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The Best Vape Starter Kits for Hookah Smokers

  • March 30, 2017 /

There has never been a better time to switch from hookah to vaping. Vaping technology is finally out of its “beta” stage, and the market is now crowded with tons and tons of excellent device options.

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Naturally, this influx of choices is a good thing—you have tons of vaping devices to pick through, and competition has made prices more competitive than ever.

But it comes at a cost: picking the perfect vape device for your needs is now harder than ever, since there are so many good ones!

To make matter just a little sticker, the vape crowd is still heavily slanted towards ex-cigarette smokers. This means that for hookah aficionados like you and me, sifting through information pertaining to the best vape devices is a little, well, let’s say frustrating.

So I went ahead and compiled a very simple list of what I believe to be the best five vape starter kits for hookah smokers looking to make the switch.

Criteria used for this list

Let’s just get this out there now: these aren’t the “absolute best” vaporizers on the market. I don’t think there is such a thing—vaping is super subjective, and everyone has differing preferences.

What we’re detailing here are high quality vape devices that meet certain criteria that hookah smokers would likely appreciate. They are:

  • Simplicity. Bonus features are nice and all, but having endless options sometimes gets in the way of a good, simple vape. Kind of like hookah. None of these devices have an LCD screen or user-variable power control—if it’s not done internally, you won’t find it here.
  • Sub-ohm capable. Though most vape pens branded as e-hookahs feature regular-resistance atomizer coils, this is probably not the most ideal choice if you’re looking to actually mimic real hookah as closely as possible. With the right e-liquid, sub-ohm vape devices produce bigger clouds with more flavor potential—sound familiar?
  • Air-flow control. This is crucial—hookah smokers tend to be picky about how much they’re taking into their lungs. Since pen-style vape devices are small, they don’t give vapor much room to travel before it gets to you--so you want to be able to open up more air-flow. It’s not exactly the same as using a full-fledged hookah hose, but either way we’re attempting to avoid tight draws as much as possible.​

Why choose a starter kit?

Starter kits are great for first-time vapors because they come with everything you need right out of the box—a battery, a tank, atomizers, and a charging cable. You don’t have to worry about mixing and matching the right equipment: all the pieces within a starter kit are designed to be compatible with one another.

But here’s the best reason why you want to begin things with a starter kit: vaping can become very complicated very quickly. As you go further down the rabbit hole, things like electrical resistance and battery safety become crucial learning points.

While I absolutely recommend researching these topics before you start vaping, there’s a good chance you want to get this ball rolling sooner rather than later. Since all the pieces of a starter kit are designed to be compatible with one another, they alleviate many of the risks associated with vaping safety.

Why not simply go with an “e-hookah?”

There are still plenty of devices that are marketed specifically as “e-hookahs,” but unless they’re e-hookah heads (which are still my favorite way to vape), there’s no big difference between pen-style e-hookahs and regular old vape devices.

And like I mentioned earlier, most pen-style “e-hookahs” use regular resistance coils, so they’re not really capable of producing as much vapor as sub-ohm devices. So if you’re looking for the most hookah-like experience as possible (without actually using a hookah pipe), then sub-ohm starter kits are the way to go.

Why sub-ohm?

​Like I said, sub-ohm devices produce can produce more vapor. Why? Because sub-ohm coils burn hotter, making them ideal for e-liquid that's heavy on VG--the stuff that makes your vape smooth and thick.

In other words, if you want the most "hookah-like" experience you can get, high-VG e-liquid is the way to go. And sub-ohm vape devices work exponentially better with high-VG juice.

ePuffer Titan Hybrid Vaporizer

What makes the Titan from ePuffer stand out in the crowd is that it’s a “hybrid” device. So, sans marketing lingo, this means that it’s capable of functioning at both sub-ohm and regular resistance levels.

The starter kit comes with two atomizer coils—one rated at 0.5 ohm and one at 1.0 ohm. Also included are two different drip tips: a wide one for direct-to-lung hits, and a narrower one for mouth-to-lung hits (best for a hookah-like experience). It sports a sleek, extremely compact stainless steel design, featuring a top-loading 3ml tank and a 1000mAh battery with a maximum output of 50 watts.

Hookah smokers will like the Titan because it’s both powerful and simple. It has several features typically reserved for more complicated box mods—like internal power handling and temperature control—but without any of the hassle associated with those advanced setups. When the 0.5 ohm coil is installed, the battery pushes out more power. When the 1.0 ohm is installed, the battery pushed out less. Can’t make it any easier than that!

Reviews of the ePuffer Titan have largely been positive, with most people praising it's power and versatility. Some people have complained that the battery itself is too small--it's only 1000mAh--but testing has shown that it will probably last for an entire day for most people before needing a recharge.



SubVista Kit

If straightforward and wallet friendly sub-ohm vaping is something you desire, then look no further than the SubVista Kit from Vista Vapors. This bad boy features a simple, one-button-does it-all 2200mAh 50-watt battery with a resistance range of 0.3 ohm to 3.0 ohm (it comes with a 0.3 ohm atomizer coil installed). The few bells and whistles it has are reserved for the tank, which has a 4ml capacity and features top-loading—which is always a nice touch.

I actually used one of these bad boys as my backup/travel vape (until I lost it at a Portland Timbers game, but that’s a different story altogether). I really enjoyed have one, and will probably end up replacing it sometime down the line. Considering the low price, I was impressed by the vapor production, and really dug the tank.

Reviews for the SubVista Kit have been unanimously positive as of this writing, with most people citing great vapor production, battery life, and the top-fill design as key standouts.




Aspire K4 Quick Start

Aspire makes great vape products—they even have their very own e-hookah head—and the K4 is no exception. As with all the other products featured on this list, operation is dead simple: charge the battery, fill it up with your favorite juice, and…go. It’s unique in that it uses 0.27 ohm atomizer coils and that it’s 2000mAh battery is rated at 3.2V to 4.2V.

​The really great thing about the Aspire K4 is that there's very little in the way of your e-liquid and atomizer. As a result, you get tons and tons of flavor--something super important to hookah smokers and vape-fanatics alike.

On the downside, the adjustable air-flow doesn't lock into place, so unintentional e-liquid leakage may be inevitable. Still. the great vapor production and superb flavor potential more than makes up for this.



Amigo Mini Sub II

The Amigo Mini Sub II Kit is another great no-nonsense addition to this list, featuring a 1500mAh battery with automatically variable wattage of 5 to 50 watts. It can handle atomizer coils with a resistance range of 0.3 ohm to 3.0 ohm, and it comes with 0.5 ohm coil already installed for you.

With a 1.6ml capacity, the tank is a little on the smaller side, but hey, it features top-loading! I know I keep singing those “top-loading” praises, but it really does make things so much more convenient.

If the Mini Sub II checks all the boxes for you, but you still need a little more “oomph” from your vaping device, then it’s bigger brother—the Amigo Driptide—may be what you’re looking for. It ups the battery to 2200mAh, and features similar 50W maximum power output. It also has a much bigger (and snazzier) top-loading 4ml tank, with a preinstalled 0.5 ohm coil.


SMOK V8 Stick Kit

​And now for something (slightly) different. The SMOK V8 comes with a generous 5ml tank with ingenious swivel-based top filling, and a massive 3000mAh mechanical-style battery rated from 0.1 ohm to 0.5 ohm.

When I first went on a quest to find the most "hookah-like" vaping devices that meet all the criteria I listed earlier, many helpful message-board commentators brought up SMOK products. After trying a friends SMOK V8, I completely understand why: they're solid devices that produce vapor for days.

Granted, this is a more advanced device than the other ones featured on this list, and it's all because of the battery: it's mechanical, which means its unregulated--power starts at 4.2V and decreases as the battery gets weaker. It also means that there's no internal protection to turn the battery off if something isn't quite right.