On Oct. 12, 2021, Vuse Solo became the first vaping product authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for sale in the United States. The FDA also gave the green light to the Solo tobacco-flavored cartridge, but issued marketing denials for other flavors except menthol. The agency has not made a decision on menthol yet.
The FDA action only affects U.S. sales. Vuse Solo flavors other than tobacco may still be available in other countries.
The Vuse Solo is a simple beginner vape kit that comes with prefilled cartridges containing 4.8% nicotine. The Solo is one of two similar kits from Vuse, often called cigalikes or e-cigarettes, because they’re patterned after the form factor of a cigarette. You know the ones. They’re even equipped with a glowing light at the end, like the “cherry” of a cigarette.
The other similar kit from Vuse is the Ciro which is a more evolved cigalike, whereas the Solo is the classic design. If the cigarette form factor is what you’re looking for, the Vuse Solo would likely catch your eye first. But besides the form factor, is there a reason you should buy this one over another?
Price: $20.24 (for the starter kit), $8.99 (for a pack of two cartridges)
The Vuse Solo is an electronic cigarette. Otherwise known as an e-cig, those terms are often used for a lot of different types of vapes. But it all began with this cigarette-like design. The assembled device, measuring 10 mm x 120 mm, is longer than a cigarette but it’s approximately the same diameter. The weight is of course more than a cigarette due to the battery, but it’s still fairly light at only 15 grams.
Holding the Solo will feel familiar to smokers, but it still might take some getting used to. It’s just light enough that you can hold it in your mouth, making it a sorta hands-free vape. For something even lighter that still has the same shape, consider the NJOY Daily—it’s a disposable device, but it’s the closest vape to a cigarette in terms of weight and form factor. You can hold that one very easily with just your lips!
Getting started with the Solo is a breeze. There’s an instructional manual if you need it. Just connect a cartridge to the battery—the Solo ships with two cartridges of your selected flavor, and the cartridges are color-coded. The device features a screw-on connection that only requires you to push the cartridge down and give it a quarter turn. If you just try and turn the cartridge without pushing, it won’t seat properly.
Once you have the cartridge secure to the battery, just take a drag. There are no buttons. It’s draw-activated, which means it will create vapor just off the inhale. When you take a puff, the outside of the bottom of the battery lights up. When you stop inhaling, the device goes into sleep mode and only needs an inhale to turn back on. The device stays sleeping until you draw on it, so you won’t ever have to worry if you remembered to turn it off.
The Solo has a tight draw that most smokers are going to like. Vapers call it an MTL or mouth-to-lung draw. But the Solo device does best with short drags, like under two seconds. If you take a hit longer than that, the wicking struggles to keep up, resulting in a dry hit.
We took the cartridge apart to investigate the wicking and coil system. It’s not a traditional cartomizer with e-liquid soaked polypill around a silica chute housing a coil. It’s wicked like a modern vape coil with cotton. But the coil looked poorly wrapped in the unit we disassembled, and had too much cotton feeding it. In a nutshell, it just makes for slow wicking.
The Solo will vape fine, just don’t push it with long inhales.
There are four options you can pick from to be in your starter kit. Additionally, the Solo has 11 total flavors to choose from for your refills. You can buy them on your first purchase or at a later date. The menu has an overall good lineup of flavors. Most of these flavors appear in other products from Vuse.
The flavor from cigalikes has always been notoriously low. Some products have managed to overcome this, like the NJOY Loop. As for the Solo, the flavors taste fine, they’re just really light.
The menthol was a clear winner with the most pronounced hit and flavor. We really enjoyed it. Even some of us that don’t like menthol enjoyed this flavor. Fusion, Tropical, Nectar, and Mint also had a fair amount of flavor for a cigalike, though still quite light. The rest of the flavors were far too light for our tastes. Note: we have not tested the Chai flavor.
The battery life of the Solo is low due to the limitations of its size. It’s a tradeoff: small size but low battery capacity. If you use it a lot during the day, you’re going to have to charge it at least once. For lighter users, you may be able to get through a whole day.
The issue we had was that the Solo has a proprietary charger—similar to how the JUUL can only be charged with the JUUL charger. That’s already an inconvenience, but on top of that, our charger and battery don’t work so well together.
The Solo charger is a small USB plug that houses the same type of connection as the cartridge. To charge the Solo, you have to remove the cartridge and attach the battery to the charger in the same manner as a cartridge. Then you plug it into a USB outlet. Unfortunately, our Solo does not stay attached to the charger. The battery is a little too heavy and the connection is not secure enough, especially considering that it sticks out horizontally. We had to jury rig ours together to make the device charge. We don’t know if this is a problem with all the Vuse Solo chargers, but it’s basically a deal breaker for us.
The Vuse Solo is a decent beginners kit for the most part. There are a lot of flavors to choose from, and the device is easy to use. But the flavors are really light, and the issue we had with the charger not staying connected to the battery has been a deal breaker. We don’t know if this is purely a problem in design or if it’s random; we have seen reports of others having these same problems. Until we know that charger issue has been worked out, we cannot recommend the Solo. There are far better e-cigarette options out there.
Do you have a Vuse Solo? How has your experience been?