Free Royal Mail Tracked 24 Hour Delivery on all orders over £20

  • Superfast UK Delivery

    Orders over £20 qualify for FREE delivery

  • Excellent Ratings

    4.9/5 on TrustPilot over 5,000 reviews

  • PayPal Accepted

    Alongside all major credit cards

  • Quality Products

    From official manufacturers & distributors

Upgrading from disposables: go pod or go mod?

Upgrading from disposables: go pod or go mod?

John Boughey |

Ready to move on from disposable vapes? The first decision is whether to go for a pod or mod-based vaping system. 

In this guide, we’ll explain the crucial differences between pod systems and box mod vapes (also known as advanced vape kits or sub-ohm kits). We’ll show you why these formats are a better long-term choice than disposables, and we’ll help you pick the device that’s going to work best for you.

How do they differ from disposables?

Many smokers toying with the idea of quitting will start out by buying a disposable vape. Single-use vapes are a cheap way for prospective quitters to try vaping; you can get a sense of how vaping feels compared to smoking for as little as £5. Over the long term, however, disposables are very expensive per-puff; pods and sub-ohm kits are much better value. 

Disposables typically use cheap components encased in poor-quality plastic. Pod and sub-ohm kits, on the other hand, are designed to last a very long time. Built with high-quality components, they can be recharged, refilled and fine-tuned to match your vaping preferences. 

Unlike disposables, which are sold as one single piece of kit, pods and advanced vaping kits have two main parts: a battery and a tank. 

A pod system usually has its own proprietary design, where each pod tank is designed to fit the battery part of just one brand or one model of vape device. Sub-ohm kits, on the other hand, rely on a standard 510 connection to join the tank to the battery.

When vaping with a sub-ohm or advanced kit, you tend to keep the tank attached to the battery, then add e-liquid directly into the tank as-and-when you need it. Pod tanks usually need to be detached when you're refilling, although some of the latest models can be top-filled without disconnecting anything.

Which device type should you buy?

To help you make a quick decision, we’ve listed out a few of the things that matter to most vapers when buying kit. Vaping tech gets better all the time, so please do plenty of research and make sure you pick a kit that can work for you.

Leak protection
A well-built vape won’t leak when standing upright, and you should feel confident leaving your vape on its side or dropping it into a handbag.  
The only exception to this is a rebuildable tank, or RDA. RDAs are advanced custom-built mod tanks where you drip e-liquid directly onto the coil. There's no e-liquid reservoir on an RDA, so there's no built-in leak protection. RDAs offer a tasty way to enjoy sub-ohm vaping, but they have to be kept upright at all times. If sub-ohm vaping is your thing, there are plenty of mess-free alternatives to RDA tanks (see our guide to RDAs, RTAs, Sub Ohm & RDTA tanks here).
The interchangeable tanks on pod systems are tightly-sealed, self-contained reservoirs. They stay clean and mess-free, even when you’re switching pods. 
Price per-puff
The main reason why disposables are so much more expensive per-puff than pods or sub-ohm tanks is the component cost. Every time you buy a disposable vape, you use up an expensive battery, coil, plastic casing and circuitry once, then throw the whole thing out. 
Vape pod and sub-ohm systems, on the other hand, are built to last a long time. You need to refill your vape with e-liquid, recharge its battery, and replace the coil (or the whole pod, depending on the model) every so often. Apart from that, your only ongoing cost is e-liquid.
Long term, there's no contest - sub-ohm tanks and pod kits  are the cheapest way to vape. 
If you're worried about finding spare parts for your vape device in years to come, then you might be better off sticking with sub-ohm box-mod-and-tank kits rather than pods. The 510 connection used by most sub-ohm devices is as close as our industry has gotten to a 'universal' connector - it allows you to mix and match different brands of battery and tank.
A lot of disposables users love that they can just vape and go without worrying about maintenance, refilling or recharging. These tasks might have been a bit of a hassle in years gone by, but not anymore. Recharging and refilling is easy on most modern pods and sub-ohm vapes. These days, charging a vape is as simple as charging your phone, and most e-liquid bottles come with a funnel or needle tip to make it easy to drop 2ml of fresh vape juice into the tank reservoir. 
Flavour intensity
If flavour intensity is important, you need a vape device that gives you full control over e-liquid volumes, coil temperature and power. That kind of control is something disposables just don't offer. What's more, your mod tank or pod kit will need an adjustable airflow setting if you want intense, tasty clouds. Learn more about airflow here.
Pods can deliver rich, deep complex flavours, but it depends on the style of pod vape you buy. Just check which vaping style your pod device has been built for. Mouth-to-lung  (MTL) vapes produce smaller clouds on a tighter airflow; this can restrict the amount of flavouring you can draw in with every puff. MTL used to be the standard for pod systems, but recently we have seen more and more DTL and RDTL pod kits hit the market.
Flavour choice
There are thousands of e-liquid flavours for sale — far too many for pre-loaded disposables to ever catch up with. It's one area where refillable long-term vapes will always take the lead.
All pods and mods require you to add the e-liquid separately, so you get full control over flavours from day one. If you get a pod kit with a few different empty refillable pods, you can keep more than one flavour on the go at any one time. If you’re on a mission to try every possible e-liquid flavour, then pods and mods are the way to go! 
Battery life
Typically, box mods are bigger and thicker than pod systems. This is because most box mods hold more batteries than a traditional pen-shaped e-cigarette or slimline pod system. With added batteries comes added battery life (depending on your vape settings), so if you’re looking for a vape that lasts you for days on end, an advanced sub-ohm vape will often beat a pod system.
Typically, pod kits have built-in batteries and kits with box mods need batteries inserted (18650s are a popular mod battery - shop our battery department to learn more), but this is starting to change.
The best thing you can do for the environment is move away from disposables as soon as you can (ideally when you are ready to commit to quitting tobacco). It’s a better choice for the planet, and you get so much more control over every aspect of your vaping experience. 

That’s it! We hope this article gives you a good overview of how pods and mods (or sub-ohm vaping kits) compare to disposables. As you can see, both formats need a little bit of maintenance & charging, but they’re much better long-term options than disposables. 

Stay safe and happy vaping!

John Boughey

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.