This is going to be lengthy, but well worth it if you read it all!  Whether you are a current customer or a new customer, you will notice us slowly moving away from pre-filled cartridges on our website to empty cartridges and eLiquid and here is why:

Across the electronic cigarette industry, there are discrepancies as to how many cigarettes a cartridge is worth.  Some retailers suggest there are 20 cigarettes in one cartridge.  Off of the assembly line in the manufacturing plant, this may be true.  However, once they are shipped, some of the eliquid can be lost by leaking out of the nicotine cartridge and onto the sealed packaging.  There is nothing that can be done about this as gravity is the responsible factor.

By the time you receive your pre-filled cartridge, you will find that your cartridge will produce the equivalent of between 4-10 cigarettes.  Now, this number varies because each smoker is different.  It also varies based on if you have chosen the proper nicotine strength or not.  If you are on less of a nicotine strength than you should be, then you will find you are pulling harder and more frequently, thus reducing the amount of cigarettes produced by your ecig.

Another factor with pre-filled cartridges is that if you think about your cartridge in thirds, only the top two thirds of the cartridge are actually accessible to the atomizer.  Therefore, anything in the 1/3 of the cartridge that is furthest from the atomizer will never be used.

The final factor with pre-filled cartridges is that they do dry out.  The time varies on this, however, as with any liquid exposed to air, it will eventually evaporate.  Now, with all of these factors, it doesn’t mean that pre-filled cartridges aren’t good.  They are very convenient.  However, you will get the best smoking experience and the most bang for your buck if you go with eLiquid.  Using eLiquid is also known as “dripping”.  It is for all of these reasons that we have decided to move to eLiquid and empty cartridges.

So!  How do you use the eLiquid to “drip”?

You have just received your electronic cigarette.  You’ve charged your battery and you are ready to smoke.  Take your atomizer, which comes with a protective plastic guard that looks like your cartridges/mouthpiece, and screw the atomizer into the battery. Now pull the protective guard off.  Take one of your empty cartridges/mouthpiece that have been provided with your kit and remove it from the sealed packaging.  Remove the clear rubber stopper from the end.  If you received pre-filled cartridges, just unwrap one, start e-smoking, and when it is done (i.e. not more vapor is being produced), just refill it as an empty cartridge.

For your reference, pick up the protective plastic guard and the empty cartridge/mouthpiece and look down into both of them.  You will see inside the empty cartridge/mouthpiece a small fluffy pad.  That small fluffy pad is your nicotine cartridge or the wick.  It is this wick where you will drip 2-3 drops of eLiquid each time you want a cigarette!  You will notice the absence of this in your protective plastic guard.  To keep from getting confused, throw out your protective plastic guard.

To fill your wick, simply take your eLiquid dropper and drip 2-3 drops onto the wick.  Depending on the type of ELiquid bottle, you may need to puncture the tip of the bottle dropper with a pin or cut the very tip off with scissors.  Allow the ELiquid to settle for a few seconds, then place the cartridge/mouthpiece onto your atomizer.  Give it a few starter puffs by taking quick drags.  Once you develop vapor, you are ready to smoke.  When your wick is dry, you will know because your unit will no longer create vapor.

So what if you are going out and wish to take pre-filled cartridges with you so you don’t have to take your bottle of eLiquid?  Easy as pie.  Take the rubber stoppers you have removed from your cartridges/mouthpieces and set them to the side.  Take the small plastic ziplock your batteries and atomizers came in and set it to the side.  Take your cartridges/mouthpieces and set them so the small hole in the mouthpiece is facing down.  Fill your cartridge as you would for one smoke and let it settle.  Move on to the next cartridge.

You can fit up to 5 cartridges in your small ziplock.  Once you have filled all 5 with liquid go back and drip 2-3 more drops into each cartridge again.  The most drips you should put into a cartridge ever is 7-8 drops.  You will know when they are overfull because they will start to “pool” with eLiquid.  Try to avoid pooling.  Pooling can cause damage to your atomizer.

Once your cartridges are full, place the rubber stopper back into the bottom of the cartridge and place them, rubber stopper up, into your ziplock back.  Seal the ziplock and place into your velvet carrying pouch with your extra batteries and maybe an extra atomizer.  Then, you are ready to go out for the day or the night.  By filling 5 cartridges you are taking with you approximately 1 1/2 pack of cigarettes.

So how long should your empty cartridges and eLiquid last?  Each 15ml eLiquid bottle is equivalent to 300 cigarettes and this varying number is based solely on using the electronic cigarette like a tobacco cigarette.   The cartridges/mouthpieces can last until they fall apart.  What do we mean by fall apart?  They will losen and not fit as tightly on the atomizer.  The wick will become compacted and no longer hold liquid.  The wick will become loose and fall out of the cartridge compartment.  Any one or all of these things can happen.  HOWEVER… using your cartridge until they fall apart is unsanitary.  You wouldn’t smoke the same cigarette butt for weeks, even if you could.  That is why we provide you with 5 free empty cartridges with every bottle of eLiquid and with every kit and we also provide extra empty cartridges for a nominal fee.  Each cartridge should be used for no longer than one week.

If you follow the above directions, your eSmoking experience will go smoothly.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to “drip” just as easily as you lit a tobacco cigarette.  Happy eSmoking!

Reference Pictures:

An Instead Electronic Cigarette Mouthpiece w/ cartridge inside:

electronic cigarette cartridge

An unwrapped mouthpiece with plug pulled out (keep clear rubber plug to use later when refilling cartridges):

Electronic Cigarette Mouthpiece and Plug

Here is the mouthpiece with the cartridge and plug all separated.  Please note: You can refill a cartridge with ELiquid while it is still in the mouthpiece.  You really don’t ever need to take the cartridge out of the mouthpiece.  Inside the cartridge is white fiber that acts as a wick to hold the ELiquid:

Mouthpiece with Cartridge and Plug Taken Out

For those who are curious, you can take the cartridge out of the mouthpiece by sticking a toothpick through the small hole in the end of the mouthpiece.  Again, you can refill the cartridge while it is still in the mouthpiece:

Taking the Cartridge out of the Mouthpiece

If you have additional questions, please feel free to leave comments on this post.

16 thoughts on “How to Use eLiquid with Your Electronic Cigarette

  1. I just open my kit I received as a gift I have a Question on the mouthpiece.
    Question Mouthpiece: looks like a filter but the plug that pulls out is not clear it’s the same color as mouthpiece (white fiber/cartridge inside). It has a screw like rubber end that is to large to screw into battery (battery looks like a white cigerette w/out filter). So it is to large to crew in battery what do I do I can’t use it? Was I shipped the wrong size? Let me know what to do.
    Thank You

    1. The rubber plug is just a plug and not needed. Some people keep it if they want to fill a bunch of cartridges and carry them around, as the plug helps keep the liquid in the cartridge. But you don’t need the plug to make anything work.

  2. As of Monday October 18th 2010, I am planning to purchase my first INSTEAD kit plus 3 bottles of e-liquid. Currently I have been using an “E-Cigarette” (Company unknown) which came with 10 pre filled nicotine cartridges. I have noticed that the amount of vapor varies with each cartridge.And a package of 5 refill cartridges costs $10.00 each with no guarentee of consistancy. My question is, Is it possible to use the e-liquid with the used E-Cigarette cartridges? Or is the INSTEAD cartridges the only cartridges that I can refill with the e-liquid? Please let me know what to do within the next 24 hours before I purchase something that I do not need.

    1. We get that question often. The truth is vaping is going to taste different than tobacco smoking. It is like switching your brand of cigarettes. We recommend trying different flavors of e-liquid until you find one you are happy with. Start with the basic tobacco and go from there. If you are a heavy, long time smoker choose the high or medium nicotine. If you smoke less than a pack per day or smoke “light” cigarettes, try the medium or low. Remember, you can always mix a left over bottle of high nicotine with a zero nicotine to make something in between.

  3. Please tell me if I can use e liquid with a cartomizer. I just started a month ago and the place I bought from went out of business with giving any noticeso there went my battery warrinty and I can not afford to start all over.

    Thank you

  4. I have a clearomizer, and I can’t find any site anywhere that shows me how to refill it! I haven’t been able to use it for 2 days! Help! I don’t know which end to fill it from, the bottom (that connects to the battery), or the top (where the mouthpiece is)..

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