What are disposable vapes? Are they any good? Are they safe? How long do they last? Find out inside our ULTIMATE guide to buying and using disposable vapes…
If you’re a current smoker that is looking to quit but are a little put off by the complexity of vape tanks and vape mods, a disposable vape could be just what you’ve been looking for.
These types of vapes are cost-effective, usually retailing for around £5.99, require zero setup, and come in a range of tasty flavors and nicotine strengths – from 0MG to 10MG to 20MG.
You have A LOT of brands to choose from too, both online and in stores. Almost too many, in fact. But the best brands, meaning the ones you want to be using, will be detailed shortly, so read on as we cover literally everything you could possibly want to know about disposable vapes
What is A Disposable Vape?
Traditional vape systems like pod vapes or tank and mod combos can be a little tricky to work with, especially if you’re a beginner. You have to think about power settings, batteries, coils, and refilling with vape juice.
With disposable vapes, you don’t need to worry about everything because there are no buttons, no need to charge them, and there are no settings either. You unbox the vape, take it out of its packaging, and start vaping – that’s literally all there is to it.
The simplicity and ease of use of disposable vapes make them an ideal choice for anyone that is looking to quickly transition away from smoking. It is also a good, cost-effective way to test out if vaping is for you – spoiler: not everybody takes to it.
Disposable vapes run on Nic Salts juice, a stronger, heavier-hitting type of ejuice that is designed to simulate the same sensation as smoking a cigarette. Disposables come in all shapes and sizes, but the most popular options are usually described as vape pens.
All disposable vapes come pre-filled with vape juice and a fully charged battery. Once either of these things is expended, the vape will no longer work and should be discarded safely, either via a recycling bin or a hazardous materials bin. These devices contain batteries, remember, so they need to be handled and disposed of with care.
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What is Meant By “Disposable”?
Disposable vapes are called disposable because, like a packet of crisps, they’re a one-use product. Once the battery and/or ejuice are expended, the disposable vape will no longer function and will need to be disposed of correctly.
The vast majority of disposable vapes are made from plastic and, inside, contain an ejuice reserve, usually a small hermetically sealed bottle, an atomizer, and a lithium-ion battery that powers everything along. And all of these things have finite lifespans, though, in most cases, your juice will run out before the battery does.
But the main reason disposable vapes are called disposable is that, unlike their refillable pod vapes and vape mod + tank counterparts, you cannot refill them and/or charge the battery. This means they only have a limited lifespan and once they’re done, they’re very much dead.
How Do Disposable Vapes Work?
The main thing you need to keep in mind when thinking about disposable vapes is simplicity – they’re designed to be insanely simple to use, literally plug-n-play.
Inside a disposable vape, you’ll find a battery that powers the device. When you take a hit on a disposable, the battery activates its atomizer and this vaporizes the ejuice, creating the vapor that you inhale.
All of this happens in the blink of an eye. If you listen closely when taking a draw on your disposable vape, you might be able to hear the atomizer crackling as it heats up and vaporizes the ejuice.
Again, there are no buttons and/or settings. All disposable vapes – at least the thousands I have encountered – are breath-activated which means it will only fire once you place it on your lips and take a draw.
On more traditional forms of vapes, things like refillable pod vapes and vape mods paired with tanks and/or rebuildable atomizers, you usually have a fire button and a display and physical controls for adjusting the power and other vape-related settings.
With a disposable, you don’t need to worry about any of this: just put it in your mouth and take a hit, and the disposable vape’s internal components will do the rest.
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Benefits of Disposable Vapes
The way I see it, there are several key benefits of using disposable vapes for certain kinds of users, and they are as follows:
- They’re simple to use with zero learning curve; there are no buttons, no settings, and no fiddly wicking and/or refilling. You unbox it, take out the rubber stoppers, and start vaping.
- They run Nic salts vape juice, either 10MG or 20MG, so they provide a similar hit, nicotine-wise, to a cigarette. This is what JUUL built its business around and the disposable vape market certainly took note.
- You can buy them LITERALLY everywhere. From service stations to gas stations, and even supermarkets. This makes them not only easy to use but very accessible too which is great as no one likes getting caught short when their vape battery dies.
- They’re cheap, way cheaper to run than something like JUUL.
Can You Refill A Disposable Vape?
By their very nature, disposable vapes are not refillable. If they were refillable, they wouldn’t be disposable vapes – they’d be pod vapes, and that’s a whole other type of device.
Having said that, there are plenty of hacks online that detail how to crack open a disposable vape and refill it. Again, this probably isn’t advised as these types of vape devices are not designed to be fiddled with.
They have lithium-ion batteries inside them, for one, and these can, in certain scenarios, explode if not handled correctly (and nobody wants to be on the receiving end of that).
In addition to this, if you refill a disposable vape with third-party ejuice, regardless of its brand, it could negatively affect the performance of its atomizer. How so? Simple: it is designed to run on specific types of juice, that’s how it was developed and tested.
If you switch to a new juice, you could effectively gunk the atomizer up and the vaping process would cease to work.
Plus, disposable vapes are cheap – usually around five quid – so there isn’t really much of an argument for refilling them anyway. If you want a refillable vape, get a pod vape instead – I recommend this one at the moment for overall performance and flavor.
How To Recharge A Disposable Vape
The vast, vast majority of disposable vapes are now refillable, as we established above, and they’re also not usually rechargeable either. 99.9% of disposable vapes you’ll come across from Elf Bar, Pukka, and Geek Vape are not rechargeable and cannot be refilled.
But as the market has matured, some of the vape brands in the sector have started innovating with design features. The most recent trend is adding a USB C port to disposable vapes so that they can be recharged.
The Elf Bar Lost Mary is one of the best examples of this; it is a disposable vape through and through but it can be recharged via its USB C port. The upshot of this is that you get maximum performance from it during its entire lifespan.
And this is important too. Think about it this way: you paid for 600 or 800 puffs, right? Shouldn’t you be able to get those puffs with optimal performance? Damn right! Well, this is what makes the Elf Bar Lost Mary so special.
With a non-rechargeable disposable vape, every puff you take drains a little bit of power from its battery. As you near the end of its lifespan, the performance can and does drop off a cliff, creating a less-than-ideal vaping experience.
And if you haven’t vaped all of its ejuice by the time this happens, you’re effectively leaving puffs on the table.
With a rechargeable disposable vape, you can simply plug it into the mains and top up the battery life, giving you maximum performance for the entire lifespan of the disposable vape.
This is why the Elf Bar Lost Mary is quickly becoming one of the most popular disposable vapes on the planet.
Different Types of Disposable Vapes
Leading on from the last section, you basically have two main types of disposable vape: those that are rechargeable and those that are not.
- Non-Rechargeable Disposable Vapes – the standard disposable vapes used by most people are neither refillable nor rechargeable and usually deliver around 500 to 600 puffs. These disposables usually cost around five quid.
- Rechargeable Disposable Vapes – the newer, slightly more expensive rechargeable disposable vapes like the Elf Bar Lost Mary still run on a finite amount of ejuice but you can top-up its battery life using its USB C port. Again, you’ll get around 600 to 800 puffs, and prices for these types of vape range from £6 to £10.
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Nic Salts vs Standard Vape Juice
All disposable vapes run on Nic Salts ejuice. Nic Salts-based ejuice is designed for use inside low-power, MTL devices like pod vapes, disposables, and MTL tanks.
Standard, High VG juice is the stuff you use if you want to vape at high wattages and blow massive clouds. The VG component of ejuice adds smoothness, while the PG adds flavor and is what creates a throat hit.
Nic Salts juice is usually 60/40 or 50/50 in its PG/VG balance, and the reason for this is that MTL devices are designed to deliver a sensation similar to that of smoking – you get lots of flavor and a nice throat hit.
Most disposable vapes come in either 10MG or 20MG nicotine strengths in the UK and Europe, per EU regulations. You can also buy most of the popular brands of disposable vapes in zero nicotine configurations too which are great if you’re looking to quit or transition away from vaping.
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How To Tell Your Disposable Vape is Empty
It is very easy to tell when your disposable vape is empty. On most models, once the vape is completely spent an LED will flash on and off in quick succession when you try and take a drag.
This can mean one of two things: 1) your battery is dead, or 2) your disposable vape’s ejuice has run out.
Whichever one it is purely academic, anyway. You need both juice and battery power to run a disposable vape, if one is depleted or gone you can no longer use it – not unless you have a rechargeable disposable ecig.
How To Dispose of Your Disposable Vape
Because disposable vapes are, well… disposable they pose quite a threat to the environment if not handled and disposed of correctly. The vast majority are made from plastic and contain a single lithium-ion battery and an ejuice reserve inside them. For this reason, you need to know how to dispose of disposable vapes correctly.
For and foremost, you should never just throw a disposable vape away in the bin or flush it down the toilet. Lithium-ion batteries, if not processed and handled correctly, are horrifically dangerous to the environment.
For this reason, you should follow these simple steps to recycle your disposable vape correctly.
To be safe, whenever I use disposable vapes, I make sure that I have a box where I collect them. Once I have, say, 10 or 20 in the box, I will go to my local refuse site which has a hazardous materials section where I can leave my collection of disposables to be recycled correctly.
All areas, regardless of where you live, will have a specialist refuse dump or facility that will be able to process and recycle your spent disposable vapes. Obviously, it isn’t worth making the trip for one vape but once you’ve accumulated a collection, it makes the process a little less painful.
I tend to go one every few months. My local tip can handle and process disposable vapes, and I live in the middle of nowhere. Your local refuse site will almost certainly be able to handle and dispose of your vapes without any problems (or charges).
If you’re serious about not contributing to the destruction of the environment, it is very important that you dispose of your disposable vapes in a safe and appropriate manner. I hate seeing disposables discarded on the street or in bins – it’s disgusting and does nothing to help the vaping cause.
Are Disposable Vapes Safe?
Ah, the million-dollar question: is vaping safe? More specifically, are disposable vapes safe to use? To answer this question adequately, I’ll need to refer you to studies conducted by Public Health England, the NHS, and The Royal College of Physicians, as I am definitely not a doctor and/or scientist.
Here’s what the latest research says about the safety of vaping.
Public Health England
Vaping products generally provide lower nicotine levels to users than smoking does. However, people who are experienced vapers can achieve nicotine levels similar to people who smoke.
Existing evidence suggests that the risk and severity of nicotine dependency from vaping is lower than for smoking but varies by product characteristics (like device type and nicotine concentration in e-liquids). This is consistent with evidence on nicotine exposure from biomarker and pharmacokinetic studies from the current review.
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
Vaping is not completely risk-free, but it poses a small fraction of the risk of smoking cigarettes. The long-term risks of vaping are not yet clear.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at a much lower level.
Royal College of Physicians
- Our advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged — vaping isn’t completely risk-free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco.
- If you’ve switched to vaping and are finding it helpful to stop smoking, and are not suffering any adverse effects, then carry on, don’t go back to smoking.
- Vapes should only be bought from mainstream suppliers who are selling regulated products, to use black market products may carry potentially lethal risks.
- When you’re buying ecigs you can check with the retailer whether their vaping products are notified/regulated products — if the retailer doesn’t know, then go somewhere where the retailer can confirm their products are regulated.
- Anyone concerned about adverse effects from an e-cigarette they’re using should immediately report this to the MHRA, using the yellow card scheme. Information about this is available here.
- If you’re experiencing serious adverse effects which you think are due to vaping, then stop vaping and get advice from your doctor
- We must continue to monitor the use of vaping, particularly among younger people, including the marketing approaches of big tobacco to this group.
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Most Popular Disposable Vape Brands
Here’s a quick overview of the most popular disposable vape brands in the UK right now:
- Elf Bar
- Geek Bar
- Elf Bar Lost Mary
- SALT Switch
- True Bar
- Nasty Fix Disposable Vape
- Dinner Lady V800 Disposable Vape
- Pacha Mama
- Vampire Vape Disposable Vape
OK, that just about covers everything you could possibly ever need to know about buying and using disposable vapes. You’re probably now wondering which disposable to go for. As it stands, there are simply just too many to choose from on the market right now, making life impossibly hard for new users.
For this reason, we have put together a slew of guides and buying advice articles that’ll help you make a better decision about which disposable vape to buy and which is best for you…
Disposable Vape FAQs
Are Disposable Vapes Safe?
Disposable vapes, like standard vapes, have been studied vigorously by UK medical bodies. And the findings consistently state that vaping is 97% safer than smoking. Ideally, you’d do neither. But vaping is scientifically established as safe tool for quitting a smoking habit.
Where To Buy Disposable Vapes?
If you want to buy disposable vapes, the VapeBeat Store has all the best disposable vape brands in stock at the best prices on the market. It also ships to the UK and all over Europe as well.
What is The Best Disposable Vape?
The best disposable vape you can buy right now is the Elf Bar Lost Mary. The flavors are amazing, the vape itself is tiny and fully rechargeable (unlike 99.9% of other disposable vapes), and it will deliver 600 puffs per unit. It is the best disposable vape we have ever tested. Bar none.
Are Disposable Vapes Recyclable?
Disposable vapes are not recyclable. For this reason, the best approach to disposing of them safely is to use a specialised refuse facility – most towns have one – where you can get rid of them using the site’s hazardous materials facilities.
Drake EquationCo-founder and Editor of VapeBeat. I make the words.
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