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Auto-draw vs Manual e-Cigarette: An Explanation of How It Works

13. Mar. 2023


  1. The basic difference between an auto-draw e-cigarette and a manual one
  2. So, how does an auto-draw e-cigarette work?
  3. How does a manual or button e-cigarette work
  4. Different coils and tanks for auto-draw e-cigarettes compared to manual e-cigarettes

The basic difference between an auto-draw e-cigarette and a manual one

The principal difference between these two types of e-cigarettes is what you have to do in order to create vapor to inhale.

An auto-draw e-cigarette is convenient to use; all the user needs to do is take a puff from the mouthpiece and the coil inside the device will heat up and produce vapor from the e-liquid. This is similar to the way someone would “draw” on a regular cigarette, which explains why these types of e-cigarettes are favored by those looking to quit smoking. The Aspire Vilter Pro  is an example of this.

Auto-draw e-cigarettes, which aim to imitate the sensation of traditional smoking, are typically found in ‘cigalike’ products. However, it should be noted that certain vaping mods that use direct-to-lung (DTL) techniques also use this type of device, so it is not exclusively used in these products.

Manual or button e-cigarettes require you to push and keep a small button depressed. This completes the battery circuit to the coil and in heating the coal, when you draw on the e-cigarette, whether mouth to lung (MTL) or DTL, the coil heats the e-liquid to create the vapor. If you don’t depress the button before drawing, you simply do not get any vapor.

Aspire Gotek S

So, how does an auto-draw e-cigarette work?

Inside an auto-draw e-cigarette, there is an air sensor that is highly sensitive to any passing air. Consequently, when you draw on the e-cigarette, the sensor detects the movement of the air by means of a membrane and a microphone. Once the sensor detects the airflow, it automatically switches on the connection between the battery and the coil, so that the e-liquid that is drawn over the coil becomes vaporized and sucked into your mouth or lungs.

Once you stop drawing on the e-cigarette, the sensor detects that there is no more airflow and switches the e-cigarette off. The process is then repeated every time you draw on the e-cigarette.

How does a manual or button e-cigarette work

Virtually all e-cigarettes which are operated by depressing a button work by the same principle. Initially, you have to ‘switch on’ the e-cigarette. This is usually done by rapidly depressing the button three or five times. Thereafter, whenever you depress the button, that completes the electrical circuit between the battery and the coil and the coil heats up.

To keep the coil hot, you need to maintain the connection between the battery and the coil by pressing the button. After the coil has been heated, when you inhale from the e-cigarette, the e-liquid is heated by the coil and vaporized before it reaches your mouth or lungs.

Different coils and tanks for auto-draw e-cigarettes compared to manual e-cigarettes

One of the major differences between auto-draw e-cigarettes and manual or button e-cigarettes is the actual e-liquid tank and coil combination. In the majority of auto-draw e-cigarettes, the e-liquid tank and coil are an ‘all-in-one’ combination and when the coil has reached the end of its lifespan, then the whole combination needs to be replaced, only the body and the battery are ‘reusable’. A good example of this is the Aspire GoTek X.

The advantage of an all-in-one tank and coil is it is remarkably swift and simple to change them. For the GoTek X it literally takes one second to change the tank and coil!

Aspire Gotek X

Firstly, many button or manual-operated e-cigarettes allow for the tank and coil to be replaced separately, which appeals to more advanced and experienced vapers. This is due to the fact that, depending on the laws in the area, the size of the tank for e-liquid can range from 2ml to 5ml, making it easier for heavier users to get more out of their vaping device.

This applies to the pen-style e-cigarette as well as mods, the latter normally producing appreciably greater clouds of vapor and having much larger tanks. You should note that where the European Union is concerned, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and mods that have a tank that can hold more than 2ml of vape juice or e-liquid. This is the law under what is called the TPD or Tobacco Products Directive.

Secondly, you can also adjust the resistance of the coil. If you read our article What is the Difference Between a Mod and an e-Cigarette? you will learn that the lower the resistance, in ohms (Ω) the more vapor you can produce. Consequently, as many vapers find, the longer you vape, the more you find that, at times, you want an e-cigarette that produces more vapor, such as the Cloudflask III .

Changing a coil in a manual e-cigarette is not quite as simple when compared to changing a combined tank and coil, but nor is it complicated. All you have to do is remove the tank and this will reveal the coil, after which you simply replace the coil, put back the tank, and then refill it with e-liquid.

Manual or button-fire e-cigarettes frequently have a voltage regulator which controls the power sent to the coil and consequently regulates the volume of vapor created. Additionally, many manual e-cigarettes have an adjustable airflow regulator that also helps to regulate the volume of vapor inhaled. Examples of Aspire manual e-cigarettes include the Flexus Stik , Rhea X , and the Zelos Nano .

Aspire Rhea X

Based on our experience here in Aspire, the majority of smokers begin with cigalikes, which are not very strong and don’t create a lot of vapor. When they switch from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes, they tend to check out other types of e-cigarettes that can produce more vapor and help with nicotine cravings. This transition can take many months or even years until they are completely free from smoking cigarettes.

Once a cigarette smoker fully transitions into becoming a vaper and the cigarette habit has been totally kicked in, then enjoying a vape means experimenting with various e-cigarettes to find which type of individual e-cigarette you enjoy the most, as vaping can be just as enjoyable as smoking cigarettes, but is less harmful to your health, as well as your pocket!