Updated: November 2023
We first wrote this roundup of the best pod vapes available several years ago.
How things have changed!
Back then, pod systems had only just hit the market. They were small, compact and mostly basic devices that provided a Mouth-to-Lung hit.
You can now get pod devices to suit every style of vaping. You’ll find devices designed for ease of use, devices designed to replicate the experience of smoking and devices designed for cloud chasers.
You’ll also find that the devices have seriously improved. I’m finding that pod systems have greatly improved taste, longer-lasting batteries, a better nicotine hit and longer-lasting coils. It’s an impressive move forward in technology in just a few years.
In this post we’ll be taking a look at the best options available right now. If you’re a pod mod fan, though, you’ll find our pod mod round-up goes into more depth on this specific type of pod. If you’re not precious about the type of kit you use, do have a look at our round-up of the best vape kits here.
- At a glance
- Best closed pod devices
- Best refillable pod devices
- Best Pod Mods
- How we chose the devices
- What are pod devices?
- Types of pod devices
- Benefits of pod devices
- Downsides of pod devices
- Wrapping up
In this post you’ll find we also refer to MTL (Mouth-to-Lung), DL (Direct-Lung) or RDL (Restricted Direct-Lung) inhale. You can find an explanation of what these terms mean in our MTL v. DL guide.
|Device||Pod type||Inhale style||What’s special|
|Hexa Pro||Closed pod||MTL||Easy to use, great for beginners|
|Vaporesso Xros 3 & Xros 3 Mini||Open pod||MTL/RDL||Great flavour, long-lasting battery & pods|
|Vaporesso Xros 3 Nano||Open pod||MTL/RDL||Easy to use, great flavour|
|Oxva Xlim Pro||Open pod||MTL/RDL||Easy to use yet versatile|
|Vaporesso Luxe X/XR||Open pod||MTL||Futuristic design, all-day battery life|
|Aspire R1||Open pod||MTL||Longer-lasting disposable|
|Aspire Flexus Q||Open pod||MTL||Super-fast charging|
|Aspire Vilter||Open Pod||MTL||Cigarette-style paper tips|
|Smok Novo 4||Open Pod||MTL||Tough design, precise control|
|Smok Nord 2||Open pod, replaceable coils||MTL/RDL||Uber-popular, reliable, duck-billed mouth-piece|
|Voopoo Drag E60||Pod Mod||MTL/DL||Stylish aesthetics, compact DL|
|Smok Nord 4||Pod Mod||MTL/DL||Choose between tight or airy vape|
|Voopoo Argus Pro||Pod Mod||MTL/DL||Great aesthetics, infinite airflow|
Reviewed by: Corey, ECD Team
While I’m an experienced vaper and not a new user myself, having tried the Hexa Pro I think it is a perfect option for beginners.
The Hexa Pro is compact, simple to use and there are no power settings or adjustable airflow settings to worry about. You just click in a pod and inhale!
The Hexa Pro uses fixed-coil, pre-filled Hexa pods which are convenient for new vapers and make this device a great cheaper-to-run alternative to disposables.
Hexa pods have recently been redesigned and, having previously used the device with the older-style pods, I was really impressed with the improved flavour and inhale.
Using the new-version Mint 10mg pods, I found a smooth, loose inhale with a much stronger flavour. I guess this is due to the larger intake hole at the top of the pod.
Another feature I really liked was the vibrating function when the pods are installed, as this lets you know they are properly fitted.
Overall, I think this is a great device for new vapers looking for an easy-to-use alternative to disposables, or those just looking for a no-fuss pod device.
What we like:
- Easy to use
- Smooth inhale
- Compact & lightweight
Reviewed by: Corey, ECD Team
Vaporesso’s Xros device series has been very popular with both our customers and staff. Despite having tried out many vape devices in the past, having used both the Vaporesso Xros 3 and Xros 3 Mini devices, they are some of the best pod kits I’ve tried.
In fact, I’ve been so impressed with the Xros 3 Mini I’ve been using it as my main device for months! My standout feature is the excellent flavour it provides - when using it with nicotine salts, I found it tastes just like a disposable device.
Both devices are very easy to use with fixed-coil pods, and automatic power settings. I think this makes them great options for new vapers or those just looking for a no-fuss vape kit. The flavour they provide would also make them a great choice for those looking for an alternative to disposables.
The main differences you’ll find between the two devices are their size (hence ‘Mini’) and the fact that the Xros 3 has a button-activation option, while the Xros 3 Mini has inhale-firing only.
As a moderate to heavy vaper, I was very impressed with both the pod and battery life of these devices. Both have a 1000mAh battery that I found can last me a full day between charges, while a single pod lasts me around a week before needing to be replaced.
As no vape device is perfect, I did find some small downsides with these kits.
Firstly, while I like that both feature adjustable airflow, I found the Xros 3’s was not as precise as that of the Mini’s. No matter how hard I tried I simply couldn't get the same draw. I also found the battery indicator light to be a bit confusing and difficult to read.
Despite these small flaws, all-in-all these are great devices I would definitely recommend to other vapers.
What we like:
- Great flavour
- Easy to use
- Long-lasting battery & pod life
If you like the sound of the Xros 3 and Xros 3 Mini, you may want to consider the Xros 3 Nano.
The Xros 3 Nano has all of the features I love about the Xros 3 Mini - including its ease of use, battery life and great flavour.
However, you will notice it has a different form factor - with a more square shape and with a more ‘modern’ etched design.
From testing this device, the Nano seems to have a higher build quality compared to the others. I also like the inclusion of a lanyard which makes it really convenient for vaping on the go.
Reviewed by: Dawn, ECD Team
The Xlim Pro is the newest, and most powerful, in Oxva’s compact, fixed-coil Xlim device series.
With a single-button design, inhale-firing option and fixed-coil pods it’s suitable for beginners, yet boasts some versatile features that allow users to experiment with their vaping style.
The adjustable airflow slider is a nice bonus feature and, when I used the device with nicotine salts and a fully-opened airflow I found it produced good flavour and a nice, airy inhale.
The device works with both Xlim V2 and V3 (top-fill) pods, with a choice of resistances meaning you can choose a looser MTL inhale or a more restricted RDL style. I was pleased to discover a single V2 pod lasted me 5 days before I needed to replace it.
I also liked that the pods are transparent so you can see the vape juice levels and that the V3 pods can be filled without removing them from the device. However, I did have a slight issue when using a V3 pod when the filling bung fell into the pod after a couple of refills, rendering it unusable.
The Xlim Pro has an impressive number of functions for such a compact MTL device.
The single button can be used for all functions including turning the device on/off, changing the light settings, adjusting the wattage and locking the device.
(I found you can still use inhale firing when the device is locked, which I really liked!)
Personally, I liked the device having so many features. However, it can sometimes be difficult to select the desired feature and keep track of how many times you have clicked the button.
While the Xlim Pro does feature the largest battery of any Xlim device so far, when using the device I did find myself having to recharge it before the end of the day.
While the 1000mAh battery can supposedly last up to 3 days, I think that could only be achieved with low power and less frequent use.
- Easy to use yet multiple functions
- Choice of pod resistances
- Adjustable airflow
- Good flavour
- Battery doesn’t last long with regular use
You look for a vape device that looks good, is easy to use, provides great flavour and has all-day battery life… then two turn up! Vaporesso’s latest Luxe devices are practically identical - with the difference between them being a fixed-coil (Luxe X) and replaceable coil (Luxe XR) design.
Both devices feature a futuristic look with a stylish exposed chipset, and provide long-lasting power with up to a day of battery life between charges.
Easy to use with no settings to worry about, Smart Power Control means the devices automatically select a power output based on the pod or coil being used.
Utilising Vaporesso’s flavour-enhancing COREX coil technology, our testers were very impressed with the flavour these devices produced - especially given their compact size. Plus, up to 40W of power and a range of compatible pod and coil resistances mean it can be used for both MTL and RDL inhale styles.
What we like:
- Futuristic style
- Up to 24hrs battery life
- Easy to use Smart Power Control
- Supports MTL & RDL inhale styles
The Aspire R1 makes a great midway point between disposables and regular reusable devices.
While you usually replace disposables when the battery or e-liquid runs out, the R1’s refillable pod and rechargeable battery mean it lasts significantly longer. You only need to dispose of it when the fixed coil reaches the end of its life. (You’ll notice this when the flavour starts to dull.)
With inhale firing and a buttonless design, the R1 is super easy to use. It’s a particularly good option if you’re a disposable user and want to learn the basics of reusable devices. Plus, the refillable pod means you can choose whatever e-liquid flavour you like!
What we like:
- Easiest upgrade from disposables
- Lasts longer than regular disposables
- Refillable pod - choose your own e-liquid
Reviewed by: Alice, ECD Team
I’m surrounded by vape products on a daily basis (it’s my job after all!) but I’ve particularly had my eye on the Aspire Flexus Q for a while. So I jumped at the chance to try it out for this review.
As soon as I held the device I could tell it was well made and sturdy - it’s comfortable in hand but not too heavy. I even administered my own ‘bounce test’.
My tendency to drop things has cost me a couple of mobile phones and vape devices in the past - so I like to know a device can handle a few knocks. While I wouldn’t recommend internationally dropping your device on the floor - when I tried this with the Flexus Q I was pleased to find no damage was inflicted and the device working fine. Again, maybe don’t try this at home!
The Flexus Q is a replaceable coil device and the kit includes both a 1.0ohm and 0.6ohm coil. The coils are easy to install as you just push them into the base of the pod until you feel a ‘click’. They’re also very easy to remove by just pulling.
The pod itself can last for months if you look after it - which is a big pro if you’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly alternative to disposables. I was also pleased to see the pod features a good-sized filling hole which should accommodate most bottle nozzles.
In terms of the actual inhale, I tried both coils with a VG:PG 50:50 e-liquid and found they both perform very well. Both produced good vapour production but not ‘clouds’ - which is perfect if you want a more stealthy vape style. The 0.6ohm coil definitely packed a bit more of a punch in terms of vapour production and throat hit so is a good option if you prefer that kind of inhale. Apart from a small condensation build up, I experienced no leaking when testing either coil, which is always a big plus!
I found the battery life of this device impressive - especially as someone allowed to vape all day at work! The 700mAh lasted me a full day between charges with the 1.0ohm coil and around three-quarters of a day with the 0.6ohm option.
Recharging is also very quick - the battery was back to full life within around 30mins of charging via my laptop and cable.
I also really like that the device has a passthrough function - meaning you can vape while the device is on charge. The fact the charging port is at the bottom of the device was also convenient as you can vape without the cable getting in the way. A small detail but very handy!
The only small downside I found with this device is the super-sensitive firing button as, until I got used to it, I found myself accidentally firing it with just the tiniest bit of pressure.
Overall, this is a fantastic little device with only the one small drawback. In my opinion, this device would be best suited to a new vaper looking for something reliable and easy to use but it could still be used by a more experienced user wanting something small and discrete.
What we like:
- Impressive battery life & charging
- Great flavour & discreet vapour production
- Sturdy, well-made design
When you switch from smoking to vaping you’ll initially miss both the ease and physical feel of smoking. To combat this, you’ll want a vape device that requires little fuss and is as close to the physical experience of smoking as possible (without the health implications).
The Aspire Vilter has nailed this with its easy-to-use design and artificial paper filter tips. These optional tips provide the familiar in-mouth feel of a traditional cigarette in a vaping device.
As well as these cigarette-style tips, the Filter has many other fuss-free, quick and easy features that make the smoking to vaping switch as simple as possible. These include a buttonless design, fixed-coil pods, inhale draw, automatic output and a restricted cigarette-style draw, making the Vilter a great option for beginners just starting on their vaping journey.
What we like:
- Cigarette-style paper tips
- Easy to use
- Restricted draw
Smok's Novo 4 caters to vapers of all experience levels.
Part of the popular Novo Series, It has all the elements needed for a new vaper’s first kit – simple, single-button design, easy filling pods and push-fit coil installation.
While easy-to-use features are great for beginners, an added bonus of this Novo 4 is other aspects such as adjustable airflow and an OLED screen that allow you to start experimenting as you become more familiar with vaping. This helps you progress, discover your preferences and also means there is less need to buy another device as you become more advanced.
One of the standout features is the Novo 4’s easy-to-control airflow wheel. This allows you to precisely control the airflow and experiment with a more airy or restricted inhale.
There’s also the inclusion of a small OLED screen displaying device information. This enables you to keep tabs on the status of the device and learn more about how it is operating.
What’s to like:
- Airflow control wheel
- OLED screen
- Gives you the chance to experiment
For a similar, more compact version see the Novo 4 Mini.
I couldn’t write a post about the best pod mods without including a Nord - and in fact, there are two in this roundup!
Both the original Smok Nord and the Smok Nord 2 have proved hugely popular. They’ve also proved highly reliable. In fact, the Smok Nord 2 has an average review rating on E-Cigarette Direct of 4.8/5 from over 200 reviews.
Both the devices come with a duck-billed mouthpiece which has proved part of the key to its popularity. The mouthpiece is designed to fit the contours of your lips, making it one of the most comfortable to vape.
The Nord 2 comes with significantly more power than the original Nord. It can provide up to 40 watts, and can also be used with lower resistance coils. This makes it a great choice for vapers looking to experiment with larger clouds of vapour without blocking the sun out!
What we like:
- Duck-billed mouthpiece
- Reliable performer
- Choice of coils
Reviewed by: Corey, ECD Team
I’ve always liked Voopoo’s Drag Series of pod mods and can see why these devices are such a big hit with our customers. So, I was pleased to find the Drag E60 boasts many of the features that have made this range so popular.
Firstly, it has great aesthetics - with the Drag Series’ signature combination of metal and leather making it both look and feel premium.
The Drag E60 is a compact pod mod and, while its 60W output isn’t as powerful as some sub-ohm vapers would like, it’s still a great option for those who want a Direct-Lung inhale, but without having to carry around a bulky mod device.
The device’s flavour and vapour production were both impressive and I like that the compatible PnP coil range has options for both MTL and DL inhale styles. This is very useful as users can switch between the two without using different devices.
Usability-wise, this isn’t an overly complicated device. Although I’m experienced with using vape devices, for less advanced users there is a user-friendly ‘Smart Mode’ that auto-selects the best power output for the coil being used.
Having used a lot of 18650 and 21700 mods, I wasn’t expecting the battery life here to match up to these but was pleasantly surprised to find the fixed 2500mAh battery lasted me around half a day of use between charges. This was especially impressive considering the size of the device. There’s also an optional ‘Eco Mode’ that can be activated to prolong battery life by up to 10% - handy if you’re away from a charging port.
What we like:
- Stylish aesthetics
- Great flavour and vapour
- User-friendly Smart Mode
While the Nord 2 was a step up from the Nord, the Nord 4 is a different beast altogether. The device can output up to 80 watts of power, putting it firmly in the Pod Mod category.
Combine that power with low resistance coils (especially the 0.16Ω RPM2 coil) and you can produce thick, dense clouds of vapour.
The Nord 4 is not just for clouds though. Switch to the 1.2Ω quartz coil and dial down the airflow and wattage to get a restricted vape with more intense flavour.
I also like the airflow adjustment. This is controlled by a wheel-like control, which makes it easy to get better accuracy.
(You may be wondering why there isn’t a Smok Nord 3!? Smok told us that they regard the Smok Nord X as the third in the series, which is why this device is called the Nord 4, despite there being no Nord 3.)
What we like:
- Most powerful Nord device yet
- Choose between MTL or DL vaping
- Great airflow control
The Voopoo Argus Pro pod mod balances both impressive features AND an impressive look.
A combination of leather and metal along with the device’s rounded shape gives this compact pod mod both a stylish aesthetic and comfortable grip.
The Argus Pro uses the Voopoo PnP pod and supports both MTL and DL vaping styles. An innovative infinite airflow design means you can also precisely tailor your airflow to exactly how you like it - very airy, very tight or anywhere in between.
With an adjustable output of up to 80W paired with a 3000mAh battery, the Argus Pro provides long-lasting power and a choice of user modes that cater to different experience levels. Newer vapers or those who want less fuss can choose easy to use Smart Mode, which provides automatic coil recognition and wattage selection. For more experienced users, there’s RBA mode - which gives full control over the power output.
What we like:
- Great aesthetics
- Different modes for different experience levels
- Infinite adjustable airflow
To select the kits here we’ve used a combination of our own ratings, the popularity of the devices, both in terms of sales and ‘on the scene’, as well as taking into account customer feedback. Occasionally we’ll add a just-launched kit to the list – but only if we are seriously impressed in testing.
All the kits here are made to UK standards and are compliant with EU and UK regulations.
As the name suggests, pod systems are e-cigarettes that make use of a “pod” as opposed to a traditional tank or cartridge. They ultimately do the same job: they hold the e-liquid and vaporize it to deliver vapour to you through the mouthpiece.
The pods simply push into place in the top of the device and pull out when you’ve emptied them or want to switch flavours. Closed pod systems typically have a smaller capacity than vape tanks, but amongst other pod systems the size is usually the maximum currently allowed (2ml). Some pod systems also have either auto-inhale options, or offer the choice between auto and button inhale.
A closed system pod device uses pre-filled pods. When you have finished using the pod, you simply dispose of it and replace it with another pod.
These devices are the easiest to use and are ideal for vapers who are visually challenged or who have mobility issues. However, you don’t have as much choice when it comes to flavour.
Open system, fixed coil
Open system pod devices with fixed coils allow you to fill the pod with e-liquid. You can use your favourite e-liquid, but be aware that the e-liquid you use needs to match the coil. If you use a high VG e-liquid with a high resistance coil, the coil will quickly burn out.
When the coil comes to the end of its life, you need to replace it. However, most fixed coil pods use low power and high resistance coils. This means they often last 2-4 weeks before needing replacing.
These devices are often easy to use and make a great first device. They are perfect/ideal for people who are nervous about the technicalities of vaping. They are also suitable for people who have some mobility issues but are confident they can fill a device with e-liquid.
When choosing between fixed and replaceable coils, it’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of thought and effort has gone into improving coil swapping. Many systems now boast fast coil swaps, which involve simply pulling out the old coil and pushing in a new coil.
Open system, replaceable coils
If you purchase an open system with a replaceable coil, you can both change the coil and fill it with e-liquid.
Many pod systems are compatible with different coils. By choosing a different coil, you can vary the style of your vape. For example, a low-resistance mesh coil will provide more vapour, while a high-resistance coil will provide a tighter vape. These devices are great for people who want to experiment with different coils. They also minimise plastic waste, as you can reuse the pods.
Pod Mods are a cross between mods and pod devices. They are usually simpler to use than a mod and have a lower power rating. At the same time, they are generally larger and more powerful than a standard pod system. They may also have more functionality than a pod device.
Many pod mods allow you to vape in different styles. For example, you can switch between a tight, restricted vape and a loose, airy vape with a lot more vapour than other pod systems can provide.
Pod Mods are a great option for vapers who want to experiment with larger clouds of vapour but are not yet ready for an uber-powerful, advanced mod device.
See our pod mod roundup for more info on pod systems, as well as our current favourites.
So why might you want to try a pod system e-cigarette? What are the benefits of pod systems in comparison to traditional vaping devices?
- Compact. Pod systems are much more compact than most modern vaping devices, which make them a great choice if you’re going to be vaping out of the house a lot. There is some variation in the size of pod systems, but even the bigger ones are more compact than most mods on the market. The pen-like ones are closer in size to a cigalike.
- Easy to use. The “pod” design makes pod system e-cigarettes really easy to use. The pods simply pop in and out of the battery section. Some of them work just like a cigarette – all you need to do is inhale to vape. The most complicated thing you’ll have to do on some devices is refill the pod, but this is really easy too. Even pod mods are generally easier to use than mod devices.
- Affordable. The cost of pod system e-cigarettes does vary, but on the whole, they’re pretty affordable. They’re cheaper than most of the mods on the market, although in many cases are a similar price to vape pens.
- Satisfying. Despite their size being more in line with cigalikes, pod systems are generally much more satisfying to vape. This is especially true if you’re using higher-strength e-liquids or very high-strength nicotine salt options. With a high-strength e-liquid, you’ll find them as satisfying as most mods
- Discreet. Clouds aren’t for everybody and they aren’t for every situation. Sometimes you want something more discreet to vape, and smaller pod systems are perfect for this. Even if you use mods at home, getting a pod system for vaping out of the house has definite benefits.
When we first wrote about the downsides of pod systems, there were quite a few in this list.
A combination of advances in technology and the introduction of pod mods have made this list shorter. As long as you choose the pod device which meets your needs, there’s really not that many drawbacks.
- Closed systems offer limited flavour options. If you’re using a closed pod system device, you’re stuck with the flavours on offer from the manufacturer. This isn’t always a big issue, especially when high-quality e-liquids – like those from Element – are included as standard, but with some devices, it can be quite limiting.
- Less control than a mod system. There’s always a trade-off, and the simplicity of pod systems means you don’t have as much control over your vape as with a mod. That said, the advanced features of a mod system (such as customised ramp up speeds) are only used by a minority of users.
- Less battery capacity. Pod system’s smaller size means they usually have less battery capacity. There are two things to remember here. Battery capacity doesn’t automatically translate into battery life. If the device uses less power, it doesn’t need as much battery capacity. Also, some pod mods now have an excellent battery capacity, although this is not usually as big as the best mod devices.
While we’d love to provide a definitive ‘best’ pick here, it’s important to remember that different devices suit different people. For example, someone who loves blowing clouds of vapour might not like a Mouth-to-Lung pod device other vapers love.
The devices listed here each have their own special features, and what suits another vaper might not suit you.
Ultimately, it all comes down to what fulfils your personal needs - whether that’s battery life, flavour, size or ease of use, it’s best to look for a device based on the features you deem most important.
That said, you will find some of our favourite devices listed below in the FAQs.
What’s the best overall vape pod?
Based on customer feedback, in-house testing and return rates, our favourite vape pod device at present is the Vaporesso Xros 3 Mini. This is one of the most reliable current devices available, delivers great flavour and gets the airflow spot on for a superb vape. It’s also the device most used by E-Cigarette Direct staff!
What is the best closed-pod vape device?
There are plenty of great closed (prefilled) pod devices out there that make a good alternative to disposable vapes. However, based on our testing and customer feedback, we’d recommend the Hexa Pro due to its ease of use, great flavour and smooth inhale.
What is the best pod device that uses a replaceable battery?
While the pod mods featured on this list all use fixed batteries, for those looking for a pod device with replaceable batteries, the Smok RPM 5 Pro is a great option. Using a single 18650 battery, this stylish pod mod outputs up to 80W and is a good choice for those looking for a compact DL device.
What is the difference between a regular pod device and a pod mod?
While they can still be classified as pod devices, ‘pod mods’ tend to have more power and functionality than regular pod devices.
Pod mod devices such as those from the Voopoo Drag Series usually feature a choice of modes and sometimes have an external battery design as opposed to the fixed batteries found in more standard pod devices.
What features should a new vaper look for in a pod device?
For new vapers, ease of use is key. So, when looking for a pod device, users should look for features such as fixed-coil pods, automatic power settings and inhale firing.
What is the difference between a ‘closed’ and ‘open’ pod device?
Closed pod devices are prefilled with a singular vape juice and cannot be refilled, while open pods can be filled and refilled with a vape juice of your choice.
How do I know when to replace my fixed-coil pod?
If your pod is pre-filled, you’ll usually just need to replace it when the e-liquid inside runs out.
For refillable fixed-coil pods, they will need to be replaced when the coil inside reaches the end of its life. You’ll notice this when the pod stops producing vapour or when the flavour starts to dull.