If you converted to vaping recently, it might be difficult for you to imagine what e-cigarettes were like in 2009. The vaping industry was still new then, and virtually every commercially available e-cigarette was a “cigalike” that mimicked the appearance of a real cigarette. You’ve probably seen cigalikes in stores — you may have even used one before — but the cigalikes of 2009 were almost nothing like the ones of today. The most common type of e-liquid cartridge for a cigalike in those days was a hollow plastic cylinder stuffed with a wet sponge. You’d place the cartridge over an atomizer, and e-liquid would flow from the sponge to the heating coil — in theory. It was common for the cigalikes of those days to either produce no vapor at all or to become so hot that they melted the plastic sponges in their cartridges. When the eGo e-cigarette first appeared in 2009, it was like a breath of fresh air for e-cigarette users around the world whose devices were barely good enough to keep them off of tobacco cigarettes.
The eGo e-cigarette was a device with dramatically better battery life — several times that of a typical cigalike — and extremely reliable performance. Since the eGo e-cigarette used industry-standard threading for attachments, it was compatible with the most common atomizers and cartridges on the market. Very quickly, though, the eGo e-cigarette underwent development of its own. Before long, the eGo e-cigarette was the platform that received the most attention from vaping product manufacturers. Variations of the original eGo vape pen — and a host of compatible attachments — became available.
At the time of writing, the eGo e-cigarette platform has been around for nine years; almost no other vaping products that existed in 2009 are still on the market today. Millions of people have used the eGo e-cigarette to quit smoking, and it’s as viable a product today as it was nine years ago. In this article, we’re going to look back at the history of the eGo e-cigarette. In many ways, eGo e-cigarette history is the history of vaping itself. Enjoy.
The Confusing Origin of the eGo E-Cigarette
Janty Created the eGo E-Cigarette!
If you’ve been vaping for any length of time, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Joyetech. They’re one of the world’s largest and most popular e-cigarette manufacturers. It’s unlikely, though, that you’ve heard of Janty. That’s a funny thing when you consider that Janty claims to be the inventor of both RY4 e-liquid — a caramel/vanilla/tobacco blend that is the vaping industry’s most copied flavor — and the eGo e-cigarette. One would think that the originator of the world’s most famous e-liquid and best-selling e-cigarette would be a household name in the vaping industry. Janty, however, is virtually unknown among those who started vaping after about 2012.
Joyetech Created the eGo E-Cigarette!
EGo e-cigarette history has another interesting wrinkle in that Joyetech — a vaping company that actually is a household name — also claims to have invented the eGo e-cigarette. So, what’s the deal? Who actually created the first eGo e-cigarette? At least one publisher has claimed that Janty hired Joyetech to manufacture its design and that Joyetech cloned it. That seems unlikely, though, as plenty of e-cigarettes bearing both the Janty and Joyetech names have been released over the years. Based on that, it would seem that the two companies had a good working relationship. If anything, it seems more likely that Joyetech operated as a manufacturer for Janty and paid royalties to manufacture Joyetech-branded eGo e-cigarettes simultaneously.
Doing the Shenzhen Shuffle
If the origin of the eGo e-cigarette seems like a confusing story, it’s only because that’s the way factories operate in China. Intellectual property law is lax, and cloning is rampant. A product can go from a concept to mass production within weeks at the factories in Shenzhen, and it’s not unusual for multiple companies to claim that they invented the same product. If a Chinese factory obtains a pre-release prototype of an e-cigarette, the original product and its clone can hit the market almost simultaneously. For the average e-cigarette user in the western world, it’s impossible to tell which product is the original.
What Was the First eGo E-Cigarette Like?
Curious about the first eGo e-cigarette? This is it. This picture — dating from 2009 — is the oldest picture of an eGo e-cigarette that we have been able to find online. At the tip of this e-cigarette is the same atomizer-and-cartridge combination that we described at the beginning of the article. The atomizer and cartridge that the original eGo e-cigarette used were from the 510 e-cigarette. If that term sounds familiar to you, that’s because the 510 threading for e-cigarette attachments has become the standard threading that virtually every vaping manufacturer uses. We have the eGo e-cigarette to thank for that.
In its original configuration, the eGo e-cigarette was essentially just a 510 e-cigarette with a very big battery. It wasn’t long, though, before companies began to exploit the potential of that battery.
Atomizer Resistance Becomes a Thing
Before the release of the eGo e-cigarette, most e-cigarette users didn’t pay much attention to atomizer resistance. That all changed when the first low-resistance atomizers began to appear for eGo e-cigarette batteries. While a standard 510 atomizer usually had a resistance of about 2.5 ohms, a low-resistance atomizer had a resistance of 1.5 ohms. That translated to a significantly higher output power in watts — and a lot more vapor per puff. Low-resistance atomizers operated at higher temperatures than standard-resistance atomizers, so they didn’t work with cartridges. Instead, people placed hollow drip tips over them and fed e-liquid directly to their atomizers through the tips. Although dripping existed before the eGo e-cigarette, the eGo made dripping a mainstream thing because it was an easy way to vastly upgrade the vapor production of one’s e-cigarette. Low-resistance atomizers also helped to ensure that the eGo e-cigarette would have lasting popularity; the higher-output atomizers weren’t intended for use with cigalike batteries.
The eGo E-Cigarette Gets Its First Tank
Although no one could deny that dripping was a significant upgrade over the cartridge-based vaping experience, it didn’t have universal appeal. Dripping was messy because atomizers frequently flooded and leaked. The atomizers of the day could only hold a few drops of e-liquid, so you had to carry a bottle of e-liquid everywhere. In 2010, a viable alternative finally appeared. That alternative was the eGo-T e-cigarette. The eGo-T atomizer was the first atomizer designed specifically for the eGo e-cigarette. It consisted of a heating coil, a hollow nozzle and a large open space for a tank. You would use the eGo-T by filling a plastic tank and pushing it in to the atomizer. The nozzle in the atomizer would pierce the bottom of the tank, and e-liquid would flow through the nozzle to the heating coil.
The eGo-T proved a capable replacement for the plastic cartridge-based e-cigarettes of the past. The tanks held vastly more e-liquid and rarely leaked or exhibited other problems. The eGo-T worked so well, in fact, that you can still find spare parts for it at many vape shops today.
EGo E-Cigarette Clones Begin to Appear
Given the origin of the eGo e-cigarette — with two companies claiming to have originated the device — it should come as no surprise that eGo e-cigarette clones began to appear almost immediately. Some people have even speculated that companies such as Joyetech may have set aside devices that didn’t pass the quality control process and sold them as clones. Whatever the case, eGo clones were everywhere by 2010. The eGo-T was a particularly popular model to clone since it eliminated the need for dripping. Some companies changed the name of the device, giving it names such as Riva and KGO. Others simply called their clones eGo e-cigarettes — most people couldn’t tell the difference anyway. One interesting fact about the early eGo clones, though, is that some of them actually had better vapor production than the Joyetech eGo even if the quality control may have been subpar. While the Joyetech eGo had a 4.2-volt battery regulated to 3.2 volts, some clones were regulated to 3.7 volts or higher.
The eGo E-Cigarette Gets a Replaceable Atomizer Coil
In 2011, Joyetech released the eGo-C. The “C” stood for “changeable” because the tank had a removable atomizer coil. It was the first e-cigarette we’re aware of, in fact, that had that capability. Next time you’re replacing the coil in your sub-ohm tank, you can thank the eGo-C for the fact that you don’t have to throw your entire tank away whenever the atomizer begins to collect a little coil gunk. The improved eGo-CC followed a bit later. The eGo-CC replaced the disposable plastic tanks of the eGo-C with a higher-quality reusable glass tank.
The eGo-W Becomes a Popular Clone
Released in 2011, the eGo-W quickly became one of the most commonly available eGo clones. It utilized a refillable plastic cartridge — called the Eliq cartridge — with a built-in heating coil. After filling the cartridge with a needle-tip bottle, you’d snap a cylindrical cap over the cartridge and put a whistle tip on top. The eGo-W even came with a pen-style cap to cover the whistle tip. The eGo-W ultimately became so popular that clones of it — clones of a clone — eventually began to appear. Many inexpensive vaporizers for herbal concentrates are based on the eGo-W.
The eGo Twist Brings Variable Voltage to the eGo Platform
In late 2010, the American company ProVape released the ProVari e-cigarette. It was expensive — starting at about $160 — but it was an extremely high-quality vaping device with adjustable power settings topping out at six volts. It was the first truly polished variable-voltage vaping product, and it was a big hit. By 2011, Chinese factories were producing less expensive devices with capabilities similar to those of the ProVari — and in 2012, the eGo platform finally gained variable-voltage functionality. The eGo Twist included a boost-buck circuit that allowed for adjustable power between 3.2 and 4.8 volts. The user could adjust the voltage by twisting a dial on the bottom of the battery. Some non-Joyetech versions of the eGo Twist topped out at 4.2 volts. The eGo Twist brought vastly improved vapor production to a tiny, convenient and affordable e-cigarette. It was a major hit.
Janty Returns to eGo E-Cigarette Development
In 2012, Janty returned to eGo e-cigarette development with the release of the eGo-X. The eGo-X featured disposable plastic tanks similar to those of the eGo-T. Instead of a narrow nozzle, though, the eGo-X had a large exposed atomizer coil with a replaceable wick. Although the eGo-X didn’t become particularly popular, people discovered that the atomizer design had other uses. The eGo-X atomizer — or perhaps a clone of it — is one of the most popular atomizers for small vape pens designed for herbal wax concentrates.
Joyetech Modernizes the eGo Platform
In 2015, Joyetech gave the eGo platform a major update with the release of the eGo ONE series. While the eGo ONE battery kept the cylindrical shape of the original eGo battery, it was a higher-capacity battery capable of supporting a higher amperage load. The higher strength of the battery allowed the eGo ONE to support sub-ohm vaping coils. An eGo ONE owner could optimize the device for mouth-to-lung vaping or direct-to-lung vaping simply by changing the coil in the tank. Some people complained that the wick holes on the eGo ONE atomizer coil were too small to fully support sub-ohm vaping without dry hits. Nevertheless, the eGo ONE was a successful product that saw wide distribution.
Latest eGo E-Cigarette Developments
Beginning with the release of the first eGo AIO in 2016 and ending — so far — with the release of the eGo AIO ECO in 2018, the eGo AIO is the latest Joyetech eGo platform at the time of writing. Unlike previous eGo e-cigarettes, the eGo AIO has a permanent built-in tank. You can change the coils, but you can only use the tank included with the device. The eGo AIO platform is such a significant departure from the eGo e-cigarettes of old, in fact, that Joyetech has even built all-in-one box mods bearing the eGo name. With the release of the new eGo AIO ECO, Joyetech has done something even more revolutionary with the eGo platform by creating an e-cigarette that operates at just 1.85 watts. Pairing the eGo AIO ECO with a high-nicotine or nicotine salt e-liquid results in a vaping configuration that’s both very satisfying and very low in its power demands. The eGo AIO ECO can deliver hundreds of puffs with a fully charged battery.