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E-cigarettes 101 | 180 Smoke

E-cigarettes 101

There are tons of different e-cigarette brands and styles available today, so it can be difficult to know where to start.

Fortunately, the majority of e-cigarettes function the same way on a basic level, so let’s start at the beginning and learn about the parts of an e-cigarette and how they work.

E-cigarette Anatomy

E-cigarettes (or vapes) need four things to function: a battery, an atomizer, a tank, and e-liquid.

The battery is the power source for the e-cigarette, which brings an electrical current to the atomizer.

The atomizer is the part of the e-cigarette that turns e-liquid into vapour. The battery of the e-cigarette provides an electrical current, which heats a wire coil. This heat turns e-liquid into vapour, which can then be inhaled.

The tank is the reservoir that holds e-liquid to be vaporized. It can also be referred to as a cartomizer, clearomizer, or pod.

E-liquid is a specially-made liquid that, when heated, becomes a smoke-like vapour. E-liquid can contain flavouring and nicotine, but it doesn’t have to.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how e-cigarettes function, let’s go over the different types of e-cigarettes you’ll find available.


Cigalikes are designed to look and feel like a cigarette. They usually have a rechargeable battery and a cartridge reservoir (called a cartomizer) packed with absorbent polyfill to hold the e-liquid and a non-replaceable atomizer. Cigalikes were very popular when e-cigarettes were first available to the public, but are a less-favoured design today because of their lack of environmental efficiency and relatively weak performance.

Pen Vape

Pen vapes are long, slim e-cigarettes that are designed to resemble a pen. They consist of a battery, a tank, and a replaceable atomizer. These devices are refillable and rechargeable, and often have more battery and e-liquid capacity than cigalike devices, meaning that they provide better quality vapour for longer.

Mod Vape

Mod vapes are known for their boxy style, though they aren’t all necessarily square shaped. These devices have large battery sections, and a separate tank that sits on top. The tank also contains the replaceable atomizer section. Most mod vapes will require removable battery cells to operate. Mod vapes are rechargeable, refillable, and, in general, will have greater power and vapour potential than vape pens. The majority of mod vapes available today are regulated, which means that they contain circuit boards that they control the flow of power between the battery and the atomizer.

Pod Vape

Pod vapes are one of the newest designs on the market. These devices have a battery and a pod tank that contains an atomizer inside. In some pod vapes, pods are refillable, but in other models, they are not. Similar to cigalikes, pod vapes are small and portable, and have a non-replaceable atomizer. This means that once the atomizer is used up, the entire pod must be replaced. However, pod vapes are discreet and very easy to use.

Which E-cigarette Type Is Right for You?

The right vape style for you is always going to depend on your personal needs and preferences. Take a look at the things to consider when purchasing your first vape here.