My Third Month of Vaping

Shona

So I’ve pushed this post back over and over for some time now. In regards to vaping, I’ve had some equipment woes. However I’m still sorting through it so I think I’ll wait until next month (God willing) to talk about that. So this time, I’m going to talk about e-liquid, or ‘e-juice’; which is the liquid that you use in electronic cigarettes. This isn’t going to be a 101-type of post however. They have lots of great information online about e-liquid that I can’t even begin to improve upon already. So this post is going to have a bit of a different focus.

My post is going to focus more so on some areas that I think are greatly overlooked when it comes to e-liquid; and that is price and packaging. As a relative newbie, I don’t have a lot of experience with a lot of different vendors, but I’ll talk about the ones that I do have experience with.

Ok, so right now, I mainly use two different types of clearomizers to hold my e-liquid for vaping purposes. I actually started out on a third type, but I find the vapor productions is so sub-par compared to my new ones, I don’t really use them anymore. But I reference them as a base point.

Here is the ‘CE4’ style clearomizer that I started vaping with:

CE4 clearomizer

CE4 clearomizer

Now with any clearomizer you have a tube or ‘chimney’ that leads from the mouthpiece (referred to in the vaping community as a ‘drip tip’, although in these applications, you aren’t going to be dripping any e-liquid down into them) down to the battery contact at the bottom of the clearomizer. While the placement of the atomizer, wicking and airflow is different from model to model, in each and every case, you do not want to get e-liquid into that chimney! If you do, you’ll be sucking in e-liquid, not vapor…and that’s not what you want to do (hopefully)!

While the performance of the CE4 pales in comparison to the other models I currently use, I must admit that it was very easy to fill. When filling a clearomizer, you want to avoid getting e-liquid down that chimney. The CE4 gave you a lot of open space between the side of the tank, and the chimney opening. See?

inside of CE4 clearomizer

I’ll get to why this is important in a little bit, but first I’ll show the other two clearomizers I’m using.

Kangertech clearomizers

The Kangertech Genitank is on the left, the Kangertech MOW tank is on the right. Note: I’m pretty sure that’s a MOW Megatank in that it has a 510 connection, and mine doesn’t. Water under the bridge though…because the connection type isn’t relevant to this post!

Both of these are bottom-fill designs, so unlike the CE4, you unscrew the bottom to fill. Just a tad bit more of a hassle than the CE4 in that you can’t really set the tank down somewhere to fill or even just to set down while you do other things, like open your bottle of e-liquid. Well I guess you could, if you removed the drip tip. I don’t though. I just hold them in my hand the entire time.

The chimneys in both of these models has a wider diameter. So there is less space between the side of the tank and your chimney. I personally like to get the tip of my e-liquid bottle down between the side of the tank and the chimney. That way, there is no unnecessary run off of e-liquid down the chimney.

Now the Genitank presents a challenge to this, in that there is a t-bar running along the base of where the coil goes.

Kangertech Aerotank v. 1

This is actually an old-style Aerotank, but the Genitank has the same configuration (doesn’t apply for the airflow, but we’re not talking about that). In this pic, you can see that t-bar that I’m talking about.

So there’s even less room to wiggle in the tip of an e-liquid bottle.

Ok, so this isn’t a post about clearomizers, so that’s all I’ll say about that. I just wanted to give some background on where my preferences have come from 🙂


E-Liquid Packaging

This is one of the first things I’ve noticed when it comes to e-liquid. I started out pretty early with different e-liquids from different vendors. Many will mention that their bottles come with a needle-nosed tip or a dripper top. I haven’t yet had any e-liquids that came with a dripper. All of the bottles that I have used have needle-nosed tips. Keep in mind though, there is not set measurement for the term ‘needle-nosed’.

There can be big differences in the size of the tip of 'needle-nosed' bottles

There can be big differences in the size of the tip of ‘needle-nosed’ bottles

So for me, the thinner the tip of the bottle, the better.

Another issue I found in regards to filling clearomizers, is the pliability of the bottles. How easy is it to squeeze them? Now for those who travel with bottles of e-liquid with you, of course you want a bottle that can withstand being thrown in a pocket or a purse and be a bit durable. But I’ve had several bottles where they are just so stiff, I felt like I had no control over the amount of e-liquid coming out into my tank. And I really don’t like that.

Price

For those who don’t know already, I got into vaping because I’m poor. Nothing has changed there! I found that the price of e-liquid can vary greatly from supplier to supplier. I don’t have the time or resources to go the DIY route, so I’m not even going to go there. Anyway, I created this spreadsheet to show the price per mL of several popular e-liquid vendors. It doesn’t contain every e-liquid supplier out there (obviously), but what I’ve found is that the average cost is about $0.65/mL. So in my mind, if a vendor’s product is significantly below that rate, they are a bargain. Above…expensive.

Vendors

If you want to see my more in-depth reviews of different e-liquid flavors, please visit my profile on JuiceDB.com. Here, I’m just going to present an overall picture of the vendors.

Mister E-Liquid

To date, this is my favorite e-liquid supplier. Their juice is well made and I’ve had no issues with it leaving residue and gunk on my coils. It kinda unfortunate that they got a bit of a bad rap on Spinfuel. However that write up was almost 2 years ago, and a lot has changed since then.

At that time, I think Spinfuel, and maybe even Mister E-Liquid themselves, were trying to peg themselves as a premium, or gourmet, e-liquid supplier. The market has changed though. Mister E-Liquid has reduced the prices of their product. They also no longer fill in labels with black magic marker and they no longer use artificial colorings in their e-liquid.

Mister E-Liquid label

To me, this is the PERFECT e-liquid bottle label. It shows the amount of nicotine, PG/VG content, date mixed, and bottle size. The only difference between this label and their new labels is that their new labels are computer printed, not filled in with black magic marker

The bottles themselves are unique. Flat backs with a contoured front, coming to a gradual peak. Some people have referred to them as ‘triangles’. Ok. Either way, they stand up nicely along the back of a wall for storage. The bottles are easy to squeeze, and the tips are thin and fit easily to any clearomizer.

While you can get sale items and coupons, Mister E-Liquid’s standard pricing puts their e-liquid at about $0.58/mL. Not the cheapest, but below average. There’s no coded option in the ordering process to get extra flavor boosts. However I heard that if you leave a note asking them to add more flavor, they’ll do so. In general I find their flavors to be fine as-is. You don’t really have to steep them; they can improve more over time, but are generally ‘there’ when they arrive at your house.

Personally, my only real complaint is, and I feel guilty about even having it, is their free sample. I’ve ordered from Mister E-Liquid 3 times, and each time I’ve received the same flavor as a sample. It’s also in a tiny 4 mL bottle, and is at 0 mg nictotine. Looking at my order history, why can’t they figure out this is not something that I would be interested in. I mean free is free. So trust me, I do use it. But I also feel that they are just trying to push out a new flavor; not trying to appeal to me as an individual customer.

Vape Wild

I placed an order with Vape Wild because people were raving about them online. Everyone was saying how affordable they were, how great the product was, etc. etc. At a mere $0.29/mL, they are most definitely affordable! They also offer a free flavor boost if you request it. You can get a flavor boost for $0.30 more. (I had to revise this, since the flavor boost checkbox doesn’t say that there is a charge. However if you select this option, it will raise the price of your item in your cart. Kinda sneaky there Vape Wild! ) Their nicotine strength is capped at 24 mg and Mister E-Liquid will go up to 32 mg. But since I currently vape 6 mg this is a non-issue for me. They both offer 5 different options in regards to PG/VG ratios.

I get almost double the amount of e-liquid for my money with Vape Wild, so I opted for two 20 mL bottles. They threw in another 10 mL bottle as a free sample. So wow, that was impressive! The sample had the same PG/VG ratio and nicotine content as my order. So another bonus there.

What didn’t impress me so much from the very beginning, were the bottles.

Vape Wild e-liquid bottles

Stiff bottles with not enough information on the label!

The tips on these bottles is about the same as Mister E-Liquid’s, so no complaints there. But the plastic on these bottles is stiff. You can squeeze them, but not as much as I liked.

Also, the label has check boxes on the sides to designate the PG/VG ratio (on one side) and the nicotine content (on the other). That’s it. No creation date. There’s not even a designation to the size of the bottle! I know they have a lot of flavors, and they probably have a big volume of orders. But for me, I would really like to have this information on the label of my e-liquids.

With Vape Wild, I will talk a little about flavors. They include an instruction card with your order that clearly instructs you to let your e-liquid steep for 2 weeks for the best results. Now, from what I’ve heard, in general you do have to steep the more budget-friendly e-liquid vendors. They mix their e-liquids to order. So the variety is larger than what you get with these craft/gourmet/premium e-liquid vendors. For them, they have their recipes, make them far in advance, and steep them plenty before they are sent to the customer. Ok, so for the cheap cost, you in turn have to do your own steeping. However as I mentioned with Mister E-Liquid above, you can pretty much vape those upon arrival. Which leads me down the road a bit into another train of thought…

Remember when I said that Mister E-Liquid doesn’t use artificial colorings in their flavors? Well they also don’t use diketones. Now, a widespread warning within the vaping community is not to vape e-liquid that contains diacetyl, which has been linked to popcorn-lung disease. Diacetyl is in the bases of many butter, cream and custard flavors. Many e-liquid manufacturers proudly proclaim their products to be ‘diacetyl free’. Vape Wild is not one of these vendors. However, I have heard that people have asked them about this, and their response is that their e-liquid doesn’t contain diacetyl. However, it is hard to get butter/custard flavor without using something that is chemically close to diacetyl; such as acetoin or acetyle propionyl. So some vendors, such as Mister E-Liquid, don’t even offer buttery/custardy flavors.

Now I did order a creamy/custard flavor from Vape Wild. So with me, it isn’t a huge concern. But I do feel that including more of these various artificial flavors and colorings forces this longer steep time in order for the e-liquid to taste like it is intended to. And with Vape Wild, I feel that the flavors do fall short of the mark just a bit (especially when you first receive them). True, I did not, I repeat, I did not steep them for two full weeks! It was more like a week. Even so, I find this mandatory steep time to be annoying. Especially since the bottles aren’t dated, and I had to keep checking my email confirmation of the Vape Wild shipment to even remember the creation date! I guess I could have scribble the date on the label myself. But that’s neither here nor there…

I also found that the nicotine in Vape Wild’s e-liquids came across as pretty strong. I’ve seen other people online say this too. Even to the point of saying that they step down the nicotine content on all of their Vape Wild orders because it seems to be a persistent issue.

While it seems that I am complaining and nitpicking, overall I do like Vape Wild. The one juice I ordered from them is very delicious. I crave it every day. Now I’ve seen another e-juice vendor recommend to clearomizer-using customers, that they should add a flavor boost, and stick to 50/50 PG/VG mixes. On my next Vape Wild order I’ll most likely be 1) requesting a flavor boost, because it seems that a clearomizer would benefit from this and 2) be stepping down to 3 mg nicotine. I feel that the peppery note from the nicotine was a bit too strong in all of my Vape Wild e-liquids.


Other Vendors

Besides Mister E-Liquid and Vape Wild, I’ve had e-liquids from Apollo, Vapor Vista, and Mt. Baker Vapor. For right now, none of these vendors are on my short list. This is especially true for Apollo. I found their bottles were way too stiff. The quality of their e-liquid is about the same as what you would find at your local gas station. On top of that, their e-liquids gunked up and burned up my coils! Just not impressed in the least. So much so I’m not even going to bother to link them!

With Mt. Baker Vapor, I actually picked up a bottle of their e-liquid from a local vape shop. I did pay more than what you would pay if you ordered from them directly. You can also get flavor shots from them as well. And I guess that’s what my e-liquid needed. The flavor was just so light and muted! It was like it was watered down or something. There’s a chance that the local vape shop did this. I would be willing to give Mt. Baker another chance in the future. But it would definitely be with an extra flavor shot…maybe even two or three.

With Vista Vapors I actually took advantage of a promotion where their bottle of e-liquid was free. I ordered an apple flavor from them. Compared to my previous bottle of apple-flavored liquid from Mt. Baker Vapor, it was much better. My bottle had a flavor boost added though. They even printed my name on the bottle. Cute. One thing that drove me crazy though was that their bottle tip was pretty fat. It got to the point where I didn’t look forward to refilling my tank, because of that fat tip. Also no creation date on the label. You could have left my name off and put the date of mixing on it instead. I would have appreciated that a lot more!

I can’t really remark on the price with these vendors because I either received the e-liquid as part of a promotion, or as in the case of Mt. Baker Vapor, went through a different route. However, they are all on my spreadsheet….I’m pretty sure. 🙂


So that’s my three month update with my thoughts on e-liquid and (some) suppliers. I had hoped to try out some premium e-liquids by now. However my money got pulled into another direction when my Kanger EMOW died and I ended up picking up a VAMO V2 with a Kanger Genitank. 😀 I definitely have some things I want to say about that, but I’ll hold off until next month after I’ve had some more quality time with my VAMO. Until next time!

Author:
Real estate professional with an MBA in Marketing ~ writer and multiculturalist.
  • Rick

    I’m curious as to when you will get into rebuildables??? I’ve been vaping for over 4 years now and it’s more of a hobby now. Bigger, better, more powerful devices are fun and create some great flavor and clouds of vapor. I’m more into the flavor tho. My favorite set up is a ZNA clone with a Kyafun V4.

    • Hahaha – I don’t know Rick! I’ve been wondering that myself. I think that when I feel ready to make that leap, I’ll opt for the Kanger Subtank, or another option that let’s you either rebuild or buy pre-made replaceable coils…all in one package. Even though I have a degree in electronics, I would need to stock up on the tools needed for such fine work (I don’t actually work in the electronics field, but real estate…so I sold all my stuff, including my multimeter, years ago). For now I’m enjoying experimenting with regulated mods and tanks. I’m really impressed with the Genitank that I picked up; especially since it was just $13!

      Thanks for stopping by & commenting btw!

      • Rick

        Some of the clones are made really well and are just as good as the authentics. My Kayfun V4’s were only $21.50 a piece shipped.. Compared to the authentic at $180. The only tools really needed are small screw drivers and scissors. The Kanger Subtank sounds like a good idea also. The Genitanks were good but the Kayfun style RBA’s are what’s newer and better these days. Good Luck with your Vaping.

  • Adam Garcia