“Vaping” is the common colloquial term for smoking electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. Invented in China in 2003, they work by releasing a nicotine-based chemical aerosol, which is made by heating a liquid inside a cartridge. This means that users avoid inhaling smoke and tar in to the lungs, and are therefore considered to be generally healthier than conventional cigarette smoking. Initially developed in a laboratory, their sales in the last decade have increased at an incredible rate, with the e-cigarette market now thought to be worth over six billion dollars.

The best vape pens cost around fifty dollars, with a refill cartridge costing less than a quarter of that price. While this may seem expensive though, a single cartridge will last a 20-a-day smoker just under a week, meaning that this replacement habit for smoking comes in at a fraction of the total price. It is also worth considering that a lot of the best vape pens nowadays combine the pen and cartridge (dubbed a “cartomizer”), making them completely disposable, although these of course are cheaper than the fifty dollars one might pay for a permanent vape pen.

The exact mechanism of an e-cigarette is reasonably simple. An atomiser, or aerosol spray, is fitted with a tiny heating coil. This coil heats the liquid contained within the pen when the user inhales, due to a sensor in the pen. Most vape pens light up when this occurs, through the presence of an LED light on or inside the pen. Vape pens are charged with a charger, and the best vape pens are USB-powered, meaning that a user is able to charge their e-cigarette in their car or at home. When the smoker inhales, it is a flavoured vapour – hence the term “vaping” – which they inhale, and then visibly exhale. The notable difference between this and smoking is that the vapour is not smoke-based, pleasant-smelling and is quick to dissipate.

The combination of the lack of smoke and the speed that the vapour disappears has contributed enormously to the popularity of electronic cigarettes. The reduction in health risks was hailed as a major breakthrough in what has become a global battle against smoking. This has been offset in recent times by criticisms, though. Vape pens still contain nicotine, and other chemicals which, while present in small amounts, are either unregulated or, in the case of certain manufacturers, not listed. As a relatively new product, there is a general lack of scientific research on the health risks that may be attached to vaping, but this is at great odds with cigarette smoking, which has well-documented, and often fatal risks. For now, the vaping market continues to grow and grow, and newly-developed technologies and chemical combinations can only serve to move the product in the right direction in terms of assured safety.

Of course, with such an established market comes the issue of choice. There are a great many brands on the market today – 500 or more. This brings about the dilemma of which to choose. Below are a few of the best vape pens on the market today.

Aspire K3 Vape Pen Starter Kit

One of the best vape pens in terms of starter kits, the Aspire K3 comes with a case, main pen, cartridge and a choice of batteries – one being more expensive than the other, but with a longer battery life. It has a carbon fibre coating, and the box comes with two pens, making it exceptional value for a new user, with an economical price point of $20-$30.

Aspire CF-VV+

Another entry from Aspire, this may not be the most attractive option on the market, but it is one of the three best vape pens in terms of advertised battery life, making it ideal for more nomadic types who may spend longer periods of time away from electrical supplies on holidays, for example. It comes as part of a kit, costing $70-$80.



At $28 it isn’t going to break the bank, but the Kanger has the looks and the elegant design to fool onlookers in to thinking it cost an awful lot more. One of the smallest and thinnest popular vape pens around, it comes with a USC charger if bought as part of a kit, and even this extra addition only brings the price up to around $40.

Vaporfi Pro 3 Starter Kit

An entry on the list for those who prefer simplicity. This pen doesn’t come with variable voltage or any options, preferring just to focus on the quality of vape, and in terms of that alone, it is one of the best vape pens on the market for 2017, and a favourite in the US. With a tank costing just $15 with most retailers, it isn’t hard to see why.

Kandypens Prism Plus

Dubbed a “next-generation” vaporiser, the Kandypens Prism Plus is a wax pen – that is, it vaporises wax concentrates rather than standard liquids, which are considered to be a better quality. It packs some serious power, so beware head rushes. The cost might take your breath away at just under$100, but this is a powerful, elegant vape pen with a lifetime warranty and flexibility in terms of the content of your cartridge. For this price you would expect the Prism Plus to be up there with the best vape pens available, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Juul Vape Pen

It tagline “designed for smokers” aims the Juul squarely at those who are looking to move away from traditional smoking, but who still want a comparable experience. Its design stands out from the rest in that it looks like a USB pen drive rather than a traditional e-cigarette. It is simple to use, and the cartridges are pre-filled with the liquid, which is referred to as a nicotine salt. The nicotine content is higher than in other vape pens on this list, which is where the assurance that it is “for smokers” comes from. Coming in at $50 for a starter kit, this is probably the best vape pen, pound for pound.

Hopefully this list will narrow the choice down for first-time users, but getting in to vaping is much like starting smoking in terms of becoming familiar with brands and choices. Trial and error is the way to go in order to find the pen that will deliver the right experience for you.