Start vaping in 5 easy steps, the beginners’ guide
If you’re a smoker, vaping the right device with the right vape juice can provide you with the same kind of satisfaction as cigarettes. The added benefit is a seriously wide range of flavors to choose. But, even though the vape kits on the market have significantly improved over the years and make it simpler for a smoker to switch, there is still a learning process that new vapers need to go through to get the best out of their gear when they first start vaping.
So we decided to help: here’s how a smoker can switch to vaping in five easy steps.
- Pick your experience
Before buying, think about exactly what it is you like about smoking and how that might affect your choice of vape? Vaping is supposed to be enjoyable and give you satisfaction in the same way smoking does, and it is so versatile that you can have lots of different experiences with the various combinations of vape kits and vape juice. Here are four questions we think you should ask yourself before choosing your gear:
- Do you crave the kind of satisfaction nicotine gives you and want an experience that has a punchy hit?
- Or do you prefer the sensory aspects of smoking – perhaps you smoke menthols or flavored cigars – and you’d like something that caters to this desire?
- Are big clouds more important to you or would you rather be more discreet when you vape?
- Do you want a big device that makes an impression when you show it to people or would you prefer something smaller and more pocket-friendly?
Once you’ve thought about and answered these you’re ready to go shopping!
- Pick your device
So you’ve decided what kind of vaper you’d like to be. Before thinking about flavors, you should look through our selection of complete kits and determine what kind of device fits you best.
If you’re after that big satisfying nicotine hit, we recommend you go for something that uses a heating element (known as a coil or a wick) with a high level of resistance (we’ll talk about what this means in the accessories section).
With these devices – which are less power hungry – you’ll be able to use vape juice with a high nicotine content (we’ll talk about what constitutes "high" in the next section). These devices are often (but not always) smaller and more discreet, and because they are less power hungry the batteries tend to last longer. You’ll still get a decent amount of vapor from them, but they won’t produce the enormous clouds you can get from bigger more powerful vapes. They are an excellent choice for situations where you’d rather vape discreetly and without everyone noticing.
If this is the kind of experience you are looking for, for more discrete devices we recommend you look at the Eleaf iCare Solo or the Wismec Myjet, or for more substantial performance the Joyetech Ego AIO or the Kangertech Evod Pro 2.
But if what you want is big clouds you should select a device with a coil or wick that has a low resistance. These kinds of devices are more power hungry, meaning that they are often larger so as to cater for the need for bigger batteries.
The tank – or the reservoir where the liquid is heated – also tends to be larger. That's because coils with lower resistance will vaporize more juice per puff. And that means more vapor volume and big clouds!
- Pick your vape juice
Vape juice – otherwise known as e-juice, eliquid, juice and all sorts of other things – is essentially a liquid that consists of a "humectant" (either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine – this is what creates the vapor when you exhale), some nicotine, and flavorings. You put it in your vape, according to the instructions and you vape it. Simple, really!
Buying vape juice for the first time can be a little intimidating, with so many to choose from and a dizzying array of brands. But when it comes to the crunch there are only really two decisions you need to make: how much nicotine do you want and what kind of flavors do you enjoy?
Let’s start with the first question. If you’ve chosen a large device with a low resistance coil and higher power so you can impress your friends with some epic clouds, you’ll need to go easy on the nicotine content. That's because you’ll be inhaling a larger volume of vapor each time you take a hit.
However, more vapor volume means you’ll get more nicotine per inhalation than if you used a low-powered device. Most vapers who use higher powered devices tend towards nicotine levels of 1.5 mg/ml, 3mg/ml or 6mg/ml (milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid).
There's no exact science on this - you'll figure out pretty quickly how you like to vape.
If you’ve chosen a kit with a higher resistance coil and lower power, you might want a higher nicotine content. Vaping this way will give you a more intense nicotine experience because the concentration will be higher. You’ll still get a great vape using juice with lower nicotine content, but for a more intense feeling of satisfaction, you should use 12mg/ml or above. You can’t use this juice in high-powered devices because the resulting flavor and sensation would be harsh (possibly very harsh!).
If you’re just transitioning from smoking, we recommend selecting a liquid with a little more nicotine – perhaps 12mg/ml or 18mg/ml.
And for the committed smoker, or for people who've tried vaping before but found it didn't satisfy, we recommend nicotine salts. Salts are the latest generation of vape juice and they use a slightly different form of nicotine. Vape juice containing nicotine salts gives a more intense, cigarette-like satisfaction.
Another benefit of salts is that the liquids are formulated to be much less harsh on your throat, meaning that you can use higher nicotine concentrations. 30mg/ml, 40mg/ml or even 50mg/ml are not uncommon. In fact, one member of our team swears by 40mg/ml nicotine salts in a low powered device; he has been vaping for almost 4 years!
Your last decision is flavor, and this really is an individual choice – we make it easy by listing the vape juice we stock by flavor profile. We recommend that when starting out you try a few different flavors in two different strengths (depending on your device). This way you can find the combination that’s right for you. We have put together a list of 10 cheap e liquids in various flavors to make it easy to start out.
- Get the right parts
To make the most of your new device there are two key spare parts you’ll need to have on hand: coils and batteries – although you’ll only need be able to get spare batteries for devices where the batteries are replaceable.
Coils are the most important, and these apply to any kind of device. These small heating elements are included in every device; they are inside the tank and you need to replace them regularly per your device's instructions. Coils wear out over time: the constant process of heating and cooling leads to the vapor developing a bitter taste. When your juice doesn’t taste quite as good as it normally does, that means it’s time to change your coil; for many vapers this is about once per week.
We recommend you get spares with your first device so you always have them on hand when you need them. You’ll need to get the coil that is compatible with your device. Vaping.Com store device listings tell you which coils are compatible with that device.
If you’ve got a device that allows you to change the actual battery, we also recommend getting a few spares. Always make sure to store these batteries safely! Accidents can happen when they are mishandled or mischarged (see our guide on battery safety for more information on this). If your device has a built in battery you might want to think about getting a backup; the good news is that devices with built-in batteries tend to be cheaper than those where they can be switched out.
- Read the instructions and vape
It may seem like an obvious point, but make sure you read the instructions that come with your device. This makes sure you complete the initial steps so that your first vape gives you the satisfaction you’re looking for. After filling, don’t vape it straight away; leave it for five minutes to make sure the coil is completely covered in liquid. This means you’ll avoid a dry hit, which will give you bad flavor and likely ruin your coil.
Once you’ve done all of that you’re ready to start vaping. Within a few days we’re sure you’ll enjoy being a vaper a lot more than you enjoyed being a smoker…