Madvapes Master Guide to Vaping

Intermediate Kits -Part Five

Master Guide to Vaping Part 5 – Intermediate Kits

Intermediate kits represent the most popular style of vaping across the board. They’re generally right in the middle in terms of just about everything. Average price, average performance, average battery life, etc. However, these intermediate kits serve just about any purpose you could ask for as a vaper. They can be a device for a first-timer since they’re only marginally more difficult to use than proper starter kits. They can be primary setups for just about anyone. Or, they can be backup or travel devices for more advanced vapers. Intermediate kits appeal to a wide range of vapers, and as such, they represent the majority of mods and atomizers on the market.

The most recent iteration of the intermediate kit varies quite a bit in aesthetics, but they all operate in the same way. In general, they all use an LED screen with 3-button operation. They mostly all have temperature control and variable wattage capabilities and come with some type of subohm tank. Some devices have an internal battery and some require separate batteries, but most intermediate mods only use a single battery and cap out around 80W as a maximum. However, for any device with a single battery, any power setting higher than 50W will drain the battery much more quickly. If you need to use a higher wattage, it’s recommended to get a device that uses two or more batteries, which would technically classify them as advanced devices. These will be discussed in a future article, but I should point out that there is some overlap between different classes of mods since there’s no “official” hierarchy. In general, even though advanced devices may not be more difficult to understand or use compared to intermediate mods, they’re designed for vapers that use either more advanced atomizers or rebuildables that require higher power in order to perform optimally. Of course, there will always be examples of mods and atomizers breaking from the norm and not conforming to the starter/intermediate/advanced archetype, so just be aware of that.

For a vaper coming from a starter kit, said starter kit should have given them some idea as to their vaping preference. Do you prefer mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping or direct-lung (DL) vaping? Do you prefer a warm vape or a cool vape? Are you a cloud-chaser or a flavor-chaser? Once you’ve determined the answer to these questions, you can look at which intermediate kits fit your needs. For example, if you’re a flavor-chaser and you prefer MTL vaping, you might consider one of the Kanger Subox kits, which feature adjustable airflow and a coil that’s designed for MTL vaping.
The other great thing about kits at the intermediate level is that you can mix and match. Unlike an AIO device, intermediate kits mostly require an atomizer separate from the mod. So if you’re a cloud-chaser who likes DL vaping, for example, you can get something like the iStick Pico Mega and pair it with the Uwell Crown V2 subohm tank. If you happen to like both MTL and DL vaping and want to be able to switch back and forth, you can get multiple coils for the same tank, or get multiple tanks and use them on the same mod. This is the primary difference between starter kits and intermediate kits. They’re much more modular and customizable.

For people looking to start vaping by jumping straight into intermediate kits, a little research is required. While not difficult to use, there is certain terminology as well as a sense of consensus about what is good and what is not. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to get information about vaping. Brick and mortar stores are far more common than they were 5 years ago, and there’s also several forums on the internet that are very welcoming and willing to help get you started. There will still be a learning curve in order to determine which vaping style works best for you, but certain tanks will let you try more than one style. Because of the nature of most intermediate devices, when you do dial in the best vape and have a better idea as to what you like, upgrading only requires you to get a new tank, not necessarily a new mod.
Intermediate kits are the most balanced and varied of all vaping devices, and therefore the most popular. They offer a good quality vape experience while remaining relatively inexpensive and easy to upgrade. Most of them allow you to swap the atomizer that you’re using so you can try new vape styles as well as experiment with new atomizers without having to buy an entirely new kit. Generally, if you’re willing to do a bit of research and/or talk to some vapers before buying, intermediate kits are a better investment than starter kits. Most people will upgrade from a starter kit at some point, but the majority of vapers settle in the intermediate range. For those of you interested in the cream of the crop, be sure to read the next article in this series to find out more about advanced devices!

Madvapes Master Guide to Vaping

Advanced Devices – Part Six

Master Guide to Vaping Part 6 – Advanced Devices

Advanced devices generally have similar functionality compared to intermediate devices. Sometimes they’ll have a few extra bells and whistles, but mostly offer higher consistent power and longer battery life, mainly due to the fact that advanced devices usually require multiple batteries. More batteries means a longer period of time between charges, and the ability to fire at a higher power without the device scaling back due to lack of battery voltage and less current per battery. Nowadays, advanced devices function exactly the same way as intermediate devices, except the majority require separate batteries, a separate charger, and generally cost a bit more. Eventually, many people find that the advantages of owning such a device are well-worth the cost.
So what are the advantages and why to they justify the higher price? We already mentioned a couple of them above; more battery life and more consistent power. But what does that mean for you practically? First, it opens up the number of atomizers you can use. More robust sub-ohm tanks and rebuildables can require anywhere from 50W to 250W: power levels single-battery devices just can’t handle. Alternatively, you can choose a tank that requires a low power, and get insane battery life! Depending on the specific advice, some more advanced devices will let you use temperature control with different wire types, or customize more settings when it comes to temperature control.

Advanced devices usually mean a larger size, which is mostly determined by how many batteries it requires. Of course, there are some single-battery intermediate mods which are larger than dual-battery advanced mods, but those are the exceptions. For the most part, you can expect advanced mods to be some of the largest devices you can find. Many are still designed to be comfortable and ergonomic, but remember that these mods are focusing on power and quality over convenience. However, few people jump into vaping and go straight to advanced devices and therefore have a separate device to use as a backup or something to travel with when convenience needs to take priority.

If you had to pick one device to use exclusively, an advanced mod is the best choice. They have the ability to fire almost any atomizer, and are some of the most well-made devices on the market. Generally, you’ll be basing your purchasing decision on aesthetics, build quality, and maximum power/number of batteries. Also, if you want delve more deeply into the features, the chip that the mod uses may also be a factor. Some boards actually fire differently, and although subtle, it can affect the way a particular atomizer vapes. Boards like the DNA200, FSK chip, and SX series are some of the most revered and coveted due to the reliability, wide range of features, customization potential, and consistency of the vape quality.

So you’re probably wondering when you should consider an advanced mod over something intermediate. If you’re a heavy vaper, an advanced mod will give you more battery life, which is more convenient if you find yourself unable to charge your batteries for long periods of time. If your device uses removable 18650 batteries, as most do, you can bring extra batteries along with you too, but depending on how many batteries your device needs, how much you vape, and what resistance/power your setup is running at, this might not even be necessary. If you want to use certain sub-ohm tanks, or at least would like the option of using them optimally, the higher power offered by advanced devices is necessary. Even if you use a lower-power atomizer but want to “future-proof” your setup, an advanced device is the best way to do that. Remember, just because your mod is capable of 200W doesn’t mean that it won’t work just as well at 20W.
Not even a year ago, I could have told you that advanced devices offer the latest vaping technology and are the most difficult to use. With the innovation plateau that the industry is currently experiencing, this is no longer true. Today, advanced devices are just as easy to use as intermediate devices. Conversely, many of the features available in advanced mods are available in intermediate devices, and even some starter kits. The key difference is the reliability. While certain starter kits may be able to do things like temperature control, an advanced mod will be able to do it better. The temperature will be more accurate, you’ll be able to change your temperature more precisely, etc.

In conclusion, advanced devices will give you the maximum versatility you can achieve in vaping. They work with anything, have the most features, and generally have the best battery life. In theory, they’ll last longer and are better-made. Additionally, there’s not really a reason to be intimidated anymore; “advanced” isn’t synonymous with “difficult,” as most are relatively easy to use compared to intermediate-level devices. While intermediate devices and kits will generally be more compact, advanced devices emphasize power and performance over size, and that’s the main difference to consider. Also, consider that since many advanced devices are larger, they’re much better-suited towards larger atomizers, particularly those with 24mm or 25mm diameters. With such atomizers becoming more popular and numerous because of the increased capacity, coil size, and power requirements, this is just one more reason to consider a larger multi-battery mod.
Madvapes offers a wide selection of advanced devices that represent the best of what vaping has to offer. This includes the Reuleaux RX300, Sigelei Fuchai 213, and the Alien 220, just to name a few. So when you’re ready to get the best vape experience currently possible, be sure to check out and remember, we price match! We already offer some of the lowest prices on the internet, but if you find a lower price from an eligible website, we’ll match it! If you’re looking for a worthwhile upgrade or to just add another great mod to your collection, our “Mod” category is where you want to look.

Madvapes Master Guide to Vaping

Rebuildable Atomizers

Rebuildable Atomizers

Master Guide to Vaping Part 7 – Rebuildables

Rebuildable atomizers are some of the most varied components in vaping. In addition to a wide selection of different atomizers, each one can be built in a number of ways. Rather than replacing a premade coil, rebuildables require you to wrap your own coil. You can choose the wire type, size, wicking material, etc., and that means that rebuilding is the most effective way to perfectly tailor your vape the way you want it.
There are several types of rebuildable atomizers (RBAs). The most common is the rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA). RDAs are made for dripping, and don’t hold any more liquid than the wick and drip well can absorb. RDAs are usually the best for cloud-chasing, but also offer great flavor. Rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs) do hold liquid and are generally larger than RDAs. They’re slightly more difficult to build depending on the particular RTA you’re using, but the majority of modern RBAs are relatively easy to build. Last, we have rebuildable dripping tank atomizers (RDTAs). It may sound counter-intuitive, but RDTAs are a sort of hybrid between RDAs and RTAs. They will usually have a deck similar to an RDA, but also some sort of reservoir to hold a bit of e-liquid.
That’s a lot of letters to remember, so let’s make it easy: RDAs, RTAs, and RDTAs all fall under the RBA, or rebuildable atomizer, category. RDAs are dripping atomizers, RTAs are tanks, and RDTAs take some features from both.

There are pros and cons to each type of RBA, but keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and there are a few exceptions. RDAs are the easiest to build and use. This is mainly due to the fact that you’ll be dripping liquid directly on the coil, so you don’t have to worry about wicking. RDAs are also the best type of atomizer for cloud-chasing. Many are designed with huge airflow potential and have the most room for large coils. On the other hand, RDAs are the messiest RBA. Because of the nature of RDAs, the liquid isn’t held in a sealed tank, and it tends to “spit” or splatter out of the airflow holes when fired. This is generally a small price to pay for the performance that you get, but in certain circumstances, it might be inconvenient to keep your device upright at all times.

RTAs offer the most convenience, but can be difficult to wick correctly. Instead of simply absorbing liquid like an RDAs wick, the wick in an RTA but move your e-liquid from the reservoir to the coil. Depending on the design of the tank and the thickness of the e-liquid that you’re using, you may need to adjust the amount and/or length of wick you’re using. If it’s too loose, your tank can leak. Too tight, and you’ll get dry hits. In addition, many RTAs have smaller decks, which means you’ll need to build smaller coils and they may be more difficult to install. Tanks generally have less airflow potential compared to RDAs, and that can provide better flavor. However, the comparison of flavor and vapor production between RTAs and RDAs is going to depend on many things, so make sure to research any RBA you’re considering before buying.
RDTAs are surprisingly varied when it comes to design and what they’re designed for. For the most part, they will have a large build deck, similar to an RDA, and as such will accept RDA builds. However, they’ll also have a reservoir that holds a relatively small about of liquid; usually less than an RTA. Longer wicks are usually required, and that means you have to worry about dry hits, but it’s more lenient than an RTA. RDTAs are difficult to make blanket statements about since they’re all very different. However, many are top-coil and resemble a Genesis-style atomizer with the deck on top and the reservoir below. Unlike traditional Genesis tanks, RDTAs have an RDA deck and work best when wicked with cotton as opposed to stainless steel.

Speaking of wicking materials, there are a handful of options. The most popular is organic cotton. It’s affordable, easy to find, and minimally affects the flavor of your e-liquid. There are many different brands of cotton, but the 2 main styles are cotton balls and Japanese cotton pads. One isn’t inherently better than the other, but I encourage you to try both and find what works best. Another option is rayon, which is basically synthetic cotton. Like cotton, it’s extremely inexpensive, but you may need to search the internet to find it since it is more rare to find in stores. While cotton will expand when e-liquid is applied, rayon will actually shrink. This means you’ll need to wick it tighter than cotton to compensate. Again, it’s impossible to say which is better, so you’ll need to try it for yourself to make a determination. Silica and stainless steel can still be used for many RBAs, but they’ve largely fallen out of popularity over the last few years. Silica doesn’t burn, but it tends to be more expensive and harder to find than cotton, while not being as absorbent and muting flavor. Stainless steel can offer some of the best flavor, but its extremely difficult to work with and must be treated before using it as a wick. Unless you’re using a traditional Genesis-style tank, avoid using stainless steel as a wick. With modern atomizers, it doesn’t offer any advantage.

Next we have wire type, size, and shape. First, you should determine what type of wire you want. If you’re building for temperature control, you’ll want nickel, titanium, or stainless steel. Just make sure your mod can support the wire type. For wattage mode, Kanthal A-1 or NiChrome work best. Stainless steel is unique because it can be used in wattage mode or temperature control mode. The next thing you need to determine is size. Size in measured by the gauge of the wire, and 26-gauge is a good place to start. The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire and the higher the resistance. For example, compared to 22-gauge, 26-gauge is thinner and will give you a higher resistance if you use the exact same coil in terms of diameter and number of wraps. The most common size is 24-gauge, which is a good balance between resistance and ease-of-use. Remember, wire that is too thin will be difficult to wrap because of its “springiness” and tendency to break. Wire that is too thick will require a good amount of finger strength to manipulate, and may result in a resistance that is too low for your mod or batteries. Thick wire also takes longer to heat up and requires more power.

Last, you have wire shape. Round wire is the basic shape that’s perfect if you’re just starting out. Flat wire can still be found and offers more surface area that heats up more evenly. However, it’s more difficult to build with and has mostly been replaced with more complex wire in recent years. The most basic of the complex wire shapes is Clapton wire. Clapton wire is a thick wire with thinner wire wrapped around it so that it resembles a guitar string, hence the name. Almost all complex wire is based on the basic Clapton, and some people go as far as wrapping their own Clapton wire, although it is possible to find pre-made wire too. Fused Clapton wire is a parallel wire (2 round wires touching, parallel to each other) with a thinner wire wrapped around them. Alien wire is similar, except the thinner wire has been warped to give it a wavy look. There are many other similar wire shapes, but they lie beyond the scope of this guide. Just know that they are out there and mostly used by hobbyist vapers. However, there is a good reason to consider trying Clapton or fused Clapton wire.

First and foremost, it’s relatively easy to find on a spool, meaning you treat it as any round wire and don’t need to make it yourself. Secondly, Clapton wire actually absorbs some e-liquid. This gives a few advantages. First, it can improve flavor compared to round wire. The heat is internalized to where the liquid is and acts more like an oven. The difference is subtle, but worth it for some. Additionally, Clapton wire doesn’t produce dry hits as often as round wire since it has a greater surface area. It spreads the heat out, which also means it has a wider range of power that it works well with. And, because the wire itself absorbs some liquid on its own, it encourages improved wicking in tanks. So there are advantages to using some type of Clapton wire, but the difference may not be worth the additional cost or learning curve for new vapers looking to rebuild. More advanced users that don’t wish to make their own wire will most likely get some value out of buying pre-spooled Clapton or fused Clapton wire to wrap their coils.
When it comes to rebuilding, there’s a lot to learn. Most of this comes from experience, and just to get started, you only need to know a few basics. The result is the best vape experience you can get, because you can choose better quality material than what comes with pre-made coils, and you can tailor your vape exactly the way you like it. Many people find the learning curve well-worth the payoff, and many who start rebuilding never go back. That said, it’s definitely possible to continue using standard vape gear. Even hobbyist vapers with extensive collections of atomizers and mods occasionally turn to subohm tanks or even AIO devices when they need something more convenient or something less valuable if there’s a high chance of their vape getting lost, damaged, or stolen.
Every vaper should try rebuilding at least a few times. It’s not for everyone, but you’ll never know until you try and the learning curve has been greatly mitigated over the last few years with new designs making building easier and easier. If you’re wondering what you need to get started, the bare minimum will do. You can find everything you need right here at Madvapes:

• Cotton
• 24-Gauge Kanthal A-1
• Rebuilding Kit (Or scissors, screwdriver, and pliers as a bare minimum.)
• Mod Suitable for your Chosen RBA
• E-Liquid and Batteries (If Applicable)

If you need to know how to rebuild, a picture’s worth 1000 words, and a video is worth 1000 pictures. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel, which has several videos showing how to rebuild the most common atomizers.
There’s an RBA for every type of vaper. Your favorite vape is only slight dedication and a small investment away!