This Glossary of Vape Terms explains most of the common vape lingo and slang to help you get started with vaping.
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An industry-standard threaded connection, that allows many atomisers and mods to be cross-compatible. 510 is also a standardised fitting for smaller drip tips.
Acronym for “mouth to lung”. This term refers to vaping devices with more restrictive airflow, where vapour is inhaled into the mouth and then into the lungs. MTL devices generally mimic the experience of smoking a cigarette more closely.
Acronym for “direct to lung”. This term refers to vaping devices with more airflow, where vapour is inhaled directly into the lungs, bypassing the mouth.
The mouthpiece of a vaping device. Some drip tips are removable, allowing for further customisation.
A standardised fitting for larger drip tips usually found on high wattage atomisers.
Different specifications of commonly used external batteries in vaping. The first two digits communicate the diameter of the cell, while the second two digits tell us the length of the cell. The final 0 tells us that this cell specification is cylindrical.
Acronym for “all day vape” which generally refers to an e-liquid that can be vaped all day long, without becoming boring or overwhelming the palate.
A shortening of Ampere, which is a way of expressing the current in a circuit.
Acronym for “all in one”. A category of vaping devices that are not cross-compatible with industry-standard connections. AIOs tend to be small devices, aimed at newer vapers.
The part of a vaping device that turns e-liquid into vapour. The term atomiser can refer to a tank (or other atomisers) in its entirety, or sometimes the replaceable coil. There are many subcategories of atomisers.
A term used to describe how air is fed to the atomiser in order to create vapour. Airflow can be described in terms of its level of restriction and the level of turbulence a particular airflow design created.
Acronym for “American Wire Gauge”. AWG is used to express the diameter of the resistance wire used in atomisers.
A battery is the component of a vaping device that supplies power to the atomiser. Many devices contain a built-in battery, though others use external batteries that can be replaced at will and charged separately from the device.
A term used to describe the heating element within an atomiser that creates vapour. Coils are often made from strands of resistance wire but can also be made from strips of resistance mesh.
An unpleasant, burnt-tasting vape occurs when the coil inside an atomiser is not properly saturated with e-liquid.
A term used to describe the liquid that is used in vaping devices, often but not always containing nicotine.
The most commonly used variant of nicotine in e-liquids. Freebase nicotine releases into the bloodstream relatively slowly and can produce a harsh throat hit in higher doses.
The industry standard resistance wire, an alloy comprised of iron, chrome and aluminium. It is easy to work with and has very predictable resistance, so is often used in replacement coil heads and by advanced coil builders. mAh: A unit of measurement that is used to represent the total power capacity of a battery.
A category of vaping device that does not use any electronics, or have electronic protections, instead using a mechanical circuit. Due to the design of mechanical mods, they are not recommended for new users.
Abbreviation of milligram. Nicotine strength is often expressed in terms of mg. For example, an e-liquid containing three milligrams per millilitre may be referred to as 3mg strength. Nicotine strength is sometimes expressed as a percentage of total volume. For example, 3mg could also be described as 0.3% nicotine.
A term commonly used to describe vaping devices. The term originates from the word “modification” since early members of the vaping community modified devices such as torches to use as vaping devices.
An alloy consisting of nickel and chrome. It is used in many replacement coils and by coil builders as an alternative to Kanthal. It is favoured by some for its ability to heat up more quickly than Kanthal.
A unit that measures the resistance of a wire or heating element. Generally speaking, lower resistance coils are able to withstand more power, though this is not always the case.
Acronym for Propylene Glycol. This is one of the base ingredients found in almost all e-liquids. PG has low viscosity, which makes it good at carrying flavour. High PG e-liquids tend to produce a stronger throat hit.
A term used to describe small vaping devices that do not use traditional 510 connections or tanks. Most pods can be re-filled with your e-liquid of choice, though some pods are pre-filled with e-liquid and have to be replaced once empty.
A term used to describe the process of replacing the coil and wicking material in a rebuildable atomiser. Rebuildable atomisers are more complex and generally used by advanced vapers to fine-tune the vaping experience.
A term used to describe any vaping device that allows you to adjust the power that is sent to the atomiser. Regulated mods often provide additional features such as short circuit protection.
Acronym for “rebuildable atomiser”. This is a catch all term for any advanced atomiser that can be rebuilt by the user.
Acronym for “rebuildable dripping atomiser”. An RDA is the most basic form of rebuildable atomiser, consisting of a deck and top cap. Users build the atomiser with coils and wicking material, then drip e-liquid directly onto the atomiser. Some RDAs can be fed with e-liquid from the bottom, using a squonk mod.
Acronym for “rebuildable tank atomiser”. An RTA may look like a regular vaping tank from the outside but instead of using normal replacement coils, it can be rebuilt entirely by the user. RTAs are generally more difficult to maintain than RDAs.
Acronym for “rebuildable dripping tank atomiser”. RDTAs take elements from both RDAs and RTAs. Like an RDA, an RDTA has a large, simplistic deck. Beneath the deck is a reservoir of e-liquid, with wicks hanging down into it from the top. RDTAs are preferred by some hobbyists since they produce the experience of an RDA, without having to drip.
A newer variant of nicotine found in e-liquids. Salt nicotine enters the bloodstream faster than freebase nicotine and produces much less of a throat hit. For these reasons, it has become popular over the last few years, particularly with vapers who require a large dosage of nicotine but dislike the throat hit produced by freebase nicotine. Salt nicotine is sometimes referred to as salt nic or nic salt.
A term used to describe any tank which uses replacement coils, that can be bought in packs and swapped out, without the use of tools or rebuilding.
A term used to describe any coil that has a resistance of less than 1Ohm. Subohm coils are generally able to withstand higher amounts of power, though this is not always the case.
A term used to describe stock coil tanks that use subohm coils. Generally, subtanks are designed for higher wattages and large vapour production.
Any atomiser that is able to hold e-liquid and feed it to a coil.
Temperature control devices are able to measure the temperature of an attached atomiser and stop it from burning when it is not sufficiently saturated with e-liquid.
A term used to describe the sensation on the throat experienced when using a particular e-liquid or vaping device. Generally speaking, higher strength e-liquids produce a greater throat hit. Higher PG e-liquids also tend to produce greater throat hit. Different flavourings can also reduce or increase the throat hit of an e-liquid.
Acronym for Vegetable Glycerine. Like PG, it is a base ingredient found in almost all e-liquids. VG has a high viscosity. For this reason, e-liquids with high VG content (above 70%) should only be used in atomisers with large wicking ports. VG produces almost no throat hit, so it is often used in higher quantities for e-liquids that are intended for high wattage vaping.
Acronym for variable voltage. Variable voltage devices allow you to adjust the power supplied to your atomiser in terms of volts.
Acronym for variable wattage. Wattage is the most commonly used unit for expressing power in vaping. The vast majority of variable power vaping devices use variable wattage.
The term used to describe the material that feeds e-liquid to the coil. The most commonly used wicking material is cotton, though some companies use proprietary blends, including materials such as tea fiber and rayon.