If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re a disposable vaper and are looking to change to a rechargable, reusable vape!
In this post you’ll find out what the different options are (and how to use them) as well as tips for making the switch.
There’s a lot here, so please do use the contents section below to jump to the one most relevant to you. If you're just looking for the best alternatives to disposables, see our selection of some of the best rechargable vapes here.
Disposable vapes are single-use vape devices. Like regular devices, they deliver a vapour that resembles smoke and usually (but not always) contains nicotine. However, unlike regular devices, they are thrown away after they have been used once.
They are also incredibly popular, seemingly coming from nowhere. In 2022, it was reported that 15.2% of adult vapers in England used disposables, compared with just 2.2% in 2021. It’s hard to put a finger on why they are so popular, but I think the following contribute:
1. They are convenient and easy to use.
2. They don’t require any commitment. When you buy a vape device, you are essentially saying you are a vaper. But when you buy a single-use device, you are simply committing to a day’s use.
3. They offer strong, sweet flavours.
However, as we shall see:
1. Some vape devices, especially prefilled pod systems, are also easy and convenient to use.
2. The advent of ‘bar salts’ e-liquids that replicate the taste of disposables now means that disposable vapers don’t need to sacrifice flavour when switching to reusable devices.
The biggest personal reason for switching from disposable devices is the reduction in cost.
Costing anywhere from £4.00 to £6.00, disposables may not seem that expensive on the face of things. However, if you look at it from the perspective of e-liquid, you can rapidly see the price mount up.
There are just 2ml of e-liquid in a disposable device. That means you are paying between £2.00 and £3.00 per ml.
However, a high-quality bottle of 10ml e-liquid typically costs less than 40p per ml. That’s less than a fifth of the cost of even cheaper disposable devices.
Of course, you do have the initial cost of buying a device. However, once you have bought that, the savings rapidly start to mount up.
To help set these out, we’ve compared some of the costs below.
|Device type||Average cost per month||Average cost per year|
|Filled pod devices||£77.34||£914.98|
|Refillable pod device||£66.89||£652.18|
If cost isn’t enough to think about, consider the environment.
Every year, we buy and use three billion disposable vape devices. Each one contains a lithium-ion battery which could be re-used many times. In total, we throw away enough batteries to power 1,200 electric cars. Yet after a single use, they are thrown away.
Most current devices are also difficult and expensive to recycle. That’s because they are designed as a single unit, and it is difficult to separate the battery from the device.
In contrast, a refillable device can last for months before needing to be replaced.
Disposable vapes have been banned in some countries. Scotland is considering a ban, and as I write a private members’ bill is being presented to parliament calling for a ban on disposable devices.
While I don’t think a ban will happen, it is a possibility, and it makes sense to experiment with alternatives before you are suddenly left without your vape device.
Typically, many disposable ranges offer a limited number of flavours.
And while it’s true that there are quite a few disposable ranges, let’s face it – they do tend to use the same set of flavours!
However, if you switch to a refillable device, you have access to literally thousands of different flavours.
As we mentioned previously, one of the main advantages of disposables is how easy they are to use – with no need for refilling or switching coils. Pre-filled pod systems are the perfect next step as they are almost as easy to use, at less expense and with less environmental impact.
Like disposables, most of these kits require no button pressing or settings – you just inhale on the mouthpiece and start vaping. The only thing you’ll need to remember is to recharge the battery when it runs low.
Once you are used to these devices, you might then want to consider moving to a refillable device for further cost savings.
- Super easy to use
- More cost-effective & environmentally friendly than disposables
- Provide disposable-style flavour (Elf Bar Elfa Pro)
- Battery needs to be recharged and pods changed
- Limited flavours compared to refillable devices
Best option: Elf Bar Elfa Pro
The Elfa Pro pod device, in particular, is a great option for disposable users as the pods are filled with popular Elf Bar disposable flavours.
This makes it perfect for transitioning users as there’s no sacrifice on flavour.
While less common than regular disposables, there are disposable vape devices out there that can be refilled and even recharged.
Still super easy to use with no buttons or settings, these devices come with a fixed coil so will still need to be disposed of when this coil runs out.
However, a rechargeable battery and refillable pod mean they last a lot longer than regular disposables.
To use, you simply fill the pod with vape juice, wait a few minutes and inhale on the mouthpiece to vape. You just need to refill the pod and recharge the battery when needed.
You’ll know it’s time to dispose of the device when it stops producing vapour, the flavour starts to dull or you get a burnt taste when you inhale.
This design not only saves cost and reduces waste, but the refillable pod means this kind of device also provides a lot more options in terms of flavour.
Unlike disposables, which have a more limited number of flavour choices, users can use choose any flavour of vape juice they like.
- Longer-lasting than regular disposables
- Easy to use – no buttons or settings
- More choice of flavours than disposables or pre-filled pod kits
- Still need to be disposed of after a certain amount of uses
Best option: Aspire R1
The Aspire R1 is our favourite device of this kind. Lasting much longer than regular disposables, the pod can be refilled up to 8-10 times before it needs to be disposed of.
It’s also incredibly budget-friendly, with the kit costing less than the price of 2 regular disposables.
They include a wide range of device types, with many different designs and varying levels of difficulty. The level of difficulty using these devices varies depending on which you choose.
For fixed-coil pod devices with inhaling firing, it’s as simple as filling and attaching the pod, waiting a few minutes and inhaling on the mouthpiece.
With replaceable coil devices, you need to soak the coil in e-liquid before using it for the first time. You also need to change the coil from time to time.
Choose a fixed coil pod for maximum convenience, or a replaceable coil device to maximise cost savings.
- Lower cost in the long run compared to disposables
- Less environmental impact
- More flavour choice
- Can be more difficult to use than disposables/pre-filled pod kits
Best option: Vaporesso Xros 3
If you prefer a little more control over your vape, another option is the Oxva Xlim Pro which also uses fixed-coil pods but features manual wattage adjustment and up to 3 days battery life.
Vape mod kits have a reputation for being more difficult to use than pod systems. That can be the case, but it’s worth remembering that some have been designed for beginner users.
Mods come with serious advantages. They often have a significantly longer battery life than pod systems.
Depending on the system you get, they can often offer both a Mouth-to-Lung and a Direct-Lung experience. If you want large clouds of vapour, then a mod and tank system should also be your first port of call.
Mods can also offer tremendous control over your vape, although again that depends on the system you use. One nice feature with many modern mods is that you can switch between modes that change the level of difficulty.
A lot is made of the functionality of mods, and it’s true they can be impressive.
But at the end of the day, many people choose them because of their aesthetics, preferring a device which is a bit bulkier and more impressive than a pod device.
- Longer battery life
- Often easy to switch between MTL and DL vaping
- Often offer lots of control over your vape
- Can be more difficult to use (but depends on model)
Best option: Innokin Adept Zlide
When it comes to replicating disposable vaping, the vape juice you choose is one of the most important factors to consider. Here are some important points to consider:
Disposable vapes provide a very smooth inhale and usually have high nicotine levels.
To replicate this with reusable devices we’d recommend using nicotine salts vape juice. Made from the natural form of nicotine found in the tobacco leaf, they provide a smoother inhale than regular, freebase e-liquids.
This means they can deliver higher levels of nicotine without a harsh throat hit. Coming with a VG: PG 50:50 ratio, they are also ideal for use with the lower-powered pod and starter kits we’d recommend to disposables users who are switching.
A major reason for the popularity of disposables is their strong flavour – usually using e-liquids with a higher concentration than regular vape juices.
Luckily, many manufacturers have caught on to this and have produced nicotine salts vape juices with extra concentration to specifically replicate the taste of disposables.
Also see: Best Bar Salts Ranges.
Ideally you want to match nicotine strengths to the disposable device you have been using.
If you just walk into a shop and order a disposable without asking about the strength, chances are you are using 18mg (1.8%) or 20mg (2%). If that’s the case, simply order your e-liquid in the closest strength.
For a more in-depth explanation, see our guide to choosing nicotine strength.
Disposable devices have often had a bad rap – but they have also helped many tens of thousands of vapers to move away from tobacco cigarettes.
But as we have seen they are also expensive, bad for the environment and offer a limited flavour choice.
If you’ve successfully switched from cigarettes to disposables, maybe it’s time to take the next step and move to a reusable vape device.