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Automatic vs. Manual E-cigarette Batteries – What Is the Better Option?

If you’ve been reading about e-cigarettes and browsing all the different models and accessories, you’re probably already wondering about the differences between automatic and manual batteries. Believe it or not, most casual vapers don’t even know there are two types of e-cigarette battery types to choose from. They usually start out with the automatic version, because it’s easier to use and mimics analogs almost to perfection, totally unaware that there’s also a manual option that offers a completely different vaping experience. To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together a list of differences between the two models.

Let’s start with the way they work. Automatic batteries are powered by drag. They have a built in switch that activates each time you draw on the e-cigarette. Manuals, on the other hand, are button-operated, which means you have to hold down a small button on the side in order to activate them. If you’re looking for a smoking-like experience, the automatic seems like the obvious choice, but there members of the vaping community who swear by their manual batteries, as well.

Automatic battery electronic cigarettes are clearly more popular than manuals, for understandable reasons. Most casual vapers are ex-smokers looking for a less dangerous alternative similar to their old dirty habit. They want to get their nicotine hit as easily as possible, without fiddling with buttons, complicated mods or things like dripping. With the automatic e-cigarette battery, they can just screw on a cartomizer and just puff whenever they feel the need, just like they did in their smoking days. It’s clearly the more user-friendly option, despite its technical shortcomings. Another advantage of using an automatic, is the possibility to blend in with ease. Having to push a button every time you draw on your e-cig is bound to attract unwanted attention, but automatics can pass as simple analogs to the untrained eye. A lot of e-cig companies have tried to copy the look of tobacco cigarettes, from the filter-like cartomizers to the ash-like tip that light bright red, specifically to make them more appealing to smokers. And last but not least, automatics have a lower electricity consumption, which allows for a longer vaping period between charges.

Unfortunately, automatic batteries also have a few weakness, the biggest of which is their vulnerability to e-liquid leaks. If you’re using prefilled cartomizers, the chances of juice leaking into the battery are pretty slim, but if you plan on refilling cartridges yourself, try not to over do it with the e-liquid, as there’s a risk of it leaking into the battery and ruining it. Luckily, companies like Bloog E-Cigarettes and Smokeless Image have introduced sealed automatic batteries, which offer a greater protection against leaks. They are not completely liquid-proof, but they are definitely a big improvement from the original automatics.

Another shortcoming of the automatic battery is the need for primer puffs before inhaling, in order to heat up the atomizer. Your e-cigarette will work even without a primer puff, but if you’re craving a mouth-full of vapor, it’s recommended you take a couple of short draws before inhaling, to prepare the heating element. Smokers puff on their analogs all the time, so for many, this really isn’t a very big problem. The same cannot be said about certain batteries’ unresponsive switches. Although high quality batteries usually have very sensitive switches that activate at the slightest draw, cheap batteries often require the user to use a lot of drag to activate the device, which can be very frustrating. That’s why it’s very important to do your research before buying your first e-cig kit.

Lastly, there’s the issue of random activation caused by outside factors. Strong winds, or loud noises like the powerful bass in a club can cause the battery to power on and get depleted without you even knowing. I personally haven’t noticed this problem with any of the batteries I’ve used, but a lot of people have been complaining about it on vaping forums, so I thought I should mention it.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of manual batteries. Pushing a button in order to activate the battery might be a bit cumbersome for some people, but it does also present a series of advantages. First of all, it give users a lot more control over their vaping experience. Holding the button down a few moments before actually drawing on the electronic cigarette eliminates the need for primer puffs, ensuring you’re always rewarded with a nice thick cloud of vapor. Manual e-cigarette batteries are also completely e-liquid-proof, meaning you don’t have to worry about them being damaged by leaking juice, which makes them the perfect choice for vaping techniques like dripping.

But manual batteries are not perfect. Apart from the need to constantly push the button when you need to puff on your e-cig, there are a few other things you should be aware of before spending your money on such a device. While larger models like the eGo or the eGo tank system have a shut off system that allows you to press the button five times in a row to power off the battery, so it doesn’t turn on by accident, most analog-size electronic cigarettes don’t have that option. That means they can power on in your pocket, in your purse or in any other crammed space, wasting energy or suffering serious damage. Also, manual batteries tend to run out of juice faster than automatics, because of those extra seconds wasted on priming the atomizer.

As you can see, both battery types come with a set of advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice you make depends a lot on what’s more important to you. If you’re looking for a smoking-like device that’s easy to use and doesn’t make you stick out like a sore thumb, the automatic e-cigarette battery is perfect. On the other hand, if you want more control over the amount of vapor you get with each draw, better protection against e-liquid leaks and don’t mind having to push a button when you vape, the manual is just what you need. I personally use both kinds – the automatics for going out, and the manuals for great control in the comfort of my own home.



4 Comments/Reviews

  • joe says:
    5 stars

    Best review I read so far and its right on the money regarding auto / Manuel

    I’m lucky to be able to smoke when I work witch does lead to a lot of smoking. The Auto egos (hard to find) makes it possible for me to work more; I find that when I’m working I produce less work when using a Manuel… Lucky i’m the BOSS

    • jr says:

      Manual is the proper spelling… and your the boss??

      • Michael says:
        5 stars


        Good thing “you’re” not the boss, jr. Considering Joe’s “Manuel” was capitalized, he’s likely the victim of auto correct.

        Thanks for the great review, I was hesitant about buying a manual, but I think I’ll pick one up and give it a shot.

  • Vapor Octavia says:

    Hi Michelle, I’ve been vaping on and off for about 6 months. I’m using an eleaf Istick and i’m looking to use something more advanced without using a drip Mod, I was wondering if you have any suggestions?Thank you Michelle for your time.

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