Vape Devices | A Complete Rundown

There are a range of devices that you can use to vape, and for new vapers, the terms used to refer to these devices can be quite confusing. Different devices produce different results in terms of vaping. Some devices are suitable for thick e-juices and vapor production. Others work best with thinner juices that give you a harsher throat hit. Understanding vape devices is key to having a satisfying vaping experience. With many awesome devices on the market, vapers are literally spoilt for choice. This article helps new and experienced vapers make the best decisions when buying vape devices.

Box mods vs. AIOS vs. starter kits

Box mods

Box mods, also known as vape mods, serve as the power sources of vape devices. They refer to a case that holds one or more rechargeable batteries which supply electricity to an atomizer in order to heat up e-juice. Box mods either contain fixed internal LiPo batteries that recharge using USB cables, or removable Li-Ion batteries that recharge outside the device using a dedicated charger.

Box mods are great vaping devices because they deliver more power than e-cigs or vape pens. In addition to this, they allow users to regulate power and temperature to create a unique vaping experiences. Manufacturers create box mods for a variety of vaping styles, which makes it possible to find a great mod even if you are just a new vaper. The lowest wattage you can find in box mods is 20W-50W which is small, easy to carry, and suitable for beginners. Box mods go as high as 220W. Despite this high wattage, most experienced vapers do not exceed 120W. 

Vape mods are an upgrade from the e-cig. While the e-cig is great at helping people switch from smoking, it delivers poor taste and flavor. Vape mods solve this problem by giving more power to vape devices, controlling how the air flows into your vape device to deliver great taste and flavor.


All-in-Ones (AIOs) give new users an easy, and accessible way to get acquainted with vaping. They are ideal for newbies who do not know where to start with all the vape devices in the market. AIOs come with everything built-in, which explains the name. The fact that you cannot separate the battery from the rest of the device makes AIOs unique.

Starter kits

Vape starter kits come with everything you need to get started such as a mod, an atomizer, a charger, and a tank, so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed with the different options available. Starter kits are easy to use, and they help new vapers to track their vaping stats, get familiar with navigating menus, and make small adjustments to their vaping styles. These kits utilize relatively low power and their functions are streamlined to make your initial experiences less complicated.


An atomizer is the heat resistant part of a vaping device that shelters coils, wicks, and the reservoirs where e-juice is stored. An atomizer, basically, is the device that creates mist out of a liquid. Most atomizers in the market are either disposable, replaceable, or rebuildable. The disposable type is found in starter kits. You have to get rid of the entire atomizer once it gets worn out. Disposable atomizers offer poor taste, but they are good for beginners. For the rebuildables, you only get rid of the coils and not the atomizer.


These were the earliest forms of atomizers on the market. They were popular in the early vaping days because they are easy to use. Cartomizers have a reservoir with a coil and a wick that screws into the battery. Cartomizers resemble analog cigarettes, and they can only hold a small amount of e-juice. Cartomizers are easy to use for beginners, and they work well with cig-a-likes, but not on other types of vaping devices. On the downside, they produce poor vapor and weak flavor.


Clearomizers look like cartomizers, but their tanks are clear. They are more feature-rich compared to cartomizers. The tube containing the wick and coil head in these atomizers is positioned at the center, enabling you to see how much e-juice you have left. Clearomizers allow users to refill e-juice and change old and damaged coil heads without getting rid of the entire atomizer. They hold about 1.6ml of liquid which means you have to refill regularly. They produce better vapor and flavor compared to cartomizers. Since they are made of plastic, they can crack and cause leakages if you use e-juice that is strongly acidic. 


Glassomizers work like clearomizers. They are made of durable glass which is more resistant to erosion by acidic e-liquids. The glass enhances their lifespan and e-liquid flavor.

Sub-ohm tanks

These tanks have a resistance of less than one ohm. Sub-ohm tanks are set up just like clearomizers, but they have a larger wicking system and lower resistance which allows seeping of more e-liquid for greater vapor and flavor. Also, their large wicking system enables them to work better with thicker VG based e-juices than thinner PG based ones. Sub-ohm tanks permit coil replacement, hence you do not have to get rid of the entire tank once the coils are worn out.


Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDAs) are the most basic form of vape devices. They shelter only a coil and a wick without a tank. Since they do not have a reservoir tank, you have to drip the e-juice directly onto the coils to vape. After a few puffs, you have to drip the e-juice again. RDAs have a juice well which catches excess e-juice, preventing wastage. These vape devices require you to build which requires experience. When building the coils, you need to have an Ohm meter to ensure that the coil’s resistance is within safe ranges. With RDAs, you can adjust air flow. Also, you can modify vapor and flavor production by using the right coil resistance and wicking material.


Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTAs) look like RDAs, but they have a tank. Hence, you do not have to keep dripping e-juice after a few puffs. Like RDAs, they allow you to control airflow and modify flavor and vapor. The ability to build your own coils will enable you to control resistance and get the results you want.

Coils VS. Building

Vape coils are small pieces of resistant wire that are made into a coil shape. They resemble a spring. The resistance of coils is determined by the type of wire used, the number of wraps, as well as the diameter of the coil. Coils are made from Kanthal, NiChrome, stainless steel, titanium, and Nickel. A coil’s resistance determines the amount of electricity needed to power it up and the amount of heat it produces. There are basically two types of coils:

  • Premade coils: these are designed by your original equipment manufacturer for tank systems.
  • Prewrapped coils: these coils are made for RDA and RTA owners who do not want to make their own coils from scratch.

Aside from these coils, you can make your own and regulate the resistance you want. Building your coils can be risky if you do not have the experience. Failing to have the right resistance for your vape device can lead to an explosion. Different coil materials give vapers different experience. Before you build your coils, here’s what you need to know about the material:

  • Kanthal: this material is mostly used for variable wattage and power. It has good ramp-up time (time that a coil takes to heat up) and is easy to work with. The disadvantage of this wire is that it gives a dull flavor and it is not compatible with TC mode. 
  • NiChrome: these wires are easy to work with, they have great ramp-up time, and they produce cleaner taste with enhanced flavor notes. Some users are allergic to these wires. Also, they have a low melting point which could be a disaster if you use high wattage. They are not as elastic as Kanthal, and like Kanthal, they are not compatible to Temperature Control mode.
  • Stainless steel: these wires offer crisp flavor, good ramp-up time, and they easily hold shape. Also, they can be used in varying wattage and TC mode. Stainless steel wires are hard to source locally, delicate, and they contain nickel content which can cause allergies.
  • Titanium: titanium wires are compatible with TC mode. They offer great flavor and have a fast ramp-up time. On the downside, they don’t hold shape well, they are known to cause poisoning, and are difficult to source locally.  
  • Nickel: nickel wires are easy to work with. They work well with TC mode and are available locally. Their melting point is very low, they cause allergies, and they do not hold shape well. 

Building your own coils comes with risks of allergies and possible explosions. Hence, newbies should avoid vape devices that require them to build coils.

When to use certain wattage

Finding the right wattage is tantamount to enjoying vaping. Going too high poses risk of explosion for some devices and it also produces a burned flavor. Going too low, on the other hand, provides no results in terms of flavor and taste. So, when should you use certain wattage?

For starters, 7-10 watts is great. Experienced vapers can go up to 120 watts, but that risks their coils burning faster and wasting battery power. Also, high wattage can cause thin PG based e-juice to taste burnt. High wattage works well with thick VG based juices that allow excellent cloud production. A wattage between 50W-60W is excellent for both experienced and less experienced but not newbie vapers.

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Caroline Sparks

Writer, Vaper, Advocate Have an idea? Comment below!