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February 12, 2020 8 min read

Beginners guide to pods and pod mods 2020 (new)

You may be currently using a pod system but wondering about this new type of device on the market called pod mods. Or you could be someone who may be switching from traditional cigarettes to vaping and asking - what are pod systems and why you should be using them?

Well here we explain the major reasons why pods are the way to go for you and we will also explain the new devices called pod mods (the new thing on the market these days).

As a vaper using pod devices, there are 3 things you should consider:

  1. Do you want an experience that closely mimics the sensation of smoking a cigarette?
  2. What is the right nicotine level for you ?
  3. How simple do you want your experience to be ?

Point 1: Do you want an experience that closely mimics the sensation of smoking a cigarette ? 


First off, there is no better time to switch to a pod system and quit smoking for good than now, because there are tons of device manufacturers like GeekVape, Smok, Ncig and others that make excellent pod devices to cater for the new vapers.

I will tell you upfront that if you want a vaping experience that closely mimics the sensation of smoking a cigarette, you can choose either system. Both of them are excellent choices because they both use nicotine salts. Refer to  this article if you are unfamiliar with nicotine salts versus freebase nicotine.

Before we get to pod mods, it’s useful to talk about the differences between a closed and open pod system.

There are basically 2 types of pod systems that have been widely adopted in the market today, namely closed pod systems and open pod systems. Both types are compatible with a type of ejuice known as nicotine salts. 

The main reason why one system is referred to a ‘closed pod system’ and the other is referred to as a ‘open pod system’ is because the closed pod system comes with cartridges pre-filled with ejuice; while an ‘open pod system’ does not come pre-filled (and by default is refillable by the user, hence its ‘open’). So for an ‘open pod system’, the user has to purchase ejuice separately and can fill the cartridge with whatever flavor of juice the user chooses. An ‘open pod system’ also has changeable parts - namely the cartridge and the coil which can be switched out by the user at any time.

Refer to this table for the main differences:


Closed pod System

Open Pod System

Cartridge and coil type

Comes pre-filled with liquid in the cartridge. The cartridge and the ejuice inside it are specifically made to perform on each device.

Each new cartridge comes with a built-in coil inside it ensuring a fresh coil. Coils will decrease in performance over time and everytime you switch to a new cartridge, you’re also getting a new coil which is a good thing. Juice always tastes great on fresh coils. 

Does not come pre-filled with liquid in the cartridge. You have to buy flavors available from ejuice makers. Not a bad thing as there are tonnes of flavors to choose from.

Coils are typically sold separately from the cartridge and it’s up to the user to decide when to change the coils. When the juice doesn’t taste as good or you get a burning taste, it’s probably a sign to change out the coils. When the cartridge gets too dirty to clean out with fresh water, it’s probably time to change out the cartridge. On some devices where the coil and cartridge come pre-built together, its time to switch it out when the flavor deteriorates.

Ejuice compatibility

All closed pod systems use nicotine salts exclusively. But most of the nicotine salts come with a high nicotine strength like 50mg or 35mg or 30mg.

All open pod systems are compatible with nicotine salts, but not exclusively. Most are also freebase ejuice compatible because they sell different coils for nicotine salts and coils for freebase ejuice.

Since you buy the nicotine salts separately, you can choose from a wide range of nicotine strengths like 50mg, 35mg, 30mg, 24mg etc. 

Ejuice performance

The juice is ‘tuned’ or made specifically for the device to provide a consistent vaping experience. If you like the throat hit, flavor and vapor output - great. If not, you’re stuck.

While not specifically made for the device, ejuice makers typically test their juices on a wide range of pods to ensure it works well. Having said that, experimentation is key for you to find the ideal throat hit, flavor and vapor output. You can change your juice as necessary and to your liking endlessly.

Flavor choices

You are limited to the flavors supplied by the pod manufacturer that comes in the pre-filled cartridge. Typically, the flavors are limited and you may get options ranging from 10-12 flavors.

You can choose whatever flavor you want because you are buying nicotine salts from ejuice makers and not the pod device manufacturer. Hundreds of flavors to choose from.

Looks and design

All closed pod systems tend to look the same. They look like thin and elongated USB sticks or are pen style.

A wide variety of designs to choose from to suit your tastes and preferences.

Power level and output

Low wattage. Under 10 watts typically

Low wattage. Anywhere from 10-25 watts.


Definitely more expensive to maintain in the long run. It’s the price you pay for the convenience of having the juice pre-filled in the cartridge for you and having a plug-in-and-use system ready made. 

Cheaper to maintain in the long run. There are a wide variety of budget or premium nicotine salts available in the market for your choosing. Whenever your juice runs out, just refill the cartridge yourself. Whenever the coils need changing, just plug in a new coil. 

Ease of use and adjustability

Very easy to use. Most are draw activated (meaning the device fires when you inhale it automatically) and don’t even use a button to activate. Most of them don’t have anything to adjust in terms of power output.

Easy to use. Some are draw activated while others have a fire button to press as you inhale. Some have adjustable power outputs to give the user some level of customization.


Extremely light weight.

Some are extremely light weight while others can be a little bigger but still very portable.

Battery life

Designed to normally last a day in most cases.

Easily last a day or more as the bigger size allows for a larger capacity battery.

Example devices


UWELL Caliburn, SMOK Nord, Vaporesso Renova Zero, Aspire Breeze



So now that you know the differences between open and closed pod systems, why are they so popular?

Well i’m sure you can tell from the table above - both systems are portable, easy to use and most importantly - they use nicotine salts that can closely mimic traditional cigarettes.

So where do Pod Mods come into the picture?

Since Pod Mods requires the user to refill the cartridge, has changeable coils and cartridges, we can say that it belongs to the ‘open pod system’ family of devices. 

But the key difference here is that they offer more customizable features - namely customizable power output (some of them up to 80watts like the SMOK RPM80). They also offer suitable coil options to handle the higher power (for freebase ejuice) and coil options for lower power (for nicotine salts). All while maintaining a lightweight portable design with a bigger battery capacity.

So clearly, if you are looking for an all-in-one pod to handle both nicotine salts and freebase ejuice, Pod Mods can be the right choice for you.

So should you use Pod Mods?

If you’re looking for an all-in-one device that is compatible with nicotine salts as well as freebase ejuice, Pod Mods are a good choice for you. The customizable power output of Pod Mods can deliver higher power which makes them suitable for vaping freebase ejuice that typically taste better and yield more flavor on higher wattages.

Pod Mods also make coil options for freebase ejuice that allow the device to run on these higher power settings. Typically, coils for freebase ejuice comes in under 1ohm aka ‘sub-ohm’ that are ideal to be run at higher power like 25-33watts for freebase ejuice (like for example - 0.5ohm coils). Needless to say, they can also handle lower power output that is ideal for nicotine salts.

Since each device is slightly different, you can refer to the manufacturer recommended settings and suitable coils for freebase ejuice and nicotine salts respectively.

Perfect right?

Point #2: What is the right nicotine level for you ?

Choosing the right nicotine level for you is a subjective matter. It all depends on the taste and the nicotine kick you get. If you’re..

The type of person that...

Options for you...

Just quit smoking last week

A closed pod system that comes with 50mg or 35 mg nicotine salts.

An open pod system that allows you to choose your nicotine salts flavors separately at different nicotine strengths as well as changeable coils to suit your taste.

Try a new category of ejuice known as  High Throat Hit Pod Compatible (HTPC) ejuice that comes with 18mg freebase nicotine but for your ‘nicotine kick’ and are made to still work well on your pod device or a pod mod device. These HTPC juices come with a stronger throat hit and gives a ‘rougher’ feel on the throat than what nicotine salts can provide. Great for ex-smokers.

Have been using pod devices for a while and want to reduce nicotine consumption and prefer vaping for flavor instead of the ‘nicotine kick’.

Try a Pod Mod open pod system that allows you to try freebase ejuice. Freebase ejuice typically comes with much lower nicotine content like 3mg, 6mg and typically offers better flavor at higher wattages. Or change out the coils and go back to nicotine salts whenever you want for a higher ‘nicotine kick’. 

Pod Mod devices can handle both types of juice, so you have ultimate flexibility to suit your mood at the moment.

Love using a pod device with nicotine salts that give you a smooth ‘nicotine kick’.

Just stick to using nicotine salts on your pod device and don’t bother with Pod Mods. Since you’re not looking for better flavor (which in itself is a subjective matter) or lower nicotine consumption, why bother?

Point #3: How simple do you want your experience to be ?

In terms of ultimate simplicity, a closed pod system is clearly the simplest. You buy the device, stick in the cartridge and off-you-go. No messing around with refilling cartridges or switching out coils. But on the downside, it will be more expensive to maintain in the long-run. 

Alternatively, an open pod system allows the user to tinker and try out more options to suit your vaping style.. A Pod Mod is an extension of the open pod system and offers more customizable features to play with - like power settings and different coil options while still being lightweight and portable. 

While some may view this as too complex, others might see it as an advantage.


Personally, I would recommend that new vapers get a Pod Mod device because it can handle both freebase ejuice and nicotine salts. In reality, closed pod systems cost a lot more to maintain in the long run and this fact alone should sway your decision to an open pod system like a pod or a Pod Mod. A Pod Mod offers ultimate flexibility and its pros outweigh the cons of learning how to use it.

We hope you found this article helpful so check out our nicotine salts and new HTPC juices in our store today!

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