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ePuffer E-Hookah Review: Sub-Ohm Vaping on a Hookah Pipe

  • April 3, 2017 /
ePuffer E-Hookah Head Review: Sub Ohm Vaping on a Hookaj

On paper, the ePuffer TC100W E-Hookah Head is the ultimate e-hookah bowl--a fully adjustable 100W, sub-ohm, temperature-controlled e-hookah head with a ridiculously large 50ml tank and two replaceable 18650 batteries. Its very existence seems to hinge on the limitations of competing devices.

But how well do these specs stack up in real life? Is the ePuffer E-Hookah Head really as awesome as it sounds, or are all of these neat features just modern-tech overkill?

Well, ladies and gents, you’ve got the questions and I’ve got the answers. It’s time to review the ePuffer E-Hookah Head and see if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be.

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QUICK LOOK


The ePuffer TC100W E-Hookah Head

Tank Size: 50ml

Atomizer: Sub-Ohm, uses temperature control NI200 0.2 ohm coils

Wattage: adjustable, 7W to 100W

​Temperature Control: adjustable, 200F to 600F

Price: $79.99

ePuffer 100w E-Hookah Head

Overall Impression:

As the most hookah-like and customizable e-hookah head on the market right now, the ePuffer TC100W is miles ahead of its competition. Despite some minor flaws, it's an e-hookah head that's totally worth your consideration.

PROS

  • Excellent flavor
  • Easy to use top-fill design
  • Rechargeable batteries are replaceable
  • Battery life is stellar
  • Huge tank means you don't have to fill it as often
  • Provides a smooth draw that's more reminiscent of smoking actual shisha.
  • Temperature control features make a lot of sense of an e-hookah head
  • Wide wattage range let's you dial in the perfect amount of power for a wide variety of e-liquid flavors
  • Price is lower than most competitors, but offers far more features

CONS

  • Charging port location isn't the most ideal
  • Slightly more complicated than most other e-hookah heads
  • Tank is made of high-quality plastic, but plastic nonetheless

What is the ePuffer TC100W E-Hookah Head?

Like the Square E-Head (and its many clones) before it, the ePuffer TC100W is a vaping device that sits on top of a traditional hookah pipe in place of a standard hookah bowl. As is the case with all e-hookah bowls, ePuffer’s device uses e-liquid instead of shisha, and just like all vaping devices, this e-liquid is heated up by a component called an atomizer. The end result is sweet, sweet vapor that travels down through your hookah pipe and into your lungs.

What sets the ePuffer TC100W apart from it’s competitors, though, is that it’s a sub-ohm device. This means that—with the right e-liquid—the TC100W is theoretically capable of producing a more flavorful vape with much, much thicker clouds.

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. The TC100W has quite a few tricks up its sleeve, and we’re going to parse through them—piece by piece.

​Wattage Control

The TC100W has a wattage range of 7W to 100W, adjustable in increments of 0.1W.

So yeah, there's a lot of wiggle room there.

Why is this a big deal? Well, it means you can dial in the perfect setting for a wide range of e-liquid flavors and mixtures.

Granted, this isn't a new concept to e-hookah heads: the Square E-Head and Starbuzz Wireless E-Head both feature either some degree voltage of wattage settings.

But neither one of those devices offers the range provided by the ePuffer TC100W, and neither one allows you to fine-tune your wattage with as much precision.

The trade-off, of course, is you're going to have to fiddle around more with the TC100W to find certain sweet spots for your favorite e-liquid. But having the option to customize your vaping experience ​will probably make this particular inconvenience moot for most people.

Temperature Control

If a wide wattage range wasn't enough, the ePuffer TC100W also features temperature control: from 200 degrees F all the way to 600 degrees F in increments of 10F. As far as I know, it's the only e-hookah head available right now that can do this.

If you don't know what temperature control is, here's a (very) quick summary: temperature control prevents your atomizer coils from heating up past a certain point. This makes sure things like dry hits never happen, while simultaneous improving the life of your coil and the batteries in your device.

It makes perfect sense to have temperature control on an e-hookah head, and it works just as advertised on the ePuffer TC100W. I like to keep the temperature at lower levels--around 300F to 350F--for the most consistent, hookah-like experience.

Again, though, this is yet another variable to fiddle with. While it's hard to complain about the added benefit of such a great feature (that's implemented so well), it's important to note that this ain't your daddy's e-hookah head. The ePuffer means serious business, and you're going to have to play with it for a while to get it where you want it.

(By the way, if you're still confused as to what temperature control really is in vaping, check out this quick article from MistHub.)

Unboxing the ePuffer TC100W

ePuffer e-hookah unboxing

The ePuffer TC100W shipped in a nice sturdy box, which is commonplace these days when it comes to e-cig-tech related products. Inside, I found the main e-hookah head unit with a pre-installed NI200 0.2 ohm atomizer, two battery compartment covers, a USB-based charging cable, a hookah-stem adapter, and a spare atomizer. Not in the box—but included in the order parcel, were two 18650 2500mAh rechargeable batteries. Not included anywhere in my order—strangely enough—were operating instructions. Thankfully, ePuffer customer support quickly remedied this and sent me a user guide in PDF format via email.

Design and Build Quality

The first thing I noticed about the ePuffer TC100W is that it doesn’t really look like a hookah bowl. It’s a tall device—with the hookah-stem adapter attached, it has at least two inches on the Volt E-Vapor and Square E-Head. It sports a sleek, cylindrical design that—oddly enough—almost reminded me of 1970s science fiction if not for the prominent ePuffer branding at the front of the device.

The thing that the TC100W resembles most is a vape mod kit—albeit a much heftier one that’s meant to go on top of a hookah. It has two distinct and detachable pieces: a tank, and a battery mod base. Let’s take a closer look at each.

ePugger E-Hookah controls

The E-Liquid Tank

The tank itself is made out of clear, hard plastic, with a vapor-exhaust tube visibly present in the center. It’s all closed off by a metallic top, featuring a magnetic cover that easily pops off with just a little fingernail pressure. Removing this cover reveals an e-liquid drip hole plugged in by a rubber stopper.

That right there—the drip hole at the top of the device—is a really nice touch. It’s a simple idea, but man, you don’t know how much more convenient it makes everything. With e-hookah heads in the past, you’d have to take the whole thing apart just to refill a tank. With the ePuffer TC100W, you don’t even have to take the device off your hookah—it’s all top-filled! Consider this a definitive plus.

As for that 50ml tank volume, well, it is kind of excessive. Most e-liquid brands max out at 30ml per bottle, so filling up the entire tank would require you to empty out almost two of them. Fortunately, the TC100W has an atomizer that rests underneath the tank, so you don’t actually have to do this—even filling it as low as 10% of its entire capacity will easily do the trick.

Still, I can see several cases where a massive e-liquid tank can be beneficial. For one, it means you don’t have to refill the device as frequently. Since smoking hookah in general is supposed to be a chill affair, not having to change out the ingredients every 30 minutes or so is a useful, welcome feature.

Having a 50ml tank also gives plenty of room to mix and match different e-liquid flavors, another traditional-hookah throwback. Personally, I’m a one-flavor-at-a-time kind of guy, so this one is lost on me. But still—having the option is pretty cool.

The tank isn’t perfect, though. The quality of plastic is much, much higher than the tanks used for e-hookah heads of yore, but it’s still plastic. I would have definitely preferred a glass tank, since they’re compatible with more e-liquid flavors.

The battery mod base​

The base makes up the remaining two-thirds of the device. It’s covered in hard plastic, finished in nice matte-black. It has a good bit of weight to it—not heavy, but just enough to feel substantial. It also balances quite nicely, so you don’t really have to worry about this thing making your hookah top-heavy.

The side of the base features a slim control panel with three buttons and an LCD display…pretty much what you’d expect to find on any sub-ohm box mod. While this does make me miss the convenience of have controls on the top of the device—like what you’ll find with most e-hookah heads—I do appreciate having actual buttons to press. There’s something endlessly endearing about hearing a “click” every time I change a setting.

At the bottom of the base are compartments for 2 rechargeable batteries, which are sealed in by two screw covers. These can be easily removed and screwed back in with a coin (FYI a Dunlop Jazz III guitar pick also works great).

Let’s take a moment and address the second big win for the ePuffer TC100W—removable (and thus, replaceable) batteries. Having internal, non-removable batteries was a big concern I had with last generation’s e-hookah heads. Batteries are not meant to last forever, and they stop working eventually. Having the ability to replace them immediately and positively affects the overall longevity of the TC100W—yet another simple idea that continues to make this device just that more compelling.

There is particular design element that I’m not thrilled with, though: the charging port is placed at the bottom of the base. This means that if you still have a tray attached to your hookah, the power cable has to be bent a little.

I know, I know. This can be easily remedied if I remove the tray, which is completely unnecessary since we’re not burning charcoal. Thing is—I like the tray. I think hookahs look ridiculous without them. I don’t want to remove it, but I also don’t want to have to remove the TC100W every time I need to charge it up.

Charging port location is the one thing I'm not thrilled about

It’s a trivial matter, to be sure, so I can’t really hold it against ePuffer all that much. It may not affect you at all—I just happen to use a smaller hookah. Actually, you probably won’t care one way or another. I’m notoriously stuck in my ways when it comes to hookah aesthetic, so feel free to ignore that bit of grumbling if you deem it silly. I promise I won’t mind.

Using the ePuffer E-Hookah Head

Controls

Anyone who has used a variable box mod before will feel right at home with this device. It's remarkably similar in design and function to products like the MVP2.0 and the eLeaf iStick.

The ePuffer E-Hookah has three control buttons: one multi-function power button, and two control adjustment buttons at the top that toggle wattage and temperature control.

​Turning the device on and off requires you to press the power button five times. This same button is also used to switch between wattage and temperature settings.

The other two buttons are used to adjust the wattage and temperature settings, which, as mentioned earlier, vary between 7W to 100W and 200F to 600F.

Activating the vape is simple: makes sure it's on, and inhale. No additional buttons required--exactly like any other e-hookah head.

Long story short: the ePuffer TC100W is a pretty straightforward, easy to use device--but it's also slightly more complicated than your average e-hookah head. The learning curve is pretty basic, but there's a slight one nonetheless.

Battery Life

According to ePuffer's official description, the TC100W can work up to five hours on a single charge.

During my testing, I found this to be mostly accurate. While I didn't vape for five hours straight--that's just too much, you know?--I was able to turn the unit off an on several times throughout the day for sporadic 20 to 30 minute vaping sessions. I only had to recharge it overnight.

Compared to other e-hookah heads, this is pretty great. I don't think I've ever been able to make it through more than 45minutes with the Square E-Head before having to plug it in.

Look Ma...replaceable batteries!

And hey, if for whatever reason you run out of battery charge while you still need to use it, the ePuffer e-hookah works just as well plugged in.

Overall, battery life is stellar. I have no complaints.

Inhale/Draw​

One big issue people seemed to have with devices like the Square E-Head, the Volt E-Vapor, and Amanoo E-Hookah was draw resistance--you had to pull a little bit harder to get decent vapor production.

Personally, this didn't bother me--it was a little jarring at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

In any case, this is an issue that the ePuffer TC100W doesn't have. The draw is pretty much effortless. It actually reminded me of a properly set up bowl of shisha--the vapor goes down smooth.

It's also a pretty cool vape, which is to be expected since we're sending it through a hookah pipe filled with water.

Honestly, I think out of all the e-hookah heads I've used over the years, the ePuffer TC100W is the most hookah-like when it comes to inhaling vapor. Anyone looking to make the switch is going to be pleasantly surprised.

Vape Quality and Flavor

This is another area where the ePuffer TC100W is way, way ahead of its competition. I found the flavor potential to be absolutely massive with this thing, rivaling (and even sometimes surpassing) that of traditional shisha.

Naturally, flavor is dependent on the e-liquid you're using. And to get the most hookah-like experience possible, you're going to want to use vape juice that's lower on the nicotine and higher on the vegetable glycerin (VG).​

So for my testing, I used a wide variety of max-VG, 3mg e-liquid from assorted vendors.​ In every single case, my lungs were met with more flavor than I've ever experienced from an e-hookah head.

This has everything to do with how powerful the device is. Since we're using using sub-ohm resistance paired with high wattage, the TC100W is capable of vaporizing e-liquid at much hotter (and quicker) levels. The added benefit of temperature control also ensures that the vaporization doesn't exceed preset levels.

Right now the flavor I'm vaping is Guava (a throwback to one of my favorite shisha flavors). Again, I'm using max-VG with 3mg of nicotine. The wattage is set to 45W, and the temperature control is set to 200F--the lowest setting possible. The vapor is cool, and the flavor is massive. I honestly couldn't be happier with it.

Cloud Size​

Unfortunately, this is one area where I was left slightly disappointing. Being a sub-ohm device, I was expecting clouds similar to that of other standard sub-ohm vape mods.

Instead, cloud production is about on par with all other e-hookah heads, sub-ohm or otherwise. I wouldn't call them small, per se--you still get enough to perform classic hookah tricks like the ubiquitous smoke rings--but the clouds are still not quite at traditional shisha/coal levels.

In other words, while the clouds are certainly there, I wouldn't consider the TC100W to be a cloud chasers go-to device. So if clouds are all you're looking for, then you may want to consider something other than an e-hookah head.

*Update*

I'd like to amend a little bit of this criticism really quick. I've been using this little device for a little over three weeks now, and have managed to produce clouds that are significantly better than what I was initially getting.

What I'm doing different: I'm actually using a little more heat on my e-liquid. You see, in my mind I figured that having the temperature control set to 200F (the lowest it can go) would produce cooler smoke, thus better emulating an actual hookah session.

But you know what? Hookah coals actually burn much hotter than that--quality coconut charcoal burns at around 350F--so I changed the temperature control setting to around 300F.

The difference is night and day! The vape is still cool--it is passing through water, after all--but the clouds are so much bigger.

Replacement Parts

The only thing you'll have to replace are the atomizer coils, which ePuffer sells in packs of five for $19.99. This is a pretty fair price for replacement coils, and considerably cheaper than the $10-$15 coils that Square and it's clones demand from your wallet.

As for how often you have to replace them, well, I still haven't figured that one out yet. As of this writing, I'm still using the ones that came built into the device. So we're looking at least a week of moderate-to-heavy vaping--I'll update this with a more specific number ​when I have one.

*Update*
​We're going on week 2, and I'm still using the same coil.

ePuffer sells a 5-pack of replacement coils for $19.99

*Update* Okay, I think I have a (sort of) definitive answer: after 18 days of moderate-to-heavy daily usage, I finally had to change a coil. I was starting to get a little less vapor production, and the flavor was starting to feel a little mute at this point. I probably could have used it for a few more days, but I enjoy quality vape, so yeah.

This is actually pretty good--most of my non-hookah head sub-ohm coils last for about 2 weeks, and I use them a lot less than their e-hookah brethren. If you're a more casual smoker/vape enthusiast, then I can easily see you getting anywhere from three weeks to a month with a single coil.

E-Liquid Options

Being a sub-ohm device, the ePuffer TC100W works best with e-liquid that's higher on the VG and lower on the PG.

For the first couple of weeks, I used max-VG (somewhere around 90VG to 10PG) e-liquid pretty much exclusively. ​I really enjoyed this--throat hit was pretty much non-existent, and the VG sweetened up the draw considerably. It was like inhaling candy!

Recently, though, I've been using e-liquid mixed at 80VG to 20PG (and sometimes 70/30). As far as the ratio goes, it's not a huge difference, but it allows for even more flavor to cut through the overall vape. The throat hit is negligible at best--I don't really notice it at all.

I wouldn't recommend ​going lower than 70VG/30PG, though, if you want to keep the vape super smooth. Any VG level below 70% veers towards e-cigarette levels of throat-hit with this particular device, and that's probably not what you want if you're considering an e-hookah head at all.

Oh, and as per usual, it's a good idea to keep nicotine levels on the lower end. I've mentioned that I use 3mg/ml e-liquid, and I think that this is probably the best option.

Final Verdict

​I started this review suggesting that the ePuffer E-Hookah, on paper, transcends the capabilities of what you'd expect from an e-hookah head.

And you know what? It mostly does. The TC100W isn't without it's flaws--the charging port location still irritates me a little, and I really wish the tank was made from glass--but it does so many other things so well.

What I really love about the ePuffer e-hookah is that it's truly designed with the traditional hookah smoker in mind. The large tank and excellent battery life mean you don't have to keep refilling and recharging the device--it's perfect for extended, extra chill vaping sessions. Having totally variable wattage and temperature control means you can find the absolute perfect setting for just about any e-liquid of your choice. And since it's a sub-ohm device, you can use vape juice that's heavier on VG without sacrificing flavor.

So it right for you? If you're looking for what's probably the most accurate hookah-like vape available right now, and aren't afraid of fiddling around to find perfect settings, then the answer is yes.

If you're simply a cloud-seeker, though, then maybe you should think twice. Cloud production from the TC100W isn't small, but it still doesn't match what you can do with actual shisha--or even some standard vape box mods.

Me? I'm willing to give up massive cloud production in favor of top-notch flavor potential. The ePuffer E-Hookah truly is the next generation of e-hookah heads, and for now, it's my favorite vape device.

Buy the ePuffer TC100W E-Hookah Head today for $79.99