Different Types of Vapes & E-Cigarettes

With so many different types of vapes and e-cigarettes on the market, this guide can help you understand their unique features, and discover which is the best for you.

Types of Vapes And Alternatives

When it comes to vaping, the range of devices on offer can be a little confusing. From tanks and mods to cigalikes, the market for vaping seems to be growing all the time, and it can be overwhelming for adult users who have recently transitioned from smoking to vaping. 

In recent years, the vaping/e-cigarette market has branched off into different vape categories. For those looking for an alternative to smoking cigarettes, there are a number of different options available which we’ll explore in this guide. 

The Basics of E-Cigarettes vs Vapes

In general terms, vape devices can be referred to as vapes or e-cigarettes interchangeably. They are both devices that heat e-liquid to produce vapour and offer adult users a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes. 

This process of heating an e-liquid is typically referred to as vapourisation. Vapes come in a variety of forms - from different types of disposable vapes and rechargeable devices to larger tank devices and box or mod vapourisers.  

Typically, a combination of a device with a rechargeable or non-rechargeable lithium battery, vapes usually come either with a tank, or with pre-filled ‘caps’ or ‘pods’ that are sold separately. Tank style vapes usually require the tank to be filled with an e-liquid, which is then heated by power from the battery. In wick and coil vapes, when activated, an internal mechanism known as the atomizer powers up to heat the e-liquid. 

Another variable in vapes and e-cigarettes is the battery. The battery size typically depends on the style of device - and it is fair to say that generally, the larger the battery, the longer the battery life. In larger mod style vapes, rechargeable batteries can usually be removed to charge - or so that the battery can be replaced altogether. Some of the smaller, disposable pen-style devices typically integrate the battery into the system, and may be rechargeable, according to the exact brand and product. 

While e-cigarettes and vapes are essentially the same thing, there are different types of these devices such as vape mods, vape pens, pod systems, and cigalikes. 

Vape Pen Kits

Vape pen kits feature long, slender vapes that resemble pens. They are less bulky than other vape options like tank systems, although they’re usually still larger than cigalikes. Vape pens feature a battery and USB charging port. The mouthpiece leads to the vape e-liquid tank, where the level of remaining e-liquid can be seen. Vape pens use a built-in coil to heat the vape juice and produce vapour.

Different types of vape pens also dictate what sort of vape e-liquid you need. Vape e-liquids are developed by adding a range of flavourings to a blend of Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) and sometimes nicotine. The VG/PG ratio can vary and most adult users have their own preferences. 

Vape Pod Based Mods

Vape pod mods build on the original cigalike designs to offer an experience that resembles smoking a cigarette. Pod mods, like the different types of vape pens, also feature different model options. The pods-based devices come in two options:

  • Open pods allow you to manually refill the cartridge with your choice of compatible e-liquid, although they will need to be replaced after around five uses.

  • Closed pods are pre-filled and can simply be inserted, vaped, and replaced. There is no need to source or refill the e-liquid. 

Vape pod mod designs can vary but are usually created to be a more compact vape alternative compared to a tank system. The device is activated without the need to press a button.

Vape Tank Based Systems

Vape tanks are the part of a vaping device that holds your vape e-liquid, as well as the coil that heats the e-liquid and mouthpiece. Both vape pens and box mods use them in their designs. Most vaping devices use regular tanks but there are also other available tank types: 

  • Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers (RDAs) require the tank’s inner coil to be manually made out of cotton and wire.

  • Rebuildable Tank Atomisers (RTAs) allows for personalised wicks and coils to be inserted.

Note that RDAs and RTAs aren’t recommended for newly transitioned adult users.

Other Different Types of E-Cigarettes and alternatives to smoking

Beside vape pens, mods and pod systems, there are other types of e-cigarettes on the market such as cigalikes and heated tobacco devices. 


Cigalikes - as the name suggests - have been specifically designed to resemble a cigarette. Cigalikes use e-liquid, like a vape pen or box mod, but it’s contained within a cartridge, like a pod mod. Most times, taste selections are either tobacco or menthol flavoured. Cigalikes are often disposable and suitable for use around 20 times, depending on the specific product. However, some models come with a rechargeable battery that plugs into disposable cartridges.

Heated Tobacco Devices

If you’re still not sure what works best for you, heated tobacco products may be a suitable alternative. Like vapes, heated tobacco devices produce vapour, but the sticks contain real tobacco which, in some cases, heats the tobacco to a controlled temperature. These devices do not use e-liquid.

Nicotine Pouches

Nicotine pouches are another alternative that don’t require any device to use. Nicotine pouches are consumed orally by placing one pouch at a time in the mouth for a nicotine experience. Like e-liquids, nicotine pouches can be flavoured to cover a wide range of tastes, not just tobacco.

For more information on alternative smoke-free devices, explore our articles: What Happens When You Quit Smoking and Start Vaping and Switch to Heated Tobacco guides.  

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