Have you heard about pod vaping systems? They’re the latest e-cigarette trend that’s sweeping the world and replacing the small cigarette-shaped “cigalikes” that people used to use when they began vaping. Pod vaping systems are stylish and user friendly. They have great battery life. The most important feature of pod vaping systems, though, is that they deliver more satisfaction than the previous generation of e-cigarettes because they use a new type of e-liquid. If you’re planning to make the switch to vaping, a pod system is probably the ideal choice for you right now.

Do you only vape part time? Perhaps you continue to smoke occasionally because e-cigarettes don’t quite satisfy you. If that’s the case, a pod system may be the perfect fit for you. Pod systems deliver satisfaction virtually equivalent to the level of satisfaction that you get when smoking; they can help you complete your transition to full-time vaping.

Let’s learn more about what pod vaping systems can do for you.

What Are Pod Vaping Systems?

A pod vaping system is an e-cigarette that stores its e-liquid in a small plastic tank that connects to the top of the device. The pods are usually clear, allowing you to see at a glance how much e-liquid remains. The cartridges for cigalikes, in contrast, aren’t clear. They’re also smaller, hold less e-liquid and tend to produce less vapor. The increased e-liquid storage, vapor production and user friendliness of pod vaping systems allow them to provide an experience vastly superior to that of any cigalike that you may find in a convenience store. You can take home a pod vaping system, remove it from the box, drop in a pod and vape right away. It’s that easy.

Nicotine Salts Make Pod Vaping Systems Different

Nicotine Salt E-Liquid

What Are Nicotine Salts?

While the engineering is one of the key differences between cigalikes and pod vaping systems, it isn’t the most important difference. The key differentiator is that pod vaping systems almost always use e-liquids containing nicotine salts. If you still smoke – even if it’s only part time – this is the aspect of pod vaping systems that should make you stand up and take notice.

Before it is extracted from the tobacco leaf, nicotine is a salt. Laboratories use ammonia, however, when extracting nicotine from tobacco leaves. Ammonia increases the yield of the extraction. It also raises the pH of the nicotine and alters its structure. Combining nicotine with ammonia creates freebase nicotine. Freebase nicotine may be fine for many people. It’s what’s in smoking cessation products and most e-liquids. Some cigarette makers even add ammonia to their tobacco. Nicotine doesn’t naturally, however, exist in freebase form – and that form may not be what your body prefers. You might prefer something that more closely mimics nicotine’s natural state. That’s what nicotine salts do.

What Are the Benefits of Nicotine Salts?

Greater Satisfaction

Nicotine Salt Satisfaction

A patent application filed in 2014 describes the results achieved when Pax Labs – the maker of the Juul pod vaping system – set out to create the first nicotine salt e-liquid. Through its research, Pax Labs found that a high-strength e-liquid containing nicotine salts could create an immediate plateau in blood-nicotine levels – much like what happens when smoking a cigarette. The research also suggested that nicotine salt e-liquids could allow users to maintain higher blood-nicotine levels for much longer than would be possible with standard e-liquids.

Nicotine interacts with different people in different ways. The research suggests, however, that nicotine salts may:

  • Help you feel more satisfied than you would with a standard e-liquid
  • Allow you to save money by using less e-liquid and vaping less often than you might with other e-cigarettes

Facilitates Higher Nicotine Consumption

Lowering the pH of the nicotine in an e-liquid makes the e-liquid less alkaline, and many people have noticed that the reduced alkalinity tends to make an e-liquid a bit smoother and easier to inhale due to the reduced throat hit. With traditional e-liquids, it’s not unusual for people to find nicotine strengths higher than about 18-24 mg too overpowering due to their harsh throat hit — but even a nicotine strength of 24 mg may not be enough to satisfy some long-term smokers. Nicotine salts can make it possible for you to use e-liquids with nicotine strengths up to 50 mg with no throat irritation. Even if you find that the nicotine salts themselves don’t make a noticeable difference, you’ll still experience increased satisfaction from salt e-liquids due to their higher nicotine strengths.

Reduces E-Liquid Usage

Since nicotine salt e-liquids have higher nicotine strengths than standard e-liquids, they work best in small, low-power devices such as pod vaping systems. If you currently use a sub-ohm vaping device, you probably use a lot of e-liquid. Some sub-ohm vapers use 20 ml of e-liquid — or even more — each day. The e-liquid costs of a sub-ohm vaper can add up quickly. A pod vaping system produces small vapor clouds and consumes drastically less e-liquid. Switching from a sub-ohm vaping setup to a pod system will dramatically reduce your vaping cost.

Do Nicotine Salts Have Any Drawbacks?

Too Much Nicotine for Some

Pod Vaping Nicotine Strength

Some well-known pod vaping systems such as the Juul come in just one nicotine strength: 50 mg. Using a nicotine strength that high, you’ll definitely feel a noticeable nicotine rush every time you vape. Many smokers love that feeling, and most traditional e-liquids can’t deliver a noticeable nicotine rush without an unpleasant throat hit. For some people, the rush that a nicotine salt e-liquid produces is exactly what enables the switch from smoking to vaping. For others, though, it’s just too much. If you’re already a full-time vaper — and you’re happy with your vaping experience as it is — you probably don’t need to begin using nicotine salts because switching to vaping has already lowered your nicotine requirements. Why consume more nicotine if your body doesn’t require it?

Not Appropriate for All Devices

Because their nicotine strengths are very high, nicotine salt e-liquids aren’t appropriate for sub-ohm vaping devices. They’re for smaller devices with lower vapor production. You may actually find it liberating to switch from a sub-ohm device to a device that’s as small as a USB thumb drive but satisfies you just as much as the device you’re using now. If you love blowing huge clouds, though, nicotine salts aren’t for you. In the future, we might begin to see lower-strength nicotine salt e-liquids for sub-ohm devices. For now, though, sub-ohm vapers need to stick with standard e-liquids.

You May Not Notice a Difference

There are studies suggesting that nicotine salts can increase the satisfaction that people derive from vaping. You’re not a line on a graph, though — you’re an individual. Regardless of what the studies say, you may find that switching from a standard e-liquid to a nicotine salt e-liquid doesn’t actually change the way you feel at all. Everyone is different.

Usability Makes Pod Vaping Systems Different

More than perhaps any other type of vaping device, pod systems strike a perfect balance between convenience and performance. If you don’t vape yet, a pod system is a great choice. If you already vape, you still might want to try a pod system — even if doing so would mean “downgrading” from a larger vaping device. Think about it — you probably didn’t start with a sub-ohm mod. You probably started with a cigalike from the local convenience store. You upgraded to a larger device because your first e-cigarette wasn’t completely satisfying. If you could switch to an e-cigarette that’s smaller, more discreet and less expensive to operate than the device you’re using now — and you could do it without compromising any of the satisfaction you currently enjoy — would you make the switch? That’s what pod vaping systems can do for you.

Long Battery Life, Ample E-Liquid Storage

Pod Vaping Battery Life

In terms of efficiency, the pod vaping systems of today are really nothing like the cigalikes of the past. A typical pod system supports several hours of vaping on a fully charged battery. Some pod vaping devices come with fast charging adapters that can charge dead batteries fully in just 30 minutes. Using a pod system also likely means that you won’t need to vape as often because you’ll maintain sufficient blood-nicotine levels without the need for constant vaping. As long as vaping has existed, owning one device with the battery capacity and e-liquid storage for all-day vaping has been a dream for many. With pod vaping systems, that dream has finally become realistic.

Plenty of Flavor Choices

The first pod vaping systems were proprietary devices with sealed pods. It wasn’t possible — not without a little know-how, at least — to open the pods and refill them with the e-liquids of your choice. Today, though, all of the major vaping product manufacturers have released pod systems of their own. All of those systems have refillable cartridges. There are now hundreds of bottled nicotine salt e-liquids on the market, and more are becoming available every day. There are still more standard e-liquids than there are nicotine salt e-liquids on the market, but the choices for nicotine salt users are constantly increasing. No matter what your favorite flavors are, you should have no trouble finding a nicotine salt e-liquid that suits your needs.

Simple Operation

If you’re a current smoker who is new to vaping, you need a system that’s simple and user friendly — and user-friendly design is one of the top features of pod vaping systems. Is your battery low? Drop the device in the charging cradle. Is the pod empty? Pop open the filling port and refill it. Has the flavor quality begun to decline? Discard the pod and begin using a new one. Pod vaping systems are that easy. There’s no need to worry about building or changing coils, adjusting settings or fiddling with complicated menu systems. Advanced vaping systems offer huge vapor production, but they also frustrate many with their complicated operation. That’s one reason why so many long-term vapers are switching to pod systems that provide the same satisfaction with much less work.

An Overview of the Best Pod Vaping Systems

Are you interested in trying a pod vaping system for yourself? The Juul might have been the first modern pod vaping device, but it’s not the only choice any more. Every well-known vaping company now has a pod system in its lineup. A few new startups have also appeared to compete with the Juul. In this section of the article, we’ll compare some of the best pod vaping systems to give you an idea of what’s out there and help you make a more informed buying decision.


Juul Pod Vaping System

Juul Review

Juul isn’t just the most popular pod vaping system in the United States; it’s America’s most popular e-cigarette brand. Part of the reason for that is Juul’s stellar marketing and wide distribution network. The Juul pod vaping system is available in many convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops. If you’re a smoker — and you see a Juul device next to cigalikes such as Vuse and MarkTen — which would you choose?

In developing the Juul system, Pax Labs conducted research showing that Juul’s e-liquid formulation produces a blood-nicotine level similar to what one would get when smoking. The research proved to be a powerful marketing tool for the Juul system, which now has over a million users. The Juul device is durable and reliable. Although you can’t refill the cartridges without breaking them open, many people have commented that they enjoy Juul’s flavor selection. Limited-edition flavors also appear periodically to keep people interested.

  • Battery Capacity: 200 mAh
  • Pod Capacity: 0.8 ml
  • Nicotine Strength: 50 mg

Juul Benefits:

  • Most popular and most widely available pod vaping system
  • Great build quality and reliability
  • Simple, user-friendly design

Juul Drawbacks:

  • Not available outside the United States
  • Not available in different nicotine strengths
  • Closed system with sealed pods


Phix Pod Vaping System

Phix is a pod vaping system that competes head-to-head with Juul. Its appearance and functionality are essentially the same, although there are a few key differences. The Phix starter kit costs significantly less than the Juul kit. The Juul kit includes four pods, though, while the Phix kit includes only one.

With its higher-capacity battery and pods, you could think of the Phix vaping system as an incremental upgrade compared to the Juul. The price of the Phix starter kit is also significantly less than that of the Juul starter kit. On the other hand, the Juul brand is more widely available, and you can find refill pods almost anywhere.

  • Battery Capacity: 280 mAh
  • Pod Capacity: 1.5 ml
  • Nicotine Strength: 50 mg

Phix Benefits:

  • Better battery life than Juul
  • Higher pod capacity than Juul
  • Lower starter kit price than Juul

Phix Drawbacks:

  • Less popular and less available than Juul
  • Not available in different nicotine strengths
  • Closed system with sealed pods

Suorin Drop

Suorin Drop Pod Vaping System

The Suorin Drop is the first open device on our list of the best pod vaping systems. You can’t even buy pre-filled pods for the Drop; you fill the pods yourself with the e-liquid of your choice. Although the Drop definitely capitalizes on the pod vaping craze, it makes no attempt to compete directly with the Juul. After the Suorin Drop appeared on the market, SMOK quickly capitalized by releasing the similar Badge pod mod. At the time of the Drop’s release, though, it was definitely the most unique looking pod mod on the market — and buyers responded.

At the time of writing, the Suorin Drop is probably the most popular open pod vaping system in the United States. It’s seemingly available in every local vape shop. Buyers have really responded to the unique design. They’ve also responded to the ever growing color selection. The Drop isn’t the only pod mod that Suorin makes, but it’s definitely the one that has most resonated with buyers.

  • Battery Capacity: 300 mAh
  • Pod Capacity: 2.0 ml
  • Nicotine Strength: your choice

Suorin Drop Benefits:

  • Pleasing design, huge color variety
  • Works with any e-liquid
  • Low price for starter kit
  • Wide availability

Suorin Drop Drawbacks:

  • Doesn’t include e-liquid
  • Some may not like the unusual shape

SMOK Rolo Badge

SMOK Rolo Badge Pod Vaping System

All it takes is a glance to understand what’s going on with the SMOK Rolo Badge. The Suorin Drop became hugely popular upon its release. SMOK noticed and quickly released a device with a similar — but inverted — shape. The Drop became a Badge. Thanks to SMOK’s mighty distribution network, the Rolo Badge is probably available in just about every vape shop that sells the Suorin Drop. Like the Drop, the Rolo Badge pods have two filling holes and two e-liquid chambers that feed through to a central wick and air tube.

If you decide to buy the SMOK Rolo Badge, buy it from a seller with a good warranty policy. Some people have commented that the Rolo Badge seems to have issues with auto-firing and inconsistent charging performance.

  • Battery Capacity: 250 mAh
  • Pod Capacity: 2 ml
  • Nicotine Strength: your choice

SMOK Rolo Badge Benefits:

  • Nice — if unoriginal — design
  • Wide availability
  • Works with any e-liquid

SMOK Rolo Badge Drawbacks:

  • Some suggest that the reliability may be a bit low

Bo One

Bo Vaping Pod System

While the Bo One pod vaping system is obviously another Juul clone, you shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand because it adds some interesting stylistic and technological elements of its own. The Bo TC system, for example, has a built-in temperature control system that prevents dry hits. Bo also has a beautiful leather-wrapped charging station available. The charging station provides storage for the Bo One battery and charges the battery up to four times.

While the Bo One is an extremely stylish pod vaping system, it does have a shortcoming in that it only has five flavors available. The flavors are tasty, though; the Bo One uses some well-known e-liquids in pod form. An additional difference between the Bo One and other major closed pod vaping systems is that most of the pods are only available with a nicotine strength of 35 mg. One 55 mg flavor is also available. If you find Juul pods too strong, the Bo One system might be a good alternative for you.

  • Battery Capacity: 380 mAh
  • Pod Capacity: 1.5 ml
  • Nicotine Strength: 35 or 55 mg

Bo One Benefits:

  • Extremely stylish design and accessories
  • Some choice in nicotine strength
  • Longer battery life than average

Bo One Drawbacks:

  • Only five flavors available at the time of writing
  • Most pods only available in the 35 mg nicotine strength


Juno Pod Vaping System

The Juno brand hasn’t gotten a lot of attention compared to some of the other pod vaping systems, which is unfortunate because Juno has some features that other pod vaping systems lack. Juno is a closed system, meaning that the pods aren’t designed for refilling. Among closed systems, though, Juno is unique in that it has a very wide flavor selection and multiple nicotine strengths. Juno pods are available in 16 different flavors. Each flavor is available in nicotine strengths of 18, 36 and 48 mg. One of the problems that some people encounter with pod vaping systems is they eventually decide they’d like to reduce their nicotine intake. That’s a problem if your favorite flavor is only available in one nicotine strength. Juno gives you the option of stepping down later if you want to.

  • Battery Capacity: 380 mAh
  • Pod Capacity: 1.6 ml
  • Nicotine Strength: 18, 36 and 48 mg

Juno Benefits:

  • Wide flavor selection
  • Multiple nicotine strengths available
  • Higher battery and pod capacity than average

Juno Drawbacks:

  • Closed system with sealed pods
  • Less available than Juul