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Why Is Vaping So Expensive?

May 17, 2020 7 min read

Why Is Vaping So Expensive

If you think that vaping is expensive in 2020, you should thank your lucky stars that you didn’t start vaping a decade ago. In those days, it wasn’t uncommon for a tiny e-cigarette – one that looked like a tobacco cigarette – to come in a starter kit costing more than $100 and including barely enough refill cartridges for even a week of vaping.

Times have really changed – and yet, the average daily cost of vaping has really started to creep up over the last few years. You may find that you pay nearly as much to vape as you would pay for cigarettes, and vaping was never supposed to be that way.

So, why is vaping so expensive, and is there anything that you can do to get your costs under control? As it turns out, there’s actually quite a lot that you can do. Let’s learn more.

Why Is Vape Juice so Expensive?

E-Liquid Expensive

Are you paying too much for your e-liquid?

E-liquid is probably the area in which the vaping industry has seen the biggest price decreases over the years. There was a time in which vapers paid upwards of $1.00 per milliliter of vape juice. The typical price for e-liquid today is more in the range of 13-20 cents per milliliter.

The More E-Liquid You Use, the More It Costs

Do you sometimes feel as though you’re paying more than that – maybe because you’re finding that your bottles of vape juice no longer last quite as long as they once did? Well, there’s a simple explanation for that; your bottles aren’t lasting as long as they used to because you’re using more e-liquid than ever.

Today’s sub-ohm tanks really are no joke. If you’re using a modern tank with a mesh coil, you’re enjoying some truly enormous clouds. Well, those clouds have to come from somewhere; the more vapor your device produces, the more quickly you’ll use your e-liquid.

Premium E-Liquids Have Premium Production Expenses

The other factor that makes e-liquid expensive is the quality of the product itself. Vape juice can be an extremely profitable product for the companies that make it, but it’s only profitable after those companies have recouped their production expenses – and those costs can be considerable.

You may have heard the advertising slogan “better ingredients, better pizza” at one time or another. Well, the phrase ought to be “better ingredients, better vape juice.”

How many different flavors do you suppose is in a typical bottle of e-liquid with a flavor profile like blue raspberry cotton candy? You might assume that it’s two ingredients, right? A blue raspberry flavor and a cotton candy flavor?

The truth is that, for a true premium e-liquid brand, the creation of a new flavor is nowhere near that simple. Firstly, the brand might sample blue raspberry and cotton candy flavors from several different flavoring companies to find the ones that are absolutely perfect.

The e-liquid maker might find, though, that none of those flavors are quite right – maybe the perfect blue raspberry note for a given e-liquid is actually a blend of blue raspberry flavors from several different providers. It might surprise you to learn that even a seemingly simple flavor profile from a premium vape juice brand can actually contain dozens of individual flavoring components.

A bottom-shelf vape juice maker, on the other hand, may use just a couple of flavoring components and cover the blend’s shortcomings with plenty of sweetener. Naturally, such an e-liquid would cost less than a premium product. You will also taste the difference.

Why Are Coils So Expensive?

Vape Coils Expensive

Vape coils aren't so expensive if you build them yourself.

While vape juice has become less expensive over the years, you definitely can’t say the same about vape coils. A typical box of coils costs around $12-15. It used to be, though, that coils came five to a box. These days, you’re lucky if you get three coils for that price; some brands give you just two coils in a box. If you only get a day or two of use out of a coil, then your daily vaping expenses are probably out of control.

Today’s Coils Are More Expensive to Produce

Today’s vape coils are more complex than they’ve ever been. Back when coils came five to a box, a typical coil was assembled from one or two twisted wires stuck inside a metal can with some cotton.

These days, though, coils are enormous. A modern cloud chasing coil might have three or four strips of metal mesh arranged in a careful pattern and nestled within a blend of cotton and flax fiber for maximum longevity and wicking performance. A modern coil is expensive to produce and even more expensive on the research and development side.

Don’t forget, also, that the vaping community expects a constant flow of new and exciting tank and coil designs. Today’s hot new tank is tomorrow’s old news. Vape manufacturers have to charge as much as they can for their coils, or they’ll never recoup their development expenses.

You’re Burning Your Coils Out Too Quickly

Vape coils are designed to last for several days – weeks, even – each. If you’re replacing your coils every day or two, you’re not getting the durability that the manufacturer intended. So, are you doing something wrong? Probably not. There’s one thing that vape coil manufacturers can’t account for, and that’s the e-liquid you’re using.

Why does your vape juice matter for coil longevity? It’s because a large percentage of today’s e-liquids include sucralose as a sweetener. Sucralose has become incredibly popular because people love the sweetness. Sucralose, however, is terrible for coil life because it doesn’t vaporize cleanly. It creates a residue that becomes darker and thicker as you continue vaping. Eventually, the burned sucralose residue becomes so think that it’s all you can taste when you vape. At that point, the only thing that you can do is replace the coil.

So, what can you do if the cost of coils is making vaping too expensive for you? You have three options.

  • You can stop using e-liquid with sucralose. If you use unsweetened vape juice, you’ll enjoy much better coil life.
  • If you don’t want to stop using sweetened e-liquid, you can build your own coils. When you buy wire and cotton in bulk, a new coil costs a few cents rather than several dollars.
  • If you don’t want to build your own coils or stop using sweetened e-liquid, you can buy a pod-based vape starter kit and switch to nicotine salt e-liquid. Since you’ll be using a higher nicotine strength, you’ll go through less e-liquid. The less vape juice you use, the longer your coils will last – even if you’re using e-liquid with sucralose. (Learn more: What Is Nicotine Salt E-Liquid?)

Why Are Vape Mods So Expensive?

Vape Mods Expensive

Are today's vape mods really so different from last year's devices?

The average cost of a high-quality vape mod has gone down considerably over the past several years. The earliest vape mods with built-in safety protection and the ability to vary voltage or wattage cost well over $100. Today, you don’t need to spend much more than $50 to get a really great box mod. However, there is one crucial difference between vape mods that you should consider before you buy.

Mods With Built-In Batteries Are Expensive for Long-Term Use

One of the reasons why new vape mods are so affordable these days is because many of them have built-in batteries. When your device has a built-in battery, there’s no need to buy batteries separately. You don’t need to pay so much up front.

Buying mods with built-in batteries, however, might have made more sense in the past than it does today. When sub-ohm vaping first became popular, mods with exciting new features were constantly coming out. Today, though, vaping technology is moving at a slower pace. When you look at their features, this year’s box mods aren’t really all that different from last year’s mods; they just have updated styling.

In other words, you don’t really need a new mod every year. If you’re buying mods with built-in batteries, though, you’re almost forced into buying a new device each year because that’s about how long you can expect the battery to last.

If you really want to make your vape mods less expensive over the long term, it’s time to consider a mod with a removable battery. Buying the battery separately might increase your up-front cost a bit, but when the battery eventually stops holding a charge, you can replace that instead of buying a new mod that’s pretty much the same as your old one.

A Refillable Pod System Is the Cheapest Vaping Option

If you want to vape in the absolute cheapest way possible, you should consider the option of ditching your mod and switching to a pod-based vape starter kit with nicotine salt vape juice.

When you switch to a pod system with nicotine salt e-liquid, you’ll use significantly less vape juice than you do now because you’ll be using a higher nicotine strength. That’ll reduce your expenses both because you’ll use less e-liquid and because your coils will last longer.

You’ll also experience throat hit – something that you haven’t felt in a long time if you’ve been using a sub-ohm device. You might find that you feel much more satisfied than you currently do, and you may vape less often as a result.

Want to know more about pod systems? Learn more about why mouth-to-lung vaping is making a comeback among long-term vapers. Read our Lost Vape Orion Q review to hear more about one of today’s hottest refillable pod systems.


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