SparkPlug for Smokers Sparki SP3 Review
When I discovered the Sparki SP3 by SparkPlug for Smokers a few months ago, I was immediately fascinated. SparkPlug for Smokers and its parent company McDonald Webb had somehow managed to create an electronic cigarette in the United States and sell it as part of a fully appointed starter kit for under $30. I had to know more. I was able to get a hold of one of the owners at McDonald Webb and within a few days I had a Sparki SP3 review sample at my door.
Sparki SP3: The Bottom Line
The Sparki SP3 by SparkPlug for Smokers is, without question, the least expensive USA-made electronic cigarette on the market — and it’s a darn good one in spite of a few flaws. The design is about as svelte as it can be given the capacity of the battery, and I think that both men and women are likely to find it quite visually appealing. The battery life and vapor production are both excellent. You’ll have trouble finding a better value anywhere, but a couple of small issues make the Sparki SP3 less than ideal for some types of e-smokers.
Sparki SP3: Starter Kit
The Sparki SP3 is an unbelievable deal for the price. Inside the box, secured with foam, you’ll find the following:
- Sparki SP3 electronic cigarette
- Hybrid atomizer (510 with 801 threading)
- Five plastic cartridges
- Bottle of Kentucky Leaf e-liquid
- Two 16340 3.6 volt 800 mAh batteries
- Dual-battery wall charger
- Two 800 mAh batteries
Although the atomizer uses 801 threading, it is a 510 atomizer and can accept any 510 drip tip if you have one. If not, SparkPlug for Smokers sells a 510 drip tip for $6.99. If you prefer to use the plastic cartridges, no drip tip is necessary.
Sparki SP3: General Impressions
Upon taking the Sparki SP3 out of the package, I was immediately struck by how incredibly simple its design is. The body of the e-cigarette is essentially a hollow painted aluminum tube with threading at both ends. The top cap has a hole in the center for a brass peg that rises to touch the atomizer when you push the activation button. The bottom cap is a spring-loaded button with a peg that rises to touch the bottom of the battery. These parts combine to create a circuit in which all of the components are separated by the slightest amount of space until you push the button, completing the circuit. You can purchase a replacement cap from SparkPlug for Smokers at a cost of $5.99 if either should be misplaced.
To assemble the Sparki SP3, place the brass peg inside the top end cap and screw the cap into the top of the aluminum body. You can tell which side is the top by looking inside the body; it has slightly less threading. Then, insert a charged battery with the positive end facing up. Screw in the bottom cap. Lastly, attach the atomizer or cartomizer. If you assemble the Sparki SP3 in a different order, the parts won’t fit together properly. On one hand, this simple design appears to lack the fit and finish of some comparably priced electronic cigarettes such as the Envy Ego-Tank. On the other hand, the design eliminates all potential points of failure except the battery and the atomizer or cartomizer, which have limited lives anyway.
People are likely to have different opinions about the appearance of the Sparki SP3. The 2 11/16″ body is extremely economical in size — just large enough to hold the tiny but powerful 800 mAh battery. It weighs just 1.48 ounces and has a diameter of about 3/4″. It’s significantly smaller and lighter than the ProVari, for example, which is 4 1/8″ long and weighs 5.32 oz. On the other hand, adding an atomzer and drip tip or other attachments extends the length quite a bit. The Sparki SP3 is still easily pocketable, though. The second point of debate is the bottom-mounted button. This design decision keeps the price of the Sparki e-cigarette low and eliminates the point of failure that an integrated side-mounted button creates. Some may find it awkward to hold, but I don’t mind. Overall, my wife and I both like the appearance of the Sparki SP3 very much.
The last point of contention with the Sparki SP3 is the 801 connection for accessories. I’m guessing that something about the design of the Sparki necessitated the use of 801 threading, which was common among early e-cigarettes made during the late 2000s but has since become rare. However, using 801 threading rather than the more common 510 or 808 connections means that your options for experimenting with third-party atomizers, cartomizers, tanks and other attachments will be limited unless you purchase an adapter. ELiquid Planet has an excellent selection of adapters, and I purchased an 801 atomizer and pack of 801 cartomizers from Avid Vaper to get an idea of how the Sparki SP3 performs with low-resistance attachments.
Sparki SP3: Performance
Out of the box, the Sparki SP3 is designed to work with disposable plastic cartridges unless you decide to add a drip tip to your order. You can use the cartridges simply by upending them and adding a few drops of e-liquid to the filler material through the bottom. When the filler is thoroughly wet, push it straight into the atomizer. Although the Sparki SP3 atomizer has 801 threading, the body itself is that of a 510 atomizer — most likely because 801 atomizers are quite long and using a 510 atomizer shortens the e-cigarette considerably. I have previous experience with disposable 510 cartridges; Volcano’s Magma e-cigarette once used them. They work well enough, but I recommend adding a drip tip to your order as the performance you can expect from dripping is far superior to the experience you’ll get with cartridges.
To drip with the Sparki SP3, simply push the drip tip into the top of the atomizer, add a few drops of e-liquid through the hole in the drip tip, wait a moment for the atomizer’s heating coil to get wet, press the button and enjoy. The Sparki atomizer is a good one; it delivers plenty of vapor and decent flavor for a standard-resistance atomizer on a 3.6-volt device. I’m not a huge fan of the Sparki Kentucky Leaf e-liquid, but you can use any e-liquid you like. When I swapped the Sparki atomizer out for a low-resistance 801 atomizer, the vapor production picked up a bit in spite of the longer distance between the heating coil and drip tip.
Where dripping is concerned, though, the Sparki SP3 has a bit of a problem; because the brass post that makes contact with the atomizer when you push the activation button has to move, the top cap isn’t sealed. This means that if you add too much e-liquid when dripping and flood the atomizer, the e-liquid could leak through the tube to the battery. You’d have to remove the atomizer and both of the Sparki SP3’s end caps and clean everything immediately to avoid battery damage. Several times while I was writing this Sparki SP3 review, I removed the atomizer to find that e-liquid had begun to run down the brass center post. However, it never reached the battery.
When I tried the Sparki SP3 with a low-resistance 801 cartomizer, its performance really began to shine. The pack of cartomizers that I purchased was by Boge, the same company that manufactures my favorite 510 cartomizer. With a low-resistance cartomizer and some Intellicig ECOpure Menthol e-liquid, the Sparki SP3 produced very large vapor clouds with pure flavor and mild throat hit. In fact, it was among the best vaping experiences I’ve ever had with a smaller e-cigarette.
The Sparki SP3 has excellent battery life. I was able to use one of the 800 mAh batteries all day without a problem, even while using low-resistance attachments. If you use the standard-resistance atomizer included with the Sparki, you’ll get even better battery life. This is a huge selling point for the Sparki SP3; cigarette-shaped batteries need frequent recharging, and a lithium ion battery can only be charged so many times before its capacity is permanently reduced. Increased battery capacity means less frequent recharging and longer total battery life. I also love the fact that the charger sold by SparkPlug for Smokers attaches directly to a wall outlet; most e-cigarette chargers have cables, causing them to take up space on my kitchen counter. That isn’t a problem with the Sparki SP3.
Sparki SP3: Conclusion
The Sparki SP3 is an American-made e-cigarette that won’t break the bank. Its economical design makes it as small as possible in spite of the powerful 800 mAh battery and makes it easy to service if you ever have a problem. With a low-resistance atomizer or cartomizer, its vapor production is excellent and will more than satisfy most e-smokers. On the other hand, the design may not appeal to those wanting something that looks like a real cigarette and the 801 threading limits your ability to try other atomizers and cartomizers. If you’re looking for something smaller, I’d suggest the Envy NirVana. If you’d like something with higher vapor production and more flexibility with attachments, the Lavatube might be up your alley. If you fall somewhere in between, the Sparki SP3 by SparkPlug for Smokers is a great buy and I think you’ll be quite happy with it.