Few things have hit the scene harder than the JUUL.
Made by the same people behind the PAX dry herb vaporizer, its arrival has shuffled the industry deck, and redefined genres. The JUUL is a cigalike that is tastefully designed and simple to use, and it delivers a nicotine hit that former smokers crave.
So it’s the best in the business, right?
Well, not necessarily. As much as I love its small form factor and intuitive interface, the JUUL has some serious drawbacks.
There are a number of JUUL-like cigalikes now and honestly they stand up to scrutiny. Some of them are arguably better across the board.
Want to check out the competition? Here are four of my favourite JUUL alternatives from competitors looking to unseat the king.
I’ve made my picks based on:
- Ease of use
- Aesthetics (because it’s gotta look good, right?)
Drawbacks to the JUUL vape system
There’s plenty to admire about the JUUL as a cigalike. They saw an need within the industry and they delivered. Still, I can’t pretend like it’s a perfect vape. Like everything it has pros and cons, and a standard JUUL might not work for every vaper.
Here are a few of my beefs.
The pods. They are not refillable, and keeping up a steady supply can cost you a lot of money.
What’s more, these pods aren’t exactly huge. The nicotine hit means a little goes a long way, granted, but each pod is only 0.7mL at a 5% nicotine density. That is almost exactly equivalent to a pack of cigarettes, with 200 puffs per pod.
Battery life is another complaint. The JUUL comes equipped with a 200 mAh battery. That’s not bad by cigalike standards, but it won’t hold a candle to even a typical pen vaporizer. Constant recharging is pretty annoying.
No vaporizer gets everything perfectly right, but the following JUUL alternatives are each good in their own way. Read on for my list (in no particular order.)
1) Eleaf iCare Solo: A refillable pod vape with JUUL-like shape
First in our list of pod mod vape alternatives to the JUUL is the tiny-yet-powerful iCare Solo. Eleaf is no stranger to the vaporizer business, and they’ve decided to take a shot at JUUL’s market share with this slick device.
Technically a tank vape rather than a pod system, the iCare Solo mimics the flat shape and tiny size of the JUUL. It fits perfectly in your hand and it is one of the stealthiest devices I’ve come across. It slips easily into a shirt pocket, and it’s little bigger than a typical USB drive.
There are a number of handy features, like a colourful LED battery indicator, and straightforward assembly. It’s modular, and you can easily replace the coil heads once the flavour starts to take a slide.
I particularly appreciate the huge (by pod vape standards) liquid capacity, as this vaporizer can hold up to 1.5mL. That’s twice the capacity of the JUUL.
The battery is impressive too. The 350 mAh they’ve managed to stuff into this tiny pod mod is again almost double the JUUL.
I love the versatility and slickness of the iCare Solo. Here’s what I don’t like as much:
- It’s not as modular as a pod mod vape system like the JUUL, because you have to refill the internal tank. That involves popping off the mouthpiece and unscrewing the air pipe. It’s a bit fiddly for on the go. However, unless you vape a lot, 1.5mL should get you through a whole day.
- The button. Normally I don’t like automatic switches, but on the JUUL I dig it. If I’m vaping on a cigalike or ultra-portable vaporizer like this, I don’t want to fiddle with a button. Not a big deal; as buttons go, this one isn’t bad.
iCare Solo vs. JUUL verdict
While I wish it had removable pods and no button switch, this vaporizer has stronger battery life, greater volume capacity and a lower overall price tag. Overall, the iCare Solo is a great, refillable, JUUL competitor cigalike, worth your time to check out.
2) MyJet: Affordable, refillable, ultra-portable pod system
The MyJet pod mod portable vaporizer, by Wismec, is a strong competitor to the JUUL. Not only is it stylish and low-profile, it boasts some real advantages over its competitor.
This is a more well-known product and one of the main alternatives cited. In a side-by-side comparison, the MyJet is slightly longer (perhaps by 2mm) and just a hair wider than the JUUL. The MyJet is rounded, unlike the squared off shape of its competitor.
Fit and finish is excellent, with tight pod tolerances that ensure a snug fit. Speaking of the pods, you can get pre-filled ones, or grab a few refillables to use your own juice.
The draw is pretty tight. I’d definitely classify this in the mouth-to-lung realm. That stays true to the traditional tighter draw of a cigarette, but if you’re big into lung hits this might not be your device. I do like that there’s an automatic switch.
The battery is outstanding. 350 mAh is just about twice what the JUUL offers. Similarly, the e-juice capacity is much larger, with 1.2mL. That’s 0.5mL more headroom.
As for things that I wasn’t as thrilled about:
- The empty pods are “fillable” but not necessarily intended to be filled more than once. (They are not exactly easy to take apart again.) It’s totally feasible to hack them to work multiple times, or even to re-coil and re-wick, but that’s clearly not how MyJet intended them to be used.
- This might be a non-issue if you’re hoping for a refillable JUUL equivalent, but the filled pods are on the pricier end.
MyJet vs. JUUL verdict
As cheap JUUL alternatives go, this device offers a similar size and form factor while giving you the versatility to use your own e-liquid. If you’re looking for convenience, you can always switch to a pre-filled pod in a pinch.
3) Smoktech Infinix: A super cheap JUUL alternative that’s easily refilled
None of the pod system style vaporizers are terribly expensive, but the gorgeous Smoktech Infinix pod vape is cheaper than the rest by quite a margin.
The Infinix clearly has its sights aimed directly at the JUUL, with a similar shape, an angular aesthetic and even a familiar cutout window where the pod and body meet.
With two empty pods included in the kit, the Infinix is intended to be refilled. As of right now you can only find a retail Infinix on pre-order, and there’s no news about whether Smoktech will offer filled pods or not. For right now I’d just use salt-based nicotine e-liquids in these pods for a JUUL-like experience.
Let’s talk about filling: the Infinix comes with a little e-liquid bottle with a needle point. You’ll need that. Filling requires opening up a tiny rubber stopper on the side of the pod and injecting the liquid using the bottle. I won’t lie, it’s a bit fiddly. But honestly that’s the name of the game with ultra portable pod vape systems like this.
The liquid capacity is really impressive. Each pod holds 2mL of liquid, which is almost three times more than a standard JUUL pod. That increased capacity explains the extra device length. An automatic, air-driven switch makes inhalation seamless and compelling.
The Infinix is a taller product. It sits at 110mm in height, which is a little over 10mm taller than the JUUL. It’s still absolutely pocketable though.
Here are a few things I was disappointed by:
- Battery capacity isn’t markedly greater, with just 250 mAh. That’s certainly more than the JUUL, but not by much. I would expect you’ll need to buy multiple devices in order to get through a day.
- This is another pod system where coil replacement doesn’t seem to be on the menu. Once your pods wear out you’ll probably need to either try a hack or throw it out and buy a new one.
Smoktech Infinix vs. JUUL verdict
I love the giant pod size and slick design of this discrete little pod mod vape. If they’d managed to shoehorn in a larger battery it would be a slam dunk.
4) Suorin Air: A great “card style” ultra portable JUUL competitor
It may be a different shape than the rest on this list, but the clever and user-friendly Suorin Air is a pod mod that’s giving JUUL a run for its money. The system is so popular, in fact, that it’s proving increasingly difficult to find one available for sale.
The shape, fit and finish are inexplicably pleasing. The rounded edges and wallet card shape mean it fits happily into your palm. The magnetic pods click slickly into place in the body housing. The whole product is viscerally satisfying.
The metallic finish screams premium product, but this is one of the cheaper JUUL alternatives out there.
It scores top marks on capacity too. It carries up to 2mL of e-liquid per pod, and the battery life is best in class, with 400 mAh. That’s sizable enough to often get a light-to-moderate vaper through the day.
There are a couple things I’m not terribly keen on:
- The odd shape of the device can make it a little more obtrusive to pocket. You either love it or hate it. I’m in the former camp, but I’ve heard from others who weren’t as thrilled. It’s actually the perfect size for a chest pocket, but it just feels a tad bulkier than the JUUL or the others on this list, despite actually being shorter and weighing in similarly.
- Again, no possibility to change coils. That’s not surprising in this niche, but the ability to replace the wick and coil would have gotten the Air a lot of bonus points. As with all pod-style refillable vapes like this, make sure your wick is nicely saturated before taking a hit; avoid those burnt coils and extend the life of your vaporizer.
Suorin Air vs. JUUL verdict
I absolutely love the design and capabilities of the Air. It’s a wonderfully discrete and portable little vape and might be the stealthiest offering on the market. I’m not at all surprised that they’re hard to come by.
What kind of e-liquid should I use?
If you’re hoping to emulate the throat hit and overall experience of a JUUL in a refillable pod mod vaporizer system, I recommend sticking with salt-based nicotine e-liquids. The JUUL uses these liquids at a concentration of 5%.
Salt-based nicotine results in a quicker uptake and a far more satisfying hit; it’s intended to emulate the cigarette experience. All the systems listed above are compatible with salt-based juice, so I’d give that a whirl.
Thanks for reading!