2019 is nearly over…and what a bittersweet year it’s been. On one hand, it’s been a trying year for this industry (to say the least!). We’ve been getting hit with a barrage of misleading articles/headlines for the past several months. And, of course, equally absurd legislation quickly followed. I won’t elaborate any further because I’d just be preaching to the choir. You guys are already aware of the situation and I’m confident you’re doing your part. Let’s move on to the good stuff.
Back in May, my big brother kicked his 20-year smoking habit and started vaping. I still get a big grin on my face every time I think about it. Despite the attacks on this industry that almost immediately followed, he stuck with it. He’s the smartest person I know, so I shouldn’t be surprised that he saw right through the media’s BS =) As I said, it’s been a bittersweet year, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything…and neither would the thousands of smokers who said goodbye to cigarettes in 2019.
With that in mind, the rest of this article probably seems unimportant. After all, the products that I liked/disliked don’t really matter at all, what matters is the people they helped. But I always like to end the year with something fun. So, here are My Favorite Things from 2019! If you have a minute, please feel free to share your favorites down in the comments section.
My Favorite Things 2019
[DUAL BATTERY MOD]
Let’s start with something easy! My favorite high-powered box mod from 2019 is the Vaporesso Gen. I usually like to go against the grain and provide sleeper picks, but there’s just no getting around this one. It’s a fantastic device. It checks every box for me: well-built, accurate/reliable chipset, classy design, feels good in the hand…I could go on and on. There’s nothing incredibly special or flashy about the Gen, it’s just good!
HONORABLE MENTION: I have a rule: I never buy more than one of the same product. I broke that rule for the Squid Industries Double Barrel V3. It’s such a great device and the V3 is so much more affordable than previous versions. At $40 a pop, I couldn’t help but purchase 2 of them, and they’ve both put up with months of constant use and abuse. If you can find a good deal, do not hesitate!
[SINGLE BATTERY MOD]
I absolutely adore the Uwell Soulkeeper. I’ve always been a fan of the simplicity and form-factor of mech mods; throw in a basic chipset with some protection features…even better!
HONORABLE MENTION: Honestly, I only bought the Vandy Vape Jackaroo because Eightvape had it on sale for around $20. Having owned it for a while now, I’ll say that I’d gladly pay twice that price. It’s a well-built, rugged mod, comparable to the Aegis line. I feel like it got lost in the shuffle this year, but don’t sleep on this one.
YAWN!!! Sorry, but despite all the hype, the Dovpo Topside Dual really is the best squonker I’ve picked up this year. It’s everything I liked about the original Topside with the addition of a second battery…how could I not approve?? To be fair, I still haven’t tried the Wotofo Dyadic; if anyone out there has both of those devices, I’d love to hear which one you prefer.
[RTA – DIRECT LUNG]
Another obvious choice: the Dovpo Blotto RTA. I simply can’t help but love this tank. I’m a big fan of restricted direct-lung airflow, so the Blotto is absolutely perfect for me in that regard (it’s one of the few attys that I run wide open). Shoutout to Bogan, he’s got a winner with this one. Easy to build/wick, smooth airflow, excellent flavor. Forget the hype, just trust the design; it performs as well as you’d expect with that 242° honeycomb airflow.
HONORABLE MENTION: Here’s another product that I only purchased because I got a screaming deal: the Geekvape Zeus X RTA. I wasn’t expecting much, but this one really surprised me. It ended up being my favorite RTA for 2/3 of the year, hands down. If the Blotto doesn’t have enough airflow for you, go with this one…it’s got plenty! I have no complaints with either of those tanks.
Here’s something unprecedented. This is the first year that I’ve had a sub-ohm tank on my list. They’re just not my cup of tea (I prefer rebuildables). But I was fortunate to receive a Horizon Falcon King as a gift…and I was VERY impressed, to say the least. Coil technology sure has come a long way since I purchased my last sub-ohm tank (the original Smok TFV4, back in 2015)! But as much as I enjoyed the Falcon King, it’s not my top pick. The Freemax Fireluke 2 (specifically with the TX2 Coils) actually edged it out for flavor. It’s an underrated tank, probably because it’s most commonly seen as an inclusion with the Freemax Twister Starter Kit (that’s how I acquired mine). Speaking of which, I’m convinced that the Twister Kit is one of the best bargains out there. You’re getting a mod, a fantastic sub-ohm tank, and 2 mesh coils for under 30 bucks! The tank alone is worth the price of admission, in my opinion.
I feel like I’m always about a year behind in this category. When new RDAs hit the market, I’ll patiently wait for the general consensus…and then maybe pull the trigger if a good deal is available. I’ve only tried a few this year, but there are 2 that really stood out. First of all, the Hellvape Passage. Admittedly, I wasn’t very excited about this product when it was released, but I fell in love with it almost instantly. It has excellent flavor for a side-airflow RDA, not to mention incredibly smooth airflow, a leak-resistant design, and a simple build deck. It’s certainly not a game-changer, but it’s very, VERY good.
HONORABLE MENTION (SORT OF!): Realistically, the Asmodus .Blank is probably tied with the Passage, but I generally prefer dual-coil RDAs so I’m putting it here. If you’re looking for an affordable, squonk-friendly RDA, this should be at the top of your shopping list. Not only does it refuse to leak, but it doesn’t even gurgle when you over-squonk. And despite my checkered past with single-coil RDAs, I can’t deny that the flavor and performance are fantastic. My Oumier Wasp Nano is officially retired!
Easily my #1 pick in any category this year: the Exvape Expromizer V4 RTA. I’m an MTL guy and this is as good as it gets in my book. Look, I’ve owned several Kayfuns (including the new Kayfun Lite 2019), and the Expromizer is just flat out better. Sorry, I know that’s an unpopular opinion; if I didn’t already own one, I probably wouldn’t believe it either. Here’s the craziest part: I have a strong dislike for top-airflow atomizers…and now, a top-airflow atty is claiming the top spot on my list! How is this possible?? The Expromizer V4 is just that good. In fact, it might be the most underrated product of 2019.
HONORABLE MENTION: If the Expromizer V4 didn’t exist, the Vandy Vape Berserker V1.5 Mini RTA would EASILY claim the top spot. It’s a phenomenal tank. Every complaint about previous versions has been silenced with this release. For those who aren’t into rebuildables, go with the Innokin Zlide. It has some of the best MTL replacement coils on the market.
Again, I really wish I could be more original…but the Uwell Caliburn is (IMO) the best pod system money can buy. I really don’t need to elaborate because most of you already own one. It’s not a fancy device (it looks like another boring pod system), but it performs flawlessly. This is another product that certainly lives up to the hype.
The types of e-liquids I enjoy are usually dependent on the airflow style I’m using. For that reason, I’m breaking this into 3 parts: MTL, Restricted Direct Lung, and Direct Lung.
MTL: If you’ve been following this site for a while, you probably know what I’m going to say: HFC by Mister-E-Liquid (honey flue-cured tobacco). Not only has it been my reliable ADV for several years, but I’m also convinced it’s the best tobacco flavor that exists. That said, I did stumble on another tasty tobacco flavor this year: Prime 15 by Halo (nutty tobacco). It certainly isn’t going to dethrone HFC, but it’s sitting comfortably in my #2 spot.
RESTRICTED DIRECT LUNG: This category usually belongs to my favorite menthol flavor of the year (I adore menthol in single-coil setups). For 2019, that honor goes to Anti-Venom by 5150 Premium Vape Fluid. Mango, Pineapple, and Menthol…it’s the perfect summertime vape!
DIRECT LUNG: This flavor is so good it’s almost dangerous: Strawberry Macaroon by Dinner Lady. Once I start vaping it, I simply cannot stop! Out of the hundreds of flavors I’ve tried over the years, it EASILY falls into my all-time top 3. If this was the only flavored e-liquid left on the market, I would manage just fine (let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that!). Do yourself a favor and buy 2 bottles ASAP. Trust me, one bottle won’t be good enough.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out 2 amazing companies that have my undying support:
First of all: Mister-E-Liquid. It was a tough year for these guys, being located in the first state to impose a flavor ban. But they didn’t go down without a fight, and I’m happy to say that they’re still thriving in the Michigan area. They’ve been around since the early days (opened in 2010), and this industry simply wouldn’t be the same without them.
I also want to shout out Paul and the team over at Freeman Vape Juice. Their flavors are always on point, their prices are great, their branding is amazing, and I know they truly believe in this industry. If you want to support good people with good intentions, this is the place to go. And if that’s not reason enough, how about this:
Freeman hooked you guys up with a special coupon code (“vapedeals”) that you can use to get 50% off your next purchase!
It’s also worth mentioning that Paul recently launched an advocacy website called WeVapeWeVote.com. Please stop by and create an account; I’m expecting big things from those guys.
I’ve purchased CBD from countless vendors over the years, but Savage CBD is easily my brand of choice. They’ve got it all: high-quality/great tasting products, 3rd party lab results, amazing sales, and free shipping on every order. When asked for CBD recommendations, their name is always the first to get dropped.
[OLDER PRODUCTS I STILL LOVE]
When I find something I like, I stick with it! Here are a few old favorites that have never left my rotation: OBS Cube, Eleaf iStick Pico, Dovpo Topside, Wotofo Serpent Mini RTA, Volcano Lavabox M, HexOhm 3.0, Asmodus Luna, Augvape Merlin RTA, Hellvape Drop Dead RDA, Kennedy 25 RDA, Asmodus Lustro (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few!).
I want to give a big THANKS to the writing team that has been bringing some unique content to the site for the past few months.
LUKAS: In my opinion, this guy is the best e-liquid reviewer on the planet. Nope, forget that whole “in my opinion” part, that’s just a fact! I imagine he’ll one day be writing for Bon Appétit Magazine or something like that, so enjoy his reviews while you can. We are truly lucky to have such a talented individual writing for us.
MJAG: After the proposed flavor bans were announced, Mjag was kind enough to share his DIY knowledge and expertise with the Vape Deals community. I know a lot of us have benefited from that. We hope to hear more from him in the future.
ADDY TUNEY: I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: Addy Tuney is my advocacy hero. For the past few months, he’s been providing us with valuable advocacy news/updates. He’s even declined any form of compensation for his efforts; he just wants to spread the word. Relentless and humble—that’s Tuney! If we had just 20 more people like him, our industry would be saved overnight =) Please do yourself a favor and follow him on Instagram. If you’re interested in DIY, he regularly joins Fresh03 (the DIY master!) on his YouTube streams.
[LET’S WRAP IT UP!]
How do I summarize 2019? Well, the pod system craze seemed to evolve into a slightly different trend this year: AIO Kits (with replacement coils and RBA decks). I think that’s a step in the right direction, as I was never a big fan of closed kits, although they’re great for beginners. Another thing I noticed was the increased availability of standard high-nicotine e-liquids (NOT nic salts). Finally! Personally, I feel like freebase nicotine makes more sense for transitioning smokers, so those options really should be widely available.
I guess that about wraps it up! Once again, I want you to know how much we appreciate your support. Without amazing people like you, this site would cease to exist. As sincerely as I can possibly say it: THANK YOU! Please never hesitate to drop a comment in our posts. We always look forward to hearing your feedback, opinions, and questions. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
My name is Jeremy and I’ve been writing for VAPE.DEALS since early 2016. Digging for deals is what I do! I’m a former 15-year smoker and will always be grateful that I found vaping when I did. This site played a key role in my journey. It kept me interested and excited about vaping during those first crucial months away from cigarettes. Now, my ambition is to pass along that excitement to others; to help people make the switch and never return to combustible cigarettes. This industry is important and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it. Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever have any questions: [email protected]