A vape pen is a cylindrical vaping device that, true to its name, is shaped a bit like a pen. Vape pens occupy something of a middle ground in the spectrum of vaping products. Vape pens are very simple to use, so many people select them as their first vaping devices. These days, however, pod systems are enjoying increased popularity among new vapers because they’re both very tiny and – with nicotine salt e-liquid – incredibly satisfying for smokers. For a pod system owner, a vape pen is a great step-up device that provides improved functionality along with virtually the same level of simplicity.

So, what is a vape pen? In this article, we’re going to start by answering that question in abstract terms. Then, we’ll help you choose the best vaping device for your needs by explaining how vape pens vs. pod systems compare.

What Is a Vape Pen?

As we’ve just explained, a vape pen is a tube-shaped vaping device with physical dimensions resembling those of an actual pen. Vape pens have a few features that are usually consistent from one brand and model to the next.

  • A vape pen generally has just one battery. While a few vape pens have removable batteries, most are permanent. You’ll charge a vape pen with a built-in battery by connecting it to a USB port.
  • A vape pen generally has a refillable tank. The tank may be permanent or removable. A removable tank gives you the flexibility to try other tanks that operate within the vape pen’s capabilities. Permanent tanks are a bit easier to use because you never need to wonder about whether your vape pen and tank are compatible with one another. In addition, permanent tanks are usually sealed at the bottom to make leaking impossible. However, removable tanks can usually produce bigger vapour clouds.
  • A vape pen generally has a single-button control scheme. You’ll press and hold the button to vape. If the vape pen has adjustable power levels, you’ll switch between power settings by pressing the button a few times in succession.
  • A vape pen may have a tank designed for mouth-to-lung or direct-to-lung inhaling. You can learn more about the two inhaling styles in our article about choosing the best sub-ohm tank. In short, though, you can identify a tank’s intended inhaling style by looking at the mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece looks like a cigarette filter, it’s a mouth-to-lung tank. If the mouthpiece is winder than a cigarette, it’s a direct-to-lung tank.

Vape Pen vs. Pod System

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, a vape pen is the ideal step-up device if you’re an intermediate vaper looking for an upgrade from your pod system. These are the primary ways in which vape pens vs. pod systems differ.

  • Vape pens are slightly larger than pod systems and therefore offer better vapour production and longer battery life. A pod system, for instance, usually has a battery capacity of around 200 mAh. Vape pens typically have battery capacities of 1,000 mAh and higher.
  • Despite their more advanced capabilities, vape pens remain very simple to use thanks to their single-button control schemes. If you’re already using a refillable pod system, you’ll find a vape pen just as easy to operate.
  • Some vape pens have adjustable power levels that allow you to get bigger, warmer vapour clouds when you want them. A pod system generally doesn’t let you adjust its power level.
  • Most vape pens have manual fire buttons, while pod systems usually have automatic puff sensors. You can press and hold a manual fire button before you start inhaling, so vape pens tend to produce dramatically bigger vapour clouds compared to pod systems.
  • Vape pens usually work fine with thicker e-liquids and thus give you a little more flexibility than pod systems in that area. In comparison, pod systems usually have atomizer coils with small wick holes and may produce dry hits with thick e-liquids.
  • Since a vape pen will work with almost any e-liquid on the market, it gives you the ability to reduce your nicotine intake at your own pace. You can even mix your own e-liquids to make nicotine strengths in between the strengths that your favourite vape juice brand offers. That’s difficult to do with pod systems since those devices usually work best with thin nicotine salt e-liquids.