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  • Beginners Guide To Vaping

    So you’ve decided to start vaping, now what?

    A couple beginners super stoked to get a starter kit! A couple beginners super stoked to get a Blackhat starter kit!

    Welcome to a global community of vapers millions strong  and thousands of brick and mortar vapor shops ready to provide you with exactly what you need.  Now is a super exciting time to get in on vaping.  E-cig manufacturers have had years of trial and error, refinement, and research.  The E-cigs on the market now are so much better than the units that were around when I first started a few years ago.  They’re more powerful, more colorful, and easier than ever to use.  Congratulations!  Your timing couldn’t be better.  As a beginner, I’ll walk you through the basics so you can hit the ground running.

    Let’s start with vaping for beginners, what exactly is an electronic cigarette?  I’m glad you asked!  All types of e-cigs have three basic parts:

    A typical beginner setup.

    A battery

    A heating element (coil or atomizer)

    A liquid reservoir (tank or clearomizer)

    These three parts will vary from setup to setup, but they’ll always be there in some form.  The clearomizer holds the e-liquid (see what e-liquid is made of here).  There is an atomizer usually at the base of the clearomizer that contains a wire coil wrapped around a wicking material.  The wicking material absorbs the e-liquid. The metal coil gets power from the attached battery, heats up, and vaporizes the liquid. There you have it!  Vaping is a super simple concept.  Ready for a little more detail?  Here we go…


    Batteries come in a rainbow of designs, concepts, shapes, and colors.  Most likely, as beginners, you’ve seen the cigalike e-cigs.  Cigalikes are the thin units that most resemble an analog cigarette. These generally have a super short battery, poor vapor production, and poor flavor reproduction.

    My recommendation is that you buy a single battery setup or a kit including an eGo style battery.  EGo refers to the thread type on the top of the battery unit.  You’ll face the choice of milliamp hours (mAh), which means capacity.  The higher the mAh, the longer your battery will last on a single charge, but that will also increase the size.  You’ll figure out rather quickly what size battery you’re comfortable carrying with you, and if it’s lasting long enough.  Many eGo batteries available are pass through batteries. That means you can charge while you vape, which drastically increases the daily battery life.

    Clearomizers and coils

    Those beginning to vape at this point in the community’s development are getting the full benefit of the clearomizer and tank options available.  They’re simpler, easier, and more efficient than anything I had starting out a few years ago.

    Basic top coil Basic top coil

    Clearomizers generally come in two main varieties - top coil and bottom coil.  Both essentially function the same way.  Inside the housing, a coil of wire surrounds wicking material (most commonly silica rope or cotton).  When electricity is passed through the coil, it heats up and vaporizes the liquid absorbed by the wicking material.  The result: delicious vapor.  As the names suggest, we’re talking about the position of the coil in the tank.  A typical top coil atomizer has the coil high up on the center shaft and wicks hang down to soak up liquid. 


    Beginners bottom coil Basic bottom coil

    Inside of a bottom coil Inside of a bottom coil

    A bottom coil atomizer sits in the base of the tank and liquid is gravity fed into the wicks. Nowadays, there’s really no reason to use a top coil clearomizer.  They generally perform worse than bottom coil designs, and you’re constantly fighting gravity.  Gravity always wins.

    Other things to consider are airflow and liquid capacity.  Most people don’t want to be constantly refilling, so they go for higher capacity tanks.  Others like the sleek form factor of smaller tanks and don’t mind refilling more frequently.  Plastic tanks are very common among beginning vapers and are typically a more cost effective option, but you sacrifice durability.  Longer lasting tank options are usually made from stainless steel and Pyrex.  There’s a wide variety to choose from, and with a little testing, you’ll find the one for you.

    As with most electronics, there’s room to grow.  Most beginners start with a basic setup, and when they become more familiar with the technology, move up to gear that’s more advanced.  Now there are tanks that can handle many times more power than an eGo battery can output, and batteries that can output many times more power than the basic clearomizers can handle.  Everyone’s tastes are unique, and I can guarantee that there’s a battery/clearomizer setup that will fit the bill.

    Blackhat Vapor's new home! Blackhat Vapor's new home!

    Lastly, and maybe most important as beginners is having a support structure.  Check out your local vape shops.  Find one that seems to have the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff to help you stick with vaping.  (Low prices don’t hurt, either.)  Do you have friends that vape?  They can be an amazing resource.  Comparing e-liquids, batteries/setups, and the occasional loan makes vaping much more interesting and fun.  Of course, there are vaping communities online.  Forums, groups, blogs, and websites all offer a wealth of information to answer just about any question and guide you along.  Don’t hesitate to use any of these resources, and above all, keep vaping!

  • Rise of the Jacksonville Vaping Shop

    The Rise of the Vapor Store in Jax

    Only a year ago, you may have noticed new storefronts popping up in Jacksonville with names like "A-1 Vapor" or "Vapor 4 Life". From Blanding to the Beach, one thing they all had in common was a word - vapor. The e-cig industry changes fast, and in the past year the term "vape" has eclipsed the fledgling term "vapor" Even the Oxford Dictionary company named "vape" the 2014 word of the year! E-cig sales are set to hit $1.7 BILLION this year! So now we have the rise of the Jacksonville Vape Shop, but what exactly does that mean?

    Cloud contest at a vape shop. width=

    The rise of the Jacksonville vapor shop is many things. Earlier this year, we posted a blog about the e-cig community and how vaping has brought thousands of people together with a common cause. That community has become even closer in the face of potential action against it by the FDA. People have credited e-cigs with changing their lives (myself included) and now they band together in solidarity. Jacksonville Vape shops have become more than just brick and mortar purveyors of vaping gear. A lot like the long running TV show, Cheers, regular customers stop by their favorite vaping shop after work to pick up some of their favorite e-liquid, check out new gear, or just kick back and have a puff with the crew running the shop. Some vape shops have "Vape Meets" where fellow vapers gather to enjoy each others company, win prizes, or even participate in "Cloud Contests" to see who can chuck the biggest, thickest plume. The vape shops in Jacksonville, Florida still exist to make money, but now it's more than that - it's a meeting place for all things e-cigarette and the people that love them. So we know that vapor stores have evolved into vape shops, but how has the technology changed?

    Electronic cigarettes have come a loooooong way since the humble days of the disposable 510. In the beginning choices were few and, in retrospect, unimpressive. Color options were limited to a futuristic matte black or tobacco cigarette white with (genuine simulated filter) tan. You could have a sort of tobacco flavored liquid and maybe some vaguely fruity tasting option. You chose between a button activated or automatic battery. Maybe you had the option of what color LED illuminated the end of your "artificial cigarette". That was about it.

    How far we've come.

    Jacksonville Vape Shop Mods The selection of mechanical mods is growing every day at Blackhat!

    Choices today are as plentiful as leaves on a mature oak tree and range from conventional to downright bizarre! Everything from variable voltage options, vibrant or subdued color finishes to mods and premium gourmet e-liquid is yours for experimentation. It is a good time to be a vaper, my friend! E-cigs have broken away from remotely attempting to resemble tobacco cigarettes. Many vapers have setups that reflect their personality and sense of style. If you can think of a color, there's a battery finish or clearomizer option to match. If you change your mind, there are even custom cut adhesive wraps to change your battery color or pattern. Once exotic and rare, LCD displays on batteries are now commonplace in vape shops, providing vital stats on battery life, voltage, and resistance. I've even seen a bluetooth mod complete with cell phone app! Conveniences like pass-through capability makes dead or dying batteries almost a thing of the past. Now you can charge while you vape!

    Jacksonville Vape Shop E-liquid A creamy blend with a kiss of strawberry, Goat's Milk is delish!

    Mods have exploded on the scene, appealing to the tinkerers to build and customize coils to exacting preferences and vaping experiences. With these high powered precision vapes, modders can reduce visibility in any room with a single puff. And the e-liquid varieties!! Hundreds of manufacturers have broken the mold, venturing away from the humdrum "blueberry" and "banana" conventions. Premium liquid manufacturers with the likes of "Cinnamon Roll" and "Strawberries and Cream" have pushed the envelope with creative custom recipes with names like "Skyline", "Butter Berry", and even Blackhat's own "Goats Milk".

    Jacksonville vaping shops are racing to keep up with the best and newest offerings out there and we all get to benefit! Along with the tech, an ever growing population of vapers expands together bringing a sense of community and belonging to everyone involved. I'm sure you have your own go-to Jacksonville vapor store where everybody knows your name.

  • Which Starter Kit is Legit?

    The Skinny on Starter Kits

    So, you're looking to get in to e-cigs and vaping, but where do you start? Well, the simplest answer is to buy a starter kit! Right now there are about as many options with buying a starter kit as there are options with buying a can of soda. What size do I want, what flavor, what color, what style - the choices are seemingly endless! We'll help you narrow down the hundreds of choices regarding starter kits, and get you on your way to the world of vaping.

    Types of Starter Kits

    Generally speaking, you'll find a few different types of starter kits out there. We'll cover the non-disposable types, the only ones worth spending money on:

    • 510 Style Kits
    • Ego style kits
    • Mod Kits

    Whatever kit you decide to buy needs to have the same essential items included:

    • At least one battery (many kits come with two)
    • Clearomizers or Cartomizers for each battery (they hold the liquid)
    • A case or container to hold everything
    • A charging cable
    • E-liquid

    The 510 Kit
    Odds are, you've been seeing these starter kits around for awhile. They're usually the ones you'll see at gas stations (although many of the one for sale are of the disposable variety), and they're featured in commercials and tv shows.

    The 510 e-cigarette. The 510 e-cigarette.

    The 510 e-cigs look like a robotic cigarette - about the same dimensions as a regular cigarette, and the tip usually glows red (to simulate a real cigarette burning) or blue (for the cyberpunk look). These starter kits are generally the ones to avoid. They're on their way out. 510 starter kits are usually overpriced, the batteries don't last very long, they don't produce much vapor, and most people agree that the flavor reproduction is terrible. I was actually given a 510 starter kit a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    It sat in my dresser drawer for a year.

    It was a pain to keep reloading (the cartridge barely held any liquid), it constantly tasted funny, and it was constantly running out of power. Sure, it's small and fits in most any pocket of any piece of clothing, but it's just a terrible unit. By all means, try whatever you think will work for you, but my vote is no.

    Ego Starter Kits
    The "Ego" in Ego starter kit doesn't refer to a part of your identity. It's just the type of battery connection to the tank. The Ego starter kits are by and large the most popular types of starter kits out there today. These kits offer batteries that hold up to more wear and tear, last longer, and offer a smoother vaping experience. Ego starter kits

    The simplest starter kit around The Blackhat Starter Kit

    also usually include tanks that hold more liquid and perform much better than their 510 counterparts. Also, most kits worth buying will feature affordable replacement parts. One thing to look out for is kits that include extra cores for the clearomizers (tanks). A quality kit will stock you up with the items and accessories you need to keep you going for awhile. If you want to get really fancy, there are options like passthrough charging and variable voltage. Passthrough means you can charge the battery while you're vaping (usually with an included USB cable). Variable voltage batteries have a control unit built in (buttons or a dial) that let you control how much or little power the battery puts out.

    Mod Starter Kits
    Mod starter kits are the rarest of the three we've talked about. A mod is just a modified battery or battery holder. Most mod users are vapers who've been in the vaping game awhile. There's a lot of variety with these as well. Some offer voltage control, while others are mostly for collectors into finding something really neat looking. Usually you won't find a mod included in a starter kit, but every now and then you'll come across something special like the Blackhat Swag Bag Giveaways!

    So, we've covered types of starter kits. What else do you want to look for in a starter kit? Well I'm glad you asked!


    One of the great things about getting into the e-cig community right now is the OPTIONS! You don't wear the same shoes to work as you would a night on the town, right? Your e-cig can be the same way! There's a color to match every personality. Adhesive wraps also make a splash. You can pick your favorite football team colors to match your battery and tank combo, or go with something that brings our your eyes. It's all choices that make you love your kit and love using your e-cig!


    If it feels flimsy, it is flimsy. You want to pick a unit that has a good solid feel to it. Let's face it - you're going to drop this thing. It's going to take a few falls here and there during its service to you. It'll ride in pockets and purses, backpacks and bags. You want something that's going to last! Also, don't forget to check on warranty and servicing. If tragedy were to befall your new investment, you want to have confidence that you can get the help you need from a friendly and knowledgeable vendor.


    Last but not least, show me the money! Everyone likes to get a great deal, and nobody likes to get hustled. Do your homework! Check out prices online. Read reviews. Do you have friends who vape? Ask them how they like their gear and where they got it and how the service is at the shop. Everyone has an opinion on e-cigs and a lot of them count. Lots of places unnecessarily jack up the prices on their merchandise, so shop around to find the place with the best price and the best staff to show you the ropes.

  • The Kanger T3S Clearomizer and Why It's Awesome!

    The Kanger T3S clearomizer is quite possibly one of the best clearomizers I've had the pleasure of using. The 3mL capacity means that I rarely have to refill it during the day, even during my heaviest vaping times (at the bar, don't judge me!). Just like the Rolling Stones' song, "She comes in colors everywhere...she's a rainbow".<a href=""> Read More...

  • I Can Vape Anywhere...Right? E-cig Ban

    We, as part of the vapor culture over 800,000 strong in the U.S. alone, have to recognize our power. We’ve turned our backs on big tobacco and are looking towards a tastier, more convenient, and tobacco free future. There’s a lot of speculation and debate over the e-cig, and the last thing we need is the equivalent of 800,000 movie theater talkers in the electronic community.<a href=""> Read More...

  • Why I love the Sigelei Zmax V3

    With less than a year of vaping under my belt, I'm still not entirely used to the looks I get while puffing on my e-cig when I'm out and about. And to be honest, when I had the standard eGo batteries it wasn't as much of a "thing", but now that I have my Sigelei Mod, I get many more peculiar looks. The list of things people have asked me it was is ridiculous. Read More...

  • E-cig Construction Part 2

    General information on e-cigarette construction. Getting to know your vaporizer, from batteries to clearomizers. This will help you understand how they work and what the options are. Read More...

  • How Celebrities Vaping Has Boosted E-cig Sales

    Sales of electronic cigarettes, labeled as a 'healthy' option to smoking cigarettes, have actually risen tenfold in the in 2012, as stars help make puffing away 'cool' again. Celeb endorsements have been credited as one of the aspects behind new figures revealing a boost in sales from $14million in 2012 to $140million in 2013. Read More...

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