- Why Pod Systems Beat Tank Systems
- 3 Popular Pod Systems: JUUL, STLTH, & VUSE
- VUSE ePen
- Final Thoughts
Vape pod systems offer many advantages over tank style vape systems, but the market for these sleek and convenient devices is fiercely competitive—and it isn’t always easy to know what product will serve your needs best.
That’s why we’ve broken down and compared the key specs of 3 popular pod systems below. Use what you learn here to make an informed buying decision, then enjoy your new vape device and all the flavours that come with it.
Why Pod Systems Beat Tank Systems
Pod systems use integrated pods instead of separate tanks to hold e-liquid. Compared to tank style vape devices, pod systems have the following advantages:
- More affordable
- Easier to use
- Easier to maintain
- Lighter and more portable
Many users prefer the cigarette-like experience pod systems provide. This also makes them more useful than tank style devices for people who are trying to wean themselves off of traditional tobacco products.
3 Popular Pod Systems: JUUL, STLTH, & VUSE
JUUL, STLTH, and VUSE each offer a popular pod system with its own dedicated following, but which one will be right for you? Below, we’ll rank each of these devices according to the following criteria:
- Ease of use: how convenient is it to charge, prepare, and use the pod system?
- Available flavours: do you get lots of options with your pod system, or just a few?
- Value: how much pod system do you get for your money?
- Portability: can you travel with your pod system, or is taking it on trips a pain?
We’ll start with a brief overview of each device. Then we’ll list its flavours, key specs, pros, cons, available colours, and provide scores (out of 4 stars) based on the criteria above.
The STLTH device is designed in Canada by ex-smokers. Their mission was to create a device that provided a real alternative to traditional tobacco products for adult smokers. With a low profile and a practical, no-nonsense design, this easy to use product delivers on that promise
What we love: the STLTH comes in plenty of flavours and colours, proving that a straightforward vape device doesn’t have to be boring. It’s 420 mAh battery also gives you the ability to enjoy a heavy day of use without having to stop and charge.
What we don’t love (as much): The STLTH only comes with a single 2 mL pod, so we docked it half a point in the value category. The pods also aren’t refillable, so it loses half a point for ease of use as well.
|Available Flavours:||Key Specs:|
|Frost||E-liquid capacity: 2 mL|
|Honeydew Menthol||Strengths: Nicotine Free, 20mg/mL, BOLD 35, BOLD 50|
|Crisp Apple||Refillable: No|
|Tobacco Blend||Activation: Draw activated|
|Flavourless||Battery: 420 mAh|
|Tundra Berry||Battery level indicator: Yes|
|Berry Blast||Charging port: Micro-USB|
|Mango||Full charge cycle: 90 minutes|
|Banana Ice||Overall size (with pod): 105.1 mm x 19.1 mm|
|Shop all flavours||Weight: 26 grams|
|STLTH Pros:||STLTH Cons:|
|Affordable||Only 1 x 2 mL pod included with starter kit|
|Easy to use||Pods cannot be refilled|
|Flavours have various nicotine strengths|
|Similar to the experience of smoking a cigarette|
|Rose Gold Metal||Ease of Use: 3.5|
|Green Metal||Flavours: 4|
|Gold Metal||Value: 3.5|
|Blue Metal||Portability: 4|
|Red Metal||Final: 3.75 out of 4 stars|
Juul offers one of the best-selling pod systems on the market. It has a sleek and modern look, but gives up some functionality to create a lighter and smaller pod system than the STLTH or Vuse systems.
What we love: the JUUL certainly makes an impression, and it’s so light you’ll barely even know it’s in your pocket (although that might also be a drawback, depending on how easily you lose things).
What we don’t love (as much): for a pod system with such a cool design, the JUUL is limited to just 2 boring colour options, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of flavours, either—so it loses some serious points in that category.
Then there’s that 100 mAh battery, which needs to be charged often. Fortunately, the JUUL comes with a magnetic charging attachment that makes it easier to connect to power—but we think they should have just given it a better battery instead.
|Available Flavours:||Key Specs:|
|Mint||E-liquid capacity: 0.7 mL|
|Virginia Tobacco||Strengths: 15mg/mL|
|Golden Tobacco||Refillable: No|
|Cucumber||Activation: Draw activated|
|Fruit||Battery: 100 mAh|
|Vanilla||Battery level indicator: Yes|
|Mango||Charging port: Proprietary USB charging dock|
|Full charge cycle: 50 minutes|
|Overall size (with pod): 94.8 mm x 15.4 mm|
|Weight: 14 grams|
|JUUL Pros:||JUUL Cons:|
|Futuristic design||No controls or menus|
|Lighter than other systems||Smaller battery than other systems|
|Magnetic charging attachment||Pods cannot be refilled|
|Draw activated||Only 7 flavours|
|No flavourless option|
|Only 2 colours|
|Slate||Ease of Use: 3.5|
|Final: 3.25 out of 4 stars|
VUSE used to be called VYPE, but their ePen 3 is largely the same—in fact, it can even use the same cartridges (assuming you can still find any with the original branding). It also has a pretty substantial battery and a wide variety of available flavours, although they only come in low concentrations, which heavier smokers may not appreciate.
What we love: the VUSE ePen 3’s battery is a whopping 650 mAh, which means you should have no trouble going all day with this pod system. It also has 11 different flavours—not quite as many as the STLTH, but significantly more than the JUUL’s paltry 7. Finally, this device lets you vape while it’s charging, which is pretty cool.
What we don’t love (as much): a high quantity of flavours is great, but quality matters too—and that’s where the VUSE ePen 3 falls a bit short. The low nicotine strengths of its pods might be good for ex-smokers who have been out of the woods for a while, but most other users will likely want more from each hit.
The ePen 3 is also significantly bulkier than the other devices on this list, so we have to dock it some points for portability as well as flavours. Plus, it doesn’t come with any cartridges—so it suffers in the value category as well.
|Available Flavours:||Key Specs:|
|Original Strawberry||E-liquid capacity: 2 mL|
|Strawberry Smash||Strengths: 12 and 18mg/mL|
|Fresh Apple||Refillable: No|
|Classic Peach||Activation: Draw activated|
|Peach Whirl||Battery: 650 mAh|
|Tropical||Battery level indicator: Yes|
|Infused Vanilla||Charging port: Micro-USB|
|Crisp Mint||Full charge cycle: 75 minutes|
|Dark Cherry||Overall size (with pod): 123 mm x 27 mm|
|Blended Tobacco||Weight: 39 grams|
|VUSE ePen 3 Pros:||VUSE ePen 3 Cons:|
|Long battery life||Larger and heavier than other systems|
|Wide range of flavours||Only low nicotine strengths available|
|Draw activated||Does not come with cartridges|
|Compatible with VYPE ePen cartridges|
|Can vape while charging|
|Gold||Ease of Use: 4|
|Rose Gold||Flavours: 3.0|
|Blue||Final: 3.3 out of 4 stars|
Choosing Between the JUUL, STLTH, & VUSE
Make no mistake: all of these are strong pod systems for users who want to decrease their dependence on cigarettes, and each of them have their own advantages. In a direct, head-to-head comparison, though, we feel that one of these devices clearly comes out ahead of the others when it comes to our specified criteria:
Ease of Use: VUSE’s ePen 3 just slightly edges out the competition here. The ability to use it while it’s charging is a big plus, although none of these devices are difficult to use per se.
Flavours: STLTH wins this one, hands down—in terms of both quantity and quality. There are tons of available flavours, they come in a nice range of nicotine strengths, and they all taste great.
Value: This one’s a toss-up between STLTH and JUUL. Both of these are highly economical pod systems where you get a lot for your money. VUSE’s ePen 3 falls short here for not including any pods (or cartridges) with its kit.
Portability: STLTH and JUUL tie again in this category. The JUUL is lighter, but its smaller battery means you won’t be able to take it far away from a power source for long—whereas the STLTH offers longer battery life and fits on your person very naturally.
Final Verdict: Tying for victory when it comes to portability and value—and winning outright in terms of flavours—we’re handing the victory to STLTH.
In addition to what we’ve covered above, it’s nice that STLTH is a Canadian product—and its intentionally-restricted pull makes it feel very close to smoking a real cigarette. Learn more about choosing a pod system by contacting us, or browse available STLTH products here.