Apparently, cigalikes are still a thing (ie their still being purchased). While we would certainly steer you towards a pod, pod mod or box mod vaping device, we’ve decided to curate a best cigalike e-cigarettes 2020 list.
Cigalike e-cigarettes are a dying category in the vaping market, but can still provide value for long-time tobacco cigarette smokers to quit. Cigalike e-cigarettes are rechargeable devices that utilize pre-filled e liquid cartridges. They’re mostly used by newbies due to their physical size most closely matching actual tobacco cigarettes.
Once upon a time, before the vaping bonanza of products on the market today, cigalikes were one of the only options prospective vapor users had. Again, the upside of cigalikes is their physical size matching actual cigarettes. However, their downside is battery life, power and cost of use.
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These absolutely pitifully performing e-cigarettes continue to be produced and sold, albeit in small numbers and to unassuming consumers. Perhaps that’s too harsh for a category of devices that was, once upon a time, pivotal in helping cigarette smokers make the switch to vapor. Believe it or not, cigalikes or rechargeable e-cigarettes were actually considered an upgrade. In the early days of the vaping boom, consumers flocked to rechargeable e-cigarettes not only because they could be recharged, but they were actually more cost effective than disposable options. That savings stemmed from the high cost of disposables and the fact that cigalikes utilized replaceable e liquid cartridges.
The reign of cigalikes was short lived and that’s being generous. They were fraught with flaws. From terrible performance, poor battery life and still relatively high cost compared to traditional cigarettes, they were typically abandoned by consumers within a month. Their place in vaping history however, is important. It shouldn’t be forgotten that they were designed in large part to mimic traditional cigarettes in terms of their size and shape. At the time, it was widely thought that consumers wouldn’t want any vapor device that didn’t look exactly like a cigarette.
A consensus was reached, consumers found inhaling nicotine via vapor more than satisfying, but were not impressed by the poor quality and performance lacking combination of cigalikes and cartridges. Typical of human ingenuity, tinkerers and hobbyists began experimenting on ways to make more powerful and longer lasting vaping devices. The vaping boom was just beginning and the idea that consumers wouldn’t use a vapor device that didn’t look like a cigarette quickly became obsolete.
We’re incredibly harsh on the sub-category of cigalikes because so many better vaping device options exist in the marketplace. Check out our Best E-Cigarettes of 2020 article for a much more comprehensive look at current and high performing options in this category.
What are the different types of cigalike e-cigarettes?
While our general analysis of cigalikes above is brutal, they continue to sell and therefore, they serve a purpose. The best things going for cigalikes is their size, simplicity and availability. In other words, because cigalike e-cigarettes are available at nearly every corner-store in America, a percentage of current tobacco cigarette smoker’s (albeit small) first vapor experience will be via a cigalike. Furthermore, for smokers who are deeply dependent on cigarettes, even for their identity, testing a vapor device that’s the same size and shape brings a level of comfort and familiarity.
Because cigalikes have become archaic due to more advanced technology and efficient designs, there are very few different types. With that in mind, some brands have rolled out higher performing options than the original or standard versions.
- Traditional cigalike e-cigarettes are the most basic or standard type of rechargeable vapor device. They consist simply of a battery and a cartridge that is designed in the shape of an actual cigarette. One of their fatal flaws is their lack of power which stems from there typical 100 mAh to roughly 300 mAh battery. Additionally, the majority of cigalike cartridges are overpriced and are unable to be reused or refilled.
- High performance cigalike e-cigarettes are very similar to traditional options, they however attempt to address power and efficiency. In other words, high performance cigalikes are shaped like a cigarette but are slightly larger to account for a longer lasting battery and larger cartridge. High performance cigalike batteries range from 300 mAh to 500 mAh.
Again, this category of e-cigarettes is essentially obsolete, but below are the features that once upon a time, differentiated cigalikes (at least to a degree):
- Manual cigalike batteries tended to last longer than automatic due to the fact that users needed to press a button to activate the device while inhaling.
- Automatic cigalike batteries simply referred to a vaping device that didn’t require a button to activate. In other words, the cigalike is activated automatically when the user inhales.
What are the best places to buy cigalike e-cigarettes and cartridges?
As referenced above, the best place to locate cigalikes is at a gas station or local corner-store as their online presence is all but eradicated and replaced with more up-to-date options.
Online sources who still stock cigalikes and cartridges:
- Halo Cigs
- Direct Vapor
- Mig Vapor
What are the best cigalike e-cigarettes of all-time?
The name of the vapor game is now pod based devices and refills. With that being said, it took re-engineering cigalikes to evolve into more advanced systems.
Below are the cigalikes that played an important role in advancing vaping device technology:
- BLU: The brand that did more to bring vaping into the mainstream than any other, BLU has always had at least two devices in their product lineup. The BLU Disposable and the BLU Rechargeable have sold more devices than any other brand in the cigalike category. The BLU Rechargeable has been through a few different redesigns and currently exists as the blu PLUS+ Xpress Kit.
- NJOY: Not far behind Blu in terms of brand recognition and market saturation, NJOY has had at least one cigalike option since its inception. Similarly, the NJOY cigalike went through a few product revisions and last existed as the NJOY Loop. However, the Loop is now discontinued and NJOY solely offers pod and disposable devices.
- Halo Cigs: An American success story, a relatively small brand in the industry, Halo developed a cult like following for their e liquids early on the vaping boom. One of their flagship products was a cigalike known as the G6, which is still stocked and sold today.
- VUSE: The corporate conglomerate that begrudgingly continues to feature outdated technology because they have access to robust shelf space, VUSE currently offers two similar cigalikes in the Solo and Ciro.
Look, the majority of vapor devices that utilize ‘cigalike’ technology or general design are junk. The only time when cigalikes should be considered is if all other options are off the table. For example, if you’re traveling or are in a serious bind in terms of access to quality products, disposables and cigalikes can ‘hold you over’ for a short time. If you’re left with an option of purchasing a cigalike or a disposable, choose a disposable. It’s likely to be cheaper and you’ll end up throwing the cigalike in the trash within a week. If only cigalikes are available, the VUSE Solo, VUSE Ciro or Blu Xpress Kit are all equally terrible. The VUSE Ciro however, has the best battery and largest e liquid capacity of the bunch.
Cigalike E-Cigarette Testing Methodology
The conclusions reached in this article stem from over 7 years of vaping experience and the testing of hundreds of products. No recent reviews were conducted in the writing of this article because the device category itself is dead.