Are you are a smoker looking to quit? You may have heard that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. Maybe you used some common sense to steer away from fear-mongering and unsubstantiated claims against vaping. And you may be wondering how much will vaping cost you, either initially or in the long run.
If you are afraid that a healthier alternative will certainly come with a premium, then rest assured that this is not the case. Vaping can be cheap, especially if your goal is to quit smoking. And even if you take it up as a hobby, there are ways to do that on a budget.
If you are afraid that vapes cost an arm and a leg, fear not. The cost of vaping can fit into most budgets. Although prices have risen a little in the last year due to tariffs on Chinese imports, vapes can still be affordable. Particularly if your primary goal is to quit smoking.
A beginner vape can be pretty cheap nowadays. They are simple devices to learn and they range in style and performance. These vapes are known as disposables, pod systems, cigalikes, AIOs (all in one), and MTL tanks with small box mods. The common price ranges:
Disposable vapes: $5-$10
Pod systems: $10 – $30
Vape pens: $15 – $35
Those price ranges are typical, but there are devices that cost more. More expensive vapes often have a higher quality manufacturing, more innovation in design, and rugged durability… but not necessarily better performance. By and large, even the most advanced features of any vape can be matched by another at a much lower cost. If you are tempted to spend more than the typical price ranges for a certain type of device, do it because you simply want the device. If you’re expecting better performance commiserate with the price increase, know that it’s not likely to be the case.
All vapes have a heating element (a coil) that needs to get replaced. Think of it like this: you’re vape is like a lamp and the coil is like the light bulb. Although it won’t go out the same way a bulb does, that heating element needs to be replaced when performance drops off. Because of that, you have to include that cost of coils in your calculations. The coils—which can come in pods, cartridges, or little metal housings—usually cost in the $1-5 range per. They need to be replaced about once a week (but sometimes longer in between).
You can expect to vape between one to ten milliliters of e-liquid per day, although most people would fall in bottom half of that range. Consumption will vary depending on the device’s vapor production, your desired nicotine uptake and the strength of your juice.
Vape juice is an important factor to consider when calculating the cost of vaping. If your device is prefilled with e-juice, the initial cost is generally cheaper than a refillable one. But the amount of vape juice you’ll get is a small percentage of what you get when you buy a bottle. If you have a refillable vape, the cost will quickly prove itself to be much cheaper than a prefilled device.
Most prefilled devices hold a small amount of liquid, usually only around 1 mL. Regardless of if they’re purchased in a multi-pack or not, the cost breaks down to about $3-7 per. And on average, they will last you one to two days before needing to replace. They’re convenient but not as cost effective as refilling.
Bottle sizes of e-juice can range from 10 mL to 120 mL. Prices vary, and they’re not always predictable based on bottle size. In general, bottles of vape juice range from $10 to $30.
An affordable vape pen, replacement coils and juice may cost you as little as $50 for the first month, while a full-featured box mod paired with an MTL tank, coils and juice may go up to $120. After that, you should expect an average of $30-60 per month for coils and juice. If you have been spending around $6 on cigarettes per day, in both scenarios you will start saving before the end of the first month.
Disposable vapes and prefilled pods will come with a very low-cost upfront, but will probably raise the monthly costs depending on consumption. But if you don’t want separate purchases and don’t wish to go through trial and error, they are an excellent and very practical solution—and by far the easiest way to vape.
Most vapers will be happy with their initial purchases and not graduate to these categories. But some will want to spice things up a bit.
Most of the vapes for intermediate vapers belong in one main product category: high-wattage mods paired with sub ohm tanks. A standard dual-battery mod will cost anywhere between $30 and $90, and a sub ohm tank will generally cost around $30-50. Buying these in a kit will shave the price a bit, bringing it to between $40-100. There are of course more expensive options, but in most cases, these can be considered hobbyist items.
Hobbyists are vapers that use multi-battery mods, rebuildable atomizers, mechanical mods and high-end items. While there are ways to save money when going down that route (more on that on the following section), most hobbyists will generally end up spending much more for their vape gear than the average vaper.
While advanced vapers will generally vape more, the price they pay for e-liquid can vary. Sub ohm tanks and large rebuildable atomizers can go through e-liquid at impressive rates, but high end MTL atomizers will consume similar amount of juice to beginner vapes. On top of that, many vapers make their own juice, while others may go through many bottles of premium juice per week.
As a beginner, you can save money both from hardware and from juice purchases. Older devices are usually offered at a discount—check if your favorite shop has a “clearance” section. You can also find second-hand vapes at very low prices if you check online forums or vape related Facebook groups.
When it comes to juice, there are cheaper brands with excellent flavors at a fraction of the price of premium juice. And if you want to spend even less money, e-juice DIY shops offer unflavored nicotine base at very low prices, especially when buying larger quantities. Unflavored base will certainly not taste like cookies and cream, but it does have a slightly sweet taste that you may enjoy.
Building your own coils and e-liquid DIYing are other ways to save money. Wire spools, organic cotton, flavor concentrates, VG, PG, and nicotine base are much cheaper than store bought vape coils and e-liquid, but they will only be of use to you if you take on vaping as a hobby.