What is a vape shop?
A vape shop is a store that specializes in selling only vaping-related gear. That means that you won’t find any cigarettes, cigars, or any other smoking accessories in one of these shops. What you will find is an assortment of e-cigarettes, mods, starter kits, e-juice, and maybe even some herbal vapes.
Vape shops range from super-upscale lounges with premium, all-natural juice and top-notch service all the way down to tiny little shops in strip malls with a limited selection of merchandise. It’s definitely worth it to spend some time searching your local area (and reading reviews) about which B&M shop is best for your unique needs.
What is a smoke shop?
Smoke shops, on the other hand, are designed to specialize in tobacco-related items. This is where you’ll find your cigarettes, cigars, lighters, loose-leaf tobacco, etc.
With the recent popularity of vaping, many smoke shops are starting to carry an assortment of vaping products. Now you’re not going to find any advanced RDAs or the latest cutting-edge box mods in a standard smoke shop. What you’re likely to find is a rag-tag assortment of cheaper e-cigs and some cheap e-juice.
If you’re a serious vaper then you probably won’t be stocking up on gear at your local smoke shop, but it’s important to note that these stores play a critical role in helping former smokers transition away from cigs. If they stop in to buy a pack of smokes and decide to pick up a Juul or some other similar product, it could be the beginning of the best change in their life. So it’s cool to see that smoke shops are starting to carry some vapes.
What is a head shop?
Head shops differ from straight-up smoke shops in one important (and awesome) way: they also sell cannabis-related items. This is where you’ll find your bongs, pipes, dry herb vaporizers, dab rigs, lighters, scales, rolling papers, etc.
In addition, most head shops will also sell items related to marijuana culture such as magazines, posters, and other random home decor items. Most head shops also sell tobacco products as well, so they aren’t 100% all about the weed.
In the United States, head shops are legal as long as the items that they sell are for legal substances only. This means that if you live in a state that doesn’t have legal recreational or medical marijuana, you’ll have to pretend that you’re buying these products for loose-leaf tobacco (and you should probably move to a free state where you don’t have to worry about those shenanigans).
What about online vape shops?
Shopping for vapes online is simply a much better experience in literally every way imaginable.
We’re well in to the 21st century at this point, so there is really no need to leave your house if you need to stock up vaping gear. There are numerous reputable online vape shops here in the U.S. ( and even in Europe) that have literally everything you’ll ever need.
Why leave the house if you don’t have to?
Of course, the downside is that you’ll have to wait a few days for the products to arrive. So if you’re on your last few drops of juice you might have to put some pants on and drive down to your local B&M.
What are the benefits of online vape shops?
- You can avoid the crowd and the long lines, especially during the holidays.
- You get a wider selection: online stores can simply stock way more products than even the largest B&M.
- You get much better customer service.
- You can save some serious cash: most online vaping stores mark their prices down much lower than what you’ll find in a physical store.
- You get more privacy: No one will see you walking in to the vape shop. You can order everything you need from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
In recent years the lines between vape shops, smoke shops, and head shops are beginning to blur. The rising popularity of vaping, combined with the legality of recreational and medical cannabis, means that many of these stores are starting to diversify and carry a bit of everything.
If you’re a serious vaper you’ll definitely want to shop online instead of going to a B&M. Just plan ahead for exactly what you’ll need and you’ll save some serious cash and avoid the inconvenience and hassle of trying to find what you need in a physical shop.