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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! 

              11 Responses

              Brian From Ruthless
              Brian From Ruthless

              July 12, 2018

              Hey Pat!

              Thanks for sharing your experience! Awesome to hear that vaping is working out for you man! I haven’t personally tried the Breeze 2 but I’ll try my best to answer your question!

              From my experience, e-juice will taste differently on different devices. There are several factors that may play a role:

              1) As you have mentioned, the coil can make a big difference. Different Ohms will affect the flavor. As far as absolutes, it’s tricky to say if raising it or lowering it will make a difference because taste is subjective. It also depends heavily on the flavor profile and the e-juice manufacturer.

              2) Airflow affects flavor. If you have a reduced airflow, you get more of a warmer and concentrated vape which translates into more flavor hitting your taste buds.

              3) Different temperatures will affect flavor. The relation of your devices wattage power and the coil is also a significant factor as it affects the heat generated and how it’s distributed on the surface area of your coil. Keep in mind, different temperatures will release different flavor notes.

              There is no simple answer but I hope that I helped point you in the right direction. What it comes down to is experimenting and finding a solution that works best for you!

              As for the best open pod nic salt devices, I would look further into Suorin, Kado, Infinix, and Mipod. I will be trying out these different devices more intimately and I will right a review in the near future so stay tuned!

              Also, if you haven’t tried our Ruthless nic salts, give it a try!! You can get a 20% discount here:


              Feel free to come back anytime and until then, happy vaping!!




              July 11, 2018

              I’m new to vaping as of about a month ago when I bought the Aspire Breeze and quit smoking in the same hour lol. Pretty phenomenal considering I’ve been smoking for almost 18 years.. I then bought a Breeze2 after having quite the scare after my Breeze got wet and stopped working (dried out after about 2 days and now works again 👍🏼).

              But I’ve noticed that the same juice will have a different taste in each device. My girl bought an Endura T18 and put Space Jam Astro in it which was amazing. So I took some and put it in my Breeze but all I tasted was apple, no strawberry (didn’t try in Breeze2 yet). Similar effect with Blu Rass Lemonade in the Breeze vs Breeze2.. is this coil related (1.0 vs 1.2 vs 1.5)? Or is each device really that different?

              Or if this is an easier answer to get, what is the best open pod to buy for salt nic that will give me the best flavor?


              June 28, 2018

              Does anyone know of nic salts with lower nic content? I cant seem to find anything under 25mg?
              Tia Rucker
              Tia Rucker

              June 26, 2018

              I recommend the aspire breeze, I was a 38 year smoker, have tried a few sub ohm vapes and could never stick with it. Tried the aspire breeze from a recommendation at one of my local vape stores. Started using and have not gone back to cigarettes yet, it’s been 5 months. It’s easy, inexpensive, so many salt flavors to choose from and I dont crave a cig


              June 14, 2018

              Hi. Can I use salt nic on V2 series 3x with the following setup. 1.5 ohm coil and 3.3 volt?


              June 14, 2018

              Hi. Can I use salt nic on V2 series 3x with the following setup. 1.5 ohm coil and 3.3 volt?


              April 23, 2018

              I don’t know if you have the Joyetech EGO AIO ECO, but I have one. It has a subohm coil, but it only puts out 6.8 watts. I’ve been using it with 35-50mg nicotine salt liquids, and it works well with them. It has good battery life, and the little tank only holds about 1ml, but I’ve never filled it more than twice a day, even when I hit it pretty hard.

              Brian From Ruthless
              Brian From Ruthless

              March 26, 2018

              Awesome Connie! I’m glad to be of assistance. Hope everything goes well for you and yes, the Smok stick v8 can be quite a juice guzzler. Depending on the nic salt juice you use, it may seem harsh at first but that will go away after a couple of hits. Have a great rest of the week Connie and thanks for sharing!


              March 23, 2018

              Thank you for replying, Brian. I appreciate the information. For now, I’ve decided to go with the Joyetech AIO ECO because of the low price and it being specifically made for vaping high nic salts. I didn’t want to spend too much to try nic salts in case it’s not for me.

              I quit smoking 3 yrs ago with the aid of the VUSE Solo, but over time, I didn’t like that the draw was so tight. That’s when I tried the Cue sub ohm AIO and loved the airy, easy draw. Then a few months ago, I purchased the SMOK Stick V8 with the Big Baby Beast sub ohm tank, but it’s not a unit you can carry around on the go very easily. Plus, I think the low nic levels may be why I seem to go through liquid and Cue prefilled pods so quickly, which is getting to be quite expensive.

              The Joyetech ECO seems to have good airflow (I watched a couple of youtube reviews) allowing for an airier draw, so hopefully, it will be a good fit for me and maybe the higher nic levels will slow my chain vaping.

              Thanks again for the info and tips.

              Brian From Ruthless
              Brian From Ruthless

              March 23, 2018

              Hello Connie!!

              Thanks for reading and we are always happy to help!

              From my understanding, Cue Vapor does not exceed 6 mg in nicotine strength and do not offer nicotine salt juices. If you’re looking around for closed pod systems, Juuls (50mg or 5% nicotine), Phix (50 mg or 5% nicotine) are solid devices but will be more expensive in the long run compared to open pod systems.

              To answer your question, using a device such as 50W with either a 0.6 or 1.2 ohm coil will be in my opinion, too much. Keep in mind nicotine salts are recommended for low wattage devices (Lower than 20 W) and high resistance coils (Not sub-ohm).

              Becuase of the high nicotine strength, 50 watts will produce considerable clouds meaning more nicotine and is not recommended. However, I have tried the Aspire Breeze (650 mAh) with a 0.6 ohm coil and 35 mg nicotine salt liquid, and it wasn’t too overwhelming, but I would be wary of chain vaping on it.

              From my experience, open pod systems for nicotine salts such as Kado, Suorin, and Mi-pods all work great when it comes to flavor intensity. Even with heavy vaping, I will replace the cartridge once a week on average and at most twice a week. The only drawback is that the refillable cartridges/pods can be inconsistent. If you do go this route, I would recommend priming your new cartridges by inhaling in slowly about 3 times to get the wick fully saturated. Then wait 15 minutes before firing. This is to avoid dry hits which will ruin the flavor of your pods!

              Check out the “Are Vaping Nicotine Salts Economical” Section in this article: https://www.ruthlessvapor.com/blogs/ruthless-e-liquid/beginners-guide-to-vaping-nicotine-salt

              Also, we are offering starter kit bundle deals for Kado and Suorin with 35 mg Ruthless nic salt juices. For more info, check it out here: https://www.ruthlessvapor.com/blogs/ruthless-e-liquid/best-vape-starter-kit

              I hope this helps Connie and feel free to ask more questions if you have any !!


              March 23, 2018

              I’ve tried Cue Vapor closed pod sub ohm system and the Penguin open pod sys, both MTL and DL. I like the flavor better with the Cue, but I go through the pods so quickly that the cost is equal to or more than regular cigs.

              My question: can you use 25mg nic salt liquids in the 50W Penguin with MTL 0.6 ohm or 1.2 ohm coils? Or is 50W too high for nic salt liquids?

              Thank you for your help in understanding the nic salts.


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