E-Liquids vs. Cartridges


When you start using electronic cigarettes, you will quickly encounter some important choices. You can select starter kits that work with refillable cartridges or you could go with a tank style system that requires you to use e-liquid. So which one is the best choice? Let’s take a closer look at each of these options and what benefits they can each offer you in your vaping lifestyle.


Most basic electronic cigarettes rely on cartridges, sometimes called cartomizers to deliver the nicotine liquid that you vape. Cartridges are prefilled with e-liquid and they are disposable. Once the cartridge is used up, you throw it away and replace it with a new one. You can buy cartridges in packs of 5, 10, 15, or even more and they are relatively inexpensive. You can get them in practically any flavor or nicotine strength depending on the brand you choose. In most cases, a single cartridge will last around as long as a pack of cigarettes.

Cartridges are a lot easier to use because you don’t have to worry about dripping in your refills and you won’t have to replace any atomizers as most e-cigs offer atomizers within each disposable cartridge. This is definitely a better option for new vapers because it’s just a lot simpler to navigate.

The downside to cartridges is that you cannot mix and match brands. When you buy a starter kit or e-cig batteries, you will have to use the same brand’s cartridges because other brands won’t fit your e-cig. While a few companies offer adapter so you can try other brands, it’s not a common practice and most of the top rated brands expect you to use their cartridges.


When you choose e-liquids, you have a lot more options. You can use e-liquid from any brand to fill your tank system or your refillable cartomizers. That means you can choose from a whole new world of flavors and strengths, regardless of what battery you are using. Plus you get a huge cost benefit when you choose e-liquids. If you are a pack-a-day smoker, you would use an average of 2 or 3 bottles (30ml) of e-liquid per month. In contrast, you would use about 31 cartridges. The cost savings is substantial.

You also eliminate the need to constantly throw out old cartridges. If you’ve ever dealt with cartridges in the past, you know that the little plastic tips that come on the cartridges end up everywhere. You can avoid that with e-liquid. You can also mix your own blends of flavors or choose liquids containing only vegetable glycol if you are sensitive to propylene glycol.

The downside to e-liquids is that it takes some practice to refill your e-cig correctly. You don’t want to overfill or you will end up with a mouthful of e-liquid (not pleasant!). Plus you have to be careful because the nicotine in the liquid could be fatal to children or pets if they would ever manage to get it open and ingest it. You have to use extreme caution is you go the e-liquid route and just use some common sense too.

Which Is Right for You?

If you are new to e-cigs, it’s probably best to start out with disposable cartridges until you get the hang of vaping. However, if you want more customization options or you want to save some money, you might want to take e-liquids for a test drive. At the end of the day, every individual has different preferences and you will have to experiment a little to see which option is right for you.

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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4 Responses

  1. Kylie Dotts says:

    It’s interesting how you said that you can use any e-liquid to fill your tank system or refillable cartomizers. This would be really nice because then you could use any e-liquid manufacturing company instead of having to stick to just a single one to get the kind you want. I wonder how many different kinds there are to choose from.

  2. Kevin says:

    Even if you’re a beginner you should go with e-liquids… the money you save (vs using cartridges) is insane and it’s not like they’re that complicated to use or something. Not to mention the equally insane selection of e-liquid flavors compared to cartridges!

  3. Mike says:

    I use 5-6mg of liquid per day in a refillable. This costs £2.50 ish per day. I switched to cartomisers. now I use 2 per day at £1 each and I’ve eliminated the hassle of refilling, buying fresh coils, batteries and whatever else goes wrong. Plus, the supplier replaces batteries free of charge (excuse the pun) when they expire or start to lose oomph.

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