Beginner's Guide To Vaping

Ch. 4 E Cig Battery Basics: Cig-a-Likes, Egos, and Mods

I like big bats, and I cannot lie

but you might not, and that’s perfectly fine. Regardless of your size preferences, there’s an e cig battery out there that’ll jive with the motion of your ocean. The problem is, if you’re not really sure what each type of battery does or what you’re looking for, then it’ll be tough figuring out which type you should choose.

A lot of people jump head first and pick out a battery only to discover that they hate it, so they end up either spending more money to purchase another battery – or they just give up and go back to cigarettes. The great news is, you’re not one of those people! You found this guide and we’ll help you understand batteries like a pro. In this portion of our guide, we’ll go over the most common types of batteries for beginner to intermediate vapers: cig-a-likes, egos, and mods.

Cig-a-Like Battery With Attached Cartomizer


Like Pure Simplicity? Get a Cig-a-Like

The cig-a-like is exactly what it sounds like – an e cig battery that resembles a cigarette. If you’re looking for an easy to conceal e cig that won’t stick out in a crowd of smokers, then this might be a great fit for you, but if you prefer to customize your experience, well, then keep reading. Different brands of cig-a-likes might look alike, but it doesn’t mean that they share the same specs. Here’s what you need to keep in mind while perusing your options.

1. Automatic vs. Manual Draw

You’ll have to decide if you’re fine with pushing a button or just inhaling to activate your battery. While the automatic draw is more convenient to start with, you’ll be stuck using disposable cartomizers (which some people are perfectly content with – no shame in that). However, if you have to manually activate your battery (and your threading is compatible – see next point), you might be able to try using different atomizer options like a clearomizer.

2. Disposable or Rechargeable

Disposable cig-a-likes are great if you never ever want to think about maintaining your e cig. They are very similar to regular cigarettes and require little maintenance which may make it easier for you to quit. Just buy a new one once it runs out. While the disposable option is hella convenient, it’s also really expensive, and you can’t customize your experience. If you purchase a rechargeable kit, you’ll save money in the long run and you might even be able to experiment with different e juice flavors.

3. Threading and Refills

If you choose a rechargeable cig-a-like, different manufacturers use different threading patterns/sizes for where the cartomizer screws into the battery. Some manufacturers use the more universal 510 threading style, while others may use threading unique to the manufacturer – meaning they have your metaphorical balls in a vice and you’re forced to purchase all of your future replacement cartomizers through them.

4. Charging

There are a few cig-a-like manufacturers that provide on-the-go charging with portable chargers that look exactly like a traditional cigarette pack, others provide you with a USB cable and you’re regulated to charging your e cig with a USB port – can you guess which is probably more expensive? Regardless of what you choose, remember that you need a backup plan if your primary battery dies in the middle of your outing – even the on-the-go battery charger won’t immediately save you since we don’t have the technology to instantly charge dead batteries – so always carry a spare.

Ego Batteries


Satisfy Your ID With an Ego Battery

The ego battery is a style, not a brand, so there are quite a few manufacturers out there selling ego style batteries. This style battery is my favorite recommendation for new vapers on a budget. They’re a bit wider than a cig-a-like and range in length (I’d say anywhere from a lil’ smokey to a regular sized hot dog – okay, that was a weird comparison), they have decent battery life, and they have BOTH ego and 510 threading (meaning you’ll have more options than a celebrity dating show when choosing your atomizer because most will fit your device). They’re economical, versatile, and not as conspicuous as a lot of the other popular battery mods. Like cig-a-likes, there are a lot of different types of options when choosing your ego battery, let’s take a look at a few.

1. Variable Voltage Is Optional

To learn about variable voltage (aka VV), feel free to check out this article for an in depth explanation. In short, VV allows you to customize how hot your e juice gets and lets you have a consistent experience when switching between different atomizers with different ohm resistances. However, VV is a bit more expensive than not having it, VV tends to drain the battery more than a non VV device, and VV devices are a bit larger. You can still change how hot your vapor gets with a non VV device, but that requires you to utilize different atomizers with different ohm resistances (lower ohms = hotter, higher ohms=cooler) to get the most of your 3.7 volt non VV ego.

2. Generic vs. Name Brand

There are a butt ton of manufacturers out there producing ego batteries – so not all egos are created equally. While you might save a buck or two with a generic device, there’s no telling if the battery has the actual life that was advertised, or if the battery is of questionable quality. Sure, you might get lucky and find a gem of an off-brand ego, but there’s no guarantee. I’d recommend purchasing a name brand ego battery (Joye, Smoktek, Innokin, etc.), but you should still price it out, do the research, and make the decision for yourself.

3. Battery Size

The projected life of a battery is measured in mAh (milli amps per hour). The more mAh your ego has, the longer it’ll last and the larger it’ll be. So even though a larger battery might not be as convenient to tote around as a smaller one, it’ll last you longer throughout the day. But to be perfectly honest, regardless of the size battery you choose, just get a second one so you always have a charged battery while you’re charging your other one.

Variable Voltage/Wattage "Box Mod" Battery

Wismec Reuleaux RX200 Mod Red

Want to Jump Down the Rabbit Hole and Become a Mod Vaper?

The variety of mods out there is more vast than Bubba’s shrimp list. Mods can be mechanically simple, digitally complex, relatively inexpensive, or more expensive than your firstborn child. This category is way too huge to define with just a few bullets, but I’ll try!

1. Mechanical vs. Digital

Mechanical mods are great because they’re simple and durable. But they can be inherently dangerous if you don’t have a firm understanding of your battery and oHm’s Law. They don’t have complex circuitry that can be damaged by water, and you get to choose the batteries that’ll power it (which can be a blessing or a curse if you don’t do your research about mech safety and battery safety). The downside with mech mods is that you don’t get to easily change the voltage or wattage unless you purchase a kicker (a mini circuit board you put in your mod to control the voltage) – even then there’s no guarantee it’ll fit.

Digital mods have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. They’re easier to use and you can customize the heat via variable wattage or variable voltage settings. However, they often have safety restrictions (for good reason) so you don’t potentially harm yourself or others, while mech mods don’t have any restrictions. But if you’re willing to do the research about battery safety and Ohm’s Law because you want to push the limits – a digital device might not be for you.

2. Built-in vs. Removable Batteries

Would you rather recharge your e cig as a whole, or have removable batteries to charge separately? Built in batteries are great because you don’t have to keep track of a lot of extra peripherals, but if you run out of power in the middle of the day, or the battery croaks and can’t hold a charge any more – you’ll have to get another unit since you can’t change the battery yourself. However, there are many e cigs out there with built in batteries that have INSANE battery life (i.e. the Innokin MVP2 – a single charge lasts me for days, and you can even vape it while it’s charging).

Separate batteries are great because your device isn’t worthless if the battery dies. Just remove the dead battery and pop in a fresh one – wow so magic! The disadvantage is that you need to carry around (and keep track of) a bunch of different batteries. You’ll need to have a system to figure out which ones are charged/not charged and a system to carry them around safely so they don’t explode in your pockets (the terminals on the batteries can’t touch metal or the terminals of another battery).

Still Need Help Deciding?

Okay, so now you know what the features are, but how do you choose? To start with, we recommend that your first e cig has these three features. Beyond that, you need to determine your budget and what’s important to you. Personally, I started with a cig-a-like because it was convenient, but ultimately graduated to an ego then an MVP 2. Sure, I spent more money than I would have if I just did the research BEFORE deciding, but I don’t consider that money poorly spent because that money was used to keep me away from cigarettes.

The point is, start with what you think will work best for you, and if your preferences evolve (i.e. you might be initially concerned with a non-conspicuous device but over time you want more freedom and custom options), don’t feel bad about upgrading your e cig battery because in the long run you’re doing your future self a favor – and that’s worth every penny.