While electronic cigarettes take many forms, they each generally employ the same basic components: a mouthpiece/drip tip, a heating element, a rechargeable battery, and various electronic circuits.
CLEAROMIZER / CARTOMIZER
A clearomizer is a term used to describe a component in some types of electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are devices that mimic the process of smoking a standard tobacco cigarette by heating up liquid into a vapor format that smokers can inhale. This vapor can contain nicotine levels equivalent to a traditional cigarette or adjusted levels or even no nicotine at all depending upon the type of cartridge purchased. Clearomizers are popular components of electronic cigarettes because they allow smokers to see the entire process of inhaling the vapor through the ecigarette.
The easy way to define a clearomizer is to say that it is a see-through or transparent cartomizer. A cartomizer is part of the electronic cigarette that contains the cartridge and the atomizer. The cartridge is a small plastic container that is essentially the mouthpiece of the cigarette. It also contains the liquid portion that is either a pre-filled cartridge or an empty reservoir where the eliquid is poured. The atomizer is the coiled part of the electronic cigarette that actually heats up in order to turn the liquid into vapor. It also contains a filament that sucks in the liquid to be heated. So the major distinction between a clearomizer and a cartomizer is that the clearomizer allows smokers to see the entire process of the eliquid being heated and turned into vapor for them to inhale.
There are some details that make clearomizers more distinct than simply being transparent cartomizers. One distinction that makes a clearomizer different from a cartomizer is the different types of materials that are used. In order to keep the clearomizer transparent a very lightweight plastic is used that is somewhat breakable. The plastic is much thinner than traditional electronic cigarettes. A cartomizer is generally made from very thick plastic that is hard to break and it is full of a polyfill filling that helps keep things in place and determine when the liquid is running low. Clearomizers do not generally have any filling because it makes it harder to see but they occasionally will have small amounts of clear polyfill filling.
Most smokers who choose a clearomizer do so in order to view the process of the atomizer which is an incredible process to observe. It is also beneficial for smokers because they are able to see when the liquid is running low and replace the cartridge as needed. Clearomizers are also a popular option because they tend to be bigger in size which means that they can store more of the liquid in them and do not need to be replaced quite as often. A major reason that smokers choose not to use a clearomizer is that it is more breakable due to the thinner plastic casing. When electronic cigarettes break the spill can be messy and odorous. Some smokers dislike clearomizers because the flavor is less potent than cartomizers but this is a subjective issue that many smokers do not notice at all.
The heating element serves to vaporize the liquid in the mouthpiece so that it can be inhaled. This component is referred to in the industry as an "atomizer". Atomizers have a finite life of about one to two Weeks (on average) and are one of the recurring expenses associated with electronic cigarettes. Some models combine an atomizer and pre-filled disposable component referred to as a "cartomizer".
BATTERY AND ELECTRONICS
Most electronic cigarettes employ a lithium-ion rechargeable battery to power the heating element. Battery life varies depending on the battery type and size, frequency of use, and operating environment. Many different battery charger types are available, such as wall outlet, car, and USB chargers. The battery is generally the largest component of an electronic cigarette.
Some electronic cigarettes employ an electronic airflow sensor to automatically activate the heating element upon inhalation, while other models require the user to press a button while inhaling. Various other electronic circuits are usually employed as well, such as a timed cutoff switch to prevent overheating and a colored LED to signal activation of the device and also to mimic the glow of a cigarette's end tip.
Traditionally, electronic cigarettes have utilized an electronic means of activation. This involved the use of small tactile switches, vacuum switches and the related wiring and electronics necessary to run them. Users soon discovered these could be unreliable. With the advent of the “apv” (advanced personal vaporizer) or "mods", several manufacturers have created all-mechanical electronic cigarettes that eliminate the use of any wiring, solder or electronics in an effort to improve switch reliability.
While some larger electronic cigarette models employ a user-replaceable standard-size battery cell, many models are too small to house a standard-size cell and instead require a proprietary component made by the electronic cigarette manufacturer. For those models, the battery and electronic components are housed within a single replaceable part, which is still generally referred to in the industry simply as the "battery".