Who’s Your Daddy? – Big Daddy Vapor!
Note* We are currently interviewing Dee and John, owners of Big Daddy Vapor and we hope to bring you the finished interview tomorrow, Thursday, March 14th, or Friday, March 15th, 2013. – ed.
How do you judge the performance of a tank? How do you put a value on a tank, as the seller or the buyer? And for the purpose of informing others about a tank you are using, how do you decide what is important and what is frivolous?
It is no easy task talking or writing about a product that at its very core is an enclosure that surrounds a cartomizer or atomizer (as in the case of clearomizers like the Vivi Nova).
It is, after all, the cartomizer that is the most important piece of hardware in a carto-based tank system and it will determine the quality of a vape more than anything else. That’s just the way it is and there is no getting around it. You could build a tank that holds 30Ml of eLiquid, construct it out of 24k gold, stuff precious stones into the sides of the tank and if the cartomizer is a dud, or just a really bad cartomizer, the quality of your vape will be, shall we say, ‘underwhelming’.
That is not to say that the tank itself doesn’t play a part in the quality of your vaping experience. It certainly does. But for the most part it is the cartomizer wearing the big-boy pants, not the tank.
If a writer attempts to persuade you that tank “A” gives him or her the best vaping experience in the world, and doesn’t include the fact that it is the cartomizer doing the heavy lifting they are not telling you the truth. At the very least they are not giving you the whole story.
Being tasked with writing a specific review for two tanks from Big Daddy Vapor, the “Who’s Your Daddy”, and “Lil’ Mama” (hereafter referred to as WYD and LM), along with a cartomizer tool called “Slap Yo Momma” (hereafter called SYM), was not easy. I have no doubt that I had more sleepless nights over this review than any other review this year.
In a nutshell, below is the ‘short list’ of concerns I faced during the first 2 days with the WYD and LM:
1. There is a learning curve before using it.
2. Between 5 staff members we lost more than 20ML of eLiquid ‘doing it wrong’.
3. It is an expensive tank.
4. The undeniable fact that the cartomizer is King.
But, by the time the review period was over, by the time the two tanks were passed around to each staff member on the Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team, we came to the unanimous conclusion that the WYD and LM tanks were, without a doubt, two of the best tanks on the market. No one even bothered to be the ‘contrarian’ in the room when the review period was over. That alone is an amazing story, and getting from point A to point B is what this review is all about.
It is a 5-day story that began with a few choice swear words, wasted eLiquid, and many cartomizers, and ended with the ability to insert a cartomizer into the tank in under 4 seconds, filling and refilling the tank faster than you can with a Texas Tuff Tank, and vaping any flavor of eLiquid without concern for the safety of the tank itself, and finally understanding what these tanks really are and how Big Daddy Vapor took a moment of inspiration and created something that every serious Vaper should consider. After the first day I would have bet everything I owned that the review would have wound up being a bitch-fest.
The Steps To WYD/LM/SYM Enlightenment
1. Watch The Videos
If you decide to buy one of these tanks I cannot urge you strongly enough to watch the videos over at bigdaddyvapor.com before attempting to put the tank together. To do otherwise would be foolish, just ask Tom.
Tom: “Naturally I did not watch the videos, that wouldn’t be me. I was given the tank and sat down at the kitchen table and tried to put it together. After more than half an hour trying to get the cartomizer into the end caps my thumbs were so sore that the rest of the day was I really pissed off. Getting the cartomizer through the holes in the end caps was damn near impossible. When I finally did I used a syringe to fill the tank. Bringing the cartomizer back up through the top of the tank and through the top end cap resulted in losing nearly 5ml of eLiquid after the bottom end cap came off during the struggle. It was a disaster.”
Had Tom watched the video he would have learned how to use the ‘Slap Yo Momma’ (SYM) tool and he would have seen how tremendously easy it was to insert the cartomizer, fill the tank, and close the top end cap…without suffering the pain in his thumbs or losing a single drop of eJuice. He would have learned to keep his thumbs on the end caps to prevent them from coming loose when making his final adjustments, and he would have learned that once you understand what’s going on it suddenly becomes very easy. But he had to learn the hard way.
The learning curve isn’t steep, but it is there. As you will see below, learning how to incorporate the SYM makes all the difference in the world. Understanding why the end caps are as tight as they are provides insight into just what a marvel these tanks are.
2 – The End Caps
What makes the WYD and LM tanks so extraordinary are the end caps. These two pieces create an airtight seal on the top and bottom of the tank. There is almost zero space between the tube and the end caps. Trying to put the end caps on without properly aligning them is like trying to stuff an elephant into a straw. Having said that, slipping the end caps on when they are properly aligned is like moving a hot knife through butter. In less than a second the end caps are on and they aren’t going anywhere. Using the SYM adapter for this task makes it easy.
3 – Cartomizer Adapter (SYM) is Key
Big Daddy Vapor created a tool that is vital to setting up a WYD and LM tank easily and successfully every time. This incredible tool attaches to the top opening of a 510 Boge or Smoktech cartomizer and provides a ‘guide’ that makes aligning the cartomizer to the end caps a breeze. Without the SYM tool you will spend an inordinate amount of time working the cartomizer through the end caps, as well as filling and refilling the tank. Inventing the SYM adapter was a rare moment of genius. A very “Steve Jobs” kind of thing.
4 – If the Cartomizer is the heart of a tank, the tank itself is the soul
While it is true that a bad cartomizer will give you a bad vaping experience no matter what tank you use, using a good, or the ‘right’ cartomizer completes the tank and provides a soulful vaping experience. As you will see, the tank IS more than a simple enclosure.
The Cartomizer – Briefly
Big Daddy Vapor offers the complete line of Boge and Smoktech cartomizers for which the WYD and LM tanks were designed around.
For the WYD tank you can choose the following cartomizers, ranging from $1.50 to $2.50 per cartomizer: (Discounts are available)
1. Big Daddy XL Boge LR – 2.0-2.2-ohm
2. Big Daddy Boge SR – 2.8-3.0-ohm
3. Big Daddy Smoktech Dual Coil 1.5-ohm
4. Big Daddy Pre-Punched XL Smoktech Dual Coil 1.5-ohm
5. Big Daddy XL Smoktech Single Coil 1.7-ohm
6. Big Daddy Pre-Punched XL Smoktech Single Coil 1.7-ohm
For the Lil Mama (LM) Tank you can choose the following cartomizers, ranging from $1.50 to $2.50 per cartomizer: (Discounts are available)
1. Lil’ Mama Regular Size Boge LR 2.0-2.2-ohm
2. Lil’ Mama Regular Size Boge SR 2.8-3.0-ohm
3. Lil’ Mama Regular Size Smoktech Dual Coil 1.5-ohm
4. Lil’ Mama Pre-Punched Regular Size Smoktech Dual Coil 1.5-ohm
5. Lil’ Mama Regular Size Smoktech Single Coil 1.7-ohm
6. Lil’ Mama Pre-Punched Regular Size Smoktech Single Coil 1.7-ohm
Each cartomizer delivers a different vaping experience. From LR (low resistance) to SR (standard resistance), and from Single Coil to Dual Coil, and Pre-Punched and Not-Pre-Punched, you can pick and choose to tailor your vaping pleasures. There is no one right cartomizer on these two lists. However, most of the staff enjoyed the Smoktech single-coil pre-punched 1.7-ohm, as well as the Boge standard-resistance, single-coil 3.0-ohm cartomizers we have here at the office. They were the ‘cartomizer of choice’ for the Texas Tuff Tanks and they make great cartomizers for the Big Daddy Vapor tanks as well. I’d like to see Big Daddy Vapor offer these as well.
Spinfuel’s Review Standards allows us to talk only about those products that we actually use. Although other products may or may not be available we can only write about the specific tanks we received.
Who’s Your Daddy – 5ML Pro-Cise Finish – $47.99
This Stainless Steel 5ML tank has a finish to it that BDV calls the “pro-cise” finish. It is heavier than the Anodized Aluminum tanks (our Lil’ Mama tank is anodized aluminum) but perfectly suited to just about any VV/VW APV on the market. We used the tank with a ProVari, ProVari mini, VAMO, Lambo 4, ZMAX Rev 2, Tesla, Anytime CLI, and the Joyetech eVic. The tank looked great sitting atop each one and no one complained about the size or weight of the tank.
When you purchase one of these tanks it includes matching end caps. We were supplied with a pair of polished steel end caps as well. (They were gorgeous).
The outer shell of the tank is the stainless steel with a pro-cise finish and a cutout window to view the level of eLiquid in the tank. Inside the tank is a custom-fitted plastic liner that will not absorb eLiquid or leach into your juice. Any juice you want to vape is safe to use. To clean the tank just run it under lukewarm water (never hot or never boiling). Since it will not absorb your eLiquid it does not require any type of cleaning other than a rinse.
The Pro-Cise finish gives this tank a slight, easy to grip, texture. It is a very rich, luxurious finish that will last a lifetime. Since the liner tube is resistant to any type of eLiquid you wind up getting a pure, leach-free flavor. Jason remarked that his favorite eLiquid, Ginger’s eJuice Cinnamon Candy had a ‘cleaner’ taste to it in the tanks than in his usual Vivi Nova did. I think you can expect to experience this as well if you are vaping with a device you’ve used a few times before, especially if you vaped different flavors in it.
5ML? – Counting the eLiquid you would inject into the actual cartomizer the tank holds a full 5ML of eLiquid. In order to achieve a full 5ML however you will need to push down the cartomizer when filling the tank to just under the end cap lip. We all preferred to use the “flexi-needle” available from Johnson Creek.
Real World Impressions, one by one.
Julia (me): What blew me away most about the tank was the absolute seal of the end caps. This seal makes it imperative that you saturate the filler in your cartomizer before attempting to vape with the tank. If the cartomizer is not fully saturated you will most probably scorch the atomizer. The right cartomizer, for me it was the SMOKtech XL single coil pre-punched 1.7-ohm carto, provided the best vape with this tank. I vaped MOV’s White Leaf at 3.7-ohms.
Tom: I used a Dual Coil pre-punched XL Smoktech cartomizer 1.5-ohm and vaped MOV’s Cinnamon Swirl. I don’t think I ever got a truer flavor from this eLiquid than I did with this tank. Granted, the cartomizer was brand new, but I don’t use cartomizers very long with any cinnamon flavor because they just don’t last that long. Maybe I’ll refill it 3 times before tossing it. The Dual Coil pre-punch pushed through a lot of liquid, quickly, and as such I got one great drag after another. I suppose the biggest thing I liked about the tank as the seal as well. Now, I did have issues with it the first time I used it, but once you learn how to the use the SYM adapter it will be incredibly easy to use. For me, the biggest selling point is the fact that I can enjoy any eLiquid I want and then turn around and rinse it out and use something totally different (with a new carto) and I won’t detect even a hint of the other flavor. Try that with any other cartomizer-based tanks! Oh, and the window is a must-have. I won’t touch a metal thank that doesn’t have a window. Period.
Keira: The 5ML WYD was just a little too big for me so I don’t have much to say about it. I used it for a few minutes and then switched to the Lil’ Mama which was more my size. I can say this about both tanks though; the SYM adapter is a must have. I’d like to see Big Daddy Vapor create a “Tank Kit” that included this tool.
Jason: I didn’t think anything could surpass the Texas Tuff Tank as a cartomizer tank. Although for the most part I have left the cartomizer tanks behind and have adopted the Clearomizer as my device of choice, the WYD made me rethink that. I love the capacity of the tank, the excellent finish (pro-cise), and the fact that it won’t leak a single drop of juice. I also noticed that if you make sure your cartomizer is properly saturated, and you let it sit a couple of hours after filling, you never get a dry hit. Never. I don’t know, I may have to buy a couple of these tanks and a bunch of pre-punched cartomizers. I have no idea what cartomizer was in the tank; there were no labels. I could guess, since I was able to push my eVic to 4.4v for maximum flavor and vapor, but I’m not going to.
Angel: Like Keira I felt the WYD was too big for me. I preferred the Lil’ Mama as well. I’ve reserve my comments for that tank.
Lil’ Mama – 3ML Anodized Aluminum – Blue tank, black end caps
The Lil’ Mama (LM) is a lightweight tank that looks great on everything. The finish on this anodized aluminum beauty is a matte finish and the color is really deep and rich looking. Lil’ Mama is made from anodized aluminum but the other specs are identical to the above ‘Who’s Yo Daddy’ tank.
Real World Impressions, one by one.
Julia: The Lil’ Mama with it’s blue tube and black end caps looks exactly like a roll of sewing thread. Look at the photo and you can see it. Perfectly sized to look great on everything I tried it with, this is truly a near perfect cartomizer based tank. I got the same great seal as I did with the WYD tank and the flavors it put out was fantastic. The inner plastic tube is what makes these tanks so worth the money. I used one of our own Boge SR Pre-Punched 3.0-ohm cartomizers so I could vape at 4.8-4.9v. I was able to keep it long enough to try two different flavors; Johnson Creek’s Vanda, and FanceeJuice Mellow Mango. Very different flavors, and I could not detect the vanilla in the mango at all.
Tom: After using the larger 5ML WYD tank the Lil’ Mama certainly felt smaller. Still, I had a great time with it. Loved the lighter feel to it, the matte finish was cool. Wasn’t crazy about the blue tube and black end caps though. If I buy one it will absolutely be the anodized black tank with black end caps, and then I’d buy a couple of different color end caps for mixing and matching. I love that idea too. Imagine popping on a set of white end caps with black, awesome! Or a black tube with red end caps. The possibilities are endless and it’s what makes something like this so much fun. Not only that, but with one tank color and different colored end caps it looks like you own a lot of tanks. And yes, I would definitely want one 5ML and one 3ML.
Keira: This one was more my style. I don’t think I would ever need 5ML of eLiquid at one time. I change my flavors too often for that. I love Tom’s idea for changing the colors of the end caps! I would do that as well. Anyway, the seal was fantastic on this tank, and using that SYM adapter makes the whole process simple. It’s strange, without the SYM getting a cartomizer through that tight squeeze is hard as hell, but with the SYM tool it slips through easy. The anodized aluminum makes the tank a light, easy to handle tank and I love the matt finish as well. I used a single coil carto, the 1.7-ohm and vaped it at 3.5v. I wish I had time to try the Boge single coil pre-punched 3.0-ohm carto with it.
Jason: I picked up a couple of molehill mountain drip tips a few weeks back and I used my wooden tip with it and together they were a match made in heaven. The seal of the end caps were identical to the WYD tank, so not a single drop of liquid was lost. While I would love to buy both of them I would probably opt for this one, if only because the price of two is something I can’t afford. Tom had a great idea about collecting different color end caps though, maybe Big Daddy Vapor could make that easy, like maybe putting together a photo library of all the color combinations. Or they could send them to Julia to do when she’s in Boston, LOL. I like the matte finish a lot, but as far as color goes, their green looks awesome in the photos so I would probably buy a green one instead. I vaped with a dual coil and single coil and I agree that the single coils are better for me as well. It feels like I have more flexibility with voltage.
Angel: This Lil’ Mama is my favorite tank, including the Vivi Nova’s I used to be so crazy about. I get the whole “carto-tanks are better” now. No more suffering through dry hits like with the Vivi’s. I did make one mistake though, which cost me 3ML of eLiquid and a cartomizer. I forgot to fill the carto with juice so as soon as I started vaping I burned the filler material and had to throw it away. Yuck! Burnt filler tastes like crap! Always saturate! LOL. Okay, honestly now, the end caps on these tanks are amazing. Would I buy one? Hell yea! Think about it; spend $45 or so on a tank, a tank that will last forever, and Tom’s idea about different colored end caps means you can customize the tanks in a million ways. Top end cap one color, the tube another, and the bottom end cap yet another color. Cartomizers are inexpensive, and they produce a lot of vapor. I’m definitely buying one, in pink of course. I might buy two, the other being Gold. Then start buying the end caps in different colors. ☺ Love it!
Bottom Line and Buying Advice
The above is the unfiltered truth from the team that brings you the Spinfuel eLiquid Reviews. I asked them to be completely honest, no holds barred and this was it.
So yes, the cartomizer is a vital piece of the tank system and it will determine most of your experience with the tank. But that is only part of the story. There is ‘proprietary technology’ and ‘know how’ from Big Daddy Vapor that makes these two tanks something quite special. We were all impressed the seal the end caps. We were all amazed at how the SYM tool makes dealing with these tanks a breeze. And we loved the steel and aluminum used as well as the colors. Being able to switch flavors simply by running the tank under the water faucet is a major selling point. The liner allows the real flavor of the juice to come out. And, if you customize the look of your tank the different color end cap idea was golden.
The only downside that was discussed for a few minutes concerned the fact that the Vivi Nova’s, something we all use quite a bit here, are easier to fill and refill. You just unscrew the top of Vivi and pour the juice in. With a cartomizer tank you need to grab the SYM too, push the carto down under the lip of the end cap and then put the juice in. It’s just a couple of steps and in the end it didn’t mean that much because of the Vivi’s being notorious with dry hits.
I’ve seen reviews on these tanks where the price causes the reviewer to back away, or otherwise balk at actually buying one. (those reviews reflect the old price of $59.99 – ed.) But when you consider that this is not a tank that will deteriorate, or break down ever, that will not leach into your eLiquid and will not absorb the meanest juice you have, then this could very well be the last time you spend money on a tank. Well, you may have to switch out the O-Rings on rare occasions but that’s nothing.
Cartomizers have a leg up on clearomizer when it comes to dry hits and cost. Atty heads for clearomizers cost about the same as 3 cartomizers. You can often catch huge sales on Boge cartomizers making the tank even more affordable. Lastly, these tanks are American made and the minute you see one in person, the minute you set one up, and all the minutes you vape with one, the high precision, incredible quality, and that “built to last a lifetime” makes itself abundantly clear.
It’s funny looking back at last week when I was thrown off balance with how to approach this review. I had to be honest, despite the fact that both Dee and John, owners of Big Daddy Vapor, are the friendliest, hardest working people around. There was no other way than to admit, up front, that a cartomizer-based tank is dependent on the quality of the cartomizer. You can spend a million dollars creating a tank to surround a cartomizer and if that cartomizer sucks you’re vaping is going to suck. But, that’s not the story here.
What Dee and John have done is to create a zero-tolerance tank that seals like nothing you’ve seen before. Using food-grade aluminum, when cheaper aluminum is plentiful, inventing a tool that solves the problem of a tight-fitting cartomizer and end cap… well, this is what hard working Americans do. They go all out and create the best quality products, using the best materials combined with their master-level skills and come up with the ultimate “whatever”. Dee and John they applied their skills and their desire and commitment to bring Vapers a tank that will last forever, a tank that can withstand any eLiquid, and they did just that.
How can you NOT want one?