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Electronic Cigarettes were initially designed to look like real cigarettes - all the way down to the colors on the tubes and a light at the end of the tip. They were low powered closed systems without many options.
Photo Credit: http://vaping360.com/
Several years after the first ecig was introduced (2003) , early ecig enthusiasts started hacking their off the shelf ecig devices to increase the performance and create more vapor, add more power and increase the battery life. Check out our previous article A Brief History of Ecig / Vape Design for a full look at this.
Over time, the focus of many hardware manufacturers seemed to be on more power (ie 200W +mods and .2Ohm coils) and big clouds. While more power and sub ohm resistance on the atomizers allowed for much better flavor transfer, many x smokers weren’t looking to create massive vapor clouds, and didn’t want to figure out watts, ohms and voltage - they were simply looking for a way to stop smoking and for a simple vaporizer to help them with this goal.
Pax Labs changed everything in 2015 with the introduction of the JUUL. No story about this would be complete without looking back to Pax Labs’ first ecig / vape - introduced in early 2010 called the Ploom Model One ( Ploom was also name of the company back then) I have first hand experience to this product release, as I was Ploom Inc’s 1st employee at after the 2 founders, both recent Stanford University D School grads - starting late 2007. The Ploom Model One was a revolutionary form factor but unfortunately it had a ton of design problems, including using butane vs a battery (imagine having to carry butane with you to fill the tank as needed), heat not burn tobacco pods that produced very little vapor and thus very little nicotine and a mouthpiece that would often fall off at inopportune moments.
Ploom knew it had to to fix the Model One but first they first pivoted and worked with an industrial design team and developed the Pax by Ploom - a dry leaf vaporizer. The Pax was an immediate hit and went on to sell hundreds of thousands of units and become the leader in the loose leaf vaporizer category, most often associated with cannabis.
With the success of the Pax, Ploom changed their name to Pax Labs and then eventually set out to conquer the tobacco vaporizer market. They took a different approach to almost all leading companies in the vape space at that time, as most were releasing the latest high power mod or sub ohm tank and instead looked to solve a key problem - how to increase the conversion rate of smokers to vapers who were trying vaping for the first time. To do this, they looked to resolve two problems - simplicity of design and nicotine uptake - which would be more akin to what smokers were used to and thus would help smokers shift from smoking to vaping.
Pax Labs introduced the JUUL on June 1, 2015 without a lot of fanfare. The device featured a sleek design, no buttons and an atomizer that is contained inside the disposable Juul pods. The pods also had .7ML of eLiquid with the newly introduced Nicotine Salt eLiquid in 4 flavors at 5% Nicotine or 50MG - more than enough to give smokers the satisfaction they were missing from traditional combustable cigarettes and a much more immediate kick than open system vaporizers.
JUUL started getting a lot more traction when Vapor Shark, based in Florida, pushed JUUL to it’s 160+ retail outlets plus it’s growing distribution network of thousands of Vape Shops nationally. JUUL gave independent Vape Shops a new tool to offer new customers looking to make the switch from smoking to vaping. It also became a favorite for existing vapers who were looking for a more discrete device that allowed them to vape without creating big clouds at home, at work or in other locations where blowing big clouds of vapor might cause concern or not be allowed.
By 2017 JUUL was a runaway hit - at both independent vape shops and a network of over 15,000 convenient stores. So much so that Pax Labs was having a lot of trouble with production to meet demand and retailers were often out of stock. It was inevitable that the highly competitive vape industry would take notice and soon many hardware companies were developing and releasing a new generation of closed system Pod Mods as well as next gen low wattage mouth to lung open system devices. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the options out there but this list is far from complete - there are literally dozens of pod mods by different manufacturers as well as a growing list of open system low wattage sleek devices.
Closed System Pod Mods:
By definition, these devices are only not open to using any pods or eLiquid other than from the maker of the device. The 3 system below also all feature proprietary charging systems - which can be annoying when you loose the charging dock or cable. Users did start hacking JUUL and other pods to be able to use other brands of Nic Salt and other high nicotine eLiquid but in general most users stick to only the pods/flavors provided by these manufacturers. Cost is certainly a factor as a pack of 4 JUUL pods cost approx $15.95 and it’s easy to vape 1 or more pods in a day. Here are a few of the top sellers in this category:
JUUL by Pax Labs: Each JUUL pod contains 0.7mL with 5% nicotine by weight. It is the gold standard in pod mod designs.
Bo by Jwell: Designed and crafted in France, Bo is a popular closed system vape device with a number of flavored pod eLiquid options.
Phix by MLV: The PHIX is a solid closed loop system with a 280 MAH internal battery. The pod holds a 1.5ml e-liquid pod with 5% nicotine by weight with a resistance of about 1.4ohm to 1.5ohm
Next Gen Open System Low Wattage (Mouth to Lung) Devices:
With the higher cost and limited options of closed system pod mods, there was a clear opening for manufactures to produce open system low wattage small devices that would be ideal for higher nicotine Nic Salts and provide users with more options on eLiquid flavors, nic levels and designs.
Here are a few of the most popular next gen Open System low wattage devices that are currently on the market. It pays to do some research to find what device would work best for you
Aspire Breeze: The breeze has a built-in refillable tank that holds 2ml of e-juice. It also utilizes a U-tech coil which provides a flavorful vape. It also features an auto-fire feature, so no need to press the fire button, just inhale. The fire button also helps further navigate the Breeze and provides for a slightly better draw.
Suorin Air: This is an all-in-one pod type device that holds up to 2ml of your favorite e-liquid. The Suorin Air has a 400mAh rechargeable built-in battery with vape-while-charging technology. Easy to operate, the Surion Air has one power switch and the device is instantly activated through inhalation. Perhaps the best feature is the ease of swapping pod cartridges, allowing you the option to purchase multiple pods at an inexpensive price to keep filled with several of your favorite e-liquid flavors.
Suorin Drop: The Suorin Drop features an alternative design compared to the card-style design of the original Suorin Air. The Suorin Drop features a unique water drop design which is both lightweight and compact due to the zinc alloy housing. The Suorin Drop features no buttons and is automatically activated when you inhale. The Suorin Drop features a built-in 310mAh battery which may be recharged using the micro USB charging port located on the bottom of the device. The Suorin Drop utilizes a 2.0ml refillable cartridge system which may be filled with your favorite e-Liquid.
JoyTech Atopack Dolphin: The Dolphin is a compact refillable pod based system with a built in 2100mAh battery and utilizes the new JVIC coil system and features a large capacity 6ml interchangeable pod system. The pod system is designed to allow the user to quickly change flavors by simply swapping pods and features a graduated eLiquid viewing window.
eLeaf iCare2: The iCare 2 boasts a removable 2ml tank and a beefier 650 mAh rechargeable battery with a 15W maximum output perfectly paired with the 1.3 ohm IC Coil. Despite being smaller than the iCare, the iCare 2 squeezes in a top filled 2 milliliter top filled reservoir. Utilizing a press to fire activated design, output of the iCare 2 maintains the maximum output of 15W, providing astounding performance for the size. The fill port section is accessed by removing the mouth piece.
These are just a few of the many next gen open system low wattage MTL devices that are ideal for people looking for sleek simple devices that are optimized for higher nic eLiquid - especially Nic Salt.
With the success of Cafe Racer's tobacco flavors - Lucky 13, Lucky Bastard and Cool Bastard, we felt that we had a big opportunity to provide a rich tobacco experience unavailable in the new market of Nic Salt eLiquids. We took the rich tobacco RY4 flavor profile of Lucky Bastard/Cool Bastard and optimized them for low wattage atomizers and Nic Salt - and thus Salty Bastard and Salty Bastard Ice were born. We offer these flavors in 25Mg and 40MG - which allows you to optimize your experience for a variety of closed or open systems. Salty Bastard is not meant for use in devices that reach sub-ohm resistance.