Well life is interesting to say the least…you never know what you’ll encounter on a journey when you take that first step…
Vaping has been like that. A month ago I was pretty happy with my setup. I had a plan in my head about vaping. I was fine with using basic, step-up equipment. However plans don’t always pan out. The Bulldog battery that I was using for daily vaping literally fell apart in my hands. It’s threads began to strip and I could no longer charge it. Also I found some cheap, disposable clearomizer tanks on eBay. At $14.99 for a box of ten, I thought that I was getting a fantastic deal. However three out of the ten wouldn’t work on my Bulldog battery (although two of them worked on the generic eGo battery that I brought). I was wasting e-liquid by filling these dud tanks just to find out that they didn’t work. So in frustration I headed to my local vape shop to see about buying another generic eGo battery.
At the vape shop it was confirmed that the Bulldog battery was the culprit. However the guy working there painted a picture for me in the long run. Buying disposable tanks even at $2 a piece, and no-name batteries would get old after a while. Yes, he was trying to upsell me, but my personal preference anyway is to take quality and piece of mind over penny pinching. On top of that, he allowed me to try out some of the better setups out there. I was blown away by one thing mainly: performance. The vapor quality and quantity was much better than what I was getting off of my current setup. So I forked over $50 to get the Kangertech EMOW kit.
A Quick Review of the Kangertech EMOW
The EMOW battery and clearomizer (tank) are well made and look fantastic. While it’s heavier and thicker than the 1100 mAh eGo battery that I have, it is shorter than the Vision Spinner 2, which is another battery I was considering. The adjustable airflow is a very cool feature and the clearomizer seems easy enough to maintain (while I haven’t needed to change the coils yet, I have taken it all apart, and then put it back together).
Well it’s a very slick little bugger. Which is great for appearances. However I found that the fire button is hard to locate, especially in the dark. It’s hard to feel in that it sits so flush with the body. This makes using it at night in the car a bit of a pain (maybe this will improve with time once I get used to it). Also while I don’t have an issue with sweaty hands or anything, I would think that if you do, this thing will be a bit slippery to the touch, and you’ll have to be wary of dropping it.
Another thing I didn’t care for is the drip tip that it comes with. #1 – it felt weird in my mouth; too thin and too cylindrical. #2 – the bugger got hot on my lips. I didn’t like that feeling at all! I opted to by a clear, contoured, plastic drip tip instead. I’m much happier, even though the tip still gets warm. Speaking of heat, the battery can get pretty warm sometimes. It’s hard to know if this is normal or not. Only one video review even mentioned it. And I find that surprising.
I also don’t care for the window on the clearomizer. While it is better than nothing, it’s pretty inaccurate in regards to trying to determine your e-liquid level. True I’m coming from the world of the completely transparent, disposable clearomizers where you can see everything. But basically with this one, about 1/3 of your fill level sits below the bottom of the window. And it’s not possible to get it all the way to the top. You fill the tank upside down. If you bring the liquid all the way to the top of the center airflow, you’re good. But when you flip it over, ‘boom’, 1/3 of the liquid drops below and it looks like your tank is only 2/3 full.
And finally while it’s not really a major ‘con’, being dual-coil, it burns through more e-liquid than usual for me. Before I wasn’t emptying a 1.6 mL tank a day. With this, I usually do go through the full 1.8 mL of e-liquid that the clearomizer holds.
Ok, so moving away from my new toy and back to vaping in general, I’ve also realized some things. I’ll tackle them in the sections below:
Name Isn’t Everything
I mentioned in my previous post on vaping, that I was thinking about getting the Halo starter kit at first. Well in the end, I’m glad that I didn’t. The vape shop had some Halo equipment in house that you could look at. It was similar in build quality and specs to the equipment from the no-name, Joytech/eGo clones. Except that it also had small design differences that meant that other supplies (i.e. drip tips, clearomizers, etc.) may or may not be compatible with it. Not cool.
Now I heard some murmurings online that the upgraded version of the equipment that I brought (the Kangertech EMOW Mega Kit) is the same as the VaporFi Rocket starter kit. The Kangertech kit can be found for $49.99 while the VaporFi kit is $112.00. (!!!). Now, this is all very reminiscent of the modern-day musical instrument industry where you have items being made in Asia (China mainly) which are the same, ‘branded’, and then the price skyrockets. Consumers are none the wiser, if they don’t research that is.
Buying Online vs. Brick and Mortar
When it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping, you can feel like a kid in a candy store when browsing the internet. At first I was focused on price…trying to find the coolest stuff with the best deals. Well, turns out there’s more to that then meets the eye.
For one, the clearomizers that I brought on eBay. Sure, they look pretty. But rather they will work or not is a crapshot. Hey, I know that you get what you pay for, and I paid $14.99 for 10 of them. So who knows what the seller paid for them! But that should tell you something right there. With one of them, I could visibly see that the center connection which is supposed to contact the battery looked pinched together and crooked (which is why I choose the pic below…it clearly shows that center pin that I’m talking about). Surprise, surprise, it didn’t work. So not only was I down a clearomizer, but I wasted e-liquid testing the thing out. Not good for a liquid that you buy by the milliliter! My loss would have been bigger is some of the clearomizer didn’t work on my other battery. In the end I’m not raving mad about it, and I’m not about to write all disposable clearomizers off as junk. However just so that you’ve been warned, the quality control in the vaping industry leaves a lot to be desired.
Another, completely different online commerce experience that I had with vaping was a promotion from Apollo E-Cigarettes for two bottles of their e-liquid for $0.01. This is another instance where I’m not going to blanket bash the entire experience. The e-liquid was ok…and the price was wonderful. But guess what? I hate the bottles it comes in! The plastic is a bit stiff and it’s hard to squeeze when trying to fill your tank. Like I said, the e-liquid itself is not bad, but it’s about on par with what you can pick up in the gas station, like Criss Cross brand stuff. Also, they gave me the wrong strength nicotine in one bottle. For me personally, it’s enough to deter me from their e-liquid all together.
So I’ve really come to appreciate being able to go into a vape store and see and sample what you are about to spend your hard earned money on. Again, just like with musical instruments, you can find some great deals on stuff made in Asia. And just like my experience with Asian musical instruments, the best experiences were when I could physically see and test the item that I was about to buy.
For now, E-Liquid Exploration is Still Uncharted Territory
When it comes to vaping, you’ll discover very early on that there are a ton of e-liquid vendors out there. It’s overwhelming in fact. I’ve started to compile a spreadsheet on e-liquid vendors that I originally found on the e-cigarette forum (I’ve added about 20 vendors to their original list…it’s an ongoing work in progress). I’m still working through my original e-liquids, so I haven’t ventured out into trying out the products from these vendors.
What the spreadsheet did show me though is that the average price of e-liquid is about $0.70/mL. This is a nice number to keep in mind when shopping around. As a menthol cigarette smoker, I of course find interest in menthol flavors. I really liked Mr. E-Liquid’s Menthol Light, and my bottle of that is almost gone. When I brought my EMOW, the shop filled it up with a liquid on the house. I tried several menthol liquids, and ended up choosing Subzero (which I’m not sure if it’s the same as Halo’s Subzero or if it was made in house, I didn’t ask). While it tasted good initially, it started to feel like I was vaping an Altoid…it was just too ‘icy’ or minty or whatever. Not a fan. A similar thing happens with the fruity Apollo e-liquids I have. They taste good at first. But after a while the sweetness gets to you. It’s something to keep in mind when testing e-liquids. An initial ‘good taste’ may not be suitable for an all day vape. I also find that I’m not inclined to switch up flavors nearly as much as I thought (which was my initial gravitation towards the disposable clearomizers).
Well that’s all I have for now (isn’t that enough?). Stay tuned for an update post in the future, probably next month, to see how I’ve progressed!