One of the most hard-hitting vaping innovations in recent years is pod vaping, which was made mainstream by the JUUL pod.
Before pod vaping, many vapers still couldn’t find a perfect fit despite the diversity of devices in the market. On one end, you have the vape pen, which is the cheapest and most basic. Predictably, this doesn’t result in the best vape, given its low power and battery life. But when you try to upgrade, you’re faced with more complex mods that can be confusing because of all their buttons and settings. Pod vapes comfortably fill in the gap, balancing ease of use and convenience with high quality.
What are Pod Vapes?
Pod vapes are vaping devices that use a “pod” rather than a standard tank. The pod stores the e-liquid then vapourises it, and it contains the coil and wick in an all-in-one package.
Conveniently, pods are disposable. Depending on the type of pod vape, you can remove the pod when refilling or changing flavours, then easily slot in a new one. Instead of reusing the same pod for different e-liquids, you can even get one pod for each e-liquid to keep the flavour pure.
Like every other vaping device, there’s a lot of variety in pod vapes when it comes to appearance. Some pod vapes are thin and stick-like, while others can even be mistaken for a standard mod. In general, though, their size hovers in between that of a cigalike and a box mod, and they’re portable enough to fit in the palm of your hand. They can typically hold anywhere from 1 mL to 3 mL worth of e-liquid. Their batteries are also a notch above cigalikes, reaching beyond 300 mAH.
Types of Pod Vapes
Pod vapes may have a minimalist design, but they can be divided into two types: open and closed.
Open pod vapes resemble regular tanks in that they’re refillable, allowing you to use any e-liquid you want. Refilling is simple: after opening the top, either pour the e-liquid straight from the bottle or load it in with a dropper or syringe.
The main benefit of this is you have a lot of e-liquids to choose from, unlike with close pod vapes. There’s still some restriction, though—e-liquids with high PG and high nicotine strengths tend to go best with pod vapes. You might also notice that it produces more vapour.
As for its downsides, refilling can be a hassle for some people, and vaping another e-liquid takes more work than with a regular mod. In terms of maintenance, coils and pods should be replaced regularly.
If open pod vapes are like atomisers, closed pod vapes are more like the cartomisers in vape pens. Their pods are already pre-filled with e-liquid, and you can’t refill them. Once you’ve exhausted a pod, you can’t use it anymore, so you have to get a new one.
For those who dislike refilling, close pod vapes are more desirable. They’re easier to use, and maintenance is minimal, resulting in less overall hassle. However, you’re limited to only e-liquids in cartridge form, which are specifically made for pod vapes. While these still offer a decent range of nicotine strengths and flavours, they’re hardly as numerous as regular e-liquids. Draws can also be weak, and spitback is more likely, with e-liquids occasionally bursting from the coil instead of vapourising.
Major Benefits of Pod Vapes
Compact and Subtle
Not all pod vapes are the same size, but they’re definitely among the smallest out there in the market. Because of this, they’re convenient to bring around and vape on-the-go, niftily fitting into your pocket. Their size is helpful when you’re trying to be subtle about vaping, and the low vapour production means that they won’t be distracting for other people. You can even blend in effortlessly in the smoking area.
Easy to Use
Pod vapes are meant to be easy to figure out, and first-timers can use them within seconds. Their modern, intuitive design ensures that you can put your complete focus on the vaping experience without getting bogged down by technicalities. There’s so much emphasis on ease that some pod vapes are even breath-activated—all you have to do is exhale on it, and you’re ready to vape.
You can also refill or replace pods quickly by popping them in and out of the device. Pod vapes require far less maintenance than regular mods. Aside from consuming less e-liquid per day, pod vapes are durable and long-lasting because there don’t have any moving parts to replace. As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about dripping e-liquid—they’re completely leak-proof.
If you’re on a budget (or if you’re prone to losing your things so don’t want to invest too much) then pod vapes could be for you. The price is usually very reasonable, ranking as among the lowest in the market. Basic kits are available for as low as £12, while £40 can get you a very nice model indeed.
High Nicotine Strength
Despite their small size and affordability, pod vapes don’t compromise on quality. In fact, they’re extremely satisfying to vape with because they can handle high nicotine strengths.
Instead of regular e-liquids, pod vape users can also use nicotine salts. These have much more nicotine, and concentrations can reach up to 50 mg without overwhelming the user. In contrast, 25 mg is already extremely strong when vaped with a regular mod. Smokers aiming to quit will find this especially helpful, and even the inhalation style is similar to smoking.
Using Pod Vapes
Pod vapes are traditionally made for mouth-to-lung use, where you let the vapour stay in your mouth before inhaling it into your lungs—like smoking a cigarette. However, some models are already versatile, offering direct-to-lung options as well.
While there’s little that you have to set up, one important consideration is the e-liquid. There are thousands of flavours out there for e-liquids, but if you have a closed pod system, it isn’t compatible with standard e-liquids. Instead, you can only use e-liquids custom-made for pod cartridges.
As for open systems, there’s still a caveat: it’s best to stick with high-PG e-liquids. Although most of the e-liquids you’ll find are high-VG, these won’t work well with pod vapes, and they may wear down coils quickly. Since pod vapes naturally consume less e-liquid, upping the nicotine strength of your e-liquid may give a more satisfying experience. High-nicotine e-liquids are great with pod vapes, as well as nicotine salts. As for maintenance, the coils won’t always remain clean, so you’ll need to buy a new pod after three or more refills.
The size of your pod vape also makes a difference. Pod vapes carry less e-liquid than regular mods, so as a regular vaper, you’ll have to refill more than you’re used to. Although they’re efficient with their battery, they don’t last as long either between charging sessions. You can probably get two or three hours in before having to recharge.
Should You Use a Pod Vape?
if you’re a sub-ohm vaper, pod vapes aren’t the device for you because they don’t produce a lot of vapour. For everyone else, though, pod vapes are more or less safe to buy, given all of their benefits.
To be thorough, pod vapes are recommended for beginners looking to venture beyond vape pens. But it’s not just for newbies—experienced vapers who are after a simplified, distraction-free vaping experience will find a lot to enjoy here. If you’re planning to bring your device everywhere or if you like a strong nicotine kick, then pod vapes are also a great choice. As always, do go for high-quality pod systems from reputable brands.