In this article, I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about vape pens. This includes disposable vape pens, refillable vape pen kits, and pod vape pens. Whether you're looking for a new vape pen, looking to upgrade your current one, or just wondering what a vape pen is, we've got you covered. So what is a vape pen?
As you may have already guessed, a vape pen doesn’t contain ink and won’t be useful if you're looking to jot down some notes. However, if you're looking to switch from smoking to vaping and prefer a device with a cylindrical form, then a vape pen will certainly come in handy. Simply put, a vape pen is an electronic cigarette which loosely resembles the shape of a pen, but there is much more to it than that.
A vape pen works in the same way as a vape in any other shape, but they are usually simple to use and relatively low cost. The pen-style structure is designed to keep the vape as narrow as possible, following the form of the battery inside the device. This structure is preferred by many vapers due to the compact width, just like a pen.
What Are The Different Types of Vape Pens?
Ultimately, all vape pens are forms of e-cigarette. That means a device that heats e-liquid into a vapour so it can be inhaled as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, vape pens come with different specifications, and have their own benefits to suit specific vapers' needs.
Disposable vape pens
Disposables are the simplest form of vape. There is no need to refill and no need to recharge as they are simply disposed of once they run out. If you use disposable vapes, remember to return the used units to your local Totally Wicked store so they can be recycled responsibly. Disposable vapes come in different shapes and sizes, but the most popular style is a disposable vape pen.
Pre-filled pod vape pens
If you like the simplicity of not having to refill your vape, but want a device which is more economical and environmentally friendly than a disposable, then a prefilled pod system could be the answer. These contain a rechargeable battery and a pod cartridge which is already filled with e-liquid. Once the pod runs out of e-liquid, you simply pop a new one in and dispose of the used one.
Similar to disposable vapes, pre-filled pods come in all shapes and sizes, including pen-style. A popular pen-style pre-filled pod is the Elfa Pro kit. This is a 500mAh (we'll talk about batteries later) rechargeable vape pen which uses Elfa Pro pods. There at 24 pod flavours available and all pods feature QUAQ mesh coil technology for a clean, consistent flavour.
We also have our very own pre-filled pod vape pen, the VLTZ Flex. With 18 fabulous e-liquid flavours, made right here in our factory in Blackburn, we think it's one of the best you can get. With a 900 mAh battery, it gives more consistent vapour delivery throughout a longer battery charge life than its competitors.
Refillable Vape Pens
Refillable vape pens have been popular among vapers for more than a decade. They traditionally feature a battery, a tank and an atomizer head. They can be refilled with e-liquid and the battery recharged. This makes them the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to vape. Refillable vape pens can vary dramatically in terms of price, specification and design. It's important that you choose one that suits your specific needs.
A few key differentiating factors to look out for when selecting a vape pen:
- Battery capacity
- Filling mechanism
- Output modes
- Atomizer head type.
What do each of these actually mean and how do they affect your vaping experience?
Vape Pen Battery Capacity
This one may seem pretty obvious. The battery capacity of a vape pen ultimately determines how long the device will last before it needs to be recharged. This is quantified using a mAh, or milliamp hour, rating. The bigger this number, the larger the battery capacity. As a rough guide, a 500mAh or smaller battery probably won't last a whole day, or maybe even a night out, before needing recharging. Batteries of 900 mAh or more will generally give more confidence in lasting a whole day. 1300 mAh or more will get most people from day-break to bedtime, even if they vape quite a lot.
However, there are other factors which can affect how long a vape lasts before it needs recharging. One of the main factors is the power output. A higher power output will mean the battery will have to work harder, and therefore won't last for a long between charges.
Tying in with the capacity of the battery is the charging capability of each device. Many of the latest vape pens now have USB-C fast charging. As you may have guessed, this means the battery can be recharged at a faster rate than devices with a USB 1A battery port.
If you're looking for a pen-style vape with a long-lasting battery, the Totally Wicked Tornado GTL is a great option. The 1600mAh capacity should last at least a full day between charges and this device features USB-C quick charging.
The output of a vape pen ultimately determines the amount of power that is provided by the battery to the atomizer head, which in turn heats the e-liquid, turning it into a vapour. The power level and the output mode can vary between vape pens.
Most vape pens provide either a direct output from the battery cell, or a regulated constant voltage output. Constant voltage will give a consistent power level throughout the battery's life, whereas the power level of a vape with direct output will reduce as the battery life depletes. Either of these output modes is ideal if you want a hassle-free experience, and don't want to worry about setting the output level of your vape. If you're looking for a simple to use vape pen with no settings to adjust, then the Totally Wicked AIO Pod 2 is ideal. Not sure if you'd prefer direct output or constant voltage? The Tornado EX2 allows you to switch between these two output modes, but the default constant voltage mode suits most people. It is preset to use this, so most people never even have to think about it.
Some vape pens have adjustable wattage, which means you can tailor the power output depending on your personal preferences. For example, the Totally Wicked Switz3 and Tornado GTL have 3 power levels, low medium and high. A greater power output will provide larger vapour production, a more prominent throat hit, but battery life may be a little shorter.
What Atomizer Heads are Used in Vape Pens?
Like any vape device, every vape pen has an atomizer head. There are countless variants of atomizer heads and they come in all different forms. Without going into all of the intricacies surrounding atomizer heads, it's helpful to know a little about coil resistance.
All atomizer heads have an electrical resistance, which is measured in ohms, sometimes denoted by the Greek letter Î©. The greater this ohm rating, the higher the resistance. A higher resistance ultimately results in lower power output, and therefore lesser vapour production. On the other hand, a low resistance atomizer head will produce higher power, generally meaning large clouds of vapour. Generally, vape pens are designed to be used with higher resistance atomizer heads. However there are exceptions like the AIO Slider Hellfire, and soon to be released Eleaf iJust AIO Pro. These vape pens have low resistance atomizer head options, and are capable of large vapour production.
Atomizer heads will need changing periodically, usually every couple of weeks. If you prefer a simple, cleaner process when changing atomizer heads, go for a vape pen with push fit atomizer heads, like the Tornado GTL. Or, for ultimate simplicity, go for a vape pen with a fixed atomizer head in the pod, which we'll come to soon.
Vape Pen "Tanks"
Like any refillable e-cigarette, vape pens need a tank to contain the e-liquid. These can come in many forms, including a separate tank that screws onto the battery, a pod-style tank, or an all-in-one device with an integrated tank.
All-in one vape pens
As you may have guessed, all-in-one vape pens integrate the tank and battery together. The main benefit of an all-in-one device is that they are much less prone to leaking than other types of vape pens. The Totally Wicked AIO 3 is a prime example of this. So if you want a simple, leak-free experience why not opt for this new vape pen?
Pod-style vape pens
Some vape pens utilise a pod-style tank. In most cases this is a plastic tank which fits onto the battery, and often stays there with a magnetic connection. These vape pods sometimes have a fixed atomizer head which means the atomizer coil cannot be removed from the pod. This is a huge plus if you don't like the hassle of changing atomizer heads... Once you need to replace your atomizer, simply dispose of the entire pod and replace with a new one. It's simple, and replacement pods are inexpensive.
Do you like the idea of a pen-style vape pod? The Totally Wicked AIO Pod 2 is the perfect solution, with a fixed atomizer pod, USB-C charging automatic activation and a price tag of just £18.99!
Traditional "screw fit" tanks
Some vapes feature a tank that is screwed onto the battery, which for slightly dull historical reasons is sometimes referred to as a "510 connection". This is very much out of fashion for vape pens nowadays, but is still quite common for "box" style batteries. You can pair pretty much any 510 tank with any 510 battery. Just be careful that the diameter of the tank and battery match up, or it may look a little odd.
How Do You Refill Vape Pens?
A key feature to consider when choosing a vape pen is the refilling mechanism. For example, if you want to keep your refills quick and simple, go for a "sliding top fill" mechanism like the Tornado GTL. If you don't like the idea of changing atomizer heads, the Joyetech EVIO Pod gives you sliding top fill in a "fixed atomizer" format. With a sliding top fill tank, you simply push the top cap across, fill with e-liquid and slide the cap back across. You will be good to go in a matter of seconds.
Other vape pens feature screw top fill, and some feature bottom filled tanks, each of which come with their benefits. For example, bottom filled tanks may seem a little more complicated to fill, but tend to have fewer issues with leaking. Vape pens with a pod-style tank often have more unique filling mechanisms, usually in the form of a removable rubber bung on the side of the pod.
With various filling mechanism available, it's important to opt for a vape pen with a filling method which you feel comfortable and confident in using. It is well worth popping into a Totally Wicked shop where our experienced teams can give you some recommendations and guidance on this.
What Other Features Do Vape Pens Have?
We've covered off the main differentiating factors between vape pens, but there are a few other things to look out for. Adjustable airflow, auto draw and battery indicators are available in some vape pens, but not all.
The amount of airflow can have a significant effect on the experience of a vape. A tighter airflow will provide a more restricted draw and a wider airflow will give an airier draw. Preferences on airflow are subjective, which is why adjustable airflow is a key benefit for many vapers. This allows the user to open or close the airflow to a certain level, using a mechanism which is usually in the form a circular ring.
Vapes are generally button-activated or draw-activated, and some devices even allow for both. Devices which are draw-activated are sometimes referred to as "auto draw" devices. This adds another level of simplicity for vapers who want their experience to be completely fuss free.
It can be frustrating when a vape pen runs out of charge without any prior warning. Vape pens rarely feature a screen, so remaining battery level is indicated in other ways. Different devices have different ways of indicating battery level but the most common way is via an LED. For example, the AIO3 has a 7-level LED colour whereas the Tornado EX2 LED's pulse rate will indicate remaining battery.
Some less complex vape pens, including disposable vapes, don't have any form of battery indication. So if this is one of your vaping requirements, then be sure to check the specifications before purchasing.
How To Choose The Best Vape Pen
There are lots of different high quality vape pens at Totally Wicked, so choosing the right one might seem daunting. The first port of call is to assess your personal needs against the key features covered in this article. Whether you require a long-lasting battery, a simple pre-filled pod or are looking for a simple refilling mechanism, there's suitable options for all.
If you're still undecided, talk through your options with a Totally Wicked team member or customer service assistant. You can contact us via email, live chat, phone or social media. You can even try any of our devices in-store to be 100% sure that you're making the right decision on your vape pen.