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What Is A Vape Pod?

What Is A Vape Pod?

What is a vape pod? How long does a vape pod last? And how do vape pods work? If you’re new to the vaping revolution and feel a little confused about the concept of vape pods and whether they are right for you, this guide will provide the answers.  

The vape market is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK, with revenue hitting $3.67bn in 2023 and vape pods are one of the latest hot topics. Here’s all you need to know about them.

Vape pods vs vape pens

A vape pod is a type of vaping kit, providing an alternative to traditional vape pens. The main differentiator is that, rather than a tank, they use a plastic pod to hold the e-liquid and coil. 

They still work by turning the e-liquid into vapour while they are compatible with products from the top e-liquid brands like Elf Bar and SKE. However, they have become increasingly popular in recent times due to;

  • - Their compact size
  • - Increased durability
  • - Leakage resistance
  • - Lightweightness 
  • - Easy use
  • - Minimal upkeep


Vape pods and vape pod kits have subsequently gained notoriety for being the perfect ‘on the go’ vaping solution. Users who vape with higher nicotine strengths and nic salts may also respond well to this product type.

How do vape pods work?

Vape pods aren’t all equal (see below) and come in various sizes, but most hold 1 to 2ml of e-liquid. They share many similarities to a standard tank or atomiser vapes. 

So, how do vape pods work? Firstly, a battery provides power to the device. A coil subsequently heats the e-liquid held within the pod, which turns it into a vapour. Pod vape systems use a metal plate to create the connection needed for conduction. The vapour can then be inhaled through a mouthpiece. 

Pod systems generally feature a square pod that clicks into place. Like vape pens, vape pods use Sub-ohm (0.8 and below, offering Direct-to-Lung inhaling) or Above-ohm (over 0.8, offering Mouth-to-Lung inhaling). The difference can be seen by the larger cloud production of Sub-ohm devices.

In order to use your vape pods, you need follow these steps;

  • - Charge the battery (if required).
  • - Fill the pod with e-liquid (if not pre-filled).
  • - Let the wick saturate for 10 minutes.
  • - Insert the pod into the vape device.
  • - Turn the vape device on.
  • - Inhale (pressing the activation button if needed).


The kit can be used multiple times. Only the plastic pod is replaced or refilled once the e-liquid runs out. Batteries are generally charged via USB cables.

Remember that different vape kits for vape pods may have varying features. Some include automatic timers to prevent overheating, temperature monitors, battery monitors, circuits to stop overcharging, current monitors, and resistance checkers to prevent short circuits. Additionally, some models automatically turn on when you inhale. Below, we will dig deeper into some of the differences between types of vape kits.

Different types of vape pods explained

If you want to know more about how vape pods work, it's important to acknowledge the different styles they come in. If you are one of the 4-5 million vapers in the UK, you should familiarise yourself with the two main types.

Open system devices

An open system vape pod is the most similar to a traditional vape, only the e-liquid is held in a pod rather than a tank. They allow users to refill the e-liquid or change the coil, providing a more convenient solution than traditional e-liquid tanks due to the push-fit configuration. Still, some knowledge of vaping is required, making it a less suitable choice for new users.

They provide versatility as users can try multiple flavours while the re-usability makes this device type more sustainable. In some cases, though, only the e-liquid can be changed, meaning the device must be replaced once the coil stops working.

Refillable vape pods can be easily adapted to either MTL or DTL and feature powerful batteries that can change the vaping experience.

Closed system devices

A closed system vape pod features a sealed pod that is generally pre-filled with an e-liquid. The coil cannot be reached or changed. They also have a single-use battery with a low wattage output. So, you simply replace the whole unit once finished.

Closed system vape pods are a good option for first-time users as you can take them straight out of the box and begin using them. Like open systems, they feature very few settings, making them very easy to use. They are available in various brands, flavours, and strengths. 

Pre-filled vape pods have the same regulations as disposables - 2ml capacity and 20mg/ml maximum strength.

Are vape pods an alternative to disposable vapes?

Vape pods and refillable disposable vapes are often seen as an alternative to standard disposable vapes. There is no single solution that is the best for everyone. So, you need to analyse the pros and cons to determine if vape pods are right for you.

To answer this, you’ll need to consider “How long does a vape pod last?”, “How does the pod work?”, and other key features. The following table should help you make a calculated decision:


Disposable PodsPre-Filled PodsRefillable Pods
AvailabilityFound in most vape shops and retailers.Found in specialist vape shops.Found in specialist vape shops.
CostMost expensive in the long run.Cheaper than normal disposables.The cheapest long-term option.
UseVery easy. Straight out of the box.Easily used. Minimal assembly.Assembly and refilling required.
FlavoursMany available. But can't be switched.Many available. Can be easily switched.Many available. Can be easily switched.
SustainabilityWorst for waste and carbon footprints.Not as bad but still some waste.The most sustainable option.
BatteryOne-time with low wattage.Small battery but can be recharged.Big battery that can be recharged.


Vape pods are more cost-effective in the long run but will have a higher initial outlay due to buying the reusable kit or device. Most people making the transition from disposables will start with pre-filled pod vapes due to their easy use.

How long do vape pods last?

“How long do vape pods last?” is a common question, and has no single answer. It will be influenced by the following factors;

  • - The type of vape pod used (disposable, pre-filled, refillable)
  • - Which brand and product is selected
  • - How often you vape daily
  • - The amount of e-liquid that can be held in the pod
  • - How vape pods and liquids are stored


Typically, a vape pod with a built-in coil will last between 7 and 14 days. Top models may last for up to 21 days. Pre-filled pods may last between half a day and 2 days depending on the frequency of usage. Refillable pods can last between 3 and 5 days. However, they are average time frames - yours may last longer or shorter.

If using refillables with built-in coils, you change the pod over when you notice a burnt taste. For removable coils, you remove the coil when the burnt taste starts.

Once the typical lifespan of a vape pod for your needs is determined, you can purchase e-liquids in suitable sizes. Most disposables are offered in single pack, 5-pack, 10-pack, or 20-pack solutions. Pod kits are available in single pack, 5-pack, and 10-pack configurations.

How to dispose of vape pods

Responsible vape disposal is essential for all e-cigarette users but is particularly vital when using plastic vape pods. Once finished, you must wash out any nicotine traces from the pod before placing it in your recycling bin.

Vape kits with built-in batteries should be taken to the same recycling point as laptop batteries and mobile phone batteries. External batteries can be placed in any battery recycling bin. Pre-filled pods contain a mix of materials (plastic, metal, and cotton) meaning they are put in a standard bin bag. However, disposable vape kits can be recycled via a WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Registered company.

Further steps to reduce your environmental impact when vaping include;

  • - Purchasing larger products like the Elf Bar AF5000 Kiwi Passion Fruit Guava, which lasts for 5,000 puffs. When you need to dispose of items less frequently, the carbon footprint will fall.
  • - Consider using nicotine salts. They deliver the quickest nicotine hit, meaning less of the e-liquid consumption and reduced plastic waste. 
  • - Focus on limiting the sweetness of your e-liquid. Sweeter products burn the coil at a significantly faster rate. Switching to Tobacco flavoured e-liquids can make a significant impact.
  • - If currently using disposable vape pods, consider switching to refillable products. When you only need to replace the e-liquids rather than the e-cigarette itself, the waste is reduced.

The Final Word

Vape pods have now become a popular choice for new vaping enthusiasts and seasoned vapers alike. Now that you know how to use vape pods and how to dispose of vape pods, they can become a very useful addition to your setup - either as a primary or secondary kit.

For more information about vape pods, feel free to browse our selection below.

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