Refillable vs. disposable e-cigarettes: pros and cons

Refillable vs. disposable e-cigarettes: pros and cons

Published on: 14/06/2024

Don’t know how to choose the right device for your needs? In this article, you’ll find all the details to avoid making the wrong choice

If you have recently decided to quit smoking traditional cigarettes and switch to e cigarettes, then reading this article might help you choose the best option for you!

There are several options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages that can affect the vaping experience, your personal budget and also the environmental impact, an increasingly important aspect nowadays.

In this article, we will explore in detail the features of the various types of electronic cigarettes, comparing the pros and cons to help you make the best choice.

Let’s get started!

Read also: Everything you need to know about lung atomizers

What type of electronic cigarettes exist?

Electronic cigarettes are mainly divided into two categories: rechargeable and disposable.

Refillable e-cigarettes are designed to last a long time and are equipped with replaceable components, such as rechargeable batteries and liquid reservoirs. This allows customisation of the vaping experience, enabling users to choose from a wide range of liquids with different flavours and to adjust settings such as wattage and resistance.

Disposable e-cigarettes are pre-filled, ready-to-use devices designed to be used until the battery or liquid runs out and then disposed of according to the regulations of your municipality. Compared to refillable e-cigarettes, they are more convenient because they are maintenance-free. They are ideal for those who want to try the vaping experience without committing to the purchase of a refillable device.

Refillable electronic cigarettes

Refillable electronic cigarettes

Rechargeable electronic cigarettes are devices designed to last and allow you to customise your vaping experience, e.g. by choosing liquids or nicotine concentration.

Let us see what the main features are:

– Rechargeable battery;

– Tank, or pod for the liquid;

– Interchangeable coils.                                   

How do they work?

The basic principle is always the same: heating a liquid to create vapour.

Electronic cigarettes have a rechargeable battery that powers a coil, which heats the e liquid in a tank.

These devices can be recharged via a USB cable by plugging them into a power outlet or computer. Charging can take from one to several hours, depending on the capacity of the battery.

The tank, on the other hand, needs to be periodically filled with liquid, or e-liquid. This sounds difficult but is actually a very simple process: in fact, all you have to do is open the tank, pour the liquid up to the indicated level and close it. However, it is essential to use high quality liquids to ensure maximum performance and durability of the device.

Pros and cons of refillable electronic cigarettes

Refillable electronic cigarettes have several advantages and disadvantages. Let us see what they are.


  • Long-term costs: the initial cost of a refillable electronic cigarette may be high, but in the long term it is cheaper than disposable ones. This is because, once the device has been purchased, only consumable components such as coils and liquids need to be replaced.
  • Customisation: this is certainly one of the major advantages. The possibility of being able to adjust the dosage of pg vg (propylene glycol) (vegetable glycerine) and flavourings independently makes the refillable electronic cigarette more attractive than the disposable one, as it allows us to create a unique and customised vaping experience.  


  • Maintenance: refillable electronic cigarettes require regular maintenance, including frequent cleaning and periodic coil replacement. This can be inconvenient for those who prefer a simple and straightforward solution. 
  • Initial cost: the initial investment for a refillable electronic cigarette is higher than for a disposable one. Even if you save money in the long term, the initial cost can be daunting.  
  • Difficulty: many users prefer disposable e-cigarettes because of their ease of use, thus avoiding complications related to settings, such as the correct dosage of liquids or refilling.

Disposable electronic cigarettes

Disposable e-cigarettes or vape pens are pre-filled, ready-to-use devices designed to be used until the battery or liquid runs out. Compared to refillable e-cigarettes, they are simpler and more convenient: they do not require maintenance, battery or liquid refilling, making them ideal for those who wish to try the vaping experience without having to buy a complex device.

Thus, a major advantage of disposable e-cigarettes is their ease of use. Simply take the device out of the packaging and start vaping. There are no buttons to press or settings to configure, making them perfect for those who prefer simplicity. 

In addition, they are lightweight and compact, making them perfect for carrying anywhere. 

Pros and cons of disposable electronic cigarettes

Disposable electronic cigarettes offer several advantages, let us see what they are: 



  • Ease of use: simplicity is a feature that makes them very attractive, as they do not require any kind of set-up or maintenance; just take the device out of the packaging and start vaping, until the liquid or battery runs out.
  • Compact: disposable electronic cigarettes are lighter and more compact than rechargeable models, which makes them very practical to take everywhere.
  • Initial cost: the low cost makes them perfect for those who want to try vaping without having to make a large initial financial investment.


  • Long-term cost: disposable e-cigarettes may initially appear to cost less than rechargeable ones, but in the long run, having to change them every time the liquid or the battery runs out, they lead to ongoing expenditure.
  • Performance: disposables offer a less customisable experience. You cannot adjust the wattage, choose different liquids with different flavours, or change the coil.

Environmental impact: a factor not to be underestimated

Environmental impact is a factor to be considered when choosing a device. 

Disposable electronic cigarettes are designed for one-time use and generate a significant amount of waste. Each device, once exhausted, has to be disposed of, contributing to the accumulation of electronic and plastic waste. This is a serious problem because many components are not biodegradable and release harmful substances if not disposed of properly.

Refillable electronic cigarettes, on the other hand, are designed to last. Although periodic replacement of some parts, such as coils and tanks, is required, the impact is significantly less than with disposable devices, making it a better choice.

Read also: The true history of the electronic cigarette: from the first experiments to today

To conclude

Both electronic cigarettes have their pros and cons. 

In summary, refillable e-cigarettes offer significant advantages, such as personalisation of the vaping experience, lower long-term costs and a reduced environmental impact, although they require a higher initial investment and regular maintenance that can be complicated for novices.

On the other hand, disposable electronic cigarettes are easier to use and have a lower initial cost, making them ideal for those who want an uncomplicated option. However, in the long run, they can be expensive if used frequently and have a significant environmental impact due to the waste they generate.

Choosing the best device therefore depends on one’s personal needs, such as budget or desired vaping experience.