Best Pod Vapes & JUUL Alternatives
There’s virtually an endless amount of pod vapes on the market. Frankly, it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s great for you to have options, but how are you to know which are the best pod vapes when there are so many to choose from? The simplest way is to learn from other’s experiences! Because our team has either purchased, tested, or reviewed the most popular pods vapes, we can help you significantly narrow your search.
This list features the best pod vapes for refilling with your own e-juice, which make for great alternatives to the JUUL.
What is a pod vape?
A pod vape is a mini vape based on a two-part system: a pod filled with vape juice that snaps into a small battery. They’re available in pre-filled or refillable designs. Some will have power buttons but often they’re automatic—meaning you just take a drag on them to produce vapor.
Most pod vapes, also referred to as vape pods, mini vapes or pod systems, are designed for smokers transitioning into vaping. Although the ultimate in ease of use is something like a disposable JUUL, refillable pod vapes are most a close second. They’re often compact and lightweight, with a focus on simplicity and flexibility—made possible by being refillable.
Disposable ePods are also considered the best nic salt vapes, as their lower power output is a perfect fit for the higher strength of nicotine salts.
Types of pod systems
Pods have come a long way since first introduced with the JUUL back in 2015. While still fitting the general definition of what a pod vape is, today’s devices have pushed things forward in regards to features and capabilities.
A pod vape in 2020 will belong in one or more of these categories:
- Standard pod system: a small button or draw-activated vape that takes replaceable pods.
- Pod AIO: a compact all-in-one device that takes pods with replaceable coils.
- Pod mod: a usually larger pod-based vape with a fully-suited chipset and screen. Most pod mods are also AIOs, as they take replaceable coils.
A standard pod system can be further sorted into two categories: refillable and pre-filled. Each style comes with its own pros and cons. When purchasing a pod system, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
- Refillable pod systems: give you more freedom in terms of flavor. Also known as open-system vapes, these devices utilize empty pods that are manually filled by the user. The main advantage to them is that you have a wider range of flavors at your disposal.
- Pre-filled pod systems: also referred to as or closed system vapes, these vapes use pods that come pre-filled with e-liquid—think of them as JUUL alternatives. Their main advantage is not having the complications of choosing the right e-liquid and having to fill them yourself.
How to use a pod system
Pod vapes are some of the easiest vapes to operate. This five-step guide will cover the basics of using most pod vapes on the market.
- Make sure the battery is fully charged.
- If you’re using a refillable pod vape, fill it up with the e-liquid of your choice.
- Allow at least 5-10 minutes for the wick to saturate.
- Insert the pod firmly into the device. If your pod vape has an on/off function, make sure it’s on.
- If your pod vape has a fire button, hold it while inhaling. If it doesn’t, take a puff as if it were a regular cigarette.
That’s it. Enjoy your vape! To get the most longevity out of your pod, make sure there’s always juice in it—or you can run the risk of a burnt coil. Once the liquid is almost gone, refill it or dispose of it. You can usually get about a week out of a refillable vape pod before needing to replace the pod or the coil… depending on how often you use them. Note that if your device takes replaceable coils, you don’t have to replace the pod. Just remember to dispose of it immediately if you notice any discoloration on it—or do it proactively once every month or two.
Who should use pod vapes?
- Smokers that want to quit appreciate their simplistic design and satisfying method of delivering nicotine. They also enjoy the cigarette-like draw of smaller pod systems, and the fact that they can use nicotine salt juice to satisfy their cravings.
- Experienced vapers find that they make great companions to their larger vaping setups, especially for vaping on the go.
- Stealth vapers gravitate towards these mini vapes for their compact size and discreet cloud production.
Advantages of pod vapes
- Simple & easy to use
- Smallest mini vape available
- Designed for vaping to quit smoking
- Low e-liquid consumption
- Best nic salt vapes
- Instantly change flavors
- Easy to maintain
- Great for stealth vaping
Pod systems offer many advantages over other vaping devices. The main ones are convenience and simplicity. They’re easy to use, making them more appealing to ex-smokers who don’t want to be bombarded with technical features. But there are benefits to pod vaping that even experienced vapers can appreciate. For example, switching flavors is easier than before. Just pop in a different pod and go.
If you want to conserve e-juice, a pod vape is your best bet. They use less e-liquid in a day, which is more cost-effective and makes them a great pairing for nicotine salts. Additional benefits include needing lower maintenance than other types of vape kits, and coming with a smaller footprint and lower vapor production, which makes them ideal for stealth vaping.
Downsides of pod vapes
- Small battery capacity
- Limited vapor production
- Can be more expensive down the line
Due to their compact size, pod vapes have less battery capacity than a regular vape mod—although their lower power output allows their battery to last for a day in most cases. Other downsides include the higher cost of replaceable vape pods when compared to coils, and the fact that they produce less vapor than vape tanks.
Pod vapes FAQs
Are pod systems cheap?
- Pod vapes are typically cheaper than other starter kits but replaceable vape pods are more expensive than coils. If cost is a deciding factor go for a pod system with replaceable coils.
Are pod systems safe?
- Pod vapes are regulated devices and there shouldn’t be any safety concerns if handled properly. But they do carry internal batteries so we suggest not charging them overnight. Also if you notice any auto-firing from your pod vape make sure you dispose of it.
What e-juice is best for refillable pod systems?
- For pods with low power output nicotine salt is often the best option. But regular nicotine will also work fine. As for VG/PG ratio pod vapes used to work better with 50/50 juices but most pods nowadays will handle up to 70VG.
Is the hit of a pod vape similar to a cigarette?
- It depends. Some pod vapes are made for a cigarette-like draw while others are supposed to be vaped direct to lung. Size is usually a good indicator: in most cases the smaller the pod the more its hit will resemble that of a cigarette.
What pods are best for nic salts?
- Smaller pods with lower power output are usually the best salt nic vapes. But some larger pod mods may still be good for lower strength salts (up to 20 mg). If unsure use the search function at the top of the page; we always discuss nicotine salt performance in our pod reviews.
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