There’s no point in whispering it quietly. Vaping has an image problem.
To be fair, it always has had an image problem. The government, backed by multiple reviews of the evidence, may say that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, but most people follow scare stories in the press rather than advice from the UK Health Security Agency.
Still, that image problem has become worse over the last two years, and that’s almost entirely down to disposable vape devices.
The problems with them are well known now. As we’ve highlighted in the past, disposable devices create huge amounts of waste. What’s more, they are often blamed for making vaping more attractive to children.
That’s not to say they haven’t played a positive role too. They have helped many tens of thousands of smokers take their last puff on a tobacco cigarette, and their first puff on a vape.
However, with increasing calls for bans on disposable devices, their time could be limited.
Enter prefilled pod vapes
Up until a few months ago, I was often astonished by the number of people in my local pub who used disposable devices.
However, more recently, I’ve noticed fewer and fewer people using them.
Instead, almost everyone seems to be using pod vapes - specifically prefilled pod kits.
That could have been the influence of having several people from the vape industry drinking there, and lecturing people on the benefits of reusable devices, but we’re also seeing an increase in the sales of prefilled pods both on our website and in some of our shops.
Why you should switch to prefilled pod devices
If you’re a disposable vape user it really is a no brainer to use prefilled pod devices. Here’s why:
1. They’re cheaper
Disposable devices are a very expensive way to vape. When you buy one, you’re paying for a lithium-ion battery every time. That means the average disposable device costs around £5 (although I have seen them a lot higher than that). In turn, that means you end up forking out £2.50 per ml of e-liquid - which is huge.
The cheapest way to vape is still to use a refillable device with e-liquid, but prefilled pods are still a lot cheaper than disposable devices. SKE Crystal Plus pods are £5 for two at E-Cigarette Direct, which makes each individual pod far cheaper than a disposable device.
|Device type||Average cost per month||Average cost per year|
|Prefilled pod devices||£77.34||£914.98|
|Refillable pod device||£66.89||£652.18|
2. They involve less waste
I’ve already mentioned that each time you are buying a disposable device you are also buying a lithium-ion battery. These batteries have the potential to be used hundreds of times but are instead discarded after a day.
Disposable devices can be recycled, but it’s trickier and more expensive to do than regular batteries, as they are usually incorporated into a single device. (Attempts have been made to create disposable devices which use cardboard, but these haven’t taken off.)
In contrast, when you use prefilled pods, you buy a single device (such as the Elf Bar Elfa or Elfa pro) which you can use for months. Instead of throwing away a lithium battery every day, you’d only throw one away a couple of times a year.
As you can see from the infographic below, a refillable pod device or tank remains the best option for minimising waste - but if you want an easier option, prefilled pods are a vast improvement over disposables.
3. They’re still incredibly easy to use
There’s little doubt that the ease and accessibility of disposable devices have contributed to their success.
But really, there’s nothing to using a prefilled device. You simply remove it from the packaging, and insert the pod into the device. Most pod devices come with a magnetic connection which makes the process even easier.
Which prefilled pod should you use?
If you’re a disposable user, I suggest the first thing you should do is to see if there is a flavour and pod that matches your favourite disposable.
If you can’t find a matching prefilled pod, try to choose a matching flavour from a prefilled range. Both the Elfa and Crystal Plus have good flavours and draw, but if you prefer a tighter draw and a less sweet vape, try the Hexa V2 pods.
In many ways, disposable vapes have served their purpose.
Having an easy-to-use vape device has been incredibly important, both in helping people to switch to vaping and acting as an alternative to lethal cigarettes.
The range of prefilled pods available is still limited compared to disposable devices, but I expect this to change rapidly over the coming years, and we can expect a wider range of choice going forward.
One thing that will slow down the increase is the fact that many people buy disposables from supermarkets and corner stores, where they won’t get the same expert advice as in dedicated retail stores.
However, as slowly vapers cotton on to the cost savings of prefilled pods, I think we’ll see a big increase in their popularity. And if disposable vapes are banned, we have an alternative waiting to take their place.
How long do prefilled pods last compared to disposables?
A prefilled pod lasts as long or a little longer than a disposable vape. While they contain the same amount of e-liquid, sometimes a disposable vape battery will run out before the vape juice is finished. Using a refillable pod device with a rechargeable battery ensures that no juice is wasted.
Do prefilled pods have less e-liquid than disposables?
Most prefilled pods contain 2ml of e-liquid, which is the same as a disposable, and the maximum allowed under UK vape regulations.
Are prefilled pods available in the same flavours as disposable vapes?
Yes, many manufacturers have directly recreated the flavours from their disposable ranges in their prefilled pod selections. Popular flavours recreated in pods include:
- Elfa Pods - Elfbull
- Elfa Pods - Watermelon
- SKE Crystal Plus Pods - Lemon and Lime
- SKE Crystal Plus pods - Rainbow
Is the nicotine strength the same in prefilled pods?
Most pods come with 20mg (2%) nicotine, which is the most popular strength available in disposable vapes.
Are prefilled pods as convenient to use and throw away as disposables?
Almost - attaching a pod takes seconds. What’s more, as they are cheaper you can buy more pods in one go, which means less shopping time.
Can I refill/reuse prefilled pods or are they single use?
No. While the battery used with prefilled pods is reusable, the pods aren’t. If you would prefer to fill the pods, you should use a refillable pod device.
How often do I need to replace the battery/device when using prefilled pods?
Most pod systems will need changing roughly every 6 months, although this can vary.