What is a Vape Pod? A Complete Guide to Vaporizer Pod Systems
One of the most electrifying and magnificent characteristics of the electronic cigarette/vaping industry is its unparalleled innovative spirit. A far stretch from the primitive Joyetech eGo-T systems that were once considered the crème de la crème of vaporizers, the groundbreaking products now available to the vaping community provide for an experience that is leaps and bounds ahead of what was accessible just a few short years ago. Although the unprecedented advancement the industry has enjoyed in a relatively short time span has been extremely beneficial, it has concurrently made understanding the plethora of devices available that much more difficult and confusing.
Paradoxically, the latest trend in the vaporizer arena has been a retraction from progressive technology in favor of more simplistic and convenient formats. Pod system setups have gained tremendous traction over the past year, with new devices being released on a seemingly daily basis. Ironically, these easy-to-use, basic, and straightforward vaporizers have the been the source of mass confusion as to what they are, how they operate, and what they are designed to achieve. This article will attempt to clear up this puzzlement and clarify the various terms, classes, and types of pod system vaporizers.
What is a Vape Pod System?
A vape pod system, or “pod mod” system, is one that uses a detachable pod, which houses the e-juice and in some cases the atomizer coil, as will be addressed later in this article. Whereas a standard vaporizer consists of a battery unit (mod) and a tank, a pod system substitutes the tank with a removable cartridge.
What are the Types of Vape Pod Systems?
Although various sub-categories exist under vape pod systems, there are two primary types: open-pod systems and closed-pod systems. Closed-pod systems, such as the Byrd by Space Jam or the Zoor by 7 Daze are those that come with cartridges that are pre-filled with e-liquid, and cannot be refilled once the included fluid has been depleted. The pods also contain an integrated atomizer coil that is set to a resistance that is designed to function optimally with the e-juice and battery power of the unit. Once the liquid within the cartridge has been consumed, the entire pod must be disposed of and replaced with a new one.
Open-pod systems, such as the SMOK Novo and Aspire Spryte, on the other hand, do not come pre-filled with e-juice, and enable you to refill the cartridge with your choice of e-liquid numerous times. Some open-pod systems are equipped with pods that are integrated with an atomizer coil, while others afford you the ability to replace the coil as well. Systems with replaceable atomizer coils, such as the Vaporesso Nexus or Aspire Breeze 2. allow you to reuse the pod itself once the atomizer coil burns out. Those with integrated coils, such as the Suorin Vagon or Innokin EQ necessitate disposable of the entire pod once the atomizer has surpassed its lifespan.
So, what are the subcategories of these two basic pod systems touched on previously? Well, this is where things may get a little confusing. Some pod systems are ultra-compact, which means that they are extremely small, lightweight, and easy to transport. Others, such as the Joyetech Atopack Dolphin or the Atopack Penguin, are markedly larger—about the size of conventional vaporizer systems. The vast majority of the ultra-portable configurations are low-output, limited in power, and designed for mouth-to-lung vaping, whereas the larger pod systems have a variety of atomizer coil resistances, including sub-ohm. The former is designed for e-liquids containing a consistency of 50% vegetable glycerin (VG) or lower, and are often used with nicotine salt e-liquids, which will be discussed later in the article. The latter, on the other hand, can accommodate both high and low VG e-liquids, in accordance with the particular coil being used.
Open-Pod Systems vs Closed-Pod Systems:
As with anything, there are pros and cons to both open-pod and closed-pod systems. Which is the best for you depends on a variety of factors. What your hit style is, the amount of nicotine you wish to ingest, portability, and vapor volume are some of the factors that must be considered before determining the specific device most suitable to your needs. However, irrespective of the sub-type, all pod systems share one general benefit—convenience. Pod systems enable you to effortlessly use your vaporizer without worrying about fiddling with countless settings, as is the case with more advanced vaporizer setups. The plug-and-play arrangement of pod vaporizers makes them very appealing to many vapers, particularly those first embarking on their vaping journey.
Pros of Closed-Pod Systems:
The benefit of closed-pod systems can be summed up in a single word—convenience. Closed pod vaporizers require absolutely no knowledge to use or maintenance to operate. Simply charge the battery, pop in the cartridge, and enjoy vaping. Once the e-juice has depleted, just throw the pod away, and snap in a new one. In fact, the only thing you need to do is charge the battery when necessary.
Cons of Closed-Pod Systems:
Although the convenience of closed-pod systems is tremendously attractive to many users, they do have some prominent drawbacks as well. One of the central disadvantages is your limited availability of e-juice types, brands, and flavors. Every closed-pod unit is designed to operate solely with that maker’s e-liquid pods, and cannot be used with any other. As a result, you are restricted to only the handful of flavors available for that specific setup. Another downside to closed-pod vaporizers is the cost. Since the atomizer coil and e-juice are housed within the pod as a single unit, once the liquid has been consumed, the entire cartridge must be replaced, even though the coil is still fully-functional. This makes it more expensive option.
Pros of Open-Pod Systems:
Open-pod vaporizers provide you with much more variety than their closed-pod counterparts. The refillable formation of these units allows you to fill the cartridge with your choice of e-liquid, making them substantially more versatile. Of course, you are bound by the limitations of atomizer coil resistance. That is, depending on the type of coil, you will need to find the proper VG/PG consistency that can be used with it. Moreover, depending on the type of vaporizer, some are also engineered with replaceable atomizer coils. This permits you to keep and reuse the pods themselves once the coil has burnt out, which is a much less costly option.
Another key plus to open-pod vape units is the ability to effortlessly alternate between various e-juice flavors without being forced to clean the unit or change the coil. Standard vaporizer setups, which contain tanks, require you to rinse the tank out and screw in a new atomizer coil every time you want to relish a new flavor, otherwise the various flavors will blend together, thereby muddling the taste. However, by purchasing several replacement cartridges, open pod systems allow you to dedicate single pods to each of your favorite flavors, affording you the ability to interchange between them effortlessly.
Cons of Open-Pod Systems:
The single characteristic of an open-pod systems that can be classified as a disadvantage would be the amount of effort and knowledge required on the user’s part, albeit very minimal. That is, you need to refill the cartridge, and if the atomizer coil is replaceable, switching them out when necessary. You must also be aware of the e-liquid consistency the pod’s atomizer coil can accommodate.
Pod System Vaporizers and Nicotine Salt E-Liquids:
Nicotine salt e-juices represent the latest innovation within the e-liquid arena. Nicotine salts are very similar to the form of nicotine found in natural tobacco leaves. As opposed to “freebase nicotine” found in standard e-liquids, nicotine salts deliver a more stable molecule, which makes them markedly smoother and easier on the throat. As a result, one can ingest higher levels of nicotine concentration, while still enjoying a very smooth draw. The one caveat to high-nicotine e-liquids, however, is that they absolutely must be used with low-output devices, such as small pod systems. Ultra-portable vape pod mods were initially designed to operate in concert with nicotine salt e-liquids. Of course, many use standard e-juice with these petite vaporizers, as they enjoy the compact body and straightforward operation of them, but do not wish to consume high levels of nicotine.
However, some vaporizers that are still technically considered “pod systems,” such as the Atopack Penguin, contain sub-ohm atomizer coils and deliver too much vapor production to safely be used with nicotine salts. The arrangements are to be used with standard concentrations of nicotine, but still afford the same benefits of pod systems.
Pod System Vaporizers vs All-in-One Vaporizers:
One very common misconception is that pod systems and all-in-one vaporizers are one in the same. The term “pod system” is often used interchangeably with all-in-one units, which is an inaccuracy. As explained above, pod systems replace tanks with cartridges to house the e-liquid and atomizer coil. All-in-one setups, such as the Kanger Evod Pro and the SMOK Vape Pen Plus, on the other hand, still contain a battery/mod as well as a tank. The sole difference between all-in-one vaporizers and standard configurations is that the battery and tank of all-in-one systems are combined together as a single unit. That is, the tank cannot be detached from the battery. This, of course, is not the same thing as a pod system, which operates with removable cartridges rather than a tank.