Juul Alternatives - Are there better pod systems?

The JUUL Dukes It Out To See Which Is The Last Pod Kit Standing

The JUUL is probably the most notorious vape kit on the planet at the moment surpassing even the IQOS Mesh in the notoriety stakes, so the simple question is…is it any good and are there any better JUUL alternatives?

It’s obviously a massive seller and currently owns at least 75% of the American vaping market. Insiders say much of that success is down to the huge nicotine levels found in the pods sold over the pond with up to an eye watering 59mg!

JUUL has been in the UK for sometime now and is already creating ripples on the vape scene – in much the same way as IQOS has done. The company is currently pushing the kit out to every corner of the UK in a massive sales campaign. Setting the politics aside for a moment, with the TPD/TRPR limit on nicotine set at 20mg can the JUUL match the performance and vape experience of other closed and open pod kits on the market?

To answer that question we’ve taken 4 ‘alternatives’ and run them all through a series of comparisons over a six week period:

  • Flavour
  • Throat Hit
  • Battery Life
  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money

The 4 pod kits we’ve chosen to duel it out with JUUL are:juul vs Apollo brez vs Aspire spryte vs JAC vim vs mipod

To keep a level playing field I’ve used a similar e-liquid in the testing in both the open and closed systems. In the case of the JUUL the Alpine Berry – the Wee Vim Blackcurrant Squash and for the refillable devices Super Berry from Double Drip and all are 20mg nicotine salt based.

Find out more about nicotine salt based e-liquids.

I have received all 5 pod kits free of charge – thank you – and as always this in no way affects my thoughts or opinions. *Note: despite not personally reviewing the Mi Pod I did receive one free of charge for the purpose of this comparison.

OK enough of the ‘pre-fight preamble’…

“Let’s get ready to rumble” and see if any of the fab four can deliver a knockout blow to JUUL’s hopes of the UK heavyweight pod kit crown.

Will this fight go to points or will it be all over in the first round?

Flavour Comparison

No matter what I’m vaping on, be it the most expensive RDA out there, a stock coil tank or a pod, the key to me and I’m sure for a lot of you out there is the flavour. Forget reputations – if the flavour is lacking then as far as I’m concerned it’s game over.

So how do the flavours off the pod kits fare with my notorious shall we say hard to please taste buds?

Let’s take a look.

JUUL Flavour Test

I only recently reviewed the JUUL starter kit but have been working on this article for around 6 weeks now so I know the flavours off all the pods – in particular the Alpine Berry.

Of all the JUUL pods I’ve tried this particular flavour is probably their best – however as I mentioned in the JUUL review there is some kind of bizarre disappearing act going on with all the flavours – they just seem to melt away on both the inhale and exhale.

juul pods review
It’s not something I’ve noticed before with any other e-liquid and for the life of me I can’t work out what’s going on.

It’s almost as if you take a swig of a decent cordial turn away and someone adds more water diluting the taste…wishy washy is the phrase that comes to mind.

Score: 5/10

JAC Vapour Wee Vim Flavour Test

I quite enjoyed using this little cutie and in my review I gave the flavour a reasonable 8.5 out of 10.

Like the JUUL this is a closed pod system – but can also be used with the refillable VIM tank – so for this test I used the closest to the Super Berry and that was the Blackcurrant Squash 18mg nic salt pod.

First few puffs and the flavour wasn’t anything to write home about however persevere and half a dozen to a dozen draws and the flavour comes through.

Not the richest by a long shot but certainly pretty good especially half way through a pod.

Score: 7/10

Aspire Spryte Flavour Test

We ummed and aahed about including the Aspire Spryte in this comparison piece as technically it’s a hybrid AIO and pod system. However as this is also showing you what JUUL is up against we thought we’d add it.

OK I also scored this one 8.5 out of 10 for flavour in my review so has my mind been changed now I’ve picked it back up again?

Not really – despite those awesome BVC coils the flavour whilst good still isn’t popping – as in bringing out all the layers of the berry notes.

Don’t get me wrong for a pod/AIO set-up it’s still right up there with the best pods for flavour and one I recommend.

Score: 8.5/10

Mi Pod Flavour Test

This is definitely a funky looking pod kit and one for those who like something a little different that stands out from the crowd.

Flavour wise for me it was decent enough and just on the right side of good. I know Kevin gave it full marks – which proves taste is subjective – but for me it wasn’t a perfect 10.

The flavour whilst good was just a tad lacking for me – a case of oh so close…

Score: 7.5/10

Apollo Brez Flavour Test

I used the Berry Blend pod for the taste comparison and trust me this is bloody lovely.

Not too sweet with a lovely tangy twist on the exhale and as pods go this is a standout flavour.

Highly recommended.

Score: 9/10

Throat Hit

For brand new vapers the one thing they tend to miss is that throat hit they get from the smoke/nicotine.

Many tanks and starter kits have fallen at this hurdle even using regular 50/50 e-liquids which tend to be slightly harsher.

Nic Salts are in general a much smoother vape and can therefore lack that all important tickle unless of course the pod/coil and device can deliver. ..Let’s see if any of the 5 can.

JUUL Throat Hit

None existent it’s as simple as that.

If you’ve tried other starter kits and found them maybe too harsh then you’re looking at the smoothest of smooth vapes off the JUUL.

Score: 2/10

JAC Vapour Wee Vim Throat Hit

Again the use of nic salts is going to cut back on that throat hit. However in this case there is the slightest and I mean slightest little tickle and certainly more noticeable than the JUUL.

Score: 3/10

Aspire Spryte Throat Hit

The Spryte does have an advantage here given it’s using those famous BVC coils.
aspire spryte kit in hand
Using that Super Berry flavour really did mean the usual smoothness off a nic salt e-liquid was negated somewhat giving me a decent hit and reasonable scratch at the back of my throat.

Score: 5/10

Mi Pod Throat Hit

You can add a bung to the pod airflow to add more restriction – meaning a tighter draw. I found doing this did add a little more of a throat hit but certainly not enough for me to say you’re getting a good one…once again using nic salts means this is a smooth vape.

Score: 2/10

Apollo Brez Throat Hit

Whilst not enough to make you cough the throat hit off the Brez is impressive even with nic salts.

Obviously not up there with tanks or rebuildables but as a pod kit goes this one is very good indeed.

Score: 8.5/10

Battery Life

Pod kits are in most instances great for beginners and ideal as backups for established vapers who need a quick hit or something to pop in a pocket or bag whilst out and about.

Given these types of kits are generally small and compact there’s not much room for a large internal battery.

So key here is longevity, as in from fully charged to empty how much life can you get out of the featured 5?

JUUL Battery Life

The consensus seems to be a fully charged JUUL will last one day or the time it takes to empty the pod around 200 puffs.

It’s a 200mAH battery and powers between 6 and 10w so small/low to say the least.
Using the JUUL for as long as I have I’m lucky to get half a day which is about half a pod…

Score: 4/10

JAC Vapour Wee Vim Battery Life

Despite being tiny the Wee VIM has a very large 900mAH internal battery and this one really does last a full day no bother.
Jac Vapour wee vim review

Score: 9/10

Aspire Spryte Battery Life

A mid-sized 650mAH battery and pumping out up to 21w meant I was getting about 6 to 7 hours max out of the Spryte which is slightly less than I expected but still pretty good.

Score: 8/10

Mi Pod Battery Life

Another tiny pod kit with a larger than life battery! In this case the Mi Pod’s 950mAH internal battery is pretty much the Duracell bunny…it just keeps going and going…I easily had a day and a half vaping out of this one as a go to and much longer as a backup.

Score 9.5/10

Apollo Brez Battery Life

At 320mAH the Brez has a little over 50% more capacity than the JUUL and that certainly shows longevity wise. During my review I timed this one as a full 8 hours as my only used device for the day…very good indeed.

Score: 9/10

Ease of Use for New Vapers

Key too many smokers turning to vaping is ease of use and it’s fair to say that on the whole most pod kits are dead simple to use.

So which of the 5 I’m comparing is the easiest of the bunch to get started with?

JUUL Ease of Use

Dead simple to use is the best way to describe this one! Remove the packaging from the pods – make sure the battery is charged – snap on the pod and vape. No buttons – no messing around.

Only issue for me is the charging. If you’re using a laptop USB port no problem…however if like me and you use a PC then depending how the ports are set up you may run into an issue as the JUUL charger likes to stand up and proud.

Score: 9/10

JAC Vapour Wee VIM Ease of Use

As easy as it gets! Again simply remove all packaging from the pod and slot into the device…to make a connection you do need to have the ridges facing outwards.

Unlike the JUUL the Wee VIM can be vaped on whilst charging…bonus!

Score: 9/10

Aspire Spryte Ease of Use

This is a refillable pod so a little more to do with this one! However saying that filling, whilst a little fiddly, is a doddle even for the most fingers and thumbs newbie.

Can also be vaped on whilst charging.

Score: 8.5/10

Mi Pod Ease of Use

Another refillable pod kit and to be honest I found this one a little confusing at first glance – yes I know I’m a doddery old bloke these days but straight out of the box I was a little unsure where what went!
mi pod reviewSo given I’m allegedly an experienced vape reviewer [stop laughing!] it may faze someone absolutely brand new to vaping until they check the instruction manual as I had to do lol.

Score: 7.5/10

Apollo Brez Ease of Use

Very similar to the JUUL with an equally different kind of charger. This one’s tiny but flexible with no pass thru – as in vaping whilst charging.

Apart from that it’s once again a case of popping in the pod and vaping – easy!

Score: 9/10

Value for Money and Price

When it comes to quitting smoking two key factors come into play – better health and saving money.

Many vaping hobbyists scoff at the latter – we all know how much we want that new shiny mod or tank lol.

However, money is a big part of quitting the cancer sticks so which of the 5 offers the best value?

Is the JUUL Value for Money?

There’s no getting away from it closed pods are expensive it’s that simple.

The JUUL starter kit containing the device and x4 1.7ml pods costs £29.99.

You can of course buy the device alone for £24.99 – but you’re going to need pods! To that end a packet of 4 JUUL pods are on average £9.99.

I reckon when not on sale the JUUL starter kit is a little pricey with sub £25 being about right.

Score: 7.7/10

Is the JAC Vapour Wee VIM Value For Money?

Very competitively priced with the device and x3 2ml pods for just £12.99.

Great pod kit great price and packs of 3 pods start as low as £5.99…excellent value.

Score: 10/10

Is the Aspire Spryte Value For Money?

At around £24.99 and with refillable pods for under a fiver the Spryte is a pretty standard price for the average starter kit.

Not the cheapest out there but for the vape quality it’s a good price.

Score: 9/10

Is the Mi Pod Value For Money?

The most expensive of the quintet with an average online price of £34.99 for the kit which includes x2 refillable pods. A replacement packet of two pods is around £7.99.

For me this is style over substance. Sure it’s a half decent vape but you’re paying for the design more than anything else IMHO.

Score: 7/10

Is the Apollo Brez Value for Money?

I really rate this device however as I said in the full review I think it’s over priced and in the exact same price range as the JUUL at £29.95 for the deluxe kit although it does include 5 pods.
brez pod kit in hand
Those packets of pods then retail at a WHOPPING £16.95 for a pack of 4! Crazy – but do checkout any offers as this is a very good kit IMHO.

Score 5/10

Final Thoughts On the 5 Pod Kits

OK so we’ve looked at everything from flavour to value for money and given I’ve been working on this for over 6 weeks I’ve had plenty of time to reflect.

So let’s take a look at my final thoughts:

Verdict On the JUUL

To conquer the UK and European market as they have done over the pond then JUUL really, and I mean really, needs to up its game.

Its selling point over in the US is the huge 5% / 59mg nicotine level – there is a smaller 3% which is still way way over our legal nic level thanks to the TPD/TRPR.

Here in the UK it’s severely underpowered as a device – 200mAH pumping out a max of 10w with 20mg nic salts just doesn’t cut it.

Neither do the flavours, and trust me, folks in the know in the US who have tried the UK/EU versions say the flavours are really muted over here.

I can’t comment on that as I’ve never tried the US – but if enough people say it…
juul kit in hand

As I said in my review of the JUUL – I reckon they’ve obviously reduced the nic content but maybe miscalculated the flavour concentrate ratio? What else explains what is a weak watery vape?

Price wise it’s a little on the expensive side – however once you’re set up the pods are reasonable but getting through one per day means you’re looking at spending just under twenty quid a week on sealed pods.

As we established vapers well know e-liquids are coming down in price so pretty soon sealed pods will simply be passed over as the cost may not be enough for the convenience.

Verdict On the Wee VIM

It’s a great little pod kit that delivers decent enough flavour and is an absolute cinch to use.
jacvapour wee vim pods
Of them all this one is incredible value for money and perfect for newbies to vaping…hopefully JAC will be releasing a few more flavours and lower nic strengths in the near future, although the option is there to buy and use the refillable tank.

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Verdict On the Aspire Spryte

This one is a little more advanced than the others but still easy enough for brand new vapers to get to grips with. Being refillable and using a recognized coil means you do get a very good vape experience and good flavour.
aspire spryte pod kit review

As to the price? Despite being around a while now it’s still just under £25 which is about average for a starter kit.

However being refillable means you’ll save money in the long run.

Verdict On the Mi Pod

Personally I don’t like the looks of this one – hey I’m old lol. The vape was OK thought the flavour wasn’t as good as I hoped or expected…but then my taste-buds are tricky to please lol.
mi pod flavour
The price for me is just ridiculous at £34.99 however as a refillable pod kit you will save cash over time…a balance of initial layout to look cool and down with the kids but a saving of a few quid juice wise over time 😉

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Verdict on the Apollo Brez

My preferred pod kit of them all if I’m honest and as I said in the review that shouldn’t have surprised me given Apollo has an excellent track record.

Dead simple to use – great flavour and vapour with a good battery life.
brez pods
However, I cannot get over the price!!!

£34.99 for the deluxe starter kit including pods I can just about handle but £16.95 for x4 pods is just silly.

If Apollo want to go after JUUL’s attempt to corner the market they need to drop their prices – it’s that simple.

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A Quick Note On the Final Scores On the Doors!

So here are the results as I saw them with the Apollo Brez definitely getting in some seriously hard punches and maybe even a knockout blow:

Total - Out of 50

  • Apollo BREZ - 40.5
  • Aspire Spryte - 39
  • JAC Vapour Wee VIM - 38
  • Mi Pod - 33.5
  • JUUL - 27.7

Based on this comparison set of tests I have no doubt the JUUL will certainly sell plenty over here – mostly due to marketing / availability and curiosity. However I seriously doubt they’ll corner the market or retain as many vapers as they seem to have done over in America.

Is that just the nicotine strength factor?

Maybe, however the fact the JUUL is most definitely underpowered and I have to say under flavoured compared to others of its type means that for me the market will speak.

Would I recommend the JUUL for a smoker looking to quit?

I wouldn’t…mainly due to poor flavour – lack of throat hit and low power. There are indeed much better alternatives to the JUUL Pod Mod out there and just from the 4 we’ve chosen to compare, you can see for yourselves the results.

One thing you can’t call me is biased and hey if you’re using your JUUL for either quitting smoking or as a back-up device and you’re enjoying it – then more power to you…anything that helps smokers quit is OK in my book…mostly…

While there isn’t much in it I think as it stands now JUUL will struggle to take 75% of the UK vape market as it did in the USA…however a little birdie tells me they might be coming up with something new…so watch this space 😉

So, to sum up…JUUL is over here – over hyped and looks to be trying to punch above its weight 😉

For us there are better alternatives to the JUUL Pod Mod starter kit.

neil Humber 2
Neil Humber

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


  1. Great head to head I will say I personally prefer the MiPod as the battery life is unmatched and once you put the bung into the cartridge for tighter airflow the flavor is very nice in the cartridges. I have used my refillable cartridges way past the five refills and replace recommendation with no flavor or power loss I say you can get a full eight to nine refills before you notice a difference. I have no idea why the juul is so popular it’s a really unimpressive system compared to all the pod systems available now.


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