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Differences between Cartridges, Pods and Disposable Pens

Updated on December 24, 2023

Differences between Cartridges, Pods and Disposable Pens

The reasons for providing difference between cartridges, pods, and disposable pens 

It is undeniable that vaping THC has become a trend for cannabis users over the last five years. However, there are still several common areas of confusion in the purchasing experience, despite the large developments in design that have occurred in the vape pen market. Vast options among cartridges, pods, or disposable pens create a predicament for users: which option best allows for convenience without sacrificing either quality or cost-effectiveness?

In order to make this decision, the first step is to understand the basic differences between cartridges, pods, and disposable pens. Then, each user can make an informed decision based on their own personal needs and preferences. At Cilicon®, we seek to provide our customer communities with not only a wide range of options for all types of vape devices but also with the means to make an informed decision about every aspect of the vaping experience.

Different Vaporizer Features

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The vape cart is the glass cartridge that is pre-filled with approximately 1-2ml of cannabis oil (Bennet, 2020). The part is a single-use component and manufactured to be connected with a reusable 510-thread vape pen or battery. Though there are many types of cartridge and vape pen designs, cylinder designs similar to a cigarette are most common.

How to use the cartridge?

To use the vape cartridge, users screw the 510 cart into the pen, press the power button to activate the atomizer within the cartridge to heat up the cannabis oil, and then inhale. Once the cartridge runs out of oil, users can dispose of it and replace it with another new one.

Pod system

The pod system is a complete design of two main parts. The detachable cartridge contains the oil and the ceramic heating element which acts as the combustion core of any vape. The cartridge is attached to a rechargeable battery, which can usually be charged with a regular charger. The components are usually joined together magnetically in current. The design of a pod system is usually compact, slick, and flat like a USB stick, with a similar level of portability.

How to use vape pod device?

To use a pod system, users snap in the pre-filled cannabis oil pod heads to the vape pen, press the button to power up the atomizer (or, with some systems, just begin inhaling), and inhale the vaporized oil. Once the oil in the cartridge is used up, users dispose of the pod head and replace it with a new one.

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The disposable pen is an all-in-one compact device that includes vape cartridge, and 510 vape battery. Its functionality is similar to the pod system, but there is often no power button. Instead, breath actuation is usually the activation method. The design of the disposable vape can be flat like a USB or cylinder-shaped like a normal pen. Some disposable vape pen like CILICON’s disposable vape pens incorporates the V-shapeTM oil tank, which allows for the consumption of every drop of cannabis extract, avoiding waste.

Some pens are easily enabled with a twist-and-turn child-resistant lock, and designs have become increasingly elegant and fashionable. Besides a variety of designs, disposable pens are divided into non-rechargeable and rechargeable types. Though both products are disposed of at the end of their lifespan, rechargeable pens often have more robust Temperature Control Technology (TCT) that prevents oil overburn and clogging, which can result in a more seamless user experience.

Differences Amongst Cartridges, Pod Systems and Disposable Pens

The primary areas of difference amongst cartridges, pod systems, and disposable pens are their designs, usages, and costs. These three areas are usually the first considerations that help the individual user to decide which type is best for them.


Both cartridge and pod systems have a more complex structure than disposable pens. They include a fully modular set that includes a cartridge, an oil chamber, and a battery, making them heavier than disposable pens. Due to its complex design, new vapers may require some learning time to adapt to the vape device’s function and to ensure it is well-maintained. On the other hand, the design for disposable pens is much simpler since it contains fewer components and does not require any installation in between the vaping process. Vape pens often feature a compact and stylish design that makes them a popular vaping device in the market.


Though all types of vapes are easy to use, cannabinoids and terpenes are maximized through the powerful heating capacity of the cartridge and pod system. Users can experience both THC and CBD oil to the max attainable level by monitoring the temperature for ideal vaporization. Nonetheless, the fact that the pod system applies snap-in technology instead of screwing in like the cartridge might be more effective and efficient to some beginners. The disposable pen does not deliver a similarly controllable vaping experience to cartridge and pod systems, but its design is slim, glamorous, and fashionable, often making it the perfect fit for socialites. Moreover, its portability, robust flavors, and similarity in design to vaping devices have allowed the disposable pen to become more widely acceptable in public spaces.


Disposable vape pens are generally more affordable than the cartridge and pod system for a one-time purchase. However, people must dispose of it once it is used up. If one is a frequent connoisseur, disposable pens may not be the ideal option because the regular purchase of disposable pens may cost more than either the cartridge or pod system, even though those types also need to have their cartridges replaced. The cartridge and pod system allows users to experience different THC and CBD oils with one vape pen and lowers the cost in the long run compared to disposable pens. Thus, the cartridge and pod system may be the first type of vape device to consider if you are an avid vaper.

Customizability, Convenience, or Both? Every User is Different 

With pods, consumers can take advantage of a modular designed system that allows them to customize the experience to their specific preferences. Instead of paying for a disposable pen each time, consumers can simply replace the pod cartridge while continuing to use the same battery, which makes it very cost-efficient. According to the ATHRA, using cannabis vapes costs approximately $1,150 per year, which is lower than the cost of using traditional cannabis joints. With all of the available options in the market, pod systems have become highly specialized for many users’ particular personalities.

These statements are all important factors to consider for existing and potential vapers during their shopping journey as they decide whether pod systems, cartridges, or disposable pens are the best option. Ironically, everyone is unique, and each consumer acts with different habits and preferences. There is no best option, but users can usually find an ideal option depending on which features incorporate the best with their lifestyle. This is why the wide range of options for each type of vaping device offered by Cilicon® makes us the right partner for a wide range of customers, from the first-time user to the vape connoisseur.

Vape Cartridge vs. Vape Pod Business

For a brand owner, bringing in the cannabis vape cartridge and vape pod business can have its differences in terms of advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Bringing in Cannabis Vape Cartridge Business

  • Huge cartridges’ Market: Cannabis vape cartridges have been in the market for a longer time, and therefore, have a larger customer base as compared to vape pods.
  • Compatibility: 510 thread vape cartridges are compatible with most vape pens, providing more versatility for customers.

Disadvantages of Bringing in Cannabis Vape Cartridge Business

  • Higher Competition: As the market for cannabis vape cartridges is more established, there is higher competition among brands, making it harder for new entrants to establish themselves.
  • Higher Risk: With higher competition comes higher risk, as brands need to invest more in marketing and branding to stand out in a crowded market.

Advantages of Bringing in Cannabis Vape Pod Business

  • Relatively Lower Competition: As the market for cannabis vape pods is relatively new, there is lower competition among brands, providing more opportunities for new entrants to establish themselves.
  • Innovative: Cannabis vape pods provide a more innovative and futuristic option for customers, which can attract new customers who are looking for the latest technology.
  • Branding Opportunities: For saving cost, customers will continue to use the POD battery, only replace the pod cartridge, the pod cartridges’ repurchase rate is increasing, the branding opportunity will continue to be improved.

Disadvantages of Bringing in Cannabis Vape Pod Business

  • Relatively Smaller Market: As the market for cannabis vape pods is relatively new, it has a relatively smaller customer base as compared to cannabis vape cartridges.
  • Compatibility Issues: Vape pods may not be compatible with all vape pens, which can limit the versatility of the product.

If You Never Try, You Never Know

Both seasoned and beginner cannabis vapers seek to relax by staying in their comfort zone. The vaping community is fixated upon the common conception where experienced vapers prefer pod systems and casual vapers prefer disposable pens. While this may be true, due to this stigma, many vapers have missed the opportunity to experience new changes and innovation in the growing cannabis vaporizer market as they are too comfortable with their current preference. Currently, there are multiple thrilling approaches with unlimited customizability to enjoy the complete cannabis vaping experience. Hence, vapers can step forward into the unorthodox possibility by using pod systems and disposable pens interchangeably, experimenting with both the increased functionality of the pod systems and the latest creative and colorful disposable pen design.

Therefore, it is essential for users to learn the functions and features of these vape devices to enjoy the best vaping experience. When it comes to a decision-making process among disposable pens, pod systems, or cartridges, the main dilemmas usually have to do with accepting shortcomings of quality, convenience, or cost. However, Cilicon® excels in all of these factors. Quality is our forte. We fully support our customer’s freedom to choose between convenience or customizability and affordability to ensure a hassle-free shopping experience.

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