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Beginners Guide To Vaping

September 01, 2015

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

Two new vapers excited about their setups!
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 eGo pen style 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 coilClearomizers 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.


Basic bottom coilA 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.

Inside a bottom coil


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 Murray Hill

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!

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