What’s A Vape Pen?
When vaping first gained mainstream popularity around 2013 vape pens were all the rage, and to this day they retain a committed fan following. Even if you don't know it, you're probably already familiar with pen style vapes. They were the first compact vape devices to catch on that weren’t cigalikes in that they didn’t look and function like cigarettes. While they have been largely eclipsed by the newer technology of vape pods, they still hold up as a solid entry-level device.
So, what are they? Pen vapes are a step up from cartridge-based cigalike, but not as advanced as high-tech box mods. Five or six inches long and cylindrical, they're about the size of a small permanent marker, hence the name. You'll also often hear this entire category of devices referred to as "eGos," a nod to the Joyetech eGo, the first mass-produced non-cigalike vapor product.
Pen vapes use a clearomizer system, which means they have a tank for e-liquid that's designed to be refilled over and over. Unlike open-system pod mods, you can change the atomizer coil when it burns out or becomes clogged. This means that instead of using a refillable pod three or four times before throwing it away, you can re-use a clearomizer tank dozens or even hundreds of times. (This saves lot of money over the long haul.)
When the eGo-type pen was in popular use, two thread patterns were competing for dominance among vape hardware (if that sounds confusing, just a couple years earlier there were a dozen or more different styles of thread).
A modern pen vape will have only two threads on the battery: eGo style and 510 style, meaning that just about any clearomizer can be fitted to an eGo battery, offering an advantage over pod systems that only allow the use of a manufacturer's proprietary pods because nothing else will connect properly with their batteries.
Some other advantages of the pen system include the ability to use some tanks with adjustable airflow, allowing the user to decide how tight or loose they prefer their inhale. Pen batteries are also available with adjustable power output, these are typically referred to as "twist" models because they feature a dial on the bottom to increase or decrease the power output, allowing the user to select a warmer or cooler vape with a bigger or more discreet cloud.
There are limitations, however–the power output of an eGo pen isn't sufficient for most modern sub-ohm clearomizers, even though the threads will fit. Pen batteries work best with tanks that use coils with a resistance of 1.2 ohm or higher.
The eGo also has its drawbacks—the devices are generally bigger and heavier than pod mods that deliver comparable performance. The clearomizer system is also less fail-safe than a pod, as it requires numerous parts to be properly assembled and maintained in order to prevent leaks and ensure proper performance. Finally, eGos require the user to press a fire button whenever they want to take a draw, a habit that quickly becomes old hat for experienced vapers but one that newer ones may not want to bother learning.
In conclusion, an eGo or pen-style device could be a:
Good choice for:
- Vapers wanting more flexibility than cigalikes or pod mods offer in a relatively compact package
- Those looking to save money/the environment by re-using rather than disposing of hardware
- People who may want to upgrade in the future but prefer to start with a simple platform to learn about the basics of vape components
Poor choice for:
- Trendy vapers interested in the latest fashion and tech
- Users who don't want to be bothered with re-filling tanks
- New vapers who can’t be bothered with learning to use a fire button or performing basic maintenance
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