From Pods to AIOs
In the world of beginner devices, there is a whole spectrum through which you can pass. Typically, the progression goes something like this: cigarettes -> cig-a-likes -> closed pod systems -> open pod systems -> AIO devices. While this is obviously not everyone’s experience, it’s common enough that it’s probably a decent way to understand the reasoning behind switching from one to the other.
At each stage of this progression, you’re accomplishing two things primarily. First, you’re moving further and further away from the cigarette experience. As you continue down this road, you’re going to increasingly get more airy, flavorful, vapor-producing, and decidedly un-cigarette-like vapes. By the time you’ve reached AIO systems, you’re probably starting to mess around with sub-ohm vaping and switching from high-nicotine salt nics to traditional freebase nicotine. This is good, as the further you get from the cigarette experience, the less likely you’ll be to regress.
The second benefit of this progression is that you’re gaining more freedom and more customizability at each stage. With cig-a-likes, you’re locked into a single brand with their own proprietary flavors. The same is true with closed pods, but now you’ve got the ability to keep a single device and just switch out pods. When you get to open pods, you’re free to put whatever flavor you want in your pod system, and with AIOs the vape world truly begins to open up.
What Makes it an “AIO”
All-in-one devices (or AIO, for short) are the perfect middle ground between beginner-friendly and full-featured vapes. So what exactly defines an AIO device as opposed to simpler pod systems or more complex starter kits?
This is the big one. As you progress through the world of vaping, you’ll run across those bigger, more clunky-looking box mod devices. Inside each of those is one or two (sometimes more) batteries. These batteries are rechargeable and many vapers opt to keep several at home, for use with an external charging bay to keep them topped off. For newer vapers, the additional hassle of purchasing rather unique sized battery, a charging station, and swapping them in and out of their device is usually something of a turn-off.
Hence, the integrated battery of an AIO. One of its most defining features, the AIO’s integrated battery is a great boon to vapers making the transition from smaller devices. While it’s rare to find pod systems rated higher than ~600mAh or so, AIO devices can often get up to 1100mAh or even higher. With almost double the battery life, this integrated battery situation seems almost flawless.
There is, however, one downside, and it’s the reason more experienced vapers often prefer to avoid the built-in battery setup. As with all rechargeable batteries, the one that’s built into your AIO has a limited lifespan. After a certain number of charges, it is going to die. With replaceable batteries, this isn’t a big deal, of course, but with an integrated system a dead battery means a dead device. For most beginners, this isn’t the end of the world, particularly since AIOs tend to be relatively inexpensive and not typically considered to be long-term investments. For the additional horsepower without the additional pains of external batteries, it’s a pretty good deal.
Output Power & Regulation
Along with these bigger batteries, you get devices which are capable of putting out higher wattages. While lower power output is fine so long as you’re primarily using MTL salt nic devices, the time will likely come when you’re looking for a little bit more flavor. Once your vape ceases to be strictly a nicotine-delivery, cigarette-replacement machine, higher power becomes an attractive feature. AIOs are able to put out more flavor and bigger clouds than their smaller counterparts, which is a leading reason for their popularity.
On the same note, AIOs sometimes offer a degree of regulation. While bigger kits allow you to finetune your output to a tenth of a wattage, AIOs streamline their wattage regulation. Sometimes, these devices offer soft, normal, and hard modes. Other devices provide you with a mechanical dial to choose different outputs. Either way, AIOs can get you away from the pitfalls of direct voltage output systems where battery life determines the quality of your vape. This is a lovely feature and, once you’ve experienced the difference, you’re unlikely to go back!
Coil Options & Airflow
Finally, AIO systems open up the world of possibilities when it comes to coils. With most pod systems you’re confined to using disposable pods with built-in coils. Once you’ve upgraded to an AIO, you’ll probably have to learn the basics of changing a coil. This might sound intimidating, but it’s almost always a plug-and-play experience. Most manufacturers nowadays offer a line of coils specifically designed for their AIO devices. A lot of times they offer a variety of options, ranging from sub-ohm coils to MTL coils above 1.0ohms.
What’s the benefit of this? For one thing, it lends a great deal of versatility to your vape. If you like both MTL and DTL vaping, AIOs usually accommodate this. If you like to switch between nic salts and freebase nicotine, you can do that with an AIO. Just swap out the coil heads and you’re good to go.
Along with a wider range of coil and resistance options, a lot of AIO systems offer airflow controls. This becomes necessary when you start switching between different styles of vaping, and it serves as an excellent primer and study for newer vapers to learn about the impact of airflow and how to control it to suit your personal tastes.
Final Word on AIOs
There’s an incredible amount of vape devices on the market today. If you’re a beginner or intermediate vaper, making the switch from pods to AIOs can make a huge difference in the quality of your vape life. You’ll enjoy greater versatility, more flavor, bigger clouds, and a whole lot more – all without sacrificing the user-friendly nature and portability of your favorite pod systems.