Hey there, What kind of budget are you looking at. Presume sub ohm coils/tank ,maybe cloud chasing? If you give a little more detail and hopefully some suggestions.
The kanger sub tank mini kits are a good starter kit, come with an RBA base to get use to rebuild able coils. Cells wise avoid as you say the fire brands, Samsung 25r/30q ,Sony vtc4 and Vtc5 make good choices along with LG.
Chargers, Xtar/Nitecore do good value options, former the vp1 and vp2 make good choices and up to 1a charge rates .
Juice well, that much choice and of course DIY as well. Ideally 50/50 pg/vg or higher vg for a smoother vape which is suited to sub ohm coils. Being a none smoker I will presume no need for nicotine , so just diluents(pg/vg) and flavor.
On line calculators to work out your fluid if you decide to make, pretty easy though if go off 20% flavor. Make 100ml then add 20ml flavor, the remaining 80ml is just diluents . Add another 30ml of PG and 50ml of vg for a 50/50 mix(example) . The actual flavor concentrate is pg based , so the 20ml counts towards .
I use a 100ml beaker to measure out then pour into bottles which I then top up my tanks from.
If you get on with it,maybe dripping would be worth looking into..............
I started with a cig-a-like when vaping first began. Fuma. For the urge to smoke it really helped. You not being a smoker the cig-a-like would be a waste.
Back then cartridges sucked. They'd pop and e-juice would run down your face in a skin numbing drool that was potentially very harmful. I gave up on vapes for a few years.
Recently I was told to stop smoking or a heart attack wasn't too far down the road. Again, I looked at cig-a-likes, but several years later they are still junk and actually cost more than smoking.
I went into a cigarette store and asked the proprietor for some ideas. She showed me a pod system where you swap out cartridges. I bought one with a pre-filled cartridge system. But being a flashaholic I went you-tube-ing and found a bunch of videos by stoners on hacking into these prefilled cartridges.
Not wanting to look like those dudes driving down the road who look like they're on fire I wanted less steam. Again a 'pod' system seemed a good solution until I learn all the ins and outs. Today I bought a refilleable pod system and a bottle of juice. So far the pod system is a convenient system that is also fairly economical going in.
Read up on the PG vs VG, because a 50/50 combo 'smokes' a lot like a cigarette. An 80/20 (VG/PG) 'smokes a lot like a pipe. To me 50/50 is too harsh but many steaming looking people swear buy it. I'm doing an 80/20 now and find that I'll probably settle on 70/30 or 60/40.
Then there's the million billion flavors available. Me? I'm trying to replace tobacco so I'm going with a pipe tobacco type flavor. I don't want food flavor, candy flavor, flower flavor or sweet drink flavor. But the idea, at least for now is to replace cigarette cravings. For a non nicotine addicted person, you'd probably prefer soda or candy type blends at first. They are pretty freaking tastey.
I'm switching between a JoyTech Penguin and a Cue pre-filled system. Both very convenient. The Cue going in costs less. But the JoyTech will be less costly over time.
The ultimate thrill for some is building a kit and keeping it going. I will probably make my own brew over time in order to gradually reduce the nicotine. Perhaps find a flavor I like with 0 mg of nicotine and suppliment the nicotine amount until eventually reaching zero.
To be honest, if you don't already smoke cigarettes or never have I'd reccomend not starting the vape habit. If God intended us to breath steam we'd have gills like a fish. And all of this vape technology is yet to be proven over the long term. Oh it's definitely safer than smoking tobacco. Yet is it completely safe? The jury is still out there.
Yes my mix right now is around 75% VG , so smoother. VG= cloud and smoothness, PG is flavour and throat hit basically. If you get a tank with adjustable air holes, you can close them up to a point for a tighter drag. Airy drag, open up.............
So many options out there its a mind field. I am on a geek vape mod and tank right now . Pretty happy, dual battery so i get twice the vape time over single cell mods. Using dual coil tanks this is a big help!
Dual coil build
Little wells to tuck wick at, makes building user friendly and nice and roomy deck
Easy top fill, as air is above tank....................no leaks!! And i mean no leaks for a change.
Awesome tank, have a single coil one coming to try out as well
Few coil options if i want a change(bought made up as its pushing it for my time and patience lol)
A vape, Guinness and view
I call it screen wash(blue juice), others know it as Heizenburg (mix of like a blackcurrant,menthol,liquorice) Been on it for ages and it never gets sickly, tried so many flavours. Others i like are vanilla custard, strawberry milkshake. But the former(vanilla/custard) can gunk up coils quick . So ever 2 or 3 days needs a new wick and dry burn coils clean(wick removed).
Good luck mike, i like you was not too sure 7yrs ago. I started on a pen(box mods here were not an option). Mods and tanks took off huge here in UK, the speed of developments truly crazy! But once find the right mod(vape time and comfort/ease of use) and tank , along with juice. You will realise how much nicer they can be/get.
Enjoy the ride, its a lot of messing and fiddling at 1st, once settle i recommend more mods/tanks for back up. Maybe different flavours in tanks as washing/cleaning out each time you want to try or change a flavour............grows old fast! . Although not on the same scale, i can draw a few parallels with vape and flashlights, cells, chargers, devices and little modifications(coil swap, custom stuff). Also coil ohms, ohms law kind of adds interest. As you know, good cells matched if dual(can get quad cell which is toooooo much for me tbh), good chargers, not too low ohm coils makes for less head aches.