e-Cig Reviews 2021
There is a plethora of different brands & designs of e cigarettes, vape pods and vape pens. So what is the best e-cig and vape pen out there?
The vast majority of e cigarettes and vape pens are being produced in China and simply re-branded for sale in the UK – many are very poor quality. When I first started with e cigs I had problems finding one that is well made and reliable – Something that’s essential when making the move from smoking to vaping.
There are about *250 independent suppliers of e cigarettes in the UK.
Buying the best e cigarette to stop smoking
This page reviews 4 of the best vape devices, which are the only four that I can fully recommend as the best e cigs to stop smoking. Our #1 vape pen style is the ideal if you are looking to quit smoking, it is considerably smaller and more familiar ie. cigarette like which will help the transition.
For heavier smokers take a look at our best vape for heavy smokers
Whilst many vape reviews on other sites seem to review “Best 10 e-cigs UK” or “best vape pen UK” or review even more e-cigs, I would suggest that many simply copy each other and second – why would anyone want to know what the 9th or 10th best e-cig is in any event. You want to know what is the best of the best e-cig surely! The reason for my recommending these 4 e-cigarettes is that I like them, find them reliable, safe and fit for purpose. They also offer you a bit of variation which may help, depending on your preferences. These are the best 4 e-cigs available. While other brands come and go or develop “designer vape pens”, like the controversial Juul, to attract buyers, I favour simple, high build quality cigarette-like vape devices. To my knowledge and from what I have read there are only 2 or 3 e-cig vape companies that either have dedicated production plants or own their manufacturing facilities as an integrated aspect of the business – this is a huge advantage. It ensures end-to-end control of the supply chain and product integrity and also leads to hands on innovation and product improvement and development. The vast majority of vape companies are re-sellers – re-branding generic, mostly Chinese made electronic cigarettes with little if any input by them into quality control or innovation.
Our best 3 vapes
One of these e-cig manufacturers is V2. V2 are the USA’s top on-line brand outselling any other US brand and are now available in the UK.
V2 operate in America, Europe (as Vsavi) and also in the UK. They ensure end to end management of all their products to ensure it is of the highest quality.
V2 provide 12 e liquid flavours which is sufficient for the vast majority of vapers. Every flavour is made with pharmaceutical grade ingredients, all tested. There is also an excellent number of e-cig accessories in their range.
For everybody new to vaping I would highly recommend starting with a cartomizer or pod option – what is it? Well a pod or cartomizer is the straightforward vaping option which involves no hassle, no mess, a bit like smoking regular filter tip cigarettes as opposed to having to roll your own. You simply attach the the eliquid refill pod onto the battery and vape away until the cartridge is exhausted. With an atomizer coil or mod type you have to refill them with e liquids yourself, this can be slightly messy, the toxic liquid can get on your skin – not recommended. You will also get drops of e-liquid in your mouth from time to time – little bit like when you get a bit of tobacco in you mouth if you roll your own. V2 also offer refillable vape pens that are compatible with their e cigarettes should you want to try one of their better quality vape pen and add your own e liquid.
With pod or cartomizer refills you must get a sampler pack of e-liquid strengths and flavours to ensure you establish exactly what is best for you. This is an important part of the stopping smoking process. Wrong taste or wrong strength can easily give you the wrong impression.A V2 sampler pack with 10 cartridges to get you started
Plus lets be honest, we want to make the transition between regular cigs and vaping worthwhile and as hassle free as possible, in the early days if you have to refill and mess around with e-liquid your going to be far more tempted to reach for your standard cigarettes!
What type of e-Cig should I buy?
Apart from the standard e cigarette there are several other derivations.
Ego e-cigarettes (older generation) and box mods. These are much larger, with a longer battery life, but they are awkward (people call them tanks for good reason :)), they can produce more vapour than poor e cigs but they are awkward and have far more moving parts and require far more maintenance. It is beyond the scope of this review site to specifically review the likes of box mods and vape mods, we have however highlighted a selection of the best vape mods and there are also many good mod review sites out there that will help you find the best vape mod if that is what you are looking for. I think they mainly came about because of the early problems with battery life and the performance of earlier mini-E-Cigs which were unreliable. As you can see by clicking the ecig image below this was taken to ridiculous proportions both size and weight-wise, the biggest e-cig here is like carrying 10 packets of 20 cigs around with you! The E-Cig market has now advanced and you simply don’t need these huge things, especially if your trying to quit smoking. You need something small and reliable which can give you a similar throat hit like smoking.
Next generation Vaping
The newer vapes and pod devices from quality e-cig manufacturers now match up with the battery life, and the vaping production of these monsters. For example the V2 EX Series is totally unmatched in innovation, price and quality. You simply need something which is easy to use, small and powerful enough to give you a good throat hit so you can replace regular smoking. The British Medical Journal report, January 2018 on Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation concludes; “The technology used in e-cigarettes has evolved considerably over time, and newer devices are typically better at delivering nicotine… .”
You can also get a quality “Shisha Pen” and pod devices (similar to the 2 iQ pods listed below) which are smaller, and simpler than mods, which deliver as much vapour production and throat hit, and use E-Liquid. With this type you fill the “mini-tank” or pod with eliquid ie. some are not pre-filled like a cartomizer. These are also known as mini-tank e cigs or pod vape devices. This is down to preference but in my opinion when starting out a classic good quality E-cig and cartridges (or cartomizer/pod) is the best option.
Best vape UK recommendations
#1 V2 Vape review
The ideal start for anybody wanting to quit smoking is the V2 Ex series. Most reputable and good e-cig review sites feature V2 in their best e-cigarette picks as the best vape UK brand. This e-cigarette features 3rd generation technology, a superior build quality, a contained e-liquid cartomiser. All new design – a proper modern vape device for 2021. It also features a sleek design with a range of options, and if you enjoy holding it, and it feels comfortable – surely that’s going to help you prefer to use it over a traditional cig. It does take a couple of days to get used to though.
The new liquid-only pod (ie no cotton/material filler involved) are around 10-20% more expensive than many e cig cartridges which contain cotton/filler – however without all the cotton filler this results in the Ex-Cartridge producing at least 33% more vaping which actually means your saving money and get a better vape. With the new style pod refills I did notice that initially they got quite warm – I was drawing too hard because the 12 mg strength was lower than I was used to – I got the 18 mg and all is well.
The Ex-Series e cig will deliver the optimum throat hit and a great vaping experience. Perfect for those wanting to stop smoking and simply the best vape pen out there.
If you are on a budget or prefer even smaller cigarette-sized vape or e-cig then the V2 Classic Starter Kit Range is the best alternative, the basic kit comes with everything you need for as little as £21 to get you started. Included is 1 x rechargeable battery, 5 cartridges of your choice (each cartridge is around a standard pack of cigs – so you are getting around 4 to 5 packs of cigarettes which would cost over £45) and a smart charger. You still get the same build quality and pure tested e-liquids but without the Ex Range designer option. The Classic range maintains the balance and feel of a cigarette which helps to keep things simple which greatly assists the psychological side of quitting. You can also get a disposable e cigarette so you can try both variants.
#2 iQ Air Vapers Kit
Whilst we prefer the basic cigarette shaped e-cigarettes for a few key reasons, we can not ignore the rising popularity of the small flat pod systems that have recently come to market. Many of them are not fit for purpose, the liquid pods and battery are simply too small for those serious about making the transition away from smoking to vaping. After a few hours you will need to recharge the pod device which will take an hour or two, and also refill with e liquid. If you are a smoker trying to quit this just can not work! What do you do for an hour or two while recharging?
What we do like however, is their small form which makes them discreet and easy to carry around.
So is there a solution?
Introducing the iQ Air Vapers Kit
After trying well over a dozen or so pod devices the only one we could recommend is the iQ Air Vapers kit. It is very slim BUT in full kit form it does offer you the ability to have a modern pod e cig and all day vaping. In practice we prefer the iQ One shown below, but if you want discreet the iQ Air is ideal.
With double the battery life of something like the Juul and a larger liquid pod the iQ Air is without doubt the best pod kit you can get. It is worth mentioning it is still as slim as the Juul yet the kit has 100% more battery life and 30% more e liquid volume so is fit for purpose.
2x Slim iQ Air Pod Battery Devices
1x USB Magnetic Charger for Home
1x USB Magnetic Charger for Office/Car
5x Refill iQ Air Pods
2x Tobacco + your 3 Flavour Pack
1x Instruction manual
#3 Hangsen iQ One Pod Kit
The new iQ One is different! First, unlike your usual pod vape device it is refillable! The iQ One also combines the best features of a vape mod (maximum vapour using sub ohm technology, freedom to use any e liquid OR Nic salt and interchangeable coils) with the best features of a small scale e cigarette (familiarity, comfortable and easy to use).The iQ One: Clean solid look and feel
iQ One features
The iQ One is extremely well made and features a real leather feel on polished stainless steel look (or gold) body. Like most modern vape pens and vape pods the iQ One is small, compact and fits neatly in your hand. It also produces a lot of vapour. There are two coils which differ in their resistance, one is 0.6 ohms and the other 0.8 ohms. This feature allows what Hangsen call the “Hybrid Vapour System”. This is the ability to vape almost any traditional e liquid and with the 0.8 ohm switch out and use your nicotine salts.
This vape device also has advanced safety protection modes to prevent overheating and short-circuiting. It also features a helpful LED that indicates the charge level of the battery by colour.
The 1100 mAh battery will last even heavy smokers all day and the UK TPD compliant 2 ml tank is easy to fill and fits magnetically to the iQ to avoid having to fiddle around with doing and undoing screw parts, the magnetic fitting also helps avoid leakage.
If you want a more powerful vape pen or pod device with the a refillable pod this my be a better option that the iQ Air, although much smaller than most mods it is larger than our top 2 vape devices..
iQ One Kit content
- 1 x 1100 mAh battery
- 1 x 2 ml easy-fill tank (Empty)
- 1 x Mini USB Charging Cable
- 1 x 0.8 ohm Coil
- 1 x 0.6 ohm Coil
- 1 x iQ One User Guide
iQ One specifications
- Polished Zinc Alloy body with leather feel outer
- Battery – 1100 mAh
- Resistance – 0.8 ohm/0.6 ohm
- Tank Capacity – 2 ml
- Voltage – 3.7V
- Charging – 5V
- Removable Top Cap
- LED battery Indicator
Worth a mention: Jac Vapour e-cig review
A good supplier of E Cigs based in Scotland. They are a somewhat behind the USA manufacturers V2 in many ways but they do have a nice design about them. The best e-cig option here would be their V1P starter kit. A good start to vaping for those looking to transition away from smoking. The basic vape kit at around £51 contains a PCC, charger (Note. PCC now no longer available), two batteries, 5 refills in either tobacco or menthol and 5 flavour refills.
They have 12 e liquid flavours which you can choose for their e cigs but do not choose their cheaper option e-liquids. (see e-liquid info. here) They have an average of 16 ingredients – this compares to 4 or 5 ingredients of some of the purist liquids, full ingredient information is not listed on their packaging.
Vape kit content
2x V3i Batteries (White 65mm Only)
2x LED Tips for the Batteries
1x Pack of 5 Tobacco or Menthol Cartomisers (12mg or 18mg Only)
5x Mixed Coloured Bungs
1x USB Charger
With the introduction of the V2 Ex-range it is currently difficult to find any current e cigarette in the UK that can compete with V2.
Best electronic cigarettes and vaping – The basics
Most of you will have heard of e cigarettes. A simple e-cig is a battery device consisting of:
- A heating element or atomizer:
- An e-liquid refill cartridge pod or tank.
- A battery.
The battery powers the atomizer or coil which applies heat to the e-juice to produce a vapour and this vapour is then inhaled and this acts as a nicotine delivery system in much the same way as a cigarette – ie via the lungs and into the blood stream. There is no combustion so there is no real smell, tar or ash. The vapour produced is not smoke and does not contain the many chemicals that are associated with cigarettes so that the health effects should not be as severe as smoking. The liquid that is vaporised is made of either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine, flavouring, nicotine and water and should contain no other harmful additives. You need to ensure you use good medical grade e-liquids and not any old e-liquid that is on sale, the market is almost totally unregulated. Inhaling and exhaling the vapour gives a very similar experience to that of smoking, nicotine from the solution is absorbed into the body rather than nicotine from the smoke. Vaporization not combustion. Use our electronic cigarette reviews to help choose the best electronic cigarette.
Smoking consists of two basic aspects, addiction to nicotine and the routine or habit of the act itself, the regular feel of something in your hand that you put to your mouth and inhale. This combination creates a significant psychological addiction. One needs to remove triggers, avoid situations that may cause you to smoke and consider a number of other factors. Look to do something different, a new hobby or learn a new skill. See our guide and tips to help you understand these aspect, this should further help you kick the habit.
Over 80,000 people die in the United Kingdom from smoking related diseases. These include cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems and a host of other things that effect our overall health and fitness from gum disease to lowering sperm count in men. Find out more.
Vaping – the future of smoking
There is a lot of news around about vaping and much of it relates to what people see as the negative aspects. There are negative aspects; from the reliability of many of the devices which are cheap imported products designed to quickly fill a gap in the market and supply a needy audience with a solution to the problem of smoking. More importantly and often overlooked is the fact that no one is responsible for the safety of the e-liquids we are using. There is legislation in Europe and the UK, TPD, that came in 2016 that aims at some degree of regulation, final regulations came into effect May 2017. All negative aspects relating to vaping e-cigarettes need though to be set against the context of the more severe negative effects of smoking cigarettes.
As vaping becomes more popular, more e cig and vape brands have come into this market, followed by greater numbers of people wanting to find information on good e-cig brands and the best vape UK brands, followed by more and more e-cig review sites. Be aware this is big business and in any big business there is a big PR expenditure which is all aligned to bias us into believing which is the best e-cig, Vype have spent well over £5 million in advertising – reason – to get you to believe that Vype is the best e-cig, but is it? See the Vype ePen review here. Their recent launch of a smart nic-salt pod, the ePen 3 vPro, brings Vype to the fore of vaping.
E-cig manufacturers can pay e-cig review sites commission and these commissions vary greatly thus biased e-cig review sites are popping up in greater numbers. For the record – the 2 e-cigs reviewed here do not pay the highest commission – this fact can be verified by going to the affiliate section on any of the e-cig sellers site and checking out their rates!Not Nice!
Currently e-liquid and nic salt “sellers” make broad and imprecise claims about their e-liquid ingredients – some have no ingredients listed. Many research papers have found impurities that are harmful to people are contained in some e-liquids. Ideally for quality control and our health purposes, every e-liquid flavour and every batch should be lab. tested for its ingredients and content – much like food – full information should be disclosed. All ingredients must be FDA (or similar organisation) approved. There are very few e-cig brands or companies that actually manufacture their own e-liquids – most is imported and re-branded. Both the V2 E-Liquid range and the VSAVI pure VG e juice range of e liquids DO offer full disclosure and it is essential that vapers use such e-liquids.
With the likes of JUUL in the USA using excessive nicotine concentrations to attract would-be vapers the vaping industry needs firmer regulation. It is a good thing that the UK TPD regulations ban strengths over 20 mg nicotine in e liquid and nic salts.
That said safe vaping is the future and at some stage smoking will – I hope – be a thing of the past.
- Source: Public Health England: Service.gov.uk