Ecigs: What’s The Difference?
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Modern electronic cigarette vaporizer on wooden tableThe first vapes were called e-cigs. The vape pen and the mod came later. E-cigs are the most recognizable because they look like real tobacco cigarettes. The original e-cigs consist of a battery and a cartomizer (or a cartridge and an atomizer all in one). Cartridges hold the flavor and nicotine. The atomizer vaporizes the ejuice. Cartridges need replacing but the battery can be recharged. Some brands offer this in a one-piece disposable unit.


A cartomizer holds the nicotine and eliquid, and the atomizer vaporizes the liquid. The vapor resembles “smoke”. There are cartomizers, atomizers, eGo ecigs (vape pens), mechanical mods (RBA), e-juices/e-liquids, and varying nicotine strengths.


The vape pens, or eGo style ecigs, have a battery and clearomizer. The clearomizer is an e-juice tank that is clear and it has an atomizer. E-juice or e-liquid is a flavored liquid with or without nicotine.


Mods are often used by hobbyists, but anyone can enjoy a mod. There are variable voltage and mechanical mods. The battery case is the ‘mod’ and the e-juice tank is the rebuildable atomizer. Mods have atomizers that are manually assembled.


Most tobacco cigarettes produce about 10 drags or puffs. A cartomizer will last up to 300 puffs or the equivalent of 36 cigarettes. Battery life is about as long as smoking 10 cigarettes. They are sold in convenience stores but with limited flavor choices and are much cheaper.


Vape pens are the most popular type of e-cigs. They have a battery, an atomizer and a tank that holds the ejuice. Vape pens use a standard fitting called eGo making the battery and tanks interchangeable. Atomizers for these models consist of a wick to absorb the liquid and a core.


Nicotine strengths are in multiples of 6 mg per mL of liquid. Atomizers need to be replaced every 2 or 3 weeks. Vape pens hold 1-2 mL of ejuice producing 50 drags per mL of ejuice. Another advantage of the vape pen is that it uses most brands and flavors of ejuice.


As mentioned earlier, mods are a favorite among vape hobbyists. They can produce a large amount of vapor with enhanced flavorings. They are like a vape pen. The batteries are a separate component and can be shared between other mods. Atomizer surfaces are rebuildable because the wick and coil are assembled manually. To produce more vapor, atomizer resistances are set lower. This burns more ejuice. Batteries drain faster but tanks are somewhat larger. Airflow is also important in vapor volume.


Atomizers can last 2 weeks but it is difficult swapping them out. Tanks can use pretty much any brand of ejuice. Battery life is difficult to estimate. It all depends on the mod’s build.