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The Vaping Glossary

There are a lot of new terms to learn when getting into vaping, and making the most of the hobby means understanding at least a few of them. Here is a glossary of some of the terms you’re likely to encounter when learning more about vaping:

  1. Analog
  2. Battery
  3. Atomizer
  4. Cartomizer
  5. Carto Tank
  6. Cartridge
  7. Clearomizer
  8. Coil
  9. Dratty
  10. Dripping
  11. Drip Tips
  12. Electronic Cigarette
  13. E-Liquid
  14. Etching
  15. Propylene Glycol (PG)
  16. Rebuildable Atomizer (RBA)
  17. Rebuildable Clearomizer
  18. USB Passthrough
  19. Variable Voltage/Variable Wattage
  20. Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

This is what we call regular cigarettes. The opposite of electronic cigarettes, analogs will hopefully, someday, be a thing of the past.

The battery in an e-cig supplies power to the atomizer to vaporize the e-liquid. On most personal vaporizers, there is a button that activates the battery. On other Personal Vaporizers, there is an airflow sensor that detects when the user is hitting the e-cig and turns the battery on to provide power to the vaporizer. Another consideration when choosing a battery is whether you want a built-in battery or a removable battery. eGo type devices have a built-in battery – the button and battery are all one piece. The standard eGo battery screws into a charger, which can be plugged into a USB port or a wall charger. The Mods and APVs generally come with removable batteries – the battery cup unscrews and the batteries are taken out and plugged into the provided wall charger.

The atomizer is the heating element of an electronic cigarette that produces the vapor. See our selection of atomizers here.

A cartomizer is like two devices in one. It combines the atomizer (which vaporizes the e-liquid) with the cartridge (what holds the e-liquid). Many vapers feel that cartomizers offer advantages over the atomizer/cartridge combination. The primary advantage is the cartomizer can hold much more e-liquid than a cartridge. Many cartomizers can hold up to 1.4 – 1.6 ml of e-liquid. Some even claim to hold up to two ml of e-liquid. Since cartomizers hold much more fluid, you spend less time refilling them than you would cartridges. You fill your cartomizer and you are “off to the races” so to speak. A cartomizer can easily last all day if you are a moderate vaper and are handy if you are driving or in a situation where it would be inconvenient to refill a cartridge. (For even more capacity, see Clearomizers, below!)

Cartomizers come in various styles. Some have polyfill in them, while others have a ceramic “tank” that holds the e-liquid. It’s a matter of personal preference: they all do the same thing. Cartomizers are another weapon in your vaping “arsenal.” They are constantly being improved. Any vaper would be wise to give them a try to see how they might fit into their own routine.

Carto Tank
A tank that is placed over a cartomizer, with one or more holes punched in the wall, which replenishes the filler material with e-liquid. Pre-punched, flanged, cartos can be found here.

The cartridge, or cart, is the portion of an e-cigarette that holds the e-liquid that is vaporized and provides nicotine to the user. One cartridge option is a refillable cartridge. Refillable cartridges contain a white polyester-type material that holds the e-liquid. Another option is a pre-filled cartridge. Pre-filled cartridges have a small foil cap that is ruptured when placed onto the e-cig. This allows the atomizer to make contact with the liquid to produce vapor. Pre-filled carts are generally more expensive than buying e-liquid. See 510 refillable cartridges.

A device that transports stored liquid to the heating coil via wicking material, most commonly silica. The heating coil can be either on the top or the bottom of the device. These are generally easier to fill and better for beginners, although experienced vapors use them as well. Popular bottom fed clearomizers include the Aspire Nautilus and the Kager Aerotank line.

The part of the atomizer that heats up and produces vapor, usually in contact with wicking material that saturates the coil with e-liquid.

Short for ‘Dry Atty.” The slightly burned taste you get from a dry hit with an atomizer.

Dripping is the act of dripping e-liquid straight onto the atomizer. This generally provides bigger hits with more vapor. Dripping is often used as an alternative to cartridges, but it can also be used in combination with cartridges to provide the best of both methods.

Drip Tips
Drip tips allow the user to drip e-liquid straight onto the atomizer without removing the tip. A drip tip is used instead of a cartridge and, in our experience, provides bigger hits. Think of it like taking the muffler off of your car. See our selection of drip tips here!

(Note: Drip Tips are fitted for specific atomizers and cartomizers. Check to make sure you have the correct drip tip for your 510, 801, 901, or 306 atomizers/cartomizers.)

Electronic Cigarette
An electronic cigarette, e-cigarette, e-cig, or personal vaporizer is a battery-operated device that delivers nicotine or non-nicotine solution to the user in a vaporized form.

Variously referred to as e-liquid, e liquid, liquid, e-juice, e juice, or juice, e-liquid is the solution that is vaporized and provides flavor and nicotine to the user. E-liquid is often made of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavor. Some e-liquid retailers are selling e-liquid made in China. These e-liquids tend to have generic and poor flavor. For more information on how our US-made high-quality e-liquid compares to the competition, see Our E-Liquid.

The process of a liquid discoloring or disfiguring a plastic tank or clearomizer. To avoid this, use an all-metal or glass tank setup.

Propylene Glycol (PG)
A base ingredient in e-liquid that carries the flavoring and nicotine. It does not produce vapor well. For more information about PG, see our article What is PG and VG?

Rebuildable Atomizer (RBA)
An atomizer in which the user wraps their own coil and around a hand-made wick (usually silica, stainless steel mesh, or ceramic). Sometimes RBAs are called either RTA or RDA depending on the function: RTA refers to a rebuildable atomizer fed by a tank that holds a set amount of e-liquid, while RDA refers to a rebuildable atomizer that is used for dripping.

Rebuildable Clearomizer
A clearomizer that is able to accept pre-made coils that usually screw into place.

USB Passthrough
A USB passthrough is a device that connects to your atomizer and plugs into a USB port, bypassing the battery and allowing you to vape at your desk or in your car without using a battery.

Variable Voltage/Variable Wattage
Some devices offer the ability to adjust your voltage or wattage to fine-tune the hit you get. Through altering the heat produced by your atomizer, you can increase or decrease the amount of vapor and alter the flavor.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
A base ingredient in e-liquid that thickens the juice and produces vapor. It does not carry flavor as well as Propylene Glycol, so increasing the VG content will provide more vapor while muting flavor. For more information about VG, see What is PG and VG?

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