Here at Versed Vaper, detailed, relevant, and objective testing is central to everything we do. Read all about our process and learn how we test, rate, and review pod vapes.
Pod vapes are loved for their simplicity and portability. They’re one of the most popular vaping devices, second only to disposable vapes. However, unlike a disposable, pod vapes give you more customizability such as being able to fill them with your own ejuice. Pod vapes also frequently come with adjustable airflow as standard, with many also offering adjustable wattage.
All these features and functions necessitate thorough, clear testing in order to accurately evaluate how good a pod vape truly is. However, like other vaping devices, there’s a lot of variety among pod vapes and this requires us to evaluate them based on their value and use-case.
Pod mods are one type of pod vape that caters more to direct lung vapers. These devices are often larger and bulkier than pod vapes but offer larger ejuice capacities, larger batteries, and higher maximum wattage outputs. It would be unfair to assess a pod mod in the same way as a pod vape because these devices offer different advantages for different users.
With the needs of different vapers in mind, we evaluate pod vapes and pod mods on a number of different attributes and criteria and offer insight into who they are best suited for. Our review process is backed by thorough testing to determine the performance, battery life, features, usability, build quality, and design practicality of each pod vape.
Design & build quality
Our review on pod vapes starts by taking a look at the design of the device and the overall build quality. Is it small and portable, or is it large and bulky? The size and weight of a pod vape are compared to other devices of similar specifications to determine if it’s larger or smaller than comparable options.
The overall design is also taken into account. We look at the shape and examine the materials for how they feel, their quality, and the overall fit and finish. We also assess the device based on how comfortable it feels in the hand. If there are sharp edges or impractical design choices, we’ll mention them and consider this when determining our final score.
Color options and designs are another key factor when assessing the design of a pod vape. A mix of attractive, outgoing colors and more subtle, professional designs is important to meet the varied tastes of vapers. Nobody wants a hideous vape!
The strength and durability of a pod vape is important, especially since they are meant to be used for many months and not just for days or weeks like a disposable vape. We examine how the paint holds up and closely watch for any signs of wear or cracks.
If there are buttons, screens, or sliders, we test their quality and how they feel. The quality of the screen, if present, is assessed by checking the brightness, type of display (black and white or full color), resolution, and crispness.
If there are previous devices in the series, we compare and contrast the design and quality to its predecessors. We look at what’s new and what’s not. We also look for elements that are improved and those that are a step backwards.
The design and quality of the pods are just as important as they are for the device itself. We examine whether or not the pods are backwards compatible with previous devices in the series, which is important not only for price-conscious vapers but for the ease with which you can find and purchase compatible pods.
What are the available pod options? More pod options is objectively better as it gives users more choice over their vaping experience. We research the resistances that are available, the airflow that they provide, and how easy they are to find for purchase.
How is the build quality of the pods? Darkly tinted pods can make it difficult to see how much ejuice you have remaining, which is not good for user-friendliness. When considering filling, we examine the location of the fill port and evaluate how easy it is to fill the pod with ejuice bottles of different sizes.
Can the pod be filled when still inserted in the device or does it have to be removed? We also look at the plug for the fill port and monitor this area for any leaking.
The magnetic connection that the pod makes with the battery is also assessed. We look for a strong connection that stays firmly in place with day-to-day use. Any wobbling of the pod is also noted and considered when determining the overall score of a pod vape.
We understand that not every vaper wants or needs a screen, adjustable wattage, or adjustable airflow for their ideal pod vape. With this in mind, we evaluate the features of a pod vape based on its value and use-case.
We also evaluate by taking into account the standard features and specifications that are expected of a modern pod vape, such as battery size.With modern pod vapes, the bare minimum capacity for any good device should be 500mAh or more.
We examine the airflow and whether it is adjustable or fixed. In either case, we test the range of airflow that each pod provides. A larger range is always better, as is being able to make fine adjustments to really dial in the airflow.
We look at the method of activation for each device. Is it draw-activated, button activated, or both? Some users may prefer to use one or the other so it’s important to determine how a device is activated and how well those activation methods work. For button activated devices, we test if it’s comfortable to use the button to vape. For draw-activated devices, we test how well the draw activation works including how sensitive it is.
When evaluating the wattage output, we take into account who the device is made for. If it’s a pod vape with a low wattage output, does it provide the mouth to lung vaping experience that you would expect for a low-power device? If testing a pod mod with a high wattage output, we assess if it provides a great direct lung experience that is the hallmark of a good pod mod.
Additionally, if the device allows you to adjust the wattage output, is it a good range of adjustment for the vaping style that the device is meant for? We assess whether the wattage range is adequate for the pods that are available for the device and if the adjustable wattage contributes to a better vaping experience.
If there is a screen then how much information the screen provides is crucial information; a screen displaying your exact battery life percentage is much more useful than a simple battery icon that leaves ambiguity. Is the UI nice and clear? Is there a menu that allows you to change settings or modes? If so, are the additional modes worth using and do they add anything to the experience of using the device?
If no screen is present, we assess the usefulness of the LED battery indicators. We want to see that the device gives ample notice of when your battery is dying, allowing it to be charged up before going completely dead. A device that dies with little or no warning is a red flag.
Battery life and charging
When assessing the battery life of a pod vape we first look at the battery capacity in mAh. We compare this battery capacity to other similar offerings on the market and rate the capacity accordingly. If it’s a lower or higher capacity than other similarly sized devices is taken into account.
However, our testing and ratings go further than just the battery capacity.We test how many days the device can last with normal or heavy vaping habits in order to provide real-world data on device longevity. How many days and how many pods of ejuice you can expect to go through on a single charge is our standard benchmark for pod vapes.
For devices with adjustable wattage and/or different pod resistances that function at different wattages, we test the battery life with each pod to provide an accurate battery life figure (days of use and/or pods of use on a single charge).
We do these tests using ‘normal’ draws that are typical of the average vaper. We do not take extra-long draws or test the battery life in any way that would not be typical of the average vaper. This means one to two second draws with multiple draws from time-to-time. We do not chain vape the devices or use them in any way that could be considered atypical.
Charging speed is assessed and tested. We time how long a device takes to charge by using a wall charger and the charging cable that comes with the device, if supplied. We use a wall charger with the charging rating that is appropriate for the charging speed of the device. For example, we use a 1A charger for pod vapes rated at a 1A charging speed.
We charge pod vapes from the state where they will no longer allow you to take a puff due to low battery. We time the charging from the minute that they are plugged in, up until the battery is fully charged.
When compared to other pod vapes, how does the device perform? The longevity of pods, flavor, warmth of draw, and satisfaction are all factors that contribute to our performance rating.
In order to measure their longevity, we track the amount of refills with each pod. When a pod starts to perform poorly or provide weird, burnt, or unpleasant vapor, we consider this the end of its usable life. The more refills that can be had from a single pod, the better. This means a more economical device and a better overall user experience.
Airflow is one of the most important factors when testing a pod vape. Adjustable airflow offers more possibilities, however fixed airflow pod vapes can be just fine if the device delivers the type of draw that you want. We determine the type of draw and whether it’s a restricted direct lung, direct lung, or mouth to lung draw so that you know if the device will suit your personal preference. If the airflow is adjustable, we test to determine the range that it provides.
We also test how a device performs throughout its battery life. A strong and consistent draw, even as the battery dies, is great for a pod vape. We also test the warmth of the draw; is it a warmer vape or one that is on the cooler side? Is the vapor smooth or is it harsh and off putting?
We test how well the pods work with different PG/VG ratio ejuices by using a variety of eliquids. Does a pod work better with a certain ratio ejuice? Is it compatible with a wide range of PG/VG ratios? Does the pod struggle to wick and keep up with thicker ejuices or does it leak with thinner ones? These are determinations that can greatly help our readers to choose the right device.
In addition to ejuice compatibility, we test and contrast the different available pods against each other. For instance ,we test to find out if one pod provides a better mouth to lung experience or better flavor than another.
We also look out for any flaws or malfunctions during our testing. If a device is leaking, that’s bad news. Auto-firing is even more of a concern. If we experience any issues with our units, we take this into consideration when determining the final product score.
Usability and Value
During the course of our testing, we determine the beginner-friendliness of the device. We look for how easy it is to use and whether or not it is a device that is better suited for beginners or for vapers with experience.
Additionally, we assess the value of the device based on the entire device as a whole. For all that it offers, such as features, performance, and battery life, is it a good purchase for the price at launch?
Assessing the value of a pod vape is also determined by comparing the tested product to what is available on the market. Can you get other quality devices with better specifications and better performance? If so, and if there aren’t any other unique qualities, the product in question is undoubtedly not a good value.
How we rank our buyer’s guides
The way in which we rank the products on our buyer’s guides is heavily dependent on the review score that each product receives. However, there are other key factors that determine the products that we place and the way that they are ranked:
- We take into account the use-case of products and include a mix of devices to better suit the needs of different users. For example, a pod vape with the most features is not necessarily the best for all users. Some may prefer simpler, more user-friendly devices and we take this into account when selecting for our buyer’s guides.
- No product that receives fewer than 3.5 stars in a review will be included in our buyer’s guides.
- Products with a tied score are ranked based on editorial and team discussions by taking into account the value of the product.