Getting Started: Hardware Recommendations

Many examples of APVs - so jealous!

Many examples of APVs – so jealous!

The number one question I see from people who are serious about starting vaping (aside from juice questions) is: what should I get?

With the wide range of hardware that is available out there this is a really tough question. It took me about six hours to figure out (kinda) what was out there, and what I needed to get started with, and even then it was kind of a crap shoot.

Really this question should be “what should I get if [INSERT REST OF QUESTION HERE]?”

What should I get if…

…I am just looking to quit smoking and want to spend the least amount of money possible?

First you need to understand that if you buy the cheapest gear on the planet, you’re not going to be saving any money when some piece of it breaks and you have to replace it every couple of days. I will only recommend hardware that has acceptable quality for durable use.

This person desperately wants to quit smoking and has no interest in vaping any longer than absolutely necessary to get over the nicotine withdrawals.

This person can be broken down into two distinct categories:

  • I don’t want anything that is not as convenient as cigarettes/I can’t get past the cigarette form factor.
  • I don’t care what it looks like, I just want to get this done.

The first category is going to be unhappy if it doesn’t look like a cigarette, regardless of what the experience is like. I get it. No worries, I got you covered.

The Halo G6 is the cadillac of cigalikes. You are going to want to order one of these kits. If you want to save the maximum amount of money with this kit, you’ll also want at least one of these tanks so that you can order some juice as that is cheaper than the prefilled cartridges that come with the kit.

Other than that, you just need juice (see my e-juice primer for everything you need to know about juice). Mount Baker Vapor will be the cheapest you are likely to find (link in the side bar).

People in the second category would be happy with the Kanger VV chimp kit from Steam Monkey. This kit gets you the best value in vaping as far as versatility and quality for the price. The only thing you need aside from juice for this kit to take you all the way to nonsmoker territory may be some replacement heads for the eVod. I’d go ahead and pick up 5.

Again, Mount Baker Vapor is going to be your best value for juice.

…no really, I can’t even afford a cup of coffee but I really want to quit smoking. What can I get?

I normally wouldn’t do this, but I don’t ever want to hear someone claim they can’t afford to quit smoking. This kit is the cheapest you are going to get. $10, free shipping. This is not a Kanger EVOD, this is a Chinese knockoff. It’s also going to take a couple week to reach you. It’s a single 900mAh eGo type battery and an EVOD knockoff with a USB charger.

Will this last? probably not. I don’t recommend this, but I’d rather see you try electronic cigarettes and find out that it will work for you to quit smoking and then in a few days or weeks have to spend a bit more for something decent when this dies, than never try it because of cost.

You could get some cheap Chinese made liquid from them too (Dekang is supposed to be ok), but I’d seriously recommend sticking with Mount Baker Vapor. As I noted in the e-juice primer, I won’t vape anything that is not made in the US from US sourced ingredients. The only reason I even mention it is that invariably someone is going to discover that they offer e-juice too. I wouldn’t, but in the end it’s up to you.

…I may be interested in vaping after I quit smoking/I’m not a smoker but I want to try this?

The Kanger VV Silverback kit from Steam Monkey is your kit. This is the starter kit I wish I’d had when I started vaping. The versatility here is unreal. You get two 1100mAh eGo Twist batteries (and two chargers) that should be more than enough to keep you going. This kit now comes with two Kanger Mini Protank 2 tanks, making this the perfect starter kit. The 306 atomizer and drip tip get you dripping capabilities so you can taste juices without having to empty and clean one of the eVods. It is a really good all around versatile kit.

These are out of stock at times due to the popularity of them (the value here is really high). You can build a very similar kit for about the same price here, though it does not come with the dripping atty (which you can order from the same vendor for $5 or so).

You’ll also want some replacement heads for the Mini Protanks (the Mini Protank 2 uses the same atomizer heads as the eVods).

…I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to vape (I want some quality gear)?

This is kinda tricky. The Kanger VV Silverback kit from Steam Monkey is still a great starter kit, and the gear is quality. The price is amazing for what you are getting. This kit now comes with Mini Protank 2’s, making this the perfect starter kit.

You might also want to step up to a regulated Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV). I would recommend the iTaste MVP kit. This is a great Variable Voltage APV (the MVP2 I’ve linked to is also Variable Wattage, the original MVP was just VV), with an enormous batter capacity. The kit comes with a cable that enables the charging of other USB powered devices using the MVP as a power source (like your cell phone, iPhone 4s and earlier included, dunno if it has a lightning connector). Lots of people are really happy with the MVP. If you go this route, you might also want to get the eGo Twist Chimp kit listed above as a backup (or at least an eGo type battery).

I bought a Sigelei ZMAX v3 telescope rather than the MVP simply because I wanted Variable Wattage and the MVP only does Variable Voltage (this is actually the only reason I didn’t get a ProVari). Be aware that the ZMAX does not have an integral battery, you will need batteries and a charger too. The link here is a kit (which I do not recommend for use – see my Battery Primer for why), but is only $10 more than just the APV so I figured the batteries and charger would be a good backup for some.

…I think vaping is awesome, and I don’t care what it costs?

While you can spend literally thousands of dollars on mechanical mods or hybrids, that is a bit outside of the scope of this post. For you I’d recommend starting with a ProVari or ProVari Mini.

I personally would still go with a Protank to top it (maybe even with a Tatroe tank, which would solve the problem of the fixed tip on the Protank, as would the Protank 2), but there are plenty of nice rebuildables that are made specifically to fit the ProVari.

The only reason I did not buy this is that I wanted Variable Wattage, and the ProVari only does Variable Voltage. I would consider this the highest quality APV on the market at the moment. It is rock solid. I’m pretty sure this is going to be my present to myself for being analog free for one year.

So, that is my answer for hardware recommendations for beginners.

end

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