Vaping has officially entered its golden age. And it’s about time: combustible cigarettes stink, are outrageously expensive, and they’re terrible for your complexion. But with all the choices and improvements in vaping technology, picking out your first vaping device can feel more confusing than it should. Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know before getting into the vapor game.

How do E-Cigarettes work?

Inside pretty much every e-cigarette, you’ll find a few key components: a battery, an atomizer and heating coil, a pressure sensor, and e-juice. It works pretty simply: when you suck on it, the pressure sensor tells the battery to send power to the heating coil, which heats the juice and instantly converts it into vapor (magic!), and soon you’re in business. You can do it indoors, if you want, assuming local laws allow. Maybe even in bed! (Luxury.)

What Are My Choices?

Until recently, e-cigarettes could be separated into two basic categories: “cigalikes,” which are designed to look and feel like old school combustible cigarettes — and come in both rechargeable and disposable versions — and tank/mod devisces, which are those things that look sort of like elaborate Steampunk pens.

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While cigalike e-cigs are convenient to buy and simple to get started with, they’re also not known for providing a particularly satisfying experience. They tend to produce minimal vapor, and often don’t deliver the kind of back-of-the-throat sensation you’re probably used to with a good, old-fashioned combustible cigarette. They’re not always that much cheaper than combustible cigarettes, particularly the disposable ones, and if you get the wrong kind, they might prove about as pleasurable as sucking on a pencil.

Meanwhile, tank/mod devices produce a decent amount of vapor and offer a wide range of customization. Since you refill the juice yourself, you can be a mixologist about your preferred vape-flavor as well as the level of nicotine you’re getting. (Just try not to spill.)

True mod-heads also get into customizing the device itself, rebuilding the coils, and micromanaging every part of the experience. Which is ... cool if you’re into that kind of thing. But kind of a pain if you’d rather not fiddle with a bunch of mechanical components and vials of e-juice.

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Of course, these products aren’t for everyone, and most smokers who try vaping go back to cigarettes. But now there’s a third choice: the JUUL, which is changing the vaping game for good. It’s as convenient as a cigalike, as satisfying as a cigarette, and also has a few tricks that make it its own totally different beast.

What Makes the JUUL Different?

  • It’s super-easy. You pop in a cartridge of e-juice and start puffing. The juice comes in four flavors, with options for both traditionalists and more adventurous types.
  • It looks cool. The JUUL has a sleek, modern-looking design that resembles neither a toy cigarette or a Victorian contraption. The designers (the same people who brought you PAX) actually took some time to make this thing look distinctive.
  • The JUUL produces satisfying, consistent vapor. Plus, the device’s proprietary firmware regulates temperature to ensure that it’s always delivering just the right amount of power, which makes the flavor quality just as consistent.
  • It actually feels like smoking. Just like tobacco cigarettes, the JUUL uses nicotine salts, rather than the freebase nicotine that most other e-cigarettes use. Because of the nicotine salts, the nicotine delivery is akin to a cigarette.

Ready to start vaping? Get yourself a JUUL now.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between PAX Labs and Studio@Gawker.