The History Of Oil Pod Vaporizers
Oil extract is an offshoot of extract vaping in general, where the extract is more of a liquid compared to the waxy or brittle textures found in other marijuana extracts. In the beginning, the only way you could use oil extracts was with an oil vaporizer that had a refillable tank. This meant that the user had to fill up a tank anytime they wanted to vape and clean it out when they were finished. This was time-consuming, inconvenient, messy, and high convenience. Eventually, a better way came along in the form of pre-filled cartridges.
As the name suggests, these cartridges were already filled with oil making them much easier and more convenient to use. They were disposable so there was no need to refill them, which eliminated one of the more bothersome aspects of using refillable tanks. These cartridges were 510 threaded, which is the standard type of thread in the vaping world, which meant that there were a wide variety of devices that could be used with these cartridges. However, many manufacturers eventually started making batteries specifically designed for pre-filled oil cartridges.
Other manufacturers eventually started making proprietary oil pods and batteries that could only fit with each other. They offered much the same convenience as the 510 threaded kinds but typically the pods are easier to insert and don’t require any screwing. With all the convenience, ease of use, and portability offered by pre-filled oil pods and cartridges, it is not surprising that they have become so popular.
Types Of Oil Pods
As stated earlier, there are two types of oil pods, the 510 threaded ones, and the proprietary kinds. There are actually two different types of 510 threaded cartridges, ones with a top airflow and ones with a bottom airflow.
Top Airflow 510 Cartridges
As the name suggests, top airflow cartridges, like the ones made by Gold Line, have small holes drilled into the top to facilitate the flow of air. The main advantage of this type of cartridge is that leaking is not a problem since the air holes are located above the oil.
That means that when batteries are used with top airflow cartridges, they will require less maintenance because there is no chance that oil might leak out onto the threads. If that happens, then the connection between the battery and the cartridge could get disrupted until the threads are cleaned.
Bottom Airflow 510 Cartridges
These cartridges have the airflow holes located on the bottom of the device, just above the threads, Sun State 510 cartridges are an example of this design. The advantage of this design is that when the air enters the bottom of the cartridge, it mixes with the oil to create a better flavor.
The disadvantage is that bottom airflow carts are prone to leaking, and since they are located right over the threads, that is where the leaked oil will end up. That means bottom airflow cartridges sacrifice some of the low maintenance of oil cartridges for improved flavor.
These are cartridges made specifically for one kind of battery and won’t fit on any 510 battery. In fact they are usually not threaded at all. Instead, they just slip on and off the matching battery. That makes them even easier and more convenient to use than 510 carts. Top or bottom airflow isn’t a factor either since the manufacturer can just make the pod with the type of airflow that provides the best flavor without any need for cleanup.
The main disadvantage is that proprietary cartridges typically have a narrower selection of oils than 510 cartridges, which also means that they are more expensive as well. The G Pen Gio and Pax Era are two of the better proprietary oil pod vaporizers available.
Types Of Oil Pod Batteries
Batteries that are compatible with 510 oil cartridges come in two forms, pen style and conceal, the differences are as follows:
Pen Style Batteries: These batteries are pen-shaped, as you would expect, the main advantage of them is that they can hold batteries of all sizes. The disadvantage is that portability is limited when the cart is attached to the battery. So if you want to fit both battery and cart in your pocket, you might need to separate them and then connect them when you’re ready to vape.
That can make them somewhat inconvenient for anyone who likes to take a hit or two whenever they want. The KandyPens 350 mAh Battery is one of the better pen style batteries available.
Conceal Batteries: These are box-shaped batteries where the cartridge is inserted into them, rather than onto them, in other words, the cartridge is (partially) concealed with only the mouthpiece sticking out. With conceal batteries the cartridge is usually screwed onto a magnetic adapter which is then inserted into the battery. Conceal batteries have the advantage when it comes to portability because the concealed cartridge does not take up much space. Since the cart can stay attached to the battery all the time, users can vape whenever they want.
The main disadvantage with conceal batteries is that they cannot always accommodate cartridges of all sizes. There are some exceptions, like the Yocan Uni, which has an adjustable shutter, but most batteries, like the KandyPens C-Box or PCKT One Plus have a limit on the size of cartridge that can be used with them.
Advantages of Oil Pods
Both 510 cartridges and proprietary oil pods give users a lot of advantages over the refillable tanks. That is the case regardless of whether you are a casual or hardcore vaper.
- Simple Assembly – You just need to insert the cartridge into the battery or, in the case of concealing vaporizers, into the adapter, no other steps are necessary
- Convenience – Oil vaporizers heat up instantly so they can be used whenever and wherever the user wants and they can use as much or as little oil as they want
- Discretion and Portability – Many oil pod vaporizers are small enough to be taken anywhere and look similar enough to e-cigarettes that no one will know what the user is vaping
- Affordability – These devices are often very inexpensive since they mostly comprise a battery and a USB cable
- Beginner Friendly – All the above attributes, plus the fact that oil is not as intense as wax, make oil pod vapes a very attractive option for vaping newcomers
- Longevity – An oil cartridge can last a long time since users do not generally vape all of the oil in a single session
Disadvantages Of Oil Pods
As with every kind of vaping method, there are a few downsides that you need to be aware of, but it should be noted that they are mainly for proprietary cartridges.
- Proprietary Cartridges Are Expensive – The devices may be cheap but the cartridges can be pricey, often costing between $30 – $60 dollars per cartridge
- Limited Choices For Proprietary Cartridges – The number of strains may be increasing but you are still limited to what the manufacturer provides