Alternative CE3 Review
I’ve done a CE3 review before. This is a totally different design with the same name (they are simply called the CE3 XL Clearomizers). The CE line of clearomizers have a somewhat confusing lineage. This new CE3 is yet another entrant in the bottom-coil cartomizer race. This CE3 is not produced by the same company as the Smokymizer.
Not only is there countless revisions from the original manufacturer in the wake of the CE3 Smokymizer, but there are tons of alternatives inspired by the same design. You would think the knockoff wouldn’t be as good as the original. That’s not necessarily the case. Read the rest of the alternative CE3 XL Clearomizers review to find out more.
If you want to play along at home, you will find the CE3 XL Clearomizers at Vapor Alley.
What’s in the CE3 Box
Like the original CE3 Smokymizer, you get stuff in the box along with the clearomizers. Here’s a run-down of what’s packed in with your clearos.
- 5 CE3 clearomizers
- 1 2.5ml syringe
- 2 fine gauge blunt needles
- 1 rubber drip tip
- 1 poorly written illustrated card with filling instructions
If you read my original CE3 review, I have a pop quiz for you. What’s missing from the above list?
If you said tweezers, you’re absolutely right! There is no little rubber “bung” you have to fiddle with when filling this CE3. There is of course a syringe and needle, as the clearomizer is filled the same way as a traditional CE2.
Essentially, everything is different about this CE3 from the original Smokymizer. I’d say whoever came up with this design was more inspired by the CE2.
Basically the XL is an upside-down CE2 on steroids.
The CE3 tube will even accommodate a standard drip tip, which is great news if you’re like me and hate that little rubber one that comes with many clearomizers.
Inside the tube is a more robust version of the CE2 engine. The coil is situated on the bottom and attached to the battery connector. The coil features two stubby wicks protruding from the sides. There are notches in the coil cup to allow the wicks to stick out.
A metal tube assembly fits over the heating coil part. The part that slides over the coil assembly is a sort of metal cylinder with a flange. This flange allows the top part to completely seal the coil portion from the liquid contained in the cartomizer.
Atop the air chamber cylinder is a tube. It’s sort of similar to the CE2 except it is larger in diameter and made from a thicker steel than the CE2.
There’s a little lip at the top of a tube where a silicone gasket sits at the top to seal in the e-liquid.
Filling the CE3
Filling the impostor CE3 is via a small pin hole in the gasket.
The cartomizer holds around 1.4ml of e-liquid. Per the instruction card, insert the needle into the gasket, and then hold the clearomizer upright (with the battery connector pointing toward the heavens.)
Inverting the XL clearomizer this way prevents any liquid from being forced out of the battery connector by air pressure. I did occasionally get a little e-liquid dribble out of the syringe when doing this. Unlike pretty much every other bottom-coil solution, I had no issues with e-liquid leaking out the battery connector once filled.
As an added bonus, the CE3 clearomizer even holds on to its payload when fitted with a third-party drip tip. This was one of my biggest beefs with the old G4 style clearomizers.
In addition to the rubber drip tip, each carto is equipped with a soft silicone cap. You can use those as well if that’s how you roll.
One small quirk I did notice with these. Leave a small amount of air in the tube when filling. I found that the CE3 had some trouble wicking when there was no airspace left in the tube.
Using the CE3
Not constantly lubricating my e-cigarette with liquid is obviously a good start. The real question is how does it perform?
In general the clearomizer style e-cigarette cartomizers have a bit of a reputation for being finicky. Bottom-coil clearomizers, doubly so. Let’s just say I didn’t have a lot of faith in these going into my evaluation.
At first, my fears were justified. Vapor production wasn’t all that impressive, and I got more than my share of dry hits.
That cleared up once I got about 3/4 of the way through the first fill of the CE3. After that, things smoothed out quite a bit. Apparently this is one of those clearomizers that need a break-in period before they open up.
As a side note, the cartomizer I pulled apart to photograph for this review worked just fine on the first fill after I reassembled it. That makes me think that the wick has to loosen up a bit before it performs to its fullest.
Once my CE3s started working at their peak, they were a pretty good vape. While I wouldn’t call the vapor hot, it was certainly much warmer than I’m used to on bottom coil devices.
This may be partly because I was running the cartomizers slightly above 4 volts. Considering these are around 2.4Ω devices, that’s pretty impressive since CE2 style cartomizers often have a hard time keeping the coils wet above 3.7v.
Vapor production is excellent in these devices even at 3.7v. That’s actually similar to a CE2 when it’s working right. Similarly, flavor is good as well. I’m not very sensitive to it, but I know some people pick up a plastic taste from CE2s. I imagine that may be the same here since the CE3 is still made from the same tube materials.
Cleaning the CE3 XL Clearomizer
If you’ve ever tried to clean the original Smokymizers, you know that the cleaning instructions included with those devices are something of a cruel practical joke.
Despite not having disassembly instructions on a little card, you can actually put these CE3s back together!
Pulling the CE3 apart is the same as any other clearomizer. Remove the silicone gasket that’s inside the tube right above the metal stem. Attach the device to a battery (preferably one you don’t care about) and gently wiggle the tube back and forth while pulling.
Stick the metal assembly on top of the heating coil. Make sure there’s no gaps between the two parts, and there’s no big gaps between the wicks and the side of the coil assembly. Push everything back in the tube. Slide the silicone gasket back into the tube from the top and reseat it on the metal stem. You might need to use tweezers to line everything up there. You have to make sure the gasket seals the top of the tube to prevent e-liquid running back into the tube.
Of course, if you were into that sort of thing, you could also cut the tube in half, toss out the metal top piece and have a pretty nice dripping atomizer.
Too long; didn’t read
The generically named CE3 is clearly a knockoff of the CE3 Smokymizer. Rather than stealing the same design, the manufacturer built something better. I’m not quite sure why they used the CE3 name to be honest. The device still requires a syringe to fill, but not tweezers. There are also no leaks, and it’s possible to put these things back together again. This is one of those cases where the imitator succeeds the original. You can pick a pack of these up at Vapor Alley and see for yourself.
- Good performance
- Tubes made of improved plastic
- Easy to reassemble
- No leaks
- Can use your favorite drip tip (probably)
- So-so performance until device breaks in
- Requires a syringe to fill
- Poorly written instruction card
- Probably won’t people who aren’t fans of clearomizers
Product: CE3 XL Clearomizers
Available at: Vapor Alley
Price: $10.95/5 pack
Resistance: available in 2.4, 2.7 and 3.1
Disclosure: I feature affiliate links and banners for Vapor Alley.