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Best E-Cigarette?

***This is a legacy document and as such may contain out-of-date or incorrect information. The vaping world has moved on a huge amount in a very short space of time, and these articles were written to the best of our knowledge at the time, but we can no longer stand by their accuracy!***

E-cigarettes are sold by a huge number of different vendors and come in a wide variety of styles. It can be overwhelming for someone new to e-cigs to decide where to start.

The good news is that there are a handful of ecig models that are reliable, perform really well and are recommended by our users. There are still a few choices to be made but buying your first e-cigarette is a lot easier than it may have seemed, and this guide aims to make it even simpler. In the future we will add an ecig chooser wizard that will make it even more of a doddle, but for now there's just a little reading between you and the right ecigarette for you to get started with.

ECF is a community-based site and our forum members tell us what is successful or not. It's the largest forum in the world, so the feedback is very useful. We provide honest reviews from the community, and none of our reviews are paid for.

The three basic models that are most highly recommended by users through the forum are the KR808, 510 and eGo. For most new users the KR808 or the 510 are the most popular choices since they are the same size and shape as a regular cigarette; these models are called minis because they are the smallest type.

The mid-size models such as the eGo, Riva or KGo are a little larger, about the size of a medium cigar, and what many 'vapers' end up using as the battery power is greater than the minis. The KR808 and 510 are well-suited to new users because they are the closest replacement to smoking. They tend to look like real cigarettes (or 'analogs' as the forum members have dubbed them) and using the automatic models feels very similar to smoking a real cigarette.

We have a number of links in this page so that, if you decide that a KR808, a 510 or an eGo is right for you, you can be taken straight to a reputable vendor in your area. The ecig you end up buying will likely be branded by the company you buy from and batteries and end fittings come in just about every color under the sun. So don't worry if it doesn't exactly match the pictures on this page. We only link to vendors with good reputations on the forum, and so we're confident you'll get a good deal.

The KR808 and the 510

The most common things people look for in their first electronic cigarette are that it looks like a real cigarette (although this can be a disadvantage if you plan on using it in places where smoking is banned), that it be easy to use, that it tastes like a cigarette. These requirements are best met by what's known as an auto mini: a small format auto model. KR808s and 510s (with auto batteries) are examples of these. Using them is similar to smoking a cigarette, they are about the same size as a cigarette and are available with tobacco flavored refills.

The KR808 is generally considered to be the best low-hassle ecig system. It is a two piece model that consists of a battery and a refill cartomizer and is about the same size as a cigarette. It needs little effort to get the best results and there's a large range of compatible cartos (i.e. flavors) available for it.

The 510 suits those who don't mind a little tinkering to get the best results, although it is perfectly usable without tinkering. The major advantage it has over the KR808 is that its parts are interchangeable with the eGo and similar models, making it easy to upgrade, which is something many users end up wanting to do in the long run. The 510 is the more flexible of these options.

Manual or Automatic?

KR808s and 510s come in both manual and automatic varieties. Automatics work very much like smoking a cigarette (although the best technique for any e-cig is slightly different to what you might be used to. (See User technique.) They produce vapor when air is drawn through them by the user. This is the most familiar and so the most popular option for most new users.

Manuals have a push-button on the battery and produce vapor when this is pressed and the vapor is then taken in. For most users this doesn't take much getting used to, but it is different enough to the experience of smoking to make it less popular to the new user who is looking for as close a replacement to cigarettes as they can get. The manual option does have a number of advantages though, and is worth considering. Manual ecigs are popular amongst the more experienced users because they offer more control: there is more user control of things like the amount of vapor produced in each draw on the ecig. They are also considered more robust as unlike most autos, they are totally sealed and so are less vulnerable to damage.

Don't worry too much about this decision. An automatic model can easily be changed into a manual (or vice versa) by replacing the battery. If in doubt go for the auto first and consider trying a manual later if ecigs are right for you.

Recap: auto vs manual

A battery can have a manual on/off switch for operation, or be automatic. The auto version has a pressure switch inside that operates when air is drawn through. Some older types had a mic cartridge inside (a microphone-operated switch) that triggers at the noise of air passing through.

New users tend to prefer the auto type as it's so similar to a tobacco cigarette, but experienced users tend to prefer the manual ones as they give more control. Get one of each if you like, as they are interchangeable - just unscrew one and swap it for the other.

The auto batteries are not sealed since they need air to pass through, which means they are vulnerable to damage from liquid leakage; the manual ones are more durable since they have less electronics and are sealed.

The eGo and similar

At the moment, among long-time ecigarette users and long-standing ECF forum members, the eGo gets the most votes as the best all-round e-cigarette (alongside near-identical models like the Tornado, Riva, Kgo and others). The eGo is what's known as a mid-size or 'fat-batt' model. It has a bigger battery than the cigarette-size models, and this means it produces more vapor, and can go for longer before needing a recharge.

Starter Kits

Buying a regular-style starter kit is the cheapest / quickest way to get going, and the KR8 or 510 are models/types that are known to be reliable. Each has its own particular advantages:

Heavy smokers

If you are a heavy smoker there is a good argument for buying a mid-size model first, such as the eGo, with LR atomizers or cartomizers. The eGo has a larger than normal battery, and the LR low resistance fittings help to create more usable 'power' - more vapor and stronger TH or throat hit. The drawback is that the cost of a starter kit is around 50% more than a basic 510. The Tornado and Riva clones are the same thing - all are based on the 510 system and almost all parts are interchangeable.

Economies can be made by buying the parts loose, if you don't need the presentation box that starter kits come in: you'll need a battery, a stock atomizer and an LR atomizer, a 510 cartridge or two (or a stock cartomizer and an LR carto if that is your preference), and a charger, as a minimum. Note that a standard 510 charger needs an adapter to be able to use it for an eGo. The voltage and thread are the same but the eGo battery is too thick to fit in the charger recess, so it needs an adapter.

All e-cigarettes can be bought as a Starter Kit, which contains either one or two complete units, or you can just buy the parts individually. The cheapest way to get a 510-based upgrade is just to buy an eGo type battery, since the atomizer and cartridge (or the cartos) are standard 510 units. The big batteries need a charger adapter to fit the standard 510 charger, though.

First, though, you are advised to buy a starter kit. This has everything you need to get you going - an ecigarette, refill liquid, and a battery charger.

There are hundreds of models but the simple advice is: buy a KR808 Starter Kit (this is the best low-hassle option and commonly called a KR8) or a 510 Starter Kit (more fiddly but with better upgrade options). There are the cheapest introduction to the concept, and will allow you to get started at minimum cost vs the best chance of finding a suitable model.

The KR8 model is a two-piece e-cigarette with a battery and cartomizer. The 510 is a three-piece model with a battery, atomizer and cartridge. All parts can be purchased separately. Each of these two models is the 'benchmark' for its type - a very common and popular model that will serve you well as your first ecig. The starter kit has everything you need to set you up and get started. The kits vary in their content, from supplier to supplier, but all contain the basics. There is some variation in content, and in quality, which explains the price differences.

Buying a regular-style starter kit is the cheapest / quickest way to get going, and the KR8 or 510 are models/types that are known to be reliable. Each has its own particular advantages:

If you are a heavy smoker, or like full-strength cigarettes, you might be better off getting a larger model such as the eGo first.


Advanced Personal Vaporizers are the 3rd generation models. These luxury or big-battery models have additional functions or features not seen in regular e-cigarettes - for example integral liquid feed from different styles of tank; high voltage; variable voltage; digital readout; and so on.

In general, newcomers do not buy these models first because they are seen as too large or complex. They are also all manual models. They do perform superbly well though, and this is their main attraction - any type of function or finish is available. Some models are inexpensive, some are several hundred dollars.

We advise you not to buy an APV until you are familiar with all aspects of ecig use, and are sure this is for you. 92% of experienced users upgrade from a mini, and when the time is right, you might also decide to go to a mid-size or APV unit. First, you need a little background smile