Ploom X Kit & EVO Sticks Heated Tobacco Product Review

Ploom X Kit & EVO Sticks Heated Tobacco Product Review

Additional Testing By:  
Alex,   Afreen,   Mel

E-cigarettes are not for everyone. We test Ploom's offering to see how heated tobacco fares as an alternative to disposable vapes in the quest to quit smoking...

What is heated tobacco?

As a source of nicotine, heated tobacco provides an alternative method of intake that differs significantly from more popular vape devices or, indeed, from smoking. 

For smokers, heated tobacco claims to be a cheaper, healthier, more enjoyable alternative to help them quit cigarettes. 

Based on the principle that the majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke are produced by burning tobacco, the tobacco sticks inside a heated tobacco device instead are gently heated to a much lower temperature (around 350°C), releasing nicotine and producing vapour but with no smoke, ash or tar.

Heating tobacco instead of burning it releases fewer toxins and at lower concentrations than normal cigarettes, reducing the risk to the smoker compared to conventional smoking.*

*In test conditions, Ploom had a 90-95% reduction in the levels of 9 constituents recommended by the World Health Organization for reducing cigarette smoke. 

There are multiple heated tobacco ranges on the market. Two of the most popular brands in the UK today are IQOS, developed by PMI (Philip Morris International) with their compatible HEETS sticks, and Ploom, created by JTI (Japan Tobacco International) with their compatible EVO sticks. It is Ploom that we will be reviewing here.

About the brand

Ploom and EVO products are marketed in the UK by JTI (Japan Tobacco International), a leading international tobacco product manufacturer and owner of established brands such as Silk Cut, Benson and Hedges, Old Holborn and Amber Leaf.

JTI entered the heated tobacco market when they acquired the Ploom brand in 2011.

Ploom is part of JTI's 'reduced-risk' strategy - alongside sister brands such as Nordic Spirit (tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches) and Logic (rechargeable vape kits with prefilled vape pods) - to develop, test and bring to market products with the potential to reduce the health risks from smoking.

How does the Ploom system work?

The Ploom heated tobacco system delivers nicotine vapour by gently heating small cigarette-like tobacco sticks (EVO sticks). These sticks contain Ploom's 'ActivBlend' tobacco, produced from precisely cut tobacco leaves optimised for heating, not burning. The sticks are inserted into a handheld electronic device where they are heated in an internal oven (HeatFlow system), in this case, the Ploom X device.

The Ploom X Kit is Ploom's second-generation heated tobacco device, launched to the UK market in 2022 after a successful rollout in Japan. 

Box opening

On opening, the first thing I noticed is that the sleek design, from the super-smart packaging to the gleaming device, has a particular Apple style of simplicity. It is a stunning device with a slightly tapered body and nice rounded edges. It is super shiny and is presented like a precious gem at the top of the box. 

It feels fantastic to hold and is smaller than I expected (95g lighter than the previous Ploom model). After some slight confusion, I realised that the entire front panel serves as the 'button' (a mechanical button must be hidden behind it). The panel is secured magnetically, and different coloured panels are available, allowing for customisation of the device, which is a nice touch. 

A group of Ploom X customisable magnetic front panel colour options
The Ploom X Heated Tobacco Kit with an EVO stick inserted
The Ploom X Heated Tobacco Kit internal oven chamber
The Ploom X Heated Tobacco Kit in its box
Green Option EVO Tobacco Sticks open packaging

Many 'things' were in the box, which was slightly overwhelming. The user manual is housed in a similarly apple-esque envelope. It is a substantial book with clear diagrams and an awful lot of warnings. This could be off-putting to some, although I found it reassuringly thorough. 

Multiple pages contain DANGER, WARNING, and CAUTION points until you eventually get to the instructions (on page 26), which thankfully are incredibly detailed, with fantastic diagrams explaining precisely what to do to get started.

This was a different experience for me, a first-time heated tobacco user and someone used to the super-convenience of disposables and pods. Still, the manual is so well documented it gave me the confidence to try it. I noted there's an extensive troubleshooting section should you need it.


There was no charge in the device on opening. Charging is via a USB-C port at the bottom of the device and takes around 2 hours (pretty standard for a heated tobacco device) with the charger provided. 

When I plugged it in, it vibrated violently, and then a soothing pulsating light showed charging was underway. With a single LED strip and a lack of visible buttons, this device would not look out of place on the set of a SciFi film.

Online research tells me that the Ploom X can be linked with smartphones via Bluetooth to check the remaining battery level and activate a device lock function (although I did not explore this feature).

Evo Sticks

A box of 20 x EVO sticks (the compatible heated tobacco sticks for use with the Ploom X) looks like cellophane-wrapped teeny-tiny cigarettes, even down to the foil covering that you rip off the box's inner. 

The sticks are currently available in twelve flavours and claim to be half the price of an average pack of 20 traditional cigarettes. There are QR codes on the packaging 'for more information' although no flavour descriptions exist.

For this test review, we supplied three flavours of EVO sticks to our panel. After some online research, we identified that 'Amber' is a tobacco blend, the 'Green Option' is a menthol tobacco with a crush ball to click and release extra menthol flavour (it does genuinely smell like a menthol cigarette), and while 'Magenta' smells a bit like roses (definitely a floral aroma from that box) it is actually grape and mint tobacco flavour with floral aromatic notes.

Because the EVO sticks are so small, getting the first one out of the pack can be tricky, although my nails are long, so I managed. 

Testing the device

Armed with my instruction booklet (page 26), I started a session and inserted the EVO stick as directed. It is snug, so you must push firmly. I pressed and held the button area on the panel (as directed by the diagram), and once the light strip reached the top (another significant vibration), it was ready for my first go!

Well, I have to admit I was left slightly speechless! The experience of the Ploom X replicates the sensation of smoking a cigarette SO much that it is pretty unnerving; you can really taste the tobacco, which is not something I have tasted for many years. 

Initially, the filter tip of the EVO stick was quite hot (as is a cigarette filter), and although the first few puffs created little to no vapour at all, the vapour production increased the further I got into my session, and the heat in the filter tip calmed down.

I noticed there was no discernible smell in the air from the vapour, very little of which was produced compared to your average vape product. 

Having your session timed is a strange experience but an excellent idea. I don't know if I took more puffs during the session than I would typically vape in that time frame with the added time pressure, or if I took less because I was slightly scared of it! A warning vibrate followed by a longer, quite violent one indicated the session was over.

During a Ploom X session, you can clearly feel the Nicotine hit. I felt a slight head rush and had a lingering tobacco taste in my mouth (similar to smoking a cigarette) that lasted for a while. It's not the most pleasant, but it mimics smoking very well.

It was intense. Nothing at all like a standard vape; you are left fully nicotine-satisfied, and I happily went many hours before considering giving it another go. Consequently, this drew out the review session somewhat.

Once finished, removing a heated tobacco stick is easy; you can see the browning on the paper where the internal oven has slightly charred it. 

After using the device for a while, it left a very mild, not necessarily unpleasant, smell of tobacco in the room. This is heightened if you don't dispose of the used EVO sticks immediately, as they give off the aroma of a stale cigarette butt. However, this was easily dealt with.

Evo flavours

As a long-time ex-smoker, I was not able to fully appreciate the EVO flavours as I struggled to get past the overwhelming tobacco taste.

Green Option (with the crush ball) appealed to me the most and is strong, left tingling lips from the menthol, and took me straight back to my days of smoking menthol cigarettes in my youth. These were the first I tried, and I was so impressed at how closely the Ploom X mimics the smoking sensation.

Aside from the initial slightly floral aroma from the box, Magenta tastes of tobacco with an apparent mint undertone that strengthens with each puff. It left me with a tobacco taste and a slightly dry throat (as would smoking). I did not get grape, berry, or floral flavours.

Amber is just a realistic and recognisable, reasonably smooth (but strong) tobacco blend that cigarette smokers will, I am sure, enjoy.



Flavours in Range:

10 EVO stick flavour options (at the time of writing)


  • Battery:  2800 mAh integrated
  • Re-chargeable:  Yes
  • Duration:  One charge heats up to 20 tobacco sticks
  • EVO sticks per pack:  20
  • Size:  43.5 mm x 88.5 mm x 24.0 mm
  • Weight: 95g

Who is this product best for:

Adult tobacco smokers

Comparable Products:

IQOS Originals Starter Kit, Glo Hyper X2

Do I recommend this product?

Specifically for adult smokers, this is an authentic tasting alternative to smoking

Reasons for buying this product:

  • An affordable smoking alternative
  • The reduced health risk compared to smoking tobacco products*
  • Ultra-smooth vape experience
  • Successfully replicates the sensation, taste and duration of smoking a traditional cigarette
  • Good range of flavoured tobacco sticks

* The Ploom X delivered a 90-95% reduction in the levels of 9 constituents recommended by the World Health Organization for reduction in cigarette smoke.


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

4.1 out of 5

Test Panel Reviews

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


Alex's Review

The Ploom X is a heated tobacco vaporiser that uses tobacco sticks similar to cigarettes in order to heat the tobacco and offer a smooth vape, aimed at quitters and occasional smokers like me.

The product is a smooth black gloss kit that features an “oven” for burning the tobacco. This is where you will enter the sticks ready to vape. A slider can also be pulled over when you are not using it in order to keep dust out.

When using this vape out and about I found that the tobacco sticks can be a little bit jarring to carry if you have started using one and don’t want to vape the whole thing in one session.

Although there are other vapes like this, the Ploom X definitely offers a unique style of vaping.

Battery life is long on the device, and a packet of sticks can last for a long time giving you plenty to vape.

Overall the device is good, however, it can be a little underwhelming due to difficulties using it or the smaller puffs. Flavours are varied but can get quite hot as they vaporise.


  • Heavy nicotine hit
  • Good battery
  • Great for quitting


  • Stick can get stuck in device's “oven”
  • Short vape time per stick
  • A little complicated to use at first
  • Small hits with smaller clouds


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

3.2 out of 5

Afreen's Review

For this review I received a Ploom X vape (heated tobacco technology) with 3 packs of Evo tobacco sticks, each pack containing 20x sticks.

The box came with a C-type charger, adaptor and also cleaning sticks for the Ploom X device.

The device itself is quite elegant and is button-free. All you have to do is put in a tobacco stick and wait for the product to vibrate to tell you it is ready. The device is quite bulky but it fits into your hand perfectly.

It may not be as suitable for your pocket as an Elf Bar Mate, but it is not huge or heavy. I would say it's slightly inconvenient if you're on the go, as you would need to carry both the vape and the tobacco sticks.

The design is very sleek and simple and when you slide the cap, it lights up to tell you that it's on and ready for the sticks to be inserted.

As someone who hasn't smoked for a few years, I still much prefer disposable vapes and pod kits.


  • Very light smoke, almost smokeless
  • Doesn't stink like cigarettes
  • Can help heavy cigarette smokers to convert to vaping
  • The innovation is good


  • The cigarette butts heat up really fast. You can feel it on your lips which is quite unpleasant
  • Really strong, even for smokers
  • The sticks aren't secure inside the device and could come out easily
  • The product is too bulky for a cigarette smoker used to slimmer/ cigarette shaped devices.
  • It's pure nicotine and there's a lack of flavour of tobacco
  • Leaves a lingering smell


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

3.0 out of 5

Mel's Review

Wow, what a beautiful device, fits really nicely in the hand, very smart to look at.

However, after opening the box and looking at this beautiful product, I was left trying to figure out how to turn it on. There are no buttons, only an insert for the USB.
You can flip it as many times as you like, but there is no evidence on how to use it and get started.

I tried going to the Ploom website and the first thing I read is that EVO tobacco sticks can get very hot after a session, so you'll need to wait a few minutes for the stick to cool down. Finally, I went onto Google and discovered you have to flip the front cover open to see where the buttons are.

There was no battery life to start with so I needed to charge it before I could try it. Once charged, I put the first EVO stick in and pressed the area on the cover. The light came on and I knew I could start to use it.

I think the price is favourable and competitive compared to other heated tobacco devices. And the the refills a little cheaper.

The battery life lasted almost a full day, but I did tend to use an E-Cig as well.
I really liked the design, I liked the lights coming on and the vibration is a nice feature to know when I take a puff.

Apart from that, I can’t find any other positives compared to similar brands. I wasn’t crazy about the flavours. The Green Option was probably the nicest one for me, and the Amber my least favourite. The box of sticks reminds me of a small pack of cigarettes. Part of me doesn't want that, but can understand how smokers giving up for the first time might like it, as the experience and habit of taking out a cigarette still resonates, helping them to feel like they are still smoking.

An as ex-smoker, using the product was not enjoyable; all flavours except for the Green Option made me cough a lot. I found all of the flavours too strong. I am sensitive to most heated tobacco products so I tend not to use them. This product heated up very quickly and got too hot in my opinion.


  • The smell of the sticks are not as pungent as others I’ve tried
  • A beautiful looking device
  • Compact and easy to hold
  • The feature to slide over the tobacco pod hole is brilliant
  • LED feature is very nice


  • Product gets too hot and takes a little time to cool down
  • Not a clear instruction on how to get started
  • Makes me cough
  • No charge when new
  • Complicated website


Battery Life:
Design & Build:

Overall Score:

3.6 out of 5

Product Taste Tests:

Amber EVO
Amber EVO
3.0 out of 5

Less of a prominent taste, but definitely good for those who are trying to smoke less cigarettes. This flavour resembles the classic tastes of tobacco with an added touch.

1.0 out of 5

I found this to be too strong. I even asked a couple of heavy smokers to try it and they agreed that it wasn't pleasant.



0.5 out of 5

The strongest flavour of the ones I tested. It made me cough.

Overall Score:

1.5 out of 5
Magenta EVO
Magenta EVO
3.0 out of 5

I found this one to be the best tasting out of the bunch, and it wasn't that strong compared to the Amber flavour.



1.5 out of 5

Too strong for me. This also made me cough.

2.0 out of 5

Magenta brings a more fruitful taste, but this can feel overwhelmed by the taste of tobacco. Good for some, however, not for me.

Overall Score:

2.2 out of 5
Green Option EVO
Green Option EVO
2.0 out of 5

I was hoping that it would have more flavour, however, the Menthol taste was very faint.



2.5 out of 5

The best of the flavours.

3.0 out of 5

This flavour uses a classic Crushball to activate the minty flavour that you may find in cigarettes. Great for quitting, but not the most vibrant flavour.

Overall Score:

2.5 out of 5


Heated tobacco is growing in popularity for those moving away from traditional cigarettes, and I can see why. Choosing from (the majority of) fruity, sweet vapes on the market is likely a step too far away from the smoking sensation that smokers enjoy. Even if you have unsuccessfully tried vaping as a smoking cessation tool, before giving-up the giving-up, you should try Ploom.

I cannot stress enough that the Ploom X device is not designed for, nor suitable for or marketed towards, non-smokers, not even ex-smokers turned vapers (like me). This kit has been carefully and cleverly developed as a heated tobacco smoking alternative and performs beautifully. As previously mentioned, as an ex-smoker, I don’t think I fully appreciated the various EVO flavours as I struggled to find much past the overwhelming tobacco taste.

If you are looking for a vaping alternative, Ploom X is not it. But suppose you are a smoker or an occasional smoker-vaper who genuinely misses the taste and sensation of cigarettes. In that case, Ploom provides a healthier, extremely satisfying alternative, which I highly recommend. These thoughts were backed up by those of our panel, who were primarily ex-smokers.

Since reviewing the Ploom X, it has been announced that in late 2023, a 3rd generation, internally improved device will be released - the Ploom X Advanced. The differences between the Ploom X and the Advanced kit are a fast-charge function (with a new compatible charger), a new higher-quality sliding door and more secure magnetic points for the interchangeable front panel. It will be available at the same price as the Ploom X and fully compatible with all EVO sticks.

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1 comment

Thought it was a good device apart from it not holding battery for long and it stopped working all together

Luke Thorpe Thursday, 7 March 2024 | 10:18

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