Elf Bar Mate 500 Refillable Vape Product Review

Elf Bar Mate 500 Refillable Vape Product Review

Additional Testing By:  
Naomi,   Afreen,   Victoria

With loyal customers, prefilled and refillable pods and their own e-liquid range, is Elf Bar uniquely positioned to capitalise on the greener pod vape trend? Our volunteer vapers road test the Elf Bar Mate 500.

Despite the recent uptick in recyclable options, disposable vapes still receive valid criticism based on the environmental impact of discarding a battery and plastic shell for every spent device. For the average vaper, this equates to a disposable device thrown away every single day.

Whilst technology evolves and research and development teams work on the next generation of more sustainable vapes, choosing a refillable and rechargeable pod kit may be a better solution for reducing waste. With a similar user experience but a far longer life from the rechargeable battery, they are greener than their disposable cousins. While still not ideal, as e-liquid pods have a limited life based on usage and internal coil performance, they are certainly a stepping stone to a more sustainable vaping industry.

About the brand

Based in China, Elf Bar have been manufacturing vapes since 2018 and have a solid and loyal international following. They quickly became one of the UK's two most recognised disposable vape manufacturers, with their Elf Bar 600 range (alongside the original Geek Bar from Geek Vape) establishing a huge UK market share, giving them a wealth of support and funds to put behind their super-impressive design teams. 

This growth led to the development of new ranges, including the Elf T600, Elf Bar Cigalike, Elf Gee 600 and Elf MC600 Shisha. Not all of these products have had the same success as the Elf Bar 600 in the UK, but those that failed to grab consumers' attention found their niche elsewhere in the global vape marketplace. 

As a market leader, Elf Bar are a common target for counterfeiters. To counter the problem, a QR code is displayed on the packaging of every product (even their refillable pod packs), allowing consumers to check the authenticity of the products they have purchased.

About the device

The Elf Bar Mate 500 pod vape kit launched in 2022, forming part of Elf Bar's step into the pod market alongside their ELFA prefilled pod kit.

The device is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminium, which makes it lightweight but robust. When handled, it feels solid and well-made. Compared to a disposable Elf Bar 600, the Mate 500 is slimmer, flatter and coloured differently. You can choose between 7 attractive metallic colour gradients alongside a solid black, including Black and Grey, Aurora Purple, Aurora Green and Aurora Yellow.

The Elf Bar Mate 500 arrives partially charged, which is helpful. When fully charged, the battery life gives a respectable 4 hours or so of vaping before needing a recharge from a standard USB-C charger. It has an inbuilt 500mAh battery which takes around 2 hours to recharge fully.

Elf Bar Mate Pods

There are two Pod options currently available for the Elf Bar Mate 500. First are the prefilled disposable P1 e-liquid pods, which give you access to a swathe of Elf's familiar flavour library. Initially launched in 8 flavours, the range has expanded to offer over 30 now, including some unique to this device, like the Orange Soda, Honeydew Grape and Razz Lychee flavours.

Second are the P1 refillable pods (in packs of 3). This simple but effective addition to the range expands the potential customer base for the device. For those that prefer to vape outside of Elf's e-liquid flavours, which are generally sweet and fruity, these pods turn the Mate 500 into an open/refillable pod kit - allowing for the use of any brand of e-liquid (as long as it is 50% PG or higher), rather than being limited by Elf's own range of flavours.

We chose to test the Elf Bar Mate 500 with these compatible P1 refillable (empty) pods, and we supplied our panel with three bottles of Elf Bar's own 10ml ELFLIQ nic-salt e liquids

The ELFLIQ range launched in May 2022 at the Vaper Expo in Birmingham. It is available in 10mg and 20mg strengths in more than 20 flavours, again predominantly from their disposable flavour library.


When opening the e-liquid bottles, I found them to be very well-wrapped, child-proof and a little tricky to get into, given the cellophane wrapping.

Filling the pods is slightly fiddly - potentially a minor issue for those with big hands, very short or very long nails - but the side opening with rubber bung worked well and fitted snugly back in place. Throughout the test, all three pods remained leak-free.

Elf Bar Mate 500 device colour optionsElf Bar Mate 500 battery and pod
Elf Bar Mate 500 vape device with pod removedBlueberry Sour Raspberry, Cream Tobacco, Strawberry Ice Cream Elf Bar ElfLiq e-liquids
Elf Bar Mate 500 vape kit held in a hand

A detail that could have been more obvious within the instructions is that users of refillable pod kits must always 'prime' the pod - allowing the e-liquid at least 5 minutes to seep and penetrate the coil within the pod. This instruction is crucial; you will experience a nasty 'dry hit' if you skip this step (a taste of burning dry cotton).

My experience with inserting and removing the Mate 500 P1 refillable pods varied. I filled all three pods in the pack with a different flavoured e-liquid, so there was a lot of pod-swapping action with only one device. 

I discovered the pods could only be inserted one way, with the (very, very slightly) lower curved side to the front. This was not obvious at first. A strange and slightly annoying design flaw as, more often than not, it needed to be the other way around.

After firmly clicking into place, one pod got stuck (very stuck) in the device. Admittedly it was a hot day, and the ergonomically designed, smooth semi-translucent mouthpiece had nothing for my slightly sweaty hands to grip. Still, it was an unexpected challenge compared to other pods and pod kits.

I also realised, at no fault of the device, there is no way, other than with the sense of smell, to determine which e-liquid flavour is in which pod in a refillable multi-pod setup. With prefilled pod users used to having the flavour name stamped on the pod itself, it proved an exciting surprise with each first puff!

The ELFLIQ e-liquid range contains identical flavour recipes to the e-liquids within disposable Elf Bar 600s of the same name. But vaped through a more powerful rechargeable device, with a slightly different coil heating the liquid, I found all three flavours smoother and far nicer tasting. The draw is tighter, and vapour production is better. 

Unlike the battery power waning in a disposable vape (causing a vapour and flavour fade), you can keep the Elf Bar Mate 500 regularly charged and repeatedly enjoy a more consistent and tasty vape. This is much better. Having said that, the coils in the refillable P1 pods have a lifespan. You can only refill each pod ten times before needing to replace them.

Price-wise, the device is currently selling for £7.95 (at the time of review) - one of the cheapest available. Considering the internal technology, performance, and being manufactured by a reputable brand such as Elf, I found this impressive. 

The refillable P1 pods currently retail as 3 packs (9 pods) for £15. The 10ml bottles of ELFLIQ are currently priced at 3 for £10 (the cost of 2 and a half disposable Elf Bar 600s), and each bottle can fill a 2ml pod 5 times (up to 600 puffs per fill). Based on this, I calculated the P1 refill cost to be around £0.83 for the equivalent of a single disposable device. The money saved is outstanding compared to the £4 purchase cost of an Elf Bar 600.

Overall, aside from the slight issues I had chopping and changing pods, the Mate 500 with refillable pods gives such good value for money compared to vaping either disposables or using the prefilled disposable pods that it shall remain in my collection for as long as the seemingly sturdy battery lasts.

As long as you do not mind the small task of refilling a pod with e-liquid (which is very clean, quick and easy), then you will get far better value out of this setup than the admittedly more convenient and wasteful alternative disposable vaping options.


Elf Bar

Flavours in Range:

We used refillable pods with ELFLIQ e liquid although there are currently 35 flavours in their pre-filled P1 pod range for this device.


  • Battery:  500mAh integrated
  • Re-chargeable:  Yes
  • Puffs:  Up to 500 between charges
  • Eliquid:  Any 50/50 PG/VG e liquid in the refillable P1 pods. The pre-filled P1 pods contain nic-salt eliquid.
  • Nicotine Strength:  Any or 2% (20mg) within the compatible P1 prefilled pods range
  • Refillable:  Yes (prefilled P1 pods also available)
  • Coil: 1.2 ohm
  • Manufactured in:  China

Who is this product best for:

Vapers preferring a more eco-friendly convenient vape.

Comparable Products:

Uwell Caliburn A3, OXVA Oxbar Bipod, Vaporesso XROS 3

Do I recommend this product?

Yes. Absolutely!

Reasons for buying this product:

  • Elf Bar brand
  • Excellent value for money compared to disposables
  • Greener than disposable vapes
  • The flexibility to choose either your own e liquid or one of Elf Bar's own flavours
  • Attractive design with colour options


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

4.2 out of 5

Test Panel Reviews

* The views of the panel are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of Vapourcore


Naomi's Review

If you're a fan of the smooth and intense flavour offered by Elf Bar disposables but find the price to be a barrier for regular use, you're in luck. Elf Bar has introduced a brilliant alternative that gives you the same great taste at a more affordable price point.

The Elf Bar Mate refillable vape range boasts a sleek and modern design that feels solid and premium. The devices are compact, lightweight, and feature a simple yet elegant aesthetic. The smooth curves and ergonomic design make them comfortable to hold and use. They are available in a variety of colours and finishes (my favourite is the iridescent yellow), offering options to suit different personal preferences. Whether you prefer a classic black or a vibrant pop of colour, the Elf Bar Mate has something for everyone.

The Elf Bar Mate refillable vape offers several notable features that contribute to its overall appeal. The device utilizes a refillable pod system, allowing users to easily fill with their favourite Elf Bar Elfliq e-liquid flavours without the need for buying separate pre-filled cartridges. This not only offers convenience but also helps to reduce waste and save money in the long run. The pods have a decent capacity, ensuring that you can enjoy your vaping sessions without constantly refilling.

The draw-activated firing mechanism is another feature that sets the Elf Bar Mate apart. With no buttons to press, all you have to do is take a draw, and the device automatically activates, delivering a smooth and consistent vaping experience. This simplicity makes it user-friendly, especially for beginners or those who prefer a hassle-free vaping experience.

During my usage, the Elf Bar Mate refillable vape performed admirably. It is sturdy and easily fits in your pocket. The draw activation was responsive and consistent, providing a satisfying vaping experience with every puff. The refillable pods were easy to fill and offered the great, strong flavour production that we know and love from the Elf Bar disposables. The device delivered a smooth and enjoyable vape, with a decent throat hit and vapour production. The battery life was reasonable for a device of its size, lasting through several vaping sessions before requiring a recharge.

When compared to other products in the market, the Elf Bar Mate refillable vape holds its ground well. It has an extensive flavour range and its simplicity and user-friendly design make it an appealing option. I would say the quality of the flavour is only slightly inferior to the disposables, but the cost-effectiveness truly makes up for that.

To conclude, I have to say I am a convert. For day-to-day vaping this is a great alternative to disposables and my bank balance is thankful! The Elf Bar Mate refillable vape range offers a solid vaping experience with its sleek design, user-friendly features, and reliable performance. It excels in simplicity and ease of use. The device is well-suited for beginners or vapers looking for a hassle-free and portable option. However, those seeking advanced features or a longer battery life may need to explore alternatives. Overall, the Elf Bar Mate refillable vape range earns highly respectable ratings for its combination of design, performance, and convenience.


  • Sleek and modern design that is comfortable to hold
  • User-friendly draw-activated firing mechanism
  • Refillable pod system for convenience and cost-effectiveness
  • Compact and lightweight for easy portability
  • Consistent performance and enjoyable vaping experience
  • Massive choice of 20 Elfliq flavours and 8 colours for the device itself


  • Lack of customization options for advanced vapers
  • Battery life may not be as long-lasting as some other devices
  • Some users may find the device too simplistic in terms of features
  • Price may be higher compared to similar devices on the market


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

4.2 out of 5

Victoria's Review

I've been given the chance to try out the Elf Bar Mate device which is something a little different to the disposables I usually use.

The Elf Bar Mate is a pod system, meaning the battery is rechargeable and you simply change the 'pod' when needed. The pod essentially functions as the mouthpiece and contains the coil and flavoured liquid. It can be easily slotted in and out of the reusable battery section as and when required.

What is interesting about the Elf Bar Mate is that it can be used as both an open or closed pod system. Meaning it can be used with either pre-filled sealed pods that are used and then disposed of, or with an empty unsealed pod that can be filled with a flavoured liquid of your choice and then refilled as needed several more times before the coil wears out. At that point you dispose of the pod in the same way as you would with the prefilled ones and replace it.

I'm going to be trying it out as an open pod system with empty pods to fill up with liquid.
The liquid I'm going to be using with it is ELFLIQ Nic Salts also from Elf bar. It comes in 10ml bottles which is 20mg/ml nicotine strength and is made with a 50/50 ratio of PG/VG.

I'm really keen to try the ELFLIQ liquid. Elf bar is well known for their top quality flavours in their disposable range and I'm interested to find out if the liquid refills can match up.

Unboxing the Elfbar Mate, I see it comes with a USB-C charging cable, although it is an inconveniently short one. The device is quite thin, made of metal with a brushed metallic gradient finish. I think it looks pretty stylish. Much more low key compared to the bold bright colours seen in their disposables.

The pods to go with this device are bought separately and the refillable ones come in a pack of three. To fill the pod, you simply flip up the small rubber seal on the side and squeeze the liquid into the empty liquid chamber. This part of the pod is clear so you can see how much juice you've put in and also see how much is left and when it needs to be refilled.
The process is simple although it might be a little fiddly for some people.

I wasn't sure if the device was pre-charged so I gave it a little charge first and then got to trying out the first flavour liquid in the Elf Bar Mate! I decided to start with the Strawberry Ice cream first. The flavour was good, although not as strong as you get from most disposables.

I found the device pleasant enough to vape with but it seemed to lack something for me, although it's difficult to say exactly what it was but I found myself using it interchangeably with my disposable throughout the day, in order to satisfy my cravings completely.

I found that one full charge of the battery was enough to last me all day, although I needed to top up the liquid, but with a 10ml bottle there was more than enough to refill it many times over.

I don't know whether or not Elf Bar use the same recipes/formulas for the flavours in their disposable vapes as they do for the ELFLIQ range, or if it's the delivery, via the Elf Bar Mate device, that makes for such a different experience. But unfortunately, for me the Elf Bar Mate and ELFLIQ liquid combo doesn't live up to the same flavour counterparts from the disposables range.

All in all, I really liked the device, and I really like the concept of it, which is why I wish so much that it had completely satisfied my vaping needs and had not left me reaching for my disposable every now and then. Ideally I'd love it if a device like this could completely replace disposable vapes for me, but I don't think this quite cuts it. That said, I definitely think that using this alongside, would help me massively cut down on the number of disposable vapes I get through. Better for my wallet and the planet.


  • Stylish
  • Rechargeable
  • Refillable
  • Cheaper than disposables in the long run
  • More environmentally friendly than disposables


  • Flavours not as good as the equivalent disposable flavours
  • Difficult to know how much power is in the battery until it runs out.
  • Could be fiddly for some people to fill


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

3.9 out of 5

Afreen's Review

I recently received the ElfBar Mate 500 vape kit with three ElfLiq e-liquids from Vapourcore. I must admit that these are by far the best and most flavoursome e-liquids I have purchased. 

Their taste is not that harsh. Most of the e-liquids I have tried have been very harsh to inhale. I would say they are premium-tasting, and the best part is that they taste exactly like the disposable vape flavours I have been searching for for some time. 

With their 3 for £10 offer, I would say these are definitely worth buying if you want to cut down your spending on disposables, but you, like me, are struggling to find a good, flavourful e-liquid that is easy to inhale.

As for the ElfBar Mate 500 Device, it is similar sized to a standard Elf Bar or the Elf Bar Shisha Bars, so it is very convenient and not too bulky to fit in your pocket without filling it. It is comfortable to use, and the one I'm testing has a sleek black finish which looks very sophisticated. It is also rechargeable using a type-C charger. The battery life is great, and I have had no issues with it. 

You can currently buy this device for only £7.95, which is outstanding in my opinion. The only downside is that you need to buy the Elf Bar Mate 500 pods which adds another £5.35 for a 3-pack to the cost. However, the positive is that they're refillable pods, which means you can keep filling them up until the flavour starts to go, then replace them. They have a 2ml capacity, so you can fill them up 5 times if you're using the 10ml e-liquid bottles, which is good value.

My overall spend for these items would have been £25.15. This will definitely last me over a month, meaning I will save over £55 a month if I buy these instead of disposable vapes.

In conclusion, if you're looking for an alternative to save money but also want premium flavour and quality, these items are definitely worth the purchase.


  • Battery life
  • Outstanding price
  • Range of colours
  • Flavours


  • You have to buy their own compatible pods


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

4.7 out of 5

Product Taste Tests:

Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream
4.0 out of 5

A nostalgic dessert delight. If you want to bring back memories of sunny summer days and Ice Cream trucks, then this is the flavour for you. The sweet and juicy Strawberries are perfectly infused with a creamy Ice Cream base, resulting in a velvety smooth and incredibly flavourful vape. Each inhale is a burst of ripe Strawberries, while the exhale leaves a creamy and lingering sweetness on your palate. Personally, for me it is just slightly too sweet for regular use (I’m a sour kinda gal) but I can see loads absolutely loving this.

4.0 out of 5

This flavour was easily my favourite. It was nice and sweet but not overly fruity, much more of a smooth subtle hint of Strawberry flavour with a pleasant smoothness to it. Rather like a Strawberries and Cream Hard Candy. It made it easy to vape this flavour all day without getting tired of it.

4.5 out of 5

I found it surprisingly really flavoursome and it wasn't too harsh.

Overall Score:

4.2 out of 5
Cream Tobacco
Cream Tobacco
3.0 out of 5

A Luxurious and creamy blend. Now Tobacco flavours have never been a particular favourite with me but even I managed to enjoy this one. This unique blend combines the smoothness of creamy notes with the richness of Tobacco, creating a luxurious feeling vape. The creamy undertones add a velvety texture to the traditional Tobacco flavour, enhancing the overall experience. It strikes a good balance between sweetness and smokiness, offering a creamy and comforting vape that is both sophisticated and satisfying. It wasn’t good enough to convert me to Tobacco flavours but it was a big hit with my friend who had a cheeky puff.

3.0 out of 5

This was a pleasant enough flavour. But a bit lacking in kick or throat hit?
It was a little bit like the Strawberry Ice Cream flavour but minus the strawberry taste. A nice flavour, but maybe a little bit bland for those who are used to strong flavours.

2.5 out of 5

I personally don't like the taste of Tobacco, but for a smoker, I think they would really enjoy this flavour and it might help them get off cigarettes. Also, for people who don't like fruity flavours, they would most likely enjoy this one.

Overall Score:

2.8 out of 5
Blueberry Sour Raspberry
Blueberry Sour Raspberry
4.5 out of 5

A tangy and fruity fusion. If you're looking for a tangy and fruity vaping experience, look no further than Elf Bar's Blueberry Sour Raspberry Elfliq. This delightful fusion of Blueberries and sour Raspberries creates a dynamic and vibrant flavour profile that is tantalising. The juicy Blueberries provide a luscious base, while the tartness of the Raspberries adds a great twist. The combination strikes a perfect balance between sweet and sour, resulting in a truly enjoyable vaping experience. Each puff delivers a burst of fruity goodness that will leave you craving more.

2.5 out of 5

This was my least favourite liquid. Initially it was like a slightly muted version of the same flavour from the disposable Elf Bars. Whilst the Blueberry Sour Raspberry disposable is a little full on fruity for my tastes, the taste just became quite acrid and unpleasant the more I used this one.

4.5 out of 5

It has a lot of flavour and the taste doesn't fade at all.

Overall Score:

3.8 out of 5


Overall, the whole panel and I were impressed with this little metallic kit. The Elf Bar Mate 500 is a far superior offering and a worthy successor in performance and value for money compared to their throw-away Elf Bar disposables.

Elf Bar have remained loyal to what works - the ease of use and the ever-expanding array of Elf Bar flavours - while expanding their appeal to non-disposable vapers. This device will appeal to those conscientious vapers seeking a more environmentally friendly alternative. At the same time, the P1 refillable pods should help gain market share from the open pod connoisseurs who might not have previously considered Elf Bar as anything other than a disposable brand. 

During the ELFLIQ taste testing, it became clear why Cream Tobacco is a perennial favourite across all Elf ranges. It has been cleverly created for smokers with a very realistic tobacco taste, albeit a slight mismatch between aroma and actual taste. The smell is very sweet, creamy, almost caramel-like, while the taste is less mellow and more tobacco. We agree with Elf that it would be a good start for those trying to cut down on cigarettes. 

If you are used to the punchy, full-on flavours delivered by disposables, then you may find the experience of the Mate 500 slightly bland, as did some of our panel. Personally, I enjoyed and preferred the slightly muted and smoother taste, in still familiar flavours, that the ELFLIQ delivered from this device.

In the ELFLIQ range, fans of Elf's flavour profiles can switch to a greener and cheaper option while retaining the same flavour notes of the now iconic Elf flavours. These e-liquids can, of course, also be used with other-brand refillable/open vape kits like the Uwell Caliburn series, Vaporesso XROS 3 and similar low-wattage devices.

With mounting pressure on the disposable vape industry to tackle the environmental footprint of their product, the Elf Bar Mate 500 is ideally placed as a stepping stone to a more environmentally aware future for the vape industry.

For the Elf Bar Mate 500, the future looks bright. For it, the future is an Aurora Greener one.

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I have just switched to the elf mate 500, I was using the Elfa prefilled pods which I loved – however I wanted to decrease the amount of nicotine and found refillable the only way to do this.

This vape even using the Elflix isn’t a patch on the flavour and draw from the Elfa. I’m persevering and hopefully I’ll get used to it, but just wonder why you cannot get prefilled pods in 10mg.

Bobbie Church Thursday, 9 November 2023 | 16:12

After a few initial teething problems with the device. Apparently I wasn’t charging it for long enough) It’s turned out to be a very reliable little device. Such a range of flavours available. Plus the refillable pods have opened a whole range of E-liquid options.

Damien Wednesday, 16 August 2023 | 14:48

Have switched to pod kits from disposables and am saving myself a small fortune. This is a great little kit and very versatile.

Frank K Wednesday, 16 August 2023 | 14:48

Tried these while visiting family in Scotland. Some great flavors and very cute. Have stocked up before going home.

Gabby Wednesday, 16 August 2023 | 14:51

I initially had some issues with these but Vapourcore customer services kindly explained about the need to prime them and now they’re one of my favourites.

Bill Morgan Wednesday, 16 August 2023 | 14:48

I have recently switched from disposables to pod kits to save money and this is the best one I’ve tried so far.

Kerry Wednesday, 16 August 2023 | 14:48

My go to Pod kit. It really is a jack of all trades, and I love the refillable pods. It lets me experiment with flavours that don’t exist in disposable vapes.

Bob Wednesday, 16 August 2023 | 14:48

I disagree about the Cream Tobacco flavour as it’s one of my favourites. It’s a tidy little vape.

Neil Thursday, 13 July 2023 | 09:54

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