When we wrote our last ecig starter kit round up, we said that 2018 had been the year of the back-to-basics device. We also predicted that 2019 would see a continued trend in pod systems, and that’s certainly been the case, with both an explosion in the range as well as increased variety. You can now buy pod systems with more power, better battery life and more functionality.
There are always some devices which remain popular even in the face of continuous innovation. For years we’ve seen the combination of the Aspire Mini Nautilus and the Mini Coolfire mod retain its popularity against newcomers.
That’s finally waning now (although it’s still the only vape my mum will use), but the PockeX seems to have taken its place, winning a huge fan base among vapers and, indeed, many of our staff. So as well as highlighting some of the best new devices, the Aspire PockeX wins a write up here too.
Types of vape starter kits
In this post you’ll find four types of beginner vape devices.
Pod Systems: Vape pods are super easy-to-use and come with a pod that clips into a compact battery. They come with either pre-filled or refillable pods.
All-in-one vape devices: These devices contain everything you need to get started. AIOs distinguish themselves by having no separate pod or tank, with e-liquid simply being filled into the top of the device itself.
Pen-style devices: Just as the name suggests, these devices are like an oversized pen and fit easily in the hand. Think chunky marker pen as opposed to a biro and you’ll be along the right track.
Mod/tank kits: Mods are usually larger, more powerful vapes, often with a box design, which also come with a separate tank.
So as we enter 2020, here’s 7 of the best starter kits to choose from. Read on to see each device in more detail.
|Caliburn||Open pod||Best for flavour||£24.99|
|PockeX||All-In-One||Most popular, great build quality||£19.99|
|Hexa||Closed pod||Hybrid e-liquid for great throat hit||£19.99|
|Amulet Watch Pod||Open pod||Discrete, straps to wrist, novelty gadget factor!||£34.99|
|RPM40||Open pod||Great for clouds||£29.99|
|Adept Zlide||Mod||Tough, best battery life||£39.99|
|Jem Pen||Pen-style device||Classic style||£19.99|
Best for flavour: Uwell Caliburn
The Uwell Caliburn has taken off in the USA and is rapidly gaining traction in the UK too. That’s probably because of its reputation for being one of the best pod systems for flavour. This is an open pod system, which means you can put any e-liquid in it – although with a 1.4 ohm resistance coil it’s best used with a balanced VG:PG ratio of around 50:50.
What’s to like:
- Great flavour
- Open system – use with your favourite e-liquid
- Strong aluminium frame
- Works well with nicotine salts
Most popular: Aspire PockeX
The Aspire PockeX has been around for a while now – indeed, it made it into last year’s round up – but its popularity shows no signs of slowing. The PockeX was one of the first devices to combine a traditional pen-style device with a lower resistance coil to create some real oomph in an otherwise easy-to-use starter kit. Indeed, many of our staff continue to use the PockeX, which is saying something given they are exposed to a constant influx of new devices.
What’s to like about it?
- High quality vape
- Great build quality
Top tip: It’s well worth putting a vape band around the top tank. These cost just one pound, but help to protect the tank if it is dropped.
Best pre-filled pod system: Hexa
When we first trialled the Hexa, I was very surprised to see our mod-loving, cloud-chasing product manager using this Belgian pod system constantly. We’ve since brought it into our stores, and when customers try it they frequently choose it over the far better known JUUL.
What makes it popular? While it’s a great device in its own right, I believe the key to the success of the device is at least partly down to the e-liquid used. Most systems use either freebase nicotine (which has a stronger throat hit) or nicotine salts such as Nasty Juice Reborn (smoother throat hit, faster delivery of nicotine).
In contrast, the Hexa is one of the first devices to use hybrid e-liquid, which combines nicotine salts and freebase e-liquid. This gives less of a hit than freebase, but is more recognisable than nicotine salts and provides a particularly satisfying vape.
What’s to like:
- Super easy to use
- Light and compact
- Great throat hit
Most Unusual: Uwell Amulet Watch Pod
A combination of watch and vape pod, when the Amulet first came in we thought it was going to be a gimmick. And maybe it is, but it also produces a surprisingly good vape.
How’s it work? Simply strap it around your wrist, and then detach the pod system from the strap when you want to vape. This is the perfect solution for people looking for a super discrete device as well as for something that’s a bit different from the norm.
What’s to like:
- Great for stealth vaping
- Cool gadget factor
- Incredibly compact
Best for clouds: Smok RPM40
When I asked our product manager for suggestions for this post, the Smok RPM40 was one of the first devices suggested. The RPM is one of the first Smok pod vapes to successfully combine a pod system with larger clouds of vapour. That’s down partly to the 0.4 ohm coil, which is designed to produce great vapour at lower power levels.
The RPM40 has variable wattage which can put out anything from 1 to 40 watts. It also comes with an impressive 1500mAh battery, which means you can vape for longer between recharges while the vivid display screen displays resistance level, wattage and a puff counter.
One slight caveat – whilst this is a post for starter kits, the RPM40 is equally suited for more intermediate vapers and will pay dividends for those willing to spend a little bit of of time learning it’s more advanced features.
What’s to like:
- Long lasting battery
- Variable wattage
- Great for clouds
Toughest device: Adept Zlide Kit
If you vape outdoors a lot, or have a job which involves knocks and scrapes, the Adept Zlide might be the device for you. Water-poof, dust-proof and shock-proof, this vape kit is designed to last even when conditions are not ideal.
But there’s more than toughness to this tank system. For a start, it comes with a very impressive 3000mAh battery meaning that it has tonnes of battery life, while an intelligent wattage selection mode automatically selects the right power settings for the coil you are using. This takes the guesswork out of selecting the right coil and helps ensures the coils last longer.
What’s to like:
- Built to withstand knocks
- Superb battery life
- Auto-wattage selection means longer lasting coils
Classic pen style: Jem Pen
While pod systems have taken the vaping world by storm, many people prefer the classic vape pen. And for this category we’ve selected one of the best from one of our favourite manufacturers, Innokin.
Built from stainless steel, the Jem Pen is a simple to use, no-fuss all-in-one vape device (Yes it’s also an AIO!), coming with higher resistance coils that mean it offers a great mouth-to-lung hit and a slim design which fits neatly into the pocket.
- Easy to use
- Mouth-to-lung vape
- Classic style
Most Similar to Smoking
When we first received Vaporesso PodStick samples, members of our staff who still missed smoking were blown away by the device. The tight, restricted vape is probably the closest experience to smoking they’d experienced.
Lightweight and easy to use (an external filling mechanism means there’s no need to remove the pod before filling it), this device is suitable for new vapers and for people who still miss smoking regular cigarettes.
- similar experience to smoking
Smallest Pod System
The Innokin IO Pod System is the dinkiest vape system we have seen for a long time.
As always with tiny sizes, compromises have to be made and with a 310mAh capacity it’s not going to win any prizes for battery life. For that matter, the 0.8ml capacity pod is pretty small too. But if you want something small, discreet and easy to use this might be the right option for you!
- super small
- super easy to use
Also worth considering: The Smok Mico is also a tiny, square shaped device which fits very neatly into the palm of your hand.
As we always see from our annual predictions post, which rounds up predictions from vape experts around the world, predictions are hard to make (or, more accurately, easy to make but hard to get right).
That’s particularly the case with innovation. Time after time, innovative vape companies have come up with solutions that no-one has dreamed of yet.
That said, one possible new trend for 2020 could be hybrid nicotine salts. The Hexa has been one of the first devices to use hybrid salts, and we’ve seen it’s popularity boom. Could hybrids be the next new trend (and can anyone come up with a better name for them?) Only time will tell.