Electronic cigarettes are a very handy thing to quit smoking – they’re more like a hobby than they are an aid. The hardware is all sorts of customizeable with a variety of different options for not only batteries, but also tanks and some pieces of hardware will have even greater customization. However, to a new vaper, the process can be a little overwhelming to take in all at once. The scope of this guide is to introduce the reader to some brands that I myself am familiar with – from these different stores, I have either purchased juice or hardware that I am satisfied with and would happily, and readily, pass on to a new vaper.
Places Within the United States That Sell Hardware
While you can get some electronic cigarette hardware directly from Chinese retailers or even manufacturers, I highly do not recommend this for purchasing your first-time vape hardware – more information will be covered on this in a little while.
To better understand vaping without destroying your device or starting a fire (unlikely, but better safe than sorry if you don’t trust yourself), go to a brick-and-mortar, find a friend, or snoop around on internet forums all day. Again, these are brands I have bought hardware from and have not had any issues with hardware, but hardware could always potentially prove to be defective upon arrival.
Mount Baker Vapor was my first choice of ever purchasing some hardware, and I was really happy that I did. Mount Baker Vapor not only sells juice and hardware, but will also include a free 10 milliliter, nicotine-free sample of some random juices that they think you may like, if you choose to purchase any juice at all. Mount Baker Vapor has fair prices for their hardware, and my first-ever purchase was a simple iTaste MVP 2.0 which I still use to this day.
Mount Baker Vapor does not charge high figures for their vape hardware, as most of it seems fairly low margin from the Chinese import websites; Kanger SUBOX starter kits sell at around $54.99, which is about a $10 mark-up from the Chinese import, but you don’t have to deal with the hassle of it being authentic or wait on the varying delivery times due to customs and a long journey. Other pieces of hardware vary in price, but they are typically a small markup from the Chinese import of the device.
Mount Baker Vapor carries a variety of hardware including full starter kits, box mods, mech mods, tanks, coils for the tanks, and even DIY kits for both making coils and electronic cigarette juice. Overall, they treat their customers extremely well and aren’t afraid to toss out some free electronic cigarette juice or an extra bit of cotton or wire for your coils. Their 15 milliliter bottles also start at $3.99, which is a steal. I can say I’m a fan of all of their juice, as well.
Mount Baker Vapor also offers a 10% off with the code “vaporfrombaker”.
I am a little newer to My Freedom Smokes, but I have purchased some tanks off this website before – their selection is larger than Mount Baker Vapor, by far. However, the reason I rank Mount Baker Vapor above My Freedom Smokes is since Mount Baker takes 2 days to get to me, whereas My Freedom Smokes takes 3 – a very, very close contest.
However, My Freedom Smokes also follows in the footsteps of Mount Baker Vapor and has very reasonable prices with a larger variety; My Freedom Smokes also carries other, alternative electronic cigarettes like the Juul POD by PAX Labs, and even carries their own brand of disposable electronic cigarette, which is available for the shockingly low price of just $2.95 and lasting for around 250-300 puffs (rivalling store-bought disposables like Blu). My Freedom Smokes has somewhat cheaper prices than Mt Baker Vapor, but not on all of the items – the specific testing item of the Kanger Subox is available for $49.95. My Freedom Smokes also offers much larger kits which include batteries meant for mechanical mods, and even include miscellaneous items such as juices or carrying cases for your vaporizer.
My Freedom Smokes also houses a large variety of do-it-yourself supplies, but not as much variety of equipment as Mount Baker Vapor; while you can still get your required juice components including nicotine, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin from My Freedom Smokes, you may have to search elsewhere to find your mixing materials such as beakers and flasks.
My Freedom Smokes also offers a 10% off just by visiting their webpage, which can be redeemed directly from the pop-up, or you can just use the code “COUPONISM”.
Purchasing Direct from China
For more advanced vapers who feel like taking a risk at the cost of saving some extra money, you can directly import your own electronic cigarette. The pros are that you’ll save quite a bit of money and receive the exact same product as you would get in brick-and-mortar store, but the con is that you have to know 100% what you are buying and the waiting times for your product. I have waited as little as a week but as long as 2 months to receive a piece of hardware, so keep this in mind.
Chinese no-name brands should not be purchased from; don’t purchase from generic storefronts that don’t have an overwhelming amount of reviews.
There are some techniques to “Chinese Shopping,” as well. Chinese “clones” of certain designs and models exist, allowing you to purchase a cheaper alternative from a reputable clone-maker. These clones are almost an exact 1:1 replica and will take the same coil and parts 99% of the time as the legitimate copy. I also recommend asking around for group orders before you place a large order into one of the sites below – not only will you save some money since these websites offer discounts for units bought in numbers, but larger value packages are far less likely to randomly get lost. DHL also offers insurance on packages they ship.
One thing I do strongly recommend is purchasing coils from China – just make sure they are legit, and you will probably spend around $7.95 to $10 on a pack of 5 or more coils. In the store, I know coils for my own personal tank run around $4 per coil.
When you first log onto Fast Tech, you might think it’s a vaper’s paradise. Fast Tech has a huge selection of anything and everything a vaper might need – bottles of all different sizes including the long, skinny plastic ones, glass bottles complete with pipette of varying colors (brown or blue, anyone?), hardware from almost any vendor you can think of (including the famous Kayfun styles), other materials such as wire cutters, coil jigs, cotton, batteries, tanks, drippers, herbal vaporizers, concentrate vaporizers – ANYTHING related to vaporizing can be found here. FastTech also offers a variety of other technology products, including a potential scale that can be used to measure your electronic cigarette mixing by weight (should you choose to advance this far and begin mixing your own juice.)
FastTech can be very notorious for its wait times – while it may say that the item is in stock and will ship when purchased today, the system appears to just work on its own time. While I understand that Asia is more than 12 hours away from my timezone, I wish that these orders would be properly sent out within 24 hours instead of having to wait 4 or 5 days sometimes to get a confirmation that my item was shipped. At the end of the journey, which is typically through a DHL packet (which does not have the best tracking software), the package is also subject to investigation by customs – keep this in mind, should you choose to purchase electronic cigarette juice from China. If you have juice in your package and it leaks or they investigate, they will more than likely confiscate it.
Which, brings me to a little service announcement – do not buy juice from China. While the low price may seem appealing to vapers looking to stock up on bulk juices, China does not have the standards that the United States has. This includes pesticide-grade nicotine. While the United States market is largely unregulated, the capitalist market here regulates itself – if a product is bad and makes people ill, the brand behind it will more or less dig its own grave. Vaping is a very tight-knit community.
Legitimate Kanger Suboxes can be found for $42.95 here.
The only issue I have had so far with Fasttech has been their long, unpredictable waits to receive my product (what else can you do, really?), and I had a couple of eGo stick style batteries break due to mostly shoddy engineering. I was able to fix them myself with a steady hand and electrical tape, however – they still work to this day.
The last stop on this list is DHGate, which is more or less the same thing as FastTech but with small changes here and there. DHGate also offers a ton of variety behind their products, including a wide number of accessories not directly related to vaping and the essentials for vaping.
Kanger Suboxes are found for around $41 to $45 here, depending on how many you purchase in bulk (the discount maximises around 10 units – got any friends?). But probably closer to the range of $45.
Hopefully, through the use of this guide, I was able to bring some information to light and save you a few dollars all while teaching you about the best way to shop for vaping – or at least, the way I do it.
If you have any questions about hardware, please, please, please ask somebody – it doesn’t have to be here on The Gazette Review, but you should ask somebody who has more knowledge than you.