There are two ways that you can buy electronic cigarettes. The first is at a local convenience store (or at an electronic cigarette vaping parlor, which are starting to pop up in a few major cities), and the second is to purchase online. It may seem more convenient to buy at a local store, but there are several drawbacks to doing that; purchasing online may be a bit more time-consuming, but there are good reasons to do so.

When you buy e-cigs at a store, you usually have a choice of just one or two brands. More often than not, they are the equivalent of “generic” e-cigarette brands, since the best and most popular electronic cigarette brands are only available online. That means the taste and vapor clouds of the brands you’ll find at a local convenience store usually won’t measure up to the products you can buy over the internet.

The second problem you can run into is that most brands of e-cigarettes aren’t “interchangeable.” In other words, the cartridges for one brand usually won’t fit onto the batteries of another brand. If you own a “brand A” battery, you can’t just buy “brand B” cartridges and expect them to fit onto the battery you already have purchased. So you really need to stick with one brand for the sake of convenience. And since different stores stock different brands, the chances are good that you’ll have a hard time finding cartridges that will fit onto your battery; you’ll be stuck buying a new battery or kit all over again.

This problem is easily solved by buying online. You can find a brand that you like, and just reorder the cartridges a week or so before you’ll run out. It’s a little less convenient, of course, since it requires some advance planning. But chances are that, just like when you chose a regular brand of tobacco cigarette, you’ll find your preferred brand of electronic cigarette and stick with it, so reordering from that brand’s website won’t be all that difficult. Some even offer automatic home delivery programs, so you don’t even have to bother ordering, the cartridges will just arrive on a regular basis as you need them. The prices online are a lot easier to take, too.

Online e-cigarette companies often have loyalty or rewards programs as well; for example, if you order a certain number of cartridges from Green Smoke, they’ll send along new, free batteries with your order so you’ll never have to worry about your batteries losing their charge over time. It’s another good reason to order over the internet.

That doesn’t mean there’s never a reason to buy at a local store, of course. If you’re looking for a disposable e-cigarette, picking one up at the corner store is probably the easiest way to do it, even if they cost a bit more than buying online. But for regular “vapers,” buying e-cigarettes online is the way to go.