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Ohms? Mods? Amps? – Vapers Vocabulary For Beginners
Vaping can be a very unique experience to jump into. With so many options to choose from, so much talk about customization, and so much new terminology, what does this all mean for you as a fresh new vaper? Let’s go through the most commonly used terms in practice to help you have a better understanding and a smoother entry to the vaping experience.
TYPES OF VAPES
First things first, there are many types of vapes. The most common types are box mods, cig-a-likes, and vape pens. Each type has its own benefits over the others such as reusability, adjustability, and customization. As is everything with vaping, personal preference is the most important thing. You want to find what works for you so you can achieve whatever it is you are looking to get out of vaping.
The cig-a-like vape is small, usually disposable, and bears the resemblance of a normal cigarette. They come pre-filled with e-liquid and are mostly designed for one-time use. The most obvious benefit of such devices is the price tag, but again, the reason they are quite cheaper than the other types is because of the lack of features. All in all, a cig-a-like is cheap and easy to use if you need a quick puff or just want to try vaping out.
Pens and Mods
Vape pens are exactly what they sound like. Tubular vapes with a button on the side and a mouthpiece on top. Mods are their bigger, more advanced boxy brothers. What separates these two, apart from the clear visual difference, is the amount of customization that you can do with each of them.
The term mod comes from the early days of vaping when it was referred to modifying electronic devices such as flashlights into vapes. Today, that term is used for vaping devices that can be modified to a unique personal preference. While today’s vape pens also offer a great deal of customization and are a great place to start, they cannot offer the versatility of a mod due to their smaller form factor and lack of features.
ANATOMY OF A VAPE
A vape consists of a battery, an atomizer, a coil, and a mouthpiece (sometimes called a drip tip), which all can be customized for your preference. It is easy to get turned off from vaping with an ill-suited device so choosing the right parts is very important. Each part plays a role in your vaping experience and because of that, it is good to know how they all affect it.
The battery is pretty self-explanatory, in that it gives power to the device. The type of battery varies from device to device. Older vape pens have non-removable while newer have removable batteries which are easier to change. Mods, being the most advanced, generally have a standard of removable batteries. They are rechargeable and typically last from 1 to 4 days (depends on capacity and usage) but whether they have a built-in USB charger or require an external one varies.
The atomizer is a name for the part of the vape where the liquid gets vaporized. It is mostly commonly a tank filled with liquid and a coil inside of it. Next to the atomizer, there are holes for the airflow, which can be adjusted to determine how much air goes through it when inhaling – in short, more airflow means more vapor and reduced flavor.
While most atomizers are a basic tank filled with liquid, there are RDA atomizers which stand for Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers. The drip part means that there is no tank for the liquid and that the liquid is dripped on to the cotton of the coil itself. If you are just starting with vaping, a tank atomizer is recommended because of its ease of use.
Now on to the coil. It’s basically a wire wrapped around some cotton that gets hot when electric current goes through it. The coils come at variable resistances which are measured in Ohms.
A 2-Ohm coil will resist more than a 0.5 coil (sub-ohm. Meaning less than 1 ohm). In practice, it means that 10 watts of electric current going through a 2-ohm coil will produce less heat and vapor than 10 watts going through a 0.5-ohm coil.
High resistance coils produce cooler vapor, and less of it, and save on battery life at the cost of a reduced flavor intensity, while sub-ohms produce more vapor and better flavor but drain the battery more and can be too hot for some people. To summarize, more ohms means less current and less heat, and vice versa.
Coils are also divided into MTL and DL coils, meaning mouth-to-lung and direct-lung inhaling. So, if you like to inhale into your mouth, then lung MTL is the way to go. DL coils offer more intense flavor but also produce more vapor that some people don’t like.
HOW A VAPE WORKS
Let’s go through what happens when you press the fire button on your vape, so you can have a better understanding of the many terms in their practical sense. You press the fire button and battery sends power to your coil, which is the metal cylinder in your atomizer, that gets heated up and turns the e-juice into vapor which you then inhale through your mouthpiece.
Watts and Volts
The amount of power that goes through your coil can be regulated. That’s where the wattage/voltage comes into play. The more watts/volts you send out, the warmer your coil gets and the faster it vaporizes. So, a higher wattage gives you more vapor and faster, but that also means the vapor is hotter and the battery drains faster.
If you like either more or less vapor and a stronger or weaker “hit” you can adjust the power output to your preference. In general, a stronger output will produce more intense taste but each juice, and person, has their own sweet spot. It is important to use the right amount of current for your coil since a weak output will not heat up the coil enough to vaporize the liquid, and too strong of an output will burn out the coil quickly.
The liquids themselves come in different flavors, nicotine levels, and PG/VG ratios. The PG and VG are ingredients in the liquid that change what kind of vapor the liquid gives. More VG in your juice means more and thicker vapor, but less throat hit than PG. This also comes down to your personal preference.
PG and VG stand for propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG). PG is more popular due to its more neutral flavor since VG is a bit sweet and it can affect the taste of your vapor. On the other hand, VG has a smoother throat hit and a cooler vapor and does not give you dry mouth that PG can give you. If you’re looking for a similar experience to a cigarette a more PG heavy liquid is recommended, otherwise, if you want a smoother hit and more vapor, higher VG is the way to go.
Taking what we went through, you can now hopefully understand the different parts of a vape, what can be changed to improve your vaping experience, and the type of vape you need to suit your customization needs.
Vape Pens and Mods – types of e-cigarettes with different amounts of customization.
Atomizer – where the liquid is turned in to vapor.
Coils – produce heat to vaporize the liquid – MTL and DL typed.
Ohms – more means less heat, but less vapor and flavor while giving a softer hit.
Wattage/voltage – higher means more heat and more vapor, but a hotter, stronger hit.
PG/VG – different base ingredients in the liquid.
When it comes to vaping, it’s all about finding that perfect mixture of wattage, resistance, PG/VG, types of coils and types of vapes. So now that you have a better understanding of what’s what and how everything affects your vaping, don’t be afraid to experiment with changing any of these variables to find your own perfect combination.
About the Author:
Author Name: Douglas Pate
Bio: Douglas Pate is an electronic cigarette and vaping expert working in the industry since 2010. Co-founder and President of White Label Juice Company, an industry-leading manufacturer of quality e-liquids and vapor products, Douglas and his company are passionate about vaping as a means of harm reduction and helping people switch and stay off analog tobacco products. White Label Juice Company leads the charge on responsible packaging, good manufacturing practices, and the long-term proliferation of vaping technology.