Last fact-checked 1 Feb 2022 | Report a factual error on this article
Disposable vape devices are bringing a fresh sense of style and fun to vaping … but how safe are they? What are the drawbacks, how well are these devices regulated and what do you need to watch out for?
Whether you’re a smoker looking to dip your toe in the vaping world, or a long-standing vaper in need of a convenient back-up device, this definitive guide to disposable vapes is for you!
Here at Gourmet E-Liquid, we sell a lot of disposables to vapers all over the UK. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about disposables. We’ll explain how they work, show how they differ from normal e-cigarettes and clarify their legal status. We’ll also give you a few pointers on which disposables to buy if you’re new to vaping.
Disposable vapes are single-use vape devices with enough e-liquid and battery life to deliver around 500 to 600 puffs of nicotine-infused vapour. Disposable vapes (also known as ‘bars’, ‘pods’ or ‘sticks’) come in a broad range of flavours. They’re normally draw-activated devices with a nicotine strength of 20mg/ml (although weaker strengths are available).
In the past, disposables had a reputation for poor flavour, power and nicotine strength. Recent advances in vape technology have had a huge impact on how these devices work. Nowadays, you can expect plenty of flavour, a rewarding cloud of vapour and a good hit of nicotine.
Disposables are less environmentally friendly than vape pens and box mods. They also cost more per-puff than traditional vape kits. Apart from that, there’s no better way to get a clean, convenient, fuss-free vaping experience.
Disposable vape devices work straight out of the box. To start vaping, you just have to take the disposable out of its packaging and suck on the mouthpiece. This activates the coil and delivers a puff of vapourised e-liquid. When the device has run out of e-liquid and power, you simply throw the disposable in the bin.
There is usually an LED built into the bottom of the device to show you when the coil is firing.
A draw-activated disposable is much easier to use than a standard vape pen or box mod. You can’t adjust the settings on a disposable, but you also don’t have to replace or refill any parts. It’s clean, convenient and incredibly simple.
Disposables are meant for new vapers, but established vapers often buy them just out of convenience. The split is almost 50:50, in fact. For this article, we took a look at our own sales figures (UK only) for the final six months of 2021. We found that just under half of our disposable sales revenue came from existing vapers (returning customers). The rest came from first-time customers (new vapers).
We can see why disposables work so well for first-time vapers. For less than the price of a pack of cigarettes (* Feb 2022 prices), you can pick up a disposable, start vaping and see if it works for you. You don’t need to know Ohm’s law, mix your own shortfill or wick your own coil … you don’t even have to push a button. It couldn’t be simpler.
This simplicity explains why disposables are popular with experienced vapers, too. If you’ve been vaping for a while, then you have probably already invested in some great vaping kit. Proper kits are great if you like to change flavours, play with cloud size and build your own coils, but they can be a bit bulky and time-consuming. Sometimes you just need a quick puff of nicotine when you’re at work or travelling. It’s times like these when a disposable comes in really handy.
With hundreds of disposables available for sale, it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re brand new to vaping, here are 5 disposable vapes which could be worth a look:
- Want a broad range of flavours? Then the Geekvape Geek Bar Disposable Pod Device is a good place to start. Geek Bar comes in 22 different flavours. You can stay safe with a classic tobacco or menthol, or go off-piste with something like sour apple or banana ice. Each Geek Bar contains up to 575 puffs of 20mg/ml strength nicotine salt.
- Trying to taper off nicotine? Then the Beco Bar Disposable Vape Device is worth a look. This slim, clean disposable comes with a smaller reservoir than most devices (1.3ml), but you can choose between a 10mg/ml and 20mg/ml strength. Beco Bar comes in 10 really good flavours (6 ice flavours), so it’s a tasty option for tapering.
- Looking for lots of power? Look no further than the TNGO Glow Bar Disposable Vape Pod! This device carries a 600mAh battery, which is a little stronger than the standard 550mAh options. TNGO comes in 10mg and 20mg strength options, and it lights up, too!
- A couple of other good all-rounders are the ELF Bar 600 and the Kingston KBAR. Both the ELF Bar and KBAR are very popular with our customers and have a really solid reputation.
If budget allows, we recommend buying one or two different disposables and seeing which ones you like best. You’ll be able to experiment with the different vape devices and find a flavour that works for you. What’s more, if you spend more than £20, delivery is free!
This table shows you the top 10 best selling disposable vape devices on gourmeteliquid.co.uk in January 2022. All of these brands are worth a try — just remember that new disposables are coming up all the time. There are hundreds of brands and flavours on the market:
SKE Crystal Original | 600 puffs per device | 41 flavours available
FNTA Disposable Pods | 600 puffs per device | 13 flavours available
Tngo Glow Bar | 600 puffs per device | 10 flavours available
Elf Bar 600 Disposable Pods | 600 puffs per device | 21 flavours available
Glamz Bar Disposable | 600 puffs per device | 20 flavours available
GeekVape Geek Bar | 575 puffs per device | 22 flavours available
Area 51 Zero Nicotine Stik | 800 puffs per device | 10 flavours available
Fantasi Bar Disposable | 600 puffs per device | 10 flavours available
Tasty Fruity Zoom Bar | 600 puffs per device | 20 flavours available
- SMOK Club Bar | 600 puffs per device | 9 flavours available
Disposables are subject to the same legal requirements as any other tobacco product…
- You must be over 18 to buy a disposable vape bar.
- Disposables can hold a maximum of 2mls of e-liquid.
- The maximum nicotine strength of a disposable is 20mg/ml.
As a rule of thumb, a disposable shouldn’t promise more than 600 puffs (750 puffs if it’s a nicotine-free option), because that’s all that you’ll get out of a 2ml reservoir. Also, if you’re promised a nicotine strength of more than 20mg/ml, then something’s not right. 20mg/ml is the absolute maximum allowed by law, both in the UK and the EU (see our guide to British & European vaping laws).
Like all other vaping products, disposables are regulated by the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). You should be able to find your disposable on the MHRA’s published list of disposable e-cigarettes. If you can’t find a device on the MHRA’s approved list, or if you can only find an entry for an e-liquid brand (nothing for a disposable device), then it may not be legal. There’s some good advice on this on the UKVIA’s website (download the ‘If In Doubt, Check It Out’ PDF here).
Disposables are single-use devices — they go straight to landfill when you’re finished with them. You can’t send them back to the manufacturer to get reloaded, and you can’t plug them in to recharge (…unless you’re using a larger capacity device that has recharge capabilities). From an environmental standpoint, disposables are far from ideal.
For the time being, we have decided to keep selling disposables here at Gourmet E-Liquid. We know that there are a lot of smokers out there who want to explore vaping as a smoking cessation tool, but who don’t want to spend a lot of money on kit and e-juice that they might not like. Disposables are the best way for quitters to get around the cost hurdle.
If disposables can help more people to make the switch from cigarettes to vaping, then it’s worth it, as far as we’re concerned. At the end of the day, vaping helps hundreds of thousands of people to quit smoking every year (learn more on our guide). Vaping is helping to win the war on smoking. We have to remember that smoking causes thousands of needless deaths in this country every year (source: Public Health England).
Our hope is that disposables become greener over time. We’re watching the disposables market closely, and we are in constant contact with our colleagues in the UK Vaping Industry Association (Gourmet E-Liquid are Retail Members of the UKVIA). As soon as more eco-friendly alternatives start to appear on the market, we’ll definitely source them and sell them. And if you hear of any new developments in the market, get in touch with us! We’re always on the lookout for new products.
Stay safe and happy vaping!