Vaping Diaries #341: VLS Box Mod, Vector Cap, and Thunderstorm Tank

Vapour Lifestyle (VLS) had an exciting booth at ECC 2015 and the company’s head of product development, James Ting, was kind enough to walk me through the lineup. The most interesting products at the booth were a pair of upcoming VLS box mods. First is a temperature control box that goes up to 75 watts on a single 18650 battery. The more novel product runs on a single 26650 battery and features a modular design. The 26650 VLS box mod has a rail system that allows users to swap out chips. If all goes well, vapers can expect an SX350 variant and a proprietary VLS chip. More information on both VLS box mods should hit in September.

When I spoke with James at Vape Summit III, he told me about the Vector RDA. At ECC 2015, he showed a new cap for the Vector RDA that allows vapers to use their own drip tips instead of using the one built into the standard cap. The new cap also alters the way airflow works, making it a bit better for cloud chasers that like to take long pulls. The new Vector RDA cap reminds me of how the company listened to its customers in regards to airflow on the Vulcan RDA. I appreciate the way VLS listens to its customers and releases accessories that accommodate their wishes.

VLS has recently partnered with Thunderhead Creations and is the US distributor for the Thunderstorm Tank. I’ve been using this sub-ohm tank for a little under a month. So far, I love the way it looks and enjoy how it vapes. If you’re not familiar with the Thunderstorm Tank, James talks about it in the interview below.

The last four months of the year should be really exciting for VLS fans. The VLS box mods look fantastic and I can’t wait to learn more about them. For now you can learn about these products and see near-final prototypes by watching my chat with James.

Vaping Diaries #317: VLS Vector RDA & Box Mod Prototype Interview (Vape Summit)

Vapour Lifestyle had a trio of fascinating products at Vape Summit III. Following up on the success of the Vulcan RDA — one of my favorites of 2014 — is the Vector RDA. This atomizer retains some of the best features of its forerunner, while adding several exciting new ones. VLS also had a pair of proof-of-concept box mod prototypes at the show, hinting on things to come. I chatted with VLS head of marketing and product development James Ting to learn more about the Vector RDA and the box mod prototypes.

Like the Vulcan RDA, the Vector RDA uses deep under-passing juice wells, allowing for great juice capacity. It also uses a familiar three-post design. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. The posts on the Vector RDA are beefier and use hex screws. The center post has a smart design that prevents spinning. Airflow on the Vector RDA is handled in a completely different way than how its forerunner managed it; the Vector RDA takes in air through the top of the atomizer. Up to eight holes can be opened up for maximum airflow, while a simple twist of the top cap changes the airflow. The built-in drip tip has a removable mesh screen for spit-back protection, but can easily be removed for rinsing or taken off permanently if you prefer maximum airflow. In the short time I’ve spent with the Vector RDA, it seems like another winner from VLS — an affordable atomizer with novel features and a great price.

As I mentioned in the intro, VLS had a pair of proof-of-concept box mod prototypes. The boxes were 3D-printed designs made to give people an idea of what’s possibly coming next from VLS. One of the box mods had a metal frame that resembled a “Z” and the other one had a frame that resembled an “X.” Check out the video below to see what these form factors look like. As someone that’s completely bored with C-frame mods, it was nice to see VLS showing off some original designs. James mentioned that VLS is interested in using Yihi SX350 chips for these box mods.

Since the company started, VLS has strived to offer high-quality vaping products that are easily attainable. From what the company had on display at Vape Summit III, it looks like 2015 will be another successful year for VLS. The Vector RDA is already a hot product and the box mod prototypes really stand out. Check out the video below for all the details.

Vaping Diaries #283: Best Atomizers and Accessories of 2014

Best Vaping Mods of 2014RPadTV’s “Best of 2014” vaping coverage continues with a list of excellent atomizers and accessories. Similar to my list of favorite 2014 mods, there’s no such thing as a “best atomizer,” but for SEO purposes this article is titled that way (blame Google). Unlike most of the Southern California vapers I see regularly, I’m more of a flavor guy and not much of a cloud chaser. My top atomizer pick reflects that. Also keep in mind that I only included atomizers that I’ve used extensively. There are a number of great 2014 atties that I tried briefly, but since I didn’t spend significant time with them, I wasn’t comfortable putting them on my list.

As for the accessories, they’re more universal — products that every vaper should consider. Now let’s to this!

Neovapetek Venturi — There were dozens of “cloud chaser” atomizers released in 2014, but not many “flavor fiend” atties. The Neovapetek Venturi was one of the few atomizers made expressly for vapers looking for rich flavor. Its unique design produces a warm, highly-concentrated vape. As an added bonus, the design also makes it highly leak resistant. The Venturi is expertly made from top-notch materials and backed by outstanding customer service. While my cloud chaser friends sometimes make fun of my love for this atomizer, I simply don’t care. For the kind of vape that I enjoy, the Venturi was easily my favorite atomizer of 2014.

NeoVapeTek Venturi Atomizer Jack Dallas Interview

Ivation Ultrasonic Cleaner — Every hardcore vaper should have an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a tremendously useful tool that’s great for steeping e-liquids and cleaning vape gear. I find ultrasonic cleaners especially useful for washing atomizers and mods; they’re just brilliant at removing gunk from crevices and threads. While there are a number of inexpensive models on the market, I went with the Ivation IVU96S. I like that the unit’s tub is removable, making it easy to wash. Btw, if you’re a vaper that wears glasses then you really need an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a fantastic way to gently and thoroughly clean your specs.

The Convict — Yeah, I know that The Convict by Convict Vapors is already on my “Best Mods of 2014” list, but one of the reasons I enjoy vaping on it is its atomizer. The genesis-style atty on The Convict features a large 5ml tank, a reduced chamber, and easy-to-work-with posts. For me, it produces a stellar combination of flavor and vapor. When I want a vaping setup with capacity, The Convict is usually my first choice. The excellent genny on this hybrid mod is a big reason why.

Xuron LX Micro — Vapers that build their own coils should invest in a good set of wire cutters. My cutter of choice is the Xuron LX Micro. It’s rated to cut wire as thick as 18-gauge, which is overkill for many vapers, but could come in handy. This is a sharp and sturdy tool that will last a long time.

Cotton LABO Organic Cotton — It pains me when vapers buy organic Japanese cotton at vape shops. They usually pick up five pads for $5, which is ridiculous. For $7, you can get 200 pads of Cotton LABO Organic Cotton. It’s a much, much better deal. While some vapers claim to be able to taste the difference between various brands of organic Japanese cotton, I am not one of them. Cotton LABO pads are as good or better than any of Japanese organic cotton I’ve tried at vape shops.

Aqua v2 by Footoon — Last year, the Aqua by Footoon was one of my favorite atomizers. However, they’re hard to get serviced if something goes wrong, so I swore off UVO Systems products in general. Then the Aqua v2 came along. It’s a great improvement over the original. I love that it’s 22mm, easier to build, and easier to refill. For me, it offers an optimal blend of flavor, vapor, and convenience. The Aqua v2 is easier to work with, holds more juice, and looks better than the original. Footoon knocked it out of the park with this atomizer.

The Vape Kit — If you’re just getting into rebuildable atomizers, The Vape Kit is a great starter toolset. It has everything a new builder needs to get going and comes in a convenient case. Many advanced builders I know have The Vape Kit toolset and swap out some of the tools for ones that they prefer. (Here’s a shot of my kit with some personal additions.) It’s just a smart product that works well for many vapers.

Tobh Atomizer — While it’s not quite as popular as it was during the first half of 2014, the Tobh Atomizer by Tobh Mods was the most influential atty of the year. So many companies mimicked its features (heat fins, negative posts and base cut from one piece of metal, slam caps, etc.). I wish more companies would use techniques like the press-fitted brass and copper caps that Tobh Mods offers; they’re brass or copper on the outside, with stainless steel on the inside for safer vaping. The Tobh Atomizer is a great American vaping product that truly changed the atomizer game in 2014.

Kuro Concepts Coil Winder — I’m convinced that this product is fueled by wizardry. As a merely average builder, I really appreciate how quickly and conveniently the Kuro Concepts Coil Winder works. You can make clean coils in seconds with this product. They’re has to be a small sorcerer inside each one, right?

VLS VulcanThe Vulcan is an inexpensive atomizer with great features and strong build quality. While I try to stay away from clones, I totally understand that some vapers feel that original products are overpriced. Vapour Lifestyle’s mission is to offer original products that are well made and easily attainable. The company did just that with the Vulcan. It also listened to customers that wanted more airflow out of the original by releasing a sleeve made for cloud chasers. While I like the product itself, I love that VLS is serving up original quality vaping products with relatively low prices.

Vaping Diaries #251: VLS James Ting Interview (ECC 2014)

In a short amount of time, VLS has established a strong reputation in the vaping business. Known for products that mix high quality and great value, VLS is a favorite among many vapers. As a fan of the company’s Vulcan atomizer, I was looking forward to checking out the latest VLS products at ECC 2014. The Ragnarok mechanical mod was getting a lot of attention at the show. This all-copper mech looks great and has an MSRP of $99. VLS had a pair of new Vulcan products too. The Vulcan drip tip uses a modular design that lets you match it with any mod and a PEEK insulator to keep the tip cool. The Vulcan HS is an accessory that allows you to use any atomizer with the Vulcan’s heat fins.

Check out my interview with VLS business development manager James Ting to learn more about the company’s latest products. He also took some time to clear up any confusion about where the Vulcan atomizer is made.

VLS James Ting ECC 2014 Ragnarok

Vaping Diaries #220: VLS Vulcan Rebuildable Atomizer Review

Here’s the short version of my VLS Vulcan review — the atomizer is one of best values in vaping today. I’ve been using a pair of pre-production VLS Vulcan atomizers for the last month and I was quite impressed by what this atomizer brings to the table. The VLS Vulcan is well made, looks great, has excellent features, and offers sweet performance. While there are some minor issues that prevent it from being perfect for everyone, I believe that the majority of vapers will be happy with what the VLS Vulcan offers — especially when they see the price. Let’s take a closer look.

Design: The VLS Vulcan is packed full of fantastic features. The two sets of heat fins are the most striking. Like the popular Tobh atomizer, the VLS Vulcan’s top cap has rows of deep fins that help dissipate heat. The bottom of the atomizer also has rows of heat fins, to help dissipate heat coming from your mod and atomizer. The usefulness of the bottom heat fins depends on how low you build your coils and what batteries you use; some vapers will find it useful, while it’s overkill for others. The bottom layer of heat fins makes the VLS Vulcan longer than most rebuildable dripping atomizers, which might be an issue for some vapers.

Similar to the Tobh, the base of the VLS Vulcan is made from one piece of stainless steel. The negative posts and base are cut from one piece of metal. What very cool and practical about the base is that the metal underneath the negative posts is also carved out, allowing the atomizer to hold more juice. This makes the VLS Vulcan an excellent choice for vapers that want the full flavor of dripping and minimal refilling.

The VLS Vulcan handles airflow in a unique manner. Instead of traditional air holes, this atomizer has stylized “Vulcan” text on each side of the main cap. The “V” in Vulcan is laser engraved, allowing air to enter the atomizer. It’s certainly unique, but it does present some potential issues. For my builds, I positioned the coils close to the side walls instead of centered; it wasn’t difficult, but it wasn’t as brainless as building coils for a standard atomizer. For certain types of vapers (I’m looking at you cloud chasers!), the “V” is somewhat liming, which I’ll talk about more in the performance section of this review.

All told, the VLS Vulcan uses a great three-piece design that’s an outstanding blend of handsome aesthetics and useful features.

Build Quality: According to Vapour Lifestyle, the VLS Vulcan is made by “a Japanese CNC perfectionist producer.” While the company isn’t mentioned by name, its work is exemplary. This is a very well-made atomizer. Out of the box, the machining is impressive and stands up to competing atomizers that cost $20 to $50 more. I was quite happy with both of the VLS Vulcan atomizers I’ve been using for the last month and I’m confident that most vapers will be pleased by how well the product is made.

Out of the box, the VLS Vulcan has brass thumb screws. Also included are stainless steel thumb screws and extra O-rings.

Performance: The VLS Vulcan uses a copper contact for high conductivity. As many of you know, copper is one of the most conductive metals used in vaping — more conductive than brass or stainless steel, but not as conductive as silver. If performance is priority for you then the VLS Vulcan should keep you happy. Naturally, there are many other factors that contribute to overall performance (mod, battery, coil, etc.), but this atomizer provides a strong link in the chain.

For many vapers, the VLS Vulcan’s airflow is more than adequate. One possible exception is extreme cloud chasers. Vapers that drill out their atomizer holes to bullet-sized proportions will want more airflow. A potential issue with the VLS Vulcan is that its air holes are laser-engraved and stylized. Drilling it out can be tricky and vapers that do will be left with an “ulcan” instead of a “Vulcan,” ruining the aesthetics of the atomizer.

VLS Vulcan Review

Verdict: On its own, the VLS Vulcan is a fantastic rebuildable dripping atomizer. The build quality is great, it performs nicely, and it has lots of versatility. The only issues with the VLS Vulcan are for people that prefer relatively short atomizers and those that like extreme airflow. If you don’t fall into either category then I’m certain that you’ll be happy with the VLS Vulcan.

When you consider that the VLS Vulcan has an MSRP of $60, this atomizer is a brilliant deal. It’s as good for better than most rebuildable atomizers in the $80-$100 range. After using the VLS Vulcan for roughly one month, it has become one of my favorite atomizers in my collection. I love the way it looks, the amount of juice it holds, and the way it performs. If you’re cool with the atomizer’s atypical height and the airflow that it offers, you’ll be thrilled by what the VLS Vulcan offers for a very fair price of $60.

Vaping Diaries #212: VLS Crest Cap Review (IGO-W5)

The IGO-W5 by Youde is a nice rebuildable dripping atomizer for vapers on a budget. It’s arguably Youde’s best dripper to date — very well built for a mass-market atomizer. That said, it’s a spartan offering and lacks some of the features today’s vapers want in an atomizer. That’s where the VLS Crest Cap comes in. This third-party accessory is made for the IGO-W5 and adds features that many vapers expect from a dripper in 2014. The VLS Crest Cap elevates the IGO-W5 from a good budget atomizer to a great one.

The VLS Crest Cap is made primarily from 304 stainless steel. It’s a two-piece top-cap that’s reminiscent of the one featured on the popular TOBH atomizer, as well as Cap-it-All Vapes’ Halo top cap for the IGO-W3 and Patriot atomizers. The heat fins aren’t as long as the ones on the TOBH, so it doesn’t dissipate heat as quickly, but still does a good job. Compared to the Halo, the VLS Crest Cap has better build quality.

In addition to the heat fins, the VLS Crest Cap features cyclops-style airflow controls. I was able to achieve a wide variety of airflow options by playing around with the positioning of the top portion of the cap. It can be closed off enough to satisfy vapers that prefer a firm draw and more intense flavor. It can also be opened up wide enough to satisfy vapers that prefer big clouds and an airier draw. Naturally, extreme cloud chasers — you know, people that appear to have bullet holes in their drippers — will want even bigger holes. That said, the airflow options on the VLS Crest Cap are broad enough to satisfy the majority of vapers.

The two-piece design of the VLS Crest Cap allows for easy and convenient dripping. With conventional drippers, you have to be mindful of realigning the air holes every time you remove the cap. While some vapers don’t mind dripping through the drip-tip hole, many prefer dripping juice directly onto the wick and coils. Since you don’t have to take off the bottom portion of the VLS Crest Cap, you don’t have to worry about lining up the cyclops-style slots.

To my eyes, the VLS Crest Cap looks better than the stock cap on the IGO-W5. I’m not a fan of the stock cap’s looks, especially the way it thins out towards the top. The VLS Crest Cap is 22mm most of the way, with a slight flare to 23mm at the top. The logo is generally handsome, though personally I would have preferred a blank model. Looks are, of course, subjective; most of my vaping friends preferred the VLS Crest Cap’s design over the stock cap’s, but a few liked the stock cap better.

VLS Crest Cap for IGO-W5

The VLS Crest Cap is available for around $20 online and at retail. I’ve seen the IGO-W5 available for around $20 online and $30 at retail. When you put these products together, you have a great dripping setup for the money. For $50 or less, you get a nice and versatile dripper that’s not a clone. If you’re looking for a great dripping setup that’s reasonably priced then I highly recommend the combination of the IGO-W5 and VLS Crest Cap.