Vaping Demystified: The Ins and Outs of Vaporizer Batteries
To compare vaporizers to analog cigarettes at this point would be a sad joke. Perhaps in the late 1990s to early 2000s, Big Tobacco had the clear advantage. That was a time when vaporizers were in their infancy, and had little to offer besides being a niche category of which only a few were aware. The vaporizers themselves were rather boxy affairs, usually lacking in the creative engineering department.
All that has dramatically changed in the past few years. No longer seen as a digital derivative of Big Tobacco products, dedicated vaporizers are legitimately their very own category. A whole slew of terminology developed from this unique art and discipline of vaping. This later burst into a subculture, one defined by mutual cooperation and a shared passion for pushing the vaping envelope.
The major cigarette firms eventually got wind of this rising trend, and quickly attempted to capitalize on it. They introduced their brand of e-cigarettes -- closed-system units whose internal workings are sealed. Such platforms deny a vaper the ability to modulate their product. So if you were itching to try a new e-juice that hit the market, don't even bother with Big Tobacco's e-cigarettes.
Major corporations are only interested in the profit incentive. Sadly, it shows in the workmanship of their e-cigarettes. Many of their products are distributed at gas station and convenience stores for a reason. True vapers wouldn't bother consider traversing that avenue. This isn't snobbery by any means; rather, it has everything to do with individual expression.
Buying a "corporate e-cigarette" under the assumption that all e-cigs and vaporizers are synonymous with each other is a common mistake for newcomers. Unfortunately, it's also one of the more disappointing ones you can commit. As soon as you open the packaging, the blunder is quite evident.
As alluded to earlier, a vaper can't experiment with different flavors on a closed-system e-cigarette platform. That is almost tragic as one of the primary incentives for switching to vaporizers is the seemingly endless array of e-liquids. From natural fruit flavors down to traditional nicotine offerings, every option imaginable is on tap at leading vaping retailers and distributors like Vapor Authority. To be denied such choice runs counter to the vaping ethos.
Some e-cigs are disposable. They have a preset number of draws which you can take, and when the capacity is gone, you're left with a paperweight. Because they're disposable, they're really no different from analog cigarettes. Plus, constantly disposing of electronic devices levels an unnecessarily negative impact on the environment.
Of course, we're talking about Big Tobacco firms, which don't care about anything other than their bottom line.
In contrast, the vaporizer industry is a completely different animal. Although the end result of emitting plumes may look identical to outsiders, the reality is that vaporizers are cleaner, safer, and produce a much more tolerable -- if not outright pleasant -- emission than their analog counterparts.
One of the additional draws of the vaporizer's open-system unit is that virtually everything within the vaporizer is open for adjustment and modification. In addition to the vast riches of e-juice flavors, there's a host of technical tweaks that can be applied as well. Although e-liquids obviously produce the biggest difference in taste, the technical adjustments have the biggest impact on the vaping experience.
Since vaping can't occur outside of a viable power source, an easy argument can be made that the battery is the most component of your portable vaporizer.
A Quick Rundown of the Battery
Imagine that you're in a stuffy, corporate meeting. You're listening to the vice president of operations ramble on and on about efficiency metrics and improving on-time delivery protocols. What really should take no more than 15 to 20 minutes becomes an hour-long affair. Microsoft Power Point, it would seem, is becoming a mental disease rather than a communicative device.
Finally, the VP has gone through his final slide. You have a few precious minutes remaining before you have to jump on a conference call. You scuttle out the back door, navigating the quickest path to outdoor space. Once there, you reach into your pocket, pulling out your trusty vape pen. You've been dreaming about this from the moment the VP opened his mouth. You hit the power button, the anticipation of vaping nirvana brewing uncontrollably, and then...nothing.
We've all been in this situation before. And very few things in our everyday lives are as frustrating. The painful truth is this -- we don't realize or appreciate the small details until they rudely make us aware of them. That's why when it comes to buying a vaporizer, you can't just look at the aesthetics. Sure, good looks are important, but looks alone won't fire up your vape pen.
And just like not all vaporizers are the same, not all batteries are the same, either. Primarily, the difference will be in capacity. Some batteries simply last longer, or are better suited for a particular vaping platform. In other cases, the difference is fundamentally substantial. For example, the choice between an external and an internal system will significantly impact the practical usage of your vaporizer.
While there's no hard and fast rule about vaporizer batteries, I like to follow the "photographer principle." In photo journalism, it's often remarked that the best shots can either accidentally or on the spur of the moment. These frames of existence last only for that unit of time, yet the photographer has the capability of capturing that essence for all eternity. But such moments can also be lost forever if the photographer fails to bring the right equipment.
Of the equipment that can be forgotten or neglected, a memory card would represent the dumbest failure. Think about the regret someone would have knowing that a Pulitzer Prize moment slipped from their fingers because they were too cheap to buy an extra stack of memory cards!
Vaping batteries operate under the same concept. Buy the best batteries that you can afford for your system. In the end, we're just talking about a few bucks. Abstaining from a Starbucks visit every now and then will more than compensate for the extra cost. But the returns on that premium could be immeasurable, especially when faced with everyday scenarios such as the one I described.
And it's not just a matter of saving yourself from undesirable circumstances. Batteries and battery systems have a direct impact on total capacity, downtime usage (or non-usage), and vaping functionality. Batteries can be an overlooked item at the point-of-sale. Hopefully, though, we can convince you of its vital importance. Let's now take a look at the most common choices you will encounter.
External Battery Device
For many vapers -- especially those that are constantly on the go, or finding themselves in long haul trips -- the choice of the external battery device makes the most sense. This is primary due to the fact that multiple batteries can be bought and charged. When the initial battery runs out, a spare can be utilized. Depending upon how deep inside your wallet you wish to go, your vaporizer capacity can be indefinite.
Vapers who go the external route also do it for a more practical purpose. If the battery dies, simply recycle it, and get a replacement. Unlike internal battery systems, the entire vaporizer doesn't have to be tossed. This is one of the reasons why many mod vaporizers are offered in the external iteration -- manufacturers know that the person buying their products consider it to be an investment, not a mere purchase.
There's other practical concerns as well. Should your vape pen go haywire for any reason and you need to perform a hard stop, taking out the battery is the most effective solution. This immediately cuts the vaporizer from the power source, and it allows the vaper to assess the malfunction. Also, if unintended substances penetrates your vaporizer, it's easy to remove the battery, and let your vaporizer air out, thus mitigating further damage.
External batteries, as great as they may be, are not without some disadvantages. First, in certain situations, the use of external batteries can shorten its capacity. In other words, the external battery will never be as efficient as an internal battery because there is an additional electrical pathway that must be introduced in order for the external platform to exist.
Second, there are aesthetical considerations present between the external and internal battery choice. As mentioned above, an additional pathway has to be created for the external battery. That means from a physical space standpoint, the external avenue is also less efficient than its internal counterpart. The internal system, on the other hand, is integrated into the vaporizer. With a little creative engineering, manufacturers can produce incredibly thin and compact vaporizers armed with a highly efficient power plant.
Finally, external batteries can be costly. Although the ability to have indefinite power capacity is available, most folks don't have the financial wherewithal or the willingness to spend so much on batteries. For vapers that don't go out that often, paying a premium for a vaporizer unit with an external battery system may not make financial sense.
Such circumstances are typical for vaping -- there's no standardized answer. Whatever works best for you is the most ideal choice. However, there's no denying that that the external platform gives you the most flexibility. This is the reason why the external route is a popular choice for vaping enthusiasts.
If you join your fellow enthusiasts in this decision, there are a number of sector decisions to make. Here, we'll list out the three most common external battery types.
Before we move any further, let's discuss terminology. The number "18350" refers to the size classification of this lithium-ion battery. In this case, the 18350 means that the battery chassis is measured as 18 millimeters by 35.0 millimeters. The final zero at the end refers to the shape of the battery, which is cylindrical. For example, the 18350 is roughly the same shape of a commonplace AA battery, but more on the shorter and stubbier side.
To do a quick review, mAh stands for "milliamp Hour." According to Ubergizmo, mAh "is a unit that measures (electric) power over time. It is commonly used to measure the energy capacity of a battery. In general, the more mAh and the longer the battery capacity or battery life."
You'll really want to make sure that you're buying your 18350 batteries from reputable manufacturers. Because the 18350 is the lowest-cost option for external vaporizer batteries, there is an unfortunate tendency of companies skimping on quality.
Vapers can avoid this situation by buying 18350s from well-known and reputable organizations. A great example is AW, which is ranked highly among vapers and generally users of electronic devices. Their products are efficient and have tremendous capacity. The price point of Efest products reflects this quality; however, as I stated earlier, dirt cheap batteries usually have a hidden cost associated with them. With the AW 18350 as an example, you have the confidence that one purchase is enough to make you a loyal customer.
Next up, we have the 18650 battery. As we mentioned above, the 18650 refers to the size -- in this case, the chassis measures 18 mm by 65.0 mm. Aesthetically speaking, the 18650 stands out immediately from the 18350, thanks to the former's taller and more lithe frame. The 18650 compares well in size to the AA battery. Most people would probably mistake the two were it not for the fact that the 18650 is a bit taller than the double-A.
There's also the small, little matter that the 18650 is a revolutionary game-changer. This is primarily due to the versatility and capacity of lithium-ion. Of all the chemicals that are available for batteries --such as alkaline or nickel-cadmium -- many experts agree that lithium-ion has the greatest potential. Innovators like Elon Musk and Tesla have invested considerable resources and funds into further developing lithium.
Geo-politically, lithium has tremendous implications. Most of the world's lithium are mined in remote areas of countries whose interests are not always aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Because of this dynamic, there is a substantial incentive for domestic mining and perhaps, synthetic development of lithium. The bottom line here isn't to discuss politics; rather, it's to bring to light the fact that lithium is an avenue that will attract countless hours of research and development.
Currently, the 18650 battery is considered the standard bearer for multiple electronic devices. It's not just limited to consumer devices like smartphones or tablets. Most people will be surprised to hear that the 18650 platform was used by the Mars Rover Design Team. If the 18650 is powerful enough for space travel, you can be sure that it will handle your portable vaporizer just fine.
Battery manufacturers that specialize in the 18650 format are actually quick to advertise their usage for vaporizers and mods.
Many vaporizer producers incorporate the 18650 as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts due to the format's reliable power and safe delivery. One of the things that vaping newcomers learn early on is that they hold a considerable amount of energy in their hands. Thus, the equation isn't just about total battery power, but also safe operation. You wouldn't want to combust your flavors, or your surroundings.
When buying replacement 18650s for your vape, it's best to go with the manufacturer's recommendations. However, if that option is not available, or you wish to switch to a different configuration, there are several options within the 18650 that you'll want to pay attention to.
First, the battery cells of the 18650 format are measured according to two specifications -- capacity measured in mAh (milliamp hours) and maximum continuous discharge measured in A (amperes). In terms of mAh rating, the highest capacity that most battery producers will make range at around 3,000 mAh. For maximum amperage, these batteries usually top off at around 35 A.
Second, vaper should consult the voltage rating of the specific 18650 battery. Most 18650 cells are rated between 3.6 volts and 3.7 volts. This figure is the average voltage during a complete discharge. In terms of the complete spectrum of the 18650 battery, it ranges from 2.5 V at the low end to 4.2 V at the high end. For most consumer electronic purposes, you will want to stay above the 3 volt range. No matter what you choose, it is absolutely critical that you do not exceed the magnitude of either end of the 18650 spectrum. Going above or below the spectrum's thresholds can become dangerous.
Third, it's important that you only go with the best grade of 18650 battery available. Browse through various retailers and online channels and you will quickly be inundated with a plethora of offerings. Having options is one of the spices of life, but don't make things too spicy! There's only one grade that vapers should consider and that is Grade A. This is the designation for battery cells that meet industry specifications.
Sure, there are cheaper grades available, and they could save you a lot of money over the long run. Other grades that you may come across for the 18650 are Grade B and Grade C. The former rating is for battery cells that have underperformed the manufacturer's testing standards, or have other defects that don't warrant a Grade A classification. Grade B are batteries that meet a modicum of standards, but are not completely up to snuff.
Then you have Grade C. These are battery cells that were once used and have been replenished and repackaged for sale in the secondary market. Or, in other cases, Grade C batteries have been damaged during production, or have been deemed as salvage. This is obviously the cheapest option available for vapers, and you can find multiple packs of Grade C 18650s being sold for pennies on the dollar.
The biggest issue that I, or any other vaping enthusiast has with Grade C -- or even Grade B -- batteries is safety. More often than not, less than Grade A batteries have been structurally compromised in some manner, whether through brunt force application, or through a production defect. Either way, this is not something you want to mess with from a vaper's perspective.
We've all seen in the news the terrifying controversy regarding the Samsung Note batteries. Combusting smart devices have caused physical harm as well as substantial damage to property. The issue likely stems from an engineering or manufacturing defect. Lithium-ion, no matter how great and powerful of an innovation that it is, is unfortunately liable to volatility when placed in less than favorable conditions.
Now, most of us aren't sucking on our smartphones or tablets -- at least I hope not! But because the vaporizer is so close to our vital sensory organs, it's not a risk that most people should take. Unlike so many other consumer electronic devices, vape pens are, in a way, personal to us. We breathe in the essence of their processes. These processes must therefore be pitch-perfect; otherwise, there is a potential for major problems that you just don't need.
Finally, we need to talk about counterfeiting. Because of the enormous and still rising popularity of the 18650 battery, counterfeiters have become emboldened. Fake battery cells are especially a problem in mainland China and Malaysia. As vaping also grows in popularity, the trend is likely going to worsen. Broad demand for the 18650 have incentivized counterfeiting rings to enhance and mature their deceptive discipline. It is absolutely imperative that vapers avoid counterfeit batteries by only buying from reputable manufacturers and retailers. In fact, the problem is so bad that counterfeiters can still sell their dangerous products through legitimate channels.
To be on the safe side, always use professional vape shops such as Vapor Authority. They have a strict quality control mechanism whereby only safe and structurally sound vaporizers and vaping accessories are sold. In addition, the founders of Vapor Authority are enthusiasts themselves, and will never steer the vaping community the wrong way. Some of the more popular 18650 batteries include the LG HG2, HE2 and the Efest 3000mah batteries.
Welcome to the granddaddy of them all! The 26650 is a monster power plant that has all the best features of the 18650 battery. First of all, the 26650 format employs lithium ion -- arguably, the most versatile and groundbreaking portable energy source known today. Due to the ubiquity of lithium, the 26650 finds utility in a wide range of electronic devices, particularly for industrial needs. Therefore, a vaper can expect to find a replacement 26650 at just about any hardware or electronics store.
Of course, the most important consideration here is substantially improved capacity. Measuring in at 26 mm by 65.0 mm, it's a noticeably thicker chassis than the 18650. Mathematically speaking, the 26650 has nearly 43% more real estate with which to work. That is a serious bump up from the venerable standard bearer and the 26650 battery puts the extra capacity to good use.
When you get down to the nitty gritty, all batteries are an exercise in compromise. It doesn't matter if you're talking about typical vaporizer batteries, or if you're referring to common consumer batteries such as the double- or triple- A. For instance, many, if not most television remote controllers incorporate the double-A alkaline battery. The length and shape of the remote control is perfect for the easily accessible and comparatively cheap AA format. For portable video game controllers, that's a different story -- they don't have as much spacing as remote controls and therefore many such devices use triple A batteries.
The purpose of the 26650 is to take the technical compromise of the 18650 and blow it out the water -- in other words, the 26650 is a no-compromise platform. For a modest penalty in space requirements, you can have a battery that combines capacity with power.
Recall that for the 18650 battery, most manufacturers commonly produce a unit with a maximum capacity of around 3,500 mAh. With the 26650, the 3,500 mAh rating is closer to the "average" capacity. For most models, the minimum is 3,000 mAh. Rarely will you encounter a 26650 battery below the 3,000 mAh mark.
What this translates to is a power source that emits at the maximum capacity threshold of an 18650 battery, but with an equally high level of continuous discharge. The only technical drawback in providing this "best of both worlds" scenario is the aesthetics. The 26650 requires the vape mod to be thicker to accommodate the increased circumference. For vapers who are looking for the ultimate channel of performance and reliability, this is an easy sacrifice to make.
That being said, one has to consider their personal preferences. If you are a frequent vaper, the size difference is something that needs to be accounted for. More critically, the vaping platform is a major driver. If you're powering an energy-intensive vaporizer, these devices can go through batteries in a hurry. Especially if you're a cloud chaser, the expenses can start adding up.
A mid- to upper- tier 26650 battery will feature an estimated charge cycle of 500 cycles -- this means that the battery can be recharged fully 500 times before it needs replacement. While that may seem like a big number -- and it's definitely a decent figure -- you also have to adjust for usage demand. For example, a recently produced Apple MacBook will have a cycle count of 1,000. For most people, our smart devices are constantly being used, and we hit these figures alarmingly quickly. If you don't vape that much, these factors aren't really a big deal. If you do vape as much as you use your smartphone, however, you may want to run through some numbers.
Another problem of the 26650 that is shared with the 18650 format is counterfeiting. Because the 26650 represents a higher profit margin for these deceivers, there is an obvious financial incentive to distribute fake batteries. Although vigilance is necessary, the problem of counterfeiting isn't as pronounced as it is for the 18650.
As we mentioned earlier, the 18650 is the gold standard of lithium-ion batteries, even though it doesn't have the capacity of the 26650. This might sound strange initially. But the reality is that the 18650 is supported across a very wide spectrum of products and institutions. The size parameters of the 18650 are more conducive to everyday use. Therefore, the aggregate R&D is more focused on the thinner format than it is the 26650.
This isn't a knock on the 26650 by any means -- this format still offers superior displacement via a substantially bigger volume. But it is conceivable that in terms of efficiency and technology, the 18650 is on a growth trend. It's a natural consequence of the fact that so many consumer electronic devices like laptops incorporate the 18650, whereas the 26650 is the typical domain of industrial equipment like ultra-high lumen flashlights.
This dynamic segues into a distinct disadvantage of the 26650 battery -- false or misleading advertising. While not exactly counterfeiting, false advertising is almost just as bad. Marketers know that the buyers of the 26650 format are looking for big power. They advertise their products as such, perhaps exaggerating a figure or two. The best way to avoid such scams is to understand the power band of your batteries. For the 26650, most reputable manufacturers' maximum capacity is 5,200 mAh. Anything beyond that, say a 6000 mAh battery, should be considered dubious and suspicious.
Similar to any other purchase you will make for your vaporizer, consult a reputable and trusted retailer like Vapor Authority. They have internal mechanisms that target and eliminate potential problems before they actually become one for you. A popular choice for 26650 batteries is the Efest 4200mah battery which can be found HERE.
Now that we've comprehensively covered the batteries, let's turn our attention to the charging methodologies of portable vaporizers. Several newcomers enter into the vaping sector with the misconception that all vape pens utilize the same charging mechanism; as in, plug the pen-style vaporizer into a wall outlet, and wait for a few hours. While there are numerous vaporizers / mods that incorporate this process, there are many more that do not.
This is an area that first-time vapers and even vaping aficionados need to consider carefully. In my opinion, it is not as important as the choice of vaporizer or the battery system (external versus internal); however, the varying charging methodologies that exist in the marketplace today can impact the convenience and ultimate enjoyment of your vape pen.
For example, are you someone who prefers the minimalist route, and doesn't like to buy accessories, even if they were useful like extra batteries? Then the charging mechanism of most vaporizers won't work out that well for you. Or, the issue could be as trivial as the difference between a USB port or a micro-USB port. Depending on who you are, and what systems you use, this could play an important role in the overall vaping satisfaction.
Let's talk about the common charging methodologies for external battery vaporizers.
Internal Charging Mechanisms
The internal charging mechanism is the most frequent channel for battery replenishment. This term simply means that the battery remains in the vape pen when recharging. By industry standard, a USB cable attaches to the vaporizer, while the other end connects to a power source. This is no different than any number of personal electronic devices -- literally, anybody with any experience buying an electronic product within this century will find the charging mechanism of vaporizers immediately intuitive.
Vaporizer manufacturers will typically deploy three styles of internal charging:
- USB wall outlet adapter -- Here, an adapter is provided in the vape pen packaging, which hooks into a standard wall outlet. At the base of the adapter is a USB port. Simply use the provided USB cable to connect your vaporizer (with the battery inside) to the adapter. Most companies' adapters will have an LED monitor that will change color to indicate a full charge. Or, this mechanism is integrated with the vaporizers' display interface.
- Power bank or PC portal -- A power bank, is a device that stores energy. This is an incredibly useful device, particularly for vapers that are frequently on the road. A higher-end power bank can store enough power to supply a vaper with two or three full-charge cycles. The PC portal operates under the same concept as the power bank, but in this case, you charge the vaporizer by plugging the USB cord to your computer. The connecting theme of these two methods is that power is replenished through a "third-party" device, and not directly from an energy-conveying source like a wall outlet. Examples of these would be the Efest 8,000mah and 10,000mah power banks.
- Cigarette adapter -- Some vape companies offer a cigarette adapter for their pen-style vaporizers. These adapters connect your vaping unit with your car's cigarette lighter receptacle -- this is about the only thing that vapers find useful about analog cigarettes! All joking aside, this is an incredibly handy feature meant literally for folks on the road. It's usually not offered as standard packaging but as a separate accessory. Car adapters can be found HERE
One trend to keep in mind is the proliferation of the micro-USB format. Years ago, USB cables were the industry standard for pen-style vaporizers. At the time, PCs and laptops were extremely popular and dominated the personal computing sector. In addition, USB flash memory devices were the rage for their ability to transfer files from one computer system to the next.
For better or for worse, Apple released the iPad, and the phenomenon known as tablets took off like wildfire. Today, seemingly every computer manufacturer offers a tablet solution for their customers. Some companies like Microsoft offer a hybrid tablet/laptop platform, which has been met with commercial success despite being late to the tablet market.
What this means for the vaper is that micro USB -- the format preferred by the new wave of smart devices -- is becoming the new gold standard. Yes, people still use USB and it's unlikely that it will ever die or become obsolete. However, the other reality is that the PC market has been moribund for some time. Traditional computer giants like Intel Corporation have had to adjust their business strategies to reflect shifting consumer sentiment.
How this trend affects you principally depends upon your computer usage. If you've joined the smart device revolution and don't have a PC or laptop at home, you're obviously better off searching for vaporizers that use micro-USB cables as opposed to standard USB. For most people, though, standard USB may be the better choice since they tend to have both a PC and a smart device, and USB is the more widely accepted format.
While compatibility is certainly an important deciding factor, here's one final element to consider between the standard versus micro USB format. Several vaporizers that offer a recharging system in micro-USB also tend to feature what is known as pass-through charging technology. Essentially, this nifty attribute allows the vaporizer to be charged and used simultaneously.
Again, this is extremely beneficial for those vapers that take a minimalist approach to their adult liberties. With pass-through charging, you don't have to wait hours for your battery to reach full replenishment. Some vaporizer models are known to take up to six hours for a full cycle, which is almost an entire work day! That's just an insane amount of time to wait to get your fix.
While nothing prevents pass-through technology from being implemented in standard USB vaporizers, it's clear from reading many vaping reviews that enthusiasts prefer the micro-USB format. As a result, an increasing number of manufacturers are inclined to go micro. Also, the most portable vaporizers can only physically utilize micro-USB ports. The Eleaf iStick 30W is a prime example of one such unit incorporating pass-through technology.
External Charging Mechanisms
Not all external battery vaporizers utilize the internal charging mechanism. A significant number of vaping companies offer external charging mechanisms for their premium or flagship models. While the internal approach has its advantages -- namely, the ability to charge almost anywhere, and the aforementioned pass-through technology -- the external route has its fair share of benefits.
But before we get into the reasons why an external mechanism may work better for some vapers, let's consider an economic reality. Internal mechanisms are easier to make for vaping manufacturers. For one thing, there's one less component to worry about. Just provide a USB cable and a connecting portal to the vaporizer, and you're done! While it would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to associate internal mechanisms as only belonging to cheap vape pens, it is worthwhile to note that companies make better profit margins off the internal route.
The external route, on the other hand, costs more due to the addition of another kit part. Such models cater to a higher-spending demographic, and thus, companies may be putting more effort into these products than their lesser-equipped kits. To reiterate, you don't want to jump to conclusions on this assessment, but it is worth considering as you whittle down the choices for your next vape pen.
From a functionality standpoint, the external charger achieves a full-cycle replenishment substantially quicker than the internal mechanism. With the latter, the problem is that there's a lot of stuff going on with vaporizer aside from the recharging attribute. Internal mechanism vaporizers by default have to be a jack-of-all-trades. And what is the common criticism of such multitasking? -- that's right, it's a master of none.
Now I'm not suggesting that internal mechanism vaporizers are in any way inferior to the external charging system. But let's be honest -- a vaporizer's first priority is to vape, and vape well. Its ability to recharge is an important function, but secondary to direct functionality and vapor production. As I said, there's too much congestion within a portable vaporizer.
Contrast this to an external charger. This is a device that is mission-purposed for one goal -- achieve a full-cycle replenishment as quickly as possible. There are no frills and unnecessary accouterments integrated into an external charger. Every nut, bolt, and wire is streamlined for the previously mentioned purpose. Thus, the external route is the most efficient.
External chargers are inexpensive, and can have more than one slot. That means multiple batteries can be replenished at the same time, getting the vaper up to speed with potentially more total capacity and in a time frame that internal mechanisms can only fantasize about.
The obvious disadvantage is that an additional, separate device is necessary to recharge your batteries. That will be a problem if you forget your charger -- some vaporizers only allow recharging through an external device, so it won't matter if you have access to a computer instead.
At the end of the day, we're talking about one additional piece of equipment -- not twenty. This is unlikely to crimp your style. Furthermore, the rapid-fire recharge of an external platform is too great of an attribute to ignore. Suffering through a four or five hour replenishing cycle is enough for most vapers, leading them to seek vaping units with external capabilities. Popular external chargers such as the Efest LUC 2 bay and 4 bay charger, or the Nitecore i2 and i4 chargers can be found HERE
Internal Battery Device
We've spent a considerable amount of time discussing the virtues and the sub-platforms of the external battery device. And if you have detected a bias towards the external route, you're not mistaken. The convenience and the ability to scale up your aggregate capacity through multiple battery purchases are amazing assets that busy vapers require. At the same time, the internal battery device has been around for a long time. The system must be doing something right.
And it certainly is. It's hard not to notice a glaring technological trend -- we are gradually transitioning to a wireless society. Prior to the advent of the internet, almost every electronic and computer device was tethered to something. The home computer of the 1990s was a tangled mess of wires and cables leading to God knows where.
Today, everything is much more streamlined. Wireless sound systems eliminated the need for power cables, speaker-to-speaker connections, and speaker-to-system cables. Even devices as massive as a printer only require a power source -- the cumbersome printer port is a thing of the past. Indeed, the act of printing itself is being phased out with "go green" environmental initiatives.
Therefore, it's not surprising that many portable vaporizers in the current marketplace deploy the internal battery system. It really is a much more convenient platform. Instead of dealing with yet another external device, you just find a USB port, plug in, and charge. The cables themselves are usually just long enough to get the job done. Plus, vapers have the convenience of universal compatibility. After all, a USB port is a USB port.
The other advantage of the internal battery is integration. Under an external platform, engineers have to provide spacing and extra functionality to accommodate a removable battery. That in itself has its disadvantages as there's more parts involved, and therefore, an increased potential that something could go wrong. The added pathway between the external battery and the channels where power is transferred from source to unit may be less efficient than an internally integrated power source.
One of the often-cited advantages of the external system over the internal is that once a battery dies, it does not mean the end of the vaporizer. That's a very important consideration. However, please don't fall into the trap that the external platform doesn't have its own cons as it relates to batteries. Anything that's electronic will always have some possibility of failure.
With the external system, the danger is that the battery itself could fail catastrophically. Meaning, the battery could suffer a loss of structural integrity. If that occurs, harsh and abrasive chemicals can leak into the battery placement portal, damaging critical connectors and circuits or worse.
The crazy part is that this is not an uncommon situation. Typically, batteries that are left too long in an electronic device have a higher potential of leaking chemicals. While battery technology has come a long way, it's not immune to physical laws. All it takes is one leak to compromise the entire system. Since several premium vape pens utilize external batteries, a $20 battery could end up destroying a $200 vaporizer.
Because internal batteries are native to the platform in which they are incased, there's less preventative maintenance involved. That's a major plus for those of us that don't want to deal with more administrative tasks than we have to. Furthermore, the integration of the battery into the vaping unit means that creative engineers can incorporate the battery as part of the overall vaporizer design. There's much more leeway in the production process for internal systems.
This results in a thinner and incredibly compact aesthetic. While an external system doesn't preclude engineers from making a vaping pen just as compact, it's easier -- and therefore cheaper -- for manufacturers to go with the internal route. Vapers that value convenience, portability, and discretion will likely opt for the internal battery.
Another aspect to keep in mind is often-associated attributes. Internal battery vaporizers will typically be charged using the micro-USB format. Make sure that this format is congruent with your computer devices and general preferences. Also, internal systems will likely incorporate the aforementioned pass-through technology. This can be an incredible advantage over vaporizers that use an external charger only as it allows for simultaneous vaping and charging.
A Cautionary Note for All Systems
No matter what route you decide on -- whether an internal or external battery system -- please be aware that you are dealing with an incredible power source. The lithium-ion that is the standard bearer for virtually all modern portable electronic devices has tremendous potential, but that potential must be harnessed properly. Mishandling or careless treatment could result in severe consequences that go far beyond an intractably damaged vaporizer.
Think of it this way -- most lithium-ion batteries aren't asked tasked with much effort-driven procedures. For example, a typical smartphone is very efficient with its energy usage. A study conducted by Life Hacker revealed that if a utility company were to bill your iPhone, the annual cost will be 41 cents. You wouldn't even be able to buy soda from a vending machine with that kind of money!
Now let's look at the vaporizer. Today's vape pens have an optimum temperature range between 335 to 385 degrees Fahrenheit. That's more than 100 degrees higher than the boiling point of water at sea level, which is 212° F. Essentially, you have the kitchen stove in your hands but in an extremely condensed platform. This is the epicenter of the incredible power and convenience of the portable vaporizer, but it also demonstrates the risk of poor management.
Again, regardless of your personal preference in system format, you absolutely have to take care of your equipment. This isn't a matter of being a "negative Nancy." There are several incidents involving vaporizers in the media that could have been prevented through responsible enjoyment. Instead, there are an unfortunate minority of folks that needlessly and recklessly push the envelope. This is both unsafe and in many ways, selfish.
Vapers belong to a cooperative community that act as an ambassadorship to the general public. Try finding such a community among analog cigarette platforms -- they just don't exist. But with this cooperation comes accountability. Most vapers are incredibly helpful to their fellow enthusiasts -- in return, enthusiasts abide by an unspoken code. A central ethos of this code is to not bring vaping into a bad light.
Akin to Second Amendment advocates that push for safety and responsibility, the entire industry benefits when users deploy their equipment properly. Things go awry, however, when rouge elements decide to make a name for themselves at the expense of the industry's hard-earned reputation.
I would urge that before anyone try anything dangerous to think of the broader repercussions. Politically, vapers operate under a delicate balance, stuck between Big Tobacco's legislative attacks and government watchdogs. What it boils down to is this -- the vaping community needs all the good press it can get. So why risk the personal liberties of your fellow vapers?
To that end, renowned vaping advocates endorse a protective product known as the charging bag. Although it has a funny name, charging bags are designed to help prevent a vaping disaster from exacerbating into something much, much worse.
Charging bags are constructed from specialized materials to contain electrical fire. As you know, not all fire catalysts are the same. Procedures to put out a fire resulting from "naturally" combustible items is substantially different from those associated with an electrical fire. The purpose-centric materials of the charging bag absorb the flames and any resultant residue. Furthermore, they vent out the smoke away from the charging bag to prevent dense accumulation of carbon monoxide and other harmful emissions.
Best of all, charging bags are easy to use. Simply place your charger or electronic device into the bag, then snake out the charging cable through the seam vent, and plug your device to a power source. Finally, close the bag, which is typically accomplished through Velcro attachments. The engineering of the charging bag allows for heat to dissipate -- therefore, you don't have to worry about the product causing damage to your vape pen.
The charging bag is ultimately a secondary safety device, much like the safety on a firearm. The primary safety device is you, the vaper. So long as you abide by the manufacturer's instructions, the permitted thresholds, and with a modicum of common sense, you will be just fine. In this case, the charging bag is being used appropriately as a system that protects against unforeseen malfunctions. Charging bags can be found HERE
With so many advancements in technology directly impacting multiple sectors and areas of our lives, it was inevitable that a new wave of innovation would radically change avenues of personal liberties. One of the most common avenues is the cigarette.
Nearly ten years ago, The New York Times ran a fascinating article entitled "Tracing the Cigarette’s Path From Sexy to Deadly." Back during the early 20th century, the cigarette was considered a cultural icon. Anybody who was anybody smoked, and cigarettes became a widely demanded commodity. Socialites and power brokers would often gloat about their brand of choice. It was a completely foreign environment from the one to which we are accustomed.
It was mid-century, however, that events started to unravel for Big Tobacco firms. Sure, cigarette producers were raking in the dough as they always do. But the acquiescent culture that drove those revenues was about to receive an alarming wake-up call.
Deep-seated research into the tobacco companies' practices revealed a dependency on nicotine to establish a near-hostage consumer base. Furthermore, the data exposed the fact that the elite tobacconists knew that nicotine was addictive well in advance of the official Surgeon General's warning. Not only did they not care, Big Tobacco encouraged proliferation of nicotine. They knew that with an addicted clientele, revenues would be assured.
Today, there is a pronounced though somewhat mitigated change in the tobacco industry. The major firms are still ringing up the cash register, but they must know that their days are numbered. Anti-smoking advocates who have yet to truly attack derivative liberties such as vaping or herbal consumption have spent their time bashing Big Tobacco. With no real friends, Big Tobacco has deflected blame by pointing to the vaporizer industry.
This is nothing more than a sham. Eventually, it's my personal belief that the general public will wake up to the truth. Vaporizers are considerably different from analog cigarettes, and this is not just a reference to the obvious technological dichotomy.
What it all comes down to is a simple, unavoidable fact -- vaping is what you make of it. Uninformed critics blast vaping as merely a digital form of cigarette smoking. This is an incredibly ignorant position and reveals that many people don't take the time to do their proper research. If they did, such accusations against vaping and vaping enthusiasts would not be leveled.
One very important difference between cigarettes and e-cigarettes is the ability to control the nicotine intake. Nicotine, in addition to being addictive, adds a bad aftertaste. It mixes with the e-juice flavors, thus creating a less than favorable experience. All E-Juice lines are offered in various nicotine strength options including nicotine-free. This allows the user to gradually ween themselves off of nicotine as they see fit.
The vaping industry is about returning personal liberties back to the individual. In contrast, Big Tobacco is about making the choice for you. For decades, these elite firms hid the fact that nicotine was addictive from the public. Doing so, they reasoned, would secure their business indefinitely. The vaping industry took the opposite position, opening the doors to a wide array of experimentation -- down to the seemingly mundane choice of battery platform.
The irony here is that when given the dignity of liberty, consumers organically gravitate towards sectors that respect their intellect and unique personalities. For example, nicotine-based e-juices remains highly demanded by vapers who crave "throat hits." Others prefer a smoother experience, and opt for less or no nicotine. Again, it's about personal freedom and choice. And because of this mutual respect, vapers continually boost the presence of the broader vaping industry.
But with liberty comes responsibility. The vaping platform and community has given people throughout the world the pleasures of autonomous enjoyment. This priceless gift is something to be shared, not hoarded for self-seeking purposes. In order to protect these freedoms, I encourage everyone to take advantage of all the wonderful options that vaping has in store, but to do so responsibly.
Finally, please consult Vapor Authority for all your vaping needs -- they truly are a one-stop-shop! But more than that, Vapor Authority are good people. Nowadays, it's extremely difficult to find business people that truly care about their industry and their clients. Vapor Authority goes above and beyond everyday by providing cutting-edge products, excellent post-sale support, and unique insights into the vaping community.