How to Find the Best E-Cigs, Vaporizers, and E-Juice of South Africa in 2017

Getting into the vaping community can be difficult—but if you live in South Africa, you know it is thriving. Many people are making the switch to vaporizers over analogue cigarettes and for many reasons: it’s more affordable, there are more options, it is more widely accepted, and it can easily become a modern hobby.

Here we’ve provided a brief overview of everything you’ll need to know if you’re purchasing an e-cig, vaporizer, or e-liquid for the first time. There are currently very little regulations regarding vaping in South Africa, so your options are nearly limitless. But this begs the question, “Where do you start?” Continue reading

Best E-Cig Brands

Since the creation of the e-cigarette market there have been thousands of e-cig models put out. It can be daunting trying to choose the best one. Where do you begin? What should you be looking for? How do you know you’re not overpaying and what does a top-quality e-cigarette actually look like?
Here, we’ll give you some tips on finding the best e-cig brand to suit you.

Authenticity

When it comes to switching from a traditional cigarette to an electronic cigarette, this is often the most important aspect of your purchase. Because smoking is a very sensory experience, it can be difficult to make the switch. Electronic cigarettes, especially early models, have an unfortunate reputation for tasting and feeling like plastic pens. This is absolutely no longer the case: the best e-cig brands are capable of delivering a top-quality experience in both look and feel.

When it comes to authenticity, you’ll want to first look at the aesthetic. Most e-cig models come with flavor cartridges that are made to take the place of the filter. The battery, then, makes up the body of the cigarette. Do the colors remind you of your traditional cigarette? Does the LED faux “cherry” light up red or orange, like a real one? These are small aesthetic details that can make a difference in your experience.
Next, does it feel like a real cigarette in your hand? Is it small enough to hold between your fingers, or are you forced to handle it like a cigar? The best e-cigs are those that can be held easily like a real cigarette, but this also generally means they have a smaller battery. So, you’ll need to decide which is more important to you: a large battery or an authentic hold.

Furthermore, modern e-cigarettes are often made with authentic bodies. This means that the cartridges, or faux-filters, will be slightly soft in order to feel real in your mouth. The white bodies might also be covered in a paper-like material so they have the same texture as the real thing.

The last, and most important, facet of e-cigarette authenticity is battery power and flavor cartridges. Why? These two things, working in tandem, will be able to produce a real vapor or a vapor that mimics cigarette smoke in its ability to linger and its opacity. Flavor cartridges are something you will have to experiment with. There are hundreds of takes on the traditional tobacco and each company does it differently. It may take you a while to find something that tastes like tobacco—not caramel or chemicals—but in the end, it will be worth the journey.

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E-Cigarette Battery

E-cigarette batteries are notorious for underperformance. They are necessarily small batteries, meaning they are not capable of delivering days of constant use. For this reason, we recommend finding starter kits that include multiple batteries, so you will always have a charged battery on hand, or kits that include portable charging options.

Many of the best e-cig brands will include either car chargers, for charging during commute or travel, or flip-top packs that will charge your batteries without an outlet.

If a long-lasting battery is important to you, you may have to compromise on a longer battery. While this may make your device a little more difficult to hold between your fingers, it will mean you have a more powerful battery.

Traditionally, e-cigarette batteries range from 110 mAh to 280 mAh, or milliampere hours. This measurement determines how long your battery will last on a single charge—the bigger the number, the longer your battery will last and the more powerful it will be. 280 mAh, which is quickly becoming the average, will last for about 200 to 250 puffs, or about a pack of cigarettes. This, of course, will depend on your personal use and will vary from person to person.
If you’ve tried e-cigs and you already know you’re looking for something more powerful, why not try a vape pen, vape mod, or box mod? In this article, we’ll also provide a brief overview of choosing the best vaporizer—the next step in a vaping hobby—for your needs.

Cost

For many people, the amount of money one can save by switching to e-cigs is the number one reason they choose to quit smoking. But, starter kits can be expensive, is it really worth it?

The answer is yes. Purchasing a quality starter kit can seem like a huge initial investment—many cost somewhere between $60 and $80. While you might think you can get away with purchasing something less expensive, we always recommend spending a little extra in the beginning.

First, high cost usually means better overall construction quality. You will regret your $8 e-cigarette when the flavor cartridge leaks in your hand (or your pocket) and the supposedly rechargeable battery stops lasting for more than a half an hour at a time. A quality e-cigarette will last more than long enough to pay for itself.

Cartridges, too, need to be taken into consideration. These are an ongoing cost of your e-cig, so you’ll need to be aware of how much a cartridge will cost—and how many puffs you’ll be able to get out of a single cartridge. Typically speaking, pre-filled cartridges will be half the cost of a pack of cigarettes, compared puff-to-puff. If you’re looking to save even more money, you can buy empty cartridges and fill them yourself.
An added bonus of filling cartridges yourself is that you are not confined to pre-packaged flavors: you can choose any e-liquid flavor available on the market. For a more in-depth discussion of e-liquids, continue reading later in this article.

Choosing an e-cigarette really comes down to personal choice. Make sure you’re choosing the right model to suit your needs: when it comes to battery, choose only what you will use, nothing more. If authenticity it important to you, make sure you hold the device in your hand before you purchase, since online pictures can only tell you so much.

And as with anything else, ask around for person reviews and experiences of a product before you buy! Unbiased customers will give you objective reviews—good or bad.

Best Vaporizers

Like e-cigarettes, there are thousands of models of vaporizers out there to choose from. If you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for, you can quickly get lost in all of the minutiae of shopping for your next (or first) model. There are a few criteria you ought to keep in mind, but the most important aspect you’ll want to consider is this: What exactly are you hoping to get out of your vaporizer? What kind of performance are you looking for? There are essentially three kinds of vaporizers on the market right now and each one performs at a different level.

Vape Pen

After the e-cigarette, the vape pen or vaporizer pen is the next step in vaping. These are generally lightweight cylindrical models which begin at around 650 mAh. Vape pens are heralded for their portability and ease of use. At most, they will allow for variable voltage, but they will not have features more complicated than this—which is generally controlled with the turn of a small dial.

Vape pens are more capable than e-cigarettes of delivering intense throat hits and flavor because they can be equipped with more advanced tanks and atomizers. E-cigarettes are tankless pieces of equipment, making it necessary to purchase cartridges. Vape pens, on the other hand, are fitted with a tank which means your e-liquid supply will last longer and you will have more control over the performance of your atomizer.

Vape pens are not made to be very powerful, though their batteries will last for a few days before needing to be recharged. If you’re looking for vapor production, we recommend looking into vape mods or box mods.

Vape Mod

Vape mods are much more advanced pieces of equipment than vape pens. These begin at around 1,000 mAh and can soar to above 3,000 mAh. These are capable of handling many, many features that vape pens simply cannot: variable wattage, variable temperature, safety features and so on. Because of their incredible power, they can also ensure beautiful plumes of vapor.

Vape mods inhabit a gap which was created in the vaping market between box mods and vape pens. Box mods will be discussed in detail next, but the main difference here is that vape mods are generally smaller pieces of equipment, they are easier to handle, and they have slightly less power than a bulky box mods.

Vape mods are for people who are looking for an ideal compromise between immense power and portability. The vape mod combines the ease-of-use of a vape pen with the unparalleled power of a box mod.

Box Mod

Box mods are the most advanced pieces of vaping equipment currently available. They get their name from their shape—a large box—which is designed solely to house a very large and powerful battery. We’ve seen mAh values of around 4,500 in some of the more expensive mods.

Box mods are made for people who get into vaporizing as a modern hobby and enjoy tinkering with their device and their device’s features. Box mods offer the most available power on the market—but their price tags reflects it.

If you’re thinking about getting into box mods, we recommend that you have first tried a less powerful model to make sure you’re ready to spend upwards of $150 to $200 on a vaporizer.

The best advice we can give when choosing a vaporizer is this: choose a level of vaporizing that suits you. There is no need to purchase a 3,000 mAh box mod if you only plan on vaping casually. On the other hand, if you’ve already tried vape pens and know you’re looking for more power, you might want to compromise on a solid vape mod to have the best of both worlds.

Best E-Liquids

The e-liquid market is perhaps even more expansive than the vaping device market. Almost every company out there has their own brand of the stuff and some companies are offering tens of thousands of flavor combinations. We like to say you could try a new flavor every day and never run out of options. So, where do you start?

E-Liquid Basics

If you haven’t done any research into vape juice, this is the place for you to start. E-juice is simple; it contains only three or four ingredients: nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavorings. Every e-liquid on the market is some variation of these ingredients in different proportions.

There are three things you ought to pay attention to when choosing an e-liquid: nicotine level, PG/VG base, and flavor.

Nicotine

The nicotine content of e-juice varies greatly; in fact, there are even e-liquids that contain no nicotine at all. Generally speaking, you can find nicotine levels in 6mg increments or 0.6% increments. For example, you’ll find 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, 24mg, 36mg, and 48mg.

If you’re used to smoking ultra-light cigarettes, choose 6mg or 0.6% nicotine content. Heavy smokers can usually be satisfied by 36mg or 3.6% nicotine content. Anything above that is a huge amount of nicotine, for those who smoke entirely unfiltered, strong cigarettes.

Keep in mind, also, when you’re choosing a nicotine content, how often you’re using your e-cig or vaporizer. If you vape throughout the day, choose something with a lower nicotine content so you don’t consume more nicotine than you’re used to. If you use your e-cig only a few times throughout the day, a higher nicotine content is safe.

PG Base

Propylene glycol is a common food preservative. Propylene glycol is a viscous, clear fluid with very little taste of its own. Because of this, it is ideal to showcase savory flavors such as tobacco. Further, because it is less viscous than vegetable glycerin, it is less likely to accumulate inside of your device and cause unnecessary damage. Propylene glycol is also renowned for its ability to provide an authentic “throat hit” that many former smokers crave from their e-cigarette.

The only con to propylene glycol is that it does not produce a vast amount of vapor. So, if you’re looking for big plumes of vapor, PG-based e-juices are probably not right for you. However, do keep in mind that if you’re purchasing a savory flavor or are looking for an intense throat hit, PG is probably the one for you.

VG Base

Vegetable glycerin is also a food preservative. It is thicker than propylene glycol and has a slightly sweet taste. For this reason, we recommend that if you choose a higher-VG e-liquid, you choose a flavor that is already sweet (perhaps fruit or dessert), that way the sweet aftertaste will not interfere with the flavorings. It is thicker than propylene glycol, so it does have a tendency to build up in tanks and atomizers, which will necessarily cause more damage and require more maintenance. This is likely the main con to VG-based e-liquids.
The main allure of vegetable glycerin based e-liquids is that it produces huge plumes of vapor, which makes it popular among vaping enthusiasts. Finally, vegetable glycerin is derived from plants, so there it is less likely one will have an allergic or negative physical reaction to it.

The most basic PG/VG ratio is 50/50. If you’re unsure where to start, start here. From 50/50, you can decide what your e-juice is lacking. Want more vapor? Try 60/40 VG/PG. Is it lacking in flavor? Try 60/40 PG/VG. The best advice is to shop around. Buy your e-liquid in small batches so you can try many different ratios and flavors. The best e-liquids will combine clean flavor with big vapor production.

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Shipping and Importation

As we mentioned, the vaping industry in South Africa is thriving. There are many companies based in South Africa that, obviously, will ship nationally.
If you’re thinking of purchasing internationally, you should have no problem. Most companies will ship worldwide and South Africa currently has no importation laws which would make it impossible to purchase an e-cig internationally.

Any international manufacturers will state on their website where they will and will not ship, so it is a simple thing to find if they ship to your country; however, keep in mind international shipping can become expensive.

South Africa Vaping Laws

The current legal situation regarding electronic cigarettes in South Africa is still very much in its infancy. That is, no big moves have been made yet to restrict or ban e-cigarettes from being sold or purchased.

However, the debate that is common among other countries is alive and well in South Africa. How does one classify e-cigarettes? Can they be classified as tobacco products, though they contain no tobacco? Are nicotine-free e-cigs more acceptable than those which contain nicotine? Should the government be concerned about the ability of electronic e-cigs to introduce younger people to smoking? In other words, are they a “gateway” device?

All of these questions and more will need to be answered in the coming years as South Africa makes some important legislative decisions regarding who can purchase vaporizers, where they can be purchased, and any vaporizer device regulations.

The current atmosphere of the debate in South Africa is leaning toward a complete ban on smoking, though how and when that might happen is uncertain. If you do currently use a vaporizer or e-cigarette, be sure to keep yourself up-to-date on any developments in the South African laws.

For right now, the vaping industry in South Africa continues to thrive and many, many people are choosing electronic cigarettes over analogue cigarettes every day.