What’s a Cigalike?
What’s a Cigalike?
The word cigalike is a combination of “cigarette” and “alike” because these devices were originally designed to look and feel like cigarettes. Why? Because the primary function of first generation e-cigarettes was to mimic the experience of smoking cigarettes.
The cigalike can be thought of as an electronic version of an analog (combustible) cigarette. That’s why these light, compact, adjustment-free devices are the easiest way to get into vaping and often the first point of entry for those switching from cigarettes. Using a cigalike involves no tinkering, no troubleshooting, no learning curve.
Evolution of the Cigalike
Although early model cigalikes tried to replicate the analog cigarette experience down to size and shape, the category has evolved, with some taking on less cigarette-like shapes; some are flat, some resemble elongated UBS sticks, others are round, and still others are heart-shaped. These newer and more advanced versions of the cigalike are called pod mods and we discuss them in a separate section since they have evolved into their own distinct subcategory of cigalikes. (We like to think of pod mods as cigalikes 2.0 or advanced cigalikes.)
Gateway to Vaping
One reason cigalikes are the gateway to vaping is how convenient and easy to find they are. Many are available at local retailers and battery charging is simple. Some models don't even require you to learn to work a fire button. Just draw on the device like you would a cigarette, and you are puffing away—no need for matches or a lighter.
Finally, the reason that non-vapers are inclined to try cigalikes as an alternative to smoking is that there’s very little commitment to vaping. If people like cigalikes and want to get deeper into the hobby, they can always advance to more sophisticated pod mods or even vape mods. Otherwise, if you want to remain a more casual vaper, you can stick with simple cigalikes.
Some cigalikes are automatic and other are manual, depending on what type of battery they use. Automatic devices are activated simply by inhaling, which triggers it to heat up and produce vapor. Manual devices require you to press a button in order to take a hit.
One thing to keep in mind is some cigalikes can contains the same quantity of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes or even two packs of cigarettes, so you should start off slowly until you figure out what the right pace of puffing is for you.
Cigalikes are cheap (usually about $10 or less) and easy to find (corner store, gas station). Accommodating even the most inexperienced vapers, these discreet closed-system devices can be the perfect first step to switching from cigarettes.
Note, we say ‘first step’ for a reason. And that’s because after a while, most people move on to larger, more advanced vape mods that are pretty much superior in every single way–flavor choice, battery life, environmental impact and, the long run…cost. (You can even skip over this first step and jump into more advanced cigalikes if you want.)
That said, here’s the skinny on cigalikes. They come in two categories: disposable and rechargeable.
Disposable cigalikes are not complicated. They are one-piece units that you can use and discard. No need to fill it or charge it, just puff on it until the pre-filled cartridge of e-liquid is finished and throw it away. These are the most basic kind of cigalikes and you can find them for sale in convenience stores and gas stations as well as online.
It’s as simple as taking it out of the box and puffing on the device. Some older cigalikes had buttons to trigger the battery to turn on and heat up the resistance coil, though these have widely fallen out of favor.
Rechargeable cigalikes have replaceable cartridges or pods that usually aren't refillable; they're designed to be thrown away and replaced once depleted.
They come with two parts: the battery and the cartridge. The cartridges contain flavored e-liquid in a variety of nicotine strengths. Inside the cartridge is a tank to store the liquid, and a resistance wire called an atomizer which heats the e-liquid, turning it into vapor. Rechargeables can only be used with the same brand of e-liquid refills, which limits choice and can be expensive.
The batteries in cigalikes are usually connected to an airflow sensor, so when you puff on the device, the battery turns on and generates vapor.
Charging is relatively simple—your cigalike comes with a USB port that the battery, once the cartridge is removed, can snap or screw into for charging. Because these batteries are much smaller than in other devices, don't expect them to last all day. Depending on how heavily you use your cigalike, you may go through two or even as many as four charge cycles in a single day. For this reason many cigalikes offer portable power banks to keep a spare battery charging on-the-go.
An example of a rechargeable cigalike brand is the Vuse Solo.
Reasons to choose cigalikes:
- No commitment to vaping required
- Similar in look and feel to a cigarette
- Widely available in convenience stores and gas stations
- You are a smoker looking to a make a switch
- Cheap (in the short run)
Reasons not to choose cigalikes:
- Limited flavors and nicotine levels
- Short battery life
- Expensive (in the long run)
- Limited capacity e-liquid
- Limited control
- No customization
In summary, cigalikes are a...
Good Choice for:
- Smokers who are new to vaping
- People who prefer simplicity over choice
- People who left their device at home and need to grab one on the go
Bad Choice for:
- Anyone who wants to save money in the long run
- People who want a wide choice of flavors
- Anyone who want to vape all day without battery dying
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