With the vast sea of pod vape kits that are now available and manufacturers constantly releasing new designs, it's next to impossible to figure out what's good, what's bad, and why. We're going to figure out how to find the best pod vape kit and what makes a great pod kit.
The first step of course is figuring out whether a pod kit is right for you. Pod vapes are typically designed for low power output, which means you'll be vaping mouth-to-lung as opposed to direct-to-lung, you'll be getting modest cloud production, and they will typically serve occasional vapers better than all day vapers due to their often diminutive size. If you're looking for huge clouds and big direct-to-lung hits, then you're probably going to be looking elsewhere.
|Even the size difference between a larger pod vape like the Aspire Nautilus AIO and a box mod is considerable|
I say that pod kits are better for those who aren't going to be vaping every minute of every day because pod kits are generally quite small, and there's only so much battery you can fit into such a small package. While these smaller batteries will hold enough charge to last at least a day for most people, many will find that they have to charge at least once throughout the day.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you will be without your vape for long though, because smaller batteries will charge faster, and most pod vapes will allow you to vape while you're charging. I try to avoid vaping while I'm charging because it puts excess strain on the battery, so I'll either find something that will charge in a shorter amount of time, or just buy two pod kits so I can alternate between them.
|My Suorin Drop vapes have served me well as my daily vapes for the last several months|
When considering the battery life of a pod system, you can bet that a 310mAh battery in a Suorin Drop won't get you through the day, where something like a 650mAh or 1100mAh battery may be able to get just about anyone through a day. I don't exactly have to go outside for vape breaks since I work in a vape shop, so I'm an extremely heavy vaper. I personally own two Suorin Drop kits to alternate throughout the day, and I charge several times throughout the day. Lately I've been using the new Vaporesso RenovaZero which has a 650mAh battery, and I usually only need to charge once or twice a day.
The next thing I would consider is the pod style. Pods can fit into three main categories: Pre-filled, Refillable, and Reusable. Pre-filled pods are single use and are intended to be entirely replaced when they're empty. Refillable pods can be refilled until the coil is worn out and the pod must be replaced. Reusable pods contain coils that can be replaced, much like a traditional vape tank. These pods can typically be replaced, but it will only be necessary to replace them if they are lost or damaged.
|From left to right: A pre-filled pod, the refillable pod from the Vaporesso Renova Zero, and the reusable pod from the Aspire Nautilus AIO|
Pre-filled pods are the simplest to use, but you're limited to the juice that comes in the pods. I also feel that pre-filled pods are quite wasteful and needlessly expensive, because the coil is often still perfectly usable when the last of the juice has been vaped from the pod. There are some companies that offer a wide variety of juice in their pre-filled pods, but even hundreds of options would be limiting compared to the thousands of options of eJuice on the market.
|My Suorin Drop coil is showing its age, but it's still running well after several refills|
Refillable pods are the best option for most people, because they retain the simplicity of a “toss it when you're done” pod, but you can keep using it until the coil wears out. Most pods last about a week, which is considerably longer than the day or two that you'd typically get from a pre-filled pod. This means that you spend less money on pods, and it's also considerably less wasteful. Being able to put whatever juice you want in your pod means that you have practically limitless options for flavors and nicotine levels, and you also get to choose between freebase nicotine or nicotine salts.
|The traditional mod/tank/coil vape is brought up to speed with modern offerings in the form of a pod vape|
Reusable pods are more complicated to use, but they can be even cheaper than refillable pods, and they often come with a few different coil options for higher or lower power levels. These work more or less like a traditional vape, but in the small and sleek form factor of a pod vape. If you're looking to buy one vape to use all day every day, these vapes are usually the best choice because they're often a little larger with higher capacity batteries. From what I've seen, these types of pod kits usually require the press of a button to vape, where the other styles most often use an auto draw system where all you have to do is puff.
|Push-to-fire pod vapes aren't for everybody, but there are some amazing options|
That brings me quite neatly to the next piece to consider, which is the draw system. Most vapes have at least one button that's used as a fire button to supply power to the coil, and to turn the device on and off. Many pod vapes use auto draw and have no buttons. Not having any buttons means that it won't do anything if it's just sitting in a pocket or purse, so there's no need to turn the device on and off. This alone can make or break a pod vape for many vapers, myself included. The convenience of being able to take my vape out of my pocket, take a puff and then toss it right back in my pocket is one of my favorite features in a pod vape.
|Just a few millimeters can make the difference when choosing a pocket-friendly pod vape|
One of the other most important features to me is the size and shape of the device. As I mentioned earlier, I typically use the Suorin Drop, but I've been using the Vaporesso Renova Zero lately. I love the Drop because it's tiny and thin, so it fits very nicely in my pocket. The Zero is also very small, but it's a little bit thicker and it's taller than it is wide, so it's not quite as pocket-friendly. Larger pod vapes will still be smaller than most other vapes though, so it depends on what kind of priorities you have for size.
|Thickness is one of the most important measurements to consider for a pocket-friendly vape|
One of the less important aspects that I consider with pod vapes is how the pod is attached. The Drop is a friction fit system with little bumps on the pod that lock it into the device, which isn't necessarily the most reliable design due to slight differences in tolerance. Some pods can fit super tight, where some are a little loose. The Zero uses magnets, which is my favorite design so far. The pods always fit perfectly, and they hold on tight enough to stay put while remaining easy to remove.
|The Suorin Drop (left) uses a friction fit system, where the Renova Zero (right) uses magnets to keep the pod in place.|
There are a few other details that I consider when I'm looking at a pod vape that either aren't as important to me, or they're too specific to mention outside of a review of a particular kit. The general look of the kit, how many colors it comes in, what type of finish they use, the type of wicking material, the charging method, juice capacity, battery life indication, power level, airflow, heat, flavor, build quality, fill style, basically just whatever details about a particular device that might improve the overall quality and feel of the experience.
|Not every pod vape will be right for everybody, it's important to consider your options!|
For that matter, the most important thing to me is reviews. Without trying every pod system yourself, it's impossible to know whether something just looks good on paper or if it's actually a good vape. Read reviews, and if you find something in particular that you like, read more reviews. Until you get it in your hands and vape on it, reviews are your best chance of understanding what a pod vape is like to live with. If you've got a local vape shop that you like, pay them a visit and see what they think of it. If you order from online shops, give them a call and ask their opinion.
|Innovation is the name of the game in the pod vape category, which means there's a huge variety to choose from|
We're currently in the wild west of pod vapes. Every new device features some kind of innovation, many of which we've never seen before. The only sure way to know if these innovations are great or hopeless is to try it. If you can't try it yourself, you can ask someone that has tried it.
I hope this gives you some guidance on your vaping journey, thank you for reading and please let me know if you have questions about pod vapes!