What is an e-Cigarette?
The basic e-cigarette is very similar in size, shape and weight to a traditional cigarette, and contains three parts: the battery, the cartomizer (a combination of the cartridge and the atomizer) and a silicone mouthpiece. An LED light on the end of the battery glows when the user inhales, resembling the burning tip of a cigarette. The cartridge within the cartomizer holds the e-liquid and is usually disposable once empty.
E-Cigarettes do not contain any of the harmful tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia or any of the thousands of other chemicals found in everyday cigarette brands. This eliminates the risks normally associated with 'second hand' smoking effects.
What is an Atomizer?
An Atomizer is the e-cigarette component which creates the vapour from the liquid. The atomizer has a coil that is powered by the battery. The coil heats up and warms the e-liquid. Once this liquid becomes hot enough, it will reach its vaporization point and turn into the vapour that you see coming out of the electronic cigarette.
What is a Cartomizer?
The Cartomizer was the natural progression from the 3 piece e-cigarettes where the Atomizer and cartridge were separate. These two components were combined to form the Cartomizer which allowed for a larger battery and a larger liquid tank.
Cartomizers come in three types:
- Wick Fed Cartomizers
- Poly Fill Cartomizers
- Tank Cartomizers
Wick Fed Cartomizer
Wick Fed Cartomizers consist of a tank with two or three synthetic or cotton wicks inside. The wicks absorb the e-liquid inside the tank and transport it to the atomizer via a tube that runs the length of the cartomzer. As the e-liquid reaches the heating element it is vaporized. These cartomizers are usually made with either a clear or somewhat transparent coloured plastic.
The advantages of this design is that they are easy to fill and can hold a fair amount of e-liquid. The filling process is relatively simple,usually with no need for a syringe or any other tool.
They have a tendency to crack if using certain e-juices and they can be somewhat fragile as well.
Poly Fill Cartomizer
The poly-fill design is a tube with another tube in the center of it. The tube in the center is where the heating element is located. The heating element tube also has a wick inside that is surrounded by layers of a poly-fill guaze. As the poly-fill is saturated with e-liquid the wick pulls the liquid into the heating tube where it is then vaporized.
The poly fill Cartomizers tend to be made of stronger material and therefor have greater longevity without leaking or cracking. They are also easy to re-fill and many consider there Cartomizers to be the best.
Like any Cartomizer these can overheat which can sometimes lead to a change in taste as some of the polymer is burnt and absorbed into the vapour.
Tank Cartomizers are constructed with a small tube in the middle that contains some poly-fill and the atomizer or heating element. The e-liquid is drawn into the tube through one or multiple holes at the bottom of the tube within the tank. These are usually clear plastic or even glass allowing the user to see exactly what remains of the liquid inside.
The Tank Cartomizer has the benefit of being large, meaning they can be filled with a large amount of e-liquid. They are also easy to clean and some claim to get the biggest vapour clouds from tanks.
Tanks have a tendency to leak after only a few uses. In addition, they also have problems with getting the e-liquid into the atomizer in a consistent flow. This makes for poor vaping and can also cause the e-liquid to get into the users mouth.
Clearomizers are similar to cartomizers in that they are all-in-one devices (atomizer, cartridge and wicks) that hold the e-liquid and screw on to the battery, but that’s where the similarities end. Clearomizers have a clear plastic or glass body allowing the user to see the level of e-liquid at all times and refill them when it gets too low. Unlike cartomizers, they don’t require filler material to soak up the juice, relying instead on a wicking system that feeds just the right amount of e-liquid to the atomizer.
Clearomizers feature a metal tube that extends from the atomizer to the drip tip, through the middle of the see-through body. When refilling clearomizers, it’s important that you don’t pour e-liquid into the tube, as it would end up in the battery. This air duct is how the vapor travels from the atomizer to your mouth and just a few drops of e-liquid in there could affect the way the e-cigarette performs. Instead, keep the clearomizer at a slight angle and drip the juice into it while avoiding the center tube.
Most clearomizers are sold as disposables that you can use for a few weeks, some users prefer rebuildables which are clearomizers that can be taken apart and their parts replaced. Disposables are the most convenient option, but rebuildables, although more expensive can save a lot of money in the long run. Replacing a used heating coil is a lot cheaper than buying a new clearomizer.
Clearomizer Coil Types
The type of coils used in a clearomizer plays an important part in determining your vaping experience. Each has its own pros and cons.
Top Coil or Top Feeding Coils
A clearomizer with a top coil places the atomizer closer to the mouthpiece to give users a warm vape similar to that of smoking a cigarette. Top coils are also easier to refill, since one needs only to remove the top cap. These make top coil clearomizers great for beginners. However, given the placement of the wick and coil, dry hits are much more common. To avoid the risk of dry hits, users find that by tilting the tank towards the mouthpiece while vaping works well.
A tank with bottom coils eliminates the need to constantly rewick by tilting, though it provides a much cooler vape than top coils. A bottom coil also provides more intense flavor, since the coil and wick are placed closer to the airhole.
One drawback is that bottom coils are much more prone to flooding, especially when the wick material is not enough or too porous. However, if the wick material is too dense, this can lead to dry hits. A perfect balance is needed to ensure a perfect vape with bottom coils. Refilling a bottom coil is also trickier, with users having to remove the whole tank just to refill.
While dual coils are common, it’s not unusual to hear users with triple or quadruple coils built into their tanks. One thing to remember about multiple coils is that they produce massive clouds of vapor and give users a much stronger throat hit. Surprisingly, even with multiple coils, these types give a cooler vape since the heat isn’t concentrated on just one coil.
Multiple coils also draw more power from batteries. If you are prepared to switch batteries often, or use larger e-cigs with higher mAh, multiple coils can be a viable choice.