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I’ll be honest, I strongly considered dropping the My Favorite Things article from the schedule this year. 2020 was such a mess, I just didn’t feel like reliving any of it. But eventually, I had a change of heart. I realized that, because this year was such a disaster, it’s even more important to close it out on a positive note. So…let’s keep the tradition alive!
I should also mention that Lukas, our e-liquid reviewer, will be chiming in on a couple of categories as well. That should make it even more fun since it offers you guys an alternate perspective. Thanks for contributing, Lukas!
As always, I want to remind everyone that this is not a “BEST OF” list, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t include all of the best-selling and top-reviewed products on the market. This is simply an opportunity for us to gush about the things that we personally enjoyed using. It’s not all about us though; we’d love it if you guys joined in on the fun. If you have a minute, please feel free to share your favorites down in the comments section.
My Favorite Box Mod
There was some serious competition in this category. My shortlist included some phenomenal box mods, like the Vaporesso Gen S / Gen Nano, the Steam Crave Titan V1.5, the Lost Vape Grus, etc. But at the end of the day, the choice was obvious: the Aspire Mixx. In my opinion, it’s the best mod that Aspire has released to date. The build quality is stunning; it really makes you feel like you got a premium product for a budget price.
HONORABLE MENTION: the Vaporesso Swag 2. Sorry to all the high-wattage vapers out there, but I’m including another single-18650 device in my list! I’ve always been a big fan of the Eleaf iStick Pico, and I adore the finish of the Vaporesso Gen. The Swag 2 is kind of the best of both worlds for me.
Lost Vape Centaurus. Back in the old days, Lost Vape was known as a premier company for putting out top-of-the-line mods. While certainly mass-market and not bespoke, fully-custom hardware, they were known for commanding a high price and often were combined with the DNA chipset, the much-lauded vaping PCB. Then, for a while, Lost Vape fell down the AIO rabbit hole with their Orion line.
At the beginning of 2020, however, they came roaring back to their roots with the release of the Centaurus. A hefty, well-built C-Frame mod, clad in leather and carbon fiber, its heart beating strongly with the DNA 250C chip, reaffirmed what had made Lost Vape a powerhouse manufacturer back in the day.
Since then, they’ve released several other mods, both AIO and standard. But the Centaurus was the flag flying over the fort to remind us that Lost Vape was still here, and here to stay.
My Favorite RDA
My apologies, but I have to cheat a little with this one! Despite being released in 2019, the Vaperz Cloud Asgard Mini is still my top RDA of 2020. The reason I’m including it here is simple: it’s so damn good that I had no interest in the majority of RDAs that hit the market this year. In fact, the Asgard Mini has retired a good chunk of my collection. Don’t sleep on this one…the hype is real.
My Favorite RTA
This is my favorite category, so it’s probably no surprise that it includes my favorite product of 2020: the Dovpo x BP Mods Pioneer RTA. This one quickly surpassed most of my MTL RTAs and made its way to the top tier. It’s easy to build/wick, the build quality is fantastic, the airflow is smooth, and there are a ton of accessories available, including a restricted-DL kit (it comes with a bunch of extras too). But, most importantly, the flavor is exceptional. I have zero complaints about it. If you’re looking for a great MTL vape for under 50 bucks, the Pioneer would be my first recommendation.
My Favorite Pod System / AIO Kit
This one sort of came out of nowhere. When I first saw the Vaporesso Luxe PM40, I had no interest in it. This is mainly for 2 reasons: (1) it didn’t appear to be designed for MTL vaping, and (2) it seemed uninspired, resembling several other AIO kits on the market. I reluctantly agreed to write an article about it…and I’m so glad I did. While it doesn’t offer the tight MTL experience that I prefer, it does provide a beautiful restricted-DL vape. This probably isn’t a surprise since it uses Vaporesso’s GTX coils, which have gained quite a reputation. The build quality is also top-notch. If you own any of the other Luxe devices, you already know what to expect.
HONORABLE MENTION: I had a bit of a love affair with the Geekvape Aegis Boost Plus in the middle of the year. The replacement coils are surprisingly good, the removable 18650 battery is a huge improvement over the original, and it offers the same build quality as the rest of the Aegis line. As much as I love the Luxe PM40, the Boost is obviously a better option if you need something rugged and durable.
My Favorite E-liquid
I was spoiled with some phenomenal e-liquids this year, so it wasn’t easy to declare a winner here. But I think it’s safe to say that one flavor had a slight edge on the others…and that flavor is Doppelgänger by 5150. When I first read the description (“Butter Pecan Caramel Kettle Corn”), I thought it sounded too good to be true. Nope! It tastes every bit as good as it sounds. Immediately after trying for the first time, it was all I wanted to vape. Now that the bottle is empty, it’s all I can think about. As a bonus, it’s fairly gentle on your coils/cotton too.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: At one point in the year, each of these e-liquids held the top spot on my list: Banana Chase by Freeman Vape Juice, Sin Tax by Prohibition Juice Co., Strawberry Crunch by Tailored House, and Ultra by Lazer Wolf / Hometown Hero.
Custard Monster – Strawberry. Of all the juices I’ve both reviewed and purchased for myself, Custard Monster’s Strawberry was the one that really got into my head. As I said in my review for it, I have a love/hate relationship with the Monster lines of juices. I quit smoking with Jam Monster, but some of the flavors I have downright loathed. I did not loath this one.
Featuring that distinctive Monster Strawberry flavor mixed with smooth vanilla custard, I vaped the entire bottle without getting tired of it—the number of juices of which I have done that being able to be counted on a single hand. I flit from flavor to flavor like a vaping hummingbird, often tiring of a flavor after even a few drips. But this one won me over. I haven’t bought another bottle since, but when I need a solid strawberry flavor again to sate my palate, this will be a top contender.
My Favorite Manufacturer
When it comes to the best vape manufacturers of 2020, there were 2 that immediately came to mind. I went back and forth on this one a few times, but I eventually decided to go with Vaporesso. They were just so consistent this year, racking up great reviews for the majority of their releases. Here are a few examples: the Gen S, Gen X, Gen Nano, Swag 2, XROS, Luxe PM40, Luxe II, GTX One, XIRON, Forz TX80, etc. Not a bad year!
HONORABLE MENTION: Aspire. I only picked up 2 new Aspire products this year, which is why I couldn’t give them the top spot. But they’re definitely doing something right, especially with their new Prestige line, which has taken them to a new level. Some of their 2020 releases include the Mixx, Nautilus GT / GT Mini, Paradox, BP60, Deco, Rover 2, Finixx, etc.
Older Products I Still Love
As usual, I’d like to give a quick nod to some of the older products that were in my regular rotation throughout the year: the Eleaf iStick Pico, Augvape Intake Dual RTA, Uwell Caliburn, Vaporesso Gen, Vandy Vape Swell, Dovpo Blotto RTA, Vaporesso Luxe 220W, OBS Cube, Vandy Vape BSKR V1.5 Mini RTA, Exvape Expromizer V4 RTA. I could name a bunch more, but I’ll stop there!
How do I summarize 2020? Well, I could certainly think of a few words…none of which are appropriate here 😊 As for the vaping scene, pod systems and AIO kits are still dominating the market. Those devices have continued to evolve though. The newest trend seems to be AIO kits with proprietary magnetic tanks, most of which offer the option to use 510 adapters for standard atomizers. Personally, none of that makes much sense to me; it just seems like a different method of accomplishing the same thing. But those products have been big sellers, so what do I know?! As long as people are staying off of cigarettes and maintaining an interest in healthier alternatives, that’s all that matters.
For me, the most exciting trend this year has been the collaborations between high-end companies and some of the big Chinese manufacturers (Aspire, Ambition Mods, Dovpo, etc.). That strategy just seems like a win for everyone. High-end companies are finally getting mass distribution and exposure, the big manufacturers are being fueled with original ideas and designs, and the consumers can purchase these products at a minimal investment (and without being forced to join Facebook groups). I might not be terribly optimistic about the vaping industry in 2021, but I am in this regard. Hopefully, the trend continues.
Let’s Wrap it Up!
As always, I want to thank every one of you for your support throughout the year. You are the lifeblood of this website—it couldn’t survive without you. I may not know you personally, but you matter to me, nonetheless. If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly.
As we embrace the annual time for resolutions, I’d like to encourage you to vape it forward. This industry has been an absolute miracle for millions of ex-smokers across the globe, but we’ve still got millions more to go. Take your experience, passion, and knowledge and pass it along to someone else. Make your New Year’s resolution to help one smoker keep theirs.
Well, I suppose I better step off my soapbox now and crack a bottle of champagne. Happy New Year, my friends!
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]