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Comparative IkenVape Carto review

Discussion in 'IkenVape' started by Switched, Nov 30, 2010.

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  1. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    As most I started off my vaping journey using a two part system, or cartos. I was pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness of the e-cig. Unfortunately like many, it left me always “wanting”. It wasn't until I switched to a three part system with the 510 that I finally became smoke free.

    Off and on I would vape from my two part system (SafeCig) and other cartos (E9s) on my passthru and they never satisfied me. I was always left wanting. My original SafeCig kit was purchased by my neighbour and he enjoys it tremendously, mind you he is a mild smoker, and more or less uses it where he can't smoke more than anything else. He nonetheless always has one in his pocket :)

    Prior to embarking on the IkenVape journey of amazement, I had tried the KR8s which everyone was raving about, I had acquired some from a reputable vendor and I gave them an honest whirl. Nope! They were nothing to write home about and delivered what I coined as the KR8 funky taste.

    Then sometime during late spring the first 510 carto hit the community. It was receiving pretty much the rave reviews as the KR8 did. Having been bit twice, I gave them but a passing glance. Then someone else also brought them on to the market and it seemed the were lesser performers. Gold threads, silver threads, are they hard or soft tip etc... Too much for me to even fathom risking my money on, with hit and miss, and largely based on way too much selection.

    After acquiring the Chameleon I started participating here. During this time everything under the planet was discussed including but not limited to the IkenVape SLB 510 carto. Well, haven been around the block once or twice already with this cartomiser business, I wasn't about to jump on that wagon. Then WitchesWay came along and changed my entire perspective. She PM me and offer to send me one to try out. I accepted. She didn't send me one, she sent me 4. Wow! I sure didn't expect that. Ooooh baby they were good and they did indeed stand up to the hooplah generated by the folks. After trialling them for 1 week I placed an order for 25. Those babies performed straight out of the box, and did not come fitted with the patented KR8 funky taste. The rest is history...

    During this time I also came to fin out Isaac stocked the SLB attys. Some folks did not like the SLB attys, and preferred the JoyEs. Myself I preferred the SLBs especially at 5V for durability. When Isaac announced that he was working on the entire line, I was in heaven. When one reads the majority of the comments here with regards to the IKV line of atomisers, folks can see we are a bunch of floating angels. Since Isaac has continued to develop atomising equipment that is being tweaked to perfection wrt quality of the build and sustainability. In other words something that is vapable straight out of the box and continues to perform well past other atomising devices.

    Testing Criteria
    I will be the first one to admit that I am one fussy SOB. I further believe that being fussy and perhaps pointing out design or performance flaws drive improvements. I know of at least two posted comments (not IkenVape related) that were taken verbatim and were applied. This motivates me even further in keeping my reviews honest at to the point. I will not deny that I often will take some points up with the vendor in private. The latter is not to be construed as an omission of details, but rather an observation that may not be germane to the review, or an observation that would not benefit the community. One thing I have disclosed openly in the past, all proprietary information is kept between the vendor and I, especially when it concerns technical specifications and improvements.

    A tester needs benchmarks when testing new products. In other words, why should I buy this product when JoeBlow sells a similar one. In order to be as objective as one can, we do need benchmarks in my humble opinion to offer the reader some perspective in which to make an informed decision. As a BETA tester for IkenVape I will often compare his new product against his former developments. This I believe offers insight to Isaac on where to tweak his product if said product requires tweaking. After all he developed it and knows were to tweak it.

    I have washed my cartos out in the past, as they never performed the same after a bath, I just toss 'em now when they either burn through or go stale. At their relatively low cost (pennies a day) I just simply can't be bothered washing them out. I rather spend my time vaping 'em instead. Besides their is nothing like a fresh carto or atty when it comes to performance. I am fussy :)

    Change in test venue
    I developed a severe sensitivity to Propylene Glycol, hence part of “What is up with Switched”. This is not something that occured over night, and not limited to a specific liquid. I had to do a process of elimination in order to derive my conclusions. I had to wait until I received my flavourless all VG nic, to formerly draw my conclusions to a close. Until reception of my VG liquid, I was still vaping PG at 36% (DIY) it diminished my sensitivity, but it wasn't until I went totally VG that my ailments subsided. I am now fine, and my reviews will be conducted using all VG (except for flavouring) cut 4 to 1 with distilled water, which renders my liquids to a similar viscosity as before.

    This above paragraph is an extremely controversial subject on the forums and why we do not see much discussion with regards to it. Please do not PM me or ask me what happened. A few people that are close to me know, and that is all I intend to inform. During the time frame of “what is up with Switched” several folks were posting that vaping was SAFE. Understandably I was upset with such comments. Vaping is a safer alternative over smoking, but I would not categorise vaping as “safe” perse. I will leave you with: Do your research into the toxicity of PG or possible side effects vice doing searches on the safety of PG. You will be amazed at the differing results. Notwithstanding, some folks will not incur allergic reactions using PG or develop a sensitivity, that is why the medical community has taged it as GRAS, as some folks have demonstrated intolerance at levels lower than what they deemed as “minimal safe level”.

    The results of comparative testing (as of 22 November)
    To date I was fortunate to review the SLB 510, the KR8 mega carto, the 801/510 fusion, the HV 510 premiums and the 510 dripper. I will list the pros and cons of all these cartos and come to my ranking from top to bottom at the end. That, being said, your mileage may vary. These are my observations only. Offering you the background of where I am coming from should provide the reader (I hope) to make an informed decision for themselves. Here we go...

    SLB 510 – The thread were these were discussed in no longer available, so I will have to go by memeory.

    • they can be vaped straight out of the box;
    • they are/were designed for HV vaping and meter at 3.2Ohm;
    • the coil is fitted horizontally near the top vice on its side like many cartos. During the discussion this was a + because as we vape, the majority of the liquid is pulled towards the mouth piece. The atty being were the majority of the liquid is, mean they last longer between top offs;
    • the draw is pleasant;
    • the flavour remains unchanged;
    • vapour production is decent (PG liquid);
    • throat hit middle of the road (3.2-3.7V);
    • can withstand many refills without going stale;
    • longevity is great, one lasted me 5 weeks without going stale. The majority last well over 2-3 weeks. (I do not wash 'em);
    • they wick well with PG liquids and modified (thinned) VG liquids; and
    • capable of being vaped at moderatly high voltages (read below 5V).

    • a little on the airy side fresh out of the box, but very usable on an eGo until it has a chance to season;
    • tight fitting with the eGo cone but not bad;
    • wicking performance drops significantly with “sweeter” liquids;
    • longevity is decreased when using VG in liquids;
    • although toted for HV vaping, will burn through at 6V, but adequate at 5V or lower.

    KR8 Mega Carto 3.0Ohm

    • These things are huge -standard cartos 1 3/8", these megas are 2";
    • can accept 55 drops;
    • they have an adjustable air draw. A similar vape to vaping on an eGo with cone. Some folks like an airier vape and that is fine. The KR8s permit vaping style adjustments;
    • designed for HV vaping and do that amazingly well at 5V;
    • very good vapour production and throat hit at 5V;
    • good longevity; and
    • wicks very well and topping off infrequent even at HV.

    • fresh out of the box cartos have the KR8 funky taste I am not fussy about. This is predominantly apparent with delicate flavours, but not so much so with heavier flavoured liquid;
    • at higher voltages (5V) some liquid tasted burnt (delicate flavours);
    • harsh above 3.2V (unseasoned) some loss of flavour as well;
    • may not last at 6V for some. I tested 2 and popped one first toot at 6V; and
    • carrying capacity of the carto could be a negative if one shoulf fail after a fresh top off.

    *Important Note: The test on one of these was short lived becaused it popped the first time it was introduced to 6V, therefore I only had one remaining carto to complete testing. In all fairness, these cartos require seasoning before being introduced to voltages provided by non JoyE devices IMHO. After seasoning, they performed well. As the test progressed the remaining carto was tested with Blackberry Menthol and performed great at 5V, too harsh at 6V.

    The autopsy revealed that both these had scorched marks and the HV one (used for 2 weeks) had actually burnt through and was not merely subjective. I do not consider myself a vaper who utilises long pulls or vapes cartos dry before topping off. So you mileage may vary. These are my observations.

    HV 510 Premium Cartomizers 3.2Ohm

    • ready to go straight out of the box, no funky taste;
    • awesome vapour production with an 80/20 PG/VG liquid;
    • great performance renders a vaping experience similar to LR;
    • delivers a decent throat hit (18mg, reckless with the menthol at 4.2V);
    • capable of multiple successive (5 x 5 sec) hits without heating up of loosing flavour; and
    • perform extremely well at 4.2V

    • require to be seasoned a day or two before HV use;
    • not capable of voltages above 5V;
    • smaller carrying capacity when compared to the SLB 510 (35 vs 44 on fresh charge)

    510/801 fusion 2Ohm

    • It has an 801 connection, folks that have been waiting for an 801 cartomiser will be happy;
    • it will fit an eGo with cone;
    • it has an airy draw, to some this is important;
    • they are etched on the side to indicate what they are IKV LR; and
    • the air flow (draw) can be manipulated to suit your vaping needs/style.

    • If this carto is to be used on a non native connector, if may be too airy for you. Although I have adjusted my 801 adapter for maximum stiffness, the exposed air holes on the periphery of the connection allows for too much air flow to the atty;
    • Is there any way to stiffen the draw on this cartomiser? Well yes, sheath it. I used a 5/16" length of condom to cover the peripheral air holes and that tightened the draw just nice, for me using an adapter. The downside of this method, it cannot be used on the eGo with cone. The cone will not slip over with the condom in place.
    • Using the carto without the condom on an eGo is only marginally better. The draw is stiffened somewhat but still too airy for my liking.
    • can only be used on a native connection.

    MEGA 510 Drip-style Cartomizer

    • the cartos metered in at 2.6Ohm, they are designed for 3.7 - 4V vaping;
    • they are ready to go straight out of the box;
    • they are stainless and come fitted with a drip tip;
    • they are only slightly longer than a normal carto (2mm without drip tip);
    • they take 30 drops on a fresh charge;
    • the polyfill batting seems normal complete with protective sheating. However, as others have observed, it does seem to be “looser” compared to other cartos I have tried; and
    • the centre post seems to be adjustable. I have played with mine in both directions and nothing happened?

    • they come with individual drip tips. A positive and a negative, one will amass quite a drip tip collection over time; and
    • price point. High due to included drip tips. Could be easily reduced with a bulk order.

    After having used the aforementioned cartos at various voltages etc... I have come to the conclusion that although their resistance might lead one to believe they can be used at high voltage, I have had not had much success at high voltage. This can be attributed to my vaping style. However, I do maintain my cartos wet, and can easily detect when they are starting to dry out. Therefore they can withstand moderately high voltages, (read 5 volts) but all in my opinion are better suited for 3.7-4.2 volts.

    Final rating:
    • the 510 dripper at 2.6Ohm – 9/10
    • the 510 Premium HV at 3.2Ohm – 8.5/10
    • SLB 510 at 3.2Ohm – 8/10
    • KR8 Mega at 3Ohm – 8/10
    • 510/801 Fusion at 2Ohm - 7/10

    510 dripper
    No fussing with these cartos, they simply rock! :thumbs:

    510 Platinum
    A fog machine even with PG liquids. The carrying capacity is great and is capable of 5 volts

    SLB 510
    A solid performer, on par with the KR8

    KR8 Mega
    This atty had the KR8 “funky taste” otherwise it would have exceeded the SLB. However, with a capacity of 2ml of liquid, this litte fog machine is a great carto. It's carrying capacity is also a negative point, when one dies with a fresh refil, 1-2mls of liquid is lost

    510/801 Fusion
    My least favourite. It runs too hot and the draw is far too airy. Did not deliver a true taste, perhaps because of the resistance. Some have used these at 5V plus, I personally can't see how.

    The are my personal observations and should not be deemed as gospel. Everyone has their own vaping style and tune in to personal satisfactions. These satisfactions are often very subjective and you mileage may vary.

    What I look for:
    • No muss no fuss must work out of the box;
    • great flavour;
    • good vapour production;
    • a reasonable throat hit; and
    • decent longevity, minimum 1 week without having to clean them.

    In conclusion
    Isaac and IkenVape has worked hard at developing and tweaking its equipment to ensure their is something in the store that can suit even the finickiest of vapers out there. One size does not fill all, but IkenVape carries most standard sizes, and you have my personal guarantee he has your shoe size. What would that be? Heck I don't know! Do I look like a shoe salesman:p
  2. Chingas

    Chingas Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 27, 2010
    Billings, MT
    Heckuva thread Switched. Kudos! I notice that even though you rate the Fusions the lowest that you don't have any Negatives listed for them.
  3. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Yup! it has been corrected.
  4. Chingas

    Chingas Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 27, 2010
    Billings, MT
    I am not a big carto guy but this is helpful. I am using one of Isaac's 510 Platinums on my Reo Grande today because my 2.0 510 from him decided it would read 22 ohms this morning. The flavor isn't as good but it's still pleasing and is hitting like a champ.
  5. Lisa B

    Lisa B Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 30, 2010
    Central City, Colorado
    I received my Mega 510 Drip Style Cartomizer this week and I love it, I am use to dripping so wasn't sure if there was a cartomizer out there for me. Switch recommended this one to me and I was able to get it on Black Friday and received mine on Monday and was very impressed.
  6. Chingas

    Chingas Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 27, 2010
    Billings, MT
    Switched, since i am trying to go all VG myself (PG makes my muscles ache in the morning) which of these, if any, are VG friendly? I am big on flavor so I don't like to cut my juices yet I can't imagine my VapeRite Organic Bananas Foster would work in any carto. That stuff is the definition of goo.
  7. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    If you dilute your VG liquids 4/1 or 20% with distilled water you should be good to go with most of them. If you are going straight VG, in all honesty no carto will really wick well as VG is way too thick. In my case, since I roll my own that is not a major problem. High sugar liquids is also bad on cartos. All that being said it all depends on the longevity you expect from a carto.
  8. mwa102464

    mwa102464 Resting In Peace ECF Veteran

    Switched, you are a reviewing machine, amazing review buddy nice job..!!!
  9. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Nah! Just work on it a little here a little there, ya know. One stop shopping of sorts. Thanks :)
  10. Iken

    Iken Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 23, 2009
    Switcher! Whoa! Where did this come from!? This is just incredible! I don't know how you do it!!!
  11. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Always a pleasure! You didn't leave me much choice with the largest selection out there, information has a tendency to get buried over time. I appreciate the sticky it will save folks allot of time searching for the info. Thanks! :)
  12. Iken

    Iken Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 23, 2009
    A total pleasure All around in this case Switcher. Something this informational Needs to be out in the open and easily accessible. I mean God, Switcher! This has to be the most comprehensive review of the e-cig world, let alone e-cig history. I remember you were telling me 3 months ago? That you were working on cartomizer review. So it can't even be fathomed on how much work you really put into this. Your so unbelievably generous , helpful, and inspiring to take the knowledge for what it's worth and pass it on. That worth is never inexpensive, but always made of gold. I really hope to see the thread views sky rocket on this as it's just Perfect.
  13. Yellowman1972

    Yellowman1972 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 30, 2010
    switch, very nice review sir. how you cover everything in such detail leaves nothing out really. good job!
  14. markfm

    markfm Aussie Pup Wrangler Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Anyone know the resistance of the 510 Platinum V2? I'm looking for a 2 ohm 510 carto.

  15. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
    I just tested three of them and they are coming in between 2.7-2.9 ohm
  16. markfm

    markfm Aussie Pup Wrangler Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Thanks for the quick response -- I'll keep poking :)
  17. Katya

    Katya ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Feb 23, 2010
    Very nice review, Switched, but what's up with the avatar? Where's the bear?

    Are you sure? Did you subtract the resistance of your leads? I get 2.5Ω on my Platinums.
  18. Switched

    Switched ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 18, 2010
    Dartmouth, NS Canada
    Thanks for the kind words Katya :) Ahhhhhh, the bear! Well it is hard to please everyone all of the time so I try to please most of the folks most of the time :lol:

    Vaporologist is fond of that avi so I decided I would indulge him for a spell. I'll let him explain .... :)

    Wrt the resistance I don't own any of them but I did find with my MM that the IkenVape line is pretty much bang on on the .0 and .5 with the exceptions of the .2s, which are .2
  19. Katya

    Katya ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Feb 23, 2010
    Oh, no worries, I love the chimp. It's just that... you're da Bear.

    Happy New Year.
  20. Lisa B

    Lisa B Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 30, 2010
    Central City, Colorado
    Hey switch, I like the chimp but I may be a little biased. :)

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