Electronic pipes are one of those devices that don’t often show up terribly often.
Happily our editor Jonny knows I have a bit of thing for a nice pipe (ooo err!) so I was pretty pleased to get the Vapeonly vPipe Mini in for review!
What Can We Expect From The vPipe Mini by VapeOnly?
Vape Only have been around since 2013 and tend to focus on the starter side of the market.
However they have also made several e-pipes (called vPipes) over the years, usually these are fairly bulky things and look like a pretty traditional tobacco pipe. One of them even has a 18650 battery and is huge!
The vPipe mini on the other hand is more like a pen style device, with just the slightest hint of a pipe bowl. Gandalf pipe this is not!
This was sent over free of charge for the purposes of this review, however I will report back honestly on what I find and I am not influenced by freebies.
In The Box
- vPipe mini Battery
- USB Charge Cable
- 2x Spare o-rings
- Warranty Card
- Dimensions – 129mm x 22mm x 21.2mm
- Battery – 360mAh
- Capacity – 1.5ml
- Coil Resistance – 1.0Ω
- Power – 11W
Design and Build Quality
I thought this was going to feel cheap when I picked it up, but it actually has a reassuring weight and solidity to it. If you palm the flared end of the pipe you could almost think that you’re vaping on an old ego pen style device.
The Vapeonly vPipe Mini comes in several different colour ways, I received the Wood Grain originally, and I was subsequently sent the Gloss Black and the Brushed Brass. It also comes in a Matte Black.
Your USB charge port is on the front of the bowl, in line with the body. And it has slightly obnoxious “vape only” branding on a black plastic disk that forms the end of the bowl.
The reason the “only” is orange, is because this is also the LED. The fact that the LED is off to one side rather than centred is definitely going to annoy some people!
As I say though, because it has such a subtle pipe shape to it, you can easily cover the whole of the end in your hand and just vape it like a pen device. Though that rather defeats the purpose.
It’s a tiny little atomiser, very reminiscent of old cartomizers. It’s made of PCTG and has a small 1.5ml e-liquid capacity, air comes in via a hollow 510. I was able to put this onto another mod with an air feed going to the 510 and vape it quite happily, though I’m not sure why you would want to!
Unfortunately you don’t have replaceable coils as it is so small, and so I almost want to call this a pod. When the coil burns out, you have to chuck away the whole atomiser and replace it.
The drip tip also is the top cap of your atomiser, screwing into the central chimney, so there’s no possibility of changing it for another one. The o-rings on the top of the chimney are fairly fragile, but they do at least supply you with another couple in the packaging.
How To Fill The vPipe Mini
- Unscrew the drip tip from the top of the atomiser
- Put the nose of your bottle between the glass wall and the central chimney
- Fill up with your preferred e-liquid
- Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes to make sure that the cotton is fully saturated
Be careful not to overfill, or when you screw in the drip tip it will push e=liquid out the top of the atomiser.
There’s almost nothing in terms of controls on the vPipe, as it’s a draw activated device with a fixed output.
When you vape on it the “only” of the “vape only” branding on the end (the bowl of the pipe) lights up. As well as this it’s also used to communicate various safety features.
- Low Voltage – When your voltage drops below 3V, it will flash 10 times and not fire
- Short Circuit – If it detects a short circuit it will flash 5 times
- Overdraw Protection – If you try to vape for longer than 8 seconds it will flash 8 times and stop firing
It also has something that it calls “Open Circuit Reminder” where it will flash 3 times when vaping, however not only have I not seen this, I also have no idea what it means. If you have any ideas, then please leave them in the comments!
How Does the Vapeonly vPipe Mini perform?
I originally received this to review some months ago, but unfortunately the only atomiser that I was supplied with quickly developed a rather nasty burnt taste. VapeOnly kindly sent over a couple more for me to test, and I haven’t run into the same problem.
Airflow is non adjustable on this, and it gives you a fairly tight MTL draw. It is just about possible to do a direct lung hit from it, but only by slipstreaming and letting extra air in around the mouth piece.
However, the way this is built introduces a couple of big problems with the airflow.
The first is that due to the air intake going through the 510, it does tend to leak a little juice into the connection. I haven’t had this cause any major issues yet, but it’s something to be aware of.
I’ve also had quite a lot of gurgling from time to time, as well as e liquid coming up into the mouthpiece.
The other bigger issue is that there’s no air getting into the top of the atomiser. Because of this vacuum seal, as your e-liquid is supplied to the coil you end up with lots of micro bubbles forming around the juice intakes and they don’t end up going anywhere.
This airlock ends up choking the coil and you can quickly end up with a dry hit.
It’s easy to get around this problem by slightly unscrewing the drip tip, and you can see exactly what is happening because a flurry of bubbles suddenly gets released and rises to the top.
This isn’t a major issue if you don’t chain vape on it, but if you’re like me it quickly gets irritating and would doubtless be quite confusing for someone that doesn’t know what’s going on.
I actually wasn’t expecting much in terms of flavour from this, so I was pleasantly surprised when it gave a really flavourful vape.
Based on my experience of getting airlocks I didn’t want to try anything thicker than the 50/50 that I normally vape in Mouth to Lung (MTL) tanks.
Trying out a couple of different e-liquids I found that it was especially good with fruit flavours and ones that have a bit of cooling. I used my standard Berry Ice by Vape Simple for most of my testing.
- See some of our best rated vape juice brands
One thing that I was pleased with is that it has a constant output of 11W, so your vape quality is going to be consistent all the way through the battery life.
Obviously with such a small device, your battery life is going to be quite limited. I found that in use this would last me about half a day of moderate usage. Recharging is fairly quick at roughly 45 minutes, but the charging indication is a bit of a pain.
When it’s plugged in to charge the orange LED “breathes” by pulsing slowly, when it’s finished charging, it changes to being constantly on.
Unfortunately this means that you can’t tell just by glancing at it whether it has finished or not, and you have to look at it for a couple of seconds to see whether the light is pulsing or not.
- Slim and quite stylish (subjective!)
- Good flavour
- Airlock forms around the coil
- E-liquid leaks from the hollow 510
- Gurgling and e-liquid in the mouth
- Very small battery
Final Review Verdict
I’m afraid that no matter how much I like e-pipes, this is one that I can’t really recommend. Although the flavour is pretty good for such a little device, I’ve had too many issues to be able to comfortable rely on it.
This definitely falls into the category of being a bit of a novelty vape device. It’s an unusual look, and whilst it’s nothing like as substantial as one of my removable battery pipes, I actually quite like the effect.
So maybe pick this up if you fancy something a little bit different, but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone giving up smoking. I also wouldn’t recommend this as a primary device (or even secondary!) device for the serious vaper.
Have you used the Vapeonly vPipe Mini? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.