I know, such an exciting topic to discuss on a Saturday night! But let’s face it… since we’ve gone electronic, batteries have become a major part of our lives, and we’ve got to keep them charged if we want to keep on vaping.
Many folks have the starter kits they got from a local dealer or internet site, and they use the chargers that come along; screw them in, plug them into the wall, and be mindful not to overcharge. Some of them have a low whistle – I have one of those, and it is maddening! – and some don’t make a sound. Generally, those are pretty run of the mill and aside from some making noise and others not, they generally work as well as the next. I’ve only once gotten one of those that was so painfully slow I threw it away and never thought about it again.
But back in 2013 I began the journey that is “mods.” The LavaTube, ZMax, the Kamry e-pipe, the custom revolver grip mod, and the long standing champion, the Provari Mini. I have a little collection of batteries for that the Provari and the e-pipe share, but I have to keep them charged. And I have to keep them charged on the go.
I have had the Provari for about a year. My oldest charger is a few months older than it, but since that time I have had three chargers. So let’s talk about those.
The first charger I got came home with the ZMax. It is a GTL Li-ion universal charger (Note: all three chargers are universal. What this means is that they will fit just about any rechargeable battery on the market). It has firmly outlived the ZMax and is still in use right now.
There really isn’t anything special about this charger. If anything, it was a hair slow, but not slow enough to take it out of consideration for a repurchase. It did have a very light whistle, and doesn’t really feel like it was well made. I used it for a good long time, though, and it is still hanging around as a backup charger should I need to charge more than two batteries at once or should there be an issue with my main charger.
After about four months of use, I did notice my batteries were not always charging fully. It wasn’t a constant issue, but every so often a battery I thought I was fully charged would die after an hour, or the Provari would start blinking that the battery was weak, but it wouldn’t completely cut off for another two hours.
It did travel pretty well, coming back and forth to work with me daily and even taking a trip to an ocean front hotel. The cord held up well, considering it was being wrapped around the base daily for easier travel and less room necessary for it inside my purse.
But the charging issue turned it over the second string, although I wasn’t willing to toss it completely.
Recommended? : Yes
So now it was time to move on to a new charger, and I found just the right one! Also a universal charger, this one was more compact than the original. It didn’t really matter much to me, but had options to charge an even higher range of batteries, with another set of contacts inside that could be pulled out to help, and I could even plug it in inside my car.
The DigiPower TC-3000 came home with me via Amazon.com. It was a noticeably faster charge, and the charge was also much more consistent. When this thing said the batteries were charged, they were. It was quiet, much smaller, much lighter, and had a much more secure hold on the batteries, so I could even transport batteries in it safely for short periods (like the drive home from work).
Because the entire base moved, however, it was a bit harder to get batteries into, but again, not enough so to really cause an issue. Just be aware, it may snap back on you the first few times.
This charger also came back and forth every day from work, but never took a vacation with me anywhere. It did, however, take a few road trips.
It did not travel well. That actually lead to the death of the charger after about five months. I took it to work everyday in my purse, and to keep the cord from snagging on something, I wrapped it around the base. Well, the cord is actually very thin, so after that five month period I realized one day that the coating had worn and broke, exposing the wiring inside. I decided to stop transporting it and left it at work, using my old charger at home instead. This managed to save the charger for another month, but eventually it got to where it would only charge if the cord was held up at an extreme angle. This isn’t exactly practical, so into the trash it went.
Recommended?: Yes, but only for one location use or use inside the car. Try to transport this one as little as possible.
My current charger is the Nitecore i2 Intellicharge smart battery charger version2, also from Amazon.com. There is actually also an i4 version, and that one charges four batteries at a time. I have not tried that one, but a common theme seems to be that it doesn’t work as well if you are not charging four batteries at a time. This is only hearsay as I have not tried it myself, as I said.
I actually just got this one in late May, and as of right now I have not had many issues. Once or twice I got an inconsistent charge, but it hasn’t happened enough for me to say it is a problem… only enough to mention it.
What I really like about this charger is that the two charging areas actually work independently from each other, which was not the case with the other two. With the others, you charged them together and they stayed there until both were charged. With this one, if one battery charges faster than the other, it lets you know so you can remove it without unknowingly overcharging the battery. This works really well for those times when I put two batteries in and one of them was actually charged already and I’d forgotten – which, sadly, happens a lot because my memory is aging faster than the rest of me. Seriously, I’ve met goldfish with a better memory than what I have sometimes. It’s also great because if one battery finishes charging before the other, you can now remove it and put in another battery that needs charging, so all your charging gets done a little bit faster.
The cord on this one is almost industrial, it is so thick. I am not having any issue with transport, but to be fair, I leave the charger at work all week and bring it home on Friday night and back in Monday morning. I don’t want to chance wearing out the cord like I did with the last one – not that would happen as fast. It may eventually, but it would take a while. The base size it much larger than the other two, but it doesn’t have the versatility of charging options the second charger had. It won’t matter to a vaper since the extra charger options available on that one don’t assist any battery used in any personal vaporizer, but it was handy if you used other rechargeable batteries for other items.
The light system on this also gives you a kind of status update. Where as the other two just blinked or stayed red until the batteries were fully charged, this one has a bar system that lights up according to how charged the batteries are. So now you can look down and assess when your batteries could be done charging.
I personally like this one the best, but like I said, I haven’t really had it long enough for anything to go very wrong with it.
Recommended? Yes, although size and toughness of the cord make it a hair tougher to transport. Pack accordingly.
Do you have a charger you love or hate? Let us know about it! Comment here, email us, or hit us up at Facebook via the link at the very tippy top of the page, right side.