The pod vape market is still on the rise! Although pod vapes are convenient and most often small, the number of products on the market is astounding… But fear not! Because our team has either purchased, tested, or reviewed the most popular pod 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. If you are looking for pre-filled pod vapes, make sure you visit our best beginner vapes. Otherwise, let’s get to it.
VAPORESSO LUXE QS
The LUXE QS is more than what meets the eye. It may be a simple draw-activated vape, but VAPORESSO has taken the COREX coil tech to new heights. There are two pods available, and flavor is top-notch on both! The QS also offers surprising battery life for its size (1000 mAh) and comes in six striking color options.
Freemax Galex Nano
Combining a futuristic light show design with Freemax’s coil magic, the Galex Nano is the definition of a sci-fi vape! It can be used as a simple draw-activated vape, but also offers some pro features with the use of the function button. Powered by two of the best MTL coils we’ve ever tried on a pod vape, the Galex Nano is hard to beat.
UWELL Caliburn X
The Caliburn X is not just a Caliburn with a screen. Combining the design of the A series with the replaceable coils of the G series, the X is a buffed-up hybrid of two excellent vapes. The device is equipped with an 850 mAh battery and offers full airflow adjustability and a variety of coil options.
Geekvape Wenax H1
The Geekvape Wenax H1 is an MTL pod vape that’s all about versatility. It comes with two pod options and three power settings, making it a great fit for everything from mid-strength regular nicotine to higher-strength salts. The H1 is powered by a 1000 mAh battery that charges through Type-C, and its pods hold 2 mL of e-liquid.
Uwell Caliburn A2
The Caliburn series is back with the A2, the official sequel to one of the most popular vapes ever. The A2 comes with a slightly tighter draw, updated 0.9-ohm pods, and the option to run it both using the button or in draw-activation mode. It comes in six colors and houses a 520 mAh battery that charges through Type-C.
Voopoo Vinci Q
The Voopoo Vinci Q is a compact and lightweight vape that blends impressive performance with ease of use. Stripped down to the most basic features, the Vinci Q comes with a 900 mAh battery that charges through a Type-C port, top and side-filling pod options, and button/auto-draw operation. Available in six colors.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a pod vape that is easier to use than the Klypse. Providing a great out-of-the-box experience, you just need to fill it up and enjoy! The Klypse takes 0.8-ohm pods, comes in an elegant design, and features a practical magnetic dust cap for the mouthpiece.
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 e-cig, 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.
Pods 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 2023 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: these 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 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 vape has adjustable airflow, make sure it’s adjusted to your preferred setting.
- 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 fact that they produce less vapor than vape tanks and the higher cost of replaceable vape pods when compared to coils, especially the pre-filled pods. Fortunately, many of the newer refillable pod systems now utilize replaceable coil heads too.
Pod vapes FAQs
Are pod systems cheap?
Pod systems are generally considered to be more affordable than cigarette smoking and other types of vapes.
The affordability of any given pod system is based on factors such as the brand of the pod vape, the battery life, the type of coil used, whether the cartridges are pre-filled or refillable, and the quality of the pod system in general. Most pod vapes, though, are in the range of $20 to $35.
Unlike disposable vapes, you don’t have to throw away the whole pod vape after using it. Depending on the device you use, you’ll need to replace the coil or pod when your juice doesn’t taste good anymore (usually weekly, but that depends on the amount of juice you’re going through). On a device that takes replaceable coils, pods also need to be changed, but not that often.
When comparing the cost of refillable pods to pre-filled pods, refillable pod systems are cheaper in the long run and can help you save some money on your vape purchases. This is because juice is cheaper than pre-filled pods per mL.
For the cheapest option, it is recommended to use a refillable pod vape that has replaceable coils.
What type of coils do vape pods use?
The types of coils used vary between different pod vapes.
Some vape pods use replaceable coils. More often, though, the coils are built into the pod itself. This means that you probably won’t be able to make your own coils when using a vape pod, although some larger pod vapes come with rebuildable coil options.
Pod coils can be made of a variety of materials. The most usual is Kanthal, but some coils may be stainless steel or nichrome. Some pods take mesh-style coils, which are known for faster heat-up times. Finally, some vape pods use ceramic coils, although this is becoming less common lately.
The coils used in vape pods are usually small in size, thinner, and shorter than other kinds of coils. This is so that they can fit into the small size of the vape pod.
The resistance of the coil is important to consider. Most pod vapes use high-resistance coils that are between 0.8 and 1.2 ohms. The higher the ohms, the greater the resistance is.
High-resistance coils are necessary because pod vapes are usually low-power and produce less vapor than other types of vapes. High-resistance coils also help to create the mouth-to-lung vaping experience that many people choose vape pods for. But pods made for direct lung vaping may have much lower-resistance coils.
Often, a vape pod will come with two different coils that have different resistances, and sometimes the coils will suit different vaping styles (usually MTL and restricted-DL vaping).
Regardless of the coil used, it’s essential to replace it if you notice a burnt taste when vaping. The coil should also be replaced every one to two weeks, depending on how often you use the vape pod and the type of juice you use in it. Since most pods have coils built in, you’ll need to replace the whole pod if you want to replace the coil.
What vape juice should you use with a refillable pod mod?
Some vape pods are “closed systems” that come pre-filled with vape juice. This simplifies the decisions that you’ll need to make, because you only need to choose from the juice flavors that are available for your specific pod device.
Other vape pods are “open systems” that have refillable cartridges. This allows you to choose your own juice based on your personal preferences. You’ll need to buy the vape juice in a bottle and refill the pod cartridges as needed.
It’s also important to note that some countries have introduced restrictions on the type of vape juices that are available for purchase. For example, in Canada and some countries in Europe, vape juices can only contain a maximum nicotine strength of 20 mg/mL (2%).
Using nicotine (nic) salt juices in refillable low-power pod vape systems is highly recommended. These juices come in different nicotine strengths, generally ranging from 20 mg/mL to 50 mg/mL (although there are lower and higher-strength options). Nicotine salts are recommended because:
- Most pod vapes are low-power devices. Because of this, they need high concentrations of nicotine to provide a satisfying experience.
- Nic salts give a smooth and fast nicotine hit without the harsh sensation on the throat that regular (freebase) nicotine juices can cause.
Here’s some more info about vape juice and refillable pod vapes:
- The ideal vegetable glycerin (VG) to propylene glycol (PG) ratio for pod vapes is 50/50.
- You can use juices up to 70VG, especially in the newer pods on the market. Generally, high-VG juices aren’t recommended for use in pod vapes.
Over 70% VG is not recommended because VG is thicker than PG, which makes it more difficult for a small coil to vaporize. It’s also not recommended to go over 50% in PG because you may experience leaking due to the low viscosity of the juice.
Are pod systems safe?
Pod systems are considered to be relatively safe. This is mostly due to the small size of the batteries and the advancements in the QC from manufacturers.
Some safety tips that you may wish to consider when using pod systems, and to ensure the longevity of your pod, include:
- Always make sure that your pod vape has juice in it. When you notice that the juice is close to running out, you should either refill the pod with juice or dispose of it and insert the new one, depending on whether the system is refillable or pre-filled.
- Avoid charging the batteries of the device overnight, as much as possible.
- Discard the device if it is auto-firing or if it is damaged in another way.
- (For devices with replaceable batteries) don’t use batteries that are damaged.
Is the hit of a pod vape similar to a cigarette?
Pod vapes and cigarettes both use nicotine. This means that the experience of using pod vapes is similar to cigarette smoking, especially if you use pod vapes that are very small in size. The similarity of the hit of a pod vape to a cigarette largely depends on whether the pod vape is vaped directly to the lung, or if it is drawn mouth to lung (which more closely resembles how a cigarette is smoked).
People who use pod vapes often say that they’re just as satisfying as cigarette smoking, and that vaping a pod satisfies the body’s cravings without having the adverse effects of cigarette smoking. The low vapor output from a pod vape also means that the clouds produced are less obvious to see, much like a cigarette.
Finally, it also depends on the liquid used in the pod vape. Compared to other vape juices, nicotine salts are more likely to provide a throat hit that’s similar to cigarette smoking, just without the harshness.
What types of pod vapes are best for nic salts?
Pod systems, in general, are thought to be the best vapes for nic salts. They were initially used when JUUL—the first vape pod—was introduced back in 2015. The best pod vapes for nic salts are small-sized pods that have low power and vapor output. This covers most of the pod vapes on the market.
If unsure, check for the coil resistance of a pod vape. As a general rule of thumb, a high resistance (at or above 1.0-ohm) means less power on the coil and less or cooler vapor. That’s what you’re looking for when using nicotine salt juice.
How small are pod vapes?
Pod vapes come in a variety of sizes, ranging from mini pods to high-power sub ohm devices. But the prototypical pod vape is very lightweight and compact. This makes most pod vapes very discrete and easy to keep out of sight.
Generally, pod vapes are small enough to tuck into your pocket, sit in the palm of your hand, or hold between two fingers. To picture this, pod vapes are typically around the size of a highlighter or a USB flash drive.
How long do pod batteries typically last?
Pod batteries have a smaller capacity than larger types of vapes—although they are pretty efficient. The smaller capacity makes sense because the batteries themselves are smaller. So, be wary of this if you’re planning to vape for an extended period of time.
Generally, a vape pod battery will last you a day. However, it can depend on the exact type of vape pod and your juice consumption. We’ve tried pods with capacities that range from 300 mAh to 2000 mAh.
The batteries of vape pods usually take between half an hour and an hour to fully recharge. Sometimes, they can be used while they are charging.
The batteries in a pod vape can usually be used and recharged daily for up to a year before the battery capacity drops drastically and the device needs to be replaced. But that’s not always the case, and manufacturers are sometimes using battery charging safety features to minimize capacity loss.
Other terms for pod vapes
Pod vapes are also known as vape pods, mini vapes, pod mods, and pod systems. These terms are used interchangeably, although “pod mods” usually refers to the more powerful pod systems.
Are pod cartridges leak-proof?
Most cartridges nowadays are leak-resistant but is possible for pod cartridges to leak.
Refillable pod cartridges are more likely to spill or leak than pre-filled cartridges. This is because the juice isn’t as contained, and you may be more likely to make a mistake when filling the cartridge.
As a result, manufacturers have taken steps to reduce the chance of leakage as much as possible. However, these anti-leakage designs aren’t making pods 100% leakproof.
Some things that you can do to minimize the risk of leakage further include:
- Make sure to close the filling plug of the pod securely after refilling the cartridge with juice.
- Make sure that the cartridge is inserted into the vape device correctly.
- If any droplets leak out of the cartridge, make sure to clear them out from the device before using it.
- Make sure to change the coil when it needs replacing (usually every week).
- If possible, choose a high-quality pod vape device that has a leak-proof design.
- Take long and slow draws from the vape rather than fast and forceful. This helps to prevent too much juice from going into the coil.
Are there nicotine-free pod vapes?
If you have a refillable vape pod, you can fill it with your chosen nicotine-free vape juice—although not all juices come in zero nicotine. A lot of companies offer their best-selling juices in 0% nic options, but that’s more common for regular (freebase) nicotine juices than nicotine salt juice brands.
As for prefilled pods, some companies offer zero nicotine options. Again, these may be harder to find, so if you are looking to wane off nicotine using a pre-filled pod vape, make sure you check if the device you are interested in offers 0% nicotine pods.