How Do Vape Pods Work? A Complete Beginner’s Guide

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Did you know that more than forty-one million people around the world are using vape pods? These cool little gadgets have made vaping a breeze, making them much more popular over traditional cigarettes. 

Have you ever held your pod vape in your hand, watched the vapor curl up into the air, and thought, “How does this magic happen?” Well, my friend, you’re not alone. It’s a question that has tickled the curiosity of many a vaper. And that’s exactly what we’re here for.

So, buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey into the heart of your pod vape. We’re going to dive into the mechanics, the technology, the little bits and pieces that come together to deliver that sweet, sweet vapor. We’re going to explore everything from the battery that powers your device to the e-liquid that provides the flavor.

By the time we’re done, you’ll not only know how to use your pod vape, but you’ll also understand how it works and why pod vapes are better than disposable vapes. And who knows? You might even find yourself appreciating your vaping experience a little bit more.

What Is a Vape Pod?

A vape pod is an electronic cigarette (e-cig) that uses a ‘pod’ instead of a tank, making it a compact and user-friendly choice for vapers. The pod is small and made of sleek plastic that acts as a cartridge and holds e-cigarette liquid. Inside each pod lies an essential component called an ‘atomizer,’ which heats the e-liquid up and turns it into vapor.  

Vape pods come in various flavors and nicotine strengths, giving you a chance to explore and customize your vaping experience. There are loads of different styles of pod vapes from small compact pod vapes to pen-style vapes to super-potent vape mod-style pod systems.

Basically, there’s a pod vape for nearly every style of vaping but if you’re new to the concept of pod vapes, we have a detailed guide to the best pod vapes you can buy right now that you should definitely check out.

How Vape Pods Work

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A crucial component of a vape pod is the battery, which is usually slim in design and is responsible for powering the pod. There are two types of batteries commonly used:

  • Automatic Battery: These batteries are activated by inhaling on the mouthpiece. When you take a puff, the battery senses the airflow and sends a signal to the atomizer to activate it. This is also called draw-activation and vapes like the UWELL Caliburn G2 use this method of activation.
  • Manual Battery: A manual battery, on the other hand, requires a button to activate the heating coil. You need to press the button while inhaling to signal the atomizer. This makes them similar to vape mods, in a way, and an example of a pod vape like this would be the SMOK RPM 100.


The second component of a vape pod is a cartridge that sits at the top of the system; this is where it gets its name from, as the cartridge, usually, is referred to as a “pod”. It’s responsible for holding the e-liquid and housing the atomizer. When you take a puff, the battery activates the atomizer, which heats up the liquid, turning it into vapor you can inhale. 

What Are the Two Types of Vape Pods?

When it comes to vape pods, there are two types you should know about: open-system vape pods and closed-system vape pods. 

Open-System Vape Pods

Open-system vape pods give you the freedom to refill them manually with your favorite flavors; unlike closed-systems, an open pod vape is completely refillable. When it’s time to refill, you simply unscrew the cartridge at the top of the pod and use a nozzle or a dropper to add your chosen e-liquid carefully. 

Closed-System Vape Pods

These pods come pre-filled with e-liquid, so you don’t have to worry about the mess of refilling; JUUL is a closed-system pod vape, for instance. Once you’re done enjoying the vape, you have two options: you can either replace the entire cartridge with a new one, or you can bid farewell to your pod and dispose of it responsibly. 

Personally speaking, closed-pod systems aren’t as good as open systems; they cost more to run and come with fewer options for flavors.

Which Type of Vape Pod Is Better?

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Open-System Vape Pods


  • Stronger battery: Open-system pods often come with batteries that have a capacity of more than 600 mAh, while closed-system pods have a battery capacity of 300 mAh. 
  • Big cloud production: What’s better than creating big fluffy clouds of vapor? Open-system pods are known for their cloud-producing capabilities.
  • Flavor variety: With open-system pods, you can explore a variety of e-liquid flavors from strawberry, apple, and banana, to vanilla, tobacco, and bubblegum. 
  • Less expensive: These pods tend to be less expensive than the closed ones, saving you some extra bucks to splurge on more delicious e-liquids.


  • Leaking potential: Open-system pods can sometimes leak if not filled properly. So, be sure to handle them with care and read our post on stopping vape pods from leaking.
  • Require more effort: Additionally, these pods require a bit more work. Refilling them manually takes a few extra minutes.
  • Larger in size: Open-system pods tend to be larger in size due to their refillable nature, which also makes them less portable. 

Closed-System Pods


  • No refilling hassle: These pods offer convenience for vapers. There’s no need for refilling–simply buy a pre-filled pod, and you’re good to go. 
  • Less prone to leaks: Closed-system pods minimize the chances of leaks, giving you a worry-free vaping experience. 
  • Satisfy your nicotine cravings: These pods often offer high levels of nicotine, making them suitable for those seeking stronger nicotine hits.


  • More expensive: Closed-system pods are a bit more expensive, as you’re paying for the convenience of pre-filled pods. 
  • Limited flavor options: The flavor options may be limited in a closed system. You will have to stick to the options provided by the manufacturers.
  • Creates more waste: Because these pods are disposable, they create more waste compared to refillable open-system pods. 

Wondering how to go about choosing the right vape? Here’s all the best pod vapes we tested this year, collected in one place.

#VapeBeatRecommends ❤️

Learn About The Teams’ Favorite Vape Products

We test A LOT of gear but we also have our firm favorites. Below, you’ll find details of all the VapeBeat Team’s most-loved vapes for 2024

Our Current Favorite Pod Vape

Flavor for days and pods that last weeks. Excellent battery life and no leaks. Damn thing is perfect.

The Best Disposable Vape. Period 💯

It’ll do an insane amount of puffs, an unheard of amount just a few short years ago. The flavors are so, so good too

Our Go-To Vape Mod ❤️

Style, power, performance and perfect for any type of tank. Ours is battered to hell, but it still works great. Awesome.

The Vape Juice We Love The Most 💨

Out of the thousands of juices we’ve tested, the team has ONE BRAND that we all love more than any other…

Need Help? No Problem.

We’ve helped millions of people get started with vaping. If you have any questions or just want plenty of actionable advice, hit the button below – it’s a direct line to Drake.

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