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What Is An Electronic Cigarette?

What is an electronic cigarette?

An electronic cigarette (or e-cig) is a device which heats up specially formulated e-liquid, turning it into vapour that can be inhaled to deliver nicotine. The main parts are made up of a battery, tank and coil, which are easy to get to grips with and use every day instead of smoking.

While this explains an electronic cigarette in its most simplistic form, below we take a more in-depth look to help you understand the ins and outs of these revolutionary products, that have helped millions of people break free from the chains of smoking.

What is an E-cig Battery?

An e-cig battery provides the power needed to heat up the wire or mesh inside your coil, which is housed within the tank. Once power has been delivered, the coil vapourises the e-liquid and produces vapour (provided there is liquid inside your tank!). Without an e-cig battery, there would be no vaping.

Vape batteries are available in different variations:

Integrated (built-in)

Integrated batteries are built directly inside the e-cig, and as such cannot be removed. This type of battery is great for those who want to just pick up a kit and vape, and is charged simply by using either a Micro USB or USB-C charging port located on the battery body.


Removable batteries can be taken out of your vape kit and either charged externally (advised) or by using the standard Micro USB/USB-C charging port on the e-cig body. This type of battery would be well suited to those who vape more often and need to swap a set of batteries out to carry on vaping, without having to wait on recharges.

Both of these battery types are great for all day vaping, but depending on your preference, you might opt for one over the other.

Integrated batteries need little to no maintenance and are simple to use, but this easy option does have a cost; once the battery itself reaches the end of its lifespan the entire e-cig (excluding the tank) will need to be replaced.

The removable option allows you to keep on vaping by swapping batteries over, however we do advise using an external charger for this type of e-cig for safety. Also bear in mind that many removable battery vape kits do not come supplied with the batteries themselves, meaning these will need to be purchased separately.

Both of these battery types can also come with a variety of settings or none at all. If a more simplistic vape experience is preferred, then you should opt for something with a fixed output, commonly found in pen style and vape pod kits. These types of kits have a predetermined setting that can either be fixed, or tied variable depending on how charged your battery is.

If you prefer to have a vape kit you can adjust, then you will need either variable voltage, variable wattage, variable temperature, or a vape kit that can accomplish all three. Below we detail what each of these mean to help you make a more informed decision.

What is Variable Voltage Vaping?

Variable voltage allows you to manually adjust the power being output by the battery. The resulting power is then transferred to the coil, producing vapour. Variable voltage allows you to fine tune the vape experience to suit your personal preference, and is easy enough to get to grips with. It is advisable that you understand what resistance coil is installed to ensure the correct voltage is set.

If you don’t use enough voltage, then the coil will barely produce any vapour, and could flood due to excess fluid being drawn through that cannot all be vapourised. If you use too much voltage, then the wire inside the coil will heat up to much, scorching the cotton wicking material surrounding it and produce an unpleasant burnt taste.

Once you figure out what your coil resistance is and its preferred wattage, you can simply adjust the settings and vape as normal.

What is Variable Wattage Vaping?

Without being too technical, wattage relates to the output voltage of your battery. When adjusting the wattage settings up or down, the battery voltage will automatically adjust to provide the desired wattage power. This works no matter the coil resistance installed, and will always adjust itself accordingly to deliver the wattage you require.

Once you settle on a coil and tank you like, there is no need to continue adjusting the wattage level unless you wish to get more vapour from the coil. As long as you always bear in mind the coil resistance and its appropriate wattage settings, you will be good to go.

What is Temperature Control Vaping?

Variable temperature (or VT) is more advanced than variable voltage or variable wattage. Once mastered however, it offers a fantastic vaping experience that is truly different from its counterparts.

Variable temperature works with specific coil wire material, which is designed for use with VT capable vape kits. The most commonly used wires are nickel, stainless steel and titanium. In simple terms it works by rapidly heating your coil to a set temperature (specified by you on the e-cig) in either Celsius or Fahrenheit. The device will constantly monitor the changes in coil resistance while being heated, and adjust itself to maintain your chosen temperature settings.

This prevents the coil from getting too hot and significantly reduces the chance of coil burnouts and can prolong its lifespan.

Because the temperature is reached quickly, you can fine tune the temperature settings to find the sweet spot for the installed coil, ensuring that each vape is as good as the last, and eliminating the need for long, slow draws or quick, short inhalations when using other variable settings.

Make sure you are using your device safely by reading our Battery Safety Guide. Plus for an overview of vape mods check out our Guide to Batteries.

What is a Vape Tank?

Vape tanks house both your e-liquid and coil, and are available in many different styles to suit a wide range of vape kits. From plastic to steel, glass and even carbon fibre, vape tanks are as diverse as the e-cigs they function with.

In the UK, all vape tanks are restricted to 2ml capacity due to the TRPR regulations. This means that no matter which tank you go for, it will either be 2ml or lower.

Some tanks use sub-ohm coils to produce large clouds of vapour with high power, with others using higher resistance coils for an experience closer to smoking. Some are also filled from the top, and others from the bottom depending on the style.

Vape tanks use a standard connection called a 510, and as such are compatible with virtually any e-cig battery, just make sure that your battery is compatible with the coil resistance used with the tank.

What is a Vape Coil?

The coil is the heart of any vape kit. Without it none of us would be able to vape and break free from the chains of smoking.

Coils are available in many different varieties, from regular coils to mimic the sensation of smoking to sub-ohm powerhouses made to produce huge clouds of vapour. Despite the apparent differences, the function of a coil remains the same, which is to convert the vape liquid housed inside your tank into vapour.

The two main components in a vape coil is the wire (or mesh in some cases) that heats up when power is delivered from the battery, and the wicking material which tends to be organic cotton and either surrounds the coil or goes through it. The wicking material absorbs vape liquid and allows the wire inside to create vapour when heated.

Regular coils tend to have a resistance above 1.0ohm, have a more restricted draw and are great if you want something to simulate the sensation of smoking as closely as possible, or if you feel like trying some nic salts out.

You then have the sub-ohm coil which we will discuss further below.

What is a Sub-ohm Coil?

Sub-ohm coils follow the same structure as regular coils, however they are built for power and vapour.

Unlike regular coils, Sub-ohm will use a resistance that is below 1.0ohm, and are most commonly found between 0.5ohm and 0.15ohm. The lower the resistance, the more power you need to pass through the coil in order for it to function.

Sub-ohm coils are the perfect partner if you want something with a more open airflow and is capable of creating large clouds of vapour. You can also use vape liquid with a higher VG (Vegetable Glycerine) content, as most sub-ohm coils have a larger wicking area to accommodate the thicker liquid.

Where Can I Find Electronic Cigarettes At The Electronic Cigarette Company?

Choosing the right vape kit is essential, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Yes, there is a lot of choice, but that’s the great thing about vaping, choice.

You are not limited to one device, there is a perfect kit for every vaper. In our starter kits section you will find some of our most popular e-cigarettes for beginners and their key features, have a look and see which one jumps out at you.

If you want to dive right in to the full selection, then be sure to browse the Vape Kits category and discover your next all day vape today!

Browse our Vape Kits here

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