SMOK is easily the biggest and most well-known vape brand on the planet. But are SMOK vapes actually any good? Or should you be looking elsewhere? Let’s put this to bed once and for all…
For as long as I can remember, going back almost 10 years, SMOK has been one of the biggest and most visible vape brands operating globally. And in 2021, this trend shows no sign of abating.
SMOK makes vape mods, vape tanks, and pod vapes. It has products, usually multiple lines, in every single vape product category. SMOK also has excellent distribution. This is why you can buy its vapes everywhere – from the USA to the UK and places like Africa and India.
Basically, if you have a vape shop near to where you live, regardless of what country you live in, it will almost certainly sell SMOK gear.
And it is this fact alone that has helped SMOK grow to become the world’s dominant vape brand.
Is SMOK A Good Vape Brand?
But are SMOK vapes actually any good? Or, are you better off going with another brand?
In this post, I’m going to look at the PROs and CONs of using SMOK products, based on my own personal experiences over the past near-decade of vaping.
The SMOK Alien & Quality Control Issues
Not so long ago, the SMOK Alien was the most popular vape mod on the planet. SMOK sold millions of these mods. I had one, most of your vaper mates probably did too. But the SMOK Alien was a bad device.
It had myriad issues with its physical design, multiple industrial design problems, and was prone to breaking all too easily. For me, this was the first time I ever really encountered SMOK’s terrible quality control.
But it didn’t end there. Going back to around 2015, SMOK also had major issues with its vape tank coils. I used the SMOK TFV8 back then and, during my time with it, I think I probably had 10 or 20 packs of dud coils.
SMOK Coils Used To Suck. Big Time
What are dud coils? It’s where you buy a fresh new pack of coils and not a single one of them works probably. They burn out instantly, deliver ZERO flavor, and they basically make vaping an absolute pain in the ass.
At this point, I had founded VapeBeat and was starting to get sent stuff for review. I found myself getting more and more SMOK tanks and running into the same issues – dud coils.
The design of SMOK’s tanks at the time was brilliant, the company has an eye for detail and innovation. It was the first company to really push super-high-power vaping. If you wanted big clouds and you didn’t want to build your own coils, you used a SMOK sub-ohm tank basically.
But after constantly running into issues with SMOK’s vape tank coils, I eventually stopped using them. I just couldn’t be bothered wasting any more money on dud coils.
Once was forgivable, but more than 10 packs is a joke.
I am pleased that SMOK has now managed to sort this out; I tested a bunch of its tanks in 2019 and 2020 and I didn’t have any issues with its coils. It looks as if SMOK finally spent some money on QC protocols at its coil factory.
What About SMOK’s New Mods?
As for its mods, again, they have improved. Some of SMOK’s latest vape mods were really impressive. I really liked the SMOK FORTIS kit and SMOK’s Mag vape mods have always been solid in my opinion.
The SMOK Mag P3, for instance, was great when I tested it out. As a standard vape mod kit setup, I think it is one of the better options out there right now for the price and performance you get.
Do I use SMOK vape mods? Not really. Again, when you vape as much as I do, and own a vape blog, you get sent loads of awesome stuff, so I am constantly switching my vape mods around.
I collect all my favorite vape mods here, though, so if you want to know what I think is the best vape mod, check that post out.
The Rise of SMOK’s Pod Vapes
Since around 2019, however, there has been a massive change in the vape market. Vape mods – the big, chunky devices most people used to use – have given away to smaller, more compact AIO pod vapes.
And leading the charge of this chain was SMOK; it has produced an inhuman amount of pod vapes between 2019 and today. The SMOK Nord was one of the first to really catch my attention – I used this vape for a solid 9 months.
The SMOK NOVO was also pretty decent too, kind of like the Nord just a bit smaller and more compact.
Out of all of SMOK’s pod vapes, I would have to say the SMOK Nord 2 and the SMOK NOVO 2 have been my favorite to date. They delivered big on flavor and battery performance at a time when pod vapes really didn’t do well with respect to battery life.
For this reason, I must doff my cap to SMOK; it was one of the first major vape brands to really up the ante with respect to battery life on pod vapes and AIO vapes in general, fitting them with larger, more powerful batteries.
The Hybrid Era – Merging Vape Mods & Pod Vapes
Around 2020, SMOK started to do something really interesting. It stopped the development of vape mods, more or less, compared to its usual output and began, instead, to focus on a new type of vape device.
This new type of vape device was kind of a hybrid vape, part pod vape/AIO and part vape mod, with the idea being you got all the features of a traditional vape mod just inside the smaller, more compact chassis of a pod vape/AIO vape.
SMOK’s RPM series of vapes were some of the first vapes of its kind to successfully do this – and the SMOK RPM40 was a masterclass in performance and functionality when it first landed.
Since then, true to form, SMOK has bulked out its SMOK RPM line of vapes, adding in newer models with more power and more settings and controls. You now have options for 40W hybrid pod vapes and 80W RPM pod vapes.
The upshot of this kind of vape device is that you can use high VG vape juice and produce massive clouds without the need for a sub-ohm tank and a vape mod – you can do it all from inside an AIO vape.
Are Hybrid Vapes The Future?
SMOK knows that these types of hybrid vapes are the future. So too does VooPoo and Vaporesso. This is why we’re seeing more and more of these types of devices hit the market.
My current favorite hybrid vape is the VooPoo DRAG MAX – it is incredible. You basically get a compact, all-in-one (AIO) vape that will run multiple types of pods from RBAs to MTL and RTAs.
With SMOK, I don’t think we would have seen a device like the VooPoo DRAG Max. It exists because SMOK started mixing together vape mod functionality and power inside its pod vapes with its RPM series. And no one can take that away from SMOK.
And SMOK’s latest AIO hybrid vape, the SMOK G-PRIV pod, is another example of just how good SMOK can be when it keeps its eye on the end goal. You have loads of power, excellent flavor, and it is all contained inside a beautifully designed vape mod.
Wrapping Up: Is SMOK A Good Vape Brand?
If you asked me this question two years ago, I would have told you to avoid SMOK products like the plague. Even now, in 2021, SMOK isn’t one of my go-to brands for my gear. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make great products.
SMOK’s output during 2020 and 2021 has been phenomenal. The company’s QC issues have all but gone away, and it is innovating with new types of vape devices and new, ever-improving design formats.
SMOK is heavily invested in the hybrid pod vape market now, and that’s fine because its latest pod vape of this ilk is utterly superb. If you want a small, potent vape device, the latest SMOK vape is well worth a look.
As of right now, and based on what I have experienced during the past two years, I can safely say that I no longer have any problems recommending SMOK products. Whatever issues the company had in the past appear to have been resolved.
And if you want my advice on which SMOK vape to get, I’d go for the following right now:
- SMOK ArcFOX – Best Current Vape Mod + Tank Kit
- SMOK RPM160 – Best Hybrid Pod Vape
- SMOK NOVO 3 – Best Standard Pod Vape System
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