The advent of sub-ohm tanks has caused many vapers to consume e-liquid like never before. Modern sub-ohm tanks like the Smok TFV4 and the Aspire Cleito tend to be used at significantly higher wattages than models from a few years ago. While 15ml bottles were adequate for vapers using cartomizers and clearomizers back in 2013, many current vapers find the size lacking.
Higher e-liquid consumption has lead to vapers demanding larger bottle sizes and astute e-liquid manufacturers accommodating them. Companies that have been operating for years appear to be following the trend, while some new manufacturers are eschewing small bottles entirely. Here’s a look at the trend of e-liquid makers releasing 60ml and 120ml bottles, examined from the perspectives of established manufacturers, new e-liquid companies, and vape shop owners.
E-Liquid Makers Adapting to a New World
Established e-liquid makers agree that the popularity of sub-ohm tanks has caused an increase in e-liquid consumption and raised the demand for larger bottles. Jiu Jit Juice CEO Phillip Chu said, “In general, larger bottles are simply a result of the demands of the current hardware. When these sub-ohm tanks require 40+ watts to properly operate, more e-liquid is inevitably going to be expended in large quantity. Simply priming most sub-ohm tank coil heads requires more liquid than ever before.”
Boilermaker Vapor co-founder Jeff Brookes agrees with Chu. He said, “Now we bring in China and the sub-ohm tanks that have coils that are made for cloud chasing with multiple coils in them that go through e-liquid like crazy. Once a 30ml e-liquid bottle would last a couple of days. Now it lasts a day. People cannot afford to buy a $22 bottle of e-liquid daily.”
Brookes also believes that larger bottles indicate industry maturation. He added, “As we grow as an industry, more and more folks are leaving combustible cigarettes, which in turn brings into the fold a larger demographic of folks with different pocketbook sizes. Electronic cigarettes are showing that they are becoming more of the norm, thus people are not riding the hype of smaller bottles with a larger price tag and looking for an affordable well-made e-liquid instead.”
While he’s cognizant of the fact that e-liquid demand is higher than ever, Chu is taking a conservative approach. He noted, “At the moment, things won’t be changing drastically for my business in terms of sizes. However, more extensive flavor testing with sub-ohm tanks will be conducted. I still want to round out my menu to include non-cream or dessert in my established size before I can confidently commit to the larger size.”
The New Kids on the Block
Pancake Man is the first e-liquid from Vape Breakfast Classics. This new company has decided to release its e-liquid in 60ml bottles at a suggested retail price of $30. Vape Breakfast Classics owner Allen Seiden said, “We wanted to offer Pancake Man as 60ml because we feel e-juice in smaller volumes is too expensive for consumers and doesn’t last long enough based on the popularity of sub-ohm tanks. A 15ml would only last one day of vaping at an average of $12 per bottle, and a 30ml wouldn’t last much longer than that at an average of $22 per bottle.”
Vape One Twenty is a new e-liquid company that was started by Surefire Vapor. As you probably figured out from its name, it only offers its flavors in 120ml bottles. Vape One Twenty bottles come at a suggested retail price of $50. When I asked Surefire Vapor CEO Garry Rivera to describe his approach to the market, he said, “We decided to move forward with Vape One Twenty based off the trend of the industry moving towards higher volume e-liquid bottles for a more affordable price. As in every new industry, as it grows and more sources become available the price to produce will start to drop. We’ve noticed the trend already in the hardware side of our industry, pricing is super competitive and a pricing has become a constant battle.”
While vapers are more than happy to buy large quantities of e-liquid at low prices, it can be a juggling act for the makers. Rivera added, “So far the consumers love having a larger option of their favorite liquids — who wouldn’t? As for the retailers, you get mixed feelings since e-liquid is where they make most of the money. Some of them feel like they are losing business, which I understand but with the new tanks pushing out so much power and heat they tend to drain juice so much more like our ceramic tank, the Dolphin.”
The Vape Shop Perspective
Some brick-and-mortar retailers have been resistant to larger bottle sizes. Some prefer sticking to 15ml bottles, hoping that smaller bottles will equate to repeat visits. Progressive store owners have accepted the trend.
The Vapor Spot owner “JJ” John Jenkins said, “The 15ml bottle seems to be disappearing off of our shelves, as clients request the 30ml size a lot more since the sub-ohm style tanks came out. 15ml goes too quickly these days. And now the retail front sees larger and larger bottles arriving on the scene. 120ml liquid bottles are proving to be a decent mover for people that love to show that flavor allegiance.”
Vapor Land owner Travis Anthony has embraced the move towards larger bottles. He also believes that an increase in the quality of inexpensive vaping hardware has fueled the trend. He said, “I’ve been supporting the change from day one with juice coming in bigger bottles for cheaper. It all started in October 2014 when the Aspire Atlantis came out. Everything went sub-ohm overnight and since then, the products have been better and much cheaper. Tanks, attys, and mods have all decreased in price and improved in quality.”
One of the reasons Anthony has been supportive of the increase in e-liquid bottle size is that it levels the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. He noted, “Cheap juice has always been available online, but often it wasn’t from reputable companies or not that good. Now, companies that have a proven track record of making great juices are making bigger bottles for cheaper, keeping the same quality. That’s great for customers and fine for shops, since their customers who buy online for savings can now start to buy at their local shop for close to the same as online pricing.”
While some e-liquid makers are simply releasing larger bottles, some have chosen to go heavy with secondary packaging. The aforementioned Pancake Man, for example, comes in a box that resembles a box of pancake batter. In addition to a 60ml bottle of e-liquid, the box contains two “unicorn” bottles, a keychain, a button, and a sticker.
As the owner of the first vapor bar in America, Jenkins has seen many trends and urges e-liquid manufacturers to be cautious with secondary packaging. He said, “Liquid makers seem to be getting more and more creative with the box design and label or gimmick. Honestly, as a retailer and the gatekeeper to all these new vendors, I feel like there should be more of a push to create longevity in their flavors. As a retailer with Los Angeles as my test client, I would like to see the older vaping demographic as a target a bit more — a shift towards some tobaccos, darker notes like coffees, and serious flavors will eventually swing around away from this super-sweet liquid phase. And then those 120ml bottles will really be used up to the last drop. As it stands now, there are huge bottles of one-note liquid out there, and clients are vaping about a third of it before looking for the next thing.”
Are You Super Sizing?
Although there’s some resistance on the brick-and-mortar front, the trend towards larger e-liquid bottles looks like it’ll be a lasting one. Sub-ohm tanks aren’t going to lose popularity any time soon, hence vapers will be consuming more liquid. Larger bottles are a better deal for consumers and more profitable for e-liquid makers. It just makes sense.
Have you been purchasing larger bottles of e-liquid lately? What’s your preferred bottle size (60ml, 120ml)? Please let the Vaping 360 crew know your thoughts on larger e-liquid bottles and share your experience with them in the comments section.