Batteries (PV’s)

Vaping-Fuel-Learn-Batteries

The term “battery” can be slightly confusing because when we think of a battery, we think of a battery.

These are what usually comes to mind

These are what usually comes to mind

Within the world of vaping, a battery is still a battery, but it also has several other things included. I guess it would be like calling your phone a battery because it has a battery within it. This is why the community started calling it a “Personal Vaporizer” or “PV” instead.

The term PV can also be misleading because a PV itself can also be used to describe the entire unit including the battery as well as the atomizer. Ugh, yeah, it’s annoying and this is why I’m going to try to better explain the whole thing.

In its simplest form, a PV consists of a metal tube, an actual battery (like we’re used to), a switch of some sort and a method of attaching an atomizing unit.

This is the case for nearly all types of PV’s from the most basic e-cigarette to the crazy “big battery mods” that exist primarily in the hobbyist sector of the vaping community.

Side Note: "Vaping Community"

I reference the vaping community as such because unlike smokers, people that vape seem to have banded together to help one another learn more about it and share ideas and support. Whereas if you are a smoker, it doesn’t take much to buy a pack and figure out how to light the correct end.

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of PV’s on the market, therefor, I will break it down to the easiest to understand.

There are three basic types of PV’s.

E-Cig

Vaping-Fuel-e-cig-Icon
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Versatility
Portability
Affordability

The electronic cigarette style PV looks like a cigarette and is usually white with a glowing orange tip to simulate smoking.

eGo-Style

Vaping-Fuel-Battery-Icon
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Versatility
Portability
Affordability

The eGo-style PV is bigger and sort of looks like a Sharpie marker.

Big Battery / APV

Vaping-Fuel-apv-Icon
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Versatility
Portability
Affordability

The APV (Advanced Personal Vaporizor) also called a “big battery” because they actually use rather large removable rechargeable batteries inside.

What do these mean?

Ease of Use

How easy is it for the average person to use it on a daily basis. This includes what you may have to do to keep it charged etc.

Battery Life

How long does the battery last compared to other options.

Versatility

How compatible is it with atomizers on the market. How much flexibility do I have with customization and setup of this device.

Portability

How easy is it to travel with. This also includes how much you may have to bring along with you somewhere to keep it charged. Also, how heavy it might be.

Affordability

How much will it cost me initially as well as possible maintenance costs such as replacement parts or batteries.

Vaping-Fuel-e-cig-comparison

As you can imagine, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of PV. Since there are so many of each type available, I will speak generically to the overall idea of each one.

E-Cig

Vaping-Fuel-E-Cig-Equation

The electronic cigarette (or e-cig) is obviously named aptly. It looks like a cigarette and is electronic.

This is the name given for most PV’s that resemble this form factor. There are more advanced PV’s that take the shape of a simple e-cig, but when someone refers to a PV as an e-cig, they are talking about these. Some are longer, some are a little fatter, but they all have a few things in common.

Vaping-Fuel-e-cigAs I said before all PV’s have the basics in common, one being some sort of switch to fire the atomizer. The majority of e-cigs use a special type of switch instead of a button. It is automatically activated when you take a puff, mimicking closely the act of smoking. The downside is that these types of automatic switches can be finicky sometimes if some liquid or debris gets inside, or other times they just wear out for no good reason at at all (happened to me).

The biggest advantage to the e-cig is that you can pretty much find them at any gas station or Wal*Mart store. This is probably the closest you will get to the convenience factor that smoking will give you.

Standard 510 E-Cig Cartridge

Standard 510 E-Cig Cartridge

The biggest drawback to an e-cig is that the manufacturer usually  leads you to believe that you must use their own special brand of replacement cartridges (actually, they’re cartomizers but manufacturers usually call them cartridges because that’s an easier concept to sell). In fact, some manufacturers occasionally use specialized thread patterns that limit your use to their own brand. This is usually a problem because pre-filled cartridges, for the most part, taste sub-par.

The standard thread pattern that most e-cigs use for their cartridges is called a “510”. I don’t know why it’s called a 510, but just know that nearly all PV’s and atomizers support this as a standard.

It is important to know that if you ever decide to get an e-cig, most likely you do NOT have to buy the pre-filled crappy, overpriced cartridges sold at 7-Eleven. I can’t speak to all brands, but chances are you can just buy a 5-pack of empty 2Ω 510 cartomizers from any vape shop (not Vaping Fuel, we don’t like them) and fill them yourself (with Vaping Fuel E-Liquid of course).

The second worse thing about the e-cig is the battery life. It’s tiny. In my experience a decent brand rechargeable e-cig battery will last you about 1-2 hours. This means that you are constantly at risk of being out of luck when you need it. This is also why nearly all e-cig starter kits come with multiple batteries.

Vaping-Fuel-Charging-Icon

 

Charging an E-Cig

One cool thing about e-cigs is that their chargers are pretty small and can plug in to any computer or phone charging USB plug.

Also, some really awesome e-cigs will come with a case that will charge your batteries while they are not in use.

Vaping-Fuel-ecig-chargin-case

Keep in mind that NOT ALL e-cigs are rechargeable. If it’s cheap and found at a convenience store, it’s probably not. Even if it is, the charge won’t last you vary long.

 

Pros

 

  • Readily available at most convenience and big box stores
  • Closely resembles an actual cigarette if that’s something you need to switch over to vaping
  • Super portable
  • Simple charging methods

 

Cons

 

  • Pre-filled cartridges taste awful
  • Pre-filled cartridges are WAY overpriced for what you get
  • Battery life is abysmal
  • Very limited choices in atomizers – only allow for 510 cartomizers or pre-filled cartridges (also cartomizers)
  • Limited to medium (2Ω) to high (3Ω) resistance atomizers
  • Automatic switch can go bad fairly easily
  • Can be mistaken for an actual cigarette and get you thrown out of a restaurant
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Versatility
Portability
Affordability

What do these mean?

Ease of Use

How easy is it for the average person to use it on a daily basis. This includes what you may have to do to keep it charged etc.

Battery Life

How long does the battery last compared to other options.

Versatility

How compatible is it with atomizers on the market. How much flexibility do I have with customization and setup of this device.

Portability

How easy is it to travel with. This also includes how much you may have to bring along with you somewhere to keep it charged. Also, how heavy it might be.

Affordability

How much will it cost me initially as well as possible maintenance costs such as replacement parts or batteries.

eGo-Style

Vaping-Fuel-eGo-Style
Vaping-Fuel-eGo-Style-Equation

The eGo-style is named after the original eGo made by Joyetech in 2009. To the vaper (one that vapes) drowning in the sea of dumb e-cigs, the eGo became the life raft. To keep this stupid analogy going, the eGo was (and still is) more like a cabin cruiser than a life raft.

The Original Joyetech eGo

The Original Joyetech eGo

Gone are the days of 1 hour charges—the eGo is available in many different sizes but even the smallest available can offer up to 6 hours on one charge.

Gone are the days of overpriced nasty-tasting pre-filled cartridges—the eGo starter kit comes with a refillable system that allows you to choose exactly which liquid to fill it with. ALTHOUGH, if you are really in love with a particular pre-filled cartridge, as long as it is a standard 510 (chances are yes) then you can just pop it onto your eGo. Double bonus.

Gone are the days of automatic switches burning out—the eGo has a super sturdy button switch that even sports an on/off mode so it doesn’t fire in your pocket.

Gone are the days of being forced to use cartomizers/cartridges—the eGo has two different thread patterns (510 and it’s own eGo thread) allowing for maximum compatibility of nearly all available atomizers on the market.

Vaping-Fuel-eGo-ThreadsVersatility is a huge plus for the eG0-style and this has to do primarily with the fact that it has two sets of threads: the standard 510 as well as what has been named the “eGo threads”.

What this means is that in addition to being able to use any 510 atomizing device, many manufacturers have released products that are specifically designed to screw onto those outer threads. This gives you twice as many options to find exactly the right atomizer for you.

Not only can you use specific “eGo threaded” devices, but you can use certain 510 devices that would normally be used on Big Battery APVs if you use a proper trim ring designed to utilize the “eGo threads” as well.

Vaping-Fuel-eGo-thread-rings

Set of “eGo thread” trim rings

lastcig_ego_without_plinth

eGo-style without trim ring is quite unsightly

lastcig_3mlplinth_ego_dct

…from ugly to awesome in a few turns of an accessory

Variable Voltage

There was once a time when we couldn’t dream of such a feature being available on an eGo-style PV. Now, not only can we dream about it, but we can absolutely buy and vape with it.

Yeah yeah, but what the heck am I talking about?

Heat. I’m talking about how hot your PV can make the atomizer. The hotter it gets, the more vapor it produces and the better it can taste (I say can taste  because there is such a thing as too hot).

WARNING: COULD GET BORING BUT STAY WITH ME

There is a relationship between the voltage of your PV and the resistance of your atomizer. Without getting into crazy technical lessons, the LOWER the resistance (measured in Ω) the HOTTER  the vape.

A normal eGo-style PV creates between 3.3 and 3.7 volts (depending on the components found inside) and a normal atomizer is usually 3.0Ω, which doesn’t produce very good vapor or flavor (not bad tasting, just sort of weak).

Before variable voltage devices were available, the ONLY thing we could do to make our PV’s vape hotter was to buy LOW RESISTANCE atomizers.

The eGo-style PV’s can handle atomizers down to 1.8Ω, any lower than that and you run the risk of killing your PV.

Since there was a limit on how low of resistance we could get, we were stuck with what we got (unless we wanted to buy a crazy Big Battery Mod / APV).

Then they created an eGo-style where with a few clicks of a button, you could actually pump up the voltage. This means that even with an atomizer of 3Ω you can set the voltage to around 5V which would makes for a MUCH hotter temperature and clouds of great-tasting vapor.

Vaping-Fuel-ego-varieties

 

One major downside to the eGo is actually the eGo-style itself. Since the eGo is such a wonderful design, there are quite literally thousands upon thousands of different knock-off “eGo” PV’s.

It can be tough to sift through the sheer numbers of eGo-style PV’s and come up with the right choice. Some are just plain cheap knock-offs. Some try to be too crazy. Some end up being more hassle than they are worth.

I have been burned by a few low-quality knock-offs and have learned to stick with good manufacturers that I can trust and who’s products get good reviews.

WARNING: POSSIBLE SALES PITCH APPROACHING

The reason that we don’t carry the actual name-brand Joyetch original eGo PV is simple: we feel that we found a superior PV, plain and simple.

A lot of sites will say that they “test out” products, and I imaging they do, but my personal “testing” is me buying myself a PV for personal use hoping that it’s the last one I will ever buy. As you also may notice, we have a TERRIBLE hardware selection but this is by design. All the products that we sell are the ones that we ourselves use non-stop every single day.

The eGo-style PV that we fell in love with is called the iTaste VV and you can read more about it on the Beginner’s Setup page or just go ahead and get yourself a iTaste VV Starter Kit.

Vaping-Fuel-Charging-Icon

 

Charging an eGo-Style

The eGo uses a pretty specific charger that screws onto it’s 510 threads. I would say “don’t lose it” but they are really common.

The absolute best type of eGo-style battery you can get is known as a passthrough. It means that you can plug your charger directly into the bottom and vape while you charge it.

Vaping-Fuel-Pros-eGo-Style

 

Pros

 

  • Battery life (depending on which size you get can be up to 10x that of an e-cig)
  • Sheer number of atomizers you can use with it
  • Some are variable voltage/wattage
  • As simple to use as an e-cig
  • Available as a passthrough
  • Light and portable
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Tried and true design that set most of today’s vaping hardware standards

 

Cons

 

  • The battery or switch may not be able to handle super-low resistance atomizers
  • If you are a hardcore, every-minute-type vaper, the battery might still not be enough
  • Such a popular design that you may easily buy a crappy knock-off (and even that is better than an e-cig)
  • Such a popular and common PV that you may not even come close to the coolest person among your vaping friends
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Versatility
Portability
Affordability

What do these mean?

Ease of Use

How easy is it for the average person to use it on a daily basis. This includes what you may have to do to keep it charged etc.

Battery Life

How long does the battery last compared to other options.

Versatility

How compatible is it with atomizers on the market. How much flexibility do I have with customization and setup of this device.

Portability

How easy is it to travel with. This also includes how much you may have to bring along with you somewhere to keep it charged. Also, how heavy it might be.

Affordability

How much will it cost me initially as well as possible maintenance costs such as replacement parts or batteries.

Recommended eGo-style PV

vaping-fuel-itaste-vv

iTaste VV Variable Voltage Passthrough

I want one of these

Big Battery Mod / APV

Vaping-Fuel-Big-Battery-Mod-APV

IMPORTANT: APV’S AREN’T THAT ADVANCED. APV’S AREN’T DIFFICULT TO USE. THEY ARE MORE SCARED OF YOU THAN YOU ARE OF THEM.

The progression of most vapers will end satisfactorily with the eGo-style. This, however is absolutely not the end of the road. For those that are more adventurous, or those that like to tinker with things, or those that really want something cool, I give you the “Big Battery Mod” or Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV).

“Big Battery” comes from the fact that it actually uses BIG batteries (as compared to e-cigs and eGo-styles).

“Mod” comes from the old homemade versions of these devices where people desperate for a longer batter life actually took parts from a normal PV and MODified it in order to use a larger battery.

These days, the term “Big Battery Mod” has mostly been changed to the more appropriate “Advanced Personal Vaporizer” since they are now built for this purpose rather than a modified version of something else. Just think of these terms as interchangeable.

Before reputable manufacturers started mass-producing them, APV’s  resided solely in the hands of the pure hobbyist. All you need to make one is a battery, a switch, a 510 connection and some sort of contraption to hold it all.

At this point in time, there are probably hundreds of different APV’s on the market, so covering them all would be impossible.  I will, however, discuss the styles and basic concepts of the most common mass-produced APVs.

APV: Mechanical

Vaping-Fuel-Mechanical-Equation

You can think of a mechanical mod as the simplest form of the APV—which is a big battery APV that is NOT variable voltage.

"True Mechanical"

There are some super-technical nerds in the vaping community that will argue as to what does and does not qualify as a TRUE mechanical mod. The argument is that technically, for something to be “mechanical” it cannot have any type of wiring or electronics.

If an APV is not variable voltage but does have some type of simple wiring, they prefer to call these “unregulated” instead. All of this is just semantics and not worth remembering anyway.

One of the original mass-produced "mechanical" APV, the Silver Bullet

One of the original mass-produced “mechanical” APV’s, the Silver Bullet

I believe the term “mechanical” wasn’t used for APV’s until the variable voltage mod was invented and there needed to be a term to differentiate the two.

The downside to a mechanical APV is that its voltage is limited to whatever battery you are using.

The most common batteries used in mechanical APV’s (and others as well) are the 18650 and 18350. These types of batteries are most commonly used in rechargeable flashlights.

The voltage of an 18650 and 18350 is 3.7 volts. This is important to understand because your voltage is part of the equation to determine how hot your PV vapes. The hotter, the more vapor and flavor.

When big battery mods were first mass-produced, 3.7 volts was just fine for most people because that’s the same(ish) voltage that an eGo-style PV puts out. This means that a mechanical APV and an ego-style PV are mostly the same except for the actual battery life (ego = good, mechanical APV = amazing).

Vaping-Fuel-Mechanical-APV- (1)

Vaping-Fuel-Mechanical-APV- (2)

Vaping-Fuel-Mechanical-APV- (3)

Mechanical APV Cheat Sheet

  • NOT variable voltage
  • The first type of big battery mod
  • Generally the least expensive APV
  • Stuck with one size battery (unless it comes with different sized tubes)
  • Most common batteries are 18650 and 18350 (3.7V)
  • Due to the simplistic design, they can come in many more shapes and even crazier designs
  • These are unregulated, which means that you should use protected batteries and be more careful using them

APV: Telescopic

Vaping-Fuel-Telescopic-Equation
One of the original telescopic mods - The Golden Greek

One of the original telescopic mods – The Golden Greek

The next step in evolution is the Telescopic APV. I don’t mean to say that a telescopic mod is superior exactly, but it solves a problem that a standard mechanical APV has.

The telescopic has a portion of the body that can unscrew to accommodate different sized batteries or even allow you to stack smaller ones to achieve a desired voltage (stacking batteries isn’t recommended as it can be dangerous if the batteries are not designed to do so).

Another reason to look into a telescopic APV is that you can make it physically shorter by using a smaller battery. Some people like the advantages of an APV, but don’t like carrying around a giant baton in their pocket. Using a shorter battery (18350) and shrinking the body to fit can decrease the overall size by 40%.

Telescopic APV Cheat Sheet

  • NOT variable voltage
  • Gives you the ability to choose which battery to use rather than locking yourself into only one
  • Form factor is limited in order to facilitate the telescoping feature
  • Unregulated, which means that you should use protected batteries and be more careful using them
  • More versatile sizing. Make it short for when you need it more compact, extend it for when you need more battery life

APV: Variable Voltage

Vaping-Fuel-VV-Equation
One of the first variable voltage APV's - The Provari

One of the first variable voltage APV’s – The Provari

If you’ve been reading this entire guide, you will have learned about what variable voltage is by now (also, I keep referencing it every five seconds) but what’s interesting to know is that the very first time the vaping community saw a variable voltage device was on a big battery mod.

The fact that you can change the voltage, solves a few major issues with the mechanical and telescoping mods.

The first one is that you can choose just one battery and decide for yourself exactly what temperature you want.

The second is that due to the fact that the device uses electronics to adjust the voltage, this allows for battery protection. What this means is that the unit will protect itself from you (putting the battery in backwards) or from a cheap battery that may explode or something crazy.

Since we are now dealing with an APV that has a little computer inside, there are even more features possible. Resistance checking, puff counting, battery voltage and life display, and any other relevant vaping information you could ask for.

Variable Wattage

Variable voltage devices were on the market for a few years before the inevitable evolution caught up and brought variable WATTAGE.

I don’t really think this feature is different enough from variable wattage to warrant its own section but it still does require some explanation.

Variable Voltage vs Variable Wattage

Basically, both modes change temperature at which your atomizer “cooks” the liquid. The hotter it is, the stronger the flavor, too hot, and it starts to get burnt.

To understand this fully, you must first understand that atomizers have a certain resistance number. Without explaining boringly, I’ll just say that the lower the resistance (ohms), the hotter it will vape. What this means is that if you have a higher resistance atomizer (3.0 Ω for example) then you would have to bump up your voltage to compensate for it to get the flavor to where you want it to be.

With variable wattage (also called variable power), the unit does the math for you and all you have to do is set your wattage level exactly where you want it to be no matter which resistance atomizer you are using.

This means that once you set your wattage to where you like it, you can use ANY atomizer of any resistance and it will always vape at the same temperature.

Variable Voltage APV Cheat Sheet

  • All of the benefits of the mechanical APV
  • Groundbreaking breakthrough for the vaping world
  • Limited to whatever battery it is designed for
  • One battery = any voltage (within reason)
  • Advanced electronic features including battery surge protection, resistance meter, variable wattage, short circuit protection, low voltage warning, puff counters and more

APV: Telescopic VV

Vaping-Fuel-VV-Telescopic-Equation
One of our favorite Telescopic VV APV's - The iTaste SVD

One of our favorite Telescopic VV APV’s – The iTaste SVD

There’s nothing inherently special about the telescopic VV (variable voltage) except that it combines the features of the telescopic and the variable voltage mods into one allowing for maximum versatility.

This means that you have finally found it, ONE VAPE to rule them all!

If you have one of these puppies you can use any atomizer (if it is threaded properly with 510/eGo threads) and any size battery (as long as it meets the voltage requirements, usually 3.7V).

Telescopic VV APV Cheat Sheet

  • All of the benefits of the variable voltage APV
  • All of the benefits of the telescoping APV
  • The most versatile APV you can get

Vaping-Fuel-Charging-Icon

 

Charging an APV

Generally speaking, APV’s use one of two common batteries. The 18650 and the 18350.

These are both 3.7V and chances are whichever APV you buy will run properly using one or the other (or both if it’s telescopic).

These batteries are rechargeable lithium-ion (like your cell phone).

Vaping-Fuel-APV-batteries

The type of charger you need will be one that is designed to charge the 18650 and 18350 batteries.

There are cheap battery chargers out there but we highly recommend an “intelligent charger” This means that you can pop the batteries in and leave them unattended. Once they are charged fully, the charger will turn itself off and not over charge or explode the batteries. Isn’t that helpful?

Intellicharger i2

 

We happen to sell this very charger. I also use it every single day for my own batteries.

 

Pros

 

  • The best battery life of any PV
  • The most versatile type of PV
  • Cool-factor = through the roof

 

Cons

 

  • Fairly Expensive
  • Larger than most would want to carry around daily
  • Charging isn’t the easiest
Ease of Use
Battery Life
Versatility
Portability
Affordability

What do these mean?

Ease of Use

How easy is it for the average person to use it on a daily basis. This includes what you may have to do to keep it charged etc.

Battery Life

How long does the battery last compared to other options.

Versatility

How compatible is it with atomizers on the market. How much flexibility do I have with customization and setup of this device.

Portability

How easy is it to travel with. This also includes how much you may have to bring along with you somewhere to keep it charged. Also, how heavy it might be.

Affordability

How much will it cost me initially as well as possible maintenance costs such as replacement parts or batteries.

Recommended APV

iTaste SVD

I want one of these

Don’t stop your education now, choose something below and keep learning.