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Pods and Cartridges: Everything You Need to Know

by Theo Wilson

An Overall Guide to Prefilled Vape Pods and Vape Cartridges

Vape pods, and especially prefilled vape pods, have become an increasingly popular option amongst vape fans of all levels. Practical yet price-savvy, powerful yet pocket-friendly, and with a wide range of brands and flavours to suit a variety of tastes, it’s easy to see why.

Nonetheless, there’s still confusion amongst vape fans and customers regarding some basic terminology. Which, admittedly, is partly the fault of the industry; no clear and standardised terminology for vape pods and vape cartridges.

With this blog, which will focus predominantly on prefilled vape pods, we aim to clear up the key points regarding vape pods in a way that’s both clear yet suitably in-depth. Read on, and we’ll take you through the main pillars of vape pods: what vape pods are, the difference between pods and cartridges, how long they last, and which vape pods are best.

Are pods and cartridges the same?

The best way to start this blog would be by clearing up the terminology surrounding vape pods and vape cartridges. In the brief history of vaping, these two terms have one been used interchangeably, which has sometimes resulted in confusion. Indeed, there doesn’t seem to be any fixed consensus across the vaping industry.

We believe it should be easy enough to keep the two items distinct. ‘Vape pod’ is a much broader category, so let’s instead define ‘vape cartridge’. There are two key aspects that differentiate vape cartridges from vape pods, namely that vape cartridges are:

● Always prefilled, and are thus not refillable
● Use a screw fixture rather than the magnetic click-in connection of many pods.


Nowadays, you may sometimes still see other kinds of prefilled vape pods referred to as vape cartridges, although the trend does seem to be toward instead simply using longer terms when referring to vape pods — e.g. “replacement vape pods” “refillable vape pods” “prefilled vape pods” etc. Conversely, the term vape cartridge now often refers specifically to prefilled cartridges of CBD oil and its ilk.

To recap:

● Vape pods are a kind of click-in vape tank.

● Vape cartridges are usually a screw-in component, prefilled with vapable liquid or oil.

● Vape pods fall into two main categories: prefilled vape pods and replacement vape pods.

● This blog discusses prefilled vape pods: these are sold containing e-liquid and a vape coil. When they run out, users swap the entire pod for a fresh one.

● Please see our other blog for more info on replacement vape pods.

What is a vape pod?

Broadly, a vape pod is a type of vape tank, designed to be easier to use than traditional vape tanks. Assuming you are familiar with the basic layout of a vape kit, vape pods do the same thing as vape tanks: they house the vape coil and e-liquid. Vape pods were simply designed as an alternative to vape tanks, more user-friendly and lower maintenance. Thus, a good way of determining what a vape pod is, would be by defining it in opposition to standard vape tanks.

Normally, the two components differ in four main points:

Material: Vape pods are often constructed from some kind of polycarbonate or plastic material, whereas “traditional” vape tanks are made from glass.

Coil: Vape pods will sometimes be sold with in-built vape coils. What this means is that the coil is already installed and cannot be swapped. Instead, once the vape coil has burnt out, users simply swap the entire pod.

Maintenance: As mentioned, some vape pods have in-built vape coils. This provides a lower maintenance approach to vaping; you don’t have to worry about cleaning your tank, messy vape coil swaps, or indeed calculating the correct coil for your vape kit.

Connection type: The majority of vape pods use magnetic connection points that allow you to simply pop the pod in and out of its vape kit. This is part of a conscious decision to make vape pods more seamless and practical than traditional vape tanks, which use screw fixtures (akin to vape cartridges).

Beyond this, the other defining feature of vape pods is that many of them are now sold as prefilled pods, already containing e-liquid. You’ll probably recognise prefilled vape pods as the type popularised by Vuse (formerly Vype) and Juul, plus more recent products such as the Elf Bar Mate and Elf Bar Elfa ranges.

How long do vape pods last?

How long vape pods last is a common, broad query, and the common, broad answer we give tends to be: it depends how much you vape! Overall though, prefilled vape pods hold a given amount of e-liquid; in conjunction with their respective device’s battery, this results in an estimated puff count.

So, when we talk about how long vape pods last, we’re typically talking about how many puffs they can provide. Below is a list of some common prefilled pod brands and their average puff counts:

● Vuse ePen — 200 puffs
● Vuse ePod — 275 puffs
● Juul pods — 200 puffs
● Elf Bar P1 pods — 500 puffs
● Elf Bar Elfa pods — 500 puffs
Voom pods — 300 puffs


If one wanted to convert this puff count to cigarettes, we would usually say that 200 puffs is in the 15-20 cigarettes range, whereas 500 puffs would be more like 40 cigarettes.

As you can see, the pioneering prefilled pod brands Vuse and Juul sit around 200-300 puffs, whereas more recent offerings from Elf Bar have a slightly higher puff range. The reasons for this is simply improvements in battery technology; whilst all of these pods hold similar volumes of e-liquid, the Elf Bar devices are much newer than their Juul and Vuse counterparts, and thus have more powerful batteries.

Which pod vape is best?

As with most questions surrounding the best vape, the answer tends to fall along lines of personal preference. That being said, we still have a couple of pod vapes that we can heartily recommend to our customers.

Vape pods and pod vape kits have become an increasingly popular option, thanks in part to their relative practicality and ease of use when contrasted with more “traditional” vape kits. Their ongoing popularity has also been bolstered by the prevalence of disposable vapes; many of those who started their quit smoking journey with disposables are finding that they want to move onto a better long-term solution.

If you’re someone who’s looking to level up from disposable vaping, we would recommend an option like the Elf Bar Mate. It has many of the same flavours that disposable fans will be familiar with, and a similar slim, pocket-friendly design. Simply pop in your preferred vape pod flavour and puff away.

Our overall recommendation though, would have to be either of the pod vape kits from Vuse. The Vuse ePen and the Vuse ePod are stalwarts in the world of pod vape kits, and their continued popularity is a testament to their leading qualities in both design, ergonomics, and flavours.

Their sleek, soft-touch design gives a truly premium in-hand feel, whilst their vape pod flavour range is a little more refined than other brands; alongside lighter, fruity favourites, Vuse have a mouthwatering range of Mint blends and — crucially — a variety of robust Tobacco flavours that make them ideal for adult smokers looking to quit smoking for good.

Prefilled Vape Pods at myCigara

Here at myCigara, we exist to make the UK smoke-free. We believe that vaping is a truly viable option for people who are looking to quit smoking for good. That’s why we aim to offer industry-leading content and product education, so that our customers are able to make an informed decision about whether vaping is right for them, and how to get their own personal quit smoking journey started in the right direction.

If this is all totally alien to you, we would recommend starting off over at our ‘new to vaping’ page. On the other hand, if you’re ready to get straight to the heart of the matter, why not check out our rundowns on the best vape pods for Vuse, for the Elf Bar Elfa and the Elf Bar Mate, as well as for Voom.

 Beyond that, we’re here to help: it truly is our main priority that all of our customers have the best possible first-time experience with vaping. To that end, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions, or head into your nearest myCigara vape shop for a friendly chat with our expert staff.

Check Out Our Other Guides

Transitioning MTL to DTL Vaping

Oct 03, 2022 Theo Wilson

What is a Dry Hit?

Sep 26, 2022 Jemma Wolfe

Accidental Quitting

Sep 20, 2022 Jemma Wolfe

Synthetic Nicotine Explained

Sep 15, 2022 Jemma Wolfe