How we test eCigs and vaporizers

Vaporizers and ecigarettes have simply exploded in popularity. In a short stretch of time, this obscure niche market became a billion-dollar industry — and now they’re freaking everywhere. With zillions of models on the market, each with a unique set of features and characteristics that supposedly sets it apart, how do you pick before you puff?

To help you navigate the wide world of vaping, we test extensively before putting together the most succinct and easily digestible reviews of every ecig that crosses our desks. Here’s how we separate the best from the rest.

Features/Specs

For each vaporizer, we run down the specs and noteworthy features. No beating around the bush here — we get right to it and explain what makes a particular e-cigarette/vaporizer noteworthy from the competition. Does it have a unique design? Is it more modifiable than most?

The standard specs/features we go over include:

  • Size/dimensions
  • Battery size / charging style
  • Loose leaf or liquid?
  • Chamber/reservoir volume
  • Heating element type
  • Min/max temperature settings
  • Connectivity options

Design and Vapor Quality

After the specs, we dive into an honest assessment of the device’s design. Can it fit in a pocket, or will you need to throw it in your bag? How does it feel in your hand? How does it feel in your mouth? Is it comfortable to hold and take a drag from? Is the button hard to find?

Then we turn to the good stuff: the vapor. What kind of temperature settings does the unit have? How accurate are they? Is the vapor smooth, or harsh? Weak, or flavorful? Does it just taste burnt? There’s no truly objective way to relay this information, so we’ve put together a special testing system that helps us land on a more rounded opinion.

Part one is a vapor comparison performed with a reference vaporizer. We puff on both devices interchangeably and take note of the differences. This side-by-side test helps us tease out the review vape’s strengths and weaknesses and gives us a base for comparison.

Part two is a visual test, where we take a good, long drag from the device in question, then exhale it in front of a plain background. We’ll put together a short, looping video of this, so you can see the thickness, color, and consistency of the exhaled vapor.

Battery Life, and Maintenance

Over the course of our testing process, we keep a close watch on how long the device’s battery lasts, and let you know how our findings align with the specs listed on the box. Nobody wants to charge their cigarette every day (that’s what the iPhone is for, right?), so we’ll be honest with you about how long you can puff before it dies.

For higher-end vapes, we’ll also provide some notes on repairability. No matter how nice your vape might be, there’s a good chance it’ll stop working properly for some reason or another after you’ve used it for long enough. If you’re using a cheaper vape it’s easier to buy a new one; if you spent over $100, DIY repairs will be a better option. So for the more expensive vapes we test, we’ll assess how difficult it is to clean or replace parts that are most likely to break/malfunction after prolonged use.

Verdict

Finally, we bring you a TL;DR blurb. We summarize the whole test experience and plainly state our opinion. Here’s what’s cool, here’s what sucks, and here’s why you should or shouldn’t buy it. In a nutshell: Is it perfect for puffing?

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