Electronic cigarettes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are designed for every type of user. If you’re new to the world of e-cigs, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to choose the right setup. Although there a hundreds of different suppliers to choose from, e-cigarettes typically fall into one of three main categories: mini, mid-size and mod. Let’s discuss each type of e-cigarette so you can make an informed decision:
Mini (AKA: “cig-a-like”)
For first-time users transitioning from tobacco cigarettes, minis provide the most natural and easy transition from smoking because they look and feel like traditional cigarettes. A mini (often referred to as a “cig-a-like”) is a small, lightweight option, providing users with a comfortable and discreet way to get their nicotine fix. Widely available almost everywhere, minis are produced in both disposable and rechargeable formats.
Many of the companies featured on our website sell minis, and virtually every vaper will use a cig-a-like product at some point. Although there are dozens of brands to choose from, they’re all composed of standard model numbers that distinguish their size and thread type. If you know the series, you can mix and match parts from vendors since they will certainly fit. Despite what they may claim, there are no proprietary models; they all include series numbers. Of course, manufacturers will try to improve the performance of their products over others, and there are a multitude of ways to do so. And there’s certainly a difference between a quality setup – and a cheap one.
The most popular models are KR808 and 501 series, although there are a few others. The KR808 (2-piece) is generally considered to be the best low-hassle setup and is used by many of the most popular brands such Halo and V2 Cigs. To slightly complicate things, the KR808 comes in two different thread patterns, D-1 and D-2, and they’re not interchangeable. The 501 (3-piece) is considered a more flexible option since larger models also use this design, but it may require a bit more tinkering. For most users, sticking with one company will simplify the process, but knowing the series number can expand your options.
Pros of Minis:
- Most natural transition for smokers
- Small and lightweight – like a real cigarette
- Low-key and discreet
- Cheapest way to get started
- Ideal for light to moderate smokers
Cons of Minis:
- Short battery life – regular charging necessary
- May not fully satisfy heavy or full-flavor smokers
- Limited upgrade options
Mid-Size E-Cigs & Vape Pens
For intermediate users, mid-size models are the most popular choice since they’re still small (about the size of a cigar) and provide extended life and stronger vapor production over a cig-a-like. For the heaviest smokers, we often recommend a mid-size model right from the start since they perform better and offer a much more satisfying experience than a mini. Popular models include eGo, EVOD, kGo and others. Most of these models are based on the 510 (3-piece) design, although some use the 2-piece KR808. Unlike minis which are available in automatic or manual formats, most mid-size models are manually operated by pressing a button. Although this may take away from the traditional smoking experience, it does provide the user with more control and better performance.
Pros of Mid-Size:
- Not too big – about the size of a cigar
- Double the performance of a mini (more vapor and battery life)
- 510 threading has a huge range of options
- Should satisfy most smokers
Cons of Mid-Size:
- Slightly larger than a traditional cigarette
- Must be manually operated with a button (in most cases)
- Performance is not fully customizable
Vape Pod Systems NEW
The newest type of e-cigarette on the market, the top-selling Juul e-cigarette by Pax Labs was the device responsible for starting the rapidly expanding vape pod trend. They come in various shapes and sizes, but for the most part vape pod systems are lightweight, compact and affordable just like cig-a-likes and vape pens. Rather than using a cartomizer or tank, pod systems incorporate removable (and often refillable) plastic pods that can be easily replaced.
They operate almost exactly the same as the other types of e-cigs we’ve discussed so far, the big difference is that e-cig pod systems are designed to use a different type of nicotine. When vaped in salt form, nicotine can be more efficiently delivered in higher concentrations. Pod systems are perfect to use with nicotine salt e-liquid, which is smoother and less irritating than traditional, high nicotine e-liquid.
This is especially beneficial for smokers who are trying to quit because they can get the higher dose of nicotine that they need, without the throat irritation or harshness that’s often associated with traditional (high nicotine) e-juice. And because they deliver nicotine so efficiently, less e-liquid will be required to achieve the same satisfaction – helping you to save money.
Pros of Vape Pods:
- Excellent transition product for smokers
- Small and lightweight – available in various shapes and sizes
- Higher doses of nicotine with less throat irritation and harshness
- Super affordable
- Ideal for any type of smoker or vapor user
Cons of Vape Pods:
- Short battery life (depends on model)
- Will not provide the huge vapor output of APVs or mods (see below)
- Limited customization and upgrade options
APVs or Mods
Advanced personal vaporizers, or mods, provide users with the ultimate vaping experience. An APV will normally look like a fat tube reminiscent of a flashlight (a tube mod) or a box the size of a pack of cigarettes (a box mod). Unlike minis or mid-size designs that use a cylindrical, prepackaged battery pack, mods typically use replaceable 3.7 volt lithium ion cells and incorporate functions you won’t find on other devices, i.e., variable voltage and / or wattage settings, full temperature control, digital readouts, larger tanks and so on.
The big advantage to APVs is the performance delivered by the larger batteries and the advanced functions that allow users to fully control all aspects of the device.
Because it takes a certain level of experience to appreciate an APV, beginners should start with a mini or mid-size unit to to gain familiarity with vaping first. Luckily, newcomers tend to stay away from mods because they’re seen as too large or complex. Not only are they manually controlled, but an inexperienced user may not grasp the complexities of all the various settings. They do perform extremely well though, and this is the main attraction for advanced users.
Pros of Mods:
- Extreme performance! Triple the vapor of a mini!
- Extended battery life
- Long-lasting, solid construction
- Advanced functions allow for full customization
- Sufficient performance for any smoker
Cons of Mods:
- Can be very expensive
- Battery care more complex due to individual Li-Ion cells
- Must be manually operated