What Are The Different Types Of E-Cigarette Or Vapes?

Different types of vape kits

There are so many different types of e cigarette available these days that it can be a little overwhelming if you’re just starting out. We’ve compiled a list of the different e cigarettes available with information on how they work and the pros of each device to help you get a better understanding of the types of e-cigarette and what differs between them.

Most of the different types of e-cigarette or 'vapes' fall into the following three categories:

  • Cigalike e-cigarettes

    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. Find out more below.

  • Classic vape kits or 'MTL kits'

    These vapes are often pen shaped and feature refillable 'tanks' that can be filled with e-liquid in a huge variety of flavours & strengths. They are sometimes referred to as 'MTL' or 'Mouth-to-Lung', which relates to the way in which the vapour is inhaled from the device. They produce a subtle amount of vapour and are well-suited to beginners. Find out more below.

  • Sub ohm vape kits or 'DTL kits'

    These kits are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are similar to classic kits in that they consist of a refillable tank and battery, however these devices are designed for DTL or 'direct-to-lung' vaping. They produce bigger clouds of vapour and generally, users will inhale the vapour directly into their lungs. These kits are usually better suited to more experienced vapers. Find out more below.

There are many different characteristics that differentiate the devices that fall into these categories. However, by finding out more about the basics of each of these different types, you should be well on your way to choosing the right e-cig or vape for you.

Keep scrolling or click on the device names above to find out more about each type.

Completely New To Vaping? Get Started With Our Beginners Guide

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 will help you learn the foundations of what you need to know before buying your first e-cigarette or vape kit.

You can then refer back to this guide to find out more about the different types of e-cigarette.

Different Types Of E-Cigarette Or 'Vapes'

Dive into more detail below about each of the different types of vape devices, including how they work and the benefits of each one.

Cigalike E-Cigarette Kits

Also Known As; cig-a-like, e-cigarette, e-cig, rechargeable e cig

Cigalike (MTL devices) Image

Cigalikes are, as the name suggests, the most similar to a traditional tobacco cigarette in that they are a similar size and shape and are built to closely replicate tobacco smoking. Therefore, people often find these are ideal when first starting out with e-cigs as they can seamlessly switch between them and real cigarettes. The sensation you get from them is the inhalation of vapour which also provides a ‘throat hit’ similar to that which you would experience with tobacco smoke, but without all the harmful chemicals. You do not need to press a button and simply inhale to activate the vapour.

Although they are quite different to Classic and Sub Ohm vapes, 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 most commonly consist of a rechargeable battery and replaceable ‘refills’, ‘cartridges’ or ‘cartomisers’. The batteries are small and usually last a few hours for heavy users or a couple of days if only used very occasionally. The end of the battery lights up as you inhale to show that it is charged and working, and also to further replicate a real cigarette. The battery light will usually flash and then go out to indicate that it needs charging.

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.

Cigalike Pro's

  • Authentic ‘cigarette’ feel
  • Cheap e cig option
  • Easy to use
  • Discreet
OK Vape - Best cigalike e cig starter kit

Kit Includes:

  • Rechargeable 180mAh battery
  • USB Charger
  • 2 x Refills in Tobacco or Menthol Flavour (12mg & 18mg nicotine strengths)
  • Plastic carry case


Classic Vape Kits

Also Known As; Vape Pens, Standard Vape Kits, Ego Cigarettes, Ego Vape Pens, Personal Vaporiser (PV), tank system

Classic (MTL devices) Image

The combination of a larger e-cig battery and higher concentration of e-liquid means this type of vape kit usually creates more vapour than the cigalike style. You can refill the tank with any e-liquid of your choice with lots of flavours and nicotine strengths available. These are usually a progressive device for people who have started on cig-a-likes but would like to try something different.


This device consists of a larger, longer battery that is usually more powerful than those of a cig-a-like. They also feature a refillable tank which screws onto the end of the battery and has a mouthpiece on the other end. These tanks usually contain a replaceable 'coil pack' which contains the wicking material and coil that heats up and atomizes the e liquid.

How Do Classic Vape Kits Work?

Usually, classic vape kits work slightly differently to the cig-alike in that you press a small button on the side whilst inhaling, to activate the production of vapour. With these kits, you can usually lock the battery to prevent it from being turned on whilst in your pocket, for example. This is usually achieved by pressing the button 3 or 5 times in quick succession. The tank contains the atomizer and a coil and can be refilled with any e liquid with a 50% of above PG ratio.

As above, these kits tend to come with a tank that uses a replaceable coil. It's difficult to define how long a coil will last as this can depend on the brand, frequency of use and type of e liquid used. You'll know when to replace it though as you'll notice a deterioration in the flavour of your vape. New coils must always be primed before use (guide to priming a coil).

Classic Vape Kit Pro's

  • Simple to use
  • More flavour choices than the cigalike style
  • Longer lasting batteries
  • Subtle vapour production

Shop Classic Vape Kits

Sub Ohm Vape Kits

Also Known As; DTL Kits, Mods, APV's (advanced personal vapourisers)

Sub Ohm (DTL devices) image

Sub ohm vape kits, similarly to classic kits, consist of a refillable tank and either a built in or removable battery, sometimes even multiple batteries. The battery is usually encased in a pen or box shaped casing. These kits tend to have more powerful batteries and use lower resistance coils than a classic vape. This combination heats the e-liquid in the tank at a faster rate and creates bigger clouds of vapour.

The thicker clouds created with these kits tend to be more suited to more experienced vapers but you can pick up some great entry-level sub ohm kits. Some kits are very easy to use with just a single button to activate, however there is a huge range of devices available. Some of these devices are highly customisable, allowing you to use different tanks and adjust the wattage and/or voltage output.


Sub ohm kits all tend to be constructed slightly differently. However, almost all of them consist of the usual battery and tank. Some kits use removable batteries, some have integrated tanks and there are many different shapes & sizes available. The square shaped kits tend to be referred to as 'box mods' but you can also purchase pen style sub ohm kits, such as the Aspire PockeX.

How Do Sub Ohm Kits Work?

These devices work in much the same way as regular vape pens in that the battery heats the coil which atomizes the vapour. The difference is in the resistance within the coil. You can find out more about sub ohm vaping here.

Sub Ohm Pro's

  • Customised vaping experience
  • Some vapers find thicker vapour more satisfying
  • Many different options to choose from

Shop Sub Ohm Vape 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.

Share This Article!

Scroll to Top