Aug 02

Electronic Cigarette Filter Styles – Replaceable Flavor Cartridges Compared To E-Liquid Refillable Cartridges

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Should You Buy an E-Cigarette with a Refillable Cartridge or Should You Buy One With a Replaceable Cartridge?

V2 and JUUL ecigarettes


Giving up tobacco is tough. It’s like giving up an old friend who after a relationship of many years turns out to be toxic. E-cigarettes, on the other hand, are happy to see you vaping. They reward you immediately by giving you what you crave, plus fresher breath and a smoke-free environment. But choosing the right e-cigarette, (like finding a good friend), can take some experimentation. For example, Should you buy an e-cigarette with a refillable cartridge (sometimes called a filter, a Cartomizer or a tank), or should you buy one with a simple replaceable filter (called a cartridge or Cartomizer)?

Refillable Filter vs. Replaceable Filter?

What are the advantages of using e-liquid? What are the differences between each electronic cigarette filter style? Did you ever think that the decision to switch to e-cigs would be so complicated?

It’s really not that complicated if you know what’s on the market. Cloud Nine has been answering the most-asked questions about e-cigarettes honestly for over 10 years so you’ve landed on the right page. 

Different E-Cigarette Styles and How They Work 

There are two basic styles of Electronic Cigarettes; “First Generation” and “Second Generation” e-ecigs. First generation, or “stick” e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes. Second generation ecigarettes are thicker and have a refillable filter (cartomizer). Both deliver a smokeless vapor created by a coil that heats flavored liquid within the filter. The battery, (the long part of the e-cigarette) powers the heating element in the filter. 

A Look at Top Selling First Generation E-Cigarette Replaceable Flavor Cartridges

Here’s whats inside the first generation e-cigarette which has a replaceable filter.


Inside a 2-part e-cigarette

The “guts” of the  2-part electronic cigarette, as shown above, consists of a filter (called a cartridge or a cartomizer) and a battery. That’s it. The cartridge has a built-in atomizer and is pre-filled with the flavor liquid and level of nicotine (if you want it), which means you don’t have to add any liquids to the cartridge. You screw it on and vape. This type of filter is replaced when the liquid runs out.

Depending on the brand and your vaping habit, the cartridge will last anywhere from 250-400 puffs. Want to compare the number of puffs in a cartridge? Check out our e-cigarette comparison chart.

Of course you still have to charge the battery, but that goes for all e-cigarettes, except for the those that are totally disposable.

E-Liquid Refillable Style Filter / Cartomizers and Clearomizers

When searching on-line for e-cigarettes, you will invariably come across many sites that feature “e-liquids” or “e-cigarette juice”. If you’re new to vaping, it can be somewhat intimidating; or at least puzzling.

For me it was more of a “what the hey” reaction. (and I never use the word, “hey”). All those little vials filled with brightly colored liquids didn’t exactly translate as, “here’s a great new cigarette alternative for adults”. Switching to vaping was going to take more work than I expected. Ah but that was years ago. I've since learned vape pens and vaporizers are far more satisfying.

The refillable style filter may be a bit more work, but it’s also a cheaper way to vape. In all cases you get bigger clouds of vapor and a more flavorful vape. In my opinion, that’s the biggest plus with this  ‘add-your-own flavor liquid’ system. Some say you get a heavier “throat hit” with a refillable filter, but that's because these vaporizers can have additional features like variable voltage, but today's models let you make plenty of adjustments to tweak your vape to your “sweet spot”. 


e-liquid e-cigarette parts

E-liquid e-cigarette parts

With vaporizers there are tanks and wicks, coils, tips, pads and more if you want to get your hands dirty.. It’s a fine option for many vapers, especially since things have gotten easier. Yes, the tanks require cleaning and maintenance and you better follow the directions.

Cloud Nine believes that simplicity and high quality in an e-cig product is critical to ensure safety, satisfaction, and success.   If you do want to try refillable filters, there are three brands we have tested that are great and great for new vapers.  

V2 ExBlanks e-liquid fillable electronic cigarette

V2 ExBlanks e-liquid fillable electronic cigarette

V2cigs ExBlanks are top of the line. V2, by the way, has all styles including replaceable filter e-cigs, fillable cartridges and even disposable e-cigs, and they are one of the best companies out there.  If you click on the photo to the right, you can learn more about V2 ExBlanks.

The choice is yours.

If you’re a DIYer who want’s a more economical, more satisfying, but more hands-on way to go, the e-liquid e-cig may be right for you.

If you want an e-cigarette starter kit with fewer parts, less work and you’re willing to pay the initial price for a high-end starter kit, then a traditional first generation “cig-alike” is the way to go.

Halo has a very easy to fill, easy to clean tank and the company offers tasty e-liquids. I think it's an excellent product, in fact, the Halo Triton Tank is now legendary and has won many PC magazine awards. It's also one of my favorite vaporizers. 

Halo Triton on Cloud Nine

VaporFi E-Cigarettes also have a good sized tank system and some cool high end batteries. They also have 51 e-juice flavors in zero to 36% nicotine mg, and they blend custom flavor concoctions that can be as wild as Top Shelf Bourbon blended with Marshmallow.

JUUL vapes are a totally modern styled “cigalike” with a replaceable pop in cartridge. They're small, as light as a cigarette, yet powerful and they give you a whopping 5% nicotine hit. What's  more, JUUL uses nicotine salts – the same type of nicotine found in tobacco leaves, giving you a “cigarette-like nicotine delivery”. I like the shape too – it will never roll off the table!

So now you know the difference between Electronic Cigarette filter styles. 

Whatever you choose, we at Cloud Nine think choosing e-cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes is a smart move.  Just don’t get creative by mixing e-cigarette brand parts or modifying your e-cigarette to try to make it “better”. Safer is always better and the brands mentioned in this review have rock solid reputations for quality and safety. Buy the best brands, (not the cheapest); follow product directions, and you’ll find that the e-cigarette smoking alternative is like finding a new friend who is just as much fun as a tobacco cigarette, but thankfully, far less destructive. 

V2 Cigs electronic cigarettes - best ecigs worldwide

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  1. faith servant

    I like the old storm vape e cigs with refillable filter. I can’t find them anymore. These look like a reg cig & smoke really well. They are white with lines going around them. can you help.

    1. Hillary

      Hi Faith,

      Storm no longer makes your model, but a great ecig with a refillable filter is the Vaporfi Express with refillable filter

  2. Cheryl

    I smoke ultra light 100s cigs. I got an ecig to try so can quit but no matter how I puff it I end up choking cause to me its harsh like a pipe. Can anyone tell me of an ecig that isn’t harsh and cause choking?

    1. Hillary

      Hi Cheryl,
      I’ve heard so many stories from people who have experienced the same problem. Usually it’s because they pick up an ecig kit from the drug store. A helpful article is on Best ECigarette Guide, but I always recommend trying either V2Cigs for a traditional starter ecig, or Halo if you want to try a good starter vaporizer.

  3. Jacinta Power

    Hi i bought a new refill for my e cigarette and cant seen to get it to work. there is no vapour coming out of it when i take a pull from it

    1. Hillary

      Hi Jacinta,
      Just call the customer support number at the ecig company and they will send you a replacement. It should be easy to get the number online, but if you let me know the brand you are using I can find the number for you.

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