2019 Vaping for Beginners: A-Z Vaping Terminology

When you make the switch from smoking and get into vaping, you may find yourself inundated with terms and jargon that may leave you confused and dumbfounded. To aid you in this common dilemma, we have compiled a glossary of terms that are used in vaping, from the commonly used to the more esoteric.

As you encounter more things in vaping down the line, you may encounter terms that are not contained in this glossary. But at that point, you should be experienced enough to know your way around them.

Learning about these terms and what they mean can help you get started on your vaping journey.


Adapter: The connection piece with specific threading to fit between a mod and an atomizer.

Advanced Personal Vaporizer: APV for short, an alternative term for electronic cigarette.

Airflow: Amount of air being pulled through the atomizer during the draw. Adjusting airflow can affect vapor and flavor production.

All Day Vape: ADV for short, a common term used to refer to an eliquid that one really likes and is seen as ideal for vaping all day.

Amps: Short for amperes, a measure of the amount of electrical flow in a current. The lower the amps, the less voltage you can use on sub-Ohm atomizers.

Atomizer: Also known as "atty" for short, this is the electronic component that turns the eliquid into vapor by heating it.


Base Liquid: This is what the eliquid is made with, usually consisting of propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG).

Battery: Provides power to the electronic cigarette, enabling it to turn eliquid into vapor.

Box Mod: An advanced personal vaporizer that comes in a box shape instead of a cylindrical tube. The form factor allows for more battery capacity, OLED screens, temperature control, and so on.

Bridge: A covering over the atomiser that delivers eliquid to the coils.


Cartridge: A plastic or metal mouthpiece usually stuffed with an absorbent filler material to hold eliquid.

Cartomiser: A combination of disposable cartridges and atomizers. They’re not as expensive and can hold more e-liquid than a regular cartridge.

Cartomizer Punch: A device used for punching holes in a cartomizer.

Cig-A-Like: Any personal vaporiser that emulates the appearance of a traditional cigarette.

Charger: Used to recharge batteries once they're drained.

Clapton Coil: A coil containing a larger gauge of wire wrapped tightly by a smaller gauge of wire. The name Clapton comes from its resemblance to a guitar string.

Clearomizer: A transparent version of a cartomizer, designed to show how much e-liquid is left.

Clouds: The vapor that's exhaled while vaping, which appears white and thick due to high water content.

Cloud Chaser: A vaper who focuses on creating thick vapor clouds.

Coil: Wire coiled up to vaporize e-liquid with heat generated through electrical resistance. It comes several different types of wire such as Kanthal, Nichrome, Nickel, Stainless Steel, etc.

Coil Jig: A device designed with multiple diameter sections to make rebuilding coils easier.

Coil Winder: A tool used to make wrapping coils easier with proper shape and spacing.

Connector: The threaded section for screwing in an atomizer or cartomizer. Comes in either EGO or 510.

Custom Mod: A DIY vaping device, often incorporating everyday items.

Cut-Off: The safety feature used to automatically stop a vape devices from drawing longer than the pre-set time.


Deck: The section of a rebuildable atomizer where the coil and wick are placed.

Diacetyl: A chemical usually present in artificial butter flavoring for popcorn, which resulted in the colloquially named "popcorn lung" disease. Inhalation of this chemical in large amounts has been known to cause the disease. It has also been found in certain eliquid flavors, particularly in buttery or dessert-type juices.

Direct-to-Lung: DTL for short. A method of vaping that’s basically inhaling vapor directly into the lungs instead of mouth-to-lung.

Disposable E-Cigarette: Electronic cigarettes designed to be used and then thrown away after use.

DIY Eliquid:  eLiquid made at home with a liquid base like propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin and mixed with flavorings and nicotine.  

DNA Chip: A popular variable wattage chip for vape devices, built by the company Evolv.

Dragon Coil: A coil build with the wick wrapped around the coil, which is meant to increase airflow. Often employed by cloud chasers.

Draw: The inhalation of vapor taken from the tip of a vape device. Also known as a hit or a drag.

Dripping: Putting eliquid directly onto the coil. Drip atomizers tend to provide good flavor and vapor production.

Drip Tip: A device designed to let users drip eliquid directly onto the atomizer. The drip tip itself refers to the mouthpiece.

Dry Burn: Firing a coil without a wick saturated in e-liquid to burn off impurities or residue to clean it.

Dry Hit: A draw without a properly saturated wick, usually a sign of running out of juice or the wick not saturating effectively.


EGO: A style of electronic cigarette that uses EGO threading, which is usually featured in pen-style vape devices.

Electronic Cigarette: Also known as an e-cig. A personal vaporiser; a vape device originally designed as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Electronic Cigarette Starter Kit: A package containing everything to get started with vaping—a battery and/or vape device, a cartomiser/atomiser/tank, and a mouthpiece or drip tip.

Eliquid: The flavoured juice that's vaped, usually consisting of a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring, and nicotine.


Flooding: When a tank is overfilled, the vape device produces a gurgling sound and can reduce performance.

Fuse: Some mechanical mods use a specialized fuse to prevent battery failure.

Fused Clapton: A Clapton coil that has two or more wires in the core. Standard Clapton coils only have one wire core.


Heatsink: An implement located below a tank or atomiser that's meant to dissipate heat, allowing for better airflow.

Heat Steeping: The method of placing eliquid in a hot environment to speed up the steeping process.

High Resistance: An atomiser with a higher ohm rating, which allows for greater voltage levels to the coil.

Hot Spot: Spots on the coil that get increased glow and heat which cause dry hits, usually indicating improper or uneven wrapping of  the coil.

High Voltage: A device that operates above the usual 3.7 volts. High voltage devices should not be used with standard batteries due to potential battery failure.

HV Mod: A mod that uses a dual batteries connected in series to allow for greater vaping power.

Hybrid Mod: Tank and mod designed to fit together seamlessly, with the atomiser firing directly off the positive contact of the battery.


ICR: Rechargeable lithium ion cobalt battery.

IMR: Rechargeable lithium ion manganese battery.


Joules: A metric unit of measurement for energy. Temperature control mods use this as a measurement of power.


Kanthal Wire: Type of wire usually sold on spools for rebuildable atomizers, which is available in a variety of gauges and resistances. Kanthal A1 is the most popular grade.

Kick: A device between the battery and a mechanical mod’s spring that allows it to be converted into a variable wattage device. This makes the mechanical mod safer, allowing for adjustment usually between 8W and 15W.

Kick: Also be used to describe throat hit.


Leaking: Happens when eliquid unintentionally runs out the bottom of the tank. This can run down onto the battery and cause a short circuit.

Li-Po: Rechargeable battery made from Lithium Polymer, typically used for internal battery devices.

Li-Ion: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, considered the most versatile and highest quality on the market.


mA: Milliamperes; a unit of measurement for power—1 mA is 0.001 Amps. Often used to denote output of batteries and chargers.

Macro Coil: A large-diameter coil with more surface area compared to a micro coil. Designed to increase vapor production.

mAh: Milliampere-hour; used to denote battery capacity.

Manual Shut-off: Functionality for turning off a vape device manually. Most devices can be turned off by clicking the firing button five times.

Mechanical Mod (Mech Mod): Mech mod for short. An unregulated vape device with no protection circuitry. Composed of a metal tube, a battery, a connector, and a firing button. Due to having no safety features, it requires more thought and care in its build, operation, and maintenance.

Micro Coil: Small diameter coil meant to be wrapped with the wraps touching.

Mod: Originally meant to describe a modification non-vaping related items to be used as a vaporizer. Nowadays, the term is used for any vape device that doesn't resemble cigarettes.

Mouth-to-Lung: MTL for short. A method of vaping that's basically drawing vapor into the mouth first before inhaling into the lungs, much like how a traditional cigarette is smoked.


Nichrome Wire: A type of resistant wire commonly used for a variable wattage/voltage vape devices. It has a lower resistance than Kanthal, so it heats up much faster. However, it’s not as flexible, so it's not as easy to build with.

Nickel Wire: Ni200 for short. A type of wire that was first to be used in temperature control vape devices. It has a low resistance and fast ramp up time. However, it's extremely flexible wire and can lose its shape easily.

Nicotine: Nic for short. This is the main chemical in tobacco that gets smokers hooked. It's added in eliquid to give the same hit as a cigarette, which can help users quit smoking.

Nicotine Level: The amount of nicotine contained in the eliquid, generally measured in either mg/ml or percentage value.

Nicotine Shot: A 10ml bottle of flavourless nicotine which is added to eliquid.

NRT: Nicotine Replacement Therapy. The process of getting a nicotine fix from means other than tobacco. The method of quitting smoking advocated by vaping.


Ohm (Ω): A unit of measure for electrical resistance. A lower resistance coil heats faster and provide increased vapour production.

Organic Cotton: The most commonly used type of wicking material in vaping. Easy to work with and provides great flavor.


Parallel: A type of electrical circuit. In vaping, batteries are placed parallel to each other to increase battery life. This setup can also increases the mAh rating while maintaining the voltage.

Pass-through: A feature on some vape devices that allows vaping while charging.

Pen Style: A style of electronic cigarette that's similar in appearance to a ball point pen.

Personal Vaporiser: PV for short. Another name for electronic cigarette.

Priming: The act of saturating the wick to avoid a dry hit, either by dripping a few drops of e-liquid directly on the coil or taking a draw on the drip tip without firing the coil.

Propylene Glycol: PG for short. One of two liquid bases used in making eliquid. PG provides a throat hit to simulate the feeling of smoking tobacco, and it's also a good carrier of flavor. It’s more common for flavorings and nicotine to have a PG base.

Protected Battery: A type of battery with a small electronic circuit designed to protect it against overcharging, short circuit, over-discharge, and so on. Such batteries are considered safer for vaping.


Rayon: A semi-synthetic fiber made from processed wood pulp that can be used as a wicking material. It's known to be incredibly efficient and is known to produce clean and robust flavor.

Rebuildable Atomiser: RBA for short. A type of atomizer that allows for repeated building of coil and wick onto it. It allows for a more personalized vaping experience and replacement of coils and wick once they're burnt up.

Rebuildable Drip Atomizer: RDA for short. A type of rebuildable atomizer that has no tank for holding eliquid. Eliquid is directly dripped onto the coils and wick to keep it saturated.

Rebuildable Drip Tank Atomizer: RDTA for short. A combination of an RDA and RTA, wherein the atomizer is located on top of the tank. It allows for direct dripping while also maintaining saturation of the wick by having holes that the wick can be inserted through to the tank to soak up eliquid.

Rebuildable Tank Atomizer: RTA or tank for short. A rebuildable atomizer with a tank on top to provide eliquid to saturate the wick as long as it holds eliquid. It typically features a filling hole on the top for easy refills.

Resistance: Measured in ohms, it determines the voltage/wattage you can apply to the coil. It has a significant impact on vapor and flavor production.

Resistance Wire: The type of wire commonly used for coils in vaping. It heats up when an electrical current is put through it, which then turns the eliquid into vapor.

Ribbon Wire: A type of wire with a flat cross section that's commonly used in more advanced or exotic coil builds.


Sensor: A feature in some vape devices that detects whether the user is drawing from them, which then tells the device to turn on and heat the eliquid. This allows for a vape device with no need for a firing button.

Series: A type of electrical circuit. In vaping, placing batteries in series increases voltage output, although battery capacity is equal to that of a single battery.

Shortfill: Nicotine-free eliquid. Nicotine shots can be added to it if desired.

Silica: A type of wicking material with a high melting point typically used in stock coils.

Smart Chip: An electronic chip found in high end vaping devices that provides additional features. It allows for a more personalized vaping experience.

Squonk: A type of vape device where eliquid is fed through a tube going straight to the coil from a small squeeze bottle below. This allows for an alternative to dripping. It's also often referred to as a bottom feeder.

Stacking: Using additional batteries to increase the power output.

Stainless Steel Mesh: A type of wicking material that's basically a sheet of mesh rolled into a cable-like wick. This is not recommended for beginners due to the degree of difficulty in its building and use. If built properly, it can provide incredible flavor.

Steeping: The process of improving the flavor of an eliquid with heat, agitation, time, and so on. Shaking the bottle of eliquid is the most basic way of steeping.

Sub-Ohming: The act of vaping with a coil resistance lower than 1 ohm to increase flavor and vapor production.

Sweet Spot: Setup and settings on a vape device that gives the perfect hit.


Tail Piping: The act of dripping directly onto the coil and inhaling the vapor without using a drip tip.

Temperature Control: TC for short. A feature found in many modern regulated vape devices which automatically adjusts voltage/wattage to keep temperature consistent. TC vape devices require  nickel or titanium coils.

Thermal Runaway: An uncontrollable rise in temperature that can result in the battery exploding, caused by short circuit, overcharging, damage to the battery, etc.

Throat Hit: The sensation in the back of the throat felt when vaping eliquid containing PG and/or nicotine.

Tiger Coil: A coil build that uses a single strand of Kanthal with a strand of Ribbon wire wrapped around it. It's an advanced build that makes for really good flavor and vapor production.

Titanium Wire: A type of wire used for temperature control devices with higher resistance compared to other types of wires. It produces great flavor, but also has safety concerns regarding its use.

Tobacco Products Directive: TPD for short. Regulations enacted in May 2017 to restrict sale of all vape related products.

Topping Off: Filling a tank to full capacity.

Triple Coil: Atomizers that use three coils in conjunction. It provides greater flavor and vapor production at the cost of even shorter battery life.

Tube Mod: A cylindrical vaping device, usually referring to the design of many mechanical mods.


USB Charger: A charger that can be plugged directly into a USB power source.

Unprotected Battery: A type of battery that has no form of protection in it. They can be prone to overheating, short circuiting, and overcharging, but they tend to be cheaper.


Vaping: The act of using a personal vaporizer.

Vaper: Someone who vapes.

Vaper’s Tongue: Loss of flavor experienced when a flavor is vaped too often, thus desensitizing the taste buds. This indicates a need to change flavors.

Vapor: The result of eliquid being heated, as well as exhaled after a draw.

Vapor Production: The amount of vapor produced.

Vegetable Glycerin: VG for short. One of the two liquid bases commonly used for making eliquid. VG is thicker, a little sweeter, and creates thicker clouds. However, it doesn't carry flavor as well as PG, but can be mixed with it to create a blend.

Vent Holes: A safety feature found on most vape devices, meant to prevent overheating of the battery.

Venting: Another term for the overheating of a battery.

Vertical Coils: Coils that are placed vertically instead of horizontally. This configuration can potentially improve airflow and add more flavor to the vape as it sits closer to the tip.

Volt: Unit of measurement for the amount of power in an electrical circuit. It factors in with wattage and resistance.

Variable Voltage: VV for short. A feature in vape devices that lets you change the voltage output.

Variable Wattage: VW for short. A feature in vape devices that lets you change the wattage output.


Watt: Unit of measurement for power resulting from the voltage and resistance of a circuit.

Wick: The absorment material placed in direct contact with the coils of an atomizer, serving as the implement which draws and holds eliquid to be vaporized by the heat generated by the coils.

Wicking: The act of preparing and placing the wick into the coils of the atomizer.

Wire: The resistant material used to build a coil for the atomizer.

Wrap: The twist of a coil to make wire useful for vaping. The more wraps there are, the higher the resistance.


18650: The battery size most commonly used for vape devices.

26650: A larger battery size typically used for more advanced personal vaporizers.

510: The most popular style of threading for modern vape devices that’s used to connect the atomizer to the device where the battery resides.

kurt sonderegger
kurt sonderegger


Founder/CEO of Cafe Racer Craft E-Liquid

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