Vaping Terminology - Glossary (Jargon Buster)
We understand that the world of vaping can seem like a daunting place. Terms such as 'MTL' and 'Sub Ohm' leave most new vapers confused enough that they end up buying something on a whim without really understanding what they need. On top of that, the sheer volume of E-Liquids that are now available means picking the right device with the right liquid can seem like a shot in the dark. Thankfully, once you get your head around the basics it's actually super simple to perfect your vaping experience. This page will help you to understand all the basics, for the more technical side of things you can visit our Beginner Guides, How To Guides or the TABlites Blog for detailed information on each and every kind of vaping product on the market.
E-liquid is the substance you put inside your tank or cartomiser that is vaporized when you use your device. E-liquid is usually broken down into three main ingredients, Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Nicotine, although nicotine is optional.
MTL (Mouth To Lung)
A term used for vape tanks which you use by holding the vapour into your mouth before inhaling. These are usually Starter Kits, Vape Pens or POD Devices.
DTL (Direct To Lung)
A term used for vape tanks which you use by inhaling directly into your lungs without holding the vapour in your mouth. These are usually Sub Ohm or Rebuildable Devices.
The Milligram strength (mg) of an E-liquid is the amount of nicotine per Milliliter (ml) in the bottle. 6mg E-Liquid for example will contain 6 milligrams of nicotine (or 0.6% of the total volume) where an 18mg E-Liquid will contain 18 milligrams of nicotine (or 1.8% of the total volume).
Throat hit is the sensation at the back of your throat when you take a “draw” on your Vape Kit. Nicotine strength will play a big part in the amount of throat hit, and E-liquids that are higher in PG content are known to give a stronger throat hit than VG based e-liquids too.
This term refers to the vapour exhaled (which resembles a cloud). The term 'cloud chaser' refers to a Sub Ohm vaper who wants to produce as large a cloud as possible.
Vapour is a term for the substance exhaled after taking a hit on your vape (the cloud).
VG (Vegetable Glycerin)/High VG
All E-Liquids contain VG and PG. VG is an organic compound which is used as a food additive mainly in sweeteners due to it's naturally sweet taste. It's a naturally thick substance which creates larger clouds of vapour on exhaling. High VG is a term to describe an E-Liquid with a higher mix of VG than PG. Because this E-Liquid is thicker than 50/50 or High PG, High VG E-Liquid should only be used in Sub Ohm devices to avoid burning the coil and damaging the tank.
PG (Propylene Glycol)/High PG
All E-Liquids contain VG and PG. PG is an organic compound which has been used as a food additive but mainly as a carrier for medicines in inhalers and nebulisers for over 50 years. High PG is a term used to describe an E-Liquid with a higher mix of PG than VG. PG has a stronger throat hit than VG, for this reason many people who have given up smoking prefer the feeling of High PG as it mimics the same throat hit as that of a cigarette. As PG is naturally quite a thin substance, it should only be used in Starter Kits, Vape Pens or POD Devices. When used with a Sub Ohm coil, the E-Liquid escapes through the coil and causes leakages.
As the name might suggest, 50/50 E-Liquids are a perfect mix of 50% VG and 50% PG. These E-Liquids boast the best of both worlds and work in any kind of device, this was revolutionary as it meant vapers who only used High VG or High PG could now try flavours in ranges which were previously unusable for them. It also meant that most people could just have a single device instead of several different ones to enjoy the full range of flavours available. Although 50/50 E-Liquid works in any device, it's best used in a POD System.
Shortfill E-Liquids came around after the introduction of the TPD regulations. The rules limited the size of an E-Liquid bottle that contains nicotine to 10ml. Shortfill bottles do not contain nicotine therefore can be sold in any sized bottles, leading to some companies creating 200ml bottles. The bottles are designed with a space at the top for you to add your own nicotine. All Shortfills sold at TABlites come with free Nic Shots (see below) to make a 3mg nicotine strength mix. You can find more information in our blog, A Guide to Short Fill E-Liquids & Nicotine Shots.
Nic Shots are 10ml bottles of unflavored E-Liquid designed to mix in with your Shortfill E-Liquids. Nic Shots come in a variety of strengths but are usually 18mg. They're designed this way because when mixed with the standard 50ml Shortfill bottle, you get 60ml of E-Liquid at a 3mg nicotine strength. If you add a second Nic Shot, you get 70ml at 6mg nicotine strength. You can find out more information in the above blog, A Guide to Short Fill E-Liquids & Nicotine Shots.
The name Nic Salt comes from the natural nicotine salts found in tobacco plants, which Nic Salts are derived from. The scientific definition basically boils down to using advanced scientific methods to extract the nicotine from the plant, rather than the traditional method of using chemicals. Nic Salts are an extremely smooth vape, much more so than even the highest VG E-Liquid, which means they can deliver a high concentration of nicotine (10mg or 20mg nicotine strength usually) without the harsh throat hit usually associated with stronger strength E-Liquids. Find out everything you could need to know about Nic Salts in our blog, A Complete Guide to Nicotine Salts.
Nic Salt Shots
Nic Salt Shots are the same as Nic Shots, except they're made with Nicotine Salts. As Nic Salts are extremely smooth to vape, adding a Nic Salt Shot instead of a regular Nic Shot means your E-Liquid won't have the harsher throat hit usually associated with adding nicotine.
Mod is a term is used very loosely to describe any device that uses powerful removable batteries. The Mod itself is the large component you hold in your hand, in which the batteries are located, that delivers power to your Tank in order to vaporise the E-Liquid. Vape Pens, Starter Kits, AIO Kits and POD Devices are not Mods. Mods are used with Sub Ohm or Rebuildable Vape Kits.
The Tank is the top vessel which you screw into the Mod, which holds the E-Liquid. The term Tank is usually referring directly to the top vessel of a Sub Ohm or Rebuildable Mod. Each Tank is unique and as such, will usually have Coils that are made specifically for that tank. The Coil will determine what power the Mod needs to be, therefore will determine which Tanks can be used with which Mods. Vape Kits come with a Mod and a Tank, but you can screw any Tank into any Mod, so long as the Mod delivers the required power for the Tank/Coil you're using.
A standard unit of measurement for electrical resistance. The Ohm resistance of your coil will determine what heat/wattage your device needs to be set to in order to vaporise the E-Liquid and produce the vapour.
A variable-voltage (VV) device gives the user the ability to adjust the voltage going to the atomiser. Each different device has set voltage range for the user to adjust between (usually between 3v-6v). As different atomisers are attached the voltage will need to be adjusted accordingly.
A variable-wattage (VW) device works a little bit different to a variable-voltage device. With a VW device the user sets the wattage that they prefer and the electronics works out the voltage needed to achieve the wattage set. It sounds confusing but basically if a device is set for 10w, any atomiser that is attached will be fired at that 10w setting and the electronics do the complicated part of working out the voltage. VW devices have become much more popular than VV devices because of their ease of use.
Coils are the part of the device which makes the vapour you inhale. A Coil is a length of resistance wire, usually Kanthal or Nichrome, which is wrapped around the wicking material, usually cotton. When the battery is activated the coil will heat up and vaporize the liquid which has saturated into the wicking material. Coils last for varying amounts of time depending on the wattage and E-Liquid used, but ALL coils require replacing eventually. If you notice a change in flavour or if you're not producing the same amount of vapour as before, check your Coil. If the cotton in the coil is dark brown or black, you need to replace the Coil immediately.
This is a fancy term for the Coil inside your Tank, or sometimes can refer to the Tank and the Coil collectively.
The “cut-off” is a safety measure inside a battery that prevents it from being activated for too long. The battery will stop firing after the set cut-off time and the battery may even flash to indicate that the cut-off has been hit.
Short for milliampere-hour which is the capacity or charge that the battery will hold. The higher the mAh rating the longer the battery will last between charges.
Vent holes were simply a safety measure on a big battery devices (Mods) that have a removable battery. It is very rare for a battery to fail but in the very unlikely case that a battery was venting gasses the vent holes give those gasses a means to escape in a safer way. Vent holes now are a standard addition to most Tanks and Clearomisers, opening the vent hole (usually the bottom of the Tank) allows more air to pass through so you can perfect the 'pull' of your vape to your own taste.
A Clearomiser is basically a smaller Tank which is usually used on Vape Pens or Mods with a low wattage output.
Starter Kits, as the name suggests, are designed for people new to vaping. These kits are affordable AIO Devices (see below) which means as little maintenance as possible. Starter Kits will come with everything you need to get started on your vaping journey, including a free E-Liquid.
Vape Pens are the original Electronic Cigarette design, taking their name from their pen style shape. Vape Pens are easy to transport and use a lower wattage/higher resistance combination so should be used with High PG, 50/50 or Nic Salt E-Liquids. There are some Sub Ohm Vape Pens, like the SMOK Stick Prince, but these are usually much bulkier than your standard Vape Pen and are not AIO devices.
AIO (All In One)
The term 'All In One' simply means a Vape Kit that has most (or all) of it's components built into the Vape Kit itself, which minimises the need for maintenance and knowledge of batteries. All In One devices are usually Vape Pens or POD System. If your AIO is a Vape Pen, these devices will have a built-in or Cyclone V4 style battery which simply screws directly into the Atomiser. If you have a POD System, the battery will be internal meaning the only maintenance required is swapping out the POD. Designed for ease of use and transport, AIO kits are ideal for new vapers.
POD Vape Kits
POD devices are small and compact AIO Vape Kits. Instead of changing coils and filling your tank, you simply fill up the removable POD and fill with E-Liquid, then pop the POD back into the Kit and you're good to go. This means you can have multiple POD's with different flavours and swap them with ease throughout the day.
The term 'Sub Ohm' refers to a coil with a resistance of less than 1ohm. Coils with a low resistance require thicker E-Liquids as the thinner 50/50 or High PG E-Liquids will easily escape through the coil. This is why Sub Ohm kits should only use High VG E-Liquid (the most popular choice being a 70% VG to 30% PG mix). As High VG E-Liquid requires a hotter temperature to vaporise, Sub Ohm kits will usually be powered by two removable IMR batteries (either 18650, 21700 or 20700 batteries). There are some exceptions, like the SMOK Stick Prince, which is a Pen Style Sub Ohm device with a single internal battery which you simply charge through the device itself. All Sub Ohm kits are designed to produce larger clouds of vapour. Please check our Battery Safety section for information on how to care for your batteries.
A Mechanical Mod or device has no circuitry or electronics in it whatsoever beyond a simple circuit. When the button or switch is activated it completes the circuit and activates the attached Atomiser. Because of this, Mechanical Mods are only recommended for advanced users with a working knowledge of Ohms Law.
This is the area where you install your Build on a Rebuildable Atomiser.
In vaping, this term refers to a home-made Coil once the Coil's have been wound and the Wicking Material (cotton) has been added.
Rebuildable Atomisers (RBA)
Rebuildable gear is a step up from Sub Ohm, both for power and complexity. RBAs come in three varieties (RDA, RBA and RDTA), and all have a Deck on which your Build sits (meaning you're required to make your own coils and add your own wicking material to the coils). You can buy pre-made coils for your RDA instead of building them but they still require you to add your own cotton, and it still takes much more maintenance and knowledge to use correctly. As such, these Atomisers should only be used by advanced vapers. The coils in an RBA can have customised resistance so are mainly used by vapers who want to calibrate their vape to their exact preference (or for those who don't want to keep spending money on Sub Ohm coils).
Rebuildable Dripper Atomiser (RDA)
Rebuildable Dripper Atomisers (RDAs) are the ultimate cloud making machines. Instead of filling up a Tank with E-Liquid, these RBAs work by literally 'dripping' a few drops of E-Liquid directly onto the coil to vape. There is no top vessel to hold larger amounts of E-Liquid, once the E-Liquid has been used (usually 2 or 3 hits later) you simply drip more E-Liquid onto the coil (known as re-dripping). RDAs are known for their great flavour production and unbeatable cloud production, and are ideal for those who like to regularly change their E-Liquid flavour.
Rebuildable Tank Atomiser (RTA)
A Rebuildable Tank Atomiser (RTA) is similar to a Sub Ohm Tank but uses Rebuildable Coils. You use RTAs in the same way as a normal Sub Ohm Tanks by filling the Tank until the E-Liquid is used, then filling it up again. The convenience of having a full Tank and not having to re-drip every few hits (like an RDA) comes with a slight performance hit, and the coils themselves are harder to build as there are more components to work with. Regardless, RTA vapers swear the extra time and effort are worth the flavour enhancement and cloud production.
Rebuildable Dripper Tank Atomiser (RDTA)
RDTA's, while using the term Dripper, don't actually require you to drip E-Liquid directly onto the Coil. You simply fill up the Tank and vape in the same way as an RTA. The Dripper part means RDTA's are made with an RDA Deck, which allows for easier Coil swapping and better flavour/vapour production. While RDTAs may be an upgrade from an RTA, most RDA users will agree the flavour/vapour production will always be greater in a pure RDA.