Clones are a pretty divisive topic when it comes to vaping. When a new tank (especially a high end tank) is coming out, take a look on some of the Chinese websites, and you’ll be amazed at just how quickly you see the clones popping up. I saw this myself when I was waiting for the Svöemesto Kayfun Lite 2019 to come out. Just so you know, I’m going to continue to use the Kayfun as my standard “high end” tank when I’m talking about them. That’s not to say it’s the most high end, or that that is all I am talking about, but it is a useful short hand and one of the first times I really saw the scale of cloned tanks.
Now I’m going to split this piece into two parts. What I used to think, and what I think now. Just to be clear though, what I’m talking about specifically here are proper clones, tanks or mods that are trying to look as close to the original as possible, even down to copying the box design and name. I know there’s been some controversy recently about things like things like the Kylin M “copying” the Wotofo Profile Unity, or the Arcless from Mechlyfe “copying” the Dejavu Mecha. That is not what I’m talking about, and generally my opinion is that people should vote with their wallets if they don’t want to support a company that they feel has crossed the line, however it’s a blurry line, and every tank or mod is going to borrow pieces from what has come before. Truly original ideas are rare as hens teeth, and even in a tank that has something notably different about it. Chances are there are going to be a half dozen pieces of it that are incredible similar to what is already out there.
Now way back when (in reality a year or so ago!) my feeling on clones was pretty simple.
No clones, ever.
And my reasons were also pretty simple.
- I want my money to go to people that innovate, that spend their time and money designing something. Not someone that is really good at copying something
- I want whatever I vape to be the best it can possibly be. A clone, by it’s nature, is not going to improve on a design, but it might introduce issues.
- I want to be able to talk about things like Kayfuns, Taifuns, etc. And know that my opinions are based on the real thing. Especially if I find any issues with them. I don’t want to have to add a conditional “but that’s based on a clone” to every thought.
- And most of all, I enjoy kit for it’s own sake. So I like to play with new and interesting things, and I just want that experience to be “authentic”.
So yeah, I was pretty dead set against clones, and I knew I would never buy one. I take pride in my collection of mods and atomisers, and if I didn’t like the thought of something in there, trying to pass itself off as something else.
Now, how has my thinking developed?
I added my first clone to my collection more or less by accident, it was gifted to me by a friend who knew I like the weird and the wonderful when it comes to vape hardware. This was an *old* tank, and although I could just about work out how to put it together, things were a bit different back then with no set way on how you did things. But that’s been incredibly fun actually, there used to be a huge amount of variety, especially in the high end that clones naturally copied. There were some weird and wonderful ideas, some worked, most had what you would charitably call “quirks”. That’s part of the fun of it though, go with almost any mainstream atomiser today, and you’re unlikely to be truly surprised (or confused) by it’s deck layout, airflow design, or anything else.
I now have clones of old genesis style decks, ceramic postless decks, RDTA’s that really deserve that term (as it is literally a tank that you push down to drip on your coils) and a couple of others. The original versions of these tanks are now pretty much impossible to find, and even the clones are a little thin on the ground. Not to mention that the original pricing would have been reaching well into the multiple hundreds of pounds for my collection.
And none of them are likely to become an all day vape for me, if they were, I’d try and seek out an original. Because there’s a reason that their design oddities didn’t just get copied by everyone, they are all a bit weird in one way or another. So there are compromises, and compared to the ease of use that a modern tank will give you, they just can’t compete.
So I’m still never going to rush out and buy a clone of a newly released tank, but I do accept that there’s a place for them, and for me personally.
- If you want to experiment with some of the weird and wonderful creations from vaping past, and getting an original is too prohibitive in terms of cost for something you’re getting as a curiosity *or* it’s impossible to get ahold of an original from back then.
- If you like the sound of a new tank but, especially if it’s a manufacturer you don’t know, you want to test the waters first. However, I would still say that if you like it, do the right thing and buy an original later.
- If you want to have a huge and varied collection of different ways of doing things, and don’t want to spend the money on stuff you’re not going to vape regularly.
Some people will argue with me and say that I should have included a “if you don’t have the money” in there. But I won’t. because I genuinely think that quality should be fairly compensated. Yeah a new Kayfun or similar might not be affordable with change you find down the back of the sofa, but there are countless tanks on the market that will give you a sterling vape at a fraction of the cost. And if you really want something, then you can always save and buy it in a few months. No one “needs” these in their lives, they are a luxury.