Elfa Pro vs Vuse Pro - A next gen pod kit shootout

Elfa Pro vs Vuse Pro - A next gen pod kit shootout

Products used in this review:

It feels like we've come full circle in the vaping industry.

Why do I say this? Well, I'm reminded of the time when vapes first exploded onto the scene. That was well over a decade ago, and I had just begun a personal vaping journey with some very crude cigalike devices, hoping to give up a thirty-a-day smoking habit. These early vape devices contained plastic, a small Lithium Ion battery, a micro coil, wicking and e-liquid - much like today's disposable vapes.

Fast forward to the last few years, and we've experienced substantial advances in vape technology - things have moved on in a big way. Yet, the more advanced vape kits that emerged following the cigalike era have now been shunned in favour of their more basic forebears. I am, of course, talking about the tidal wave of disposable vapes flooding the market. Ironically, after ten years of continuous development, the vaping industry has gone back to where it started.

Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the logic - the apparent ease of access and ease of use of these simple disposable devices. I've seen first-hand how many vapers prefer products you can pick up and use straight out of the box instead of setting up and learning how to use them. Smoking has always been an accessible habit, so it does make perfect sense.

More recently, as manufacturers became more wary of the environmental impact posed by disposable vapes (one of a few reasons for the forthcoming disposable vapes ban), they've searched for ways to tackle the critical issues these devices bring.

To some extent, they've succeeded. They've developed a new generation of disposable vapes that separates the flavour cartridges from the batteries, reducing waste going into landfill and requiring fewer batteries to be manufactured with finite Lithium resources.

These newer devices are often referred to as disposable pod kits, and today, I'm looking at two popular kits from two leading disposable vape brands to compare the differences. I'm checking out the Vuse Pro and Elfa Pro. I'll be looking to see which device offers the best functionality, which provides the best flavour, how long the batteries last, and, critically, how many puffs we can really expect from a single pod.

Vuse PRO Pod Kit

About Vuse

If you are a disposable vape user, you may already be familiar with vuse through their GO, GO 700 and box-style Edition 01 disposable vape ranges. 

However, as an established brand, they are better known for their easy-to-use pod kits and prefilled pods, as their disposable vape offerings only launched in recent years. Notably, the Vuse GO and Edition 01 flavours seem to have been designed as a way to point users back to their pod kit ranges.

The good news about Vuse is that their products are all TPD-compliant and manufactured here in the UK.

The Vuse PRO Pod kit

It looks like the Vuse PRO is a new range for the manufacturer, as I couldn't see any other variations of the PRO on their official site. It appears their ePen device is no longer stocked, nor is the Epod or Epod 2. The Vuse PRO is an improved version of the original Epod 2. It is compatible with all Epod 2 cartridges, a great feature.

In the box:

  • Vuse PRO device
  • Magnetic USB charging cable
  • User guide

The packaging is pretty smart-looking, with the Vuse PRO device is nicely recessed in a tray sitting at the top of the box. Flipping this tray over reveals an incredibly long USB charging cable. We also get an instruction manual, and although the device is easy enough to use, there's ample info on the safety and general use of the product.

Vuse Pro Prefilled Pod Kit and Charging Cable UnboxedThe Vuse Pro Prefilled Pod Kit Device held in a HandVuse Pro Pod Kit with Box

Look and Feel

The Vuse PRO comes in five different colour schemes. Pick from Gold, Rose Gold, Red, Black or Blue.

Composed of aluminium alloy, it is very lightweight, so placing it in a shirt or trouser pocket won't pose any problems. It measures 91 mm in height with a width of 18mm and depth of just 10mm, so that gives you an idea of the portability.<

A single White LED indicator is incorporated into the black trim that runs vertically down the centre of the battery, and this illuminates while vaping and pulses while in a charging state.

The Vuse PRO is IPX4 rated, which means it's capable of withstanding splashes of water - rainy conditions, for example. Don't expect it to come out vaping if you drop it into a sink full of water, though!

Vuse Pro Pod Vape Kit in 3 Colours

Charging

It's not type C charging; you dock the battery section into a cradle at the end of the cable via magnets while plugging the other end into a suitable USB wall outlet. We're reliably informed that it takes 30 minutes to charge the device to 80% and that it shouldn't ever take longer than an hour to charge fully.

Vuse Pro Pods

Of course, a battery is just a battery without its flavour pods. The Vuse PRO pod range offers a total of 34 flavours in various fruit, nut, mint and tobacco categories. The pods come in sealed blister packs of two and are easy enough to get your hands on, much like the packaging.

There are a few things that niggle, however. The packaging does not clearly state that the e-liquid contains salt nicotine (note: the website corrects this), whether they use mesh coils, or how two 2ml pods can produce a combined total of 1,900 puffs. Regardless, I'll be testing this anyway.

It is interesting to see Vuse adopting so many nicotine strength variations across the flavour range. We have the option of 3, 6, 12 and 18mg. Some are also available as 0 mg. Clearly, they aim to make their products appeal to the broadest demographic.

The pods connect to the battery section via two magnets. Inserting either way is fine, but they're not the strongest, to be honest, and will separate if dropped from a standing height.

In the box:

  • 2 x Vuse PRO pods
  • Instruction manual

A pack of 2 Vuse Pro prefilled pods held in a hand

Testing

After ensuring the battery had been fully charged, I sampled the Garden Strawberry flavour pods. 

Flavour and vapour production

The pod has definitely been designed for a tight MTL vape, and airflow is at an absolute minimum. The draw perfectly mimics that of a cigarette, and vapour production is around the same volume, so transitioning vapers will feel very familiar with this experience.

The flavour is good, but nothing earth-shattering. It's not on the same level as most disposables, but that's probably because Vuse have used a standard micro coil instead of mesh. In other words, it's not as punchy throughout the exhale, and not quite as consistent. Don't expect an intense, concentrated or extra-sweet taste. It's somewhat toned down with these pods.

Having said that, the fruit does taste quite authentic. There's nothing chalky or artificial about it. Garden Strawberry has a natural, clean taste, and the sweetener has clearly been kept to the bare minimum. The absence of Menthol also makes for a pleasant change - so there's nothing to distract from the overall flavour experience.

The new vaper will definitely know they're vaping a Strawberry flavour, even if it is somewhat dull in comparison to standard disposable vapes.

Battery Life

The battery is rated to 360mAh, typical for any disposable vape on the market. Towards the end of a single charge, the LED will flash five times while vaping. Once it flashes ten times, you'll need to plug it into a USB charger using the supplied cable.

As it charges, the LED will pulse slowly and, after 35 minutes, turn a solid white. The device will switch off shortly after, and you're ready to vape again. If you're desperate for a toot, it's also possible to vape while still plugged in.

I got seven hours of use from a single charge and managed around 500 puffs. There was still ample e-liquid left in the 2ml pod. All told, a single pod lasted for 11 hours, which I estimated gave me a total of 800 puffs. This means that, in reality, you're likely to harvest somewhere in the region of 1,600 puffs from a twin pack of pods. Not the figure stated, but not bad, either.

Battery Safety

As far as battery safety is concerned, I tested the five-second vape duration feature, and it works just fine. Should you forget to unplug the charger, the battery will also shut down after a maximum of three hours.

Brand:

Vuse

Specifications:

  • Vaping Style: Mouth To Lung (MTL) 
  • Coil type: Ceramic
  • Coil Resistance: 1.2 ohm
  • Refillable: No
  • Pod E-liquid: 50/50 PG/VG
  • Pod Capacity: 1.9ml (TPD)
  • Battery: 350mAh integrated battery
  • Charging Time: 30 - 60 mins
  • Charging Cable: 1 x USB cable included
  • Dimensions: 104.2 mm (length) x 10.5mm (deep) x 19.1mm (width)
  • Manufactured in:  China

Who is this product best for?

Mainly those who prefer less artificial flavours. Ex-smokers, new vapers, those looking for convenience in a vape kit.

Do I recommend this product?

Absolutely! If you’re considering a new or replacement starter pod kit you won’t go far wrong with the Vuse Pro.

Reasons for buying this product:

  • Simple flavour notes
  • Well made
  • Excellent value
  • Fast charging time

Comparable products:

Hexa Pro, Blu 2.0 Starter Kit, Logic Vape.

Scores:

Taste:
Performance:
Battery Life:
Design & Build:
Features:

Overall Score:

3.8 out of 5

Elf Bar ELFA PRO Pod kit

About Elfbar

Many people will be familiar with Elfbar. The name has become synonymous with disposable vapes over the last few years. They've dominated the category after rising to fame with their original Elfbar 600 and, more recently, with the release of the new Elfbar Crystal CR600.

Yet one look at their website shows a sudden but highly calculated shift towards disposable pod kits. It's almost as if they knew about the looming UK ban on single-use products...

The ELFA PRO Pod kit

Elf already had a successful pod kit in production, the Elf Bar Mate 500, and the original Elf Bar ELFA pod kit hasn't knocked their reputation for delivering the most popular vape goods to the masses either. So much so that the follow-up, the Elf Bar PRO, looks set to cement the manufacturer's reputation as one of the leading exponents in this particular vaping category.

In the box:

  • Elf Bar ELFA Pro device
  • Elf Bar ELFA PRO prefilled pod
  • User manual

The packaging of the ELFA PRO is very similar to any disposable vape. Right down to the plastic sealing bag and the device within because it comes with a disposable pod. So you'd be hard-pressed actually to tell the difference.

The Elf Bar ELFA Pro Pod Kit with included pod and boxThe ELFA Pro device held in a handA couple of Elfa Pro pod kit colours

Look and Feel

The ELFA PRO is available in a host of colour schemes: Black, Navy Blue, Aurora Green, Purple and Blue, Twilight Blue, Brown and Pink. I particularly like how each comes with a suitable flavour to match the colour. For example, Aurora Green has an Apple Peach pod - a nice touch.

The size, weight and materials are identical to an Elf Bar V2 disposable vape. A device measures 16 x 108.2mm, weighs a mere 35g and is composed of stainless steel and plastic. It will fit comfortably in the hand and a shirt or trouser pocket.

Instructions for use are included in the box, and a reminder sticker has also been placed on the sealing bag. I like this attention to detail as not everyone bothers with the instructions. 

Charging

Like many other disposables, the ELFA PRO is cylindrical in shape and powered by a 500mAh integrated battery, rechargeable via a type C USB cable - not supplied, unfortunately.

Elf Bar ELFA ECS Pods

The prefilled 2ml pods come with what's known as 'QUAQ tech'. In other words, they have a 1.2ohm mesh coil specifically designed to boost flavour and vapour production. But that's not all. These pods use ECS (e-liquid coil separation) technology. This is Elf Bar's way of sealing in the freshness of the e-liquid whilst in transit to the customer.

You need to push up on the base of the pod. Doing so releases e-liquid into the chamber, saturating the mesh coil and cotton in the process. Elf Bar state that the pods are then ready to vape straight away.

Until now, I've never encountered a system whereby the cotton doesn't need to be soaked for at least a few minutes, so we'll see how that works out as we progress.

It's impossible to insert the pods into the cylindrical battery incorrectly - magnetic contacts ensure they slip effortlessly into place.

Unlike the original ELFA pods, the PRO pods are now transparent. So, although they still need to be removed from the battery, E-liquid levels are visible - a sensible upgrade. Keep in mind those OG pods are also compatible with this upgrade.

You can purchase replacement pods in twin blister packs. Whilst we're on the subject of flavours, there's a whopping 30 to choose from: Fruit, Beverage, Dessert and Sweet categories are all catered for, so there's something to suit all taste buds.

We can expect each pod to last for anything up to 600 puffs. Can we expect a single charge of the battery to keep up? Something else we'll be testing...!

In the box:

  • 2 x ELFA Pro pods
  • Instruction manual

2 ELFA Pro Pods in a blister pack held in handInserting the Elfa Pro Pod to the Elfa Pro deviceThe full range of Elfa Pro pod flavours

Testing

Flavour and vapour production

The Elfbar ELFA PRO offers an exceptional MTL draw. It is very comfortable and not so tight as to prevent an extended inhale. It is (and to be expected) not suitable for direct lung vaping, however restrictive.

The flavour is absolutely incredible. My test model came with Blue Raspberry included, and the fruit blending is far superior to that of a disposable vape because individual flavour notes are discernable.

The ESC pod shares the same level of sweetness as its disposable vape alternative, but the cooling agent is much more balanced, working together with the flavour instead of engulfing it. You can expect an intense lingering taste throughout each vape. Your taste buds are in for a treat!

As for vapour production? It is actually relatively thin and wispy, dissipating quite rapidly. Let's say it more or less duplicates the volume of smoke exhaled from a hand-rolled cigarette. You'll have very little trouble stealth vaping with the ELFA PRO.

What about that ECS tech? Well, true to their word, Elf Bar have nailed it. I vaped immediately after introducing E-liquid into the chamber. There was no dry hit or burnt taste - just pure flavour.

Battery Life

I would advise topping up the charge before using the ELFA for the first time. My review model needed another 15 minutes.

The battery held up for an impressive 9 hours, and during this period, I was vaping regularly. It was also interesting that the pod ran out of juice simultaneously. You can expect at least 600 puffs from a pod, so battery capacity, output and pod life are very much in sync with one another.

It took 65 minutes to recharge the battery fully, and just like the VUSE PRO, it is possible to vape while waiting. The white LED remains lit but will shut off when charging is complete.

Battery Safety

Sadly, there are no safety features mentioned in the instruction manual. That's a shame because it should be first and foremost in the minds of any manufacturer. After testing, it appears there's a ten-second cut-off while vaping. We also know the device shuts down once fully charged.

Brand:

Elf Bar

Specifications:

  • Vaping Style: Mouth To Lung (MTL) 
  • Coil type: QUAQ Mesh
  • Coil Resistance: 1.2 ohm
  • Refillable: No
  • Pod E-liquid: 50/50 PG/VG
  • Pod Capacity: 2ml (TPD)
  • Battery: 500mAh integrated battery
  • Charging Time: 30 - 90 mins
  • Charging Cable: USB cable (not included)
  • Dimensions: 108mm (h) x 16mm (w)
  • Manufactured in:  China

Who is this product best for?

Beginner vapers and disposable vape users.

Do I recommend this product?

If you’re a fan of the Elf Bar flavours and looking for a cheaper, longer-lasting, rechargeable vape kit then this is great value and performs exceedingly well.

Reasons for buying this product:

  • Ease of use
  • Excellent familiar flavours
  • Performance
  • Value for money

Comparable products:

Hexa Pro, Blu 2.0 Starter Kit, Logic Vape

Scores:

Taste:
Performance:
Battery Life:
Design & Build:
Features:

Overall Score:

4.4 out of 5

A comparison - the Vuse PRO Pod Kit vs the Elf Bar ELFA PRO Pod Kit

Performance

Both devices rely on 'auto-inhale' to function and are sensitive and highly responsive. There's literally only a tiny pinhole on either side of the Vuse PRO, so airflow is minimal, making the MTL vape effective. 

The dual air intake on the ELFA PRO is marginally bigger, but the restriction is about the same. Again, this makes for a very satisfactory MTL vape experience.

Based on a single charge, the ELFA PRO, with its 500mAh capacity battery, was always going to win the battle. It held out for 2 hours longer, subsequently delivering 100 puffs more.

Charging

Although the Vuse PRO has a proprietary magnetic charging cable included, there's no beating the versatility and popularity of type C USB charging, even though the cable still needs to be added to the ELFA PRO kit.

To put things into context, if you happen to damage the Vuse PRO cable, you'll need to re-purchase the entire kit. But you'll likely have a spare type C USB charging cable knocking about for the ELFA PRO.

The VUSE PRO takes approximately 30 minutes less to charge fully.

Features

Both devices share the same quirk when it comes to the LED indicator. Neither responds when attaching the pod to their respective battery sections, but they do when removing them. Personally, I would have preferred it to illuminate when attaching to show a working connection between the two.

Irrespective of this, the White LED on the base of the ELFA PRO is much brighter and more eye-catching than the VUSE PRO.

Pod Design

Despite the ELFA PRO pods now boasting visible E-liquid levels, they still can't compete with the fully transparent VUSE PRO equivalents.

Flavour

There's a clear winner in my mind when it comes to flavour. The ELFA PRO wins, hands down. The boost in power and QUAQ mesh coil tech trounces the competition and actually improves on the flavour experienced from a disposable vape.

Vapour Production

There was very little to separate the two regarding vapour production. If I had to call it, the VUSE PRO has a slight edge.

Conclusion

The Elf Bar ELFA PRO comes out on top. Coupled with a larger battery capacity and mesh coil, the flavour is much stronger, crisper and better blended, and it's also fresher, thanks to the ECS pod tech.

In terms of design and build, there's not a great deal in it. Performance-wise, they both perform very well and on a consistent level.

In terms of overall battery life, the ELFA PRO prevails quite comfortably. 

But it's the VUSE PRO for charging - shaving almost half an hour off the ELFA PRO.

Both kits have apparent strengths and weaknesses and areas where they perform equally. For example, they match each other for ease of use and portability.

To summarise: for e-liquid efficiency and recharging time, the VUSE PRO steals it. For flavour and build, I'd go for the Elf Bar ELFA PRO.

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