Rise Of The Pod
Vaping is an ever changing market, from new trends to new tech, there’s always something new to try when it comes to using an E-cigarette. For those who have been at it from the start, you will remember the original cigalike devices, which then turned into Ego Kits, which then evolved into tube mods, then into box mods.
We now try and cram more and more tech into our devices, some unnecessary like flashlights or laser pointers, but for a while it seemed what user wanted more of was battery power. A quick look online and you can see some truly insane mods being built with battery power in mind. Bigger devices mean bigger clouds, bigger devices mean less need to recharge.
This seemed to be the way the market was heading, but now an all new type of device is turning the industry on its head, bringing with it a whole load of solutions to problems vapers didn’t even know they needed solving.
While Pod systems may be a new piece of tech, the basic idea of the device is still very much in keeping with devices currently available. As the name might give away, Pod devices utilise a “pod” instead of a traditional tank/ atomiser. They do ultimately the same job in holding the e-liquid as it is vaporized to deliver vapour to the user via the mouth piece. Pods often come in a much lower capacity than tanks, usually between 1 and 2 ml, although some models do offer a higher capacity for e-liquid. The pods simply push into place in the top of the device and pull out when you’ve emptied them or want to switch flavours.
The device is very similar to the one you may have in front of you now. The batteries are generally very small in comparison to a box bod, usually having capacities of around 300mAh, less than most average vape pens, but still more than traditional cigalike devices which tend to be around 200mAh.
Not all Pod systems are carbon copies of each other however, with the JUUL from Pax Vapor with a rectangular, USB-stick-like appearance, but other options like the Aspire Gusto Mini look more like little box mods, and others like Suorin Drop look more like pebbles. In most cases, they have “automatic” operation, so you just inhale from the tip to vape in the same way you would to smoke a cigarette – but some have “manual” buttons like vape pens and mods.
The pods that provide the device with its supply of e-liquid can either be “open” or “closed”. A closed pod works very similar to how a replacement cartomizer on a cigalike device does, as it comes already pre filled with e-liquid and cannot be refilled once depleted. Like disposable cartomizers, these have the benefit of being easier to use and the downside that your choice when it comes to flavour is limited, with some brands restricting flavours to tobacco and menthol only.
An “open” pod is refillable, much like an ordinary tank, so you can put whatever e-liquid in it that you like. This adds much more flexibility to pod systems as you aren’t restricted to the manufacturer’s choices of juice and really helps to make a much more personalised vaping experience. It is worth noting that these devices aren’t best suited for high VG juices, it’s best to use higher PG blends that have fairly high nicotine levels. You can still get a good vape with lower nicotine juices, but there is less vapour produced from pod systems so more nicotine is a better approach.
Since pod systems produce less vapour and are generally less hard-hitting than mods, nicotine salts and pod systems are well-suited to each other. You can still get a satisfying vape with higher-nicotine e-liquids that don’t use nicotine salts – and with the EU limits on e-juice strength, there is an extra benefit there – but they undoubtedly make pod systems more satisfying to use. For more information on nic salts, see our article in this issue.
What are the benefits of pod systems in comparison to traditional types of vaping device?
Easy to use.
The “pod” design makes pod system e-cigarettes really easy to use. Simply pop the pod in and out of the battery section, and many of them work just like a cigarette – all you need to do is inhale to vape. The most complicated thing you’ll have to do on some devices is refill the pod.
Pod systems are much more compact than most modern vaping devices, which make them a great choice if you’re going to be vaping out of the house a lot. There is some variation in the size of pod systems, but even the bigger ones are more compact than most mods on the market.
The cost of pod system e-cigarettes does vary, but on the whole they’re pretty affordable. They’re cheaper than most of the mods on the market, although in many cases a similar price to vape pens.
Clouds aren’t for everybody and they aren’t for every situation. Sometimes you want something more discreet to vape, and pod systems are perfect for those times.
Pod systems are generally much more satisfying to vape. This is especially true if you’re using higher-strength e-liquids or very high strength nicotine salt options. With a high-strength e-liquid, you’ll find them as satisfying as most mods.
Depending on what type of vaping experience you’re looking for, Pod systems may not be for you, as with all new technology, they have their downsides too.
The small batteries make pod systems compact but won’t give you much time between recharges. Some pod systems do have higher-capacity batteries, but in most cases they are quite small.
Higher nicotine level e-juices.
Pod systems work better with higher-nicotine e-liquid. This wouldn’t be a big downside if it wasn’t for the TPD’s restriction on nicotine levels, which means the only way you can get high-strength nicotine e-liquid is by buying it from outside Europe.
High-VG e-liquid doesn’t work.
Many e-liquids on the market today have fairly high quantities of VG, and these don’t perform particularly well with pod system devices.
If you’re a cloud-chaser, pod systems probably aren’t for you. The vapour production is still good, overall, but the small batteries limit the amount of cloud produced.
Closed systems offer limited flavour options.
If you’re using a closed pod system device, you’re stuck with the flavours on offer from the manufacturer. This isn’t always a big issue, but with some devices it can be quite limiting.
If you’re looking for something a bit more discreet than your huge cloud chucking devices, it is well worth considering a pod system. Whether they’re perfect for you or just another passing fad, only time will tell on where the next step of vaping evolution will take us.
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