Vaping has come a long way since its creation all the way back in 2003. However, there’s one type of kit that’s arguably changed the most and is absolutely dominating the market - the pod kit. From humble beginnings, pod kits used to be favoured by newer vapers looking for something super simple to use. Now, vapers from all levels of experience are picking up these pocket friendly devices thanks to the huge range they come in. Size, power, coil type and versatility are all super variable depending on which one you pick up.
How did pod mods become so popular?
When the original vapes hit the market, your two options were usually cig-a-likes or a more rudimentary vape pen. The former were single use, didn’t have a lot of flavour and didn’t give much of a nicotine hit. The latter were reusable and had open tanks but were often leaky and a little clunky.
Box mods offered a huge range of options as far as variable wattage, more power and longer battery life, but they weren’t simple enough to be well suited for new vapers. For those making the switch, they needed something that was no more effort than lighting a cigarette. Basically, would-be vapers wanted something small, lightweight and satisfying.
The original solution to this problem came about when Juul hit the market back in 2015. With high strength pods, a battery similar in size to a thumb drive and easy to use design, it had huge success throughout its home country of America. Similar designs started gaining popularity with more comparable products hitting shelves the world over. Think products like Aspire when they created the Gusto or myBlu and the blu pen. All these kits feature those same single-use pods that click into a battery and are disposed of once they’re empty.
How have pod kits progressed?
Closed vs Open systems
The pod kit market was originally dominated by “closed kits,” pods that were pre-filled and single use. While this was great for those looking for something super low maintenance, they were limiting both on flavour choice and nicotine strength. Aside from that, heavy vapers were getting through a lot of pods.
The open pod kit changed the industry by still allowing the convenience of a pod system while giving people the ability to choose their flavour and lower their nicotine level over time. Depending on preference, you could opt for high strength nic salt e-liquids which were great for ex-heavy smokers or a more modest 12mg freebase option. As they weaned themselves off stronger levels, they could keep the same kit and gradually drop to low or even zero nicotine content. They were also more cost effective because pods could be used over and over until the coil wore out.
As such, pod kits like the Suorin Drop, SMOK Novo and Smoking Vapor MiPod saw huge success. They were still easy to use, packed a decent punch on battery life and were good value for money while offering that little something extra that closed pods. This generation of pod kits offered longer lasting pods and a big improvement on versatility and battery life - they’re still an incredibly popular option for new vapers now.
Next, the Sub Ohm vapers wanted a piece of the action
While the Sub Ohm vapers love their dual-battery box mod kits, they’re not exactly easy to carry around with you. Pair a hefty mod with a big tank and - while the battery will last you all night - they’re not something you can easily slip into your pocket. Up until pretty recently, the focus with pod mods has been on mouth to lung (plus Ohm) coils. Which is great if you like nic salts or 50:50 e-liquids, but that style of vaping isn’t for everyone.
When you consider the likes of the Juul and its modest 280mAh battery, that’s a fraction of what you’d get from a single 3000mAh 18650 battery. Vapers wanted the power of a larger kit, with Sub Ohm coils to match that could handle their high VG e-liquids. So, vape manufacturers started upping their game on both the battery and coil front.
Kits that would stand the test of time became more of a focus in the e-cig market - the kind of kit that would work for both beginners and advanced vapers. We started to see more of the likes of theNord 4 style kit. While these kinds of kits still have the convenience of a pod, they also had more battery life and a lot more power. The average pod kit in the early days was only around 450mAh - now that was more than doubled to around 950mAh. With more battery life came more fire power - no longer stuck with low fixed wattage, you could control how much power you wanted with kits going up to a Sub Ohm friendly 24 watts or more.
Coils changed too. While refillable pods are great, they create more waste and cost more than just buying a replacement pack of coils. So, pods and coils got innovated too. You could now keep the same pod but pop out the worn out coil and click a new one into place. It also meant you could start with a MTL, high resistance coil if you wanted to use nic salts, then change to a Sub Ohm coil for higher VG e-liquids later on. If you were a Sub Ohm vaper already, you could now also get kits made exclusively for your vaping style. Vapes like theVoopoo Vinci offers up to 40 watts of output, a 1500mAh battery and super low resistance coils.
The kind of coils available have also evolved massively. While different varieties of wicking (the absorbent bit in your coil) have been available for drippers and build-your-own tanks for a while, that wasn’t the case for pods. Now, we’ve got new fibres available that carry taste in different ways - ranging from cotton or wood pulp to flax and tea fibre.
The vapes themselves have stayed small and diminutive in size but their chipsets, coils and batteries have improved. With kits that can hold a single 18650 battery and fire at up to 80 watts while still measuring in around the 10cm in length mark, there’s a pod mod that will suit just about any vaper on the market.
Who should use pod kits?
Well, the answer to this question really depends on what you want from your vaping experience. Realistically, it’s more what kind of pod kit will suit you. With just about every vaping style catered to these days there are a few subsets of vaper who will enjoy them most.
Brand new vapers just starting out:
If you’re just starting out with vaping, have never picked one up before and want the most basic solution possible, closed pod kits are for you. When you’re just beginning, you don’t necessarily want to be carrying around bottles of e-liquids and having to replace coils. Closed system kits mean you can just pick a flavour with a suitable strength, fit a pre-filled pod into your battery and vape it until it runs out. Typically, people just starting out with vaping need a higher nicotine strength depending on your old smoking habits. Picking a pod with 20mg nic salts is ideal, it’ll give you a strong hit, great flavour and is even less effort than searching your pockets for a lighter.
Our picks for beginners would be something like theStarter Pod Kit from I VG. With its inhale-to-vape design and four flavoured pods included, you can get used to vaping and figure out which kind of flavour you enjoy the most. Its 450mAh battery will last you all day with moderate use and to charge, you just plug in with the USB cable. If you want something with even less fuss and no need to charge, thedisposable nic salt pod kits from Dinner Lady are a great option. They’re affordable, pre-filled and single use with a high 20mg nic salt strength meaning you can give pod vaping a whirl before committing to a more serious kit.
Intermediate vapers looking for a step up:
Generally speaking, a lot of us started out with mouth to lung vaping. You’ll be used to lower powered kits with Plus Ohm coils and a restricted inhale. While some are happy to stick with this style, plenty of us get curious about Sub Ohm vaping and lower nicotine strengths too. For you guys, we’d recommend a kit that can do both. There are plenty of pod kits that offer a solid battery as well as multiple coil options.
When you use a Plus Ohm coil, you’ll typically be using an e-liquid with a 50:50 PG/VG ratio - which is a little stronger on the throat hit and more modest with its cloud production. Once you try a Sub Ohm coil (with a resistance less than 1.0ohm) you can use high VG e-liquids that work best with more power, in turn giving you amplified flavour and vapour.
These kinds of pod kits are a great half-way point between a basic setup and a more heavy duty box mod. You get the compact size, a decent amount of power and the opportunity to try different coil resistance levels. For taking those first steps into variable wattage and more power (with the option to pop back into mouth to lung vaping if you want) there’s a huge range of options.
One of our top picks would be theTarget PM30 pod kit from Vaporesso. With a 1200mAh internal battery you can fire at up to 40 watts and it comes with a 1.2ohm coil for MTL vaping as well as a 0.6ohm coil for high VG e-liquids and a direct to lung inhale. The best part is, it auto-detects your coil and adjusts the wattage for you - there’s no settings to fiddle with, just pick your coil, fill the pod and vape away,
Advanced vapers who want something portable:
There’s a lot to love about advanced box mod kits, however, they’re not exactly the easiest things to carry around. With dual-18650 batteries, a big tank and heavy mod, taking them out and about is a bit much effort sometimes. These days, you can get pod kits with space for a single 18650, super low resistance coils, adjustable wattage and 80 watts or more output. So, if you want something pocket friendly that still packs a punch on flavour and vapour, you can safely leave your box mod at home and pick up a pod kit for the night instead.
Once you’re at this level, you’ll already know how to adjust your wattage to your liking and be familiar with how much power high VG e-liquids need. The market is adjusting to cater to these vapers at a super rapid pace. If this sounds like you, we think you should take a look at theVooPoo Drag X pod kit. This one can fire at up to 80 watts, requires a single 18650 battery and is compatible with the whole VooPoo PnP coil range. Included you get a 0.3ohm option for 32 to 40 watts as well as a 0.15ohm for a hefty 60 to 80 watt output. Pocket friendly? Check. Powerful? Check. Full on flavour? Check. It’s got everything you need - you might even leave your box mod behind for good.
How do I use a pod kit?
Pod kits by their very nature are designed to be simple. Even with the more advanced options, they’re the most low maintenance option on the market. There are a few basic things to be aware of when you get a pod kit though:
- Pre-filled pod kits usually have a simple setup, meaning all you need to do is click a pod into place and either inhale to vape or press the firing button to activate the battery.
- Open pod kits benefit from saturating the coil first. It’s not a difficult step but it’ll help your coil last longer and taste better. Just fill your pod up with e-liquid and make sure you let it settle for at least 10 minutes before vaping.
Using intermediate pod kits:
- Priming your coil is a good idea with intermediate kits too. Unlike with coils fixed inside the pod, you can fully saturate a replaceable coil before you even click it into place. Drip e-liquid over the wicking material inside and let it settle.
- Ensure you have enough battery - most kits will have an LED light to indicate how much power you have left or will show it on their display screen. Keeping a spare battery on you or making sure you charge it up before you go out means you won’t be without your vape when you need it.
- Remember your e-liquid needs to change if you’re using refillable pods depending on the coil. For coils over 1.0ohm, we recommend using a 50:50 e-liquid and anything less than 1.0ohm, try an e-liquid that’s 60% or more VG.
- Once you click your pod into place, you might need to adjust your wattage. Some kits will do this for you, but if you were using a Sub Ohm pod with 40 watts before but switched to a MTL pod that only needs 15 watts, you’ll need to drop the power. This prevents coil burnout and will improve your flavour.
- After that, all you need to do is inhale to vape (or long press the firing button, depending on your kit) and that’s it.
The best on the market (plus a few coming soon):
With all that said, we thought we’d also mention a few of the latest arrivals to the pod mod market. While we’ve made a few recommendations already, there are plenty of other great options (as well as some that will be on our shelves soon too). These ones are worth keeping an eye on if you’re into higher wattage vaping and have found pods a little lacking for you in the past.
SMOK Nfix Pod Kit
Starting off with one of the super simple options we’ve got theNfix kit from SMOK, this one is an ideal first step into vaping. With a 700mAh battery and manual draw design, once you’ve charged it up and clicked your refillable pod into place all you need to do is inhale to vape. Despite its super small size, this one also features variable wattage - giving you a taste of more advanced vaping in an easy to operate pod mod. Fire between 1 and 25 watts and enjoy the 0.8ohm pods with 50:50 e-liquids for a wonderful balance of flavour and vapour.
SMOK RPM160 Pod Kit
As you might have guessed from the name, this is one powerful pod kit. SMOK are always bringing something new to the table and theRPM160 is the perfect example. Powered by two 18650 batteries, making it capable of firing at a whopping 160 watts. It’s got a full colour screen, super fast firing speed and is compatible with the full SMOK RPM and RGC coil range. Versatile and powerful, it’s a mod with a pod that we think you cloud chasers will really love.
SMOK Scar Pod Kit
If two batteries and 130 watts seems a little excessive to you, theSMOK Scar P-3 might be more up your street. This one has an internal 2000mAh battery with a maximum output of an impressive 80 watts - typically more than enough even for regular Sub Ohm vapers. Like the RPM160, it’s also compatible with the RPM and RGC coil ranges and the pod has adjustable airflow so you can refine your inhale to get it just right.
If all of that seems a little overwhelming (you really are spoiled for choice with pod mods) and you want a recommendation or some help, you can always drop us a message. We’ll be more than happy to give you a hand in finding the right kit and e-liquid to match. Or, if you just want a little more info on pod kits and how they work, we’ve got a guide for that too.
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