Getting Started: Regulated APVs

Regulated Advanced Personal Vaporizers (APVs) come in many shapes and sizes, and in price ranges from $25 to hundreds of dollars.

When you are first getting started in vaping the sheer number of options, it can get kind of confusing.

Regulated APVs consist of a battery tube containing a circuit that allows the user to specify the voltage (Variable Voltage or VV APVs) and/or the wattage (Variable Wattage or VW APVs) that is delivered to the device. They may also offer a host of other features.

In this post, I touched on my hardware recommendations, this post will cover some of the APVs that are widely liked and suggested by the vaping community as something that a beginner would like. This will cover both Variable Voltage and Variable Wattage, and are in no particular order.

This is not an exhaustive list, simply the APVs that I see the best reviews on, or have personal experience with.

Vamo

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This is one of the most often recommended units for new vapers. I have not used one, so I couldn’t say what they are like.

These units are VV/VW so you can choose the mode of operation that you prefer.

The Vamo is currently sold in both v2 and v3 models, and in a number of different finishes (actual material selection is brass or stainless at this time).

The v3 has a redesigned (and removable) top collar, allowing larger toppers to be used, and the 510 connection now also has eGo cone threading. The screen on the v3 has been upgraded to an OLED display, and the menu system is slightly different.

The user manual that comes with both units leaves a bit to be desired.

Features:

  • Variable voltage: Adjust the voltage output from 3.0 to 6.0 volts in 0.1 volt increments.
  • Variable wattage: Set the preferred wattage (from 3 to 15 watts).
  • RMS & AVG (Mean) mode: The VAMO V2 allows the user to switch between methods the device uses internally to calculate the voltage output. The default and recommended setting is RMS. RMS provides a more accurate voltage output. The APV may also run in Average (or Mean) mode. Average mode may result in output voltages higher than the user selected voltage on the device.
  • 510 Threaded.
  • Can be used with single 18650, single 18350 or two 18350 (flat top).
  • Atomizer resistance check.
  • Battery power check.
  • Cutoff Timer: When you press the power button to use the device for 10-15 seconds or more, the device will turn off automatically.
  • When a single batteries voltage is less than 3.2v or dual 18350 batteries voltage is less than 6.4v, the screen will display LO v, which indicates that the batteries need to be recharged.
  • Atomizers at 1.2ohm or less, the screen will display LO Ω, which indicates that you need to use a new atomizer at higher resistance.
  • Atomizer short circuit detection; the screen will display LO v.
  • Incorrect battery installation protection. The device will not work.
  • Max current 5A.
  • Minimum resistance 1.2 Ω.
  • Thermal Monitoring.
  • Correct Polarity Signaling.
  • Heavy Duty Micro-switches.
  • Vent Hole in Battery End Cap.
  • Battery End Cap ‘fail safe’ designed to ‘give way’.

Dimensions:

  • 18650 mode: 5-1/2″L x 7/8″D (without atomizer)
  • 18350 mode: 4-1/4″L x 7/8″D (without atomizer)

Price:

Varies from about $28 to about $75 depending on the vendor and kit options. Find it here among other places.

Gotchas:

The number one complaint I hear about the Vamo is that they will occasionally just stop working. I’m not sure what causes that, but it is not all of them. Considering that it is electronic, this is not wholly unexpected.

eVic

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The eVic is probably the most feature packed APV on the market. It is VV/VW capable.

People seem to love them, or they hate them (I’ll cover why in the Gotchas section). I do not own one, and have never handled one, but thought I’d include it here for completeness.

Several vendors make aftermarket battery tubes for the eVic which (in my opinion) really better the look of this APV.

The manufacturer offers a simplified top cap without the OLED for users who do not want all that information.

Features:

  • First APV with upgradeable firmware.
  • Adjustable voltage from 3 volts to 5 volts & adjustable wattage from 5-11watts.
  • 510 threading.
  • eGo threading.
  • Monitors battery charge level and will estimate available remaining usage.
  • Intelligent OLED display with easy to use jog dial for user selectable function selection.
  • Removable drip well cap for easy cleaning of excess liquids.
  • Built in USB charging port, which also doubles as connection to your computer for the upgradeable system software and configuring the unit with the MyVaporRecord Software.
  • Accepts most 18650 batteries.
  • The eVics advanced user software tracks your usage which can be reviewed later using JoyeTech MyVaporRecord software (Windows XP/7 supported, may work with Windows 8).
  • Unique serial number used for warranty and registration with JoyeTech.
  • Device temperature monitoring.
  • Output short circuit protection.
  • Output open circuit protection.
  • Overtime working protection.
  • Low voltage protection.
  • Puff counter (the Chinese seem to be obsessed with this for some reason).
  • Power Saving features for the screen.
  • Standby modes.
  • Change settings through the computer for convenience with the included software.
  • Calendar.

Dimensions:

  • 4.88″ (without atomizer)

Price:

These range from about $76 t0 $120 depending on vendor and kit options. Find it here, among other places.

Gotchas:

The top cap is susceptible to breakage and separation. In people who are unhappy with the device the number one complaint is the top cap separating. It is a press fit, so rough handling will likely lead to this.

iTaste MVP

MVP

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The Innokin iTaste MVP is a bit different in form, but it makes up for it with function. The current version of the MVP is offered in Black, Silver, or Titanium Blue.

The MVP is VV only, if it had VW as well this would be my number one recommendation for all vapers.

This device would be my suggestion for anyone looking for long battery life. Many users report that the MVP battery lasts 1-2 days between charges.

Features:

  • Variable Voltage (3.3-5.0 Volts in .1 volt increments)
  • Pass through functionality.
  • 510 threading.
  • eGo threading.
  • Puff counter.
  • 2600 mAh Polymer li-ion rechargeable battery.
  • Portable power source for other electronic products.
  • Battery capacity display.
  • ON/OFF safety switch.
  • Passthrough capability.
  • Standard Micro & 2.0 USB Socket.
  • Short circuit /atomizer protection.
  • 3 Amp current limit.
  • Over-discharge protection.

Dimensions:

  • 41 x 22 x 107mm (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $45 to about $75 depending on vendor. Find it here (coupon code fightback1 brings it down to $55), among other places.

Gotchas:

The 3 amp limit. That is the only negative thing I can find about the MVP. This somewhat limits the functionality of the device, but is by no means a deal breaker.

Innokin SVD

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far- wait, that’s not right… What is…

Ok, so it looks like something that Darth Vader would have hanging from his belt, but you know what? I like it.

The Innokin SVD is a telescoping VV/VW APV that has a reputation for solid performance.

Features:

  • Variable Voltage: voltage can be adjusted from 3.3 – 6.0 volts in .1 volt increments.
  • Variable Wattage: Wattage can be adjusted from 3.0 – 15.0 W in .5 watts increments.
  • Short Circuit Protection.
  • Reverse Battery Protection Circuit.
  • Battery Voltage Detection.
  • Resistive Load Detection (Ohm meter).
  • ON/OFF battery switch.
  • LED Battery Power Display.
  • Low Voltage Warning.
  • Overtime Vaping Warning.
  • Telescopic Tube supports 18350, 18500 or 18650 batteries.
  • Battery safety protection.
  • 510 threading.
  • eGo threading.
  • Removable top cap allows for easy cleaning and use of large diameter toppers.
  • Change battery and switch VV or VW, settings memory function (it remembers what you had it set at).
  • Built-in 3 digit display (Ohms meter , Volts /Watts , Atomizer voltage output).

Dimensions:

  • (109.7-139.7) x 23.5mm (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $38 to $110 depending on vendor and kit options. Find it here, among other places.

Gotchas:

The menu system is a bit awkward, and the instruction manual is not great. Once you have used it for a bit it isn’t an issue, but if this is your first APV it might get confusing for a bit.

Sigelei ZMAX v3 (telescope)

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The Sigelei ZMAX (not to be confused with the SMOK ZMAX) comes in a couple of variants, I have chosen to use the telescope here, as that gives the most battery options (and I like it the best).

The ZMAX v3 is a VV/VW device. The device has only one button that is used to both fire the atomizer, and to access the menu system.

This is the first APV that I bought. It edged out the ProVari only because it has VW capability.

Features:

  • Variable Voltage: can be adjusted from 3.0V-6.0V volts at the rate of 0.1 volt increments.
  • Variable Wattage: the power can be adjusted from the range 3.0W to 15.0W at the rate of 0.5 watts increments.
  • 510 and eGo threaded.
  • Short Circuit Protection.
  • Reverse Battery Protection Circuit.
  • Battery Voltage Detection.
  • Resistive Load Detection ( Ohms meter ).
  • ON/OFF battery switch.
  • OLED Battery Power Display.
  • Telescopic Tube supports 18350, 18650, 18490 or 18500 batteries.
  • Remembers last set voltage or wattage when switching batteries.
  • Battery protection.

Dimensions:

  • (131-106) x 23mm (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $65 to $100 depending on vendor and kit options. Available here, among other places.

Gotchas:

The manual is not very good (seems to be a theme with these Chinese APVs), which wouldn’t be terrible if it had more than one button. It’s not too bad, but again, if this is your first APV, you may be confused for a minute.

ProVari

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Of all the APVs I’ve covered, this is the only American made product.

This is probably the most well made APV you are going to find (outside of Mechanical APVs, and even then it’d be a close call).

The ProVari is a VV only device, but does come in a couple of different models, including a mini version.

People make accessories (including entire toppers) specifically for this APV.

Features:

  • The ProVari can be adjusted from 2.9 – 6.0 volts in 0.1 volt increments.
  • Accepts a single 18490 or 18500 battery (optional end cap allows for use of 18650 batteries).
  • On/Off Mode
  • If the button is held down for 16 seconds or longer, the ProVari will shut itself off until the button is released.
  • Short Circuit/Atomizer Protection.
  • Reverse Battery Protection.
  • Battery Monitoring/Over-Discharge Protection.
  • Amperage Limiting to 3.5 amps.
  • Thermal Monitoring Shuts the device off if it detects a high temperature condition.
  • One year warranty (optional additional length can be purchased).
  • Useful and clearly written user manual available in multiple languages.

Dimensions:

  • 4.1″ L x 0.90″ D (stock 18500 battery version) (without atomizer)
  • 4.6″L x 0.90″ D (with 18650 extension) (without atomizer)

Price:

Available from $160 to $220 depending on options and sales. Only available here.

Gotchas:

Cost. Lack of VW. The inexplicable lack of a 18650 extension for the ProVari Mini. Those are really kind of nitpicking, but for the cost of this device, it should be able to accept any battery from 18350 to 18650.

Final thoughts

There are a wide variety of Regulated APVs available. The choice of which to buy is going to be one of the most difficult that you will make, and many end up buying several (guilty). I just hope that this helps someone figure out if the APV they are considering is the best fit for them.

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3 thoughts on “Getting Started: Regulated APVs

  1. Hey, I’m still having a hard time understanding how a VV/VW device works. I have the iTaste VTR which does both, but I don’t see how I can specify the voltage AND wattage to determine the amps on a predefined, unchangeable, resistance. If that makes sense.

    I currently vape at 4.6v, 10w, on a 2.1ohm coil. How can I figure the amount of amperage I am pulling by specifying both voltage and wattage?

    Thanks for all your advice!!

    • That’s not how electricity works. You specify one or the other. If you’ve set your voltage to 4.6, given the other variables you listed (you only need two to figure amp draw) that setup is drawing 2.19A. You can google Ohm’s Law to get the relevant equations for determining Amp draw, or you can use an Ohm’s Law calculator that you can just plug you numbers into.

      Variable Wattage makes it easy to get the same vape with a given liquid on different coils. If you like a particular liquid at 7 watts, you’re going to like it at 7 watts on a 2 ohm coil and at 7 watts on a 1 ohm coil. The voltage required to get those 7 watts will change as your coil resistance does.

      Make sense?

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