WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

Open vs closed system devices for nicotine salts

Vape Pods: How to choose the right device for nicotine salts

 

January 12, 2018 11 Comments

Thanks to the innovation of vaping, the number of vaping devices out there to choose from can be paralyzing.

Too Many Choices, Not sure where to start Meme

For smokers who have been accustomed to the simple act of buying a pack of cigarettes and smoking it, vaping can seem like a daunting task. We totally get it. With all of the buttons, flashing lights, customizations, and advanced features, it can be a bit of a time-suck to figure how it all works. The good news here is that we can make your life easier by simplifying everything.

If you read our beginner’s guide to nicotine salts, then you probably want to know if you should get an open or a closed system. No need to fret, Ruthless is here to save the day and we can help you decide what the benefits and drawbacks are before buying your first nicotine salt device.

What is a vape pod?

Evolution of Vaping Devices

To get familiar with the vaping lingo, nicotine salt devices that are open/closed systems are categorized under vape pods or pod mods. Vape pods are electronic cigarettes that have disposable pods and have a combination of high resistance and low wattage features that make it ultra-portable and perfect for smokers who are new to vaping.

Pod mods are marketed as a starter’s kit as they offer the choice of either open (refillable) or closed (not refillable) pod systems to help you find a device that will help you quit smoking cigarettes.

Essentially, pod systems are a mix between e-cigarettes and vape pens that have been revamped to meet the standards of today’s vaping technology.

What is a vape pod

Common characteristics of nicotine salt pod systems:

  • Ultra-Portable and compact design
  • Low wattage (ex. 16 watts)
  • High resistance (ex.  1.3 ohm coils)
  • Pods usually holds no more than 2 ml of nicotine salt e-liquids
  • Either auto-draw or one button
  • Either buy pre-filled pods/cartridges or refillable cartridges

Remember, when you choose a vaping device for nicotine salts, make sure that it’s not a high wattage sub-ohm device. Nicotine salts have high nicotine strength and are not made for high wattage sub-ohm devices due to the risks of taking excessive nicotine. Pod systems have become increasingly popular in the last year due to its simplistic design and cigarette-like satisfaction it gives smokers.     

Closed System Pods

Closed Pod Systems

Closed system pods are essentially devices made for pre-filled cartridges. The ready-filled cartridges/pods are disposed of after use and are replaced with a new cartridge. The pod filled e-liquids contain nicotine salts in varying nicotine strengths (20-55 mg) and usually comes in packs of 4 or 5.

One way to look at it is that closed systems are similar to coffee pod brewers. In order to get your delicious coffee in the morning, you insert a coffee pod or k-cup of your liking and you’re ready to go.

Closed system vape pods work the same way. Depending on the brand of the closed system device, the company offers a selection of flavors to choose from just as you would buy a pack of cigarettes at your local convenience store. The only difference is that you would have to recharge your device instead of finding your lighter somewhere in your pocket.

Not only are closed systems just as easy to use as a cigarette, it packs the same cigarette punch.

Benefits of Closed Pods

  • Hassle-free alternative - No need to make a mess while refilling since the pre-filled pods are easily replaceable
  • Low Maintenance - No need to buy coils or have to clean the tank
  • Low Profile - the sleek design fits easily into your pockets and feels natural in your hand. Furthermore, no need to carry around e-liquid bottles and it produces less vapor
  • Low Investment - Closed systems on average go anywhere from 12 to 50 dollars. Plus, you don’t have to spend your time figuring out how to use your device
  • User-friendly - Intuitive design, usually draw-activated and at most, only one button to press
  • Easily switch flavors by using different cartridges and no need to change cotton or coils

Downsides of Closed Pods

  • Limited Selection of Flavor and Nicotine strength as you are restricted to the flavor and nicotine selection of the brand of device
  • Weak draw - closed system is known to have tighter draws which can make it difficult to hit
  • Vapor production is better compared to the older model of e-cigarettes and vape pens but does not perform as well as high powered devices due to the size of the battery
  • Spitbacks can occur while vaping - spitbacks occur when the e-liquid bounces off the coil instead of vaporizing, similar to when water is boiling and water pops out
  • Low battery life due to the battery size and can be a con for vapers who have to recharge frequently
  • Costlier than open system pods depending on your daily vaping habits and due to pods holding fewer e-liquids than open systems. The average price per pod is around 3 to 5 dollars. However, much cheaper than smoking cigarettes.

If you want a no-frills product and you just care about a device that delivers nicotine efficiently, then closed system is a perfect device for you. The only thing you have to worry about is recharging your battery and buying nicotine salt pods. Before you set your mind on closed system devices, take a look at what open system devices have to offer.

Open System Pods

Open Pod Systems

Open system pods are devices that allow you to manually refill nicotine salt e-juice. Unlike the closed system devices, you can buy any bottle of nicotine salt e-liquid at varying nicotine strengths to find a flavor that suits you best.  Think about ordering your favorite kind of coffee and brewing it in your coffee maker. The freedom to choose any flavor can help you play around with the flavors until you find that right one.

Benefits of Open Pods

  • Wider Range of Flavors and Nicotine Strength - more options to choose from and are not limited to the brands' offerings
  • Smoother draw allows for more vapor production and better mouth to lung action
  • User-friendly as the device either needs one button pressed or are auto-draw
  • Low Profile design make it ultra-compact and portable which make it good for a night out with friends
  • Low Investment since open system devices cost around 12 to 50 dollars and it is not much of a time investment compared to learning high powered mods
  • More economical than closed systems and up to 85% savings compared to smoking a pack a day

Downsides of Open System Pods


  • Inconvenience - You have to refill e-liquids manually and have to change coils or replace cartridge after several uses
  • Switching flavors is a hassle unless you have a separate pod filled with a different flavor
  • Vapor production is limited due to battery size and it can be a drawback for those who want to get the maximum vapor.
  • Low battery life is one of the downsides of the vape pods in general but it is also faster to recharge as well

If you are more explorative and want to find that right flavor, then open systems are perfect for you. With open systems, you can enjoy the flexibility that open systems have to offer and make it easier to transition to high wattage device if you prefer to.

Closed System vs Open System: Which is better?

Closed vs Open System: Which is better?

If you want to successfully put an end to your cigarette habit for good, it’s imperative to choose a device that will work for you. It’s not about which device is better than the other. But more so, what your preferences are and what suits you best. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages but with the savings, you will get from switching to vaping, you can even try out both to see what works best for you.

Vape pods, in general, have advantages and disadvantages that are found in both open vs closed systems:

Similar Advantages:

  • User-friendliness 
  • Low investment 
  • Low profile and pocket-friendly
  • Cheaper than smoking cigarettes 
  • Higher nicotine strengths 

Similar Disadvantages:

  • Vapor production 
  • Low battery life 
  • Limited devices to choose from 
  • Leakage issues 

The universal advantage of vape pods comes down to convenience and simplicity. Using pod systems gives users cigarette-like nicotine satisfaction. The high nicotine strengths in nicotine salt will give you the instant rush that is comparable to smoking a cigarette. Many acclaims that vaping nicotine salts have been effective in curbing their cravings.

The user-friendliness of these devices is in stark contrast to the high powered devices that have become popular today. With pod systems only being draw-activated, it allows smokers to easily transition to vaping as a fuss-free alternative.

The ultra-portable design fits in your hand naturally and slides in your pocket with ease. Your pockets will appreciate the extra room, trust me ;)

Not only are they significantly cheaper than smoking cigarettes, the devices do not cost a fortune. Even if you choose to buy an open system, changing coils are not as high maintenance as you might think since you will only be changing it at most twice a week.

The perceived disadvantage that comes with vape pods is due to the sacrifices made to make an ultra-compact design. Due to battery size, the battery life may be short-lived in comparison to high wattage device. However, recharging the battery does not take long as some devices may only take 30 minutes to charge at full battery levels.

Other devices claim to last up to a whole day depending on use. The minimalistic design also affects the vapor production and those who are used to more airier draws, the vapor production may seem lackluster. But don’t be discouraged, the build quality on these devices are far superior to the earlier version of cigalikes and you won’t be disappointed. Also, keep in mind that these devices do not require as much vapor to deliver the same amount of nicotine as high wattage devices.

Another drawback that some have reported are leaking issues. Although e-liquid leaking isn’t frequent, it can be a bit of an inconvenience to get paper towels and clean your device. Leakage can be prevented by handling the mouthpiece and inserting the pod gently. Another suggestion would be is to use the optimal PG and VG ratios that the device manufacturer has recommended.

Lastly, due to the relative newness of these products, the mainstream market is limited to a select few to choose from. Each device on the market has slightly different characteristics and performance. Those who are not happy with one device don’t have the luxury of choosing from a wide variety of pod devices. The lack of options in the market will start to decline as more manufacturers are adopting the pod systems with the increasing popularity of these devices.

Final Decision: Closed or Open Pod System?

Open vs Closed Systems

If you want to get into vaping without all the fuss, closed systems are the best option for you. Closed system offers a hassle-free alternative with the starter kits already packaged with pre-filled pods and are ready to be vaped out of the box. Whereas with open systems, you will have to buy nicotine salt vape juice separately.

Closed systems also do not require you to buy coils making it low maintenance and fuss-free. The only downside is that you will spend more money in the long run buying pre-filled pods as well as being restricted to a limited selection of flavor since pods are not universal. 

Even though, open systems allow for greater flexibility, you will not be able to switch flavors during the day as easily as closed systems. Although, you can prepare for this by putting different flavors in different cartridges/tanks. If you tend to be more patient and would like to have a greater degree of flexibility, then open systems are the best option for you.

Either way, both devices are built to pack a punch that will leave you satisfied and hopefully, keep you away from smoking cigarettes. The consensus in the science community agrees that vaping is a better alternative than smoking and whatever device you choose, the health benefits from quitting cigarettes is the most important choice you can make.

Let us know in the comment section if you have any questions or have had experiences with open or closed pod systems in the past. We would love to hear about it! Remember to check out our nicotine salt e-juice collection! Happy vaping y'all!