New vapers: key vape word definitions

We want to help new vapers understand what they are reading in vape device product descriptions, so this blog post is just for you.

When you are new to vaping, we understand how difficult it can be to look at a vape product description online or even have a conversation about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) with someone who vapes and not get lost with all the strange vape words they use. For example, what’s a tank, mod, e-juice, coil or vape battery?

So we defined some of the common vape terms in this blog post to help you understand the vape language and most vapouriser product descriptions.

If you don’t want to read through all the vape word definitions, click on the vape term below and it will take you straight to the meaning.

  1. Vape
  2. Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette)
  3. Vapouriser
  4. Starter Kit
  5. Replaceable batteries
  6. External battery
  7. Built-in battery
  8. Mod
  9. Atomiser
  10. Tank
  11. Pod
  12. Atomiser heads
  13. Coils, coil heads
  14. Built-in or replaceable coils
  15. Coil types
  16. Drip tip (mouth piece)
  17. Battery capacity (mAh)
  18. Direct lung (DL) vaping
  19. Mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping
  20. E-liquid or e-juice
  21. Vape juice
  22. Vapour e-liquid

Definition of vape, vapouriser, electronic cigarette, e-cigarette.

Vape / vapouriser / electronic cigarette / e-cigarette

All of these words mean pretty much the same thing. They are interchangeable names for an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette); a non-combustible device that turns specially-created liquid into vapour, simulating a traditional cigarette puff. For legal purposes however, we must say that e-cigarettes are not an approved smoking cessation device in Australia… Yet.

Vape is also used as the verb describing what you do with an e-cigarette, for example,

Q: ‘Do you smoke?’

A: ‘No, I vape.’

Definition for starter kit regarding vaping

Starter Kit

Anything referred to as a vape kit or starter kit simply means you have all the components you need in a kit for an e-cigarette to vape, apart from the vape juice e-liquid. For example, in a standard starter kit you get a mod/battery, tank/pod, possibly coils and a charging cable. However, 'starter kit' can also refer to kits that are recommended to beginner vapers which is how we are using the term on our site.

External battery / replaceable battery

It’s important to note that some kit devices are powered by one or more replaceable batteries, also referred to as external batteries which are not usually included in the kit. Our product descriptions will always let you know if batteries are required and/or not included, and there will be a link to the recommended battery.

Built-in battery

When the kit has a built-in battery, the battery is the mod so no external battery is needed.

All kits however run on a battery regardless of whether it is built in or not. Therefore, we strongly recommend you have knowledge on battery safety, for your own safety. Luckily for you, we have a blog post on battery safety to get you started.

Definition for a mod or vape mod.


A vape mod refers to the part of the e-cigarette that firstly, provides power to the vape. Some are powered by removeable/replaceable batteries and others have built-in batteries. In pod kits that have a built-in battery, the mods are commonly referred to as a ‘battery’ since they are usually very simple to use and don’t have much more user function other than providing power.

Secondly, the mod also houses the brains of the vapouriser – an electronic board and chip, similar to a computer or phone, that governs its power output, modes and settings.

In most mods, there will be:

  • a fire button that is pressed to start producing vapour, turn the e-cigarette off/on or access the menu
  • the charging port (Micro USB or USB Type C)
  • a small screen
  • a battery door
  • up and down buttons to adjust the wattage
  • a battery indicator light.

Not all mods have the same features. Some simpler kits such as pod kits, may not have a screen, wattage buttons, battery door, a screen or even a fire button.

Definition for vape tank, pod, atomiser.

Tank / pod / atomiser

A vape tank/atomiser or pod refers to the part of your vapouriser that you inhale vapour from. They sit on top of the mod and are usually removeable. Tanks/pods are also what house your vapour e-liquid and coil, both of which are crucial to vaping.

They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colours and designs, some of which are made specifically for one type of vape mod or kit while others can be used on all different types of mods. There are also different kinds of vape experience that may be required to use certain tanks. For example, if you are brand new to vaping, don't buy a tank that says it requires you to build your own coil (such as rebuildable dripping atomisers [RDAs]).

Whatever they look like however, all tanks have pretty much the same components:

  • mouth piece or drip tip (built in or removeable)
  • coil – built in or replaceable
  • e-liquid filling port/hole
  • space to hold e-liquid
  • a way to connect to a mod.

Definition for vape coils, coil heads, atomiser heads.

Coils / coil heads / atomiser heads

Coils are small, metal, cylindrical (mostly) and usually have white cotton in the centre. We consider coils to be the heart of your e-cigarette since without a coil, your e-cigarette is pretty much useless.

Coils are housed in your pod or tank and once powered by your mod, they vapourise your e-liquid and create vapour. They are also the only part of your vapouriser that has a small life span (from a few days up to a few weeks) since they eventually stop vapourising well or burn.

It's important to read the description of your vaping device to know which coils to buy as each e-cigarette brand will have their own coils.

Built in or replaceable coils

Coils can be built in to a pod or tank which usually makes those pods or tanks disposable. This means, when your coil no longer works well, the entire pod or tank must be disposed and replaced with a new pod or tank. Very few tanks are disposable but there are lots of pod vape kits that use disposable pods which some vapers prefer for ease of use. Our pod kit descriptions will mention whether it has disposable pods or pods with replaceable coils.

The most popular coils are replaceable which means you simply take out the old coil and replace it with a new one while keeping the original pod or tank. This may take some getting-use-to if you’re new to vaping but once you get the hang of it, you pretty much have the hang of using most tanks on the vape market.

Coil types

Coil types are usually categorised by resistance (ohm) and wattage range (and core type, such as ceramic, mesh etc but that's a discussion for another blog). Coil types govern the warmth of your vapour, size of vapour clouds, vapour e-liquid flavour and your style of vaping. For example, a coil with lower resistance (such as 0.2 ohm) will produce warmer vapour, large vape clouds, great flavour from your e-liquid and would be more suitable with a tank or pod that has a large airflow hole.

There are also rebuildable coils that you build yourself but if you are new to vaping, these types are not suitable for you as they require knowledge of Ohms Law and use of advanced vaping devices.

Definition for vaping drip tip, mouth piece.

Drip tip (mouth piece)

This is usually the top part of your tank or pod – the part that you vape from. Drip tips or mouth pieces can look vastly different across vape kits but they essentially all do the same job.

Some drip tips are removable, while others are built in to a pod or tank. Some of the drip tips that are removeable can be replaced with the same size customised drip tip so you can personalize the look of your vapouriser and type of vape.

Most standard drip tips (not the duck-billed mouth pieces similar to the yellow pod kit pictured above) come in two different sizes, 510 or 810 and the size refers to the diameter of the connector at the bottom. Each tank or pod will only be suited to one size of drip tip, however you can purchase a drip tip adapter for some tanks to use a smaller or bigger drip tip than the tank is made for.

Definition for battery capacity, milliamps per hour (mAh).

Battery capacity (mAh)

Every single vapouriser kit that has a built-in battery will tell you what your battery capacity is in milliamps per hour, abbreviated as mAh. Simply put, the more mAh your battery has, the longer you can vape before having to recharge it. However, more mAh also means it takes longer to charge it up.

Low mAh is perfect for kits that don’t require much power to operate since the battery will still last you a long time (depending on how much you vape). For example a pod kit with high-resistance coils (such as 1.2 ohm) and lower battery capacity will still last you most of the day as it requires less power to operate.

Definition for direct-lung vaping, DL and DTL.

Direct-lung (DL) vaping

DL or DTL (direct-to-lung) vaping is where you inhale vapour straight to your lungs from your e-cigarette. You literally breathe in while taking in vapour. This is not like smoking a normal cigarette.

It’s important to note that if you like this style of vaping, you should look for tanks, pods or kits that handle higher wattage, lower resistance coils and have ample airflow.

Definition for mouth-to-lung vaping, MTL.

Mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping

MTL vaping is most popular among those who want a vapour draw style that best resembles smoking a traditional cigarette. MTL vaping is usually a tighter draw, where vapour is held in the mouth briefly before being inhaled to the lungs.

If you prefer MTL vaping, look for tanks, pods or kits with airflow that can be restricted, lower wattage, higher resistance (ohms) coils and a slimmer mouth piece or drip tip.

Definition for e-liquid, vapour e-liquid, vape juice, e-juice.

E-liquid / e-juice / vape juice / vapour e-liquid

Simply put, this refers to the specially-made liquid that you use to vape. Flavours vastly vary, from sweet to savoury and even tobacco and menthol! There are also probably way more e-liquid brands than there are e-cigarette device brands so you’re bound to find a flavour and brand that suits you. Lucky for you, you can use the filters on our site to view your style of flavour, such as fruity, tobacco and so on.

E-liquid, although now known by many abbreviated versions of its name, is still primarily made of a combination of vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG) and food-grade flavouring. The e-liquid manufacturers however are getting so creative with this mix, you wouldn’t believe the kinds of delicious flavours they come up with, such as one of our favourites, Cherry Cola Bottles by The Vapour’s Dozen (as sweet as the cola lollies you may remember).

Make sure you buy your vape juice from reputable vape stores! Black market e-liquids can include harmful additives that can be extremely detrimental to your health and even lead to death! Seriously, Google ‘EVALI’ which was caused by vitamin E acetate in black-market THC liquid.

In Australia, nicotine e-juice is illegal to sell (as at 2021). It’s also illegal to use and buy without a doctor’s prescription, and we recommend checking out your local state laws to get a full understanding of vape laws in your area.

So that’s the list of the basic vape terms that can make starting your vape life easier. Let’s test your knowledge… If you understand what we are talking about in the following paragraph, you’ve passed!

'I bought an e-cigarette yesterday with disposable pods. It’s so easy to use since I don’t have to change coils myself or have any knowledge of coil types. It has a built-in 500mAh battery and a nice, slim drip tip which is perfect since I like MTL vaping. The mod is also compact and simple, with only a fire button to push so I don’t have to muck around with changing settings. Seriously a great vapouriser to use and I only have to charge it once a day!'

So how’d you go? Did you get lost in translation? If not, good on you! Now you’re ready to read vape product descriptions and have a better idea of what they are referring to. There is always further information you can read to help you use your e-cigarette in our Frequently Asked Questions page and other Vape Education blog posts.

If there’s a word we’ve missed, haven’t made clear enough or you would like some more vape-related assistance, please contact us by email or send us a message on Facebook. We’re always keen to help a fellow vaper!

Welcome to vaping!

The VapourOxide Crew.


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