E-Cigarettes Styles and How They Work

Last updated on April 29th, 2018

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Electronic Cigarette 101 – Different E-Cigarette Styles and How They Work


There are so many electronic cigarettes on the market and there are so many styles, a little E-Cig 101 can help.

Some e-cigarette companies offer several different models. Some offer only one style of e-cigarette.

When I first started vaping in early 2007 hardly anyone heard of an e-cigarette. If you were e-cig savvy, your style choices were very limited.   That’s certainly not the case today, and with so many innovative new products entering the market each year, it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you.

This article will bring you up to date on vaping basics, how e-cigarette styles differ and whether one style in particular will meet your needs. Hopefully you’ll discover a satisfying alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.

All electronic cigarettes have several things in common –

  • They have batteries that need to be charged
  • They do not have any flame 
  • They do not create any ash
  • They do not “burn” any substance, nor do they create toxic smoke
  • They do not smell of smoke (and neither will you)
  • They do contribute to a healthier environment
  • They are cheaper than traditional cigarettes
  • They allow you to enjoy the same “hand to mouth” movement as a cigarette.

Popular E-Cigarette Styles

1- Traditional “Cig-Alike” e-cigarette (with a Replaceable Cartridge)

Halo G6 Starter Kit on BECG

If you choose a traditional e-cigarette, you get a replaceable cartomizer pre-filled with e-liquid. You usually get to choose your e-liquid flavor and nicotine level.  

The cartomizer also contains a heating element (called an atomizer). You just screw on the carto and vape. Some ecigs, like HALO’S G6 (shown above) offers an activation button on the side of the battery. When the e-liquid is used up, (typically after 250-300 puffs) you recycle or throw away the cartomizer, and screw in a fresh one.

The battery can look like a cigarette, although most companies offer batteries in different colors.

The cig-alike battery is made of metal (usually stainless steel). It powers the atomizer and it has a illuminating tip that lights up when you puff on the e-cigarette. When the tip starts blinking on and off, it’s time to recharge the battery.

Some vape companies, like JUUL, offer a similar e-cigarette that’s even easier to use and is becoming wildly popular. 

The JUUL is very lightweight and is smaller than the Halo model. It’s also flat so it won’t roll off the table! Instead of a cartomizer that looks like a cigarette filter, it has a flavor pod. The pod is pre-filled with your e-liquid flavor of choice and it snaps into the battery. There is a 5% level of nicotine which is why it’s known to satisfy heavy smokers.

Learn more about nicotine levels in e-cigarettes

This cig-alike style does not have a glowing tip. You just tap the battery twice to see how much power is left. If it’s yellow or red, it needs charging.

JUUL starter kit

2- Pen-Style E-Cigarettes with a Refillable Cartridge and a Larger Battery

Some electronic cigarettes don’t look like cigarettes at all. They come in several different shapes, sizes and colors. They are called “Pen-Style” e-cigarettes.

The Pen Style battery, is fatter (and heavier) than other e-cigarette batteries and it never has a glowing tip.

These batteries can last more than twice as long as “cigarette stick” type batteries. Because the battery is more powerful, they produce great clouds of vapor. You add your own e-liquid to the glass tank (also called a Clearomizer). The tank does require regular cleaning.

Learn How to Clean Your E-Cigarette Tank 

There are several companies that sell these great styles and many offer several types of tanks for your e-liquids.

One thing to note is that all e-cigarette batteries charge on either a USB charger alone, or a USB charger attached to a wall charger. For safety reasons, you must always use the chargers that come with your e-cigarette kit. The atomizers (the small heating element within the e-cig) must be replaced every 1-2 months.

VaporFi’s Pro3 Pen Style ecig has a screw on cartomizer tank, an atomizer that simply pushes into the tank, and a big activation button. 

I consider this a beginner ecig because it’s pretty easy to use. You just charge the battery, prime the atomizer with a few drops of e-liquids, put the parts together and vape. The instructions included in the box are easy to follow.

Plus, you’ll get great clouds of vapor, a full rich taste and there’s FREE SHIPPING.

Check out the in-depth review 

Vaporfi Pro 3 in colors


V2’s Pro Series 3 also has a big activation button, it’s a easier to use because the tank and the charger attach magnetically. This powerful Vape Pen is very reliable and provides well over 800 puffs on a single charge. The Pro Series 3 uses any brand and type of e-liquid.

Learn more about the best e-liquids

V2Cigs Pro Series3

3- Vape Mod and Vaporizer e-Cigarettes


If you choose a Vape MOD e-Cigarette, you get a larger, heavier ecig. Vape Mods have box-shaped batteries that are more powerful than other batteries. They are also more complicated to use since you can almost always set the wattage and voltage.

The MODS also accommodate many refillable tank styles. This style lets you customize your vape to your liking. Adjustments regulate the amount of vapor produced as well as your “throat hit”.

Because they use so much power, you must follow the instructions very carefully and be wary of any overheating warnings that display on the battery.

With DirectVapor’s ELeaf iStick 30W Vape MOD expect some serious clouds. You fill the tank from the top of the tank so there are no spills. You can also adjust your airflow.

ELeaf iStick 30W Vape Mod - DirectVapor

What Ingredients Are in the E-Cigarette Liquid?

All Electronic Cigarettes produce water vapor when you inhale on the cartridge or tank style mouthpiece.  

E-cigarette liquid is made up of vegetable glycerine (VG), propylene glycol (PG), FDA approved food favorings formulated for inhalation, and diluted nicotine (if you order it).  All the ingredients in the best electronic cigarette products (all those reviewed by this website) are purity tested and FDA approved.

Learn why PG and VG can affect your vape

If you’re concerned about nicotine, just know that it is a stimulant like caffeine and not considered to be carcinogenic, as is the tar in regular tobacco cigarettes.

Regarding All E-Cigarette Batteries

As mentioned above, electronic cigarette batteries comes in many shapes and sizes depending on the brand. All e-cig batteries are either a lithium ion battery or a lithium polymer battery, although the latter is rare. 

Remember…you must always use the chargers that come with your e-cigarette kit as they have the proper voltage. Using the wrong charger can destroy your battery!

If you battery gets wet you should replace it as it can get damaged.

Learn more about ecig battery safety

Any Questions about e-cigarette styles? Feel free to comment! 

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    • cathy on December 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm
    • Reply

    Can you tell me if Vampire vape contains any harmful additives? Thank you

    1. Hi cathy,

      The best vape companies will have a safety statement or will list e-liquid ingredients directly on their website. You’ll find lots of information in our article on this subject.

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