As vaping becomes more and more popular, it isn’t surprising that many want to take advantage of this trend. Unfortunately, some want to take advantage the easy way, by using shortcuts and creating counterfeit versions of established brands to fool unsuspecting consumers. Cheaply made duplicates affect every category of the vaping industry including dry herb vapes, wax pens, e-cigarettes, e-nails, and desktop vapes. This is a common practice in most technological industries, and regrettably, the vaping industry is no different.
Knock-off vaporizers are bad for everybody except the counterfeiters. So consumers, especially first-timers, should be vigilant when making their purchases. Fake vaporizers are not the vaping industry’s version of the generic drugs of the pharmaceutical industry. Those drugs are strictly regulated, whereas phony vaporizers are not. So let’s take a closer look at the world of counterfeit vaporizers and how to avoid them.
The Difference between Counterfeit Vaporizers and Rebranded Vaporizers
If you’ve been reading TVG for a while then you’ve no doubt come across some products that look nearly identical to others. These are rebranded vaporizers and they are a common practice in this and many other industries. This practice is common enough that it has many different names, it can be called white label manufacturing, private label manufacturing, or badge engineering.
This is when a company puts their branding on an extant product. This is usually done to save on R&D and manufacturing expenses. In the vape industry, products get rebranded and distributed all the time and it is perfectly legal. In some cases, there might not be any difference between the products, in other cases, one company might tweak the design slightly to make their version distinct.
An example of this is the Atmos Vicod 5G and the KandyPens Miva 2, in the case of the latter, KandyPens added wax vaping functionality to what was previously a dry herb vaporizer. Rebranded vaporizers are a normal part of the vaporizer industry and are much different from a company making a duplicate of a vaporizer and passing it off as an original.
Why Counterfeit Vaporizers are Bad for Everyone
The main reason is that phony vapes can be dangerous to the consumer. Many of these knock-offs use cheap bargain bin parts to make copies of the original vaporizers. This means that important parts of the vaporizer like the battery, heating chamber, and mouthpiece are of inferior quality.
This is particularly bad when it comes to batteries, many vaporizers use Li (lithium) ion rechargeable batteries. A low quality Li ion battery can have impurities that prevent it from holding a charge for long or performing at full capacity. The use of cheap processors can also have a detrimental effect, here are some of the problems a poorly made duplicate can cause:
- Poor vaping experience – a duplicate might produce poor quality vapor, have a restricted airflow, poor temperature control, or a range of other issues that cause a lousy vaping experience.
- Constant breakdowns – the use of the cheapest possible materials can lead to an unreliable vaporizer that is constantly breaking down. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find replacement parts because the parts from the official manufacturer won’t fit on the knock-off.
- Overheating – counterfeits can get uncomfortably hot to the touch and/or end up burning the herb or e-liquid.
- Metallic particle inhalation – the use of cheap coils with poor heat resistance can lead to the metal getting vaporized and causing particles of it to get mixed in with the vapor.
- Battery fires or explosions – low quality batteries with poorly made processors can cause a thermal runaway. This happens when power is drawn from the battery for longer than it should, causing overheating, which results in a fire or explosion.
Where do Counterfeit Vaporizers Originate?
The majority of counterfeit vaporizers, particularly e-cigarettes, come from China—specifically Shenzhen. That area has over 600 factories dedicated to making e-cigs, which is an astonishing number. Some of the manufacturers like Kanger and Aspire are reputable, but with so many factories, it is expected that there would be several knock-offs because of China’s lack of adherence to intellectual property laws.
Of course, they have to get into America somehow. That is often via sellers tempted by the low prices of what they think are name brand vapes. Some innocent sellers might be unaware that they are selling fakes, unscrupulous sellers might not be. Either way, unsuspecting buyers are at risk.
Which Products Have Been Counterfeited?
Practically every well-established name brand has had a counterfeit version of their products, here are some of them that you should be on the alert for:
There is also the JUUL, which not only has counterfeit versions but also counterfeit accessories like refillable pods. As with the fake vaporizers, these accessories can be dangerous to you but they can also be dangerous to your JUUL as well.
How to Identify a Counterfeit Vaporizer
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid getting cheated by a fake vaporizer, follow these methods and you have a lower chance of getting deceived.
Check if the Price is too Good to be True
If you’ve scored a great deal on a vaporizer, especially from places like Ebay, Amazon, or Craigslist, then chances are it’s a phony. Some sites do offer great deals on occasion but if the standard price is far lower than the average then there is a good chance that the product is a fake.
Check for Authenticity Codes
In order to combat counterfeits, many manufacturers have started putting authenticity codes on their products. The way they work is that you reveal the code by scratching it off then you enter the code on the company’s website to see if it’s valid. Only authentic products have valid codes. Also, if the code has been checked multiple times, then there is a good chance the product is a fake since the authenticity codes are supposed to be unique.
Use Bluetooth Integration
If your vaporizer has Bluetooth integration, then try pairing it with one of your compatible devices, even if you don’t plan to use any of the Bluetooth functionality. A counterfeit won’t be able to be paired with your device because it doesn’t have access to the company’s serial number database.
Carefully Examine the Packaging
Fake products typically have slightly different packaging than the real thing. You can easily check online to see what the authentic package of a product looks like and find out if it’s identical to the product you are thinking of buying.
Even though these methods can help you catch a fake, counterfeiters are always catching up with the various authentication methods so you should always remain vigilant.
How to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Vaporizers
Only Buy from Authorized Retailers
Sites like Amazon, Ebay, and Craigslist are not authorized retailers. Amazon and Ebay might refund your purchase of a fake vaporizer but Craigslist won’t. Even if you get reimbursed, there is still the matter of all that wasted time, avoid that waste of time and money by only buying from authorized websites.
Your best bet is buying directly from the manufacturer, but there are trusted stores from which you can make your purchase. Some trusted manufacturers and stores include, but are not limited to:
There are other trusted sites but you can get a good start with these vendors.
Do Some Research
Find out online which of the latest vaporizers have copies floating around and find out how to identify them. Detailed information might not always be available, but just knowing that there is a counterfeit can help you.
There are always going to be phony vapes on the market, legitimate companies will do their best to stop duplicates of their products from entering the market but they can only do so much. You have to do your part by buying from authorized sources, finding out which vaporizers have impostors imitating them, and exercising some common sense.
Counterfeit vaporizers cause harm to consumers, legitimate distributors, authentic manufacturers, and the vaping industry in general. It is not the consumer’s fault when they buy a fake vaporizer but they end up paying the price in more ways than one. So, avoid becoming one of the unfortunate people who end up with a counterfeit by employing the best practices when making your purchase.