Verdict Time: Disposable Vapes VS Rechargeable E-Cigarettes

Disposable vaping is taking the vaping world by storm and shows no signs of letting up.

Combining ease of use, cheap upfront costs, and no maintenance requirements, disposable vapes, like elves bar vapes, are so simple to use that even my grandma could vape with them. They are a popular choice for both new and veteran vapers, and this is reflected in their growing popularity and level of bun sales.

Still, there are some questions to ask yourself before you jump right in and buy a disposable vape without thinking – it’s possible a rechargeable e-cig might be the better choice. Rather than leaving you (not) dry, we’ve carefully summarized the pros and cons of each so you can spend your time getting your nicotine fix rather than postulating on saving a Juul.

The disposable vape

As the name suggests, the disposable vape is meant to be used once and then thrown away. These are pen-style vapes that come with a non-rechargeable battery and pre-filled liquid: once one of the parts runs out or stops working, you don’t change the components. You just get rid of the vape.

The industry standard for these bad boys is around 500 puffs, making them the equivalent of a pack of 20 cigarettes in terms of how long it will take them to finish. They are usually filled with extra strength nicotine salt e-liquids, which contain between 16 and 20 mg per ml of nicotine (compared to starter vape liquids which start with around 5 mg per ml). That’s actually not a bad thing: this type of vape juice has almost no throat hits and delivers very smooth hits, hence their popularity. If you don’t want to start out with such a high level of nicotine, it’s also possible to find disposable vapes with lower dosages.

Advantages of a disposable vape

1. Ease of use

It might sound silly, but it’s actually one of the biggest selling points of a disposable. Smokers trying to switch to vaping often complain that it takes them too long to learn how to smoke: with a cig, you just grab a lighter and put the thing in your mouth; with a vape, there are so many different settings and hurdles to jump through before you know it, you’ve wasted three days trying to learn how to draw nicotine from a cartridge when you could have do it the good old way. Thanks to the disposable, this confusion does not exist. Just stick it in your mouth and go.

2. No maintenance or charging

Disposable products require absolutely no maintenance. Everything is predefined, pre-populated and pre-equipped. The only remaining step is to blow. There are no cables, no need to remember to charge, nothing. Leave it anywhere, vape whenever you want.

3. Lower upfront costs, no commitment needed

Price is an important factor for many. Rather than paying £30 for something you use once and decide you don’t like (all the components of a standard e-cig) you can simply select a disposable which will cost you a maximum of £5-9 . Blow it once and decide you don’t like it? No worries, finish off as many as you can, then throw it away.

Disadvantages of a disposable vape

1. Long-term costs

They may be cheaper in the short term, but in the long term the cost of disposables increases rapidly. You’re essentially paying £5-£9 for around 2ml of vape liquid whereas a refill pack for a traditional e-cig would cost the same (but contain 10ml instead). Paying 500% extra for one or two experiences is okay, doing it all the time would just be silly.

2. Less customization

If you’re the type who wants to try all the wacky flavors of vaping, disposables aren’t exactly your best bet. They are notoriously limited when it comes to flavor selection. To add to that, disposable vapes aren’t customizable – you won’t be able to alter things in terms of strength, draw, or throat hit: whatever the manufacturer dictates, that’s what you’ll get.

3. Ecological impact

“Disposable”. There is no reuse. Once the liquid is used up, the whole thing gets thrown away and taken to a landfill along with its other spent disposable vape buddies (made mostly of plastic). It’s not a good look for planet earth, so if you’re the type to care about that…yeah. Sorry.

The rechargeable electronic cigarette

This refers to any “traditional” vape. These consist of four parts: a battery, a tank, a vape coil and an e-liquid. They are refillable, rechargeable and offer a plethora of customization options.

Almost every aspect of your vaping experience can be customized, and with over a hundred different flavors of vape to choose from (including stuff like roast chicken and Worcestershire sauce), you’ll never be bored.

Advantages of a rechargeable

  1. Long-term costs

Wait… Isn’t that a rehearsal point? Of course it is !

It turns out that the flaws of a disposable vape are the equivalent strengths of a reusable vape…since, you know, “disposable” and “reusable” mean the opposite. But rather than bore you with repeating the same points, I’ll try to convince you with numbers: you’ll save somewhere in the region of £3,000 each year using a refillable vape versus a disposable one. If you love money (and also vaping), there’s really no reason to stick with disposables.

  1. Personalization

Now assuming that for some reason you does not have just like the vape feeling the first time you tried it, no worries – tweak your settings, change the airflow, change flavors, do some voodoo on the vape coil… you’ll end up down on a jumpsuit that you’ll fall in love with. All you need is a good guide to Youtube and an open mind.

  1. Eco-Impact

Rechargeable batteries. Reusable components. Better builds, better quality, no throwing away whole e-cigs when you’re done with them.

Disadvantages of a rechargeable

  1. Maintenance

Aside from the initial start-up costs (which we’ve already covered), the other major downside of a refillable vape is maintenance.

The interview is annoying. Nobody likes maintenance; even the word is painful to type.

You will need to recharge the batteries of your e-cig. You’ll need to refill e-liquid, you’ll need to swap the coils periodically, you’ll need to be able to figure out what’s wrong with the vape when it’s not giving you the hit you want.

But hey, if you take the time to learn how to personalize your vape, all of these steps will become second nature to you. Rather than saying that the main downside of a refillable vape is that it’s boring, it’s more that it’s kind of a commitment, both in terms of time required and start-up costs. You will need to spend some time maintaining your vape and keeping it in decent condition, but if you do, it will give you hits like no other.


Listen, I spoke up a storm and probably convinced you that refillable vapes are the way to go, but they’re both great products. Even if you only bought disposables for the rest of your life, it would still be several times cheaper than buying cigarettes – the least alternative to vaping, in my humble opinion. As long as you’re happy, as long as you have your lungs under control, and as long as you’re high… who cares? The choice is entirely yours!

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