How long will my vaping kit last?
This blog was inspired by something a friend asked me a while back. He doesn't vape himself (or smoke) and he was asking me about the cost of vaping. After I'd told him what I paid for the tank and mod I was using, the cost of e-liquids, etc. he asked “So, how long will that last before you have to buy another?” It was an interesting question and one that wasn't easy for me to answer. Today we have more choice than ever in the type of e-cigarette we choose and when you buy your first set up, which might cost you anything between £20 and £80, you might rightly wonder how long it's going to last you.
But first a note on disposable vapes.
Fully disposable pods and vape bars are a relatively new way to vape and without a doubt the most wasteful, in terms of the product itself and the high cost of using them over time.
They are supplied as a single use device, you cannot recharge them or refill them with e-liquid. Most are designed for the battery to run out before the e-liquid to prevent users vaping them dry and vaping burnt cotton. If you need a vape in an emergency I can see it might be useful to pick one up (and better than buying a packet a cigarettes) but other than that I think they are a terrible idea- terrible for the planet and terrible for your wallet too.
I'm going to ignore them for the rest of this discussion because one these will only last you a night out, or day... if you are lucky, before it ends up in the bin.
With that out of the way, lets talk about what kind of life you might expect from your vaping gear.
Devices with non-replaceable batteries.
All vaping devices with built in batteries will have a life limited by the battery or batteries inside them. That includes pod systems, pod mods, vape pens and box mods. However often the batteries inside them will outlive the rest of the device. The life of a rechargeable battery is measured in charge cycles, which put simply is the act of running the charge down through use and charging it back up again. You can expect up to 500 cycles from a battery, meaning if you run it down fully and charge it up fully every day, you could expect the battery to last up to 500 days or about a year and a half.
If a charge lasts you 2 days, or you rotate between two different mods, then maybe you can expect up to 3 years of use before the batteries start to show signs of serious capacity depletion.
If you pay £20 for a simple device that lasts over a year or a £50 mod that lasts a couple of years, then I don't think that's unreasonable. Chances are by the time the battery is no longer usable, you will have treated yourself to something newer or it will have been accidentally broken though dropping or suffered some other kind of damage through daily use.
Vaping Tanks and Pods
A good, well made stainless steel vape tank should last forever in theory, but there are a few reasons that might not end up being the case. Most will come with spares, that often include a spare glass, O-rings and screws. If you drop or knock over your vape often you might get through several replacement glass sections. These are usually quite easy to find online but if you've chosen a particularly obscure brand or your tank is discontinued you might find replacement glass more difficult to find.
Not all tanks use standard O-rings either, many use unique seals and as your tank gets older those might be more difficult to find also. The same also applies to tanks that use replaceable coil heads. If you stick to well known brands the coils are often available for years, even if the tank is no longer available. But that isn't always the case and companies will often discontinue coils if they aren't selling many of them any more. Any or all of these things could sadly put your tank into retirement.
When it comes to pods that don't have replaceable coils, you are relying on the company to continue producing the spare pods for your device. If you stick to the big brands you should be fine, but the pod market is very fast moving with new products hitting the market every month. If a company feels that they've made a much better product than their previous one, it's not unthinkable that they might discontinue the manufacturing of the older style.
How long your vape kit will last you clearly depends a lot on the type of device you are using. There is an expectation that mods with replaceable batteries will last longer than ones with built in batteries and it's true that there is the potential for that to be the case. However after a couple of years of hard, daily use it might well be the buttons, the connection between the tank and the mod or the screen that ends up failing. The battery isn't necessarily the weakest point.
I've been vaping for over 5 years now, I have mods and tanks that are almost that old and have been with me since the beginning of my vaping journey. Some are in fantastic condition and still work as well as they did the day I bought them. I have other devices that look tatty and feel very dated compared to what I use daily now. Some have stopped working and gone to be recycled.
It is difficult to know how long something will last but we can make some educated guesses and take some steps to give us the best chance of a long and happy relationship with our vaping gear. Do some research, choose products that use common and easily available coils, from the likes of Aspire or Innokin. Choose tanks that have spares available and buy a few spare glass sections and seals. Seek recommendations and knowledge from vapers that have used the products for a good length of time, not just for a review. Over the years I have found the online vaping communities extremely helpful and eager to pass on valuable knowledge and experiences. With some help we can all make smart choices and buy vaping products that will both work well for us and last an acceptable amount of time.
So how did I answer my friend?
I told him that compared to the money I used to spend smoking tobacco, the tank and mod I was using had paid for itself in the first month of use and every month I continued to use it was all money saved... and that probably is the most important thing to me.