“If you’ve been considering jumping on the Vapor4Life bandwagon you just might want to read this review first.” –John Manzione – October 16, 2012
Review by Julia Barnes with (a little) help from Jason Little
Vapor4Life is more than a brand for mini-ecigarettes. Their product line includes mini-ecig batteries and loads of prefilled-cartomizer flavors, but it also includes mini-tank systems that fit atop a mini-ecig (!), as well as their brand of the “bolt”, a larger battery ecigarette, as well as ego-style batteries, and various tanks and DCT’s.
Having said that, this review will be limited to their mini-batteries and a small selection of their prefilled cartomizers because it is those products we received. Whether or not this does Vapor4Life a disservice I can’t say, hopefully down the road we’ll be able to bring you more reviews on some of their other products.
Synopsis in the form of opinion
Vapor4Life is attempting to build a real, long-lasting ecigarette business; of that there can be no doubt. There is a lot going for Vapor4Life and their customers, and there are some things Vapor4Life does really well and some things that need to be improved. Whether or not they are the company for you depends more on the style of vaping you do.
Let’s Talk Hardware
Batteries – The 808’s
All V4L batteries begin with the 808-thread. Currently V4L sells 3 different 808 ‘tweaks’ or models, and depending on which battery model you decide to buy will have a direct affect on the vaping experience you have. From what I understand, the 3 versions of 808’s sold by V4L are all “enhanced” models, and exclusive to V4L. The latest is the Vapor Titan, offered in manual and automatic styles.
An enhanced KR808 have added air holes, supposedly better battery cells, and better built switches. They start at 4.2v and drop quickly to 3.7v; once they drop to around 3.3v they alert you to recharge them. I use the word “supposedly” because there is simply no way I can state definitively whether or not these 808’s have better battery cells or anything else.
Vapor King, VK Original & Titan
Vapor King, VK Original and the Titan series are all enhanced 808’s with exclusive V4L tweaks. They are supposed to have the improved switches, and definitely do have more airflow. They are also supposed to stay in the 3.85v range longer than any of the other 808’s. Checking around, this does seem to be the consensus of most people experienced with Vapor4Life.
Visible inspection on the batteries we received shows that the batteries have 3 air holes around the thread. The Short battery is sealed at the top while the Regular has a small hole on top and Extra-Long has a wider one. The “regular” sized batteries included a manual with a rubberized finish and a glossy black metallic battery. The Extra Long batteries were a manual battery with a rubberized finish and 1 stainless steel metallic. Confused yet?
What does all this mean to you? Not a lot.
The biggest “take away” from all this is that no matter what size, what finish, or even if its an automatic or manual battery, each and every one delivers an ‘airy’ draw. In fact, some people have called the batteries “noisy” because of the sound of the air coming in can be heard.
My problem with this type of battery is that it allows too much air in. The resistance is too easy, and the amount of vapor you get on an average inhale is much less than vaping with an 808 with less air holes and are sealed on the top.
The Titan, V4L’s newest battery sells for $24.95, a clear premium price for this type of battery. But let’s go through their 3 main categories one by one.
Vapor4Life describes the Titan as:
“The Vapor Titan is the best battery on the market today. These batteries are simply beautiful. There are several advanced features which set the Vapor Titan apart: A smooth exterior give these batteries the Soft Touch Contains a custom made, enhanced battery cell exclusive to Vapor4Life An improved switch makes these our most responsive batteries to date These batteries are fully compatible with all CoolCart Cartomizers and Wow Cartomizers. We highly recommend using the Slim Charger with these batteries.”
“Why is Vapor Titan the best e-cig on the market? Soft-touch coating makes it a pleasure to hold. 16 bold colors suit your mood (or your shoes). Batteries come in auto and manual styles, so you can vape how you like. And our Vapor4Life exclusive custom-made, enhanced cell means dead batteries are someone else’s problem.”
Your options with the Titan are Diamond or Stealth, Manual or Automatic, Short, Regular, or Extra Long lengths, and several colors and patterns with a rubberized paint job.
The Vapor King, at $12.50 (on sale) battery is described as:
“With superior draw and an automatic cutoff of 20 seconds, our Vapor King Diamond Series Automatic Battery offers ideal vapor production, superior performance, and fashionable design. Just attach your Vapor King cartomizer, take a drag, and enjoy puff after puff of your electronic cigarette with BLING. Features Fully rechargeable lithium ion battery Automatic, internal suction switch – just puff to operate. Superior draw with 20-second cutoff for maximum enjoyment Single V4L logo below cartomizer thread Sleek, comfortable design with bejeweled LED Standard length Multiple colors to choose from 45-day warranty included View more high-performance electronic cigarette batteries…”
“Our Original Vapor King e-cig starter kits have the goods so you can start vaping our e-cig original right away. Kits have regular, XL, and short-style battery choices—because size does matter.”
Your options with the Original Vapor King are Diamond or Stealth, Manual or Automatic, Short, Regular, or Extra Long (add $1.00 to the price for XL) lengths, and several colors in a glossy finish.
The Classic VK battery is a $16.45 battery described by V4L as:
“The perfect compromise between size and charge life. Attach any Vapor King cartomizer and this automatic electronic cigarette battery transforms into the standard length of most traditional tobacco cigarettes. This comfortable and elegant personal vaporizer battery offers improved draw and increased vapor production compared to other regular length KR808D-1 compatible e-cig batteries. Each of our new and improved single-logo Vapor King e-cigarette Batteries are equipped with a 10- to 13-second cutoff, and come embossed with our exclusive V4L logo just below the cartomizer thread. Our automatic Vapor King electronic cigarette batteries are activated via an internal suction switch. Just take a drag and enjoy clouds of flavorful vapor. Fully rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Simulates a regular length tobacco cigarette with cartomizer attached. Automatic, internal suction switch – just puff to operate. Improved draw, 10- to 13-second cutoff. Embossed with single V4L logo. Multiple colors to choose from. Includes 45-day warranty. View more electronic cigarette batteries…”
“It looks like a cigarette. But it isn’t. Our Classic VK glowing ash cap battery gives a realistic cigarette look, without any of the cigarette junk. One of our best-value e-cigs, Classic VK comes in 14 colors and works with Premium CoolCarts and WOW Vapor carts.”
Options include Regular, Short, and Extra-Long ($1.05 extra) and several metallic colors.
Now certainly, there are some bold claims here to consider. But nothing outrageous, and nothing to get alarmed about.
The Standard Starter Kit – $75
Spinfuel received a “Standard” Starter Kit ($75), which included 2 Titan batteries (soft-touch cigar pattern), a charger, 2x 5-packs of cartomizers, and a slim carrying case.
Our Starter Kit included the “cigar pattern” battery and was beautiful to look at and fabulous to hold. The Short battery was the automatic; the Regular one was a Manual. Inside the box we also received a blue-mottled Manual battery in the Extra-Long length. (for review purposes).
The Starter Kit is on the expensive side, there are lower cost but equally equipped starter kits out there, and woefully more expensive starter kits from inferior brands. Still, had this kit run $55-$60 it would have been a much better deal.
According to the Vapor4Life website there looks to be about are 130 flavors or so to choose from (I did not count them) in the prefilled cartomizer line. There are several “sampler packs” available for each of the main categories.
That is the largest selection of flavors we’ve found in the branded mini-ecigarette marketplace. Our selection was very limited so we cannot offer much advice in the way of their flavors, though we can tell you about the flavors we did receive and give an overall impression based on the flavors at our disposal.
From a pricing standpoint I’m quite happy with the $10.50 cost per 5-pack. To this day I just don’t understand how some brands that sell their 5-packs for $15 or more can stay in business.
Vapor4Life offers two types of cartomizers that offer two different experiences. The CoolCarts are what is called in the industry “Standard Resistance” (SR) cartomizers, which offer 3.0-ohms. Their WOW line is Low Resistance (LR) cartomizers offer 2.0-2.6-ohms. The LR carts burn slightly warmer. The Low Resistance cartomizer will also shorten the times between charges of your batteries, but deliver a bit more flavor. This is not Vapor4Life specific, but rather a specific of all SR and LR cartomizers.
The flavors that Spinfuel sampled with the Starter Kit were as follows:
Premium Vapor King Fruit Bowl Sampler (CoolCart)
- Peach Cobbler
- Green Apple
WOW Vapor Coffee Shop Cartomizers
- Cafe Mocha
- Vanilla Mocha
The Flavors that came with the extra battery shipment we:
- WOW 555
- WOW Wowbacco
- Traditional Tobacco
WOW Vapor Desert and Candy Sampler
- Wow ChocoBanana
- Wow French Vanilla Ice Cream
- Wow Black Licorice
- Wow Supermint
- Wow Butterscotch.
The Low Resistance (LR) WOW series of cartomizers deliver a slightly, but noticeably warmer vapor. For the most part Vapor4Life has done a good job deciding which of the flavors should be offered as WOW branded and which ones should not.
As for the flavors, I invited Jason Little to participate in this review and offer up his opinion about them and the batteries we had here. We sat down with all the batteries freshly charged and all the cartomizers on 3 separate occasions and went back and forth many times discussing flavors individually and as sampler packs. Below is our take on the overall quality of the prefilled cartomizers.
If you decide to give Vapor4Life a try definitely go with a Manual battery, and a Regular or Extra-Long battery length. The WOW (Low Resistance) cartomizers are a bit better than the CoolCarts at delivering flavor. This combination gave me the better vaping experience. The Short battery didn’t last long at all, and if combined with a WOW (low resistance) cartomizer it will last even less time.
The following is based on using V4L batteries only, with the V4L cartomizers.
When it comes to flavors I found most of them to be rather weak in flavor and average in vapor production. There was literally no throat hit with any of the flavors, no matter what the nicotine strength was (4-18mg).
All the fruit-flavored cartomizers produced especially weak flavors. Not so weak that you couldn’t tell what it was, but not even close to what you can get elsewhere or, better yet, in any of the eLiquids we’ve reviewed in Spinfuel.
My best picks in the fruit category were Pineapple and Peach Cobbler. Both of these flavors would have been great had there been more flavor to them. The rest I could hardly tell what they were.
The Coffee line was much better, flavor-wise. More flavor, more vapor, and even an occasional ‘pop’ sound with a new cartomizer and a freshly charged battery. The hands-down winner in this category was “Coffee”, which was actually one of the best Coffee flavors I’ve had in a prefilled cartomizer.
Vaping the Tobacco line was a disappointment. Here the ‘base’ Chinese eLiquid flavor came through. It’s the same taste I get when vaping DeKang, which some people prefer over any other (I have no idea why).
In addition to the base taste of a DeKang-like flavor, they all tasted about the same. Not “exactly” the same mind you, but there wasn’t much difference between them. If I had to choose the best one of the bunch I’d have to go with KAMEL.
The last category, Candy and Desert was also weak in flavor and just a bit better in vapor. Best flavor is Butterscotch.
Jason’s Bottom Line
I know that V4L has a pretty large following. Even on ECF they have a large presence and are considered one of the better mini-ecigarettes on the market. This caused me to consider some options concerning the exclusive tweaks V4L has made to the 808 batteries. Since I instantly recognized that ‘airy’ draw I considered the fact that maybe it wasn’t the cartomizers that were at fault, maybe it was simply a difference in vaping styles.
Spinfuel doesn’t usually do comparison reviews, but in this case I believe it is warranted. The reason is that my past experience with KR808 batteries is quite good. I use them when I go out in public. Because I wanted to find out where the problem lies with Vapor4 Life’s performance issues I grabbed a couple of Halo G6 batteries and a couple of 777 eCigs batteries, all KR808’s, and all automatic. Most importantly, they were the same size.
The Halo G6 batteries had 2 air holes around the threading and a sealed top. The 777 batteries had 3 air holes and a very small air hole on top. Both batteries offered greater resistance when I inhaled, but the result of a harder pull is more flavor and more vapor every time.
In other words, there was a lot less air getting mixed into the vapor. That resulted in a heavier vapor production and a more flavorful taste. The lack of an air hole on top of the G6 battery prevents any eLiquid from entering the battery, which to me is a rather important point to consider. For my vaping style the G6 KR808 delivers a better performance over V4L.
Attaching the same cartomizer to a 777 eCigs battery the resistance was less than the Halo, but more than the Vapor4Life. The vapor production from the 777 was better, by far, than the other V4L and about equal with Halo’s G6. Flavor was richer than V4L as well. This was the result of having 3 smaller air holes on the threads and a tiny air hole on top of the battery. Out of the 3 I preferred the 777 eCigs battery.
Keep in mind that all 3 batteries are the same type, KR808, and output was the same, 4.2v going down to 3.7-3.8v. Using these other batteries to test the performance of V4L cartomizers clearly shows that the issue (if it is an issue) with Vapor4Life is not the cartomizers; it’s the tweaked 808 batteries.
I wanted to like Vapor4Life a lot more than I do. I could easily see myself ordering their ‘coffee’ flavored cartomizers at 18mg and happily use them on either the 777 or Halo batteries. Even better, Vapor4Life might want to consider the segment of the market that enjoys a stiffer draw in order to inhale a thicker vapor. Perhaps creating a KR808 much like the others, or simply using a generic 808. If I had one of the cigar patterned rubberized batteries with the 777 eCigs 808 features that would be ideal. Throw in a bunch of Coffee flavored V4L cartomizers and call it a day.
Before you make up your mind about Vapor4Life consider your own preferences. Did the analog cigarette you smoke have an ‘airy’, or light draw to it? Did you smoke a strong brand? These preferences will carry over when you switch to electronic cigarettes. There is a reason some brands advertise an easy draw, or smooth draw, and if that’s your preference Vapor4Life might be the best brand you’ve ever tried. If on the other hand, you’re like me (and the rest of the staff) and want a stiffer draw, you should know going in that V4L isn’t that brand.
There isn’t much I can add to Jason’s remarks. I agree with everything he said. When we mentioned that he tested the cartomizers with other batteries I decided to do the same thing and came up with the same results. I too enjoy a stiff draw when I vape. The V4L cartomizers perform very well with a stiffer draw battery. While the flavors were somewhat weak with the V4L batteries they got more flavorful when I switched to the other 808 models. My favorite flavors were Coffee (just plain Coffee), and the pineapple.
But This Is Important…
In the early days of Spinfuel the team in place back then reviewed a brand called White Cloud. White Cloud is the most expensive mini-ecigarette brand on the market. With starter kits that can cost more than $300 for no more hardware than Vapor4Life or a dozen others offer, that is an outrageous price. However, the main problem with White Cloud seems to be the same problems with Vapor4Life, the air mix on the ‘inhale’. White Cloud advertised this back then as their “smooth draw” feature, and there are many people who bought into that and still do. A couple of the staff members preferred that method back then, and a couple did not. I wasn’t here then so I’ve never experienced the White Cloud brand.
It’s obvious that some people desire an easy draw when they are vaping, and if you are one of them then Vapor4Life is definitely a brand you should consider. The Starter Kit is a bit expensive, but once you are in the batteries should last a while (their warranty isn’t very long either, so be aware of that going in) and the cost of their cartomizers are better than fair. Oh, and the number of flavors they offer will give you months and months and months of experimenting. All in all, Vapor4Life is a good, solid brand. Just because Jason and myself want a stiffer draw should NOT dissuade you from giving them a try if you like or prefer an easier draw.
Julia Barnes, with Jason Little