Rechargeable Vs Disposable Vapes

/ 4 minute read

Rechargeable Vs Disposable Vapes

The disposables trend is showing no signs of slowing its dominance over the vaping market, with more and more vapers across the UK picking up the compact, lightweight and ultimately fuss-free vaping devices. Their popularity is rooted in a number of things from their eye-catching design and portability to the flavoursome nicotine salt e-liquids they are filled with.

Despite their obvious popularity, their rise to prominence has been dogged by ethical and legal issues. Due to skyrocketing demand, the market became susceptible to rogue traders preying on retailers desperate to find stock to meet it. The sale of illegal unregistered examples of disposable vapes has become a major issue as a result of these traders passing off non-compliant devices as legitimate. 

The problem is far from being limited to van sales and local retailers, however. Trading standards agents have been conducting a ruthless crackdown since 2021, which was first reported to have impacted Glaswegian wholesalers and later Sussex retailers, with similar action occurring up and down the UK. This comes as regulators scramble to protect UK vapers from buying disposable vapes that do not carry the correct safety information and warnings, exceed the legal level of nicotine permitted with in a product available for sale (20mg/ml) and exceed the legal volume limit of 2ml for any device carrying e-liquid be it a tank, pod or disposable.

While the influx of illegitimate examples is an issue all of it’s own, there are significant moral quandaries to consider when looking at disposable vapes. We’ve already looked into these in-depth in our blogs: The Dangers of Disposable Vapes, and Disposable Vapes – An Ethical Crisis? In summery however, their immense popularity coupled with their partially toxic, entirely non-recyclable and possibly even explosive components represent a potential environmental crisis, as landfills and city streets alike become increasingly littered with the remnants of the devices.

Disposable Vapes Vs Rechargeable Vapes

Vaping devices have been a part of societal norms now for a number of years, and their popularity is ever-increasing as smokers, not just in the UK but worldwide, make the switch from cigarettes. While disposables are the latest hot trend in vaping, their “less convenient” cousins still offer a number of benefits that, depending on your lifestyle, may be more appealing long-term that simply rebuying a disposable every few days.

We would like to highlight some of the key pros and cons of each approach, so if you find yourself stuck between buying a disposable device or something more “traditional”, you can make an informed choice that best suits your needs.

Disposable Vape Pros

  • Lightweight, compact, bright and colourful designs that are both practical and aesthetically appealing.
  • Zero-maintenance. Their single-unit design means there is never any need for charging, cleaning, swapping coils or changing e-liquid.
  • They are typically available in a wide range of flavours that have proven very popular with most consumers.
  • They cost less (at least initially) than most vaping devices.
  • They are available almost exclusively with nic salt e-liquid. This means they offer a smooth hit typical of lower nic strengths, with the satisfaction of a high strength product – an ideal starter device for new vapers or backup/alternative for advanced users.

Disposable Vape Cons

  • Non-biodegradable, non-recyclable, toxic to the environment due to nicotine content and potentially explosive due to cheaply produced lithium-ion batteries being incorrectly disposed of.
  • Many consumer reports indicate the advertised “puff capacity” (anywhere from 500-600 puffs per device) is rarely met in reality. Some have also reported that the battery has died before the e-liquid inside could be consumed.
  • While cheaper in the initial sense, long-term use of disposables cannot offer the same economy as a traditional vaping device intended to be re-used, ultimately costing you far more.
  • Their inability to support lower nicotine strengths and e-liquid types beyond nic salts means they offer little to no cessation journey. In addition this also means many users will buy them thinking they are an ideal starter, without realising 20mg may well exceed their needs, only serving to deepen their addiction.
  • Extreme demand has caused the market to become flooded with illegally imported, unregistered disposables. These carry the same branding as their legal counterparts making them hard to distinguish. They expose the consumer to potentially dangerous levels of nicotine and have not been held to TPD regulations, breaching several laws intended to keep you safe.

Rechargeable Vape Pros

  • A massive variety of device platforms, from big customisable mods to simple yet effective pod systems like the EDGE GO, allow you to build a solution that meets your individual needs and helps ensure your vaping journey can enjoy long-term success.
  • Once the device is purchased, refill bottles of e-liquid like the EDGE 10ml range are far cheaper and more efficient than rebuying a whole disposable every couple of days – the difference could be as much as spending only £2.50 instead of £7.
  • Being able to tailor your experience for use with all varieties of e-liquid in a full range of nicotine strengths means you can use vaping to help reduce your nicotine consumption and take control of your habits more easily while enjoying a more satisfying experience overall.
  • Due to being intended for use over much longer periods of time, their environmental impact is lessened – certain parts if separated and cleaned properly can also be recycled.
  • Being rechargeable means you need not waste e-liquid, and batteries need to be replaced far less often than single-use vapes must be discarded, reducing waste and production demand.

Rechargeable Vape Cons

  • Some kits can be very expensive to buy initially, making it difficult for some new users to justify experimenting with vaping. Although many affordable options are also available.
  • There is more maintenance required – tanks will need cleaning, coils replacing and e-liquid topping-up.
  • The sheer volume of different options available can often be daunting for new users and make it hard for those without specific knowledge, such as that found in our guide How to Vape Properly, to find a product that properly meets their needs.


Rechargeable Disposable Vapes – Best of Both Worlds or Just a Gimmick?

As with many of vaping’s most dramatic developments, the technology is evolving quickly. The most recent update to the disposable formula has seen the emergence of rechargeable disposables. As the name implies, these are pretty much the same as the disposables you are used to, however now some brands, like Elux, have added a charging port allowing you to top-up the battery before you throw it away.

This appears to be in response to consumer complaints that the devices were running out of charge before they were able to consume the e-liquid inside, giving rise to feelings of false economy. It may also be an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of the devices themselves, however the impact in either case appears to be minor. We will explore this new technology and its place in the prevailing trend in future posts. For now though, making devices rechargeable does bring at least one of the benefits of traditional vape kits to the table, however it does little to offset the drawbacks explored above.