Ecigs and Vapes: Which One Is For You?
Return to Vapor Tips

Modern electronic cigarette vaporizer on wooden table‘Cigalikes' mimic traditional tobacco cigarettes. They have a battery and a cartomizer. Cartomizers are basically a cartridge that holds the nicotine and eliquid, and the atomizer that vaporizes the liquid. The vapor looks like “smoke”. Simply put, there are cartomizers, atomizers, eGo ecigs (vape pens), mechanical mods (RBA), e-juice/e-liquid, and nicotine strengths.


The eGo style ecigs (vape pens) have a battery and clearomizer. Clearomizers are clear e-juice tanks with an atomizer. E-juice/e-liquid is the flavored liquid with or without nicotine.


Mods are used by hobbyists. There are variable voltage and mechanical mods. The battery case is the ‘mod’ and the e-juice tank is the RBA/RDA (rebuildable atomizer). These models have atomizers that are manually assembled.


First came the e-cig. Then came the vape pen and then the mod. E-cigs are the most recognizable because they look like real tobacco cigarettes. The original e-cigs consist of a battery and the cartomizer. The cartomizer is a cartridge and an atomizer all in one. Cartridges hold the flavor and nicotine. The atomizer vaporizes the ejuice. Cartridges need replacing but the battery can be recharged. Some brands offer this in a one-piece disposable unit.


A tobacco cigarette produces about 10 puffs. A cartomizer will last approximately 300 puffs or the equivalent of 36 cigarettes. Battery life lasts as long as smoking 10 cigarettes. They are sold in convenience stores but with limited flavor choices but are easier on the pocketbook.


The most popular types of e-cigs are the vape pens which consist of a battery, atomizer and a tank. The tank holds the ejuice. Most vape pens use a standard fitting called eGo which makes the battery and tanks interchangeable. Atomizers for these models consist of a wick to absorb the liquid and a core.


Vape pens hold approximately 1-2 mL of ejuice with approximately 50 drags per mL of ejuice. Nicotine strengths are offered in multiples of 6 mg per mL of liquid. Atomizers require replacement after 2 or 3 weeks. Another advantage of the vape pen is that it uses most brands and flavors of ejuice.


Mods are a favorite among vape hobbyists. They produce more vapor and enhanced flavorings. They are similar to the vape pen but the batteries are a separate component and can be shared between other mods. The biggest difference is the atomizer surface is rebuildable because the wick and coil are assembled manually. To get the vapor volume, atomizer resistances are usually lower. Because of this, it burns more ejuice and batteries drain faster but tanks do come larger. Airflow is another factor in vapor volume.


Atomizers can last up to 2 weeks but it is difficult swapping them out. Tanks can also use pretty much any brand of ejuice. Battery life is difficult to estimate depending on the mod’s build.