Are the Vaping Clone Wars Over?
Nothing seemed to split the vape world apart more than the mention of the word clone.
I say ‘seemed’ because during research for this article I looked long and hard for someone – anyone – apart from the manufacturers – to give me an definite anti-clone quote.
Or at the very least reasons why vapers should most definitely avoid clones – apart I guess from the obvious safety worries particularly with mech mods.
I say definite because those who appeared extremely anti once upon a time seemed to have softened somewhat.
From what I can gather it would seem the bigger players in the vaping clones world have upped their game.
I mean come on the payoff is amazing given we’re looking at vaping as an estimated $4billion industry – and growing.
If the cloners wanted to keep up and stay in business – then it was obvious they had to go that extra yard – especially as vaping is very much a word of mouth community.
So where does that leave the manufacturers?
I’m old enough to remember when China was THE [and maybe still is] the counterfeit capital of the world.
Back then anything with Made in China written on it was looked at with suspicion and the natural instinct was to expect it to last 5 minutes before being thrown into the rubbish bin.
So there’s a tiny bit of karma floating around if you think about it.
Look I’m not saying these new vaping manufacturers deserve to be cloned – far from it – and I’m not just talking about Chinese brands either.
Have the Clones Got Better?
Clones and counterfeits have been around for centuries and the vape industry is no different.
From what I can gather after talking to folks about their experiences with vape clones – the manufacturing process is pretty much spot on – the quality and safety is good and of course the price is far lower.
In general that is and especially with the better known cloning names out there.
Cloning in vaping is like cloning in anything – some is excellent and some sucks.
I bought a Ralph Lauren polo shirt in India and it lasted one wash.
A friend bought one in Turkey and I can’t tell the difference and the quality is outstanding.
Safety Issues with Vape Clones?
If you’re going down the clone route on your vaping journey then it pays to do your research – check reviews – drop in on social media – make sure the majority of users are happy with their purchase.
This is particularly important when it comes to mech mods – safety first people!
Now I’m no expert but when I look at one of these $100 + kits against a clone I can’t see a difference to the naked eye.
I’m sure there are differences and I’m sure some of them out there are downright bloody dangerous.
So, again, do your research if you choose to go down that route.
Look, I’m not going to pussy foot around – clones are here – people are buying them and whilst I’m NOT promoting them – particularly when it comes to mechanical mods I want people to be safe – simple as that.
You might notice EcigClick does not review or promote clones and I asked site owner and admin Jonny why:
There will always be clones, counterfeits, copies, whatever you want to call them.
Not just in the vaping world but in pretty much any industry you can think of. Do I personally agree with it? No.. But that’s just the way it is, right or wrong.
I’ve never personally had an interest in cloned vape gear so they have never reached the review stage on ecigclick.
There are so many innovative products out there being released from ‘brands’, both big and small, that there is more than enough to be going at without chucking clones into the mix.
I would personally like to give the credit where credits due, to the innovators and the people that have driven the industry forward to where it is today.
So this is where I’ve chosen to focus in terms of direction.
There you have it- the EcigClick policy is to focus only on authentic products so it’s doubtful we’ll ever go down the clone route.
Careful Where You Buy Your Vape Gear From
Buying a clone thinking its real is an awful feeling as even experienced vapers like The CarpVaper found out recently.
He bought what he thought was a Geekvape Peerless RDA but it turned out to be a clone.
Watching his review it was difficult to see the difference and truth be told he quite liked it.
HOWEVER – Caveat emptor – ‘buyer beware’.
He did buy it off eBay and whilst not all vaping products on auction sites are clones – the chances are you’ll find more on those kind of auction sites.
When buying off eBay, for instance, check out the actual seller in question. Check their feedback, check to see if they have the words ‘style or ‘styled’ anywhere in the description.
Also, try and buy from registered businesses. Finally, if it’s priced way lower than you would expect, ask the question… Why?
Just to be clear here:
There’s a huge difference between choosing to buy a cloned piece of vaping gear and getting sold one when you thought it was authentic!
There’s some useful links at the end of this post to check the authenticity of you products if you’re in any doubt.
Styled or Style!
The larger Chinese warehouse sites are kind of cute when it comes to clones.
3F Vape for instance has a rider underneath all its products explaining the ‘clone issue’ – in this case the VGOD pro style mech mod kit:
If you find a product to be authentic, then it is not a clone.
It might be lost in translation – but the line:
If you find a product to be authentic, then it is not a clone
Is pretty clear.
However the clue to if it is authentic or a clone is in the description and the word ‘Style’ or ‘Styled’ (As mentioned previously) – which obviously means ‘in the style of’ and therefore a clone!
So keep an eye out for that type of verbiage somewhere in the description.
For the record the ‘style’ kit costs slightly less than half the price of the $70 authentic version.
As to how safe or how good the quality is I have no idea.
TVP – The Vaping Postman
One reviewer who embraces the whole subject of vape clones is the highly entertaining brutally outspoken YouTube reviewer TVP – The Vaping Postman.
His blunt honest straight to the point review style has seen his channel grow quickly with subscribers appreciating his no nonsense approach and total lack of manufacturer ass-kissing.
I guess they also like his standout thumbnails too lol.
I spoke to him recently about the reasons why he reviews clones – given many other reviewers refuse to.
*The opinions below are that of TVP and NOT Ecigclick.
Why did you choose to review clones?
Quite simple this, loads of reviewers start out reviewing them as they are cheap but quickly turn their backs on them when any success comes their way.
There are so few clone reviewers on youtube now that it’s a market i wanted to tap into. I have always vaped on clones and decided to review them because there are THOUSANDS of vapers out there who have little to no money to be spending on £60-£80 RDA’s etc.
They have the right to see these clones on video and see how the quality is and if it is worth buying as to these vapes that £10 is a lot of money.
I get more comments and thank-you’s from my clone reviews than any other.
You must remember that these vapers are not taking money from the authentic makers as they would never have bought the real deal in the first place. If anything the clones are making that product more popular.
In your experience what is the quality like – including mods and mechs ?
More hit than miss nowadays, back in the old days clones weren’t really all that great. Rubbish machining, oily, crappy o-rings etc.
These days however, especially in the last 12 months we have seen the quality increase ten fold. Big cloners such as SXK,SJMY and kindbright nail it pretty much all the time.
You will pay a couple of dollars more for their products but in my opinion it is well worth it. One example is the SJMY CSMNT rda, i paid $15 and it was better than my authentic goon RDA.
99% of them use peek insulators and quality stainless steel. The old clones were a nightmare as insulators used to melt very easily due to cheap materials used.
Even the cheaper cloners have stepped up their game, some $9-10 RDA’s i have used recently have been little gems.
The mech mod clones have come on too, really good machining and threading, engraving has gone up a level too as has the painting process.
Lets face it, a mech mod is a basic tube and switch system so there is very little to get wrong. The materials they use in china have improved as has the quality control.
Sure i still get some real stinkers now and then but again, this is the reason i review them, rather me get the stinker than someone with little money.
How often do you eventually buy an original after using a clone ?
Personally if it is a special clone RDA then pretty much instantly i will buy the real deal. It must be something really top tier though, something i know i will use for a long time to come. I have had people comment on my channel how much they loved a clone and saved up to buy the authentic, again this must be applauded in my opinion.
General thoughts on clones – is there snobbery etc etc?
There is still so much snobbery when it comes to clones, however it is not as bad as the old days and lots of people now are more accepting of them.
I would never mock or frown upon a person that pays £1000’s for a mod etc, it is their hard earned money and they can spend that how they wish.
These same people should never look down upon a clone user as like i said, that $10 to them is a lot of money and they should be free to buy a clone.
Clones have a place in the industry and always will, it’s the old supply and demand argument. And the harm done to authentic makers is so minimal it’s barely noticeable.
The only time i will ever have a problem with a clone is when they start cloning £20 rda’s, they are cheap enough anyway why bother cloning it, to me it seems pointless.
Message to anyone considering buying a clone.
Come and watch TVP of course LOL…no but seriously my message would be this, if you are looking at clones pull the trigger and try a couple, you may be surprised at the quality for the price you pay.
I always read the description too as there are different variables when buying. One clone may be $1 cheaper than another due to using lesser grade stainless steel or a less than stellar paint job.
Many clones won’t state the stainless steel they use where as others that cost $1 more will say 316SS. And always look out for SXK, SJMY or Kindbright as these are my top 3 quality cloners coming out of china.
The Responsible Vaping Clone Seller
Again, neither myself nor EcigClick are in the business of promoting clones – but like I’ve said you can’t turn your back on the fact people are buying clones in their droves.
To that end if you’re considering buying a clone – particularly a mechanical mod – make sure you buy from the most reputable company you can find.
Word of mouth on social media is always a good port of call.
And one of the most popular and respected clone dealers is Bold Vape.
I spoke to site owner John Bold about the safety aspects and the selling of clones.
Safety is of high concern to him and he told me to make sure the mechanical mods he sells in particular are of a high standard he actually has a Chinese employee out there who checks the overall quality:
*The opinions below are that of Bold Vape and not Ecigclick.
Why did you start selling clones?
One of the main reasons was that there was a market for them. Many people just could not afford the high price tag on Genuine Mechs & RDA’s.
They were “priced out”, it was seen as a very elitist section of the vape scene. Vaping in my opinion should be made available to the masses.
What is the overall quality of clones and do you check them beforehand?
Many people do not realise but we have in fact an employee who works for Boldvape situated in Shenzhen.
He is not a sales rep for any of the factories out there, he is on our payroll and works to provide us with an easy import process.
He is able to monitor the quality control aspect before the products leave China. He also handles any issues which may arise with faulty products.
Many company’s seem to think that when they sell an item of Vape gear it comes with little or no warranty. This is not the fact with Boldvape, our products are warranted and if there is a problem we will do our upmost to resolve it as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
How popular are clones?
Incredibly popular, the market has continued to rise over the years and continues to do so.
Of course there are real poor quality clones out there and buyers must be aware and buy from a reputable seller.
We use only around 4 different factories for all our clones and our employee regularly visits them.
Do you have any evidence that folks buy clones then the real thing?
Some people indeed do. With some genuine mech mods costing over £500, many people are reluctant to spend this amount of money only to discover that it’s not for them.
If they were to buy a good quality clone and enjoy the product some people indeed do then go on to buy the genuine.
Your general thoughts on clones?
They are a big part of our market. We will continue to provide the products our customers want at a price which we believe is one of the lowest in the UK.
We only use quality factories and we will never compromise on quality.
Concluding the Clone Debate
I had set out to call this piece ‘Clone Wars’ however as I said to Jonny yesterday it’s more like ‘Clone Adores’.
In other words it feels as if the vaping public opinion has swayed markedly and accepted vape clones as what they are.
I do own a clone – an RDA – and very good it is too.
I would most definitely buy another cloned RDA or RDTA – however I certainly wouldn’t buy a device and as I’m yet to buy a mech mod I think I’d probably buy an original first.
Just remember if you are considering a clone then arm yourselves with the facts and vape safe!
If you have strong opinions on the clone debate they done drop us a comment 🙂