Cigalikes vs. Pod Systems: Simple Guide for First-Time Vapers

3 min


Shopping for a vaping device for the first time is a huge decision for anyone. Your goal, of course, is to successfully use vaping as a means of reducing your cigarette cravings and ultimately quitting smoking. As soon as you begin looking for your first vaping device, though, you’ll find a head-spinning level of variety. Choosing a cigarette brand certainly isn’t that difficult; there’s no functional difference between one cigarette brand and the next, so you’ll have pretty much the same experience regardless of the brand you buy.

Vaping kits, on the other hand, can be completely different from one another. The differences between different vaping products probably have a lot to do with the fact that a vaping device is fundamentally a gadget at heart. When it comes to gadgets, people have a wide array of individual preferences and want devices that conform to those preferences. If you don’t do your research before buying, there’s every chance that you could end up with a vape kit that isn’t right for a new vaper at all. 

We don’t want that to happen – and this guide is going to help you. 

The first thing you need to know about buying an e-cigarette as a new vaper is that the two most popular types of vaping devices for newbies are cigalikes and pod systems. Although you’re likely to be happy with either type of device, cigalikes and pod systems each have their own sets of benefits that you should consider before deciding which type of device is going to be the one for you. 

Before we jump too far ahead of ourselves, though, let’s start at the beginning. What exactly are cigalikes and pod systems? 

Cigalikes and Pod Systems: What They Are

In case it wasn’t obvious from the name, a cigalike is any vaping device that’s designed to look like a tobacco cigarette. A cigalike usually stores its e-liquid in a twist-on cartridge, and the cartridge also includes the heating coil that’s used to vaporize the e-liquid. Although there are some exceptions – we’ll discuss a prominent one in a moment – most cigalikes have single-use cartridges that you use until they’re empty before throwing them away.

Pod systems are also small vaping devices, but they’re a bit larger than cigalikes and do not resemble tobacco cigarettes. A pod system often resembles a small USB flash drive, but there are also pod systems with more unusual shapes such as teardrop- and gemstone-shaped devices. Rather than storing its e-liquid in an opaque twist-on cartridge, a pod system uses a translucent drop-in pod.

What Are the Benefits of a Cigalike?

The biggest benefit of cigalikes is that they are, by far, the vaping devices that most resemble tobacco cigarettes in the way they look and feel. A cigalike is the only type of vaping device that you can hold comfortably between two fingers. You can even hold a cigalike in your mouth if you want to. 

Cigalikes are easily the simplest vaping devices to use. To use one, all that you need to do is charge the battery by connecting it to your computer, connect a cartridge by screwing it into the battery and vape by puffing on the cartridge. If the LED on the end of the battery blinks when you try to vape, the battery is dead and needs to be recharged. If the cartridge loses its flavor, it’s time to replace the cartridge. 

Most cigalikes store their e-liquid in pre-filled cartridges that aren’t refillable or reusable. Using a device with pre-filled cartridges is the easiest and most convenient way to vape, but pre-filled cartridges also have a drawback in that they’re only available in a limited selection of flavors. Most e-cigarette companies don’t want you to fill their devices with your own e-liquid, but V2 Cigs UK is one of the few exceptions. With V2 Cigs, you can switch from pre-filled cartridges to a refillable tank without buying a new vaping device.

What Are the Benefits of a Pod System?

Although a pod system doesn’t give you that familiar cigarette-like feeling in the hand or mouth, the fact that a pod system is slightly larger than a tobacco cigarette does give it a couple of advantages. Namely, the larger size of a pod system allows it to have a slightly larger battery and to hold a little more e-liquid. A pod system may therefore give you more vaping time than a cigalike between battery charges and pod changes.

There are two different types of nicotine used in e-liquid. Those two types are freebase nicotine and nicotine salt. Freebase nicotine has the benefit of being more bioavailable, and it’s the type of nicotine that most cigalikes use. Nicotine salt, on the other hand, has the benefit of being less alkaline. The reduced alkalinity makes nicotine salt easier to inhale and allows for the production of higher-nicotine e-liquids that don’t cause throat irritation.

If you live in a nation that doesn’t have a restriction on e-liquid nicotine strengths – such as the United States or Canada – you may find a pod system more satisfying than a cigalike because pod systems generally use nicotine salt e-liquid and usually have higher nicotine strengths.

Some nations – such as the United Kingdom and the European Union – do restrict the nicotine strength of e-liquids. Where nicotine strength restrictions are in place, pod systems don’t have the advantage of being higher in nicotine than cigalikes. If a cigalike with freebase nicotine and a pod system with nicotine salt have the same nicotine strength, the cigalike will be the more satisfying of the two devices due to the higher bioavailability of freebase nicotine.

The final benefit of pod systems compared to cigalikes is that many of them are specifically designed to be refillable. If you want to experience the full variety of flavors available in the world of e-liquid, you’ll want to buy a refillable pod system rather than one that uses pre-filled pods. That’s because companies that manufacture pre-filled pod systems make the majority of their money from selling the refill pods and do not want people filling their own pods. 


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