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The Beginners Guide to Vaping: What are mods, coils, and more?

Everybody is talking about vaping. The vape industry is bigger than it’s ever been, backed up by a huge community of enthusiastic vapers. The most passionate of vapers will talk about how they build their own vapes and coils, and will throw out a lot of jargon that can make minimal sense to someone who’s never vaped before. As a new vaper, the whole process can be quite overwhelming – Where do you start? What do you need? What do all of these things DO?!

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you get up to speed with everything you need to know about vaping. As well as covering the essentials, such as what you need for an easy vape, and explaining what things such as mods and atomizers are, we’ll also give you an insight into the more advanced world of vaping, covering the dripping method and the process of people making their own coils.

Let’s begin with the basics… what actually is vaping?

Vape modifying

Vaping has become one of the leading techniques for stopping smoking. It retains the physical process of smoking, and provides the nicotine smokers are addicted to, all whilst being 95% less harmful than using tobacco, according to Public Health England. Vaping has become popular beyond just a means of stopping smoking though, and has now become a hobby and a passion for many.

Simply put, vaping is the process of inhaling vapor, with flavoured liquids often containing nicotine, heated at the push of a button.

What do you need to vape?

The bare minimum required to vape is a list of three items – your actual e-cigarette or vape, a battery, and e-liquid.

The vape can come in many different shapes and sizes, from small, stick-like items, to larger, more technical box styles. This isn’t just something that’s done for the sake of appearance – the different styles mean different types of vaping, with varied types of technology, processes, and results. Some vapes can be built by the vaper, who can purchase the different elements separately to create their ideal vape, while others are fully built and ready to go. A starter kit is ideal for beginners – there’s minimal work needed to get it up and running, and it comes with almost everything you need – all you need to add are the battery, and the e-liquid.

The e-liquid is one of the most crucial parts of your experience. It’s this that gives you the flavour and the nicotine, and there’s now a massive selection of innovative, varied tastes. There are two main types of e-liquid. One type comes with nicotine in it in varying strengths, from smaller measures such as 3mg, to the largest available of 24mg. The 3mg is equivalent to the level of nicotine that a light smoker who gets through a maximum of 10 cigarettes a day might take in, while the 24mg is only suitable for the heaviest smokers who get through around two packs a day. The other type of e-liquid available comes with no nicotine in it whatsoever. This isn’t useful for those who are using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, but is perfect for those who want to vape casually. The 0mg liquids are also QuickNic ready, meaning vapers can add their own nicotine to the mixture at whatever strength they require.

Finally, your vape isn’t going to work without a battery. These provide the energy to heat the e-liquid, and in some cases are built into the vape. Often, they’ll need to be purchased separately though, and changed every so often to keep it going – a lot of vape batteries are rechargeable though, so you won’t need to buy replacements every time one runs out. One of the most common types of vape battery is the 18650, usually rechargeable, which fits in a majority of models.

What makes up a vape?

There are several components that go towards making up a vape/e-cigarette – these include:

  • The mod
  • The coil
  • The drip tip

What is a mod?

A mod, also known as a box mod, is the main body of the vaping device. There are two main types of mod – mechanical & regulated. A mechanical mod has a simple button, which when pressed, connects the battery to the coil to heat the e-liquid – there are no electrical components within. A regulated mod is fully electrical, and often comes with a screen. In these cases, the button being pressed activates the action of heating the liquid through a processor.

Box Mod in the forest

What are coils and atomizers?

The coil is one of the most important parts of a vape, as it’s this which heats up the e-liquid, turning it into vapor. Coils come in many forms, tailored towards different methods of vaping, and garnering varied results.

Typically, when purchasing a full kit, the coil will be pre-assembled and installed so you can begin vaping. However, sometimes coils are parts of other devices, such as atomizers.

The atomizer is the device that holds the coil. There are two types of atomizers, tank atomisers and dripping atomizers. A tank atomizer, as the name suggests, holds a certain amount of e-liquid in its tank and feeds the coil, while a rebuildable dripping atomizer is one without a tank that requires manually dripping e-liquid onto the coil (see more about the dripping method below). Typically, an atomizer is composed of a heating coil either at the top or at the bottom of the device.

There are also similar devices such as clearomizers and cartomizers that also contain the coil, but these aren’t too important. There’s a lot of choice when it comes to coil selection, but keep it simple and use what comes with your full kit until you’ve built up some experience.

Rather than purchasing an atomizer, more experienced vapers who might use the dripping method of vaping (see below), will create coils themselves using wire and specific tools , or purchase pre-made single coils.

Sub ohm coils are also available, named as such because they have a resistance of less than one ohm. The purpose of this is to increase the power of the vape device, producing a larger amount, of more strongly flavoured vapor.

The difference between dripping and tanks

Using a tank vape is the easier option – the e-liquid is stored inside the vape, creating a convenient, simple to use option. The coil head gets filled with the e-liquid, and it slowly empties as you vape.

A full vape kit

Dripping is a completely different type of vaping, that requires some know-how. Dripping is said to give a stronger flavour to the vapes, also producing more vapor. In this scenario, the user drips the e-liquid onto a handmade coil, with this requiring a top up after every few hits. Although dripping is a more high maintenance form of vaping, it’s said to produce a better quality result.

What is a drip tip?

With a dripping type of vape, a drip tip is required. This replaces the standard mouthpiece one would have on a tank based system, and allows access to the coil so users can pour or drip the liquid directly onto it. Drip tips come in various styles and designs so your vape can be fully personalised.

The best advice for a new vaper

Simply put, the best advice for a new vaper is the stick to the basics:

  • Stick to a simple starter kit so you’ve got the full required device. Stay with full kits for a while, until you feel ready to mix and match with mods, coils and more.
  • Experiment with e-liquids to find your strength. If you’re a heavy smoker looking to stop, purchase an e-liquid with a high strength. For light smokers, go for a low strength nicotine, and for those who don’t smoke but want to try vaping, kick things off with a nicotine-free e-liquid. You might find it too weak or too strong, so adjust accordingly until you’ve got the perfect balance.

What are full kits?

Although you can buy all of your components separately, a full kit is an easy, convenient way of vaping. Everything you need, minus the vape juice, comes together, often fully assembled. All you need to do is charge it up/add a battery, pour in your e-liquid, and you’re ready to vape!

A designed e-cigarette

There are several types of full kit. A starter kit is the most basic, giving you the bare essentials – a perfect option for beginners. A sub ohm kit is designed to create a more intense vape with more vapor and a stronger flavour. A squonk kit is a type of vape device that uses a bottom feeding technique – the e-liquid is fed through a tube, into a center pin, and then into the atomizer.

Future vaping advice and information

After you’ve got set up with your vape, you might find yourself wondering how you can improve your experience, or you may need assistance with something going wrong. Aside from going to a vape shop and getting things sorted, there’s plenty of free information available online. The vaping community has a great, friendly online presence, with plenty of forums and websites where you can speak to other vapers about all things vape!

We can heavily recommend the UK based news site and forum Planet of the Vapes, and the vaping subreddit ECR_UK.

Purchasing your vapes

Highland Vapes is a new online retailer, stocking everything you require for your vaping needs. All products, including a wide range of e-liquids, full kits, mods, atomizers, coils, and DIY supplies, can be delivered next day in the UK, and if anything isn’t right for you, we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and will deal with any issues promptly. Give us a try – browse our range now.

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