Taking your first foray into the world of vaping can be more than a little intimidating.
For most smokers, part of that reason is because changing habits is always difficult, but there is another issue that looms on the horizon.
Purchasing your first vape device.
Whether it’s a pen, a pod, or a box mod, it can be a daunting endeavor; and frankly, there are way too many good options out there to choose from.
So today I’m going to go over five of the best vape starter kits out there before letting you know which one I think is the top pick.
Types of Vape Devices
While there are other, more esoteric, options available, vapes can be broadly categorised into three areas: pod vapes, vape pens, and box mods.
Starting off with what I consider the most intuitive way to vape by a small margin, pod devices are tiny, simple to use, and pack a huge punch.
Convenience is the name of the game for these miniature marvels. Instead of having to carry around both your vape and a bottle of e-juice around, you can instead opt to carry refillable and non refillable ‘pods’ that you can simply hot swap into operation.
While nowhere near as powerful or adaptable as the competitors, pod vapes nonetheless have one other secret weapon going for them.
Developed at first to be used exclusively with pod vapes, salt nic is a type of e-juice that lasts longer and is more effective at getting nicotine into the body.
And while it can be used in other devices, I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless you are comfortable with Ohm’s law, used to higher nicotine concentrations, and more familiar with nic salt.
This is all stuff you don’t have to worry about with a pod vape, however. And while pods are theoretically the most costly vaping option in regards to upkeep, it’s still less expensive than buying a pack of cigarettes a day.
If at all possible, go with a refillable pod device. This will end up saving you a ton of money, even if you still have to buy additional pods when the coils go bad.
- Utilises salt nicotine
- Extremely portable
- User friendly
- Easy to carry spare pods
- Cheap enough to carry extra devices
- Great entry level option
- Most expensive in terms of upkeep
- Pods may not be refillable
- Battery life may be an issue
- Not ideal for heavier vapers
- Very few customisation options
Vape pens would be what I consider the middle ground between the three options, and my recommended entry level device for most new vapers.
The easiest way to think about these devices, is to see them as slimmed down versions of box mods with limited features.
Generally speaking, vape pens don’t have an information display, the ability to manually change power settings, and utilise premade coils.
There isn’t all that much you need to think about when using a vape pen. Fill up your tank, make sure the wick has had enough time to soak, press a button, and vape.
These devices usually come with enough battery capacity to last for most, if not all, of the day for moderate vapers.
Better yet, most vape pen tanks are large enough that you probably won’t need to carry a bottle of juice around.
They’re also slimmed down enough that you can carry it in your pocket without it being noticeable.
Regarding ongoing expenditures, vape pens are in the middle of the road.
E-juice cost is always going to vary by personal preference, but you’ll also have to deal with replacing burnt out coils every few weeks.
This really won’t end up costing you all that much in the long run as you can purchase a pack of coils for around the same price for a box or two of cigarettes.
One thing you do have to worry about is longevity. Similar with pod vapes, the usage of proprietary coils means that a company is going to eventually stop producing older products in favour of newer ones.
This isn’t a problem if you’re planning to purchase a new vape every year or two, but neither this or the previous type of device is going to last your any longer than two or three years.
- Decent e-liquid capacity
- Okay battery life
- Easy to use
- Cheap to run
- Some customisation options
- Great secondary device
- Inferior performance compared to a box mod
- Uses proprietary coils
- Might have to carry extra e-juice
Taking a big step forward, box mods are the devices that typically come to mind when you think about vape culture.
Usually big, bulky, and flashy, these monstrous beasts are able to throw out literal clouds of eye catching vapor into the air.
Better yet, box mods are going to end up costing you the least amount of money in the long run.
So why not start out immediately with one of these?
A couple reasons actually. The first hurdle you have to get over is that you need to have a firm handle on watts, ohms, resistance, and how vape devices actually work.
While most starter kits come with some type of protection, it’s better to get educated before buying one of these.
Best case, your box mod’s protections kick in and your LED display lets you know something is wrong. Worst case, and while it is pretty unlikely, your vape could explode.
To assuage any worries, most ‘explosions’ generally occur due to extra batteries coming into contact with pocket change, or a non-standard USB cable overcharging a vape.
For these types of starter kits, I’d recommend them more to experienced vapers who are thinking about moving on from their first devices and have done their research.
- Extremely customisable
- Best clouds, best flavor, no contest
- Large e-juice and battery capacity
- Overall cheapest option
- Long lasting with proper care
- Can make your own coils
- High upfront cost
- Usually big and bulky
- Can be confusing to use
- Most complicated type of vape
- Can be dangerous without proper knowledge
The Best Vape Starter Kits
I’ll be doing a brief review on five separate vapes before concluding with the overall winner. The criteria I’ll be looking for will be ease of use, convenience, safety, and the overall build quality.
While normally I’d also be judging based on vapour production and taste among other things, I believe it’s more important for a starter kit to prioritise the former categories.
Not to say that the latter subjects are unimportant, but they won’t have as much of an impact in this review.
#1 Uwell - Caliburn
- Decent e-juice capacity
- Good battery life
- Fast charging battery
- Dual activation
- Easy to care for
- Mouthpiece is tough to remove
- Small size wont suit everybody
Named after King Arthur’s original sword, the Caliburn also happens to be the first pod vape developed by Uwell.
Running refillable pods that use 1.4 ohm parallel coils, the Caliburn uses a dual firing system that is either draw or button activated.
This fun little device feels like a cross between a vape pen and a JUUL. It sits comfortably between both sizes and fits well in the hand.
If you tend to fumble things every now and then, you’ll probably end up dropping this pod vape until your hand gets used to properly gripping it.
Otherwise, I can’t find much to complain about. I’ve had debatable success with direct lung draws, but mouth to lung is still incredibly satisfying due to the salt nic used in pod vapes.
The pods themselves are super simple to juice back up. They use a top refilling system so you don’t even have to swap out pods if you don’t want to.
So basically the Caliburn is a smaller vape pen that uses nic salts.
Another nice feature is that the power button displays how much of a battery charge is left.
Speaking of which, a full charge is going to last you around two or three refills, and it’s only going to take you 45 minutes to bring the battery back up to full.
Overall, and incredibly solid device that is almost perfect for entry level vapers.
#2 Smok - Nord
- Very compact
- Powerful 1100 mAh battery for its size
- 2-3 refills at full charge
- 3mL E-liquid capacity
- Fits securely in hand
- Will go off in your pocket if on
- Hard to check juice well
Being able to hold 3mL worth of e-liquid, the Smok Nord starts off strong contender in our round-up just because of its juice capacity.
Even better, the coils that the Nord uses are the mesh type, which tend towards giving a ton of flavour and vapour production.
Speaking of coils, you’ll be able to replace them separately without needing to throw away the pods unlike some other devices.
The pods are also fairly simple to fill. You’ll have to play around with it at an angle to fill a pod up completely, but that’s not a big deal.
What is slightly more annoying is forgetting about turning the Nord off and having it fire off in my pocket.
The button kind of sticks out in a prominent fashion. Remember to switch it off otherwise the Nord can sometimes go off in your pocket and end up burning your coils out.
But besides this, the Nord is a solid vape, has a high battery life, uses multiple coil types, and is easy to use. In a direct comparison with the Caliburn, both pod vapes come seriously close with one another.
#3 Aspire - Tigon
- Amazing battery capacity
- Fast charging battery
- Several coil options
- Quality product, simple design
- Clever tank design
- Lack of knurling on top fill
Technically the only true vape pen on the list, Aspire has been around forever. The Tigon is a more recent development that is meant to utilise an MTL type draw.
Featuring an integrated 1800mAh battery, this little powerhouse comes with all sorts of protections to ensure a positive, and safe, vaping experience.
Like many other vape pens, the Tigon is a non adjustable device with only a single button to fire it, turn it on, or turn it off. While you can mess with the airflow settings, that’s a given with setups like this one.
The Tigon is a no-nonsense device that doesn’t come with any fancy bells and whistles besides a few quality of life improvements.
These include an exceptional battery life, battery indicator, and two coil options depending on your drawing preference. This is a streamlined vape pen that is elevated in its seeming simplicity.
In layman’s terms, you can’t screw this up. This is a good entry level device that’ll last you a solid year or two.
#4 Innokin - Kroma-A
- Simple for a box mod
- Good build quality
- Multiple modes
- Very compact
- 4ml tank
- 510 spring is quite strong
- Tough to put on tanks
A newer box mod from Innokin, the Kroma-A is the updated version of the original.
Using the proprietary Atheon chip, the updated Kroma comes with a whole slew of features and protections for your vaping pleasure.
This particular kit also happens to come with a 4mL Zenith sub ohm tank to round off the package.
Now, I normally wouldn’t recommend a box mod as a starter kit for new vapers, but there is a whole lot that this little mod brings to the table.
It’s one of the simpler box mods to use, and there is a literal security suite of safety options that’ll stop you from activating the device unless properly used.
As far as starter kits go for box mods, the Kroma-A is one I could recommend to new vapers willing to read the manual for said device. It’s fairly simple to use and tough to mess up.
#5 Vaper Empire - Vibe
- Good e-juice capacity
- Long lasting battery
- Easy to carry around
- Very simple to use
- Solidly built
- Expensive compared to other pens
Now this little beauty from Australia’s Vaper Empire had me a little confused at first.
Being so tiny and oddly put together, I had some difficulties categorising this device.
It looks like a petite box mod, but it doesn’t have any buttons to adjust power settings. It’s small enough you could mistake it for a pod vape, but it doesn’t use pods.
Well, it’s essentially a weirdly shaped vape pen, and like other pen type devices, this one is extremely simple to use.
All you need to do is fill it up, charge it, and press down on a button to start vaping.
What I do like about this vape is the 4.5mL tank. That’s a pretty good amount that’ll last most people for a day. It also utilises an internal 2000 mAh battery that will definitely last for several refills before needing a recharge.
Overall, I would say that this device is a solid choice for any entry level vaper. It’s a little on the expensive side, but the quality of this vape is quite good.
Vape Starter Kit Buying Guide
When starting out in vaping, whether you choose to start with vape pens or go straight to box mods, you’ll need a vape starter kit. While getting a kit is not necessary, it does cut a lot of the guesswork in building your set up.
From simple kits to more advanced ones, they all have the same essential parts – an atomiser (or tank), a battery (removable or non-removable), e-juice, and a charger.
You can go out and buy each part individually, but that will cost more and run the risk of getting the wrong part. That’s why we recommend you grab a starter kit for a hassle-free vape setup.
From vape pens to more advanced box mods, it doesn’t matter which you pick; practice the proper safety precautions for battery-powered devices & you’ll find yourself vaping in no time.
Take note, that most of these kits may be complete setups save for e-juice. Some packages offer free e-juice, while others require you to buy it separately.
Even so, all e-liquids are compatible with any e-cigarette, the only risk you’ll take is getting stuck with a flavour you don’t fancy.
When buying a starter kit, there are a few things to consider. First, are you a beginner or advanced user? Second, how do you vape? Now, these two questions may not seem much, but they do reveal what your vaping needs are.
If you are a beginner, you can start with a vape pen or a cig-a-like, though nothing stops you from getting a box mod.
However, be aware that using a box mod requires a bit more vaping knowledge than a vape pen.
For advanced users, the usual mind set is to go straight to box mods, however, some might prefer vape pens because they are more straightforward to use.
Some veteran vapers I know have chucked out their advanced mods for simpler setups. While your experience may affect your decision, keep in mind that this is not a hard and fast rule.
Whatever you prefer, whatever keeps you from going back to smoking, works.
How do you vape?
This one is a bit more tricky. If you love to chase clouds, a box mod or a device with sub-ohm capabilities are your best bet.
For mouth to lung vapers, vape pens and other MTL capable mods are the ones you should look at. The eGrip, for example, can cater to both cloud chasers and flavour seekers.
Some, like the RX Mini, allows you to use whatever tank or atomiser you need. In such cases, where you supply the tank or atty, how you vape depends on what you put on the device.
Additionally, if you are a mouth to lung user, it’s rare that you will go over 20 watts. You don’t need to spend too much on a high powered device, when a more affordable option is available.
However, even if you rarely go past the 20-watt mark, having the extra power can be satisfying.
Bottom line, while there are some factors to consider when choosing a starter kit, it all boils down to what you want and need.
Don’t mind the labels manufacturers put on their devices, whether its marketed for beginners or advanced users, as long as you quit smoking and practice proper safety, the only mod that matters is the mod use.
Other points to Consider
You might be dead set on which starter kit to purchase next, but be aware that even if something is touted as the best, it might not be the right one for you.
You might be leaning towards procuring a cig-a-like, but maybe the flavours available for that particular model doesn’t suit you.
Or you might like how a vape pen has variable voltage, but did you ever consider if variable voltage is for you?
Personally, I used to go for the newest and best models, but after a while, I realized that I don’t really need variable wattage or temperature control. So now I stick to a bare bones variable voltage device since mech mods aren’t my thing.
The model that I use may not be considered the best, but for my purposes? It’s number one in my book.
What I’m saying is this. Before you get caught up in marketing speak, be in awe with how much power a mod puts out, or how shiny it looks, be sure that what they have to offer in terms of functionality fits your style of vaping.
You might spend much for an advanced box mod, but if you don’t really need the features, maybe you are better off with a vape pen?
The same goes the other way around. You might prefer the vape pen form factor, but you are always on the lookout for more more power and clouds, then maybe it’s time to embrace box mods?
While purchasing what you want matters, a balance with what you need is essential.