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What are Pod Cartridges?

by Theo Wilson

Refillable Vape Pods & Cartridges: An in-depth Guide

Vape pods are becoming more and more popular in the world of vaping, being a choice for intermediate to advanced users and often unconsciously being the vape style of choice for beginners, too.

However, despite the prevalence of vape pods, there’s still confusion regarding what exactly they are, their different types, and not least some blurriness when it comes to terminology.

More recently, the dust has settled when it comes to vape pods; the terminology is clearer and, crucially, there are now two distinct types of vape pod to be aware of: replacement vape pods aka refillable vape pods, and prefilled vape pods.

This blog will focus on the former category and run through all the major points surrounding refillable pods: the difference between pod and a cartridge, how to refill your pod, how long refillable pods last, and when you should replace them.

What is the difference between a pod and a cartridge?

The most sensible way to begin this blog would be to clear up some vape pod terminology. Although the terms ‘vape pod’ and ‘vape cartridge’ used to be thrown about somewhat interchangeably, they are in fact two distinct items; related, but with relatively differing functions and purposes.

Bearing in mind that language and usage is ever-changing over time, we want to take a moment to set the record straight regarding the difference between vape pods and vape cartridges:

● Initially, the term vape cartridge was used interchangeably with vape pod, which caused some confusion amongst vape fans.

● Nowadays, the term vape pod has become preferred usage, and refers to either refillable pods or prefilled pods.

● As of the time of writing, vape cartridges are a distinct category from vape pods; vape cartridges are a type of vape tank that are always prefilled and use a screw connector rather than the magnetic “click-in” type used by vape pods. Furthermore, they are typically used for CBD oil rather than standard e-liquid.

Whilst you may still see prefilled vape pods referred to as vape cartridges, this is becoming less common, and continuing to use both terms doesn’t really help matters. The best thing you can do to avoid confusion — for yourself, for others, and when shopping for vape products — is to stick with the term vape pods.

Beyond that, you can simply specify: either refillable vape pods/replacement vape pods, or prefilled vape pods. If you want to know more about the second type, have a read of our full guide to prefilled pods.

Can vape pods be refilled?

Quite simply, vape pods can be refilled as long as they are replacement vape pods, A.K.A refillable vape pods. So how do you know if you’ve got refillable pods? Perhaps the simplest way to tell if you’re dealing with a replacement vape pod is whether it’s sold without any e-liquid in it.

If a vape pod comes with vape juice already in it, then it’s a prefilled pod, and these are NOT designed for refilling. On the other hand, replacement vape pods are always sold empty, allowing you to fill — and later refill — them yourself.

Refilling vape pods is a fairly straightforward procedure — it may vary somewhat depending on your specific pods, but the general gist is much the same. Somewhere on the pod you will find an opening, protected by a rubber or silicone stopper. Unstop the opening, then fill the pod with your e-liquid of choice — avoid filling it to bursting, leave a little margin for error, and a little space just to be sure you don’t make any unnecessary mess.

Refillable vape pods can be refilled multiple times, as the name makes clear. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can keep refilling forever — which brings us to our next point.

How long do refillable pods last?

How long refillable pods last will vary, depending heavily on one key factor: how much you vape! That being said, most refillable vape pods have a given e-liquid volume, which should give some indication of how much mileage you’ll get from a full pod. This volume differs a bit, but — in accordance with TPD regulations — the maximum volume of any vape pod or vape tank in the UK is 2ml.

A refillable pod with a 2ml capacity will allow the typical user to enjoy around 500 vape hits before needing to refill. Again, how long 500 hits takes you depends on how heavily you vape; for more moderate users, this is probably around four day’s worth of vaping, whereas for heavy vape users this may not be more than a couple of days.

If you’re curious about how long refillable pods last in terms of product lifespan — i.e. how often you should replace your vape pods — we’ll cover that in this next section.

When should I replace my pod cartridge? 

Ideally, you should replace your vape pod as soon as you notice a decrease in performance, such as reduced favour or vapour, or vape hits that are weak or dry. At a purely theoretical level, vape pods last indefinitely — barring material damage to the pod itself, such as cracks.

However, you of course should be replacing your pod regularly. In addition to the actual pod, there is also the vape coil to consider; this too, will eventually become unusable due to either burning out or becoming overly saturated with vape juice.

In terms of frequency, how often you should replace vape pods depends again on how heavily you vape: more frequently for heavy vapers, less so for moderate vape users. Below we’ll give you some guidelines for how often you should replace your refillable vape pods:

● Heavy vape users: replace vape pods at least once a week

● Moderate to light vape users: replace vape pods at least every two to four weeks

● Vape users of any level: if you use your vape with any kind of regularity, you should replace your vape pods at least once a month.


Beyond these general guidelines, you will ideally get a feel for your given vape kit over time and thus be able to decide for yourself when it’s time to replace your refillable vape pods. To reiterate, these are typical signs that it’s time for a swap:

● Weak, reduced flavour
● Weak, reduced vapour
● Weak, dissatisfying throat hits
● Dry throat hits

As a final note regarding replacement pods and product lifespan: the majority of replacement vape pods are sold with in-built coils, meaning that the coils are already installed, and cannot be replaced. The advantage of this is that you don’t need to worry about changing or swapping coils and instead simply replace the entire pod when the time comes. If, however, you have refillable vape pods that allow for coil replacement, you will likely find that you’ll need to replace coils more frequently than you replace the pods themselves.

Refillable Pods at myCigara

At myCigara, we exist to make the UK smoke-free. It is our belief that vaping is a viable method of smoking cessation that can help anyone looking to quit smoking for good. By offering in-depth product education and industry-leading content, we can allow customers to make an informed decision about how vaping can best serve them on their own personal quit smoking journey.

For total vaping beginners, we’ve got a handy ‘new to vaping’ page aimed at giving you a solid grounding, alongside our variety of vaping tips & guides. We hope you’ll find something on our site that will serve you well on your journey toward smoke-freedom. If you’ve got any questions about vaping, don’t hesitate to get in touch, or pop into your nearest myCigara vape shop for a friendly chat with our expert staff.

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