Sparki SP3 e-Cigarette Starter Kit: Impressions

Sparki SP3 e-Cigarette Starter Kit: Impressions

Sparki SP3 Sparkplug e-cigarette review sparkplugforsmokers.com title image

 

The Sparki SP3 lives in an interesting world.  It is for all intents and purposes, firmly in the “mod” category of e-cigarettes.  However, looking at the Spark Plug for Smokers website, it’s clear that the device is targeted toward a much broader audience.

History
The name of the website gives a little bit of a hint into the device’s history in the mod world.  The first incarnation of Sparki was known as the Steampunk Sparkplug.  The original version was one of the early “big battery” mods in 2009 alongside other mods like the Prodigy from Puresmoker.

Just the SP3

Version two dropped the Steampunk moniker and was known simply as the Sparkplug.  The price dropped significantly from the original $100 asking price and was made available as a starter kit for around 30 dollars and at one point included a “thermal sleeve” add on.  The add on allowed a user to stack two batteries in the Sparkplug for 6 volt vaping.

The thermal sleeve caused a great deal of controversy in the e-cigarette community.  The batteries that shipped with the Sparkplug did not feature protection circuitry.  The fear was that a catastrophic failure of one or both of the batteries could have resulted in a fire or explosion.  If you are not familiar with protected and safe chemistry batteries as opposed to unprotected models this forum thread will help bring you up to speed.

The newest iteration is now known simply as Sparki.  I wonder if the 4th version will just be called “S”.  The thermal sleeve option is gone and the Sparki is now a strictly 3.7v affair. A promised upcoming add-on will be available in the future for high voltage use and will include protected batteries.

What’s in the box

Courtesy McDonald Webb

The Sparki is available as a fully decked out starter kit that will set you back $39, or if you want to bring your own batteries and cartomizer, you can pick up just the main unit for a very reasonable 16 smackeroos.  From a price standpoint the Sparki is in competition with basic 510 starter kits, not mods.

So what does the princely sum of 39 bucks net you?  Let’s take a look into the box and find out.

  • 1 Sparki SP3 power regulator (aka the actual e-cigarette)
  • 1 810 threaded 510 hybrid atomizer
  • 5 blank cartridges
  • 16 ml e-juice (Kentucky Leaf Tobacco, 18mg)
  • 2 16340 800mAh batteries
  • 1 battery charger
  • Instruction manual
In all not a bad list of stuff for the money.  I especially like that they include a bottle of e-liquid rather than pre-filled cartridges.  I actually really like the juice and have been using it with other e-cigarettes.  I think it’s kind of strange that they went with separate e-liquid but still included cartridges rather than going the cartomizer route.
The batteries shipping with the SP 3

The batteries continue to be of the unprotected variety.  I asked the owner of the company about the battery choice after the previous controversy.  His stance is basically that he believes these types of batteries to be safe, particularly in a single battery configuration.

The instruction manual contains a lot of information on safe battery handling.  In addition, you could always pick up a set of protected 16430 batteries inexpensively online.  If you opted for the power regulator only option, you should already have the correct batteries.
Design
The SP3 itself is a fairly diminutive example of an e-cigarette that uses a removable battery.  Height wise the Sparki is shorter than a 650 mAh eGo, but it is somewhat fatter.  The Sparki is made almost entirely of aluminum, so it is incredibly light in addition to being petite.
Sparki, Center

The device is available in four colors: black, silver, white and pink.  If you opt for the starter kit, your atomizer will be color matched to your power regulator. Other than your choice of colors, don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles on this e-cigarette.

This model is a purely mechanical affair and features a fire button on the bottom. The button is recessed slightly in a housing to prevent most accidental misfires.  Because this is a mechanical device, there is no power cutoff, while you can set this thing down without firing it off, I’d recommend storing and transporting it with the battery removed to prevent accidental misfires.
The atomizer side of the Sparki uses a brass pin inset in a threaded endcap to which the atomizer attaches.  This is an interesting design as it allows the battery connection to float making some adjustment for the differences in atomizers.  Unfortunately, this means that the connector is not sealed and e-liquid can seep into the tube.
Main Body Disassembled

Liquid entering into the e-cigarette is mostly a concern when dripping into the atomizer, using the included cartridges or a cartomizer isn’t likely to cause leakage. Being a mechanical device the liquid isn’t likely to cause any long term issues either, but it can cause a mess inside.  I had some trouble getting the unit to fire until I cleaned the gunk from off the battery contacts after repeated over drips.  I’m kind of a messy dripper, that’s why I’m more of a carto guy.

I’ll admit even though I should have used the cartridges for the purposes of reviewing the whole kit, I promptly chucked them into a desk drawer and forgot about them.  I hate cartridges that much!  I don’t, on the other hand, hate the atomizer.  While it’s an odd configuration, it worked admirably well with a drip tip attached.
I’m still a little bit puzzled about the threading and atomizer choice on the Sparki.  The threading for the atomizer connection is the 801 style.  The atomizer is a hybrid model that features 801 threads and a 510 body and internals.  This was apparently a result of customer feedback, but I have to wonder why they didn’t just go with 510 threading and not have to make custom atomizers.
Experience

Strange design choices aside, actually carting the Sparki around and using it is not a painful experience.  The SP3 size and weight along with durable construction make it easily pocketable.  I was concerned the aluminum would be more fragile than a stainless steel e-cigarette like the Icon.  After several tumbles onto the concrete, it seems to hold its own in the abuse category.

I’ll teach that button, I’ll rip it apart!

Much like I do with the Icon, I still struggle to find the perfect button kung-fu on the Sparki.  Hitting a bottom button to fire the e-cigarette just doesn’t quite feel natural to me.  The button housing also makes firing a touch awkward as you have to work your finger over that collar to get it to fire.  If you come at it from a weird angle, you might not be able to press the button with enough force to make contact and activate it.

Despite having to struggle with the button a little bit, I find myself using the Sparki quite a bit more than I expected.  I think the portability along with half way decent battery life (I don’t get anywhere near all day, but a good several hours for sure) makes it a nice no-fuss option.  This especially holds true when I pair it up with a nice 801 cartomizer like the Ikenvape LR Fusion.

That particular device seems to work wonders on 3.7v mechanical devices like the Sparki. Performance is pretty solid from the Sparki much like many 3.7v devices.  Unlike some standard e-cigarettes and larger models like the eGo which output power at around the 3.2 volt range, true 3.7 volt devices tend to offer a better experience.  It seems like half a volt isn’t a whole lot more power, but the result is usually a more robust vape with increased vapor production and warmer vapor.

Courtesy McDonald Webb

Too Long; Didn’t Read
The Sparki SP3 is a nice low cost e-cigarette geared towards users who are looking for something outside of your typical cigarette shaped e-cigarette.  The SP3 doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but the benefit is durability.   The simple design has a little bit of something to offer everyone from newbies who don’t care if it looks like a cigarettes, people looking for a first mod, or even more experienced users looking for something small to cart around that still has removable batteries.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple design to reduce failures
  • Small and lightweight
  • Durable construction
Cons:
  • Starter kit doesn’t offer protected battery option
  • Bottom firing button can be awkward
  • No mechanical “off” switch to prevent accidental firing

Details:
Model: Sparki SP3
Manufacturer: McDonald Webb
Available From: Sparkplugforsmokers.com
Price: 39.99 (stater kit) 15.99 (e-cigarette only)
Threading: 801
Batteries 16340 lithium, unprotected (starer kit only) 800mAh protected batteries available at FocalPrice or MadVapes

Disclosure: I received the Sparki V3 starter kit for the purposes of review from the manufacturer.  I also feature banner ads and affiliate links for the Sparki.

 
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