An electronic cigarette is designed to look and function just as a real cigarette.

There are many brands available and while these brands differ quite considerably in build quality, they all have the same basic function and key components. Take a look at our list of the best e cig devices to get a better idea about each.

E-cigarette components:

  • Battery
  • Atomizer
  • Cartridge/Inhaler

How e-cigs work

The battery is a rechargeable lithium battery which simply screws into the atomizer/cartridge.

The atomizer heats up the nicotine solution (e-juice) in the cartridge. This process begins when the user inhales on the e-cigarette. It is the atomizer that converts air and e-juice into water vapour.

The cartridge/inhaler holds the e-juice and delivers it via the mouthpiece.

There are 2 different kinds of electronic cigarettes available:

2-piece design
3-piece design

Both designs contain the same three key components (battery, atomizer and cartridge), but the 2-piece unit has an integral atomizer built into each cartridge.

2-piece model

The 2-piece model is newer technology and because the atomizer and cartridge is all-in-one, you get a fresh new atomizer each time you change the cartridge. There’s also no need to purchase separate atomizers, like you have to with the 3-piece model. On the downside, the cartridges for the 2-piece models are slightly more expensive. But, if you’d rather go for the simpler, low maintenance option then the 2-piece design is best for you.

3-piece model

This design allows you to purchase blank refillable cartridges as well as ready-filled ones. E-juice is available by the bottle and in many flavours, so this type of unit offers great flexibility. On the downside, this model can be messy and requires greater maintenance. In addition, you will need to replace the atomizer unit regularly to ensure maximum performance of your electronic cigarette. As a guide, atomizers usually last around 3-4 weeks, dependent on usage.

Cartridges

Each cartridge is equivalent to around 20 traditional cigarettes. They can taste like your favourite tobacco brand (i.e. Marlboro) or you can choose to go for one of the many exciting new flavours available (such as Cherry, Vanilla etc.)

Nicotine strengths generally come in High, Regular, Light, Ultra-Light and for those of you who would like to faze-out your nicotine intake altogether, then there are Zero strength cartridges available.

Batteries

Your starter kit will usually include 2 or 3 batteries to ensure you always have a charged unit.

It usually takes around 1-2 hours to fully charge a battery. Each battery will last up to 2 days (dependent on brand/battery size and usage).

As a rule, your starter kit will include a USB charger and a wall charger. Some brands supply a car charger as standard too.

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