The enormous increase in the availability of disposable vapes has undoubtedly helped many people discover the benefits of vaping. Disposables are an easy-to-use, convenient, and accessible way to vape, and can seem like the best option for smokers to quickly switch to vaping.
Refillable vapes, which can include anything from simple pod devices to vape mods or complex mechanical mods, can seem daunting for beginners or anyone who has become used to the simplicity of disposables.
While it is true that refillable vapes do require more care and maintenance than disposables, there are many great reasons to use one over a throw-away device. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the disadvantages of disposables and the advantages of refillable vapes, and explore why switching to a refillable vape makes sense.
1. Disposables Aren’t as Cheap as They Might Seem
Disposable vapes are an undeniably low-cost option when compared to smoking cigarettes. Depending on how heavily you smoked, they could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a month.
However, when you really sit down and do the math (and we have,) it becomes clear that disposables are easily the most expensive way to vape. It all comes down to the vape juice and how much it costs per milliliter.
A small 1500-puff disposable costs around $10 and contains 4-5ml of e-liquid. That means you’re paying $2-$2.50 per ml. You can certainly reduce the cost by using a 5000-puff disposable; with an average price of $15 and containing 10-13ml of liquid, the cost drops to $1.20-$1.50 per ml. Pretty good, you might think, but not when compared to the cost of the bottled e-liquid used in refillable vapes.
Bottled e-liquid commonly comes in 30ml, 60ml, or 100ml volumes. The average price for 60ml of good quality vape juice is around $12 and, even if your math isn’t great, it should be apparent that this is a much lower price per ml. In this example, you would pay just $0.20 for each milliliter of ejuice. Furthermore, you can easily find 100ml bottles of ejuice for $15, taking the cost down to an even more cost-effective $0.15 per ml!
It should be mentioned that a refillable device could vaporize more eliquid with each puff than a disposable. This will almost certainly be true if you use a sub-ohm, high-wattage vape mod. But if using a small and relatively low-powered pod or pen-style vape, the difference will be minimal.
Learn more about how cost-effective vaping can be in our detailed look at whether vaping is cheaper than smoking.
2. Refillable Vapes are Better for the Environment
You don’t need to be a raging environmentalist to care about how much trash we, as humans, produce. Single-use products are bad for the environment and maybe even be bad for your wallet, as the more waste we produce, the more we will be charged in our taxes to dispose of or recycle it.
Now let’s be clear, disposable vapes are hardly the most significant contributor to single-use waste. But the problem is growing, and there are more potential risks due to the components inside of your disposables.
Let’s look at how much extra waste could be created by using disposables rather than refillable vapes. These numbers are estimates and are based on average vape usage.
Annual Waste: 1500 puff disposable vape
- Li-ion Batteries = 50-100 pieces
- Coils = 50-100 pieces
- Plastic/Packaging = 100-200 pieces
Annual Waste: 5000 puff disposable vape
- Li-ion Batteries = 25-50 pieces
- Coils = 25-50 pieces
- Plastic/Packaging = 50-100 pieces
Annual Waste: Refillable pod vape
- Li-ion Batteries = 1-2 pieces
- Coils = 26-52 pieces
- Plastic Bottles = 8-25 pieces
In many countries, disposable vapes and their components can be recycled. But they often need to be separated from regular trash, either within your household recycling or by depositing them at a recycling plant. Batteries have been shown to cause fires and other problems at waste plants if they end up being processed with regular rubbish, so be sure to get rid of of your disposable vapes in the appropriate manner.
3. Refillable Vapes Don’t Need to be Recharged as Often
The cost of charging a vape battery is small, probably just a few cents a day. Switching to a refillable vape isn’t going to impact that much, but this isn’t so much about cost but rather ease of use.
Rechargeable disposable vapes rarely contain batteries larger than 650mAh, which means that they usually need to be recharged daily; sometimes more than once a day. They also don’t often feature the same range of battery-level warning lights that refillable vapes do, so it’s harder to tell when your vaping is about to be abruptly halted.
The average pod or pen-style vape usually has a 900-1000mAh+ battery inside, and many are available with battery capacities over 1500mAh. This is easily enough to last for up to two days of use before they need to be plugged into an outlet. This means less charging and less worry that your vape will run out of power in the middle of the day.
At the next level, a large vape mod could have a battery with 3000-5000mAh capacity. While you’ll likely use this type of vape at a higher wattage, it could still net you several days of vaping when the battery is full.
4. There’s a Wider Choice of Flavors for Refillable Vapes
Disposables are available in a large range of flavors and if you look hard enough, you can probably find a taste to suit you. However, even this variety is dwarfed by the number of flavors available for refillable vapes. There are literally thousands of flavors and flavor combinations to choose from.
If you like sweet fruit and candy flavors, disposables have definitely got you covered. But if you like something a little less sugary, for example, something with a hint of aniseed or coffee, bottled liquids are the way to go.
Not only is there a much wider choice with bottled eliquid flavors, but you also have the option to mix up your own. You don’t have to test dozens to find the one that works for you, you can go ahead and create it yourself. Add a bit of menthol to your new strawberry and kiwi juice, or combine several of your favorite flavors to create your own perfect mix; the choice is yours.
5. You Can Adapt the Nicotine Strength Much Easier
We firmly believe that vaping is a brilliant alternative to smoking and it can be a powerful tool for reducing nicotine intake and even giving it up altogether. Unfortunately, you are going to find this harder to do if you’re using disposable vapes.
Disposables are most commonly available in 2.5% or 5% strength. Although there are some lower-strength products on the market, they are quite hard to find. Bottled e-liquids for refillable vapes are generally available in a much wider range of nicotine strengths, from 0.3% to 5%, and almost every vape shop will have lower nicotine strength ejuices in stock.
Even if you can’t easily find bottled eliquid in low strengths, it isn’t hard to make your own. Mix half a bottle of 2.5% (25mg) nicotine liquid with half a bottle of nicotine-free liquid, and you’ve got yourself 1.25% (12.5mg) strength (approximately).
6. Tweaking the Throat Hit is Easier With Refillable Vapes
Disposable vapes are designed to appeal to the broadest possible range of users. For this reason, they often contain a 50/50 mix of PG and VG. While you can find disposable vapes with 70VG, 80VG, or other mixes, your options are limited.
The PG and VG ratio in your vape juice can make a big difference to the flavor intensity, but more importantly, also to the throat hit. Eliquid with a higher PG ratio generally gives a sharper throat hit, which is something that many ex-smokers miss when they switch to vaping.
Bottled eliquid for refillable vapes is available in a much more comprehensive range of PG/VG ratios. You can even find close to 100% VG liquids if you find that you are intolerant to vaping PG, as some people are.
Learn more about how PG and VG can affect your vaping experience in our guide to choosing the perfect vape juice.
7. Many Refillable Vapes Can be Customized
This doesn’t apply so much to the increasingly popular pod vapes that are now so widely available, but if you decide to upgrade to a battery mod, customization becomes an option.
Assuming your mod has a 510 threaded connector (most do), you can easily switch out the tank for something smaller or larger, or for a rebuildable tank that allows you to build your own coils. You can switch drip tips from cylindrical to duck-bill shape, or even to an extended mouthpiece that helps cool the vapor.
Several vapes can be fitted with a decorative or protective cover, allowing you to give it a look that is more suited to your style. You can also find some of these for the more popular pod and pen-style vape kits.
Being able to customize your vape won’t be a unique selling point for everybody. But even if you aren’t thinking about swapping out parts right now, it’s still nice to have the option to do it later, whether it’s to change the style or to make the vape work perfectly for the way you want to use it.
The Bottom Line
For the team here at Versed Vaper, choosing between using a disposable or refillable vape isn’t even a question. Refillable vapes offer so many advantages, both in terms of cost and vaping enjoyment, that the choice almost makes itself. Disposables certainly have their place in the vaping universe, but we are quite sure that you won’t regret making the switch.