Vaping Evolution: The Journey Through Vaping Technology
It is truly amazing to look back over the years at how not only the individual vaper has evolved, but how the industry as a whole has progressed. It feels like just yesterday when the very first Kanger Protank was released, rocking the industry to its core. The incredible amount of new and advanced products that came at rocket speed following the Protank release is nothing short of astonishing.
However, an individual vaper’s personal journey through the various stages of vaping depends in large part on when he/she began vaping. For those who started four or five years ago, the journey likely began with the determination to quick smoking. Soon after this decision was made, the likely first experience with electronic cigarettes was with a disposable one purchased at a convenience store or gas station. They look like cigarettes, were usually either menthol or tobacco, and provided the nicotine and throat hit that smokers crave. Of course, the disposable ecigs available today come in a wide variety of flavors to choose from.
For some, the disposables were used for a period of time solely as a tool to quit analog cigarettes, while for most it was nothing more than the first step in a long voyage in the progression of electronic cigarette products. For those who solely wanted to quit cigarettes and nothing more, even the disposable electronic cigarettes were put away after a period of time. However, for those who continued on with their journey in electronic cigarettes, the likely next phase included some sort of an eGo device. These eGo devices were equipped with larger batteries and had refillable e-liquid reservoirs, thereby allowing for a much larger variety of e-liquids. Those who were willing to spend the extra money purchased authentic Joyetech eGo-T or eGo-C kits. Rechargeable, refillable, and long-lasting, these devices were a Godsend at the time.
Not long after the eGo-T and eGo-C kits hit the shelves, Kanger released their 808-D kits, which used cartomizers rather than refillable mouthpieces. The kits were small devices made to closely resemble the shape and feel of analog cigarettes. The cartomizers used with the kits proved to provide a much smoother hit than the mouthpiece tanks used with the eGo setups. However, the downside was that the small batteries die after a couple hours of use, forcing vapers to either constantly charge their batteries or carry spares. What many did, then, was to use their Kanger cartomizers with eGo batteries, thereby combining the best of both devices into one.
Several months after Kanger released their 808-D kits, clearomizers began making their way into the market. Disposable clearomizers, such as C3 and C4 tanks became more readily available by various manufacturers. Still using eGo batteries, vapers slowly began incorporating clearomizers into their setups. The benefit ofclearomizers is that they allow the user to see the amount of e-liquid that remains in the tank, and also has larger e-liquid reservoirs. Clearomizers were a big step up from cartomizers, and represented the most cutting-edge vaping technology at the time. Not long after clearomizers were introduced, manufacturers began producing starter kits with reusable clearomizers and matching batteries, such as the Kanger Evod. These kits were absolutely perfect, particularly for novel vapers, as they contained all the hardware needed to start with electronic cigarettes. Moreover, they allow for the atomizer coils to be replaced, eliminating the need to replace the entire clearomizer when the atomizer burns out.
The vaping industry coasted for a period of time, with new clearomizers hitting the market regularly. The majority of vapers had made the switch from eGo tank kits and cartomizer setups to ones with clearomizers. However, upon extensive use, vapers began to realize that their clearomizers deteriorated over time. After some research, it was later discovered that this was the result of the acidity contained within e-liquids. Kanger was the first to respond to this problem by creating the world’s first glassomizer—the Kanger Protank. Glassomizers function in essentially the exact same way as clearomizers; however, the tank portion is made with Pyrex glass as opposed to plastic. The benefit is that glass is completely resistant to the erosion caused by e-liquid acidity. The Protank was a mammoth success, with vapers around the world making the switch from clearomizers to the Protank Glassomizer.
Around the time glassomizers were born, the industry was thrown into hyper-drive. Seemingly every week new devices began hitting the shelves from an array of companies—all of which were fighting to establish dominance. At the time, Kanger was at the head of the race with innovative new devices being released regularly, with Joyetech chomping at their heels. Just a few weeks after the Protank was released, Kanger introduced the Mini Protank—a smaller version of the immensely popular device. The Mini Protank proved to be an even more popular apparatus than the Protank, as it was designed to fit seamlessly with eGo batteries, which were the most widely used batteries at the time.
Around this same time, Joyetech once again revolutionized the industry with the launch of their variable voltage battery—the Joyetech eGo-C Twist. This was the first commercially popular variable voltage battery to hit the shelves, and was met with great enthusiasm. With the simple twist of the knob at the end of the battery, the user was able to adjust its power output. This not only provided for a customizable vape, but also afforded more versatility, as various resistance atomizer coils could be used with the same battery for the first time. With the ability to adjust the power output of the battery, many manufacturers started to offer various resistance atomizer coils for their clearomizers and glassomizers.
Just a few short months after the Protank was first introduced to the market, Kanger again sent shockwaves throughout the industry with the release of the Protank 2 and the Mini Protank 2, which was offered soon after. Although similar in design to the originals, the second version of the Protank series was furnished with dual-coil atomizer heads rather than the single ones used with the original Protank. This was groundbreaking at the time, as the dual-coil atomizers provided double the amount of vapor and much more flavorful hits. Many vapers continued onto the dual-coil Protanks, leaving their single-coil counterparts behind.
Some were completely satisfied with their variable voltage eGo-style batteries coupled with their dual-coil clearomizers, and did not crave more. However, others were thirsty for the next new innovation, which came a short while later in the form of advanced personal vaporizers (APVs). Advanced personal vaporizers are devices that generally have OLED screens, ohms meters, are variable voltage and variable wattage, and offer a host of features. Joyetech was one of the first to popularize these devices when they released their Evic APV. Many immediately made the jump from eGo batteries to the new advanced devices, while others were more reluctant to do so.
Some, however, elected to go in an entirely different direction away from high-tech electronic devices and towards very basic setups called mechanical MODs. MODs are devices that house external batteries, usually 18650, and have no electronic components whatsoever. When the fire button of a mechanical MOD is pressed, it forces a direct physical connection between the battery and the atomizer. The atomizers that are generally used with mechanical MODs are called Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDAs), which are devices that have positive and negative posts, allowing the user to build his/her own coils. Individuals who turned to these mechanical setups are commonly referred to as “drippers,” “modders,” and/or “builders.” Having the ability to build ones own atomizer coils affords the freedom to customize the resistance of the atomizer—allowing for builds below 1 ohm—sub-ohm vaping. The low resistance allows for higher power, which together result in much larger vapor clouds than anything that could be obtained with pre-made atomizer coils at the time.
Today, mainstream manufacturers mass produce pre-made sub-ohm atomizer coils, which are coupled with high-wattage electronic devices, essentially marrying the best aspects of electronic devices and mechanical ones. All of the wonderful features of advanced electronic batteries can now be used with sub-ohm clearomizers, providing for immense vapor clouds without the need to build your own coils. The most cutting-edge technology that is currently available includes nickel (NI-200) and titanium wires, which can be coupled with high-wattage, technologically advanced devices that are capable of regulating the temperature of the coils themselves. Most atomizer coils that are being released today are also equipped with organic cotton rather than bleached cotton or silca wick.
However, inasmuch as technology is constantly progressing at warp speed, for many drippers, building ones own coils has transformed into an art, a hobby, and a passion. These die-hard builders genuinely enjoy the art of building and have not swayed from it regardless of the advancements in vaping technology. As a result, the high-end mechanical MOD and RDA/RBA industry is still thriving and has been virtually unaffected by the release of sub-ohm electronic setups.
The voyage through the various stages of electronic cigarettes has been thrilling and truly fascinating. It is demonstrative of the magic that occurs when demand is met with innovation and regulatory freedom—capitalism in its truest form. Vapers worldwide are hopeful that the independence and liberty enjoyed by the vaping industry is not too hindered in the future so that this captivating ride can continue with the same momentum seen throughout its short history.