Nostalgia Vaping, A Look At The History Of KangerTech
As we continue our occasional look back at some critical pieces of vape history, it's time to dive into the timelines of some of the industry's bigger players. This week, we'll take a look at KangerTech, a company that's provided some of the biggest advancements we've seen in tank technology and entry-level mods.
Known by many simply as Kanger, the Shenzhen, China-based company first started producing vape hardware in 2007, when the industry was in its infancy. It wasn't until the early teens, however, that the company broke through with what would eventually become the vaping's standard-bearer for tank technology – the bottom coil clearomizer. You can find more on that here.
Though the groundwork was laid with the MT2 and MT3S, simple plastic tanks with a clear juice window to monitor liquid levels, the design caught fire with the smaller Evod and its follow-up, the glass-and-metal Protank that could stand up to the abuse of popular "tank-cracker" flavors like citrus and cinnamon. Kanger's innovative designs were a large part of the reason vapers largely abandoned caromizers and carto-tank systems – though some diehards insisted cartos delivered the best flavor, the difficulty of filling the tanks and shorter lifespan of the cartridges spelled doom as vaping hit the mainstream and users became less willing to put up with older, finicky systems.
While eventually leapfrogged in the first-generation clearomizer market by Aspire's Nautilus (as detailed in our earlier piece linked above), Kanger was later to market and arguably more successful when it came to the launch of its first second-gen clearo. Though Aspire's Atlantis was the first tank to offer sub-ohm disposable coils (and both clouds and flavor to rival dripping atomizers of the time), the product was plagued by early failures and questionable wicking material (this is before organic cotton became the de-facto wicking material for throwaway-coil devices) prone to combustion.
A few months late to the game, Kanger's Subtank was the biggest runaway success of the earliest sub-ohm clearomizers, so popular it spawned a full line of mini- and mega-sized variants. The device was also one of the first to come standard with a rebuildable atomizer, allowing users to create their own coils so the tank could be used as a (notoriously subpar) RTA or as a traditional clearo as Kanger intended.
From there, the company began experimenting with mods. While Kanger had previously offered a knockoff eGo battery (called the Evod and paired with an Evod clearomizer in low-cost starter kits), the first K-box offered a look at where the company was headed. Stripped down without even a digital screen, the single-18650 mod offered only five different power settings, but introduced many users to the replaceable-cell box mod.
From there, Kanger brought out a host of bare-bones (though considerably more advanced than the first) mods, including a revamped K-box that came in a kit with a Subtank and allowed full customization for power from 0-60 watts, dubbed the Subox. The K-box line continued, offering no-frills 120 and 200-watt editions with limited chipsets but simple, clean style and highly competitive pricing.
Other innovative products followed – these included the Cupti, which combined a large-capacity integrated clearomizer with a compact single-cell box mod, or the first Dripbox which, while limited, introduced thousands of users to the time-honored but once-exclusive practice of squonking. Newer products include Juppi mods that lower the tank to integrate it into the box mod profile, Dripez mods with a top-mounted button for a vape experience similar to squonking, and even D-tanks, pre-filled large capacity disposable cartridges. While as many of these products eventually flopped as proved to be hits, they show that even as a large-scale industry leader, Kanger hasn't been hesitant to take chances by introducing bold designs.
What's next? With a whole slew of new offerings in the works on their official website, it's hard even for us to be sure. But after 10 years, if we've learned anything it's that KangerTech certainly isn't a brand likely to slip off the cutting edge of vaping anytime soon.