With so many vaping options on the market, it’s hard to know which to choose. Here we’ll take a look at two of the most popular styles — the 510 cartridge and pods — and compare their benefits and drawbacks.
First, What is a Vape Pen?
A vaporizer pen has two main features. There’s a cartridge, to hold cannabis oil or concentrate, and a battery that powers an atomizer in the cartridge. This heats the oil and emits vapor, which the user then inhales.
The cartridge is pre-filled and comes in many forms. The most common is the 510-threaded cartridge, but Pax Era Pods and Airo Pro oil cartridges are popular types too.
What is a 510 Cartridge?
The name ‘510’ describes the method of threading used to screw the vape battery onto its vape cartridge. You can use any pre-filled cartridge with the same threading, even if it was made by another company, and there’s a wide range available on the market.
510 cartridge batteries are either inhale-activated or button-operated in design and they’re usually recharged using a compatible USB cable.
What is a Pod Vape?
A vape device with a ‘pod’ system is similar to a vape pen, as it vaporizes cannabis liquid for the user to inhale using the same two components. Pods are usually rechargeable by USB too and activated by the same methods.
One of the differences is the removable cartridges slide into the end of a specialized battery using magnets, rather than being screwed on. Another variable is that pod cartridges are available in pre-filled or refillable designs, allowing for greater control over what you can vape.
510 Cartridge vs Pod Style — Which is Better?
510 cartridges offer more product options
Pod batteries only work with certain types of cartridges, so they limit your choices of vape oil — usually to the same brand as the battery. With the ‘universal’, industry-standard threading of the 510 battery, you have many more options when choosing which vape oil to buy next.
Pods are more user-friendly
Setting up both 510 cartridges and pods requires no technical knowledge or time. You don’t need to fill containers with cannabis oil to be able to vaporize. And a hit from a 510 cartridge or pod will also deliver a consistent dose every time. Pods are slightly easier to assemble, though, as the cartridges simply slide into place rather than being screwed on like 510 cartridges.
Pods are super discreet
You can bring both 510 cartridges and pods out with you anywhere, as they produce hardly any vapor or smell. They’re battery-operated and handheld too. Pods may have the edge over 510 cartridges, though, as devices can be as small as a USB stick.
510 batteries offer more variety
Pod batteries are often larger, more powerful, and longer-lasting than 510 cartridge batteries. However, 510 batteries have variable voltage settings, so you can determine the intensity of the vapor you produce from your pen and customize your vaporizing experience.
We’ve given a comparison between 510 cartridges and pods, but there’s no perfect vaporizer for all cannabis concentrate users. Shop around, compare products, and research until you’re comfortable with your choice.
For more info on how to use a vape pen, take a look at Leafly’s guide to cannabis vape cartridges.