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How Do Vapes Work?: A Simple Guide for Beginners

How Do Vapes Work?

Andres Roman |

Are you intrigued by vaping? Perhaps you have been to your local bar and have seen people vaping indoors using machines to inhale and exhale vapor, and have wondered how exactly do vapes work? In this concise and straightforward guide, we explain what vaping is, the parts that make the vape work, and how exactly a vape functions. So if you’re ready, let’s begin. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a Vape?
  2. What is Vaping?
  3. Anatomy of a Vape
  4. How Does a Vape Work?
  5. Conclusion

What is a Vape

Let’s start at the beginning. A vape is a device used for inhaling a vapor-like substance that often contains nicotine and other flavors. It is an electronic device that requires a battery to function and utilizes “vape juice” or “e-liquid,” which, when applied inside the vape, creates the vapor.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the act of using a vape. It is considered an alternative to smoking cigarettes, except that you can choose out of thousands of flavors and even choose a vape juice that contains zero nicotine with vaping. This is the great advantage of vaping that, unlike cigarettes, you can select the nicotine strength and even the flavor you want to vape.

Anatomy of a Vape

Before we can tell you exactly how a vape works, we first have to understand the anatomy of a vape. Although there are many different kinds of vape pens, they all essentially have the same parts. Some of these parts include:

  • A battery: What gives power to the device and makes it work. Depending on the type of device you use, the battery (or batteries) might be integrated or removable, or they could be rechargeable or disposable vape, offering a one-time use. Their main goal is to provide energy to the coil so it can evaporate the vape juice. 
  • Vape juice: Vape juice is not technically part of your vape device, but it’s the liquid that makes up the vapor. It comprises four ingredients: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine (which is optional, as there are nicotine free vapes available), and artificial flavorings. It’s also called e-liquid or e-juice. 
  • A mod or device: Where everything is housed. It’s where the battery and the other components go. Depending on the type of device, it could have an LED screen to control the temperature, voltage, wattage, and turn on or off the device. 
  • An atomizer: The atomizer is the unit where the vape juice gets turned into vapor. It consists of three parts: the wick, the coil(s), and the tank. It is often referred to as a single unit.
  • A wick: The wick is the part that holds the vape juice by absorption. It is often made out of cotton and or other materials. You can find it inside the atomizer. 
  • A coil or coils: The coil or coils, also referred to as atomizer heads, heat the wick and evaporate the vape juice into vapor. They can be made out of many different materials and can be built by hand; many intricate designs can affect how the coils burn the vape juice. 
  • A tank: The tank is the reservoir where vape juice is stored. It can come with the coil already inside. It might also be the atomizer many times. The tank can also house the coil and wick in a single unit. However, most of the time, it is referred to as a circular glass compartment that conserves and holds the extra vape juice around the coil and wick. 

Now that you know what each component of a vape does, we’ll explain precisely how vapes work.

How Does a Vape Work?

Although there are many types of vape devices, they all essentially work the same way. Here's how vapes work. 

First, you have to fill the vape with vape juice. For some devices like pod systems with pods filled with vape juice, this step is as simple as inserting the pod into the machine. For others, it means that you have to fill the tank or atomizer with vape juice. 

There are two kinds of tanks, top and bottom fill tanks. Top fill tanks have an opening on top where they can be refilled with vape juice. Bottom fill tanks have space at the bottom. 

Once you fill your vape device with vape juice, you'll need to turn on your device. Most devices are turned on when you press the firing buttons five times. Others are drawn activated, which means that they turn on when they inhale from the device.

Once the user inhales or presses the firing button, the battery gives off energy to the coil that warms up. Since the wick, when the vape juice was filled, has already absorbed the vape juice, the coil's warmth heats the cotton, and the e-liquid inside evaporates. 

When the e-liquid evaporates, it rises through the chimney of the atomizer or the roof of the tank. It reaches the mouthpiece and is inhaled by the user.  

That’s pretty much how a vape works.


While this is a watered-down version of how a vape works and does not cover all the types of vapes that exist, we hope this essential guide for beginners answers your questions about how exactly a vape works.


EjuiceDB articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them. Furthermore, Vaping products and nicotine use are only meant for persons over the age of 21.

Children, breastfeeding and pregnant women, persons with risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or that take medications especially for depression or asthma should not use nicotine or vaping products. Always consult a licensed physician prior to use.