Refillable vs. Disposable Vapes: Which is Right for You?

Are you struggling to determine whether a disposable or refillable vape device is best for you? 

Don’t worry, it’s a question we get asked often, and the truth is it’s a little more nuanced than you might think.

It’s also a question that has become much harder with significant advances in both the disposable and refillable pod vape market.

We have tested and reviewed some of the best disposable vapes and refillable pod vapes on the market. But just because we rate a product highly, doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you.

Hopefully, in this article, we will be able to guide you in selecting the best type of vape device for your needs.

What are Disposable Vapes?

Disposable vape pens are sealed units pre-filled with vape juice (containing nicotine) and an in-built battery.

Disposables typically have no buttons. Instead, they are activated by inhaling on the device, which fires an auto-draw trigger in the device. This then signals the battery to start heating the coil to produce vapor.

The difference between disposables and other vape devices is pretty straightforward – they are designed for one-time use and are not reusable. 

This makes them incredibly easy to use, as they do not require any refilling or recharging. You only need to take a disposable out of the packing, and it’s good to go. 

The disposable will last as long as the pre-filled juice or battery capacity. Then once either is depleted, you dispose of it and move on to the next one.

Some disposables now come with rechargeable batteries. However, as soon as the pre-filled juice is depleted, it can no longer be used. So they are also classed as disposable vapes.

Disposable vape’s ease of use and affordable price have made them incredibly popular among beginner vapers. 

You can find out more about disposables and their rise to popularity in this article.

Types of Disposable Vapes:

  • One-time use disposable vape
  • Rechargeable disposable vape

What are Refillable Vapes?

Any other vape device that is not disposable would be classed as a refillable or re-usable vape.

However, the closest in terms of form and function to a disposable would probably be a pod system. Pod vapes typically come with 2ml capacity replaceable pods that can be refilled with your own juice. They will also have a rechargeable internal battery.

Many also include more advanced features like adjustable power, adjustable airflow, and various options of coil resistance to tailor your vape experience.

Pod vapes are easy to use but do require a little more knowledge on vaping than disposables. You will have to purchase vape juice separately with the right type of nicotine strength. However, that does give you complete control over the nicotine strength and your nicotine consumption.

You can also choose between using regular freebase nicotine e-liquid or nicotine salt e-liquid.

Here’s a good place to start to understand more about nicotine strength and percentages.

You will also need to understand the differences between the resistances of coils. Most pod vapes are tailored to MTL vaping like disposable vapes, but some will come with lower resistance coils (which deliver a more powerful vape) for DTL vaping.

You can get some pod vapes that also utilize pre-filled pods (which are disposable), but the device can still be used many times over.

Types of Refillable/re-usable Vapes:

  • Pod Vapes
  • Vape Pens
  • Vape Mods and Box Mods

Disposable Vapes


Pros

  • No Maintenance – There are no replaceable parts on disposables.
  • Easy-to-Use – No buttons or fancy functions; just inhale, and you are vaping.
  • Mess-free – Disposables are pre-filled with vape juice, eliminating the hassle and mess of refilling.
  • Good flavor – Disposables generally deliver great flavor as they are concealed units, containing sweetened juice from the manufacturer.


Cons

  • Limited Flavor Options – You are limited to the flavor profiles offered by disposable brands. 
  • Failures -A higher chance of having a device DOA or battery failure before the juice is depleted.
  • Vapor Production: There is no control of the PG/VG ratio of the vape juice and no airflow control. So you are stuck with the vapor production of the disposable.
  • No Juice Window – It’s hard to gauge when you are running low on juice as there is no juice window. Most don’t have a battery guage either.
  • Not good for the environment – Increased landfill waste.

Refillable Pod Vapes


Pros

  • Tailored Experience: Refillable pods have different coil resistances to suit your preference. Some also come with adjustable power and airflow.
  • User-friendly: They are easy to use, and most come with an auto-draw function or single button for operation. Pods are easy to refill and replace.
  • Unlimited Flavors: You choose what flavor profile to fill the pod with, which gives you scope from any juice manufacturer.
  • Replaceable Pods: You can interchange flavors by just replacing pods.
  • Power: The batteries are rechargeable (usually by USB-C), and all come with a battery status gauge – usually LED lights, but some also have screens. 

Cons

  • Maintenance: Some maintenance is required to keep the device clean. Also charging and replacing the pods.
  • Inconvenience: Recharging the device and refilling pods can get a little repetitive compared to a disposable. 
  • More Cumbersome: You may have to carry extra juice with you and potentially charge cables and spare pods. 

Who are Disposable Vapes Best for?

Disposables are easily the best vape devices for beginners or those wanting just to try vaping. They are as close to smoking a cigarette as you can get in the vaping world, as there is no learning curve. You just unpack the disposable and start vaping. 

They mostly provide an MTL draw that smokers would be accustomed to. Disposables are even good options for experienced vapers that don’t want to carry around a more expensive or larger device.

Who are Refillable Pod Vapes Best for?

Refillable vapes like pod mods should be the next step on the ladder for anyone who vapes regularly. 

They provide a more personalized vape experience and generally deliver a better overall performance.

Pod vapes are just as compact and pocket-friendly. They are also more cost-effective in the long term as you only need to replace the pod or coils, which usually cost around $3.

You do have the extra expense of adding your vape juice. However, this allows you far more options with flavors. You can also mix your own to keep the costs down.

Pod vapes are the ideal companion for experienced vapers to use when out and about. I often reach for one of my Uwell Caliburn’s or Geekvape Wenax devices when walking the dog. 

Refillable pod vapes are a step up from disposables in so many ways. In fact, nowadays, they perform just as well as more advanced vape mods.

Summing Up

Refillable vapes, like pod mods, provide a far greater vaping experience than disposables. They allow the user to experiment more and tailor the vape to their preference.

They are also far more cost-effective in the long run and create less environmental waste.

That being said, if I needed to choose a device to give to a smoker to convince them to quit and start vaping – it would be a disposable vape pen. 

They still deliver a great vape experience and are the perfect hassle-free way to start vaping.


Jules M
Jules M
Jules is our vaping font of knowledge. He has been a passionate vaping supporter since 2013 and spends his time trying to educate people with ‘facts’ on the safety and benefits of vaping.

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