Pod Mods, The Best Way to Vape? Our Guide to the Best Pod Mods
Pod mods have become an inescapable product over the last few years. They have gone from being regarded as an oddity and the upgrade to cig-a-likes that no one asked for (but we got them anyway), to creating a new category of vape device that is as popular and well-known as any other.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw my first pod mod was,“Yes! This makes sense!” I imagine that many people felt the same way since pod mods have taken off, unlike any other vaping innovation in a while.
The pod mod meets or exceeds all the must-haves that most people demand of an electronic cigarette – they’re tiny, portable, sometimes powerful devices that are easy to use, and more often than not, very beautifully designed.
When pod mods first started coming out, the majority of them were closed system vape kits, which meant that they vaped pre-filled, disposable cartridges so that you couldn’t introduce your preferred e-juice. But all that has changed. Now, there are open system pod mods with refillable cartridges, along with devices that have tanks built-into their minuscule frames.
You can count refillable cartridges and on-board reservoirs as only a few of the ways that pod mods have continued to change ever since they were first introduced. There have been so many new entries into the pod mod market that it might be hard to know all about them, and how they might differ.
So, we at vapingdaily.com wanted to create this guide that’ll not only cover the basics, like what are pod mods and how do they work, but it’ll also introduce you to some of the best pod mods out there right now, as well as some of our personal favorites.
What are Pod Mods?
Pod mods are electronic vaping devices that are small in size, easy-to-use, and typically vape, pre-filled, pod-like cartridges. The actual device consists of a battery with an open slot at one end where the pods are inserted.
How Do Pod Mods Work
Pod mods are not so dissimilar from any other vaping device. The mechanics are still the same – a tank (or cartridge) with a coil and wick setup gets heated to vaporize liquid – except everything with a pod mod is both much smaller and easier to use.
You activate a pod mod by drawing air from its mouthpiece, which triggers a sensor inside to begin heating your coil. Some devices still do have button-activation, however. Attaching the pod to the mod already begins saturating the coil in e-juice, and since there is a very low-power output, there’s not much effort needed to start taking hits, hence no power or firing button to get more power to the coils.
Vapor production does not reach box mod levels, but some devices like the Aspire Gusto and Cue Vapor System, do have higher capacity batteries and are therefore able to put out higher wattages and bigger clouds.
How are Pod Mods Different?
Pod mods are unique in that most of them have no power or firing button, but are draw-activated. Since they are not as bulky as box mods or other pen-style vaporizers, pod mods usually have lower-capacity batteries that run the range of from 100mAh to 900mAh.
A smaller battery also means that pod mods are physically much tinier and more comfortable to carry around than other vaping devices. There is almost no customization that you can perform on pod mod systems, and that is part of their appeal. They require little to no experience with the mechanics and mess associated with other vaping styles.
E-juice pods typically come pre-filled and have built-in coils, so you don’t need to build your own or worry about coil resistance and conductivity. And since pods are disposable, you only need to throw out your old one and insert a new pod into the battery.
Pod Mods: Open System vs. Closed System
Also known as an open or closed loop, an open or closed system pod mod refers to whether the device takes only pre-filled or refillable cartridges (some, like the Envii FITT, can take both). Both the open and closed systems have their supporters and their detractors, and there are many reasons to like and dislike either of the two.
The most obvious reason to dislike the closed system is that you can only vape the e-juice that comes in the pre-filled cartridges, of which there can sometimes be a limited amount of options. Some early pod mods used nicotine salts, rather than traditional VG/PG mixes of e-juice.
Nicotine salts have a higher concentration of nicotine that provides for an experience that closely resembles smoking, with mouth-to-lung and throat hits being a pod mod mainstay. With pod mods catching on as they did, manufacturers were forced to offer pod mod users more variety regarding not only e-juice flavor and strength but also in pod mod design.
Some manufacturers do try and provide users with as many flavor options as they can. They often team up with e-juice manufacturers directly, as Aspire did with Halo, to produce e-juice pods for their specific pod mod model.
But a closed system also has the advantage of providing the user with a hassle-free interchange between full and empty cartridges. You not only don’t have to refill your cartridges, but you also don’t need to swap out your coils, or buy a new tank or atomizer should it become damaged.
Hearing the need for an open system pod mod, some pod mods makers have introduced devices with built-in tanks and reservoirs giving users the option to vape their preferred e-juice. But, regardless of whether you are vaping on an open or closed system pod mod, the device is still sure to remain stylishly slight and supremely portable.
The Best Pod Mods Out Right Now
I speak for myself, but I was an early fan of pod mods. Pod mods, for me, hit all the right buttons regarding size, ease-of-use, and attractiveness. And although they all follow the same fundamental principle, pod mod manufacturers have still been able to find novel and exciting ways to differentiate their models.
Here is a short, but comprehensive list of some of the best pod mod systems we have reviewed here at vapingdaily.com. Some of them stand out for their small sizes, others for their e-juice capacity and still others for their looks and design.
Being one of the newer pod mod systems, the KandyPens Rubi carries in it all of the innovations and upgrades that have come out collectively in the last few months. It has a small, 280mAh battery, but its vapor-producing qualities are unmatched for a pod mod device.
Stylistically, the KandyPens Rubi does resemble a lot of other pod mods, but since I’m an admirer of how these pod mods look in general, I appreciated the Rubi’s short stature, sleek, rounded frame, and uncomplicated interface.
It is a draw-activated system, and its pod can vape both e-juice and oils. The pod capacity is 1ml, so it is on par with the standard for most other pod mod systems.
The pods contain a ceramic coil, and organic Japanese cotton as a wicking material, so the flavor quality of your e-juices or oils will be way above average. Charging takes about an hour, and a fully charged battery will last you at least 300 puffs.
KandyPens also includes a lifetime warranty for the Rubi, so that guarantees a supremely well-made device that can be easily replaced.
KandyPens Rubi Features
- Refillable 1 ml pod (open system)
- LED battery indicator light
- Dimensions: 100 mm x 17mm x 8.5 mm
- Draw activated
- USB charging
- Ceramic coil and organic Japanese cotton
KandyPens Rubi: Pros
- Beautiful-looking device
- Portable and easy to handle
- Great cloud production
- Flavorful hits
KandyPens Rubi: Cons
- Small e-juice capacity
- No pass-through charging
Juul Electronic Cigarette
The Juul, I don’t think many people will disagree with me when I say this, is largely responsible for ushering in the era of the pod mod. When e-cigs fell out with consumers who deplored their sub-par performance and poorly-made designs, the Juul, by Pax, was the answer to all those complaints.
The Juul was one of the first pod mods to also use nicotine salts in their pods, which did a better job of mimicking the actual physical effects of smoking. The Juul uses a pre-filled pod with a 0.7ml capacity, which is just enough for a full day’s use and has a higher-than-usual nicotine content of 50mgs or 5ml.
There are four different flavors available for the Juul starter kit – Cool Mint, Fruit Medley, Creme Brulee and Virginia Tobacco, but Juul has since come out with more. The Juul is draw activated and requires only a slight tap anywhere on its body to prompt the LED light to show you the battery level.
Juul Electronic Cigarette: Features
- 0.7ml capacity pods (closed system)
- High nicotine content
- Built-in mouthpiece
- LED indicator light
Juul Electronic Cigarette: Pros
- Very portable
- Easy to use
- Great mouth-to-lung hits
- Satisfying flavor
Juul Electronic Cigarette: Cons
- Short battery life
The Drop comes aptly titled since it is shaped like a fat-bottomed drop of August rain. The device consists of two pieces, the 300 mAh battery and the tank section, which is divided into two and can hold 2 ml of e-juice. The Suorin is an open system device and is draw-activated.
Its 1.3ohm coils are excellent for restricted mouth-to-lung hits, and its cartridge is guaranteed not to leak. The battery can last at least a full day when charged fully. There is no magnetic attachment between the tank and the battery, so some tanks have been known to come out too easily.
Suorin Drop: Features
- 300mAh internal battery
- Resistance range between 1.3-1.4ohms
- 2ml tank capacity
- Quick charging time (just under one hour)
- Excellent ergonomic design
Suorin Drop: Pros
- Extremely small and lightweight
- Very portable, very discreet
- Leak-proof tank
- Great mouth-to-lung hits
Suorin Drop: Cons
- Slow activation time
- Short battery life
- No magnetic connections
Aspire Gusto Mini
The Aspire Gusto Mini was one of the first pod mod devices to offer a huge 4.2ml tank capacity (on non-TPD models, TPD models had 2ml tank capacity). It is a remarkably small device measuring in at only 70mm in height and a little over 20mm in thickness, the Aspire Gusto Mini is a closed system device, whose pods have a 1.5ohm coil inside.
The Aspire Gusto consists of a battery with a removable cover that reveals where the pods are loaded. The cloud production is better than normal on the Aspire Gusto Mini since its packs a 900mAh battery and can pump out over 17W. The Aspire Gusto Mini has a firing button on its side, as well as some battery level indicator lights.
Aspire Gusto Mini: Features
- 4.2ml tank capacity (non-TPD countries)
- 900mAh battery
- One-button operation
- Protruding mouthpiece
Aspire Gusto Mini: Pros
- Powerful (for a pod mod) 17W output
- Great cloud production
- Great for direct-lung and mouth-to-lung vaping
- Extremely portable
- Durable build
Aspire Gusto Mini: Cons
- EU version has high nicotine content (20mg)
Laan Pod Mod
The Laan Pod Mod is a forward-thinking pod mod that features a 2ml open system pod. The Laan is a bit bulkier in size and weight compared to most of pod mod system, and this is because of its larger-than-normal 1300mAh battery capacity.
The Laan takes the shape of a tube-style vape pen, although it does not have any buttons and is draw-activated. One feature the Laan has that puts it ahead of most devices is that it is Bluetooth compliant, and when you download the Laan app onto your smartphone you can customize your vaping experience further by adjusting your wattage and temperature.
And with the coils purporting to be sub-ohm capable, at 0.2 and 0.5 respectively, the Laan can also deliver what most other pod mods cannot, and that is sub-ohm vaping. But the Laan also has some low-tech features, like a fine leather outing to it cigar-tube shape.
Laan Pod Mod: Features
- 2ml tank capacity
- Pods semi-disposable
- Airflow valve
- LED battery level indicator lights
- Hidden USB charging port
Laan Pod Mod: Pros
- Long battery life
- Great shape
- Leather grips
- Metal mouthpiece
Laan Pod Mod: Cons
- Replacement coils not yet available
- Questionable sub-ohm capacity
Kimsun Smart 4R Kit
The Kimsun Smart 4R was the first device I reviewed from Kimsun, and it was a remarkable device, regarding both performance and compactness. The Smart 4R is an open-system device with a removable top section that houses both its 4ml tank and mouthpiece.
The Smart 4R is an oval-shaped device whose only other removable part is the battery cover/door that also keeps the tank and mouthpiece in place. Just like with the Aspire Gusto Mini, you are sure to get great-looking clouds with the Smart 4R thanks to its powerful 1100mAh battery.
The Smart 4R is button-operated and has a line of LED battery indicator lights along its side. It is a powerful, easy-to-use device that can jump from direct-lung and mouth-to-lung hits.
Kimsun Smart 4R Kit: Features
- 4ml tank capacity
- 1100 mAh battery
- 0.5ohm, stainless steel coil
- USB charging
Kimsun Smart 4R Kit: Pros
- Practical, great-looking design
- Inexpensive, but still good quality
- Great tank capacity
- Quick charging time
- Powerful battery
Kimsun Smart 4R Kit: Cons
- No cons
Cue Vapor System
The Cue Vapor System is the first and only entry from Cue Vapor. The Cue Vapor System borrows a lot from the Aspire Gusto Mini, especially regarding its shape and tank capacity. The Cue Vapor System is a button-activated, closed pod mod system with their Cue Cartridges being able to hold nearly 5 ml of e-juice with a nicotine content of close to 3mgs.
The battery, at 1500mAh, is one of the more powerful batteries for a pod mod device and it can offer long, sustained vaping sessions. But alongside the sub-ohm coils in the Cue Cartridges, a 1500mAh can also provide substantial cloud cover.
Cue Vapor System: Features
- 1500mAh battery
- 5ml e-juice capacity
- Removable cartridges
- Sub-ohm capable
Cue Vapor System: Pros
- Long lasting battery life
- Excellent e-juice capacity
- Great variety of e-juice flavors
- Easy to use
- Quick charging time
Cue Vapor System: Cons
- Replacement cartridges a little pricey
What’s Next for Pod Mods
If you think about it, pod mods contain all those essential elements of vaping, like having a battery, coils, wicks, and e-juice, except everything, is in the miniature. Some might point to a lack of customizability as a flaw about pod mods, while others might point to this very same quality as a positive rather than a negative.
There is no denying that pod mods have secured their territory in the vaping world. They do not seek to replace vape pens or box mods. Pod mods offer, instead, an alternative to people who want to start vaping, but might be put off by all the technicality and complicated set-ups of vape pens and box mods.
And that is also the other defining feature and advantage that pod mods have over different vaping styles – their simplicity. This is also the reason why many more traditional box mod and vape pen manufacturers are producing pod mod systems.
With a pod mod device, companies can attract people who are curious or interested in vaping with an introductory device that is easy to use and effective at delivering an experience as familiar as smoking. And, if these same people decide to make a move to a more advanced level, then a company can offer their other models and styles.
The challenge is, however, to see how much more can be done with the relatively simple set-up of a pod mod that keeps it simple but is innovative and cutting-edge at the same time.