Recently, a friend told me he wanted to quit dipping, and get into vaping. He asked me for some basic info on where to get started, so I wrote out some of the stuff I thought was the essential info for getting started.

Since I hate to do something more than once I figured I’d share this here so I can point anyone else who asks me the same question to this as a resource.

Why vape?

Everyone vapes for different reasons, but the most common is because it’s a safer altenative to smoking.

But it’s also something that I find value in for many other reasons.

Lots of folks like the subculture of vaping, especially those into dripping (a certain style of tank setup; more on that below). There are a lot of ways you can customize your setup, from coil and wick builds to box mods, and the customization and hardware hacking aspect is a big draw for a lot of people.

Others love the cloud blowing because let’s be real, who doesn’t want to be able to blow smoke like a dragon?! There are even cloud blowing competitions, and sponsored “cloud chasers”. We get it, you vape.

For me, I mostly enjoy vaping because of the effect of the nicotine on my brain, and the substitue that vaping provides me for snacking.

I’ve found nicotine to be a very effective and helpful stimulant (as opposed to coffee, which I do not drink because it gives me migraines). It has also been found to treat symptoms of depression, which I have and take prescription medication for. And, it helps me think more clearly, which is something that many stimulants do (e.g. coffee) that many people take regular advantage of.

The other big benefit for me besides mental effect is that it has improved my propensity toward snacking. When I’m working, I’m usually focused and thinking hard, which often leads me to want to snack. Instead, I puff on my vape and the flavor and puffing experience satisfies my snacking desire.

Is vaping safe?

More than smoking or dipping? Absolutely. More than not vaping at all? Unlikely, but who knows.

This is still a hot topic of debate as legislators and the medical community try to figure out what to do with this whole new industry that has exploded on the scene in just the span of a few years.

The most important thing to understand about vaping and your personal health is that traditional smoking of tobacco involves combustion (the actual burning process), which is where virtually all of the carcinogens come from.

Vaping, however, does not involve combustion. Instead, vaping is the process of heating the material high enough to be turned into a vapor, but not hot enough to burn.

Removing the combustion process from the delivery method entirely is what has led to studies finding vaping to be 99% safer than smoking. Even the FDA testified to it’s saftey before congress.

However, others have warned that it’s not as safe as it seems.

The truth is that while vaping is almost certainly safer than smoking, the full healthy effects of vaping are really unknown because there is relatively little research yet on the long term effects of vaping given it’s young age as a presence in our collective attention.

For me, the health risks are low enough that I’m comfortable with viewing vaping as a relatively healthy part of my life, given the benefits I find in it. But it’s also something I continually assess with being aware of the latest research and evaluating how it’s affecting my own body and health to determine if it’s something that really worth the benefits.

What you need to know about vaping equipment

There are basically two types of vape units you can use. The first I’ll call an “atomizer setup”, and the second I’ll call a “drip setup” (although technical terms in the industry vary).

The Atomizer setup

An atomizer setup refers to a tank style that is self-enclosed, refillable, and features prebuilt coil units that you purchase in packs. They are a lot easier to use than drip setups (more on that later), and if you don’t want to have a lot of maintenance, or are not intersted in getting into the nerdy hardware customization world, then this is the route for you.

Atomizers vape juice best at a 50pg/50vg ratio (that’s where you get the best flavor, at least). The coil refills are not very expensive ($10 for a 5 pack, which for me will last a 2-3 months), and they save a ton of time and effort over the custom coil builds you have to make for a drip setup.

The Drip setup

A drip setup refers to a tank style that is not usually a tank at all, but just bare coils and a thick wick on which you “drip” your juice, instead of filling up a tank like you do in the atomizer setup.

These are significantly more complex to work with, but for many vapers that’s part of the fun. You build your own coils, make your own wicks, and get intimately familiar with things like wattage and ohms. If you’re into all that nerdy shit, you may enjoy a drip setup.

The other benefit to a drip setup is serious clouds. If you really want to blow huge billowing clouds that will fill a room with vapor, then drip setups are the only way to go, and you’ll want to drip with Max VG% (100% VG is optimal for the best clouds).

The downside to drip setups is that you use much more juice, and you use it way faster. You’ll typically only get 5-6 draws from your drip setup before you need to pull out your juice and re-drip, whereas with an atomizer setup (with a nice size tank like the Cubis) you’ll fill it up once, and not need to refill for several hours of vaping.

How to decide which setup to use

It’s really a matter of preference and what you value in your vaping experience. If you want ease of use and convenience, you probably want to get a decent atomizer setup. If you want huge clouds of vapor and the fun of building your own setup, you’ll want to go with a drip setup.

The price difference in vaping between the two setup styles is not really a factor. With a drip setup, you’ll spend more money on juice since it uses it up faster, but with an atomizer setup you’ll spend more money on buying your coil replacements regularly since building your own coils for a drip setup is cheaper.

So I’d say the price differences largely cancel out.

What I’m into these days

I’ve been vaping for about two and a half years, and have tried a lot of what vaping has to offer. I’ve tried dozens of different juice flavors and vendors, and lots of different types of mod setups. Here’s what I prefer now after knowing what it’s all like, and considering what I enjoy about vaping.


I started out with an atomizer setup, and eventually got into the drip setup because I was really interested in the clouds, and the build aspect. After a while, however, the novelty of custom building my coils, wicks, etc wore off, and it just felt annoying.

So these days for convenience I’m using an Atomizer setup most of the time.

Both setups will let you use the same battery box, so you can always try out different setups with your same base.

I’ve tried a few tanks, and my favorite (which I use exclusively now) is the Cubis Pro from Joyetech. You can pick one up here for about $17, and I use the 15-30w coils (usually set on 25w), which you can find here.

As for your battery box, I’ve had several of these, and currently I’m using the IPV mini d3. It’s adjustable up to 75w (for atomizers, you’ll want to set it at the range the coils specify, but if you’re vaping 50vg/50pg blend juice, you’ll probably want to keep it around 25w). This one holds a single battery. You’ll need some batteries and a charger, too.

You can get the IPV mini d3 here for about $40. I got mine at a local vape shop for about $30 and didn’t have to pay shipping, so def check the deals at your local vape store.


The other really nice thing about a local vape shop is that you can sample flavors, which is a good idea when you are starting out because it’s hard to know what you like without trying it. I’ve bought probably 80-100 bottles of juice in the past couple years (mostly because I just loved trying them all while I was figuring out what I liked).

I started out with a lot of desert flavors, and now I’m mostly into fruit flavors. I’ve also bought from about a dozen online stores, and nowdays when I buy online I pretty much only buy the basic line from because they are great and they are the cheapest I’ve found (I usually buy 100ml’s of a flavor at a time).

You can also get into making your own juice, but wouldn’t recommend this until you really know what kind of juices you are into.

Hope this is helpful. Hollar at me on Twitter if you have any questions!