Edited – 25/2/2012
I would love to be able to answer this question with a simple choice of electronic cigarette model or kit, but unfortunately there is no simple answer. Although electronic cigarettes have only been around for a couple of years there are today, many many different types of ecigs available, with even more opinion as to what is the best.
What you need to do is to prioritise what is important to you, and to then select model on that basis, and in doing so you will find the best electronic cigarette for YOU. Thus the four questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Is appearance important? Would you feel comfortable holding a “cigar” sized e-cigarette or would you prefer a standard size?
- Where do you normally vape / smoke? At home, work, in the car, socially, on-the-go etc? Are you normally near to a charging point, computer, electrical socket or 12 volt socket in car etc?
- How important is taste / flavour?
- Do you like to “fiddle about with things?
The four questions above are not exhaustive, but by giving these questions some thought, this will help you choose the best electronic cigarette for you.
1. Appearance / Aesthetics / Feel
To many this might seem like a minor matter. But consider this – if you have been smoking for 5, 10, 20 or 40 years or more, you have become so comfortable with the type of cigarette that you smoke, that at first, when you try an electronic cigarette, it will feel very alien to you. It will be hard, cold and comparitively heavy. This is why I recommend that if people make the decision to try vaping that they should go with a standard sized e-cigarette to start. These can be the rechargeable type or disposable. The 510 Electronic Cigarette is a very popular model as is the Jasper & Jasper range of Electronic Cigarettes.
There are larger model electronic cigarettes, but for many who are new to vaping, standard cigarette size models make the transition from smoking to vaping much easier. Additionally, for those who are maybe self conscious, and don’t want to “stand out from the crowd”, if you are out and about, most people will not even notice that you are using an electronic cigarette.
These cigarette sized electronic cigarettes can perform very well, but for those who are not concerned about using a larger device, then upgrading to larger and longer performing model makes sense. In fact most users who start with the smaller models end up buying a larger device. Once you get comfortable with vaping and all the advantages it brings over smoking, you will be happy to try other alternative and bigger models. The bigger models at their most basic, simply have bigger rechargable batteries, although there are also many other possible setups.
2. Where Do You Normally Vape / Smoke?
Again, this might seem like a silly question, but the answer you give can have a big implication on the type of personal vaporiser (PV) that is best suited to you. Do you vape at home, socially, at work etc. If you choose disposable type electronic cigarettes, then this is not an issue, but given that most vapers use rechargebale batteries then where and when you vape is important. Rechargable electronic cigarettes need to have their batteries recharged, and so the user will either need to be close to a power point (house 220 volt or car 12 volt supply). I work from a home office so therefore charging batteries is not a problem. Your standard 510 type battery last for approximately 2-3 hours (or longer depending on how heavy you vape) with the larger Ego type batteries lasting up to a day or more. Charging times vary between 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on model.
If you are not in a position to charge your e-cig at your place of work, or for example you are heading out for the night, you probably do not want to head out with a pocket or handbag full of batteries. In this scenario, choose a larger batter such as the Ego LCD 900mah Battery which will last the average user a full day before it requires recharging. You will obviously need more than one battery while the other is recharging.
There also available pass through chargers / batteries which connect directly between your computer or cigarette car charger thus ensuring that your battery is always full. Personally, I do not really see the advantage of these, given the advent of new high capacity batteries.
The other aspect of vaping and choice of electronic cigarette that is best suited to you is how often you need to top up with eliquid and / or change cartridge / cartomizer etc. This whole separate area will have its own dedicated post in the blog. But in short, if you are in a position to regularly top up your cartridge / cartomizer that is fine, but many users prefer to have a cartridge / cartomizer /tank system that does not require regular topping up, such as the Smokeymizer which once filled will last the user for hours. There are many new large tank type systems coming on stream which claim to be low hassle and great tasting, but many people find that the tank systems are lacking in flavour. Personally, if I’m “going out” I will use the Smokeymizer or Dual Coil Cartomizers both of which are low maintenance.
3. How Important is Taste / Flavour to You?
Whether you are an ex-smoker who has converted to vaping or still smoking, in all likelihood you have “your brand” and have smoked that brand for many years. This is one area where vaping is completely different to smoking. There are literally thousands of variations available, and most vapers vape a number of different flavours and are always looking for new ones. Exotic flavours like Raspberry, Ruyan 4, Coffee along with flavours trying to immitate existing cigarette and roll your own brands are all available in different nicotine strengths. But here’s the BUT! All these flavours taste differently depending on what device they are being vaped on.
Most veteran vapers will say that the best flavour is achieved by dripping your eLiquid directly onto a 510 Atomiser using a Drip Tip or by using a Blank Cartridge. I would concur with this. The downside to vaping this way, is that it requires regular topping off with eLiquid.
I must also state that the whole area of taste / flavour is highly subjective, and opinions differ widely. I have found that the Tank Systems such as the Ego Tank give very poor flavour. I have not given up on the tank systems yet and will try more, but as of now, there are none that I can personally recommend.The Smokeymizers and Dual Coil Cartomizers mentioned above do mute the eLiquid flavour a little, but given their other advantages, they are a very good compromise between flavour and handiness.
4. Do you like to “Fiddle About with Things?
This might seem like a very strange question, but quite possibly should have been No. 1. Although the electronic cigarette industry is quite new, there are today lots of different choices available to the e-smoker. One train of thought is that the manufacturers have not yet come up with the perfect electronic cigarette, but when they do that’s what we will all use. I am of a different mind, and I predict that there will be more and more choices in the future, thus the question of finding the best electronic cigarette will become even more confusing!
With all this new technology and equipment, much of it in its infancy there are bound to be some issues. For example, your standard 510 atomizer needs to be cleaned regularly, the dual coil cartomizers require perform best when kept wet, the Smokeymizers are tricky to fill, different chargers for 510 & Ego batteries, burnt taste from tank systems are all examples. None of this is insurmountable, but it does mean that the average smoker considering switching to vaping may well have to fiddle about with their equipment in order to achieve optimal performance. Some people enjoy this messing / fiddling about whereas other would run a mile. This is one reason why many who are new to vaping will go for disposable / low hassle ecigs and possibly compromise on flavour and probably pay more for the privilege whilst at the other extreme others will go for a highly technical and modified systems. Each to their own is what I say.
So to conclude – what is the best electronic cigarette? You choose………………….