The mid-size category of electronic cigarettes can best be described as products that are "components" and form a "system".
That is a slightly overused term, so let me explain.
At the right is the very first mid-size electronic cigarette kit I bought. It is the Vision Crystal Kit that I purchased at a local flea market.
- The first item, top right picture, front left, is called a clearomizer. The clearomizer is where you add eLiquid. It is the component that heats up the eLiquid and creates the vapor that you inhale through the top "drip tip". The clearomizer is 68mm (about 2.68 inches).
- The second item, front, second from left, is called the drip tip. You can see one already in place at the top of the clearomizer. It is the mouth piece.
- The third item, top right picture, front, center, is called the coil. This is a spare and is inserted into the clearomizer. The strings that stick out, when in the clearomizer, hang along the inside sides of the clearomizer. They are essentially wicks that soak up eLiquid and bring that eLiquid to the where the heating element (the coil) is.
- The fourth item, top right picture, front, second from right, is called the Vision 400 mAh battery. This battery is a fixed output. Depending on the charge level, that can be between 3.2 volts and 4.2 volts. The average is around 3.7 volts. Note the button near the top, that is the actuator. You press that when ready to inhale through the mouth piece on the clearomizer. This is known as a manual battery and is actually a feature. If this were automatic (as are most mini category electronic cigarettes) you would be putting the battery at risk from any possible eLiquid leaks. If eLiquid gets inside the battery housing, it destroys the battery. The battery is 60mm in length (about 2.36 inches). Also note that the top of the battery is designed so that it has dual thread types. On these types of batteries, you can use a 510 style clearomizer or an eGo style clearomizer.
- The fifth item, top right picture, front, right, is the USB battery charger. This plugs into your computer, USB power wall adapter, or car USB power adater to recharge the battery. The battery typically can be recharged up to 300-400 times. At 400mAh (mAh = milli-ampere hour) will last approximately 3-4 hours for an average one pack a day smoker.
- The box in the background is the packaging for this kit and includes a manual.
The Vision Crystal "system" is a total of 128mm, or about 5 inches. It easily fits in your palm and I consider it a way to "stealth" smoke ... that is unobtrusive and, for the most part, hidden from the view of others. The picture (top left) is a view of the Vision Crystal boxed contents.
The concept of the component system is that you can swap out or upgrade any individual component without having to reinvest in an entire package. That is the case with the Vision Crystal kit.
Notice the electronic cigarette at the right. It is a Joyetech eGo-C Twist battery with an Innokin EVOD clearomizer. That battery can be used with the kit above. The battery itself is 128mm (or the entire height of the assembled Vision Crystal system). The advantages are that it is an 1100mAh battery and could be used for between 6 to 9 hours for an average one pack a day smoker.
Common battery capacities are: 350 mAh, 400 mAh, 450 mAh, 650 mAh, 900 mAh, 1100 mAh, and 1300 mAh. Obviously, there are also other capacities available, these are the common ones. All of them are designed to output a constant 3.7 volts.
Another type of battery is known as a spinner or twist. They usually have a dial at the bottom of the battery that adjust the voltage between 3.2 volts and 4.8 volts. A higher voltage means more effective heating of the clearomizer coil and better vapor – at least that is the theory. The reason I say theory, is that it work, but there are other ways of achieving the same thing. For example, clearomizers are available in different resistance levels, measured as "ohms". In the mid-size category, clearomizers are around 2.4 ohms. You can purchase clearomizers with low-resistance coils as low as 1.5 ohms – and as high as 3.0 ohms. The lower the ohms, the more effective the coil is at heating the eLiquid. Coils are quite a bit less expensive than a new twist or spinner battery, usually around 1/10th the cost. The trade off is that they drain the battery faster, but it works.
You can also upgrade clearomiers. The Vision clearomizer seen above has a capacity of 1.3 ml. On the eLiquid Page, I discuss the approximately equivalence of a bottle of eLiquid. Based on that, a 1.3 ml clearomizer would be roughly equivalent to slightly more than 1/2 pack of cigarettes. If you smoke one pack a day, you would need to refill the clearomizer once. Clearomizers are available that can hold up to 5 ml of eLiquid. Clearomizers are also available in a variety of diameters. The diameters for mid-size eCigs is 14mm. Anything larger is really designed for mods or larger capacity and larger diameter batteries. Clearomizers that are 14 mm diameter top out at about 3 ml eLiquid capacity.
There are also a variety of chargers available. Other items that you can purchase to enhance your kit include:
- different drip tips (flat, round, shaped, laser engraved, rotating tips, etc.)
- voltage / ohm testers
- rebuilding components (mainly for clearomizers)
Should you start at this level? That is really up to you. You will find that once you give up tobacco cigarettes and start "vaping", your vaping experience can turn into a hobby – must like any electronic device or system. I would suggest, though, if you goal is to stop smoking stick with the minis. There are 510 style mini kits available that are every bit as good as the mid-size and provide the kind of throat-hit and satisfaction as a tobacco cigarette. If you are taking longer than expected to quit the nicotine habit, you might want to consider the mid-size category – it is overall less expensive and requires less refills, etc. than minis. If your goal is to simply get rid of the 4000+ chemicals in tobacco cigarettes and yield to the nicotine addiction, then by all means, get involved with mid-size kits. With this goal, you will likely progress to mods and may want to look at that right away. And, if you are a non-smoker now and want to take up electronic cigarettes to be part of the crowd or for the flavors, FORGET IT! Don't waste your time and take on the risk of wanting to try out regular tobacco cigarettes. Regular tobacco smoking is a nasty habit that we are trying to get rid of, don't tests yourself ...