As a passionate vaping blogger and someone who’s been using electronic cigarettes for several years now, I’m constantly being asked, “how do I get started with vaping” and “what’s the best device to help me quit smoking?” Even though I have a wealth of knowledge and years of experience on this subject, it’s never easy for me to answer these questions.
There are literally thousands of different vaping products to choose from, and new products seem to be released every day. Plus, there are so many different methods of vaping, each with their own unique qualities and nuances, that recommending an individual vaping product is no easy task. Where do I start?!?
If you’re new to the world vaping, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the huge selection of products offered online or at your local vape shop. And don’t forget about the confusing terminology and lingo. It may seem impossible to make a choice on your own, but getting started with vaping is relatively easy:
1.) Select a Complete Starter Kit
The first thing you should do if you’re new to vaping, is choose a complete starter kit. Rather than sorting through hundreds of different products and trying to choose the individual components yourself, start with a complete kit to eliminate the confusion. As you become more versed with vaping technology you’ll eventually be able to build the perfect setup to suit your needs; but for now just stick with the basics until you have a good grasp of using an e-cig.
Most e-cigarette manufacturers offer complete starter kits. They’ll include most of the components you need to start vaping:
- Mod – The primary component, referred to as an “e-cig” or “vape mod.” This is the brains of the unit that holds the battery and circuitry.
- Tank – Connecting directly to the mod, the tank holds e-liquid (AKA: nicotine, vape or e-juice) which is vaporized and inhaled.
- Coil – The heating element inside the tank that creates the vapor. Coils must be changed regularly and come in various configurations.
- Charger – Required to recharge the batteries. Most starter kits include a basic micro-USB charger, but alternatives are available.
MY ADVICE: Even if you choose a complete kit to start vaping, you’ll have to sort through dozens of different options. For beginners I would suggest a device under 50W (more than enough power when you first start vaping); and to keep things simple avoid anything with a OLED screen so you won’t have to make complicated adjustments. Here are a few simple starter kits for beginners:
- Apollo Endeavor or Ohm Go Kit (15% OFF: CIGBUYER15)
- Eleaf iJust 2 Starter Kit
- Eleaf iStick Basic Starter Kit
- Joyetech eGo AOI Kit
- Halo Triton 2 or Tracer Starter Kit (5% OFF: CIGBUYER)
- Innokin Endura T18 Starter Kit
- Innokin iTaste SmartBox Starter Kit
- Kanger Subvod Starter Kit
Of course, if you want something a little more complex there are plenty of options to consider. I would recommend the following vape suppliers for a full selection of e-cig starter kits: Direct Vapor, Huff & Puffers or Vapor DNA
2.) Purchase Batteries, If Necessary
Some retailers provide batteries when you purchase a kit, but MOST DO NOT. Likewise, some e-cigs have permanent, built-in batteries, but others use replaceable cells that are sold separately. It’s important to know if you need a battery or not, so check the device’s spec sheet to determine if one (or two) is necessary.
If a battery is required, most of today’s e-cig mods use standard-sized 18650 cells. Every vaping retailer will sell 18650 batteries that are compatible with your device, so when you purchase a starter kit, buy the batteries at the same time.
It’s important to note that not all 18650 batteries are created equal. Not only are there quality and safety concerns with cheap Chinese knockoffs, but you need to consider two major factors when choosing an e-cig battery: the mAh (milli-amp hours) and the maximum discharge rate (measured in Amps).
mAh (milli-amp hours)
Don’t worry, you can’t screw anything up by choosing the wrong mAh rating for your device. For the most part, a 1200mAh battery will work exactly the same as a 2600mAh battery. The mAh rating is simply the size (or capacity) of the fuel tank, so the higher the rating, the more battery life you’ll receive with each charge.
Max Discharge Rate
As a beginner, you probably don’t need to worry about the continuous or max discharge rate. A standard 20A rating should more than suffice if you’re sticking to a lower-powered device of 50W or less. The max discharge rate becomes more of an issue when you start using high-powered mods with sub-ohm coils. Without getting into the technicals of Ohm’s Law, if your battery’s discharge rate is too low, it could overheat, catch fire, or in the worst case scenario – EXPLODE.
MY ADVICE: Shop at a reputable vape supplier and look for the highest mAh rating at a reasonable price. A 20A max discharge rate will be plenty for most beginners. Some experts suggest buying only LG, Panasonic or Sony cells, but I’ve had zero issues with Efest, Samsung and others. I’ve even purchased cheap Chinese knock-offs, but that’s not something I would recommend to others.
And if your starter kit doesn’t include a micro-USB charger to recharge the cell inside your device, you’ll need to purchase a separate unit to keep your 18650 battery(s) topped-off. Chargers are also available at most vaping retailers.
3.) Pick Your E-Liquid
The e-liquid, also referred to as the e-juice or vape juice, is the final piece of the puzzle before can start vaping. It delivers the nicotine and creates the delicious vapor that will (hopefully) help you quit smoking traditional cigarettes. I wrote an in-depth article on this subject a few years ago, but without getting overly technical, you’ll have to choose the appropriate nicotine level and find a few flavors that you like to have any success with vaping.
There literally hundreds of different e-juice companies to choose from, so expect to do a lot of experimentation in the beginning. More than likely, you’ll transition from one flavor to another until you find a handful of flavors that you absolutely love. Start out with a few flavors that sound appealing and then fine tune moving forward. The options are endless, but e-liquid generally falls into 6 flavor categories: tobacco, menthol, beverage, candy, dessert and fruit.
After you’ve chosen your flavor(s), you’ll need to select the appropriate nicotine level. They generally range from zero to 24mg, with 24mg being the highest and only appropriate for the heaviest smokers. Considering the improved performance of today’s devices, we often recommend 6 or 12mg to start out since too much can cause you to feel sick and nauseated, while too little will leave you feeling unsatisfied. Typically, if you’re a heavy smoker of full-flavored cigarettes, you should lean towards the higher side, while lighter smokers may be OK with 6mg.
MY ADVICE: Finding the perfect e-liquid will require patience and experimentation. Most e-juice companies offer “sampler packs” that include a variety of different flavors, so take advantage to help fine-tune your preferences. You can typically buy e-liquid anywhere vaping products are sold, but if you’re looking for e-juice at an affordable price, these companies have tons of quality options:
Getting started with vaping doesn’t have to be difficult. There are only a few major components that you need – a kit, battery and e-liquid. Although vaping can certainly be complicated if you choose, just a few basic items will have you on your way to a flavorful, vape-filled life – free from tobacco.