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Everything You Need To Know About Pod Vapes

Whether you’ve been vaping for a while, or are brand new, you might not have heard of pod vapes. This guide has been created to give you an inside look at one of the most popular styles of vape kits and why it might be a better fit for you. This guide is packed with all the information you need and we’ll be covering: how pods work, how they’re different from regular kits, what kind of vaper they suit, and which pod kit is best for you.

What Is A Pod Vape?

Just like every other kind of vape kit, pods have been designed to turn e-liquid into vapour and are a less harmful alternative to smoking. But, unlike other vapes, pod kits don’t feature a tank. Instead, e-liquid and a coil are held inside a plastic pod that’s much smaller, lighter and more durable than any glass tank.

In fact, the kits themselves are often a lot smaller than standard kits and are ideal for vaping on the go. For a lot of people, pod vapes feel like an evolved version of classic kits like vape pens. Apart from being smaller and more durable, pod kits are in most cases a lot easier to use and require less upkeep, so they’re the perfect pick for new vapers or anyone looking to cut down on kit maintenance or setup.

Pod kits features illustration

Which Kind Of Vape Pod Is Right For Me?

The science behind pod kits is pretty simple, and their ease of use is one of the things that makes them so popular. Picking the right pod kit comes down to a few key points, and the best way to find out which one is right for you is to learn a little bit more about the different styles. The biggest choice you’ll have to make is whether you’re looking to try a prefilled or refillable pod kit.

What Are Prefilled Pod Kits

Prefilled pod vapes are by far the easiest option, as each pod arrives prefilled with e-liquid and when it’s empty you just replace it with a new one. This means no refilling or coil changes, in fact, there’s not much maintenance required at all, you’ll just need to keep the kit’s battery charged and swap your pod.

With this in mind, many vapers find that using a prefilled pod is not much different than a disposable vape, the major benefit is that they’re cheaper to run than these single-use vapes, and they are far less wasteful as you are not throwing away a battery every time you finish one.

1Prefilled Pod Kits – Pros & Cons
Prefilled Pod Kit illustration
  • Less Maintenance
  • No Refilling Required
  • Easy To Carry Spare Pods
  • Beginner-Friendly
  • Limited E-Liquid Options
  • Produces More Waste

What Are Refillable Pod Kits?

Refillable vape pods (as the name suggests) arrive empty and need to be filled with e-liquid. When they run out you just top up your pod rather than throw it away. Refilling a pod is a simple job that most vapers feel comfortable performing, in return you get access to a huge range of e-liquids and there are no limitations on flavour, nicotine strength or nicotine type; all of which allows you to customise your vape to create something that’s perfect for you.

There are two varieties of refillable pod kits (variety is the spice of life after all!) You can choose from built-in coil pods and removable coil pods.

2Refillable Pod Kits – Pros & Cons
Refillable Pod Kit illustration
  • Less Waste
  • More E-Liquid Options
  • More Cost-Effective
  • Bigger Batteries
  • Slightly More Maintenance
  • Requires Some Knowledge Of E-Liquid

Built-in coil pods are the perfect option if you’re looking to try something light on maintenance. You fill them up with e-liquid as and when you need to, and when you notice a burnt taste you swap over your pod. Each one lasts around a week on average. A lot of kits also feature pods with different coil resistances and builds for a little more customisation.

Removable coil pods work a little differently. They’re filled and refilled like normal, and then when you notice a burnt taste, you swap out the coil inside your pod. This isn’t too fiddly and removable coils are a more environmentally-friendly option as there’s less waste. Your coils will last around a week on average, and you’ll have to change your pod a few times a year to keep on top of normal wear and tear. The added bonus is the fact that there will be more coil varieties available and this means even more customisation.


MTL (Mouth To Lung) and DTL (Direct To Lung) are two phrases you’re going to hear a lot about in vaping. They both describe a way of inhaling and there are different vape kits available that support either style, and some that can do both.

An MTL inhale is a lot like how you would smoke a cigarette, you inhale vapour into your mouth and then breathe it deeply into your lungs before exhaling. MTL pod kits that support this style of inhaling produce a small amount of vapour and are often more discreet.

A DTL inhale, on the other hand, is when you inhale vapour straight into your lungs without holding it in your mouth first. To achieve this style of inhaling you will need a kit that creates a lot of vapour, and this is the reason why DTL or sub ohm pod kits are more powerful and use bigger batteries.

Most vapers will go for an MTL pod kit to start with as it will feel more familiar and they’re often a lot simpler to use. The other thing to bear in mind is that while you will find plenty of prefilled pod kits for MTL vaping, there is no such thing as a DTL prefilled pod kit at the moment. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option that doesn’t need refilling, you’re going to have to stick with an MTL kit.

MTL vs DTL illustration

What E-Liquid Do I Need For My Pod Kit?

If you’ve gone for a prefilled pod kit this question won’t apply to you, just make sure you buy pods that are compatible with your kit. For example, only the Elf P1 prefilled pods will work with the Elf Bar Mate 500 pod kit. If you’ve chosen a refillable pod kit, you’re going to be able to choose from a huge range of e-liquids and find something that works for you.

Picking the right e-liquid will be based on three things: VG/PG concentration, nicotine strength and flavour. We’ll be giving you a quick outline below, but if you want to find out more you should take a look at our Ultimate Guide To E-Liquids.

Picking The Right VG/PG E-Liquid For Pods

VG (Vegetable Glycerine) and PG (Propylene Glycol) are the base ingredients inside e-liquid and when heated up by your kit are turned into visible vapour. They’re both perfectly fine to ingest, and both VG and PG have a wide range of applications outside vaping. They’re found in food, cosmetics and medicines. PG is actually used in asthma inhalers and VG is a common food additive.

Aside from creating vapour, they both have slightly different properties which means a mixture of both is used in most e-liquids. PG is better at carrying flavour and also helps to deliver the sensation known as throat hit that helps your vape feel more like a cigarette. VG creates more vapour, can help a vape feel smoother, and adds a slight sweetness to flavours.

A combination of VG and PG is also used to create an e-liquid that’s the right consistency for either an MTL or sub ohm kit. PG is thinner than VG and by mixing both, manufacturers can create a thick liquid that suits sub ohm kits or something that’s a bit thinner which suits low-power, MTL kits.

1High PG Vape Juice Features
  • Creates a discreet amount of vapour.
  • Stronger throat hit.
  • Very thin e-liquid.
  • Good for MTL kits with coils higher than 1.0 Ohm.
250/50 Vape Juice Features
  • Creates more vapour and feels like a cigarette.
  • Medium throat hit.
  • Thin e-liquid.
  • Good for MTL kits with coils higher than 0.8 Ohm.
3High VG Vape Juice Features
  • Creates the most amount of vapour.
  • Thick e-liquid.
  • Light throat hit.
  • Good for DTL kits with coils lower than 0.8 Ohm.

If you’ve gone for a refillable MTL pod kit, we recommend picking either a 50/50 VG/PG e-liquid or an e-liquid that has a PG content higher than 50%. This will support the MTL inhale style that these kits are designed for with the extra throat hit provided by the higher PG content.

DTL pod kits, however, need an e-liquid that creates a lot of vapour otherwise you won’t be able to perform a DTL inhale. This means you’ll need to look for an e-liquid that contains at least 70% VG – there are plenty of these 70% VG e-liquids around so don’t worry.

Pod Type VG/PG Ratio
MTL Pods 50% PG - 100% PG
DTL Pods 60% - 100% VG
Prefilled Pods Filled with 50 - 100% PG eliquid

What’s The Best Nicotine Strength For Pod Vapes?

Picking a nicotine strength is really important, if you go too low your cravings won’t be satisfied and you might be tempted to go back to cigarettes, too high and you can experience some side effects like headaches and nausea. There might be a bit of trial and error but this is normal and you’ll need to find out what works for you.

Below we’re going to recommend some nic strengths depending on how many cigarettes you currently smoke per day, but this is just a starting point. If you feel you need a higher or lower strength, don’t be afraid to switch up or down a level to satisfy your cravings.

With an MTL pod kit, we’d recommend anyone who smokes 1-5 cigarettes a day to try a 3-6mg e-liquid, 5-10 cigarettes a day would mean a 6-12mg e-liquid would work better, smokers who get through 10-20+ cigarettes a day should try a 12-20mg e-liquid. These different strengths are widely available in 50/50 e-liquids and high PG e-liquids, so you’ll have no problem finding one that will satisfy your cravings.

When it comes to nicotine strengths and your DTL kit, you’ll actually find yourself sticking to low strengths. This is because these kits create a lot more vapour and heat up more e-liquid to do so, at the same time they’re also heating up and vapourising more nicotine. With this in mind, we don’t recommend anything higher than 6mg for DTL vape kits, otherwise, it will be too harsh. 3mg e-liquids remain the most popular choice.

Pod Type Nic. Strength
MTL Pods 0mg - 20mg
DTL Pods 0mg - 6mg
Prefilled Pods Filled with 1mg - 20mg eliquid

Picking The Right Kind Of Nicotine

Now that we’ve covered nicotine strengths, let’s quickly talk about nicotine types. Freebase nicotine e-liquid creates a noticeable throat hit and the higher the strength the stronger the hit. Nic salt e-liquids, on the other hand, deliver a much smoother vape even in higher strengths. Finally, hybrid nicotine e-liquids contain a mix of both and sit in the middle in terms of throat hit.

What’s The Best Pod Vape Flavour?

Finally, flavour! We can’t tell you what flavour is going to work best for you (mainly because we don’t know you).

The best flavour is the one that stops you from smoking but everyone's different. Some people want to emulate a cigarette and get on well with tobacco e-liquid or menthol vapes, whereas others are looking for something completely different and fruit flavours like strawberry e-liquid and blueberry e-liquid tend to work best. If you’re not a fruit fan, dessert blends like vanilla and pastry e-liquid might be a better choice.

We carry a full range of e-liquid flavours, and mixologists have worked hard to create blends that replicate everything from cigar tobacco, to fizzy soda, and everything in between. Our recommendation is to vape a few varieties of e-liquid and find out what you like the taste of. If you’re looking to try a few different blends but are watching your spending, make sure you take advantage of our e-liquid multi-buy deals or head on over to our clearance section.

How Long Do Vape Pods Last?

Working out when you’ll need to replace your vape pod, and how long they’ll last, will largely depend on what kind of kit you’ve gone for. A prefilled pod will need to be replaced as soon as it runs out of e-liquid, most vapers get anything from half a day to two days of use out of a single pod depending on how much they vape.

Refillable pods don’t need to be replaced when they run out of e-liquid, making them a cheaper and more eco-friendly option. Instead, you can just refill the pod and it won’t need to be swapped until the coil is no longer usable.

If you’ve gone for pods that use removable coils, you won’t have to change your pod that often, most people find they’re in need of a new pod every couple of months to keep ahead of regular wear and tear. Your coil, however, will last around a week depending on how much you vape.

Pod life span illustration

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Pods?

Although pod vapes are a compact and simple-to-use option, they’re not perfect for everyone. If you’re looking for the simplest device possible, then a disposable vape might be a better fit because they require no set-up or maintenance. When you’ve finished the e-liquid inside your disposable you can just replace it with a new one. This does mean that disposables can work out as being more expensive than pods. But, when it comes to ease of use, nothing comes close.

However, the opposite can also be true: pod kits aren’t advanced enough for some vapers! If you’re used to using a sub ohm vape kit, you’re probably also used to customisable output modes that enable a more personalised approach to vaping. Pod kits often won’t feature these modes as the chipsets required to support them will be too complex, too expensive, or even too big for these vapes.

At the end of the day, if you’re after a simple vape kit that’s cheaper to use in the long run than any disposable but doesn’t require a huge amount of upkeep, then a pod kit is worth considering. If you’re already using a refillable kit like a vape pen, pods are a more compact option that won’t take as long to charge, even if they’re not your everyday kit, pods can also act as a handy backup.

Factor in the option of both MTL and DTL kits and you’ll find there are plenty of choices for a vape that suits you. Speaking of which, make sure you check out our top ten pod kits guide for help picking the right one for you or get in touch with our Customer Service Team for a direct recommendation.

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