What Are The Different Types Of E-Cigarettes & Vape Kits?
As vaping has evolved and become widely accepted as an alternative to cigarettes, technology has developed rapidly and there are now many different types of e cigarette. If you're new to vaping, or even just looking to upgrade your current vape kit, it can be a little overwhelming.
With this in mind, we’ve put together the following guide to the different e cigarettes available. We've included a general overview of the different types, plus more in-depth information on how each vape kit works. We have also included the pros and limitations of each device and our top product recommendations for each.
Completely New To Vaping?
If you're new to vaping, we recommend reading our Beginners Guide to Vaping first. This guide will run you through 3 simple steps to getting started with e-cigarettes and what you need to know before buying your first vape kit. You can then refer back to this guide to find out more about the different types of e-cigarette.
A Quick Overview Of The Different Vaping Devices
Most types of electronic cigarette fall into the following four categories.
There are some characteristics that differentiate the below devices. However, by finding out more about the basics of each one, you should be well on your way to choosing the best e cig or vape kit for your needs.
These are small, discreet vapes that look and feel similar to a traditional cigarette. They feature pre-filled disposable cartridges that screw onto a rechargeable battery. This makes them simple to use and very popular with beginners. They are also one of the cheapest e cigarettes and offer excellent value for money.
Pod system vapes, otherwise known as pod vapes or pod mods, are small, simple to use devices featuring a battery and either refillable or pre-filled pods. These devices are one of the newest generations of e-cigarettes and are quickly becoming very popular, particularly amongst those first making the switch to vaping. This is due to their convenience, satisfaction, low cost and ease of use.
Vape pens are usually 'all-in-one' style refillable devices, featuring a tank and battery. They are pen shaped (hence the name) and usually fairly small and compact. These devices are designed to be used with e liquid and therefore offer more flavour choice than cigalikes or pre-filled pod systems. Vape pens are usually activated by a button, rather than automatically on inhale, and sometimes have other features such as airflow adjustment and different wattage settings. These devices are often in the low to mid price range.
Box Kits, or 'box mods' are, you guessed it, box shaped! The battery and technical components of the device are contained within a box shaped casing, with a removable tank that attaches to the top. Most box starter kits come with a tank, but you can also buy just the battery section for some of these devices; in this instance they are often referred to as 'box mods'. There are simple, beginner friendly box kits that just have a few features, as well as more complicated models with many customisable features. These devices are usually in the mid to high price range, depending on the features and specification.
The Different Vaping Styles
All of the above devices will be suited to at least one specific 'vaping style', outlined briefly below. It's worth familiarising yourself with these terms and what they mean so that you can choose the type of device that's best suited to you.
If you'd like more information on the different vaping styles, visit our guide to direct-to-lung & mouth-to-lung vaping.
Devices that offer a mouth to lung, or 'MTL' vaping style are generally best suited to beginners. This is because they are designed for the vapour to be inhaled into the mouth, then into the lungs; much the same way that most smokers inhale from a cigarette.
MTL devices are sometimes also referred to as 'classic' e cigs or vape kits, and produce a subtle amount of vapour.
Direct to lung vaping kits are designed for the vapour to be inhaled directly from the device into the lungs. For this reason, they are generally best suited to more experienced vapers. Although some DTL kits are suitable for beginners, they can take a little getting used to as the inhalation style is different to that of a cigarette. Trying to inhale mouth-to-lung style from a DTL device can make you cough and splutter. With this in mind, we usually recommend RDTL devices (see below) for those wanting to try direct-to-lung vaping for the first time.
DTL kits are sometimes called 'sub ohm' kits. This relates to the resistance of the coil within the tank. Vape coils will always have a 'resistance' rating, measured in ohms. If the coil resistance is above 1.0 ohm, then the tank/device is suitable for MTL or classic vaping. If the resistance is below 1.0 ohm, then it will be suitable for 'sub ohm' (DTL) vaping.
Coils in the range of 0.6 up to 1.0 ohm will offer a more restricted direct to lung vape (see below). Anything below 0.6 ohm can be referred to as 'sub ohm' coils and suit the direct-to-lung vaping style.
Some devices offer 'Restricted direct-to-lung', or 'RDTL' vaping. These devices are better suited to beginners or those wanting to try DTL vaping for the first time, as they offer thicker vapour but with a more restricted draw than a sub ohm device.
Types Of E-Cigarettes & Vape Kits
Dive into more detail below about each of the different types of vape device, including how they work and the benefits of each one.
Also Known As: cig-a-like, e cigarette, e cig, first generation electronic cigarette
Suitable For: Beginners
Cigalikes are, as the name suggests, similar to a traditional tobacco cigarette. They are close in size and shape and designed to replicate tobacco smoking. Smokers often find that these devices work well when first starting out with e-cigs, as they can seamlessly switch between them and real cigarettes. They provide a ‘throat hit’ similar to that which you would experience with tobacco smoke, but without many of the harmful chemicals. You do not need to press a button and simply inhale to activate the vapour.
Although they are quite different to most other devices, cigalikes are also regarded as a 'MTL' device as users tend to inhale the vapour in to their mouth, then into their lungs; similar to the way in which smoke is inhaled from a cigarette.
Cig-a-likes consist of a rechargeable battery and replaceable ‘refills’, otherwise known as ‘cartridges’ or ‘cartomisers’. The batteries are small and usually last a few hours for heavy users or up to a couple of days if only used occasionally. The end of the battery lights up as you inhale to replicate the glowing end of a cigarette. The light will also flash when it needs charging and will light up when plugged in to show the charging state.
How Do Cigalike E Cigs Work?
When you inhale, a sensor triggers the heating chamber (known as the atomiser) to heat a small amount of liquid from the cartridge. This turns it into vapour which is drawn into your mouth through the central hole in the cartridge.
- Authentic ‘cigarette’ feel
- Cheap e cig option
- Easy to use
Get Started With A Cigalike E-Cigarette:
Also Known As: Pod System Vapes, Pod Vapes, Pod Mods, Pod Vape Pens
Suitable For: Any Vaper
Pod vapes fall somewhere between a cigalike and a vape pen kit. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are often a flat pen shape, fairly small and designed to fit neatly in the hand.
They are the newest generation of vape device and have been optimised to provide a satisfying and user-friendly product for beginners. However, their sleek design and high performance also makes them popular with more experienced vapers.
Pod kits consist of a rechargeable battery and a replaceable 'pod'. The pod incorporates the mouthpiece, coil and tank, pre-filled with e-liquid. Once a pod is empty, the pod is discarded and replaced with a new one. These pod refills are specific to the brand and model of pod device but most are available with a wide variety of flavours and nicotine strengths.
It is traditional for pre-filled pods to contain nicotine salt e liquid as it is well-suited to new vapers. In short, this type of nicotine provides faster, smoother nicotine satisfaction than 'freebase' nicotine (the type found in most standard e liquids on the market). You can find out more about nicotine salts here.
How Do Pod Kits Work?
There are a few different types of pod kit available, but most are designed to be straightforward to use, providing a mouth-to-lung style vape.
To use a pod device, simply charge up the battery and pop a pod onto the device. Pod vapes are automatic, so you just need to inhale on the mouthpiece of the pod refill to vape. The pod refill can be used until the tank is empty, then replaced with a new one.
Useful To Know: Some manufacturers call devices that are much the same as a vape pen or box kit a 'pod kit', simply because they have a plastic tank rather than a glass one. This is somewhat misleading and therefore worth noting as 'genuine' pod devices are more user-friendly for beginners. If the device looks like a box kit but is called a 'pod' device, then you will likely still need to change the coils and use it in much the same way as these other devices.
Pod Vape Kit Pro's
- Very simple to use
- Disposable pods offer convenience and less mess than refillable vape kits
- Wide range of flavour options
- Longer lasting battery than a cigalike
- Optimised for beginners
Get Started With A Pod Vape Kit:
Also Known As; Ego Cigarettes, Ego Vape Pens, Tank System
Suitable For: Any vaper
Vape pens are, as the name suggests, pen shaped. They feature a refillable 'tank' that has replaceable coils and is designed to be filled with e liquid, otherwise known as vape juice or vape liquids. These devices are a little more fiddly than pod or cigalike kits as they require the changing of coils every 1-2 weeks and you'll also need to keep filling the tank with e liquid when it gets low. However, they are a fantastic option for any vaper who wants a discreet, compact device with the flexibility to vape any flavour. Some devices also have customisable settings, giving the user the opportunity to adjust the temperature and consistency of the vapour produced by the device.
Vape pens consist of a long, cylindrical battery section, with an integrated tank. Similar to a pod vape, the tank contains a coil and e liquid tank with a mouthpiece. However, they differ in that the coils are replaceable, the mouthpiece is usually removable and the tank is designed to be filled with e liquid by the user. Some devices also include buttons to change the wattage or voltage output of the device. They also often include an airflow adjustment ring on the tank to increase the amount air flowing through the tank and create a tighter, or airier 'draw'.
How Do Vape Pens Work?
Although the general electrical components are generally very similar, vape pens do differ somewhat from cigalike and pod kits. For a start, they tend to be activated using a button (aka a 'fire button'), rather than automatically on inhale. Although some vape pens are very simple, featuring just a fire' button alongside the battery and tank, there are many pens that offer other settings and features. The most common of these are adjustable power settings and adjustable airflow through the tank.
This might make these devices sound a little complicated, but in general, vape pens are still very beginner friendly. Vape pen tanks are designed to be filled with e liquid, so the user has complete flexibility over flavours and nicotine strengths.
As these devices tend to be a bit larger and chunkier than cigalikes and pod kits, the batteries usually have a higher capacity, so will last a bit longer between charges.
It is worth noting that vape pens can be designed for either MTL or DTL vaping, as described above in the vaping styles section of this page. This plays a part in the type of e liquid that needs to be used, so you will need to do a little more research on this if you opt for a vape pen and are not clued up on the vaping styles and 'PG & VG'.
Vape Pen Pro's
- Usually quite simple to use
- Endless flavour options
- Moderate battery life between charges
- MTL & DTL vaping style options
Popular Vape Pen Starter Kits
View some of our top picks in the Vape Pen style, or click here to browse all vape pen starter kits.
How To Choose Which E-Cigarette Or Vape Kit To Buy
Please head to our blog post about choosing a vape kit for more help and guidance on which type of device might be best for you.
If you'd prefer to speak to someone, our friendly customer service team is always on hand to offer advice. You can contact us by phone between 8:30 and 5pm Monday to Friday, or send us an email and we'll get back to you soon.