Folks, there are a BUNCH of tanks out there. Every week I receive hundreds of emails with subject lines boasting “next generation”…”best tank ever”…”revolutionary”. To be honest, there is some really good stuff, some really bad stuff, but most are simply somewhere in between. Personally, I prefer bottom coils (especially of the Pyrex glass persuasion). I find I get the best flavor, most vapor, and most consistency with Pyrex tanks. Here is what it all comes down to: if the tank you currently have works for you, and you are satisfied, then it’s a perfect tank.
I have been vaping for over 2 years and have gone through nearly every piece of hardware available in that time. I started with a simple eGo battery and Kanger Evod tank, moved into variable voltage/wattage batteries, RDA’s & RTA’s, big, small, short, tall, custom, cheap, expensive, etc. I had settled into rebuildables on a high end mech and regulated box mods…..and then came the sub ohm coil systems. Sitting on my desk right now is an IPV Mini V2 with an Atlantis V2 .3ohm, and an IPV3 with an Arctic Sub Tank. I still have a soft spot for rebuildables and continue to build crazy custom coils for customers, but honestly the technology we are seeing recently is incredible. Given the chaos that is my life, having incredible vapes with the convenience of commercial tanks, is how I’m rolling.
Let me be frank, a majority of the customer problems I see in the store stem from dirtiness. I have seen battery terminals fused with the charger because they’re so caked with juice. The result? The battery becomes separated from its inner-workings and of course, will no longer function. Too many times I have seen tanks with chimneys so packed with food, lint, and debris that they were completely occluded. Batteries that looked like they had spent the weekend at a mudding rally. Folks, if you take care of your PV, it will take care of you! When I fill a tank, I take an extra 30 seconds to clean and inspect. Make sure all the seals are in place. Wipe any residual liquid from the threads and the body. Give your coil a twist (if you can) and make sure it is still seated properly. Once fully assembled, give it a toot before putting it back on the battery, make sure the draw is good and there are no gurgles. Wipe the battery terminals and inspect the threads for dings, dents, or problems. Just remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of problems down the road.
Around the shop we have coined the term “Russian Roulette”. Whether using a carto, bottom coil, top coil, or an atty, you are at risk of getting rouletted. A roulette happens when, for whatever reason, you get a dry hit. And trust me, nothing will wreck your mouth faster than a big puff of burnt wicking. RDA’s are notorious for this because you can’t see how much liquid is left. Top coils like to do it when the tank gets below half-full. Larger capacity bottom coil tanks do it when fully-filled; too much pressure on the coil creates an air bubble which prevents full saturation of the wicks. How can you minimize your risk of getting rouletted? For RDA’s, drip often (I’m a notorious over dripper). Top coils, hold them on their side every few hits and roll them in your hand. Bottom coils, turn them upside down, gently tap the tank with your hand, or blow gently down the chimney to break up that pesky air bubble.
Well technically, yes you can. Most e-liquids are made up of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring, and nicotine (if you want). However, all liquids are not created equally. There are multiple grades of ingredients on the market and the end product can only be as good as the individual ingredients. In “bad liquid” they most often use cheap, low-quality nicotine resulting in a harsh feeling, bad taste, and overall unpleasant experience. Many of you have probably heard me use the analogy “There is a reason there is Coca Cola and Wal-Mart Cola”. Although they’re similar, most people would agree there is a difference in quality. I always recommend using the best quality e-liquid you can find, certainly only Made in The USA, and don’t get hung up on strength; use what you like and what works for you. Generally avoid any liquid that is cut with water, alcohol, or anything other than the 4 standard ingredients.
This is a pretty heavily debated topic, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. Coming from a guy who has made A LOT of liquid (both in number of flavors and sheer quantity) here is what I have experienced: For the most part, good liquid is always good and bad liquid is always bad; though, both can benefit from steeping. I have never made a liquid that was incredibly good raw, and terrible 4 days later. Nor have I made anything that was disgusting in the beginning and magically better later on. I have found a few flavors that were anemic when raw that blossomed beautifully in a couple days, and some with a medley of flavors that I just did not care for after a few days. Everything bad I have made was bad in the beginning, bad in the middle, and bad in the end. You can find articles with a whole host of ways to steep liquid. Hot water bathing, ultrasonic bathing, moving in and out of a refrigerator, even steeping in the armpit of a middle-aged European man (I’m joking)! By all accounts from industry know-it-alls most of these recommendations are purely anecdotal. Time and oxygen are the only important elements when consistently steeping liquid. Open to the air, in a room with no direct sunlight, at comfortable room temperature (low- to mid-70’s), is usually the best option. As a rule, any liquid that requires steeping time longer than a week, makes me HIGHLY skeptical. This is usually indicative of low quality ingredients which need extra time so they don’t taste like @$*%. Personally, I don’t worry much about steeping. In fact, I enjoy the adventure involved in the evolution of liquid from 2 mins old to a week later.
You and I both! Folks, here is the reality, there is no “perfect” tank or battery. Certainly there are lower quality tanks, and certain styles in general, with a higher propensity for leaking. But honestly, anything on the market today is susceptible to leakage; furthermore, it is highly likely that it will happen at some point. Rather than asking IF it will happen, rather when and how bad the leaking will be. This industry is no longer in its infancy, but definitely no older than toddler stage. Like an 18 month old human, it is rapidly growing and changing. Global demand FAR exceeds manufacturing levels. There are clones of clones of originals, and many companies just trying to turn a quick buck. Keep a sense of humor. Remember that no matter what, this is better than smoking, and we can all enjoy the trip together.
Warning: This section is subjective. Your overall vaping experience is a combination of product quality and the way you use your battery, tank, e-liquid (the last being exceedingly important and often overlooked in the equation). What’s the best voltage or wattage for you? Why don’t you tell me? Then we will both know. The way I vape is perhaps not the way you want to vape. Generally speaking, top coil tanks have a tighter draw and bottom coils more open and airy. Dual coils (top and bottom) produce more vapor, but keep in mind they use more liquid. There are only a few ways to truly misuse a PV. There are so many ways to use your PV more efficiently. You see, PV tanks work by drawing in oxygen, which passes through the coil resulting in the vapor we see and experience. Covering these air holes can result in a tighter draw or worse, no flow at all. A PV is not a cigarette (obviously) so do not hit it like a cigarette! By drawing in too fast and hard you starve it of oxygen giving you a weak hit. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen people treating a PV like a cheap blocked cigar, red in the face from sucking so hard. A slow, controlled draw will result in copious vapor, so let the machine do the work for you.
2014 was definitely the year of the rebuildables and mechanical mods (moving into high wattage regulated mods by the end of the year). For those of you unfamiliar with these terms, a rebuildable atomizer (usually a dripper) is a way to vape where a person wraps their own coils, wicks them, and can make some insanely large clouds. Mechanical mods are just that, purely mechanical. No wires, no circuitry, no computer chips, just a metal tube and a mechanical switch. This may seem extremely simple, and it is, but also requires the MOST knowledge about the scientific theory of Ohm’s Law. If you do not take the time to heavily educate yourself, almost guaranteed what you are doing is dangerous. As in you have a pipe bomb that will go off at some point possibly injuring and or killing yourself and perhaps others in the near vicinity. Then you have the vapers that know the dangers but choose to ignore them, these people irritate me even more then sheer ignorance. “I’m not going to vent a battery, it’s fine.” Really you ignoramus? Do you think anyone that has vented a battery thought it was going to happen but did it anyways? Yes I know what a pulse rating is, and it’s not there to be operated in. It’s a safety mechanism by the manufacturer so in case of a catastrophic incident the battery does not immediately vent. The sheer danger due to ignoring recommendations was so prevalent that even companies such as Sony STOPPED making certain batteries stating fear of litigation from injuries. Regulated high wattage box mods have largely alleviated the dangers and really opened up a whole world of exciting new coil builds that mechs just couldn’t push effectively. But we still have rules in the shop for mechs, and we always will, and if you don’t have respect for that then you can’t vape here. Just that simple. We want everyone to enjoy vaping and to do it safely.
Yes, no, probably, maybe! You can find all these answers in various articles and by asking others’ opinions. Truly, the only safe way to vape is not to vape at all. That being said, it is generally unanimous that this is a far healthier alternative to smoking analog cigarettes. Many reputable experts have tried to find the hidden horrors in vaping but have been unsuccessful to date. These products have been around since 2003 and are currently used by billions of people worldwide. It is valid to point out that we do not yet have long-term (20 years, 40 years, 50 years) worth of studies and evidence to make a definitive call. But the fact that an athlete was able to run the entire New York marathon, while continuously vaping, should tell you something about whether or not this has negative effects on your lungs. I have not seen, heard of, experienced, nor read of vapor causing asthma attacks, glaucoma in Fluffy the family pet, or causing parakeet deaths. There have been a few stories about PV batteries blowing up and/or starting fires. The problem I have with the articles I’ve read is ambiguity. They are so vague it’s difficult to ascertain what actually happened, events leading up to the incidents, quality and age of the PV, etc. We vape heavily in the shop and at home and have never had any residual odors or problems. Right now, I use 6mg nicotine strength and go through over 10mLs a day and I have no plans on ceasing or desisting!