There are 3 types of electronic cigarettes, e Cigs, or e Cigarettes you should be familiar with before you purchase your first starter kit.
There are several “pros” and “cons” associated with each type of e Cig that when understood can help you find the vendor and model that suits you best.
Be prepared to purchase a couple different models or brands before you find the one that you truly like though. This is normal. After all, how many different brands of regular cigarettes did you try before you found, “the one” you have smoked all these years?
Fortunately the 3 types of e Cigarettes are as easy to remember as 1, 2, 3. They are:
* 1-piece electronic cigarettes
* 2-piece electronic cigarettes
* 3-piece electronic cigarettes
If you have never heard of electronic cigarettes I suggest first searching GoArticles, Google, or other excellent resources to find more information on how electronic cigarettes work.
Type vs. Style
There are also 4 styles of electronic “cigarettes” (pen-style, mini, cigar and pipe) I will cover in a separate article that should not be confused with these 3 types. Style refers to appearances while type refers to function.
The functionality and performance of each type of e cig depends on 3 main components which are the battery, atomizer and nicotine cartridge. Whether or not a particular electronic cigarette falls into the category of 1, 2, or 3 piece depends on how these three main components are packaged into the assembled unit and sometimes how they are sold.
I will now give you a brief overview and the associated pros and cons of each type of electronic cigarette.
One piece electronic cigarettes package or assemble the unit into a single piece with a pre-charged battery that is ready to smoke as soon as you take it out of the package and thrown away when its used up. Sometimes there is a simple 1 step “activation” procedure that needs to be done such as removing a foil tab or twisting the battery to engage the battery or the nicotine cartridge with the atomizer.
The good thing about 1 piece or disposable e cigarettes is that they usually are the cheapest option for someone that just wants to try smoking electronic cigarettes for the first time to see if they will work for them.
The main drawback to disposable one piece e cigs is that since they are cheapest option they don’t include extra components such as spare batteries, atomizers, or battery chargers. Sometimes they will include a few extra refill cartridges but these will be not be useful if the battery dies prematurely.
Not all disposable electronic cigarettes are 1-piece and some are in fact 2-piece or 3-piece. Most if not all 1 piece e cigs are disposable however, and in fact a popular style of 1-piece electronic cigarettes are actually electronic cigars that are good for about 600 to 1800 puffs before the battery dies.
Refill cartridges for 2 piece electronic cigarettes are sometimes referred to as “cartomizers” because the atomizer is built into the nicotine refill cartridges. These units are very convenient because they only require a person to charge batteries and replace nicotine cartridges as maintenance, but also have one significant advantage as well as one significant disadvantage.
The main advantage of the 2 piece e cigarette over the 3 piece design is that the atomizer gets replaced each time the nicotine cartridge is replaced. Atomizers for electronic cigarettes are referred to as a semi-consumable requiring replacement every 6 to 8 weeks on average in 3-piece units and occasionally fail after only few days if not used properly. If you smoke a 2 piece e cig regularly the atomizer (along with the nicotine cartridge) will be replaced every 1 to 2 days depending on your smoking habits.
The main disadvantage to the 2-piece e cig is that the nicotine cartridge / atomizer are somewhat sealed and difficult (although not impossible) to refill using a bottled nicotine solution in a refill process electronic cigarette smokers call “dripping.”
3-Piece Electronic Cigarettes
Three piece e cigarettes separate the 3 main components of electronic cigarettes which are the battery, atomizer and nicotine replacement cartridge. This type of electronic cigarette is preferred by veteran e cig smokers, but this does not mean that it is difficult to use even as a starter kit for a complete e cigarette novice.
The 3-piece electronic cigarette is the most versatile giving the novice 3 different parts to swap out while trouble shooting and giving the veteran the most options for refilling or “dripping” nicotine cartridges as well as “modding” or making modifications to batteries, atomizers and nicotine cartridges for a totally personalized e cig smoking experience.
The main downside to the 3 piece electronic cigarette design is that it requires the most maintenance of the 3 types. Both batteries and atomizers are “semi-consumable” and will need to be replaced regularly as performance diminishes or they stop working all together.
Which Type of Electronic Cigarette is the Best?
This will depend on a number of factors, but there are a few suggestions I can make for the first or second time e cigarette buyer.
If you are really unsure that electronic cigarettes will be a good option for you then go for the cheaper disposable option. Sometimes they don’t perform as well as the 2-piece or 3-piece designs, but it should at least help you get your feet wet and figure out if you are willing to invest some more money in the whole idea.
If you are sure you want to become a serious e cig smoker and think you would like a lower maintenance option that will allow you to switch cartridges / atomizers easily and frequently to figure out which flavors appeal to you then try a 2-piece design.
If you don’t mind a little bit more of a learning curve or think you would like to experiment more and don’t mind stocking up on a few more replacement parts then the 3-piece type of electronic cigarette is probably a good choice for you. If you plan to try different flavors of nicotine cartridges with a 3-piece e cig then be sure to buy a spare atomizer for each flavor you plan to try as the stronger flavors (such as menthol) tend to permeate the atomizers and may not mix well with another flavor you are trying.