Big vs. Small Electronic Cigarettes: Does Size Matter?
You've heard the old adage, “bigger is better,” and it often holds true.
Most people would prefer a bigger house vs. a smaller one, a 50″ TV over a 36″, and who wouldn't love a higher salary or bigger bank account?
In some cases, the choice between big vs. small is unique to the sexes. For example, men are more likely to say that bigger muscles, or a bigger car is better, while most women would prefer a bigger closet!
There are also situations where bigger is actually a disadvantage, think about computers or almost any form of technology. In the case of electronic cigarettes, there are certainly advantages to choosing larger devices, but bigger doesn't always mean better.
The choice between large vs. a small is unique to the individual, and unfortunately there's no “one-size-fits-all” option when it comes to vaping.
If you're new to the world of e-cigs, there are three general categories to consider:
- mini (cigalike),
- mid-size (ego) or
- “mods” and then the higher powered 200w mods / advanced personal vaporizers (APVs).
Each type gets progressively larger as you move up the scale, with minis being the smallest – and mods / APVs being the largest.
Bigger Batteries = Improved Performance
The main reason you would consider a bigger device is the longer, more consistent battery life. Rather than carrying multiple batteries or recharging every few hours, one large battery can easily do the job of several smaller ones.
Measured in milliamp hours (mAh), battery capacity will increase with size, and so will the number of puffs per charge. Small, mini e-cigs (shaped like traditional cigarettes) have the least battery capacity, anywhere from 150mAh to 350mAh, providing about 100 to 300 puffs per cycle. Depending on how much you vape, a mini e-cigarette may last a day, or just a few hours before it needs to be recharged.
As you move up the scale, mid-size “ego-class” products range from 600mAh to 1100mAh and can last for 1000 puffs or longer. These products are a bit larger than minis, about the size of a cigar, and should easily last an entire day, even for the heaviest and most dedicated users. Personally, I consider myself a “mild” to “moderate” vaper and a 900mAh Ego lasts me almost two days before it dies.
Finally, mods and AVPs are the most advanced products and typically have the largest, longest-lasting batteries. Shaped like a flashlight (tube mod) or a pack of cigarettes (box mod), they often include removable cells and are designed for experienced users who want full control over the performance of their device.
Many include advanced features such as variable voltage (VV) and / or variable wattage (VW), while some “mechanical” versions are completely rebuildable – only for true experts! Mods provide the absolute best in performance, but they're also the most complex.
Advantages of choosing larger e-cigarettes include:
- Longer battery life
- Improved performance and vapor production
- More upgrade and accessory options
Bigger Often Means More Complicated
Mini e-cigs, are by far, the simplest type of vaping device – you just plug in a cartridge and take a puff, just like a regular cigarette. Although manual versions are available, most mini e-cigs are automatic, meaning there's no button to press when you take a drag. Most of these products use prefilled cartridges that you just attach to the battery and throw away when you're done.
Beyond mini “cigalike” products, virtually every other type of electronic cigarette will be manually operated with a button, which provides more versatility and control.
And while prefilled cartridges can be used on some setups, refillable cartomizers or clearomizer tanks are included with almost every type of EGO, MOD or AVP, which must be filled with e-liquid, cleaned and maintained. In addition, some of the most advanced e-cig models will allow you to customize voltage and wattage settings, and you can choose from various upgrade and accessory options.
THE CHOICE: Performance Vs. Simplicity
Although bigger e-cigarettes may be slightly (or extremely) complicated, depending on how large and advanced you go, they'll always outperform mini e-cigs in the vapor and battery-life departments. If you're thinking about switching to e-cigs and you're a heavy smoker, more than likely a mini, cigalike product will leave you craving more power, and recharging every few hours won't exactly make the transition easy.
For e-cigarettes to be truly effective, strong vapor production and a decent battery life will be necessary, and those qualities are only achievable with mid to large-size devices.
In addition, larger e-cigarettes provide much more flexibility when it comes to modifying and upgrading as you move forward. Depending on what type of battery you choose, you can test out various types of tank setups, alter the resistance, voltage or wattage, and experiment with hundreds of different e-liquid options to keep things interesting.
Mini e-cigs often leave you with just 10-20 prefilled flavor choices, and the cartridges are much smaller, holding just 1-1.5ml of e-juice. Tank systems can hold 3ml or more, meaning you can vape for days without needing a refill.
BIG e-cigarettes aren't for everyone.
If you're an occasional or light smoker, then strong performance and extended battery life may not be important. The toned down vapor produced by a mini may be perfect if you smoke light cigarettes; and since you're likely to use the device less often, a souped-up, high-capacity battery may be overkill.
Likewise, if it's important to start off with something small, like a regular cigarette, then a mini will provide a good starting point. Minis are also great as backup devices, perfect in an emergency or when discretion is important.
Finding a Happy Vaping Medium
If you're looking for the best combination of convenience, performance and longevity, why not start somewhere in the middle?
Many companies, including Apollo, Halo, Henley and others, offer mid-size, ego-style products that provide plenty of power, without being overly large or complicated. No need to worry about ohms or adjusting voltage / wattage, just fill up a tank with your favorite e-liquid, press a button and puff away.
Operation is simple, and although there's a small learning curve when it comes to cleaning and maintaining, if you want something simple that will keep you satisfied, a mid-size e-cigarette is a great place to start.
* See our list of the best beginner vape mods →