Switching to vaping from smoking can be daunting and frustrating. Part of the beauty of vaping is the plethora of choices and endless customizations. However, that also brings with it countless complexities that can turn off many first-time users. You’ll face thousands of e-liquid choices in varying nicotine strengths and PG/VG ratios, various batteries, coils and tanks and at times a lack of quality options. The JUUL, by JUUL Labs, eliminates all that hassle. By combining quality technology into a modern design wtih consistent performance, the JUUL was destined for greatness.
Between myself and three or four of our team, we have been using the JUUL in our offices for close to 4 years now. We have also tried and reviewed hundreds, if not thousands of other vaping products, so make sure to read more below to hear our thoughts on the JUUL in 2019.
Note: Our review is based on the US version of the JUUL.
The FDA announced Jan. 2 that it will begin enforcing all Deeming Rule requirements immediately for prefilled pod- and cartridge-based vaping products in flavors other than tobacco and menthol. Products sold after Feb. 2 are subject to enforcement if the FDA has not granted them marketing approval through a premarket tobacco application (PMTA). No PMTAs have been approved for vaping products yet. The FDA guidance only applies to products sold in the United States.
The JUUL is a non-refillable pod style ecig similar to a disposable vape like the Puff Bar, but instead of disposing the whole device, just the pods are discarded. Pod vapes typically only feature two components, a battery and a pod filled with e-liquid. The pod fits into the battery housing and you are good to go. It’s super easy. The JUUL pods come in one nicotine strength (59 mg/mL) and in 8 flavors. Virginia Tobacco and Mint pods also come in a 3% nicotine option.
The best option to get you started is the JUUL starter kit. This kit includes, a JUUL battery, four flavors (Mango, Mint, Virginia Tobacco and Creme) and a USB charger. The kit costs $49.99 and features a one-year warranty. A pack of 4 pods cost $15.99. According to a calculator on the JUUL site, a pack-a-day smoker (based on a pack costing $6) will save $949 a year. While the JUUL isn’t the most affordable form of vaping, it is the by far the most convenient and will still be far cheaper than smoking.
According to JUUL, one pod is roughly equal to the nicotine content of a pack of cigarettes. This does not mean one JUUL pod is equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes though. According to Public Health England, vaping is 95% less harmful compared to smoking. When comparing a JUUL to cigarettes, it only holds true for nicotine content.
One pod, depending on the frequency of usage, will last anywhere from a day or longer (you’ll get a couple hundred or more puffs per pod). The battery will not last the entire life of the pod; you will likely have to charge once a day if you frequently use it. Charging the battery takes roughly 50 minutes (last time I charged mine, it took exactly 52 minutes using the provided USB charger in a USB port on my PC). If you have one of those portable JUUL chargers, the charge times will vary.
The JUUL features a small LED that indicated the battery life. To check your battery, simply double tap your JUUL and it will flash one of three colors: green for a high level, yellow for medium, and red means the battery will need recharging soon.
The JUUL couldn’t be simpler to use: place a pod in the battery and vape when you want. There are no buttons or complicated menu to navigate. Just take a hit when you want. It’s ready when you are. Once your pod is empty, remove it and replace it with a new one. Smokers will appreciate the simplicity.
The JUUL is an unassuming device. What sets it apart from other similarly sized devices is its innovative technology and performance. The tech in the JUUL works well! I’ve tried dozens of similar pod vapes but the performance of the JUUL is in a league of its own. The JUUL uses automatic temperature control, a feature typically found in bulky vape mods with complicated settings. Because of temperature control, JUUL does not produce burnt hits like some of its competition.
The JUUL uses nicotine salt-based eliquid in its pods. This “salt,” in chemical terms means the nicotine has a positive and negative charged ion which smooths out the harsh nicotine taste found in similar-looking devices. That said, you will feel it when you hit it! JUUL closely mimics the feeling of smoking — most other vape products have failed to replicate that sensation.
The perfect draw (inhale) on a vape comes down to preference. The JUUL provides what is known as a mouth-to-lung (MTL) draw and it’s a fairly tight one at that. This draw is similar to that of a cigarette in that you inhale first into your mouth before taking it to the lungs. This is the most familiar and comfortable draw to transition from smoking to vaping.
The JUUL is really lightweight, weighing about the same as a typical ink pen. It’s just over 14 grams with a pod installed. Fully assembled, it’s just over 9.5 cm in length and 1.5 cm wide. A cigarette is 8.3 cm in length, making the JUUL marginally larger. The small size and light weight will be in line with what smokers are accustomed to.
The JUUL is also discreet while in use. That makes it optimal for those that don’t want to draw attention to themselves. This lends itself well to vaping at clubs, bars, at the office (if vaping is allowed), and countless other scenarios where big cloud-making vapes would attract unwanted attention.
My personal favorites include Mango, Mint, Fruit as well as Classic Tobacco. It’s difficult to describe the taste of the flavors, but they’re all fairly accurate for what they’re supposed to be. Unlike a lot of normal e-juice flavors, these flavors are not overly sweet either. That makes them easier to enjoy no matter the time of day.
The JUUL is mess free! You won’t have to worry about leaking or spilling any eliquid. As I will discuss later in the tips and tricks section (located after the verdict), the JUUL pods and battery have evolved over time. In the earlier versions, the pods had issues with leaking. That has all been fixed now. The mouthpiece now has cotton pads that prevent liquid from entering the mouth, and the bottom of the pods resist leakage from the battery connection.
The JUUL comes with a one-year warranty and their customer support has a solid reputation. Read on any vape forum or social media platform and see customers’ feedback of JUUL support is quite positive. That said, I have not had to use it in the three years I’ve been a JUUL user.
The JUUL is a solid little device that can take a beating. I’ve dropped mine and even thrown them around on countless occasions and despite the wear and tear, they’ve kept on working. Out of the 10 batteries I’ve owned over three years, only one died (and I was able to bring it back to life — which I will discuss in the tips and tricks section).
One of the major selling points of the JUUL is the high nicotine strength. But there is only one option for the majority of flavors. JUUL currently only offer a lower nicotine strength (1.7%) for the Mint and Classic Tobacco flavors. For those transitioning away from cigarettes, this will hardly be a concern. The issue is that some users would like to step down their nicotine consumption after leaving cigarettes behind.
This was more of an issue in previous years, but it’s still a fair critique of the JUUL. There aren’t many color options and there isn’t a long list of flavors to choose from. It seems that JUUL is aware of the need for more flavor and color options because they’ve recently released limited edition colors (like navy blue and gold), and a few different flavors have recently been added. As an avid user of the JUUL, more flavor options would be a godsend!
Currently the JUUL is only available in the United States, UK, France, Switzerland and Israel. Most of the rest of the world will have to wait to purchase the device. That’s a shame! There are lot of smokers in the rest of the world that could benefit from having access to the JUUL.
If you’re a smoker and have already tried unsuccessfully to switch to vaping, you owe it to yourself to try a JUUL. Out of the countless beginner vape devices, the JUUL is one the best for smokers looking to make the switch to a healthier alternative. It’s super simple to use, it’s small and discreet, and it tastes good too. Don’t give up on quitting, just try a better way.