced right.
If you haven’t already done so, make a note of which thread connector your current batteries have and remember it. When these dump-sales happen you’ll know if they are something you want to take advantage of.
Note* If you purchase any starter kit that includes any type of monthly membership or monthly shipments of cartomizers you’ve made a horrible mistake. Do not ever buy a starter kit without reading the fine print and never ever agree to automatic shipping of refill cartomizers.
A Better Experience
With properly working batteries, low resistance cartomizers, and great tasting eLiquids, not to mention gathering up a nice inventory of batteries and chargers on the cheap, you can enjoy the cig-a-like experience for years to come.
Don’t allow anyone to define the kind of Vaper you are. If you enjoy the mini-eCigs than that’s all that matters. If you find yourself enjoying them less you should make sure the abovementioned suggestions are being taken advantage of. And if you’re looking for a place to hang out on the Internet where your love of cig-a-likes won’t ever be ridiculed, head over the Spinfuel Discussion Forums and sign up. You’ll be glad you did.
But what if?…
Now, let’s say that you’ve taken the advice above and you’ve replaced all your batteries with fresh ones, you switched to LR, or low resistance cartomizers and you are filling them with your choice of splendid eLiquids and you are sill not satisfied. What then?
Well, before you move up to the more complicated, but obviously more powerful eGo and tube modded eCigarettes there is one last thing I can suggest. In fact, I more than suggest it, I urge you to do this.
If you have this desire to stay with the smaller, less obtrusive eCigarettes than by all means do everything you can before moving up to the larger ones, or even worse, go back to tobacco cigarettes… And take a serious look the Johnson Creek Vea, the best of both worlds and the finest product you can find without moving up to the ProVari level of eCigarettes.
Johnson Creek Vea
The Vea is larger than a mini-eCigarette and smaller than an average eGo… and much smaller than the large mods. The Vea is a cartomizer-based eCigarette with almost perfect balance, plenty of power, large capacity low resistance cartomizers that will provide you with a vaping experience that is out of this world.
A Vea Starter Kit is only $59.99 and comes with 2 Vea batteries, a 5-pack of cartomizers (prefilled or blank) a USB charger and Wall Charger. The battery is a rubberized paint in deep dark red. It is twice the size of a cig-a-like, but half the size of the larger mods. Read our review here.
Note that the cost of a Vea Starter Kit is less expensive than most mini-ecig starter kits, with the same amount of hardware. The Vea is a great value!
Hopefully I have given you more than enough justification, and reason, for staying with the mini-eCigs if that’s what you want to do. If you do decide to move up, try the Vea first. If you wind up moving into the larger mods then by all means, do so. It can be a wonderful move, and Spinfuel will be here to make it all happen as smoothly as we can.
I would love to hear from you about this, or any other part of the vaping world, so feel free to leave a comment or two.