When disposables first came on the scene in 2021, they took the vaping world by storm. Yet, with the growing demand for prefilled vape pods, could disposables be nudged off the top spot? Let's get these two types of vapes into the ring and settle this once and for all. Who will win the Battle of the Vapes – reigning champions, disposables, or their increasingly popular rivals, prefilled pods? Read on to find out.
Pros and Cons of Each at a Glance:
Disposable vapes and prefilled vape pod kits may often look similar. In fact, the e-liquid in disposables and pods can also taste very similar, but they actually have fundamental differences. Both sets of products have their pros and cons, so it's important to consider all of these before choosing the right one for your personal vaping needs.
The key benefits of a single-use disposable vape are:
- Incredibly simple to use
- Available at a wide range of retailers
- Ready to use straight out the box
- They're expensive in the long term
- You can't swap out the flavours
- They aren't rechargeable
The key benefits of prefilled pod systems are:
- More sustainable than disposable vapes
- More cost-effective than disposable vapes
- Can switch between flavours quickly
- All this and are still portable
- There's a small amount of assembly required
- You may need to spend a little more initially
- You have to remember to recharge the battery
What is a Disposable Vape?
First up, protecting its title, is the disposable. A disposable vape is a device which consists of a battery, an atomizer head and e-liquid. The e-liquid within a disposable vape is usually a nic salts formulation or a nic salts blend. All of these components are housed in an outer casing to create a single use vape, which is disposed of once the battery runs out. Disposable vapes come in different shapes, sizes, and flavours, and are manufactured by various brands. Leading disposable vape brands include Elf Bar, Lost Mary and SKE Crystal.
Disposable vapes are permitted a limit of 2ml e-liquid and a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg/ml (2%) as per the Government's e-cigarette regulations.
What is a Prefilled Pod System?
Next, staking it's claim to the vaping throne, is the prefilled pod. A prefilled pod system consists of a rechargeable battery and a separate pod cartridge which is prefilled with e-liquid. The e-liquid within a vape pod is usually a nic salts formulation or a nic salts blend. Slot the prefilled pod into the battery and vape until all the e-liquid runs out. Once this happens, simply dispose of the pod and put a fresh one into the battery. Unlike disposable vapes, the battery of a prefilled vape pod is rechargeable meaning it is kept and not disposed of.
Prefilled pod vapes come in various shapes, sizes and specifications. Many prefilled pod kits look very similar to their disposable vape counterpart. For example, The Elfa Pro battery and pod have a very similar size and stature to the Elf Bar disposable vape. Prefilled vape pod brands include Elfa Pro, Lost Mary Tappo and the VLTZ flex.
The same regulations apply to prefilled pod systems as with disposable vapes. Prefilled vape pods must have a maximum e-liquid capacity of 2ml and a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg/ml (2%).
Are Prefilled Pod Vapes Better Value than Disposable Vapes?
Prefilled vape pods are considerably more cost-effective than disposable vapes. Leading disposable vapes usually cost between £4.99 and £5.99 and contain 2ml of e-liquid. A prefilled vape pod starter kit will cost between £5 – £10 and usually contains a battery and one x 2ml pod (some include 2 pods). Once you have your prefilled vape pod battery, all you need to replenish is the prefilled pods. A 2-pack of prefilled 2ml vape pods usually ranges from £4.99 – £6.99.
Generally speaking, two prefilled pods usually cost around the same as one disposable vape. This means you are ultimately getting twice as much e-liquid, and therefore twice as much vaping time for the same cost. To round things up, using prefilled vape pods will cost half as much as using disposable vapes.
Are Prefilled Vape Pods Better for the Environment Than Disposables?
Prefilled vape pods are much more environmentally friendly than disposable vapes. Both disposables and prefilled vape pod kits contain a lithium-ion battery. Batteries can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly. In addition, lithium-ion batteries contain valuable materials which can be reused. So it's sensible, and better for the environment, to recycle your vape once finished. However, as traditional disposables are single-use, you'll use many more batteries than you could use with a rechargeable device.
The battery of a prefilled vape pod kit is rechargeable, so can be reused over and over again. This is in contrast to throwing away a battery for every 2ml of e-liquid with a single-use disposable. If you're looking for a device which is more environmentally friendly then switch your disposable for a prefilled vape pod.
If you'd prefer to stick with disposable vapes then you can reduce the environmental impact of these products by recycling them responsibly at your local Totally Wicked store.
Do Prefilled Vape Pods Taste Better Than Disposables?
In terms of flavour, prefilled vape pods and disposable vapes provide a very similar experience. The e-liquid within the pods is often the same formulation as the e-liquid within the respective disposable vape counterpart.
With that being said, the type of battery and atomizer coil material can have a bearing on the flavour experience. Rechargeable batteries can operate using a different output mode to a disposable battery. If a rechargeable battery uses direct output, this means the power decreases as the battery charge runs down. This lower power can result in a slightly weaker flavour as the battery depletes.
Generally speaking, the flavour profiles between prefilled pods and disposables are comparable. However, some prefilled pods' flavour consistency may drop off as the battery charge depletes.
Are Prefilled Pods as Easy to Use as Disposables?
Disposable vapes are the easiest type of vape to use. Theres no need to recharge, no need to refill and they can be used straight of the box. There are also no buttons to press, as the vast majority of disposable vapes are draw-activated. This convenience of use has made disposable vapes incredibly popular.
That being said, there's not much effort involved in prepping a prefilled pod vape kit. They are usually draw-activated, there is no need to refill, and there are no atomizers to change. The pods simply slot into the battery and they're good to go. There may just be a sticker to remove or a priming mechanism to activate before you insert a new pod.
The main added level of complexity associated with prefilled pod systems, when compared with disposables. is the recharging of the battery. However, this should only need doing once a day at most.
Prefilled vape pods are designed for ultimate simplicity from a rechargeable device. While they may not be quite as easy to use as disposable vapes, they are the next best thing in terms of simplicity.
Are There More Flavours Available in Prefilled Pods or Disposables?
As anyone who has vaped disposables will know, there are plenty of vape flavours available, with more being added on a regular basis. Can the same be said of prefilled pods?
If we take the Elf Bar V2 disposable and the Elfa Pro prefilled pod as an example to compare, there are 28 disposable flavours and 24 prefilled pod flavours. If you're looking for flavour variety, your needs will be met with both prefilled vape pods and disposable vapes.
Which are Easier to Find, Disposable Vapes or Prefilled Pods?
The type of vape you go for might depend on how easy it is for you to buy them. For example, if they only stock disposables at your local garage then this may steer you away from switching to prefilled vape pods. Before discussing the availability of each of the products, it's important to note that all vaping products are restricted to over 18s only. All Totally Wicked stores impose a strict Challenge 25 policy.
Disposable vapes are now more accessible to over 18s than ever before. Vape shops, convenience stores, supermarkets and forecourt garages usually have a significant choice of disposable vapes from various brands.
Prefilled vape pods have grown in popularity in recent months, however the demand for these products is not yet as strong as disposables. Despite this, many retailers including Euro Garages and Asda stock a significant range of prefilled pod systems, making them much more convenient to purchase than previously.
While both prefilled pods and disposable vapes are both readily available at many retailers, disposable vapes easily take the edge on this one. However, prefilled pods are likely to become far more widely available in the near future.
Disposable Vapes Versus Prefilled Vape Pods - Final Verdict
It's quite evident that both disposable vapes and prefilled pod vapes have their plus points. The important thing to do, is to assess which one is right for you. If you're looking to save a bit of cash, then go for a prefilled vape pod. The same goes if you are concerned about the potential environmental impact of single use vapes. Prefilled vape pods can definitely help reduce waste.
However, if you don't want the hassle of having to recharge your vape then go for a disposable vape. Likewise, if you value the convenience of being able to pick up a vape in your local store and being able to use it as it is out the box, then a disposable may be best for you. Whatever type of vape keeps you away from traditional cigarettes is the best type of vape for you.
If it's variety of flavours, or flavour performance which are your key preferences then there is not much to separate the two product types. Therefore, if you are currently a disposable vaper and can't make your mind up on whether to switch to a prefilled vape pod, it would make sense to just give it a try. You can pick up a VLTZ flex with a pod for just £6.99 from Totally Wicked. If it's not for you, it's easy to go back to disposables, but remember to return your used units so they can be recycled responsibly!
Although this was a tussle between disposables and prefilled pods, we can't ignore the fact that long-lasting rechargeable vape kits should be on your radar. These kits are by far the least wasteful and money-saving type of vaping devices. Just something to keep in mind if you're thinking about levelling up in your vaping experience.