The first of the nicotine salt vape pods quietly entered the scene in 2015 in the form of the Juul. They quickly become an incredibly popular option for consumers as they flooded (and dominated) the convenience market. The Juul was one of the first accessible no-mess solutions for smokers that wanted to switch to a less harmful alternative. Today, while they might not be available in your local grocery store - there are a number of better alternatives to Juul, the best of which we stock on this very website!
Juul users in Australia may be looking for alternatives, wondering if there is a cheaper solution. There’s no question the nicotine vape market is spoiled for choice, but this can leave some vapers – or future vapers – at a loss for choosing the best option. If you started on a Juul, should you stick with it? Juul is very popular but has also had some negative press, particularly in the US – should this be a factor in your decision?
At Vapoureyes NZ, we push ourselves to offer the best quality and best value for money anywhere in the vape market. We also strive to offer unbiased, evidence-based information for new and future vapers to make the best choice for their wallet as well as their health. We also value choice as a core fundamental to the vaping lifestyle, so we offer several different pod system solutions (except the Juul, which isanother story).
One system we are particularly excited about is theUwell Yearn.
In a nutshell, the Uwell Yearn kicks Juul’s butt. More comprehensively, it comes from the makers of the renowned Caliburn pod system and is the embodiment of cutting-edge vaping technology. Made from super-resilient zinc alloy, the Uwell Yearn uses pre-filled leak-free pods (and refillable ones, too!), it's draw-activated so it won’t accidentally fire in your pocket or bag, and it's just a really well-built piece of kit that feels great in the hand.
The question is…
To help you make the best choice for you, let’s review the Uwell Yearn against the most popular current alternatives. Full disclosure – we love the Yearn! But in as unbiased a fashion as possible, we’ll examine how the Yearn stacks up against the three options you’re most likely to consider.
A note – unless denoted otherwise, all prices below are in NZD. Some have been converted from other currencies based on average conversion rates and some are based on best estimates and are a guide only.
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, no discussion of vaping should occur outside of a comparison with cigarettes.
All nicotine e-cig products are designed as an alternative to cigarette smoking. So in order to properly compare the Yearn with alternatives, we need to compare it to the path of least resistance – sticking with cigarettes.
We all know cigarettes – little paper tubes filled with tobacco leaves, predominantly with a synthetic filter at the end, designed to deliver nicotine to the lungs via tobacco smoke.
You take a cigarette from the packet, set the non-filter end on fire, then suck the smoke into your lungs through the filter end. The smoke from the burning tobacco leaves carries nicotine into your lungs, from where it enters the bloodstream. Tobacco smoke has devastating effects on lung tissue and the more than 4,000 chemicals that come along for the ride – many of which are definitely carcinogenic – wreak havoc throughout your body.
This depends where you live, but the average smoker in Australia or New Zealand spends up to$10,000 per year on cigarettes. This is the equivalent of a decent car deposit, an expensive home entertainment system, or a family holiday to somewhere that has palm trees. We think you’ll agree that it’s an awfully expensive way to slowly kill yourself.
Smoking is literally the worst. It’s the 21st century, let’s leave it in the past where it belongs.
There’s no question that in the early days, Juul was a pioneering step in e-cig technology. Quickly gaining popularity in the US due to it's accessibility, Juul also quickly gained notoriety and is quite often the focus of scare-mongering news articles due to its high profile in the general public. Juul was also at the centre of the gateway debate and, mainly due to being part-owned by big tobacco, was the poster child for the argument against the re-normalisation of smoking.
Juul is a non-descript, long, thin, rectangular unit with a discreet nicotine-filled pod at the end. The current incarnation is draw-activated with no buttons to press.
Stick the pod onto the end and start sucking. You can recharge from a PC, Mac, or power outlet with the magnetic USB dock or the portable recharging case that acts as a power bank (you charge the case via USB, then charge the Juul in the case). You can buy genuine pre-filled pods directly from Juul or compatible pre-filled pods from a myriad of vendors (except us – which isanother story).
Juul starter kits go for USD$64.99 on the official Juul website and come with a Juul device, USB charging dock, and four pre-filled pods. Just the device costs USD$34.99, the USB charging dock USD$5.99, the portable charging case USD$49.99, and the pre-filled pods USD$20.99 for a pack of four (the cheaper option).
The key issue of cost comes down to how long the pods last. Of course, it depends on usage, but Juul advise one pod is good for 200 puffs, and users report them lasting between 1-3 days. Buying genuine Juul pods with average usage (~140 puffs/day) will cost you $32 – $48 per week, or$1,632 – $2,448 per year. This doesn’t include replacement Juuls or replacement chargers – adding this in might get you closer to the$2,300 – $2,800 per year mark as a very rough ballpark.
Juul is popular in the US, but this more comes down to slick marketing campaigns thanks to big tobacco dollars than product superiority. Juuls are optimised for and targeted at smokers who want to switch to vaping. If you’re willing to pay the premium, it might be comforting to go with an established brand, but there are much better – and much cheaper - options.
We’re in love with the Yearn for a reason! The Yearn is a quality product from a dedicated vaping company known for producing some of the best vape gear for many years. Many mod users are still dedicated to the indomitable Uwell Crown series of atomisers because they are virtually bulletproof. The Uwell Yearn comes from a strong pedigree, but let’s be fair and give it the analysis.
The Yearn has a similar form factor to the Juul but favours gentle curves and a rounded tapered end over the Juul’s no-nonsense rectangular design. The pre-filled pods clip into the receptacle at the top. The Uwell Yearn is also draw-activated and has no buttons to press.
Clip the pod into the receptacle and inhale. Charging is via micro-USB cable plugged directly into the unit. Pods are pre-filled and come in a modest array of flavours (four official flavours at the time of writing), all of which we stock on our website.
We stock the Uwell Yearn Starter Kit which includes the body/battery in a choice of colours and either two pre-filled pods of one flavour for $39.95 or a variety pack of four flavours for $54.95. Replacement pre-filled pods are $14.95 for two or $29.95 for four and empty refillable pods are four for $24.95 (the cheaper option). The kit also includes a micro-USB cable but you can charge the body/battery with any quality micro-USB cable you have.
The pre-filled pods contain 1.5mL of liquid. Uwell make no claims on number of puffs but users have reported the pods lasting from 2-3 days. Based on this, you could expect to go through three pods a week, or 156 pods a year, which will work out to around$1,170 per year, not including the cost of the body/battery. If you buy a few spare batteries the cost might push up to between the$1,200 - $1,300 per year mark.
The Uwell Yearn is a solid performer that runs rings around the Juul in regards to performance. Durable construction, reliable performance, solid battery life, ease of use – there’s a lot to love about the Uwell Yearn. Perfect for smokers who want to start vaping straight away with no fuss, it’s easy to understand why this little unit is quickly becoming the most popular pod system available!
Last but by no means least, it’s only proper for us to include the current champion of pod systems, the Uwell Caliburn. This highly versatile unit packs a punch and is the only one on this list with refillable pods, meaning you can use whichever juice you like in it. We love the Yearn, but there’s no denying the appeal of the Caliburn for more experienced pod users.
The Caliburn is much more Juul-like in its design, but with ribbed edges making it easier to grip and harder to slip out of the hand. The pods are inserted into the top of the unit and sit partially inside the body/battery, held in place by two magnets at the base of the pod. There is a clear side window in the body/battery to monitor your juice level. The pods themselves have a detachable mouthpiece which, when removed, reveals the two top-fill holes. Unlike our two previous contenders, the Caliburn does have a fire button for manual operation, although it can be switched to draw-activated mode, giving you the choice in how to use it.
Fill the pod with a juice of your choice (we recommend avoiding strong citrus flavours to avoid pod cracking), slot it into the body/battery, then either press the fire button in manual mode, or simply draw and inhale in draw-activated mode. Charging is via micro-USB cable plugged directly into the base of the unit.
We stock the Uwell Caliburn Starter Kit which includes the body/battery in a choice of colours and one pod for $49.95. Replacement pods are $24.95 for a pack of four. The kit also includes a micro-USB cable but you can charge the body/battery with any quality micro-USB cable you have.
The pods have a capacity of 2mL and come with a 1.4ohm parallel coil. Because they are refillable, you are only restricted to the life of the coil which most users report averages about 2 weeks, but can be longer depending on usage and the type of juice you prefer. The numbers are therefore a bit fuzzier, but let’s say you get the average two weeks life out of one pod and you can expect to pay around$210 per year just on one body/battery and the pods. If you buy a few spare batteries the cost might push up to between the$250 - $350 per year mark. Of course, this doesn’t factor in the juice, which you need to buy separately. But as an indicator, if you buy our Simply range with a 30mL bottle lasting around a month on the heavy usage side, you could add around$360 per year as a rough estimate.
The Uwell Caliburn is the tried and tested hero of the pod market. It is the cheapest option by a long shot. The only snags you might encounter are finding a flavour to stick with and avoiding juice mishaps while refilling the pods. Therefore, it’s perfect for people with a bit more vaping experience under their belt, but might be a steeper learning curve for those just starting with vaping.
If nothing else, please don’t keep smoking cigarettes. Seriously, don’t. There’s no universe in which continuing to smoke tobacco is a sane option.
If you’re a smoker looking to quit, are willing to hunt high and low for a supplier, then pay them a premium for the comfort of a well-known brand, go with Juul. Just bear in mind there are much better and much cheaper options that, unlike Juul, funnel exactly $0 into the pockets of big tobacco.
If you’re a smoker looking quit, are not sure where to even begin, and have absolutely no idea what flavours are right for you, hands down the best option for you is the Uwell Yearn. Get yourself a starter kit with the four-flavour variety pack, charge it up, clip on the pod, and get ready to wave goodbye to cigarettes forever.
If you’re a smoker who is more confident experimenting with flavours, a more experienced pod user looking for something with more kick, or an experienced vaper who wants to try out the pod system, the Uwell Caliburn is right for you.
If you’ve read this article and are still not sure, go ahead and contact us via the website or through social media. We are here to help you break free of tobacco and save your life through vaping.
Vapoureyes NZ proudly supports Nourished For Nil, a local non-profit organisation whose sole aim it is to rescue surplus food and redistribute it to the local Hawke’s Bay community.
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