Monday, April 13, 2015

Expert Vaping Guide For Beginners

Let's just say that, at the beginning of my vaping experience, this was about a quarter of the e-juice that I went through on my path to discovery:

I tried it all... Strawberry, Waffles, Honey Tobacco, Pear, Blackberry Lemonade, Cherries and Whipped Cream, Salted Caramel, UNICORN BLOOD!  And of course all of the designer flavors from the more high-end companies.  I spent hundreds of dollars on any kind of e-juice I could find.  I wanted to taste everything.  And that stuff up there, that's all the leftover shit I had and just threw away after taking the picture.

Then there's all the hardware I needlessly wasted money on.  So much crap that doesn't work properly.

It's headache, heartache, and a deeply dented pocketbook if you don't know what you're doing.

So I'm here to help.  I can't tell you which companies, flavors, equipment, etc. is going to work for you, but I can tell you what works for me, and how I save tons of money now due to knowing what I want and from not smoking for more than two years thanks to that knowledge.

First off, you need a battery and a tank (cartomizer, atomizer, etc).  Most kits are not interchangeable which can become cumbersome when needing replacement parts.  So rather than committing to a system that may not have staying power or is hard to get stuff for on the fly, simple is best.

I use a standard eGo battery, seen on the left.  These can be found at almost any vape shop, online at tons of stores, including Amazon and eBay, and even at a lot of gas stations.  They may come with or without a USB charger (on the right).  I wouldn't suggest paying any more than $19.99 for an eGo battery WITH a charger, or $12.99 for one without.  These chargers are great because you can plug them in to almost any device to charge your battery, a converter, your computer... I have mine plugged into the back of my cable box!

eGo's come in a variety of colors and designs but they all do the same thing.  If you're into that sort of thing, you can also buy wraps for the plain batteries to suit your mood, which I'll elaborate on later.  eGo's should last you a couple of months at least.  If they don't, keep your receipt because you can usually exchange them if they don't last long.

I keep three batteries at all times.  One is being used, one is being charged, and one is already charged on standby for emergencies.  I keep it in my purse at all times because as any recovering smoker can tell you, you don't want to run out of battery.  A pack of smokes is at that gas station right over there.

Often included with the battery is a disposable CE4 clearomizer tank.  I hate those things.  I usually have one (again, in case of emergencies), but I prefer to buy just the battery.  That'll often knock a few bucks off the battery price as well.  I usually will not pay more than $9.99 for a battery.  The CE4 clearomizers are awfully pricey considering they're disposable.  Half the time, the wick is too close to the coil and burns out on your first puff.  The other half of the time, it leaks.  And they rarely last longer than a week.  It is not worth taking the chance of getting a dud.

What I found I like the best is the Vivi Nova 3.5ml clearomizer tank.  It's rebuildable and comes with two extra wicks.  Rarely have I found a dud wick with a Vivi Nova.  

Just like the CE4, you unscrew the top to put in the e-juice, but unlike it, once the wick burns out, you don't just toss it.  You open the lid, pour out any leftover e-juice, unscrew the bottom, unscrew the burned-out wick, and clean the pieces, careful not to get water stuck in any of the orifices, screw in the new wick and put it all back together.  Five minute job, tops. 

You can also buy more wicks, but again, you chance getting duds.  I pay $12.99 for the set, and usually just buy a new set every six weeks or so, since each wick lasts about two weeks.  I've tried other tanks, including other versions of the Vivi Nova, but the 3.5ml never lets me down.  It doesn't leak and the heat is easy to adjust by loosening it from the battery or holding it properly.  I tend to buy a new tank when I have one wick left from Johnson Vapes, usually through eBay just because I already have an account.

Now that you've got your battery and tank, it's time to pick an e-juice.  Go ahead, try some flavors, a few different companies.  Just don't go crazy like I did.  Because once you've put a flavor into a tank, it's not easy to switch to another flavor.  If you're going to do that, get a few CE4 clearomizers.  But if you're trying to quit smoking, you're going to want something that reminds you as much as what you smoke as possible, and THAT is what's going to keep you from smoking.

I started off smoking Camel non-filters, like my grandpa...  Then Marlboro Reds, then Marlboro Lights, then Marlboro Ultra-Lights, then Camel Lights, then honey or grape flavored cigarillos, and finally Camel Menthol Silvers.  Quite the journey.  20 years.  The point being, I smoked menthols regularly at the end.  So I needed something menthol to quench my cravings after all of the experimentation with crazy-flavored e-juices.  And high quality is high quality for a reason.

I found Halo Purity when visiting a smoke shop close to where I worked.  Halo really has some of the best quality e-juices I've found.  Mystic is a really flavorful menthol, but it lacked in intensity.  Where it lacked, SubZero made up.  SubZero is not so flavorful but gives an amazing, deep vape.  Which to pick, which to pick...?  How about both?  That's what I decided to do.  I use equal parts Mystic 24mg/ml and SubZero 24mg/ml, and get the most wonderful, perfect menthol vape.  Halo e-juices come in several sizes, the largest being 30ml.  Each bottle costs $19.99.  You earn points for money spent on purchases on their website, and get free shipping on orders over $75.  They almost always have some special going on so you can usually get a 15ml or 30ml of their featured flavor for free.

I got lucky on my most recent purchase.  15% off rather than a free flavor, which I more than likely wouldn't even like.  I got two 30ml bottles of Mystic, two 30ml bottles of SubZero, a 7ml bottle of Kringle's Curse, and a 7ml bottle of Shamrock for $78.15.

To my surprise, they also sent a 15ml of Tiki Juice, which I've never tried, but am intrigued.

I like Halo e-juices because they taste amazing, and are just the right thickness.  Too thick overwhelms the wick and makes it harder to get a deep vape, but thin burns the wick quickly.  Halo is just about perfect.  Here's a little info on my favorite Halo e-juices and the Tiki Juice they kindly sent me:

Mystic E-liquid offers a refreshing menthol e-liquid blend with a delightfully light sweetness and mixed mint undertones. With no underlying tobacco taste and a robust menthol effect, Mystic Menthol E-liquid is a great choice for those seeking a crisp-clean menthol flavor from their e-liquid.

SubZero E-liquid offers an intensely fresh experience, packed with triple the menthol effect of our standard menthol e-liquid flavors. Designed for those seeking a more concentrated menthol effect, this premium e-liquid blend offers a subtly sweet mixed mint aftertaste.

Kringle's Curse E-liquid offers a delightful Peppermint e-liquid flavor with immense vapor production and solid throat hit. The refreshing taste of this exquisite e-liquid blend has no underlying tobacco taste, and will leave your mouth tingling for more. Kringle's Curse E-liquid is a great choice for those seeking a more intense flavor e-liquid than our traditional menthol blends or for those with a sweet tooth as well.

Shamrock E-liquid offers a delicious blend of rich dark chocolate, delicately layered with the enchanting taste of Corsican Mint. Offering deep chocolaty top notes in perfect harmony with Minty undertones, Shamrock E-liquid has a flavor similar to many popular Mint Chocolate ice creams and cookies. This unique e-liquid blend is perfect for those seeking a premium dessert flavor with great vaping performance.

Voodoo E-liquid offers a mild tobacco base gently layered with a complex assortment of flavors including black currant, grape, plum, and a touch of cinnamon. This unique e-liquid flavor is then rounded out with subtle notes of smooth vanilla, offering a delicate balance of tobacco with gourmet flavors. The unique structure of this e-liquid flavor will vary in profile while vaping, hence the voodoo effect.

Based on a Tahitian Tobacco profile, Tiki Juice E-liquid is a hybrid tobacco e-liquid blend that offers excellent vapor and throat hit. Built on a spiced tobacco base with sweet tropical top notes, this unique flavor e-liquid also has a hint of our proprietary menthol base. Tiki Juice E-liquid offers a unique tropical flavor that splits the difference between 'tobacco' and 'dessert' flavors.

I've already described my go-to e-juices, Mystic and SubZero.  Kringle's Curse is the most wonderful pure candy cane flavor, especially around Christmas.  Shamrock tastes, as my husband describes it, like an Andes mint.  Voodoo is a sweet treat with a rich caramel-like flavor, and, well, I haven't tried Tiki Juice yet, but its description notes that it "has a hint of (their) proprietary menthol base".  I'm hoping it tastes like a menthol pina colada.

Once you've found what works for you, you're going to be saving a lot of money.  I figure I was smoking a pack a day, conservatively $4 per pack.  In a week that's $28.  In a year that's $1,456.  Now I spend about $40 per month on juice, $15 per month on hardware.  That's $660 in a year's time.  Well over half of what I used to spend.

Now, if you're like me and like pretty things, you can buy wraps for practically nothing on Amazon and eBay and they're super easy to use.  Not only that, but they protect your battery from scratches, so that's nice.

It doesn't matter what size battery you use.  Just trim to size for a smaller battery, get it on there even, and wrap it around.  The brand I use is The Edge Wraps and I just get them through eBay.

Feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions.  Until then, happy vaping!


  1. You got to watch those Vivi Novas, especially the clones like the one in that picture. You can get a genuine Vision Vivi Nova for $9.99 any color you could want here: I bought one for more and it was a clone of the original and leaked bad and the coils were always burnt. I'm afraid to even get coils for it because there are so many different ones I have no idea what fits and what doesn't.

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