How To: Understanding Vape Vocab
June 06, 2018 Written by SHANNON GOFF
Vaping terminology can be super challenging and very overwhelming to those looking to get into this ever growing practice. So, as a follow-up to DHC’s Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Vape Pen, we present this comprehensive (but certainly not all-inclusive) alphabetized list of Vape Vocab to help you navigate common vaporizer language and ease into this rapidly expanding movement.
With an adjustable airflow, you can modify the amount of air that flows through a vape’s atomizer, and typically works with a type of rotating sleeve that allows for easy and convenient adjustment.
An atomizer is the heating apparatus used to produce vapor. There are many variations of atomizers using different materials and heating styles. Those for e-liquids commonly consist of a coil with some cotton wrapped around it that helps to absorb the juice and aids in vaporizing. For dry material vaporizers, atomizers typically include a ceramic coil or disc to heat up a holding chamber, or oven.
Bags / Balloons
Bags, or balloons, are used with popular desktop vaporizers, such as the volcano vape, and fill up with vapor for inhalation. The mouthpiece at the end of the bag usually resembles the push-up mouth pieces found on disposable plastic water bottles.
Some vaporizers come with a built-in battery, which cannot be changed, and others come with removable batteries. Vaporizers with built-in batteries typically come with a charging cable to recharge as needed. Vaporizers that come with removable units use batteries that you can buy separately and simply swap out when you need to.
Manual vs. Automatic
The two types of batteries are manual and automatic. Automatic batteries are switched on by inhaling, while manual batteries require the user to press a button found on the side.
There are three main types of lithium batteries used for vaping purposes: ICR (LiCoO2 or LiCd), IMR (LiMn), and Hybrid. Generally, IMR batteries are considered safer than ICR batteries, and allow higher amperage discharge rates compared to ICR's. ICR's are usually rated for a higher storage capacity (mAh), but come with a protection unit so they’re usually unable to safely deliver the same amperage needed for high power and low resistance. Hybrid batteries utilize a “safer” chemistry than your average IMR battery, while also maintaining some of the increased storage capacity seen with IMR’s. We recommend looking for an IMR or Hybrid device for both safety and performance.
With e-liquids and oils, vaporizers utilize either a tank or a pre-filled cartridge. Tanks are refillable, while cartridges are disposable, allowing you to easily swap flavors as desired.
Some vaporizers have a combined cartridge and atomizer, known as a cartomizer. The combo appliance is typically disposable, and includes the holding tank for e-liquid, as well as the heating coil that vaporizes it. They allow more e-liquid to be stored, and can come with dual coils or “punched,” for use in tanks.
On a related note, clearomizers are tank-styled cartomizers that include a clear e-liquid container and an atomizer base, with a heating coil and wick. Clearomizers are reusable to an extent, but should be replaced when performance begins to decline.
A coil makes contact to the battery on one side, while the other side makes contact with the e-liquid or dry legal herb or tobacco, transferring power and generating heat. Coils are wrapped so that resistance can be raised and lowered. As the number of wraps increases, the resistance increases, whereas fewer wraps means resistance is lower and allows for increased wattage use. The number of coils in an atomizer can vary, and not all atomizers use coils. But it is the most common heating element used in vaporizers.
Something you want to AVOID. Combustion is how you conventionally smoke legal herbs or tobacco, like with pipes or rolled cigarettes. It is also something that can happen if your e-liquids or oils or dry material in your vaporizer gets to hot and lights on fire. This can cause damage to your vape or yourself, so be responsible when vaping to avoid misuse and reaching the combustion point.
Conduction heating is used with dry vaporizers, and works through direct contact of the substance with an electrically heated surface, often times solid metal or a screen. While this was initially more popular, it commonly leads to poor heat distribution and burning. Convection heating has since become preferred.
Instead of direct contact with the heat source, the convection method works by passing heated air over the dried legal herbs and through the delivery system, resulting in more even and efficient heating. Heating elements for convection vaporizers are typically made out of ceramic which retain heat extremely well, though some are made out of stainless steel or other types of metal.
A non portable vaporizer unit that was designed to be stationary, or for home use.
Unlike vapes with atomizers that automatically ration e-liquid or oil for you, dripping is a manual method of regulating juice that allows increased control over how it is used. When done correctly, the dripping technique results in thicker, more flavorful smoke. However, it is usually utilized by more experienced vaporizer users since it requires manual assembly of a coil with cotton and priming required.
Milliamp Hours (mAh)
Milliamp hours, or mAh, is a rating for the storage capacity of vaporizer’s battery. The higher the mAh, the longer your battery should last. Do not try to push your battery’s limits, as this could possibly result in damage to your device or even fire/combustion with potential to injure you and others.
While many people use vaporizers that come as a whole unit, some prefer customizable kits or BYO vaporizers, commonly called mods. These open the floor to additional features for tailoring your vaping experience. Mods usually come in the shape of a box or cylinder, and allow you to enjoy more advanced vaporizer features without too much hands-on hassle. Box mods can include varying features, like the addition of batteries, voltage and wattage settings, and even a supplementary tank. Increased functionality does come with a larger size, meaning they’re not as compact as simpler, smaller vaporizers.
Ohms are a measurement of electrical resistance. The lower the number, the faster the coil will heat and the more vapor it will produce.
Sub Ohm Vaping
This phrase refers to any vaping where the atomizer coils have a resistance that is lower than 1 ohm. Sub ohm vaping produces more vapor and, as some claim, more flavor. Beware though, sub ohm vaping can put stress on your device and increase the risk of personal injury. It is not a vaping approach for beginners.
Vaporizers intended for dry materials typically contain a metal or ceramic heating chamber called an oven. The oven heats up the dry legal herbs and releases the vapor for you to inhale.
RTAs and RBAs
When it comes to custom vaporizers, there are two types of devices to know: the rebuildable tank or RTA, and the rebuildable dripper or RDA. Both let the user disassemble the vaporizer for maintenance and upkeep. The main difference between the two is tank size, as RTAs have large reservoir tanks to hold more juice, and RDAs have a smaller tank for dripping purposes. RDAs also require you to continuously drip e-liquid onto the wick material. Both RTAs and RDAs are reusable and made to last, assuming they’re cared for properly.
A vaporizer tank refers to the cylindrical container that holds e-liquid.
The temperature of your coil affects multiple aspects of your vaping experience, including the taste and the quantity of vapor produced. Vapes that include temperature control give you the ability to manually change the heat settings of your device, allowing you to find your vaping sweet spot while also preventing any scorching.
Top-fill refers to a tank atomizer that is filled from the top, instead of atomizers that must be detached, flipped, and filled from the bottom.
Located inside the tank cap, wicks are used to deliver oil or e-liquid from the tank to the heating coil to be vaporized. Wicks can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, silica, or stainless steel mesh.
If you missed DHC's Beginner's Guide to Buying a Vape Pen, you can read it here! And be sure to peruse some of the vape options and other smoking supplies available in the DHC store!