I’ve reviewed many e-cigarettes over the past couple of years, and I thought that most of them were pretty good. Only a few were ideal, though. An inexpensive e-cigarette kit today frequently includes just one battery and a few pre-filled cartomizers. While that certainly serves the purpose of introducing someone to e-cigarettes, it seems to me that the ideal e-cigarette kit for someone serious about switching to e-smoking should contain much more. If you’re certain that you want to switch from smoking to e-smoking, these are the qualities that I think you should look for in your first e-cigarette kit.
The top image in this article appears courtesy of V2 Cigs. I removed the logo because this article doesn’t exist to promote any company or product. Nevertheless, the V2 Ultimate Kit is one of the few e-cigarette kits that fits all of the qualifications described here.
E-Cigarette Kit Battery and E-Liquid Usage
500 mAh of Battery Power
In writing my e-cigarette reviews, I’ve spent a lot of time puffing and making tally marks on a notepad. I’ve noticed a pretty strong correlation between battery capacity and attachment resistance in that you can expect around one puff for every 2 mAh of battery capacity when you’re driving a 2.5 ohm load at 3.7 volts. Assuming that a real cigarette would give you around ten puffs of smoke, the smallest e-cigarette batteries deliver the equivalent of just four cigarettes per charge. If you have such an e-cigarette kit and it only includes one battery, that situation is only acceptable if you do all of your e-smoking next to a USB port.
The ideal e-cigarette kit for a new e-smoker should have at least 500 mAh of total battery power divided between two batteries or two batteries plus a portable charging case. This means that you can use one battery while charging the other. It also means that your e-cigarette can deliver the equivalent of a bit more than a pack of real cigarettes before you need to find a USB port or power outlet.
One Month of E-Liquid
I’ve seen many e-cigarette companies advertise a full cartomizer as containing the equivalent of multiple packs of cigarettes, but that’s an outright lie unless the cartomizer in question is a Volcano Tube Tank. That’s why I’m a little disappointed when I see e-cigarette kits that only include a couple of pre-filled cartomizers and no bottles of e-liquid for refilling. A person who buys one of these kits may not realize that he’s only getting enough cartomizers to last a few days and that he’ll actually need to order more cartomizers the day he receives his kit to ensure a continuous supply. Since most people aren’t going to know this, they’ll order their first refills too late — and what happens during that time? They return to smoking at the worst possible time; the first few days after switching to e-cigarettes are always the most challenging.
I propose that the ideal e-cigarette kit should include at least 30 pre-filled cartomizers or, for e-cigarettes intended for dripping or tank systems, at least 60 ml of e-liquid. I believe that’s enough to last most people at least a month, and people who go through their e-liquid more quickly than that will realize they need to re-order long before they run out.
E-cigarette companies are locked in a major price war with one another, and including 30 cartomizers with an e-cigarette kit would certainly inflate the price beyond the sub-$50 price point that many vendors are now trying to hit. So, an alternative would simply be a bit of honesty; companies should clearly explain that the average cartomizer won’t last most e-smokers more than a day.
E-Cigarette Kit Points of Failure
Multiple Atomizers or Cartomizers
The next section in my anatomy of the ideal e-cigarette kit is about eliminating common points of failure. Every part of the kit essential to its operation should have a backup so if something stops working, you won’t have to worry about the temptation to smoke while you wait for the replacement to get to you.
If an e-cigarette kit uses empty cartomizers, a tank system or an atomizer and drip tip, it should include at least two of these vaporizing devices. Most atomizers and cartomizers last for at least a month, but there are no guarantees with heating coils. Although I’ve never seen it happen, it’s possible for an atomizer or cartomizer to fail suddenly after just a few days of use. If your kit includes a backup, that’s no problem.
Multiple Charging Solutions
Although it’s rare for USB chargers to go bad, it has happened twice among the dozens of e-cigarette kits I’ve used. In many cases, the USB charger represents a single point of failure that can make the entire e-cigarette kit useless. Think about it — although many kits do include wall and car chargers, most of them have USB ports. Regardless of your preferred charging method, you’ll need to use the USB charger.
My ideal e-cigarette kit would have at least one additional charging solution that doesn’t depend on the USB charger. For example, a portable charging case that accepts power from a standard USB cable would fit the bill, as would a USB pass-through device.
E-Cigarette Kit Options
Multiple Color Selections
I like my e-cigarettes to come in black, silver, red — anything that can’t be mistaken for a real cigarette. Some people are just the opposite; a white battery with a yellow cartomizer looks just like the real thing, and they see no reason to change that. That’s why multiple color selections are ideal. You’re going to spend a lot of time looking at your e-cigarette — you ought to like it.
Multiple Battery Types
Although experienced e-smokers seem to invariably prefer manual batteries, I think that a lot of first-timers look for e-cigarettes with automatic batteries because they can be held in the same way in which you would hold a real cigarette. Choice is a good thing; my ideal e-cigarette kit would let the buyer choose between both types.