Even if you’ve never vaped before, there’s a good chance that you’re at least a little familiar with pod vaping systems. The famous JUUL, after all, is the most popular mainstream vaping device in America – and it’s a pod system. The JUUL, however, has been around since 2015 without any major revisions. It’s outdated by most modern standards, and almost anyone would find its selection of just eight flavors limiting after a while. While the JUUL may be out of date, though, pod vaping technology is here to stay – and we’re going to tell you how to buy the best pod mod for your needs.
Table of Contents
- Quick Look: The Top 5 Pod Vaping Systems in 2019
- What Are Pod Vaping Systems?
- Are Pod Vaping Systems Good for Beginners?
- What’s All the Fuss About Nicotine Salts?
- How to Buy the Best Pod Vaping System
- How to Have a Great Experience With a Pod Vaping System
- Fixing Common Problems With Pod Vaping Systems
Quick Look: The Top 5 Pod Vaping Systems in 2019 (under $30)
Voopoo Drag Nano
The Voopoo Drag Nano is proof of what’s possible when a manufacturer treats its smallest vaping devices with the same respect as its most advanced box mods. Like Voopoo’s other mods, the Drag Nano features its own miniaturized version of the famous Gene chipset. With the Gene chip comes Voopoo’s Cold Boot feature, which gets the coil up to vaping temperature instantly even if it’s completely cold. The Voopoo Drag Nano doesn’t just offer great performance; it also looks like a work of art.
The SMOK Nord straddles the line between simple pod systems and advanced mods by offering the features of both. The Nord has the tiny size and simple design that you’d expect with a pod system, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike most pod systems, the Nord has a manual fire button rather than an automatic puff sensor. The fire button allows the Nord to produce huge vapor clouds, and SMOK has taken advantage of that by outfitting the device with several different atomizer coils including a powerful 0.6-ohm mesh coil. Do you prefer mouth-to-lung inhaling? No problem; the Nord’s 1.4-ohm mouth-to-lung coil features a ceramic wick for top-quality flavor and superb heat resistance.
The Suorin Drop is the granddaddy of the refillable pod systems, and it’s still one of the best on the market. The iconic teardrop shape instantly made the Drop a hit among lovers of small vaping devices, as did the wide array of available colors. Suorin makes nothing but pod vaping systems, and it’s safe to say that they are masters of their craft.
With their Crown series of sub-ohm tanks, Uwell has become legendary as a vaping manufacturer that provides incredible flavor above all else. If that statement appeals to you, you need to try the Uwell Caliburn. Although it may be a small and inexpensive pod vaping system, it’s made with the same flavor-first philosophy as Uwell’s other great products. Another fun feature of the Caliburn is that you can use it the way you want. It has an automatic draw-based firing mechanism, or you can use the manual fire button for even bigger vapor clouds.
One of the things that makes pod vaping systems so enjoyable is how incredibly small they are. It’s fun to be able to wrap your entire hand around a vaping device that’s powerful enough to fill a room with clouds. Even among pod mods, though, the Justfog Minifit is impressively tiny – it’s even smaller than its charging cable. The Minifit is regulated to operate at a constant voltage, so its vapor production doesn’t decrease as the battery is depleted.
What Are Pod Vaping Systems?
The pod vaping system is the type of vaping device that has replaced the tiny cigarette-shaped “cigalikes” that were popular when the vaping industry first began. Instead of storing its e-liquid in a twist-on cartridge like the cigalikes of old, a pod vaping system uses a hollow plastic pod with a built-in heating coil. Virtually everyone is aware of vaping these days; vaping devices no longer need to look like cigarettes to attract attention. Freed from that constriction, pod systems can offer infinitely better performance than cigalikes while being only slightly larger. Despite their tiny size, pod systems have impressive battery life and vapor production.
Are Pod Vaping Systems Good for Beginners?
Pod systems are the ideal vaping devices for beginners because they’re small and easy to use while still delivering the level of satisfaction that you require to make the transition from smoking to vaping possible. In fact, if you tried a cigalike back in the early days of vaping and didn’t find it satisfying enough to facilitate the switch to vaping, you really need to try a pod system. The cigalike is an important part of the history of vaping, but cigalikes didn’t work for everyone because they didn’t deliver nicotine efficiently. They didn’t generate enough vapor, and their e-liquid didn’t contain enough nicotine. You already know that pod systems excel in vapor production. Now it’s time to learn about the new type of e-liquid that has helped to make pod mods so popular.
What’s All the Fuss About Nicotine Salts?
Nicotine salt e-liquid has become one of the hottest products in vaping because it solves the problem of low satisfaction that has plagued the smallest vaping devices since the beginning of the industry. It’s long been known that for a small vaping device to produce around the same blood-nicotine level as a cigarette, the device should have an e-liquid with a nicotine strength of about 50 mg. With traditional vape juice, though, an e-liquid with that nicotine strength would be impossible to inhale; it would simply be too harsh.
Nicotine salt e-liquid has solved the problem of inadequate nicotine delivery. Using the salt form of nicotine rather than the more common freebase form, nicotine salt e-liquid has a more neutral pH and is very smooth to inhale even at high nicotine strengths. If you buy a refillable pod system, you can fill it with whatever type of e-liquid you like; there’s no need to use nicotine salt e-liquid. We strongly recommend it, though, if you’re new to vaping.
How to Buy the Best Pod Vaping System
If you’ve browsed our store, you already know that we have a pretty massive selection of pod vaping systems. No two are exactly the same, and each one serves a slightly different type of vaper. Although the five systems mentioned at the beginning of this pod vaping system buying guide are our favorites, your needs may not be the same. These tips will help you buy the best pod system to fit your vaping preferences.
Pre-Filled vs. Refillable Pods
If you’re aware of pod systems such as the JUUL, you know that the JUUL uses pre-filled pods, as do the many pod systems that attempt to clone it. Pre-filled pods have just one benefit: they’re convenient. It’s nice to be able to pop in a pre-filled pod and vape away without ever having to worry about refilling the pod or performing other maintenance. In every other way, though, pre-filled pods are inferior to refillable pods.
We strongly suggest buying a refillable pod system. Here’s why.
The first problem with pre-filled pods is that they’re very expensive compared to buying e-liquid by the bottle. A typical pack of pre-filled pods for a device like the JUUL costs around $16.00 for less than 4 ml of e-liquid. A typical bottle of nicotine salt e-liquid, on the other hand, costs as little as $16.99 for 30 ml of e-liquid. When you fill your own pods, the cost savings are enormous.
The second problem with pre-filled pods is that no manufacturer offers more than about eight different flavors. No matter how great those flavors are, you’re going to get tired of them eventually. When you buy bottled e-liquid, on the other hand, you have access to hundreds of different flavors rather than just a handful.
Manual vs. Draw-Activated Firing
Pod systems can generate vapor in two ways – either manually, when you press a button, or by detecting the change in air pressure when you inhale. Some people prefer draw-activated systems because using a device with a puff sensor feels a bit more like smoking than using a device with a manual fire button.
If you prefer using a device with a draw-activated firing mechanism, it’s important to choose one with a quick-firing chipset and good airflow characteristics. We recommend some of those devices at the top of this article. Otherwise, you’ll get the biggest vapor clouds out of a device with a manual fire button because you can press the button before you begin inhaling.
Portability vs. Battery Life
Although pod vaping systems are always small, some are a bit more pocketable than others. The typical battery capacity of a pod system ranges from about 300 mAh to as much as 1,000 mAh. If you want a vaping device that’ll fit comfortably in your pocket even when you’re wearing your slim jeans, you’ll probably want to choose a pod mod that’s closer to the 300 mAh range. You should assume, though, that you’ll need to recharge a device with that battery capacity around three times as often as a device with a capacity of 1,000 mAh.
How to Have a Great Experience With a Pod Vaping System
Whether you’re new to vaping or are shopping for a pod system because you’d like something smaller than the vaping device you’re currently using, there are two important points to remember if you want to have the best possible experience with your pod mod.
Choose the Right Nicotine Strength
Although it isn’t absolutely necessary, we strongly recommend using nicotine salt e-liquid with your pod vaping system because that’s the type of e-liquid that provides the highest level of satisfaction with a low-output vaping device. Within the realm of nicotine salt e-liquid, there are two general ranges of nicotine strengths: low-strength e-liquid with a nicotine concentration of about 20-25 mg and high-strength e-liquid with a concentration of about 40-50 mg.
- If you currently smoke cigarettes and want to vape in a way that makes the transition from smoking to vaping as easy as possible, we suggest using a pod vaping system with a higher-nicotine e-liquid.
- If you already vape – and no longer smoke – and are considering switching from your current vaping device to a pod vaping system, your body has already adjusted to a lower nicotine intake. In your case, we suggest using a pod vaping system with a lower-nicotine e-liquid.
Inhale Slowly and Gently
Vaping and smoking feel similar to your body, but they differ drastically in terms of how the smoke or vapor is created. When you smoke a cigarette, the amount of air pressure that you use when puffing controls how quickly the cigarette burns. If you puff more firmly, you get more smoke. That’s not true of any vaping device. When you vape, the heat of the atomizer coil controls the vapor production. You can’t change that unless you can control your device’s wattage. Otherwise, the way to get the biggest, most satisfying clouds with the device you have is by puffing with gentle, even air pressure. If your pod system starts gurgling – or you get e-liquid in your mouth – you’re probably puffing too firmly.
Fixing Common Problems With Pod Vaping Systems
Pod Device Is Gurgling or Spitting
As mentioned above, the most common reason why a pod vaping system would gurgle or spit is because you’re puffing too firmly and causing the atomizer coil to flood. When the pod is empty, blow firmly through the pod’s mouthpiece while holding a paper towel over the pod’s airflow vents. That will clear the excess e-liquid out of the pod’s chimney and coil assembly.
Pod Device Produces a Burned Flavor
If your pod vaping device tastes burned, there are three likely causes.
- Your pod is empty. Don’t wait until your pod is completely empty before refilling it. The e-liquid should completely cover any exposed cotton areas on the sides of the atomizer coil. If you continue using your pod when it is empty, you may burn the cotton wick. If that happens, you’ll need to replace the pod to restore the original flavor of your device.
- Your e-liquid is too thick. Nicotine salt e-liquids are specifically formulated for use with pod vaping systems that have small wick openings. If you aren’t using a nicotine salt e-liquid, though, you should avoid using “high VG” or “max VG” e-liquids with most pod systems. Vegetable glycerin is thick, and a high-VG e-liquid may have difficulty flowing through the small wick openings in your pod.
- It’s time to replace your pod. Every atomizer coil has a finite life. Sweeteners – and many types of flavoring compounds – will leave residue on your atomizer coil as you vape. Eventually, the layer of residue thickens and begins to burn. If you taste a flavor similar to burned sugar when you vape, coil residue is the culprit. To maximize the life of your pods, avoid sweetened e-liquids whenever possible.
Pod Device Isn’t Producing Vapor
If your pod vaping device has a manual fire button, it most likely also has a locking function for safety. Try pressing the fire button five times quickly to unlock the device. If the device still isn’t working, make sure that the battery is charged. Try removing and reseating the pod. With the pod removed from the device, clean the connections of any e-liquid and debris. Try replacing the pod. If the device still isn’t working, it may be necessary to replace the device. We offer a 30-day warranty on vaping systems. If you’re within the warranty period, contact us for help.
Pod Device Isn’t Charging
We recommend charging your pod vaping device only through a computer’s USB port – or a wall adapter matching the manufacturer’s specifications – with the included charging cable. Do not use the charger for a mobile phone or tablet. The wall charger for a mobile device may use a higher charging current that your vaping device cannot handle. If your device still isn’t charging, contact us for troubleshooting assistance.