Welcome to Vaping Edit

The transition from smoking cigarettes and into vaping can seem overwhelming without some direction. For the cost of two cartons of cigarettes you can get some really amazing hardware that will make the transition out of smoking easier. Please read through this entire guide before you do anything else.

While no long term studies have concluded on the health benefits or risks associated with vaping, many experts believe it to be a healthier alternative to smoking.

After you start vaping, it's normal (and necessary) to drink more water. Buy yourself two or three nice, big mugs to keep around you.

When you're done reading the guide, take a look at this timeline for your body recovering from smoking and this unbelievable guide that manages all expectations.

Vapeheads is all about helping people buy the right gear first. Most vapers will tell you about the gear they bought, used for a few months and then replaced. Typically people spend several hundred dollars on gear before finding a setup that suits their needs. The guide below will get you started with an easy-to-use vape that allows you to easily move into rebuilding (wrapping your own coils) if you decide to go that way.

It's worth reading up on Ohm's Law if you aren't familiar.

What is Vaping ?

Hardware Edit

The Subox kit comes with a 50W mod and a Subtank Mini. The nice thing with the Subtank is that it also comes with a rebuildable head. If you decide to wrap your own coils, you only need to buy cotton and kanthal.

When it comes to batteries, we prefer to use For the ease of your first order, we've directed you to use

While this device can be charged over the USB, you'll get a better charge by using an external charger. You'll see plenty of posts about USB ports having issues on a wide variety devices. Play it safe and vape like a pro!

If you can't find any of the hardware listed above, try searching

Planned Obsolescence

A note regarding iSticks, MVPs, and other mods with internal batteries. We don't support them. In the vaping world, that style of mod is like comparing a Bic lighter to a Zippo. Sure, the bic works, but eventually it will die and be rendered useless. Our recommendations point to gear that will stand up to time and not become waste when something minor (like a battery) has been through it's cycles.

We're all about long-term purchases.

Coil changes:

You'll be swapping coils every week or so. You'll notice that the vape isn't as good as when you started that coil. The more output (watts) you push through the coil the shorter the lifespan. Vaping at a lower wattage might only give you an extra day, so you might be happier with a better vape with the sacrifice.

It's important to note that there are plenty of prebuilt coil options. However, you should always find out how much the heads cost before purchasing the tank. The heads are $3 each, but you also have the rebuildable option which is best. Instead of spending $3, you can rebuild for pennies. The goal of these guides is to move you into a spot where you're spending as little as possible on vaping. For more advanced vapers that rebuild and make their own juice, we're spending under $5 per month!

Nicotine Levels Edit

Choosing the appropriate nicotine level is important for the first few weeks after quitting.

  • 2 pack a day (PAD) smoker - start with 18mg or 12mg
  • 1 pack a day - start with 12mg
  • Less than one pack a day - start with 6mg

If you buy 18mg and it's too much, pick up some 0mg of the same flavor and blend them. 2/3 18MG + 1/3 0mg for 12mg, 1/2 18mg + 1/2 0mg for 6mg and so on. If you can buy juice locally, that's best at first until you nail down your nic level.

How Vaping Works Edit

You fill the tank with juice / e-liquid. The wick feeds juice to the coil.

You press the switch of your mod / device and the current passes through the surface area of the coil and heats it; converting the liquid into vapor.

As you inhale, air is pulled through the air flow holes, passes the coil and draws the vapor into your mouth, delivering flavor to your tongue, then enters your lungs.

You exhale.

The vapor that hasn't dissipated in your mouth and lungs is pushed out into a 'cloud'.

The more power you push through a coil, the more juice that is converted to vapor.

Types of Hardware Edit

There are three major styles of mods. Pen-style, Box, and Tube. Before we get into it, pen-style mods are usually cheap, powerless, over-priced units that prey on the uninformed new vaper. Avoid these.

Tube and Boxes are broken down to two categories:

  • Regulated Mod - Typically safer than a mechanical with better, consistent performance. The chip controls the output and most have safety features built in. Less cleaning and less adjustment.
    • Temperature Control - A regulated device that uses nickel wire to give you complete control of the temperature of your vape. This type of mod will not give you any dry hits, which is the main benefit.
  • Mechanical Mod - An unregulated device with a battery. No boards or wires. If you want a certain output, you must build coils to that specification. Note: Mechanical Mods are NOT for beginners. Even experienced users must be careful of runaway discharge that can lead to a battery exploding.

Where to Buy Hardware Edit

United States

  • Eciggity
  • VapeNW
  • 101 Vapes
  • Triangle Vapes
  • Kidney Puncher
  • OKC Vapes
  • Fasttech (also check out this guide to Fasttech)

E-Liquid / Juice Edit

This is what it's typically made of:

Propylene Glycol (PG)

Commonly used as a preservative in many foods and extracts. PG is currently in use in several nicotine delivery systems (inhalers, etc).

  • A carrier for flavor
  • Gives a little throat hit

Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

Commonly used in food products as a thickener. Everything from salad dressing, toothpaste, and liqueurs utilize it.

  • Produces the vapor
  • Tastes slightly sweet

Natural and Artificial Flavoring

These extracts are a blend of natural extracts and food-safe chemicals that produce subtle flavors. For instance, if you want an apple flavor, you'd have a natural extraction of the apple itself but add in a variety of chemicals to provide the extra sweetness, crispness, and dry mouth-feel. The use of 'chemical' carries a negative connotation -- however, it's what they are and they are safe to eat. In the context of vaping, these are also classified as 'additives'. More on this below.

  • Makes everything taste good

Liquid Nicotine

  • Gives more throat hit
  • Satisfies your addiction

Some flavoring uses Ethyl Alcohol for their flavor extraction, but at this point this isn't as common as the PG artificial flavoring. Ethyl Alcohol is safe to vape and often has very strong, up-front flavoring. If you find juice with it, try it out!

When it comes to electronic cigarettes, the major 'unknown' is the flavoring. The other elements are all commonly used in other nicotine delivery systems (inhalers, etc). Even the inhalers will sometimes have an artificial flavoring component like mint. Because this technology is new, the long term studies are still a few years away. However, most of the elements have been in use for years in other inhaled applications. There are countless studies that are pro-vaping, but it's important to understand these points.

Where to Buy E-Liquid Edit

Often people have the desire to start with tobacco flavored juice. Most of them fall flat, so for your first round of juice avoid them. The good ones are out there, but save those for later.

There are thousands of e-liquid companies. Here are some popular ones.

  • Hedonism Vapor (US Only)
  • Fluffy Clouds
  • Vape Wild
  • Tasty Vapor (TV)
  • Axiom Vaping
  • Vapor Trails NW
  • Vaporized (Scotland)
  • Dash Vapes (Canada)

For more juice recommendations, check out our list of outstanding juice.

You'll see a lot of hype around Mount Baker Vapor and Bombies. Try them if you like, but don't limit yourself.

Common Terms Edit

  • 306 / 510 - A specific threading that most atomizers use.
  • ADV - All Day Vape; your favorite juice that you use on a regular basis.
  • AFC / Air Flow Control - A ring with some cutouts that allows you to control the tightness of the draw. Tighter airflow allows for more flavor but results with less vapor.
  • Analog - A traditional cigarette
  • Atomizer / Atty - The part of the vape / electronic cigarette that heats up the juice
  • Authentic - A mod or atomizer with an original design. see also; Clone Read more...
  • B&M - Brick and Mortar --- a vape shop.
  • Batteries - 18650s are the most common size for batteries most common in more advanced mods. Sometimes people will refer to their mod as a battery.
  • BVC - Bottom Vertical Coil
  • Build - The specs on your current coil. When mentioning your build, also include your atomizer, type of wire, gauge of wire, type of cotton, mod, and mod settings.
  • Cartomizer / Glassomizer - A tank atomizer that uses pre-built coils (usually made by Kanger or Aspire)
  • Clone - A mod or atomizer that is a copy of an authentic design. These often have obvious flaws and compromises. Not all clones are bad, but buyer beware. Read more...
  • Cloud / Cloud Chasing - A Cloud is the vapor that is produced. A Cloud Chaser is a hobbyist who strives to create the biggest clouds.
  • DIY - Do It Yourself --- mainly making your own juice using a mix of a nicotine base, natural and artificial flavoring, PG, and VG. See our guide.
  • Drip Tip - A removable tip used in most atomizers
  • Dripper / RDA - A Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer. Used with higher powered mods. You wrap your own coils and have complete control over your vape experience. Instead of a tank, you drip directly to a shallow well that feeds juice directly to a coil. Drippers are known for their fantastic flavor and wider airflow control.
  • ECF - Abbreviation for It's popular, but very conservative.
  • ECR - Abbreviation for [/r/electroniccigarette](/r/electroniccigarette) -- most likely the forum you found out about this sub.
  • Ethyl Alcohol - A high proof alcohol used to in flavor extractions
  • Fasttech - A large online store with lots of clones. Check out theguide to Fasttech.
  • Flavor Chaser - A hobbyist vaper who strives to produce the most flavor possible from their builds.
  • Flavor Extractions - Natural and artificial flavoring created by using either PG or Ethyl Alcohol. These flavorings are used in food, drinks, and more. (here's a guide)
  • Flooding - When a coil is drawing liquid faster than it can heat it up.
  • Gauge - The thickness of wire / kanthal.
  • Genesis / Genny Style - A type of tank atomizer typically wicked with stainless steel mesh. Commonly known for a tight draw and the purest flavor.
  • Kanthal - Developed in Sweden, this is resistance wire. Pronounced Kant-hal, the name is a blend of 'Kantzow' and 'Hallstahammar'. Pronounce the 'h'.
  • KDG - Short for Koh Gen Do; an organic cotton used by rebuilders.
  • Leaking - When an atomizer allows juice to trickle out of it's AFC.
  • Lung Hit - When you inhale directly to your lungs.
  • Max VG - Juice made with as little PG or Ethyl Alcohol as possible
  • mg - Milligrams -- used to measure nicotine levels.
  • ml - Millilitres -- used to measure volume of liquid.
  • Mod - The term 'Mod' came from the flashlight modifying community who made the first advanced electronic cigarettes. These days it can be used to describe any type of device.
  • Mouth to Lung - When you inhale to your mouth first then to your lungs.
  • Ohm - A measure of electrical resistance.
  • Ohmies - A phrase used by certain vapers... it sounds like 'homies'.. ugh.
  • Pen Style - An older style of atomizer. They're typically under-powered and suck.
  • PG - Abbreviation for Propylene Glycol.
  • PV - Short for 'Personal Vaporizer' -- another term for an electronic cigarette
  • Rayon - A wicking material.
  • RBA - All Rebuildable Atomizers including RTA and RDA (here's a guide)
  • RDA - Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer
  • RTA - Rebuildable Tank Atomizer, also referred to as RBTA
  • Starter Kit - Usually pen-style kits that are marked up and poorly made. Skip them.
  • Throat Hit - Also abbreviated as TH. This is that joyful feeling that nicotine gives when you inhale.
  • Vape - Usually used to describe a mod or electronic cigarette.
  • Vaper - A person who vapes
  • Vapor - The 'cloud' produced on an exhale.
  • VG - Abbreviation for Vegetable Glycerin.
  • Vooping - The act of vaping while going to the bathroom. Vooping is gross, George
  • Wire - Typically Kanthal A1. There are other types, but this is the most common. see also: Gauge.
  • Wraps - The amount of times kanthal is wound around a screwdriver or drill bit when building an RBA.

Timeline Edit

Now that you're done reading the guide, take a look at this timeline for your body recovering from smoking and this massive guide on ECF.

For Australians Edit

Order 0mg (no nicotine) juice from wherever you like, and also order50mg nicotine liquid from NudeNicotine and use a juice calculator to cut your juice. I'd suggest ordering 100% PG nicotine liquid to retain the flavor.

Don't order anything higher than 50mg or else you stand the risk of it being stopped with customs.


Level up: If you decide to move into the hobby side of vaping, check out the RBA Shopping List for Newbies.