No vaping site would be complete without a discussion on clones. The BLUF is clones are available for a third or less of the cost of the O.E.M.
I am speaking of authorized clones not illegal knock-offs.
Regulating that is the job of Government officials. If you see a clone and donít think they are authorized, then donít buy them and contact the authorities.
The Kayfun build deck design is found in hundreds if not thousands of atomizers. And in many other atomizers also considered "authentics". There will be minor variations such as the size or shape of air inlet hole and juice channels or height of air inlet above juice channels even as a RBA section. I consider all those "Kayfun clones" due to the basic build deck design which determines the category.
In some cases, the authentics are so expensive, I could buy several clones for the cost of one authentic. And I take note that the reduced cost would allow people that cannot afford authentics, to save their lives by switching to harm reduction through vaping.
With that said there are many very affordable authentics.
To add to the quagmire, clones can be worse than authentics or sometimes even better.
And that takes me to knowing what to look for when I buy a clone. Not all clone manufacturers are equal. And just because a company makes the best clone of a particular product that may not be true for another product they clone. Most likely the clone will not be 100% identical even if they claim it is 1 to 1 (1:1). Something will probably be different. Differences like scratchy threads and logos are very common and annoying but donít affect performance. But differences like juice channels not cut quite as deep, holes not drilled through or lining up correctly, holes drilled too small, flanges and filings stuck in the air passages left over from machining do affect performance.
I either take a chance and post a review to let others know what I found or I read reviews before I buy. I donít expect the materials used to be identical either. Just because it says SS doesnít mean it is the same SS as the original. There is a difference between 316L and 304. Although both are fine for atomizers and I will likely never notice that difference. But I have had some that came with or developed rust. And that's not saying I believe the 316L moniker either.
And I donít believe RoHS or ďmedical gradeĒ monikers on anything. And I donít believe country of origin on the box. One thing I have seen vendors here in the states do well is truthfully say the country of origin and manufacturer even if the box doesnít.
Even though the boxes clearly said RoHS compliant or the ad said medical grade o-rings, I didn't believe it. Now to be honest, RoHS doesnít mean free from machining lubricants but the first thing I do when I get any atty or bottle or anything that is going to hold my e-Liquid, OEM or clone, US or overseas, is take it completely apart, o-rings and all, and clean with ever clear then water and dry.
When I have the clone apart, I find pictures of the parts of the authentic and compare them to the clone parts where possible. And thoroughly inspect them. If I find no problems then great. If I do find something and canít fix it and it will affect performance, then I send it back immediately. I find most vendors very accommodating because they care about their rating and reputation.
Which is why I only buy from trusted vendors that have a long history of positive reviews.
And I don't believe QC labels either.
A big problem with all devices, authentic or clone is quality control. Some companies do a fabulous job while others are just a joke. Just because companies have people designated as Quality Control (QC), that doesnít mean they have an effective QC program. There is a whole lot more needed for effective QC then people walking around with hats and arm bands. There have been several books written on QC and people make their livings by teaching, training and evaluating QC. For an effective QC program you also need QC in every single step; QC in design, materials selection, manufacturing, assembly and packaging and shipping. A good QC program also includes rigorous testing, not just inspection. Just having QC in assembly alone doesnít cut it. A good QC program has continuous feedback and training and are authorized to shut the line down even if production quotas suffer. And that is beyond the scope of this site. I can just provide general opinions based on my experience and knowledge.
The Japanese, and certain EU manufacturers have great quality control. Sometimes in the US. But China mostly not so much. In my experience, these vendors care about quality: Provari, Protovapor, Stattqualm, SvoёMesto, Innokin, Aspire, and Kanger. Although I have only seen one product from them, namely the Hygeia, Cera Vape deserves mention. The Hygeia quality is as good as Aspire or Kanger. No offense to anyone not listed as I am sure there are many others but I just have not had experience with all of them to know. However fear not, friends Phil and Dimitris talk about that when they review products. And with that said, I have yet to see a bad product come out of Austria or Germany. I donít mean to offend anyone. Thatís just what Iíve seen. I know youíre dying to know the names of the companies that donít do too well at QC. I hate to name names and when I buy a product, I thoroughly clean and inspect it regardless of who made it. Where possible, I read reviews before buying anything. Forums are also extremely helpful. The reviewers and fellow vapers let me know before I take the plunge. Just remember that while things like scratchy threads are annoying they are not deal breakers. Bad machining can be and missing parts or parts that fail are for sure deal breakers. Itís all out there, it all happens and has happened to me.
All the information contained in these pages are only the opinions of the author and the author is not an expert at anything.