Has New Vape Gear Changed Everything?
Can new Tanks and Box Mods to vape with move us from infancy to adolescence? Is the recent addition of subohm tanks, high wattage box mods, and high performance eliquid fundamentally changing the face of ‘vaping’? Yea, I think so. Here’s why…
During the last quarter of 2014 we witnessed a massive shift in the world in the vaping. It has been building slowly throughout most of 2014, but October, November, and December will go down in vape history as the period when vaping shifted from it’s childhood into its adolescence in the blink of an eye.
Old Timers Tell The Tales
Vapers that have been vaping for more than three to five years will be the ones to tell the tale of the time when electronic cigarettes desperately tried to mimic tobacco cigarettes with their small and ineffective batteries and cartomizers. It was the infancy of modern vaping.
In the not so distant future they will tell of the times when eliquid was commonly made in people’s kitchen, dining room tables, spare bedrooms, and basements… with little regard to purity, accurate nicotine levels, and wild guesstimates of PG/VG ratios. While not completely gone, it is certainly no longer the norm.
They also witnessed a time when many real estate investors, car dealers or anyone else with an entrepreneurial spirit, low morals and a few thousand dollars to spend saw the streets of VapeLandia lined with gold, and they could not resist the urge to scoop some of it up when they still could. That’s no longer possible, thank God, although you still hear things…
These carpetbaggers of years gone by swooped in with fancy logos and outrageous statements claiming to be the “#1 best tasting, #1 best selling, and #1 best voted, stamped on their cookie-cutter, cheap Chinese starter kits and pawned them off to unsuspecting and desperate smokers looking for the promise of being able to continue to smoke without the worry of getting sick and dying early.
Most new vapers back then had no idea that these $100+ single battery starter kits that were being sold through mall kiosks and hastily thrown together websites would never do the job they were supposed to do, and would fail within a month. The early cig-a-likes tasted so foul that many smokers would rather take their chances with tobacco.
The Beginning of the End
The days of companies like Bull Smoke, Green Smoke, Vaporin, Smoke Free, Regal, Prada, American Smoke, ProSmoke, and hundreds of others are finally fading into the wasteland that was the early infancy of ecigarettes and giving way to personal vaporizers that actually worked and high performance, high quality eliquid that satisfy nearly all the needs a smoker wants in order to drop cigarettes like a bad habit. Ah, which it is, so yea, that makes sense.
That’s not to say that all vapers fell into the greedy hands of these charlatans back in the infancy of this community. Long before adolescence arrived with a vengeance some early pioneers of vaping were busy building their own coils, applying ohms law to the methods of building a better vape, and even sought out American sourced ingredients to whip up a batch of homemade high quality juice.
Some shared their new juice with friends and family, and some launched businesses that have grown into major companies. Innovative and talented people were building precision mechanical mods that were like works of art and engineered with the same level of excellence that you might see in a Rolls Royce.
We have all been pioneers in this new world of vaping, but the ones who dared create their own devices and eliquid were the ones that pushed us into where we are today. Without their ingenuity and ‘never quit’ attitudes we all might still be at the mercy of cig-a-likes and eliquids high in Diacetyl and other chemicals we’ve learned to shun.
The Adolescence of Vaping
It is tempting to say that VapeLandia, and its citizens, have reached maturity, and that all the eliquids we use, and all the devices we obtain are about as good as its ever going to get. Tempting maybe, but I know that isn’t even close to being true. But for the moment, let’s talk about this new level of adolescence we’ve reached in late 2014 and the early months of 2015.
Tanks, RDA’s, and RBA’s
For mainstream vapers, of which I am one, it was just a couple of years ago that the very idea of building our own coils seemed so complicated and dangerous that we avoided using them, and certainly avoided wrapping our coils and threading them with various wicking materials. Advanced vapers were enjoying much better vape experiences than we were, but at the time we had no idea how much better.
Now of course, with the advent of four major new tanks, two of which came out in late 2014 and two of which shipped in early 2015, quality flavor and vapor are no longer the realm of advanced vapers. In addition, two brands of tanks, Kanger and Joyetech, offer built-in RBA components that make it at least an option for mainstream vapers. We don’t have to invest in an RBA or RDA to try our hand at wrapping coils, but if feel it giving it a go, we can.
All four tanks have sophisticated airflow controllers, are incredibly well made, and can meet and exceed the demands of any vaper. The Joyetech Delta 2, which I’ll discuss below, even has an eliquid flow controller built into each coil head.
The Aspire Atlantis, the first of the four new tanks, was such a major hit with mainstream vapers that it is still selling like crazy, despite the alarm over the *micron issue. This glass tank comes standard with a .5ohm (subohm) coil head. But Aspire didn’t just release the Atlantis, it also developed and shipped a battery that was built to get the most out of the Atlantis, the CF (carbon fiber) Subohm battery.
Combining the Aspire Subohm battery with the Subohm coil equipped ‘Atlantis was a stroke of genius. Fill the tank, let it saturate the coils, attach it to the battery, fully charged of course, and experience a vape on par with many straight up mechanicals and a good RBA. (though I do hope the next sub-ohm battery is a regulated battery)
For the longest time I was satisfied with a Vision Spinner and an X.Jet Clearomizer, a set up that performed at least 20 times better than what I used in 2012, and yet when I first filled an Atlantis tank with my ‘current’ all day vape and used it with the Subohm battery I knew I would never go back. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of vapers followed suit and before long high VG, lower nicotine eliquid was outselling even 50/50 12mg and above ejuice (According to many of the eliquid vendors I’ve spoken to.) because these tanks are so efficient at vaporizing ejuice you don’t need as much nicotine in the juice.
Now that Aspire has changed their coils to just organic cotton, the Atlantis can only get better. You just know the next Atlantis will feature even better coils and a feature that debuted with the next tank release…the…
The 6ML capacity Kanger Subtank shipped with both a subohm OCC (organic cotton coil) and a 1.2ohm coil, it also came with an RBA component that sent mainstream vapers over the moon. The OCC Coils provided tremendous vapor and fantastic flavor, and gave individuals who might not otherwise bother with building coils a reason to try.
Coming fast on the heels on the huge 6ML Subtank was the Subtank Mini (4.5ML) also featuring the RBA component, and Subtank Nano (3ML) minus the RBA component, each excellent tanks with an abundance of vapor production and hardy flavor. The Subtank’s are the best-selling tanks on the market today.
Joyetech Delta 2
Just a week or two ago the Joyetech Delta 2 began showing up on vendor shelves and are selling well. They should be selling even better, and I think they will once more reviews get out there.
The Delta 2 is a superior tank that comes with a subohm coil and a 1.2ohm coil. They too have an RBA component, but unfortunately it is an optional purchase ($14.99). Joyetech provided a tank to the vape community that showed us that flavor could get even better than a Kanger Subtank, and match the Subtank in vapor production. It is infinitely more elegant then the Subtank or Atlantis, with its stainless steel exterior and thin cuts in the side to show the ejuice level, not to mention a smooth airflow controller. The coils themselves are huge, no doubt making it possible to surpass the Subtank in flavor. The eliquid flow controller will prove to be as important as an airflow controller in the months ahead.
Last, but not least, is the eLeaf MELO (pronounced ‘Mellow’) tank, featuring all of the components of the above tanks, except for an RBA component. The MELO coils are all organic cotton and have been tweaked to perform best at 30w.
The MELO was my preferred tank for a few weeks due to its buttery airflow controller and exquisite flavor delivery. The vapor production of the MELO is certainly on par with the above tanks, making it a full member of this 4-member tank family.
Yes, the new tanks will have the effect of killing off most of the older tanks, including the Nautilus, the Protanks, the Genitank, and all the rest that less than 6 months ago excited the vape community. Once a vaper takes that leap of faith, with any of the above tanks, if they are anything like me it will be the last time they use anything made before the Aspire Atlantis.
But, with a new game changing series of tanks the need arises for batteries that can take advantage of them. There has been a rush to market in January and early February of some of the best, and most affordable batteries that have ever graced the mainstream vapers paradise.
The eLeaf iSticks
While the iStick has been around for a few months, (our review for the iStick 20 was published back in August (!)), it wasn’t until the final months of 2014 and January/February of 2015 that the floodgates seemed to open at eLeaf. Coming off the assembly line as fast as they could make them was the iStick 30, the iStick Mini (a tiny 10w iStick that serves more as a novelty battery) and the iStick 50, which is just now shipping from your favorite vendor… at about $49.99 it’s an impressive device. *The $49.99 iStick 50 will get you just the battery; they do not include the eGo adapter or a USB cable. An iStick 50 “kit” which does come with the USB cable and eGo threaded adapter, you’ll need to spend $60-$65.
Box Mods Everywhere
The iStick is not the only variable wattage box mod to hit the shelves in the past couple of months. We recently reviewed the SMOK XPro M50, which was bumped to 65watts the day we published the review, the Innokin MVP20w and MVP3.0, the Pioneer4You IPV Mini 2, the Sigelei 50w, 100w and 100w Plus, and others. Box mods are all the rage, and they just so happen to work exceptionally well with the new tanks.
Yes, box mods are all the rage, but there are moves being made in the tube sector and even in the eGo size sector. Most notably is the incredible eGo One by Joyetech. Here’s a vaporizer that produces flavor and vapor that seems impossible when measured against its tiny size. The 1000mAh eGo One provides an immensely satisfying vape while being stealthier than a Spinner/X.Jet combo I used to boast about constantly.
Other devices we’ve recently reviewed… ah, who am I kidding? It’s all box mods for months now, except maybe the Vision Vapors Nunchaku, which doesn’t seem to be popular in the US, and the recent introduction of the long awaited ProVape ProVari 3, which we have yet to review. (I have no idea why). Suffice it to say that between November and early February it’s been box mod city.
Like human adolescence things are happening very fast now. The first tangible evidence of this, for me anyway, was SMOK’s move to bump the M50 (50 watts) to M65 (65 watts) in a matter of days of its initial release, and Aspire’s decision to move to an all organic cotton wick in their coils within a week of the gossip surrounding the finding of small fibers breaking away in the wicking. The decision to change the coil heads were made before scientific testing was complete, and the belief held by many, myself included, that the OCC coils posed no threat as long as there was ample juice in the tank. These decisions, whether we think they were the right call or a knee-jerk reactions, prove how passionately these companies feel about hitting their adolescent stride. There is a momentum to reach adulthood and nothing is going to get in the way.
It is unfortunate that there are still some hangers on from the infancy of the vaping industry with regards to the lower forms of life within. Vaporin, Regal, and other eCigarette scam brands are still around, and still hit my own inbox on a daily basis, and there are still commercial eliquid companies pumping out ejuice from spare bedrooms. But the number of new cig-a-like brands has slowed to a crawl, and many of the companies that flourished 3 years ago are either gone or dying on the vine. In the end, maybe three cig-a-like brands will remain standing; Blu Cigs, VUSE, and Mark Ten, we can live with that… they are gateway vaporizers and they will lead to better devices and much better eliquid…and most importantly, by moving to the better devices faster the ex-smoker stands a better chance at remaining an ex-smoker.
Although I have no doubt that by February 2016 we will vape with still better devices and richer, more flavorful eliquid, it is a great time to be a vaper now.