Hardware I tried and settled on during my first few months of vaping
Finding the nic mg
Talking to the folks at the local vape store, I tried 18mg and even on the evod 2 - a low power device indeed - I was coughing up a storm. Maybe the 70% PG didn't help either, but when I dropped to 12mg I was able to enjoy the vape without coughing endlessly.
First Device - Kanger Evod 2
The Kanger Evod 2, I got a starter kit with 2, the charger and some coils for about $30 from a local vape shop. This is a nice get your feet wet device, and unlike the istick, I don't regret it at all. Now, maybe some of that is because it was what convinced me vaping could work, maybe there's a wee bit of sentimentality there. But, I just feel like 2 devices, charger, coils... for what I paid it was a good deal.
The device itself is very small which is nice in lots of ways, but in two critical ways, I outgrew it within a few weeks...
Before I started using drippers (aka RDA ... rebuildable drip atomizers) I would still use them to sample juice, but as I moved on to higher power devices the wee evods were not accurate enough for that. However, if I am going to a fancy dinner or a wedding or some such, the evod 2 still gets slipped in a pocket. It is very good for that.
- It's small, so filling can be a little annoying
- It's small, so the battery would never get me through a day
Second Device - iStick 30
The istick 30 I got again from a local store for $65. This is the one vaping purchase I do regret. Not awfully so, and it was still the equivalent of a carton of my old camel filters... so not too bad. But, it just never felt like $65 worth of electronics to me. I think if it had been under $40 I would not have blinked.
- It is very compact
- Easy to use options...
- Super easy to use, seriously...
- Display is good
- Decent battery life
I did end up getting a second to use while the first was charging.
- Once the battery has run through its set amount of recharge cycles the whole thing is trash.
- The fire button rattled when the unit was shaken, and it would sometimes not register a click when pressed. Just felt tacky for something costing what it did.
- A couple of times at 29 watts the unit got very hot overall. And on doing some battery research, since I was considering going to a replaceable battery style anyways... well, right or wrong, the heat of the mod did not feel reassuring to me.
- The supplied charger plug got extremely hot while charging, now for example, watching video on a laptop for a few hours.. it will get crazy hot too. However, the istick adapters heat with the button rattle and heat at 29 watt ... all of it ... it just worried me a bit more. Sure I could have used a different one, but come on, $65. Grumpy face!
- Took a while to charge from the usb.
A few weeks later...
Then shortly after, I found ECF and reviews and a wonderful world of information. I would like to think, largely thanks to this forum I am a much more informed consumer now.
When I buy other things, anything else really, I do a lot of research, I think I hadn't started that with vaping at that point simply because I did not realize the amount and variety of options that were available. That first store had a small selection indeed.
Now, I mostly wanted a device with removable battery so I wouldn't be left without a mod if regulation messed with the market after my istick had fufilled its mission. So I was already looking to move on anyways. Plenty of folks on ECF have had great luck with them, and they sell a LOT. So take my safety worries with a grain of salt. Just my personal somewhat emotional feedback.
Just know there are some great options out there for similar cost, without a rattle, so... ;-)
Why have a mod that takes removable batteries?
This was important to me for a few reasons:
- The mod if high quality might well outlast a fixed battery. So, for example, the istick once its battery is gone its all gone. The sigelei mini might outlive the lifespan of one battery.
- Spares... It is easy to throw a couple of charged batteries in a wee plastic box (so they don't rub keys and spark) and then you don't end up stranded waiting for the mod to charge.
- More control over the batteries you use
- Long term more cost effective, though in the short term if you need a charger and batteries and a mod... it might end up being $40 - $70 more.
- Better mods, ones with more power/features/2 battery slots for longer life... those tend to use replaceable batteries. Not al, but enough of them.
What I use now...
At home mod and tank...
The Provari 3 is also a nice looking device, I just stuck with the 2.5 since it saved some money and I don't need to go below 1ohm when I am using the kayfun or nautilus. If you are worried about having room to grow, a Provari 3 and say nautilus tank gives you more options down the road.
- A Provari 2.5 with the 18650 extension cap and genuine Kayfun lite plus tanks, for when I'm home and not using the Vectors.
- The Provari has outstanding build quality - the highest quality feel of any of my devices.
- Easy to use.
- Pairs well with the Kayfun.
- The Kayfun lite plus...
- I think $80 is a very fair price for the quality.
- Not too hard to build with once you get used to working with the wee parts.
- I never got the clear mid tank piece to work without leaking and switched to using all metal. Now I tell if the tank is empty on that first slightly burnt taste, use a blunt syringe to refill, always just do 4.2ml... works well. I do prefer the look of the all metal too.
- I really like the fact that I am not dependent on a vendor to keep getting coils, the running cost is very low in terms of cash, I probably have invested several hours in figuring it and out and trial-and-error first builds & wicks though.
- Luckily I get to work remotely 5 days a week at least for the foreseeable future. I have heard that changing temps can cause leaks with the kayfun, so I have been using the sigelei mini and subtank mini when I have to go from AC to hot car that cools down again.
- Still haven't had a vaping winter yet, if I couldn't vape in my home office I don't know if the kayfun would be a great all day tank option going from heated rooms to sub zero car parks and then back to heating again. I guess I could test this now with the summer extremes but I don't have to so haven't, at least not yet anyways.
Out and about mod and tank
- A sigelei mini (30 watt, removable single 18650 battery, $33 from element vape online) -- I feel like this is a really solid wee mod for the price. No rattles, good buttons, feels like it cost a little more than it did. A good size too.
- The subtank mini lives on the sigelei mini and I keep them ready with plenty of battery capacity and juice for when I run errands / have to go downtown etc...
At home, savouring the flavour...
There is something a little "soul-less" / "boring almost" with the sigelei compared to the hex... but considering the price, it is a reasonable trade I think. I would never get backup hex ohms, for example. The price of the sigelei makes it a good option for such hoarding/stockpiling/responsibly keeping myself far from camel country.
- A hex ohm version 2.0 and sigelei 150 watt with a couple of vector rdas.
- The vector has been a great first RDA for me. No leaks, easy to build on, very forgiving. The flavour is a definite step up from the other devices, a bit "fuller" and more nuance.
- I like that it will last a long time, came with spare parts and again I am not dependent on a vendor for future consumables.
- Easy to swap the wicking out on, especially compared to the teeny tiny Kayfun.
- Great quality for its standard price and I got it on a major sale.
- The hex ohm feels great in the hand, love the size, simplicity, that big old button. Appreciate the fact its made by a small(ish?) company in Austin.
- The sigelei feels like a quality device, a bit more square than the hex, but still comfortable in the hand.
- The sigelei has good buttons, informative screen, simple.
- The sigelei can be had for $65 right now which feels like a bargain. I have a couple of extras as backups, I tested them for a day and packed them up again to go with the rest of my vapocalypse supplies.
And the sigelei 150 just like the minis, have been good to me so far. They feel like well made devices. No rattles!
Random other stuff...
Most folks seem to lean towards xtar chargers these days so I might try that if the nitecore were to unexpectedly die.
- Syringes for refilling the kayfun...
- The coilmaster DIY kit has been very handy. Though I did get separate wire clippers online.
- Good batteries - 18650 Samsung INR18650-25R 2500mAh High Discharge FLAT Top
- A charger - Amazon.com: Nitecore D4 smart Charger 2015 version with LCD display For Li-ion, IMR, LiFePO4 26650 22650 18650 17670 18490 17500 18350 16340 RCR123 14500 10440 Ni-MH And Ni-Cd AA AAA AAAA C Rechargeable Batteries with Ac and 12V DC (Car) power cords, 2 x EdisonBright AA to D type battery spacer/converters: Electronics
1 other random piece of advice... If you try subohming be sure to use lower nic juice that normal, since a 3mg juice will feel more like a 9 or 12 on a 0.5 ohm coil.
This is a great friendly place, enjoy!
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