Vape Pen Buying Guide (2016)
Vape pens--also called vaporizor pens, vapor pens, ego devices, EVODs--consist of two parts, the battery which powers the device and the clearomizer which holds the eliquid and contains the atomizer (clearomizers are also sometimes called "ego tanks" or cartomizers).
The battery and clearomizer attach via an ego connection and the combined device is 5" to 7" long and 14mm to 16mm (1/2" to 5/8") in diameter.
Note: cigar-shaped cylindrical mods--usually at least 20mm (3/4") thick and utilizing a 510 connection--are sometimes called vape pens but they will not be discussed in this guide (see our vape mod buying guide).
Vape Pen Kits
Vape pens are often sold in starter kits with a matching battery and clearomizer. Kits are fairly inexpensive ($30-80) and almost always include a USB charger. They may include other accessories as well. Most vapers are better off buying a kit.
Reasons to buy a kit:
- It'll save you money! Kits are almost always cheaper than the the cost of buying each piece of gear separately
- Matching colors. This matters at least a little for most people. (Note: all of altavape's vape pen batteries and clearomizers will match color-wise but that is not true for all brands and usually not true between brands)
Reasons to buy vape pen gear separately:
- Specific gear requirements. Most "aftermarket" clearomizers (ones that are only sold separately) have superior performance and enjoyment compared to the clearomizers included in standard kits. (The Aerotank mini, for example, is our favorite clearomizer and almost never included in kits.) ... Of course, you can always buy a kit AND an aftermarket tank.
- Color combinations. Some vapers want to vape using their school's or favorite team's colors--or just like contrasting colors. In this case, consider buying 2 kits and swapping clearomizers.
Buy Two? Or Three?
If you've decided that a vape pen setup is for you, you'll eventually want to have multiple pens if it's within your budget. In addition to the ability to mix colors mentioned earlier, here are the reasons to own multiple vape pens:
- Always available/no battery anxiety: If you only have one battery and it loses charge, you'll have to wait until it recharges to continue vaping. If you have multiple pens, you'll always be able to vape (assuming you remember to recharge the one you're not using of course).
- Swapping flavors: There are many wonderful flavors of eliquid out there and many vapers have multiple favorite flavors. Having extra clearomizers allows you to easily switch flavors anytime.
- Multiple locations: The convenience of always having a vape pen at work, school, or in your car (in addition to at home of course) is not to be underestimated.
- Variety: It's the spice of life, right?
Tip: Some kits include extra batteries and/or clearomizers and only cost a bit more than kits without the extra gear.
Vape Pen Batteries: Don't Overpay
There are many brands of vape pens on the market and prices vary quite a bit. More often than not, the expensive options are simply overpriced.
Most of the cost of a vape pen is the battery and the technology of vape pen batteries is well-established with almost no performance differences between various models with similar specs.
When comparing vape pens with similar specs, you can confidently buy the less expensive choice (so long as the vendor is reputable and can be counted on to deliver the device they are advertising) and save that money for yourself.
There are a few standard capacities of vape pen batteries. Unless size is your primary concern there's no reason to consider a sub-1100mAh battery (which is 3.7 inches long ... no jokes please).
All vape pen batteries with capacities 1100mAh and below are 14mm--0.55 inches--in diameter, which is the same diameter as virtually all clearomizers resulting in a combined device that is "flush".
Capacities greater than 1100mAh are available, but those batteries are thicker (usually 16mm/0.63 inches) and heftier. An 1100mAh battery will provide enough power to puff all day long and is the best choice for most users.
For vape pen users who want a little more control over the "temperature" of their vape, variable voltage is a good option.
Adjusting the voltage is accomplished by rotating a small dial at the bottom of the battery which is why variable voltage batteries often have "twist" in their names.
Clearomizers: Check The Coil
Unlike batteries, the "technology" of clearomizers (the atomizer coil) is not standardized. Coils impact the vaping experience more than anything else.
For the best vape, seek out clearomizers utilizing coils with AT MOST 2.0ohms of resistance.
We specifically recommend clearomizers that use Kanger dual coils because these coils are readily available, compatible with the most clearomizer models, and allow easy refilling.
Clearomizers: Other Differences
Clearomizers also differ in terms of their construction materials. They are made of plastic, glass and metal (usually stainless steel).
High end clearomizers contain little or no plastic and often have replaceable drip tips/mouthpieces.
Most vapers find that metal feels better in the hand (and mouth) than plastic, but the impact on vape quality is minimal.
Vape Pen Buying Advice: Summary
- Buy a kit (or two)
- Inexpensive kits/batteries are often nearly identical to expensive ones with the same specs so don't waste your money
- Avoid batteries under 1100mAh unless (compact) size is your top priority
- Be sure the clearomizer is compatible with 2.0ohm or lower resistance coils (preferably Kanger dual coils)
This guide was updated on May 1, 2016
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