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Pre-Filled vs. Refillable Pod Systems: The Pros and Cons

When you shop at a pod vaping superstore like Premium Vape, you’re going to find a wide selection of both pre-filled and refillable devices. Both types of pod systems have their own sets of pros and cons, and if you’re not already a long-term vaper, your decision might be more difficult because you haven’t learned those pros and cons from experience. So, what’s the best pod system for the money – and more importantly, what’s the best type of pod system for new vapers? In this article, I’ll shed some light on the differences between pre-filled and refillable pod systems.

Pre Filled vs Refillable Pod Systems

Pre-Filled Pod Systems Are the Easiest Way to Vape

I’ve often said that the best way to make the switch to vaping is definitely by keeping things as simple as possible. One of the reasons why it is so easy to become addicted to cigarettes is because cigarettes are so easy to use; you can light up and start puffing without even thinking about it. If you want to switch to vaping and stick with it, your vaping solution should be just as easy to use as cigarettes are. That’s what you get with a pre-filled pod system. With pre-filled pods, there’s nothing to do but charge your battery once or twice a day and swap your pods as they run out of e-liquid. Since a pre-filled pod system doesn’t even require a lighter, I’d argue that it’s even easier than smoking.

Refillable pod systems definitely aren’t difficult to use, but there’s a bit more that goes into vaping when you use this type of device. First, there’s the actual act of filling the pods. Many refillable pods have very small openings, making them difficult to fill with certain types of e-liquid bottles. If you’re going to use a refillable pod system, it might be helpful to buy a squeeze bottle with a needle tip to make filling easier. The second additional inconvenience with refillable pod systems is that you’ll need to replace your pods periodically, and knowing when to replace your pods is part of the challenge. If you use sweetened e-liquids, you’ll have to replace your pods more frequently than average due to coil gunk. Those challenges don’t exist with pre-filled pod systems because each pod is designed for only a single use.

Refillable Pod Systems Have Lower Long-Term Costs

As easy as pre-filled pod systems are for new vapers to use, they also have one major drawback in that pre-filled pods are very expensive compared to bottled e-liquid. You can buy a bottle of nicotine salt e-liquid for around the same price as a pack of JUUL pods, and a bottle of e-liquid contains enough vape juice to fill a JUUL pod more than 30 times. A pack of JUUL pods, on the other hand, will last a typical former smoker around four days at the most. You will have to buy empty pods periodically when you use a refillable pod system, but pods are typically inexpensive and can last for many refills as long as you avoid using sweetened e-liquid.

Unless you live in an area with very low cigarette prices, even a relatively expensive pod vaping system like the JUUL will still cost less than smoking. You’ll spend even less, though, if you use a refillable pod system. One thing to keep in mind about the JUUL in particular, however, is that because it is so popular, an entire ecosystem of third-party accessories has sprung up around it. You can actually find refillable JUUL pods that allow you to convert your JUUL from a pre-filled system to a refillable system, so you can switch to a refillable vaping solution later if you like without buying an entirely new device.

Refillable Pod Systems Allow for Greater Flavor Variety

Aside from the relatively high cost, the next biggest drawback of pre-filled pod systems is that no pre-filled system has more than a few flavors available for it. That’s especially true if you live in the United States and are a JUUL owner, as JUUL recently discontinued all but three of their flavors in the U.S. Third-party JUUL pods are available, of course, but even taking those products into account, you still don’t get the variety of flavors with a pre-filled pod system that you get with a refillable system. With a refillable pod system, on the other hand, you have access to every e-liquid flavor on the market. While not every e-liquid will give you a great experience with a pod system, you’ll still enjoy dramatically more variety than you do with pre-filled pods.

If you do use a refillable pod system, one thing to keep in mind is that some e-liquids work better with pod systems than others. Most people, for instance, use their pod systems with nicotine salt e-liquids. It’s not a requirement, but you might have trouble getting enough nicotine to feel satisfied if you use a lower-nicotine e-liquid because pod systems produce relatively small vapor clouds compared to other types of vaping devices. In the United States, the most popular nicotine strengths used with pod systems are 25 mg and higher. In the United Kingdom and Europe, however, the Tobacco Products Directive limits the strength of any e-liquid containing nicotine to 20 mg.

The second thing that you’ll need to remain mindful of if you use a refillable pod system is the fact that the atomizer coils in pod systems have very small wick openings. For that reason, they work best with thinner e-liquids. If you buy a nicotine salt e-liquid, you won’t have to worry about compatibility as e-liquid makers assume that people will use nicotine salt e-liquids with pod systems. If you want to use standard e-liquid, though, you should always check a product’s VG/PG ratio before buying it. High-VG e-liquids will not work well with pod systems because they are too thick to flow efficiently through the small wick openings. Choose an e-liquid containing 50 percent VG or less for the best possible experience.

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