Electronic Cigarette Kits
On my ecig basics page were a couple of
images of standard e-cigarette models:
The top device is a basic "510" type model. The bottom one is
often referred to as a
"eGo". The 510 refers to a what
has become a standard size specification and 510 cartomizers (explained in more detail below) can also be used on
some versions of the larger device above.
When starting out with ecigarettes, you'll most likely buy a kit that
will contain the following items:
Electronic cigarette kit example 1
This is a kit recommended for heavy smokers. It has a large
battery (900 milliamp hours) and a large-capacity clearomizer (where the
liquid/juice is stored - around 1.8 mls).
ecig is approximately 14cm or 5.5 inches.
Most kits will include an extra battery.
A USB cable is included for recharging your battery via a USB port.
The USB cable can also be inserted into the wall plug unit for
recharging via mains power.
To activate the ecig, the small button is pressed. The button is held down for the duration of the
draw. The battery delivers power to a small coil in the clearomizer, which
heats the e-liquid to around 90 degrees Celsius; turning it into vapor. The vapor looks very similar
to smoke, but as mentioned elsewhere on this web site, nothing is burned -
the vapor is more akin to a
Ecig starter kit example 2
The second example kit features an e-cigarette around 10cm or just under 4 inches when assembled
Some models are coloured the same as a "analog" - i.e. white
battery and brownish cartomizer to mimic the colour of a
cigarette filter. The cartomizer contains the heating element and
filler material that soaks up the eliquid.
These e-cigarettes operate in the same way as the top example, but some batteries have a
special feature where there is no button for activation - when you start
drawing on the ecig, it automatically switches on, then switches itself
off once you stop drawing.
When the e-cigarette is active, an LED lights up at the end, emulating
the "burn" of a tobacco cigarette; although in some models,
this LED may be blue instead of red.
The second model may also come with a special charger pack (not all kits
will have this) also known as a PCC - you can recharge
your ecig battery multiple times using the pack before needing to
recharge the pack itself. The pack also features storage for your
cartomisers and an LED readout so you can see the pack and ecig battery
You don't need to use the pack for recharging, you can also
use the small USB charger, which connects straight to the battery.
This kit also contains an extra battery.
As the batteries are smaller in this type, they don't provide as
much vaping time and generally don't provide as good a vaping
Some people who buy the model in the first example
also buy a kit like the second example as their "going out"
ecig - which is something I've done.
"3rd Generation" Devices
3rd generation electronic cigarettes are so far removed from the
cigarette form factor, using the term ecig is somewhat of a
misapplication of the term. Many vapers prefer to refer to them as
"PV's" - or personal vaporisers.
3rd generation personal vaporisers come in many forms - for the
purists, there are mechanical mods that contain no electronics or
solder. These require knowledge of the safe handling and use of lithium
Others are variable voltage (VV) and variable wattage (VW) devices
with all sorts of features; such as voltmeters, ohm meters and settings
to fine-tune the vaping experience. As with good quality second
generation devices, advanced personal vaporizers also feature safety
attributes such as low voltage shutdown and short protection. The VV/VW
advanced personal vaporisers are suitable for beginners and seasoned
The device above is called a "Vamo (Version 5). It features an
Organic LED (OLED) screen and a menu system. One of the benefits of 3rd
generation devices is they use high capacity replaceable batteries.
More on cartomizers/clearomizers
The cartomizer system combines an eliquid reservoir and atomizer.
While some cartomizers are packed with polyfill that absorbs the
eliquid, the one above is known
as a clearomizer type (not commonly used these days). Instead of cotton, it has wicks inside that soak up the liquid
and deliver it to the atomizer device in the unit; also called a coil
head. The coil is basically just wire wrapped around the wick. The
coil heats up the eliquid dampened wick, generating the vapour.
This type of
cartomiser costs $1.50 - $2 and can be refilled 5 or 6 times before needing to be discarded.
The model above; an extra large, holds around 1.8ml of eliquid
(juice) - enough to keep the average pack a day smoker going for a day or so.
Refilling is carried out by inserting a hypodermic syringe with a blunt
needle into one of two small holes on the mouthpiece end.
For the cartomizers with polyfill, eliquid is slowly dripped onto the
fill, avoiding the center hole.
Other types of clearomisers allow for the wick and coil head to be
replaced; which helps to cut the costs of consumables, plus is a
little better for the environment.
The image below shows one of the popular types these days. Below the two clearomisers is
an enlarged image of a replacement silica wick and coil head.
These clearomizers are generally known as "CE5's". There
is another variation called the CE4 that is disposable; i.e. the head
cannot be replaced.
The above holds around 1.6ml of eliquid and is refilled
by unscrewing the mouthpiece and using a syringe with a blunt needle to
fill the reservoir. This type of style of clearomizer is the favoured
eliquid delivery device of many vapers.
Building on the CE5 concept is a huge array of
clearomizers to choose from these days - some use a glass tank and/or a
different coil system.
Additionally there are also eliquid delivery devices
called "carto tanks" and RBA's that are fully rebuildable (the
latter require some skill and patience to work with).
Kit costs and quality - buyer beware
There are many variations on the above kits.
Good quality equipment range in price from $55 and upwards for a
full kit, including an extra battery and some cartomisers/clearomizers with liquid. As
with many items, what you pay for is what you get. It can be somewhat of
a lottery buying cheaper equipment and aside from quality, there are
also potential safety issues with batteries.
A good quality ecig battery usually incorporates electronics that cut power
when a fault is detected. Without this safety mechanism, a battery can
vent, catch fire and even explode.
Choose your ecig
supplier carefully - your first experience should be a positive one
and shoddy equipment increases the chance that it won't be. By skimping
on quality, you may also find you wind up paying as much as you would
for good quality due to needing to replace items earlier than you need
Kits and nicotine liquids
Sometimes the liquid included in a kit will not contain nicotine - if you wish
to use nicotine based juices, you'll need to order those separately, but
you should check laws in your region concerning this.