Vape Glossary & Terms

Term Definition
16340, 18350, 18490/18500, 18650 Cell sizes commonly used in vaporizer. The first two digits indicate the diameter in mm, the next two the height in mm (approximately), the last indicates that the battery is cylindrical. On average, the bigger the battery, the bigger the capacity.
306 A size of topper. Threading is 510 sized. Requires a 306 size drip tip. Formerly 306 cartomizers were available, now mainly as dripping atomizers. All else being equal, a 306 has a reputation for warmer vape, greater vapor production, greater throat hit, and lower juice capacity than the equivalent 510 dripper.
33.3 Hz The rate of PWM output on many vaporizers. Results in bursts of higher voltage which may burn juice and a rattlesnake-like sound. Poor engineering, but "good enough" for many.
510 A size of topper and battery threading. The most common and popular size at present. Threading is 510 sized. Takes most 510, 808, or 901 size drip tips.
801 A size of topper and battery threading. Found on some pen-style batteries. Less common. Threading is 801 sized, with a female topper, male battery. Requires an 801 size drip tip.
808 (or KR808 or KR808d) A size of topper and battery threading. Found on most cigalike batteries. Threading is 808 sized. Takes most 510, 808, or 901 size drip tips.
901 A size of topper and battery threading. Found on some pen-style batteries. Threading is 901 sized, with a female topper, male battery. Takes most 510, 808, or 901 size drip tips.
Adapter Used to allow a specific thread sized topper to fit onto a different style of battery. May affect airflow.
Advanced Personal Vaporizer (or APV) A vaporizer with features such as Variable Voltage or Wattage, resistance checking, LCD/OLED display, or replaceable batteries. (Note: precisely what qualifies a PV as "advanced" is inexact)
Aging see Steeping
Airflow The passage of air to and over the coil, through the chamber, up the drip tip. Tightness of draw and (in part) vapor production and flavor are determined by it.
Airy Draw Little resistance is offered to vapor inhalation. May indicate less than the vaper prefers.
Amps Abbreviation for Amperes
Amperes (or Amps, or A) Unit of measure of current. Indicates charge passing over time. May be seen referring to limits on current flow allowed by a cell or a vaporizer.
Analog(ue) Slang term for a tobacco cigarette. Originally a joke, suggesting we're using the digital (modern, improved) version, while they're still using analog (old fashioned, inferior) tech. (Note: Many vaporizers do not use digital technology)
APV Abbreviation for Advanced Personal Vaporizer
Atomizer (or Atty) Somewhat ambiguous term which may be used to refer to 1) any topper, 2) the wire coil which vaporizes the e-liquid, 3) the coil head, or 4) a dripping atomizer, 5) a stand alone unit consisting of threading to join with the vaporizer, a wire coil, and possibly a bridge, but no cartridge, wick, or tank.
Atty Abbreviation for Atomizer.
Automatic (Battery) A battery which activates the heating element when the user draws on the device. May be damaged by flooding.
Battery 1) The part that provides power to the heating element, including the circuitry and controls. Usually used for UOOCE s11, cigalikes, eGo-style, and other devices with non-replaceable cells. 2) A replaceable cell used in an APV. (Note: neither is technically correct.)
BCC Abbreviation for Bottom Coil Clearomizer
Borosilicate (Glass) (or Pyrex) A glass sometimes used in tanks. More resistant to temperature changes than most glass.
Bottom Coil Clearomizer A clearomizer with the coil head submerged in the e-liquid. Typically has better wicking and a cooler vape than a top coil clearomizer, but is more prone to flooding and leaking.
Bottom Feeder A vaporizer containing an e-liquid container, which can be fed into the topper by the user. Requires use of specific toppers (specifically cartomizers and certain dripping atomizers)
Bridge A small U-shaped piece of metal mesh that sits above the coil in a cartomizer or some dripping atomizers. It absorbs liquid and help wick it towards the heating element.
Bridged (Dripping) Atomizer A dripping atomizer which has a bridge. Some feel this weakens the flavor but reduces leaking and dripping frequency.
Bridgeless (Dripping) Atomizer A dripping atomizer which does not have a Bridge. Some feel this gives a better flavor and reduces dry hits due to imperfect wicking. However the lower absorbency may necessitate more frequent dripping, and may make the atomizer more prone to leaking if overfilled.
C Rating Rating of maximum safe rate of cell discharge. A cell should not be discharged at a rate greater than its C rating times its capacity. (So for example a cell with a C rating of 3 and a capacity of 1200mAh, 1200milliAmp-hours = 1.2 Amp hours, and 3 * 1.2 = 3.6 Amps. So that cell should not be continuously discharged at more than 3.6A)
Cartridge (or Cart) A plastic tube containing poly-fill material to hold e-liquid.
Cart Abbreviation for Cartridge.
Carto Abbreviation for Cartomizer.
Carto-Punch (or Punch) A device for punching holes in the side of cartomizers to prepare them for use in a carto-tank
Carto-Tank A metal, plastic, or glass tank that seals around a punched carto. It is capable of holding more e-liquid and ensures the filler remains well saturated.
Cartomizer (or Carto) A plastic or metal cartridge and atomizer in a single unit. These are disposable, inexpensive and hold more juice than a regular cartridge/atomizer combination.
CASAA Consumer Advocacy for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. A non-profit that advocates for vaping research, access, and education, and rational legislation and regulation.
Charger A battery charger. Types vary depending on the vaporizer used.
Clearo Abbreviation for Clearomizer
Clearomizer (or Clearo) A glass, plastic, or metal tank surrounding a coil head with wicks that draw e-liquid to the coil seated in a central air chamber.
Coil The heating element of the topper. It consists of a length of resistance wire twisted into several loops. When current passes through it, it releases heat which vaporizes the e-liquid in contact with it.
Coil head The assembly of wick and wire. Often specifically referring to one which may be unscrewed and replaced.
Condom Method Filling a cartomizer by taking the little sleeve that it comes in, filling it halfway with juice, and slowly pressing the threaded side down into it.
Contact Coil A coil in which the loops of wire are in contact. This greatly lowers resistance, so more coils are used to raise the resistance to a usable level. The result is a coil with a good deal more surface area in contact with the wick. Assuming sufficient wicking, this results in a greater density of vapor and more intense flavor at a lower current demand. (Note: it is also speculated that the closed, cylindrical coil somehow allows the flavor to concentrate more than would otherwise be expected.
Curing See Steeping
Current (or I) Flow of electric charge. Measured in Amps
Current Capacity (or mAh) Equal to the amount of current (in milliAmps) a cell can discharge in one hour. Roughly corresponds to the amount of use you can get from a battery before needing to recharge. (Note: Roughly because a regulated device will shut down with something left in the tank, and the discharge curve might be such that more of battery A's capacity is usable before cutoff than battery B's at a given current. And higher power settings will drain faster, but not necessarily in a linear way. Commonly inflated by manufacturers. With mech mods, it gets a lot more complex, since you must consider a wider range of currents, internal resistance, etc., etc.)
Deck The area on which the coil is built in an RBA.
Debridging Removing the bridge from a dripping atomizer.
Diacetyl A buttery/custardy/caramel flavor. While safe when consumed in food, serious questions remain as to whether it is safe to inhale even in small doses due to its linkage to bronchiolitis obliterans. As a result, many vendors refuse to use it at all, posting this policy. Others continue to use it, but clearly disclose as much.
DIY Mixing your own e-liquid.
Draw Perception of the ease by which vapor is inhaled from a particular topper or configuration. A draw may be "tight" or "airy".
Drip Shield A metal or plastic tube that seals around a dripping atomizer. Prevents leaking and absorbs heat to cool the atomizer. May affect the draw, depending on the design of the shield and the atomizer.
Drip Tip A separate mouthpiece which attaches to the top of some toppers. It regulates heat (by length, material, and thickness), airflow (by internal diameter), and in some cases enables dripping juice onto the coil.
Dripping Directly adding a small amount of e-liquid to a dripping atomizer or RDA. Many feel this provides the clearest flavor due to the lack of filler material (in a dripping atomizer) and optimized airflow. It also enables quick flavor changes with little to no cleaning required.
Dripping Atomizer (or Dripper) 1) A topper consisting of a metal or plastic tube with an open top (for a drip tip), possibly a bridge, and a coil, with no further wicking material. 2) An RDA.
Dry Burning Cleaning technique of firing the vaporizer without much or any juice, until all residue on the coil and wick has burnt off. (Notes: 1) dry burning cotton wicks may lead to a fire, 2) do not inhale when dry burning, 3) dry burning is usually not recommended for cartos, 4) blow, wipe, and/or rinse away the ash before refilling.)
Dry Hit When insufficient e-liquid on the coil leads to a harsh, unpleasant inhalation of burning wick, dried residue, or overheated e-liquid. May ruin a cartomizer.
Dual Coil A topper containing two separate coils. In theory this should provide increased vapor production, but in practice it depends on the vaporizer's ability to deliver sufficient current and on proper airflow.
E-Juice see E-Liquid
E-Liquid (or E-Juice, Juice, Smoke Juice) The liquid that is vaporized. Contains propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine. Usually contains flavoring and nicotine.
ECF Abbreviation for the website E-Cigarette Forum.
ECR Abbreviation for /r/electronic_cigarette
EGO A size of topper and battery threading. Fairly common and popular at present. Found as the external threading on many 510 threaded devices.
eGo A common tubular vaporizer, available in manual or automatic. Slightly over 0.5" in diameter, and ranging in length from about 2" to about 5", with capacity from 250mAh to 1300mAh.
Filler Material (or Filler) Material inside of a cartridge that absorbs the juice and transfers it to the coil while preventing it from leaking. Most cartridges use poly-fill, but some users substitute paper, foam, or natural fiber.
Flavor Usually FDA approved or Generally Recognized As Safe food additives.
Flooding When wicking efficiency, a loose seal, or overfilling a carto or dripper leads to oversaturation of the coil (reducing vapor) or leaking.
Genesis-Style Atomizer A common style of rebuildable tank atomizer. The removable tank sits just above the threads, and the center post runs in a channel through the center. The deck has two posts, one or two holes for wick to be fed down into the tank, and a fill hole for adding juice. The air flows from a hole in the side of the top cap, to and over the coil, and up the tip.
Genny Abbreviation for Genesis-Style Atomizer
Glassomizer A clearomizer with a glass tank. (Usually Borosilicate.)
Grain Alcohol (or Pure Grain Alcohol or PGA or Ethyl Alcohol or Ethanol) 70-95% (140-190 proof) drinking or lab alcohol. Used by some for soaking and cleaning toppers. Sometimes added to e-liquid in small concentrations to generate throat hit or to thin for better wicking.
Heat Emitted by the coil and used to vaporize juice. Depends upon current flow, wire resistance, airflow.
High Resistance (or HR) A topper or coil head with resistance above 2.6Ω – (or thereabouts). Cooler vape with lower levels of flavor, vapor, and throat hit on a constant voltage vaporizer. Greatest range on a variable voltage vaporizer.
HR Abbreviation for High Resistance
Hybrid A type of mechanical mod consisting of a battery tube with a topper that screws directly into contact with the battery.
Hybrid Chemistry (or Hybrid Cell, or Hybrid Battery, or CGR, or NMR) A cell containing a hybrid of ICR and IMR chemistry, to allow a higher rate of discharge than an equivalent ICR cell and a higher current capacity than an equivalent IMR cell.
Hot Leg When the length of wire between the coil and the post of an atomizer heats faster and/or gets hotter than the coil on the wick, burning the e-liquid. Usually on a Genesis-Style RBA.
Hot Spot A segment of the coil which, as a result of being raised off of the wick, proximity to a neighboring loop, or other cause, heats faster and/or gets hotter, burning the e-liquid.
ICR (Cells) (or LiPo (Lithium Polymer) Cells or LiCo (Lithium Cobalt) cells) LiCoO_2 chemistry cells. Have a higher capacity and lower discharge rate than IMR cells. Go into thermal runaway easier than IMR cells. Should only be used as protected cells, if at all, in vaping.
IMR (Cells) LiMn chemistry cells. Have a lower capacity and higher discharge rate than ICR cells. "Safer chemistry" than ICR, meaning more difficult to go into thermal runaway.
Juice See E-Liquid
Kanthal A type of resistance wire. Available in several thicknesses, as well as a flat ribbon wire.
Leaking An overfilled dripper or carto can leak e-liquid down onto the vaporizer, which may damage the device. Poor seals can cause juice to leak into the vaporizer or out of the sides of a clearo or carto-tank.
Low Resistance (or LR) A topper or coil head with resistance below 2.0Ω (or thereabouts). Warmer vape, often with increased flavor, vapor, and throat hit on a constant voltage vaporizer. However, in some cases, it may lead to a harsh sensation and/or burnt taste.
LR Abbreviation for Low Resistance.
Lung Hit Inhaling vapor directly into the lungs.
mAh Abbreviation for milliAmp-hours
Manual (Battery) A battery which activates the heating element when the user presses a button or switch on the device.
Mean A mode of setting voltage for APVs using PWM, which results in comparatively harsh output compared to RMS.
Mech Abbreviation for Mechanical Mod
Mech Mod Abbreviation for Mechanical Mod
Mechanical see Mechanical Mod
Mechanical Mod (or Mech Mod, or Mech, or Mechanical) 1) A vaporizer which contains no circuit board, 2) A strictly mechanical vaporizer containing no circuit board or wires. The body carries the current and a spring-loaded connector completes the circuit. (Note: Desirable because a) the circuit board is a common point of failure when a device stops working (and generally replacement parts are available/machinable for all other components), and b) the protection circuitry often proves the limiting factor for more extreme device configurations.
mg Abbreviation for Milligrams.
mg/mL Abbreviation for milligrams per milliliter. see Milligrams.
Microcoil (or Micro Coil) A narrow diameter contact coil, generally wicked with cotton.
milliAmp-Hours (or mAh) A common unit of measurement of Current Capacity.
Milligrams (or mg) Technically mg/mL. The amount of nicotine in an e-liquid. Common levels are 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 8mg, 12mg, 18mg, 24mg, 36mg.
milliLiters (or mL) Usually refers to the volume of e-liquid.
mL Abbreviation for milliliters.
Mod 1) A replaceable battery vaporizer, 2) a mech mod, 3) a vaporizer modified from stock, 4) a modification to be performed on a stock device, 5) a DIY vaporizer
Nichrome A type of resistance wire. Available in a couple different alloys (with different resistances for a given length and diameter), with several thicknesses.
Non-Resistant Wire Wire with a negligible resistance. Sometimes joined to resistance wire to run from the endpoints of where the coil contacts the wick in order to prevent Hot Legs.
NR Wire Abbreviation for Non-Resistant Wire.
Ohm (or Ω) Unit of measure of resistance to current flow.
Ohm's Law V = I / R, or equivalently I = V * R
Passthrough 1) A vaporizer powered directly via USB or mains power, rather than a battery. 2) A vaporizer which is usable while charging. (Note: If 2 is drawing power from the partially charged battery and not directly, it is not considered "true" passthrough.
PC Abbreviation for Polycarbonate
Pen-Style (Vaporizer) A style of vaporizer approximately the size and shape of a writing pen.
Personal Vaporizor (or PV) See Vaporizer.
PG Abbreviation for Propylene Glycol
PGA Abbreviation for Pure Grain Alcohol
Polycarbonate A plastic material often used for tanks in toppers. Resistant to cracking from impact, but prone to hazing and shattering from certain e-liquid flavors.
Polypropylene A plastic material sometimes used for tanks in toppers. Resistant to cracking from impact and mostly resistant from hazing and shattering from e-liquids.
Power (or Watts, or W) Energy consumed per unit time. Related to the heat released by the resistance wire by: P = V * I = I2 * R = V2 / R
PP Abbreviation for Polypropylene
Propylene Glycol (or PG) One of two common carrier liquids found in e-liquid (along with VG). Commonly found in food, medicine (including medical inhalers), cosmetics, and the source of the "fog" produced by fog machines. Generally produces less vapor than VG, but provides a stronger flavor and more throat hit.
Protected Cell (or Protected Battery) A cell containing a PTC. Slightly longer and wider than the unprotected cell. Recommended for use in certain mods.
PTC Positive Terminal Coefficient switch.A protection circuit on a cell that limits the maximum current discharge to prevent thermal runaway.
Pulse Width Modulation (or PWM) In order to set output to a desired voltage, the device sends "pulses" of a higher voltage which average out to the lower nominal voltage. If filtered well, the output will be indistinguishable from a steady voltage. If filtered poorly and/or pulsed infrequently, as on many (most?) mods, this will create an uneven coil heating and possibly a rattlesnake-like sound.
Punch see Carto-Punch
Punched Cartomizer A cartomizer with one or more holes in the side, for use with a carto-tank.
PV Abbreviation for Personal Vaporizor.
Pyrex See Borosilicate
Quad Coil A topper containing four separate coils. The idea that if one is good, and two is better, four will be better still.
RBA Abbreviation for Rebuildable atomizer. Sometimes used to refer specifically to a rebuildable tank atomizer.
RDA Abbreviation for Rebuildable Drip(ping) Atomizer
Rebuildable Atomizer (or RBA) A topper which has been designed to allow the user to construct the coil and wick to their preferences.
Rebuildable Drip(ping) Atomizer (or RDA) An RBA which has been designed for dripping; i.e.: the only e-liquid container is the wick itself (and the well).
Rebuildable Tank Atomizer An RBA with a tank which holds a reserve of juice that is wicked to the coil.
Resistance (or Electrical Resistance, or R) How difficult it is for current to flow. The greater the resistance of a coil, the more power is dissipated as heat, the more vapor is produced (assuming sufficient airflow to pull it away, and sufficient wicking to provide more juice to vaporize.)
Resistance Wire Wire with a significant amount of electrical resistance. Since it resists current flow, Power is expended to allow it to flow. This releases energy in the form of heat. This heat is absorbed by the e-liquid in contact with the surface of the wire, which vaporizes the liquid. Usually measured in AWG, where larger numbers mean greater resistance per length and narrower wire.
Resting see Steeping
Ribbon Wire A flat type of Kanthal resistance wire. Available in a few thicknesses. Thought by some to produce more vapor at a given resistance due to greater surface are in contact with the wire. Its flatness makes it well suited to wrapping around rolled metal mesh.
RMS A mode of setting voltage for APVs using PWM, which results in comparatively accurate performance compared to Mean.
Safe(r) (Cell) Chemistry Less likely to go into thermal runaway. More likely to vent hot gases than explode or catch fire.
Smoke Juice see E-Liquid
Squonk To feed more juice into the topper from a bottom feeder.
SR Abbreviation for Standard Resistance
Standard Resistance (or SR) A topper or coil head with resistance between 2.0Ω and 2.6Ω – (or thereabouts). Average levels of flavor, vapor, and throat hit on a constant voltage vaporizer.
Steeping Using time and/or temperature on e-liquid to allow certain perfumey notes to evaporate or break down, some flavors to develop, and various components and flavors to homogenize. Commonly suggested times vary from 2-6 weeks (with tobacco flavors on the longer end). Evidence suggests that 8 hours at ~150°F is equivalent to two weeks time, and that steeping with the cap on or off makes little if any difference. It is recommended that you try the e-liquid fresh, and if you like it, steeping is unnecessary. Some have observed that certain flavors are changed for the worse with the passage of time. (Note: "steeping" is an inaccurate term, with "aging", "resting", and "curing" having been suggested as alternatives)
TH Abbreviation for Throat Hit.
Throat Hit (or TH) A tingling, slight sting, or full sensation at the back of the throat felt on inhalation. Nicotine level, PG level, topper type and configuration all contribute to throat hit.
Tight Draw Significant resistance is offered to vapor inhalation. May indicate more than the vaper prefers.
Top Coil Clearomizer A clearomizer with the coil head above the e-liquid, with the wicks extending down into the tank. Typically has better resistance to flooding and leaking and a warmer vape than a top coil clearomizer, but poorer wicking may require tilting and more wicks.
Topper The tank and/or heating element and wick configuration that threads to the vaporizer. Converts electrical current to heat, which is used to vaporize e-liquid, which is inhaled.
Twist An eGo-style battery with VV adjusted by a knob at the base.
Unprotected Cell (or Unprotected Battery) A cell which does not contain a PTC.
V Abbreviation for Voltage
Vape To inhale e-liquid vapor.
Vaper One who vapes.
Vaping The act of inhaling e-liquid vapor. (A play on "smoking".)
Vapor Production The amount of vapor generated by a given configuration of topper, power, and e-liquid.
Vaporizer 1) A device containing a battery that provides current to the atomizer, threads for the topper, and any circuitry or controls. 2) The entire setup consisting of 1 and a topper.
Variable Power see Variable Wattage
Variable Voltage (or VV) The ability to adjust the voltage output to change the heat of the coil, allowing you to tailor your vape experience to your preferences.
Variable Wattage (or Variable Power, or VW) The ability to adjust the power output to change the heat of the coil, allowing you to tailor your vape experience to your preferences. By sensing your topper resistance, a setting is less dependent on the topper than VV.
Vegetable Glycerin(e) (or Glycerol, or VG) One of two common carrier liquids found in e-liquid (along with PG). Commonly found in food, medicine, and cosmetics. Generally produces more vapor than PG, provides a sweetness, and does not contribute to throat hit. Thicker than PG, so may not wick as well.. Contributes to residue on the coil and wick.
VG Abbreviation for Vegetable Glycerin.
Voltage Difference in electrical potential. Most batteries and cells used in vaporizers are 3.7v +/- 0.5. Variable voltage devices use circuitry to adjust it from 3-6v at output.
VV Abbreviation for Variable Voltage
VW Abbreviation for Variable Wattage
Wick A material which delivers e-liquid to the coil, (possibly drawing it from a reservoir) where it can be vaporized. Types.
Well The small juice reservoir formed by the base of the deck of an RDA with a slight lip surrounding it.