Best Vapes for Heavy Smokers: Featured Image

Best Vape Devices for Heavy Smokers in 2022 (UK)

Updated: February 2022

This website wouldn’t exist if my mum hadn’t been a heavy smoker. 

It was she who came across a basic cigalike device in 2008. Fortunately, for her it worked, and she hasn’t had a single (tobacco!) cigarette since. 

That simple device has helped tens of thousands of smokers switch from tobacco to vaping. 

It didn’t work for everyone. But since then both vape technology and our understanding of what helps people switch has come on immensely. What’s more, studies in smoking cessation like this now suggest vaping is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy.

In previous posts, we’ve looked at the best overall vape kits and best vape kits for new vapers. In this post we’ll be drilling down a bit further and looking at the best devices for a heavy smoker. 

You’ll also find the factors you need to consider –  based on both research and 12+ years of experience working with smokers who want to switch to vaping. 

Also see: Which Vape Kit Should You Buy?


At a glance

DeviceTypeWhat’s special?
Innokin Endura T18IIVape penEasy-to-use, good battery capacity
Hexa ProClosed pod systemSimilar experience to smoking
Vaporesso Xros 2Open pod systemChoice of airy or restricted vape
Aspire VilterOpen pod systemCigarette-style filter tips
Uwell Caliburn A2Open pod systemPerfect starter kit
Smok Novo 4Open pod systemEasy-to-use, precise airflow control, leak-free technology
Aspire PockeXOpen pod systemBest for throat hit
Smok IPX80Pod modTough, good looks & versatility
Eleaf iStick Power 2Mod kitGreat battery life
Innokin Endura T22 ProMod kitSuperb battery life, great for high nicotine e-liquid
Voopoo Drag SMod kitSuperb aesthetics, best option for an airy vape

Best vape pen for heavy smokers

Innokin Endura T18II: Easy, Slim, Long Battery Life

Innokin Endura T18II held in hand.

The Innokin Endura T18II is an easy-to-operate device that has proved its effectiveness with thousands of vapers – garnering an average of 5/5 stars from over 120 reviews. 

This vape delivers the MTL vape that most heavy smokers need, while allowing you to easily adjust the airflow between restricted and airy. 

Despite it’s slim, pocket-friendly design, it carries a 1300 mAh battery, which gives it a longer battery life suitable for the vaper on the move.

Also see: Vape Pen Buying Guide

Best closed pod system for heavy smokers

Hexa Pro: Experience close to smoking

Hexa Pro

The Hexa V2.0 was one of our most popular starter devices and was particularly popular with former heavy smokers switching to vaping. Since the V2.0 has been discontinued, Hexa has replaced it with an upgraded version – the Hexa Pro.  

The Hexa Pro is a great device for heavy smokers due to its combination of ease of use, cigarette-style throat hit and nicotine content. It’s a closed pod device, which means that when the e-liquid runs out, you simply switch over to a new one. That makes it suitable for people who are looking for a super-easy device that does not need refilling. 

Hexa pods are filled with a unique hybrid nicotine salt blend in a variety of flavours.  This provides both a smooth yet satisfying throat hit and, with the option of both 10mg and 20mg strength, enough nicotine to curb the cravings of even the heaviest smoker. 

Due to the interplay between the technology and the type of e-liquid the Hexa uses, this device provides one of the closest experiences to smoking a cigarette we’ve seen from a closed pod system. 

Also see the Hexa Mini for a more compact version

Best open pod systems for heavy smokers

Vaporesso Xros 2: Choice of Airy or Restricted Vape 

Vaporesso Xros Mini

Many former smokers will initially prefer a tighter, more restricted vape as this more closely resembles smoking. However, as you become more familiar with vaping you may want to experiment with a different airflow style. The Vaporesso Xros 2 allows you to do this using its adjustable airflow toggle that creates a more airy or restricted vape. 

While the device does offer some versatility, it’s still easy enough for a new vaper. A simple, single-button design means no manual settings are required and fixed-coil pods eliminate the need for coil changes. There’s also a very simple auto draw option that fires the device when you inhale on the mouthpiece. 

The device’s 1000mAh battery is also a great feature as it provides long-lasting power between charges. This eliminates the need for frequent charging and means less risk of being without your vape and the temptation to turn to cigarettes. 

Aspire Vilter: Cigarette-style Filter Tips

Aspire Vilter

When switching from smoking to vaping, you want a device that replicates smoking as much as possible – even down to how the device feels on your lips. The compact Aspire Vilter device achieves this with its optional cigarette-style paper filter tips that replicate the physical feel of smoking cigarettes. 

The Vilter uses fixed-coil pods, has no buttons or settings and features inhale firing – all adding up to a super easy-to-use device that is ideal for new or inexperienced vapers looking to replace smoking with minimum fuss.   

An open pod design means users can choose their own e-liquid – giving them the chance to experiment with different flavours and types of vape juice. 

Uwell Caliburn A2: Perfect starter kit

Uwell Caliburn A2

The Uwell Caliburn A2 has everything you would want from a starter vape kit; fixed-coil pods, inhale firing and no fiddly settings. This makes it perfect for first-time vapers switching from smoking. 

The fixed-coil pod device is an upgrade on the original Caliburn device. It features a slim and compact single-button design and sets its own output based on battery capacity. All of this coupled with the Caliburn A2’s inhale firing feature makes the device incredibly easy to use – with little setup or maintenance needed.

To use the Caliburn A2 you simply fill the pod and clip it into the device, turn the device on and inhale to start vaping. 

Smok Novo 4: Easy-to-use, leak-free technology, adjustable airflow

Brightly coloured Smok Novo 4 devices.

The original Smok Novo proved a popular option for vapers who wanted a simple-to-use device that just worked. The upcoming Novo 4 continues this ease-of-use but with the addition of new leak-free technology for mess-free vaping. 

The Novo 4 also comes with an airflow wheel which allows you to choose between a tighter or airy vape. As we explain below, we find this particularly useful for heavy smokers who are switching from roll ups. 

Aspire PockeX: Best device for replicating throat hit

Aspire PockeX in different colours. A great choice for heavy smokers who miss the throat hit from cigarettes.

Sometimes I almost get tired of writing about the PockeX – it seems to have featured in almost every buying guide we’ve written over the last several years. 

As you can imagine, there is a reason why it keeps making an appearance – and that’s the throat hit. Simply put, if you are looking for a strong throat hit to replace smoking, you can’t do better than PockeX. That’s probably why the device is still incredibly popular today, years after it first came out. 

Update: A new alternative is the Aspire PockeX Box – see full review.

Best mod & pod mod kits

Smok IPX 80: Tough, good looks & versatility

Smok IPX 80 on a water-themed background.

Aesthetics is often not considered when switching from smoking to vaping, but that’s a mistake. If something feels great to hold and is great to look at, you’re more likely to use it than a device that looks like it’s been designed by a chemist. 

For great aesthetics, the Smok IPX 80 is well worth considering. It looks great and is a pleasure to hold. But there’s more to this device than pure aesthetics. 

First of all, it’s tough! Rated IPX67, the device is resistant to water, shocks and dust – making it a great option for those who spend a lot of time outdoors and need a device that can withstand the elements.  

It’s also a versatile device that allows you to experiment. The IPX 80 can be used with different resistance coils and has a wider power range than other devices here – 1- 80 watts. That means it’s great for vapers who want to experiment, and who want a device for the long term. You can start off with a tight, restricted vape which is more similar to a cigarette, but then progress to the looser, airier vape preferred by many long-term vapers. 

Related: Vape Pod Buying Guide | Pod Mods Buying Guide

Eleaf iStick Power 2: Great battery life

The iStick Power 2 mod kit stands out for its suburb battery life. This eliminates the need for frequent charging and is a great feature for those former heavy smokers who can’t be without their vape for too long. 

The 80W mod and tank combo features a huge 5000mAh battery that can power the device for a day or more between charges. The device is packed with intelligent features and modes that allow you to customise your vaping and appeal to vapers of varying experience levels. 

The iStick Power 2 mod has a choice of 3 vaping modes to suit different levels of expertise while the included GTL pod tank supports both MTL and DL vaping styles. You can further tailor your vape between an airy, cloud-filled vape or a more restricted cigarette-style draw using the pod tank’s adjustable airflow ring.  

Innokin Endura T22 Pro: Superb battery life, great for high nicotine e-liquids

Endura T22 Pro mods.

The Innokin Endura series has been consistently popular with new vapers – it’s already the second of the series we have covered in this post – and we think the Endura T22 Pro will continue this success. 

The device comes with high resistance mesh coils, meaning it’s great for use with the high nicotine e-liquids and nicotine salts we recommend for heavy smokers. (See section on nicotine delivery below for more information.) What’s more, the 3000mAh battery will provide a superb battery life for even heavy smokers, making it ideal for people who are on the move. 

Voopoo Drag S & PnP Pod Kit: Great aesthetics 

The Drag S pod mod is another device with superb aesthetics, fusing leather and metal for a device that is both a pleasure to look at and to hold. 

Part of the popular Drag series, it is a great choice for Direct-Lung vapers who prefer a more airy vape. The Drag S kit’s included PnP Pod works with low-resistance PnP coils which, combined with the device’s 60W power, can create impressive clouds that deliver big blasts of flavour and nicotine. The in-built 2500mAh battery allows the device to last up to 24hrs of use on one charge. 

While more suited to those with some experience rather than complete beginners, you don’t need to be an expert to use the Drag S. The device’s Smart Mode option means automatic coil detection and wattage settings that take the guesswork out of using the device. You can manage settings and view device data on the Drag S’ brightly coloured OLED screen – giving you more insight and control when operating the device. 

Also see the Drag S Pro for a sub-ohm version of this kit.

Looking for more choices? Check out our round-up of the best vape mods here.

Factors to consider for heavy smokers

Nicotine delivery

The biggest factor in switching to vaping is the amount of nicotine you get. That’s even more important for heavy smokers. At the time of writing, this is limited to 20mg (2%), although in practice this is usually capped at 18mg. 

You might think that the more power in your device, the more nicotine you will get from your e-liquid. That’s not necessarily true. 

Low-powered devices can be used with high nicotine e-liquids. However, high powered devices are used with lower nicotine e-liquids, as you get more nicotine with each puff. It all tends to balance out.

If you’re starting out, though, we recommend using a low powered device with a high nicotine e-liquid, as this ties in with other recommendations here (ease-of-use and vape style).

Related: How to choose the right e-liquid nicotine strength

Throat hit for heavy smokers

Many heavy smokers miss the throat hit smoking gives them when they switch to vaping. So it’s important to choose a device that can give you a good throat hit.

To get a good throat hit, you usually need to use a higher resistance coil. These typically have a resistance of 1Ω or higher, although some modern devices may go a bit lower. 

You don’t need a high wattage range when you are using high resistance coils. Kits with a range of 10-25 watts are perfect. 

It’s important to use the right VG:PG ratio. Halo Vapour Co. has a VG:PG ratio of 50:50, which gives the perfect throat hit for most users. Menthol Blast has a particularly good throat hit which is ideal for switching to vaping. If you need something even stronger, try Vapemate, which has a VG:PG ratio of 30:70 for a super strong throat hit. 

If you find the throat hit too harsh, it’s probably worth trying nicotine salts. These allow you to combine high nicotine content with a smooth sensation on the back of the throat. 

Alternatively, you might want to use a combination of regular (freebase) e-liquid and nicotine salts. These hybrid e-liquids have a great balance between the smoothness of a nicotine salt and the harsher throat hit of a regular e-liquid. Nicotine salts are provided by the Hexa Vape 2 mentioned above, as well as in the Riot Squad S:ALTS range. 

Learn more about throat hit when vaping.

Adjustable airflow 

Some vape devices come with adjustable airflow, which allows you to choose between a loose, airy vape or a tighter or more restricted vape. We’ve found that this is especially valued by new vapers who used to use roll their own cigarettes and like being able to mimic the effect of a tightly/loosely rolled cigarette. 

Some starter pod systems have a pod that can be removed and rotated 180 degrees to switch between a tight or loose vape. Other methods, such as a wheel, allow more precise control. The main takeaway is that if you like to vary the airiness of your cigarette/vape, make sure your device has adjustable airflow. 

Vape style (Mouth-to-Lung or Direct-Lung)

Mouth to lung vs Direct to lung diagram

You inhale vapour differently to how you smoke. Instead of a short, sharp inhale, you inhale slowly and steadily. (It’s important not to inhale air at the same time). 

That’s further divided into two main vape styles. Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) is when you inhale into your mouth, hold it there for a second or so, and then inhale it into your lungs. Direct-Lung (DL) is when you inhale in a steady stream directly into your lungs. 

Most heavy smokers prefer MTL when they first start vaping, as it’s closer to smoking. However, if you want to experiment, it’s worth getting a device which can deliver both MTL or DL. 

Learn more about MTL and DL.

Best vape juice flavours for switching to vaping

Several studies have shown that people who switch to vaping with non-tobacco flavours are more likely to succeed in switching. So our number one tip here is to use a non-tobacco flavour if you can. 

That said, it’s important to adjust what you use for your needs. If you’re desperate for a tobacco taste, consider trying something like Classic Virginia.

Alternatively, you might want to try a vape juice which is a crossover between tobacco and another flavour. This can help you to gently make the switch from tobacco to non-tobacco flavours. 

Our favourites here include Vanilla Tobacco by Vampire Vape, and Doozy Vape Caramel Tobacco (salts). If you do end up using high VG e-liquids, a blend like The Mighty Mighty Cinnamon Tobacco gives more depth than a standard tobacco flavour.

Ease of use

While vape devices have been getting easier to use over the years, there is still a range of complexity with the devices. If you’re making the switch from a 20 a day habit to vaping, the last thing you want to do is fiddle with advanced settings while your body craves a cigarette. 

Cigalikes and pod systems are some of the easiest devices to use, but most of the devices we’ve selected here have a relatively gentle learning curve. The exception is the Drag X Plus – the higher wattage ranges here mean there is a slightly steeper learning curve,. If you’re starting with a device like this, it’s important both to master priming coils and to use the correct power output. 

Battery life

If you’re using a device at home or in the office, you don’t need to worry about battery life too much. Indeed, many devices can be used while you charge them. (This is usually called ‘pass through’ vaping.)

If, however, you are out and about a lot, battery life is important. That’s especially the case if you are a heavy smoker, as you are likely to use the device more than a light smoker would. 

Battery capacity is measured in mAh. The higher the mAh, the more capacity it can hold. But there’s also a playoff in terms of the wattage you use it at. If you’re using a high resistance coil at lower wattages, you won’t use as much battery capacity. But if you’re using a low resistance coil at high wattages, you’ll use more battery capacity. 

Because of that, vapers who like big clouds of vapour often use 18650 batteries, which have a capacity of around 3000 mAh. (Sometimes these are doubled up to provide around 6000 mAh). But for lower-powered devices such as starter kits and basic pod systems, you don’t need anything like this. In fact, a 1000 mAh battery will often last even a heavy smoker a day or more. 

Learn more about vape batteries.

Remember, everyone is different

I’ve known people who switched from smoking to vaping after one vape. I’ve even known people who accidentally switched to vaping. 

I’ve also known people who took months or even years to fully make the switch. 

If it takes time, don’t be hard on yourself. There’s research that shows that even if you partially replace cigarettes with vaping, you’re still reducing the harm from smoking. The main point is not to give up trying to make the switch. If you are struggling, do check out these ten tips to help make the switch.

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