Technology & Culture

Should I Stop Using Disposable Vapes?

With the environmental impact of disposable products becoming a talking point, should you stop using them?

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What Is a Disposable Vape?

Disposable vapes have quickly become one of the most talked-about subjects around vaping and not always for good reasons. Although they work in exactly the same way as a standard vape kit, they arrive prefilled with e-liquid and feature a pre-charged battery. They require no setup or maintenance and when they're empty they can be disposed of and replaced. This simple approach has made them popular with both new vapers and those looking for an easier time. However, issues surrounding long-term cost and waste generation mean that a lot of vapers don’t consider them a viable option. 

Why Should I Move Away From Disposables?

Without the option to refill or recharge your disposable, you’ll have no choice but to throw it away and replace it. When you consider the average disposable, like an Elf Bar, lasts up to 600 puffs, you might find that you’re having to replace your vape on a daily basis. This immediately highlights some key problems with disposables, problems that cause a lot of vapers to ditch them for other kinds of vape kits.

The Price Factor

The most obvious issue surrounding disposable vapes is their price. Costing anywhere between £3 to £6 each, you may find yourself spending up to £50 each week. This might be cheaper than smoking in some cases but compared to the cost of standard vapes like refillable pod kits it is a lot more expensive. Factor in this expense over time and you might find yourself spending over £2000 per year just on disposables. 

Limited E-Liquid Options

Although disposable brands might try and cater to different tastes, the flavour range they offer can feel quite limited. You’ll find a lot of fruit and menthol blends but not much else. This means if you’re in the mood to experiment and perhaps try a tobacco vape, your options may be few and far between. You might even have to switch what device you use just to find your preferred flavour. The same goes for nicotine strengths. The majority of disposables use 20mg nic salt e-liquid and while there are some 10mg options available there’s very little room to experiment or taper down on nicotine strength. 

Waste Generation

There’s no skirting around this issue, disposable vapes generate an awful lot of waste - more than any other kind of vape kit. As the battery and e-liquid receptacle are all built into the same device they’re almost impossible to separate, this separation is a prerequisite for a lot of recycling sites. Although some brands, like Riot Squad, are trying to embrace a more green approach, most companies have made no such move. Take a look down your average high street and among the crisp packets and takeaway containers you’ll probably see a few disposables too. 

What Are The Alternatives To Disposable Vapes?

After reading the above you might be a bit concerned about whether there is a vape for you, one that doesn’t drain your bank account or impact the planet. Not to worry. Long before disposables arrived on the scene, vape kits of all shapes and sizes were available and still are! Here's a handy list of alternatives for you to try. 

Prefilled Pod Kits

Perhaps the closest option to a disposable vape, prefilled pod kits have a distinct difference that makes them cheaper to manage and less wasteful. The pods arrive prefilled with e-liquid (just like a disposable) but when they run out of e-liquid they are the only part of the kits that needs to be replaced, the battery device included is rechargeable and reusable.

Not only does this make prefilled pods a “greener” option, but they’re also cheaper in the long run. A pack of two pods will cost roughly the same as a disposable and will last twice as long. Maintenance is minimal too, all you’ll have to remember to do is keep the kit charged and replace the pods when they’re empty, so even if you’re brand-new to vaping these kits shouldn’t offer any problems.  

Refillable Vape Kits

Refillable vape kits are an umbrella term that covers refillable pod kits as well as kits that use refillable tanks. The difference between the two is that pods are made of plastic and feature either built-in or removable coils, tanks are made out of glass and always have removable coils. By far the cheapest kinds of kit to use, they also offer the most choice. There are options that are aimed squarely at beginners as well as more advanced vapers. Why are they so inexpensive to maintain? The simple answer is that you will be expected to do more to keep your kit running. But, you’ll be able to use these kits with an e-liquid that you’ve picked yourself and there are no limitations on flavour and nicotine strength. 

Refillable Pod Kits

Refillable pod kits are the more compact option and if you’ve tried a prefilled pod kit before they’ll feel very familiar. Cheaper to maintain than prefilled vapes, a 10ml bottle of e-liquid can cost as little as £1 and will last up to five times longer than a prefilled 2ml pod or disposable (depending on how you vape). The plastic build of the pods also means that they are less likely to crack or shatter compared to glass options. 

If you’re looking for an option that bridges the gap between a prefilled pod and kits with removable coils, we recommend pod kits with built-in coils. Rather than swap out the coil, you’ll just replace the entire pod instead. Although they’re slightly more expensive to maintain than removable coil kits, they can help you get used to the idea of refilling a kit but without the sometimes fiddly task of changing a coil. 

If you’ve gone for a pod kit with removable coils, you’ll need to change the coils about once a week and they’re the cheaper option as there is less to replace overall. Eventually, you may need to change the pods as the plastic doesn't last forever, but you’ll do this far less frequently than with a built-in coil pod though. 

Refillable Tank Kits

Vape kits with refillable tanks are a classic option that has stood the test of time. Varieties include vape pens as well as box mod kits, so even if you’re brand-new to vaping there’s an option for you. You’ll also have access to an even wider selection of e-liquid, with a lot of kits giving you the ability to use either a high VG, 50/50 or high PG e-liquid. When it comes to coils, they’ll have to be replaced around once a week like with refillable pods and will often come in different varieties. Being able to try different coils gives you more opportunities to find your perfect balance of flavour and vapour creation. 

Aside from increased e-liquid compatibility, a lot of vapers report that glass tanks create a better flavour from e-liquid. It’s similar to how a fizzy drink might taste better out of a glass bottle than a plastic one. Glass tanks can also be fully disassembled and cleaned and the only time they’ll need to be replaced is if a break occurs, in these instances a replacement glass section is almost always cheaper than a new pod. Generating the least amount of waste; if you’re looking to increase your green credentials, a refillable tank is an obvious choice. 

Summing Up

As you can see, disposable vapes really are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to what’s available. Even if you’re just starting your journey, it’s easy to find an option that’s simple to use, cheap to maintain, and gives you the freedom to find a flavour that really suits you. If you’re looking to find your next kit, Vape Club stocks the biggest range online. With everything from pocket-friendly pods, all the way to advanced open tank kits available, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs. Thanks to free next-day delivery, you won’t be left hanging around, and with a dedicated clearance sale page, you can find your perfect kit at a lower price too. 

Toby Kilroy avatar

Toby Kilroy

Journalist at POTV
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Toby has been vaping since early 2012 and has used an array of devices and kit in that time. He sometimes writes up reviews but is often found with his head stuck in pages of code with a confused smile on his face. Toby also helps run his wife's site and has two children. He sometimes fondly remembers having free time and occasionally manages to sneak away to put his head into a good book!

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