Welcome to RELX Switzerland - FREE SHIPPING as of 125 CHF Order Value

How Do Vape Pods Work?

August 15 2021 – TRADE-X Distribution

How Do Vape Pods Work? - RELX Switzerland
How Do Vape Pods Work? - RELX Switzerland

The vaping industry has seen rapid innovation and new technology in recent years. It seems that around every corner is a new and improved vaping device or a new vaping system that is said to be better than the last.  

The vape pod system is one of the latest engineering feats that’s trending among its target audience. 

The way these mechanisms work can seem like a mystery for those who are new to the pod system vapes. Below, we’re uncovering all the details on how these systems work. We’ll even explain the difference between both closed and open pod systems, so you can determine if this newer style is right for you. 

What Are Pod Systems?

Pod systems are e-cigs that use a “pod” instead of the tank and atomiser that traditional vape models have. Ultimately, they do the same job that the atomiser and tank did, but they can be more convenient and offer a more discrete, portable form of vaping.

As compared to other vaping products, the pod is relatively new. However, since pods have been out, they created a niche market in the e-cigarette industry.

Most have a smaller capacity for e-liquid than most tanks do, but some you’ll find are bigger. A typical capacity is around 1-2 mL. A pod system involves pressing the component into place at the top or bottom of the device and then a simple removal when it is empty or when you’d prefer a different flavour.

Pod systems are smaller than other e-cig models overall, including the battery and capacity. Since they are more compact, the trade-off is that these models don’t offer the long-time battery life that others do.

Automatic operation is typical in these systems, so all you have to do is suck in to pull in vapour, but some may offer manual use buttons like the traditional vape mods.

When these new systems first came out, they were relatively simple in design. However, as time goes on, more advanced devices are making their way onto the market to offer more functionality while retaining the compactness and ease of use that pod systems provide.

How Do Pod Systems Work?

Vape pods rely primarily on two essential pieces to work: the cartridge and the battery. 

When you initiate the vaporising device by inhaling on the mouthpiece, these two pieces communicate and work together to deliver the vapour to your mouth. Here’s a bit more on the role each component plays:

The Cartridge

The cartridge has many names. To some, it’s the pod. To others, it’s a topper, atomiser, or just plain old “cartridge.”

The cartridge is the portion of the vape that sits at the top of the system and contains e-liquid and nicotine used to create vapour. Most of these already come pre-filled with e-liquid, but you can still find some that offer a refillable system so you can use your bottles of e-liquid and fill up the cartridge as needed.

Another part within the cartridge is called the atomiser, made up of a small metallic pipe. The atomiser is what turns the e-liquid into vapour when you inhale it from the system. That signals the vape to send power to the atomiser to heat up and vaporise the e-liquid.

(Note that some will split these components into two separate pieces: a cartridge at the top and an atomiser at the bottom.)

The Battery

The battery is much simpler in theory than the cartridge is. The battery for this kind of system is usually slender, slim, and sleek. The battery’s job is to determine if you’re vaping or not, so it knows when to use power and when to store it. 

Batteries can accomplish this task with two different methods, creating two types of batteries:

  • Automatic Batteries - These batteries won’t have a button anywhere on them. To trigger the battery to power, the vaper just inhales on the mouthpiece.
  • Manual Batteries - Manual batteries will have a button you can push to fire up the vape and get the device working. 

Pod batteries are simple machines that can be recharged with most USB chargers or wireless charging stands.

Two Components Work Together

Together, these two components work to create the mechanism. When the user places their mouth on the mouthpiece and begins to inhale (or presses the firing button on manual batteries), it sends a message to the battery to send power to the pod where it can fire up the atomiser and turn the e-liquid into vapour to inhale.


Why do many vapers choose a pod system e-cigarette over other options? Here are some of the most important benefits of this style of vape:

  • Compact and portable - Small and slender, they can easily slide into your pocket and take with you wherever you go. Don’t worry about it sticking out of your pocket because their design lends them well to a hidden, discrete position.
  • Easy to use - The design creates a more intuitive vaping act where all you need to do is inhale to get to the vapour. Since replacing the pod is the most complex thing you’ll have to do with a closed-pod system, you can’t go wrong.
  • Affordable - Once you buy the battery, all you need to purchase is refills once you go through yours. No additional parts or maintenance is necessary. 
  • Discrete - Clouds are pretty obvious, and even box mods can be in-your-face due to their size and design. These systems are much smaller and provide a gentle stream of vapour that those around you won’t easily notice.
  • Satisfying - Pods offer a satisfying vaping experience thanks to the higher-strength liquids and intuitive inhalation process.


Pod systems won’t be the right choice for every vaper, however. Some of the most common complaints to consider include:

  • Small batteries - A small battery means less battery life. While most will only use battery power when you’re actually inhaling, the power can still run out quickly. However, they’re easy enough to charge with just a USB cable. You just might have to get used to carrying around the cord with you when you take it to go. 
  • Higher nicotine levels - They work better with higher nicotine levels, but most of these e liquids will need to be purchased outside of Europe due to TPD restrictions on nicotine.
  • Not great for making clouds - Do you love making big, thick clouds when you vape? You won’t get the same satisfaction when using these newer systems, unfortunately.
  • Limited flavour options - Closed pod systems mean you can only choose from the manufactured disposable pods available. It’s easy to find high-quality closed pod options today, though. You can even check online.

Open System Vape Pods vs. Closed System Vape Pods

There are two main types of pods that you can use: closed systems and open systems. Want to know how they differ? Read on for more. 

The major difference between these two options is how e liquid is delivered to the rest of the heating device. Open system pods can be opened, refilled, and reused as you deem necessary. Closed system pods, on the other hand, cannot be refilled. They come filled with e liquid and can be disposed of as they are finished (known as disposable cartridges). 

Open System Vape Pods

Open pod vape systems are created to be easy to refill the pod manually as necessary. The pods should come with a top that’s easy to open and a large enough opening to add more e-liquid without spilling everywhere. 

The main attraction to this kind of vape system is the customisation of flavours as you see fit. Rather than being stuck with only the pods you already have, you take advantage of your robust collection of e liquid for nearly endless options.

Another difference that some vapers notice is a smoother draw when using an open pod system compared to a closed pod system. Additionally, since open pod systems use e-liquid, they produce bigger, thicker clouds of vapour.

You’ll need to refill your cartridge frequently. You should also expect regular cartridge and coil replacements every so often. 


  • Can include pens, sub ohms, and box mods
  • Freedom to choose e-liquid flavour and nicotine strength 
  • Stronger battery
  • Fuller vape experience
  • Big cloud production


  • Require more work (cleaning and maintenance)
  • Bigger and less portable
  • Mods can be complex
  • Beginners will need to get used to how it all works
  • Can be harsh or underwhelming if new

Closed System Vape Pods

Similar to a cartomiser, a closed system pod uses pre-filled cartridges of vape e-liquid. Once you’ve used up all of the e-liquid in one cartridge, you just toss it in the trash and replace it with a new cartridge. This makes the refill and replacement process a breeze. You can do it on the go with no mess or fuss necessary.

Today, there’s a wide selection of cartridges available in different combinations of nicotine levels and flavours. However, you’ll always be more limited than you would be in an open pod system.

One significant benefit to this style of vape pen is the low maintenance requirement. Besides purchasing new pre-filled pods, you’ll never have to replace your coil or maintain a tank.

Some people complain that closed-pod systems only offer weak draws, and others complain about what they call a “spit back” wherein the vape e-liquid bounces off the coil and into the user’s mouth instead of vaporising correctly.


  • Simple and ready to vape
  • No hassle of refilling
  • No e-liquid to carry around (less messy)
  • More satisfying nicotine levels thanks to nicotine salts
  • Good introduction into the world of vaping


  • Compact nature makes it easier to lose
  • Can be more expensive because of the convenience
  • Wasteful

The Bottom Line

Whether you’ve been drawn to vaping because of these new and exciting model updates or you’re a vaping veteran who’s interested in trying something new, a pod system (whether open or closed) provides a unique, convenient, and user-friendly vaping experience that stands out from the rest.

Vape pods won’t be for everyone, but are they right for you? 

After reading up more on how vape pod systems work and discussing the pros and cons of both the closed system and open pod system options, you should have a good idea of whether you should try a pod next.

In short – if you want a vape that is intuitive, user-friendly, and affordable, you should look into the pod systems available today. If you care more about customised e-cig juice blends, higher nicotine levels, and blowing huge vapour clouds, you might be better off sticking with your box mod or vape pens