Blu vs IQOS: Features, Price + More (2024)

The epic showdown: Blu vs IQOS. We're here to dissect every puff, flavor, and cloud.

 

But how do they compare against each other in terms of product range, performance, flavors, value, and more?

 

Whether you're on team Blu or rooting for IQOS, this detailed comparison guide is packed with juicy details!

 

And stick around, because we've got a twist for you – nicotine-free vapes from Cyclone Pods. Safer, smoother, and even more satisfying.

 

Further Reading:

Discover more through: Learn more with these references:

A Quick Intro to Blu and IQOS

Blu, headquartered in North Carolina, USA, serves up a sleek range of e-cigarettes and vaping products that cater to the curious newbies and veterans. With a lineup that spans from their myBlu device to a variety of liquid pods and disposables, they've got your back whether you're in it for the taste or the convenience.

IQOS (pronounced "EYE-kohs"), an acronym for "I Quit Ordinary Smoking," refers to a product line of tobacco and e-cigarette devices made by Philip Morris International (PMI). 

Therefore, technically speaking, IQOS products are not vapes but rather fall into the broader category of electronic cigarettes.

It focuses on ‘heat-not-burn’ tobacco products, offering smoke-free alternatives to traditional cigarettes. PMI positions IQOS as less harmful, but it's crucial to remember that it still delivers nicotine and isn't risk-free. 

Headquartered in Stamford, USA, PMI offers smoke-free products in 84 markets globally. The company has two smoke-free product research facilities in Singapore and Switzerland.
 

Brand History and Background of Blu and IQOS

Let’s look at how the two brands evolved.

Blu vapes, launched in 2009 by Fontem Ventures, quickly made its mark with user-friendly designs, though its journey has seen its share of ups and downs, including regulatory challenges. 

After being acquired by Lorillard Inc. in 2012 and later by Imperial Brands in 2015, some argue Blu lost some of its pioneering edge amidst corporate shifts. Recent efforts to expand flavor choices and enhance device technology in 2023 and 2024 have kept Blu in the game.

However, in Feb 2024, the US FDA issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) for four Blu Disposables (Menthol 2.4%, Vanilla 2.4%, Polar Mint 2.4%, Cherry 2.4%) and one Myblu product (Menthol 1.2%.) Fontem Ventures cannot market or distribute these products in the US.&

PMI was established in 1847 in New York and has long been a major player in the cigarette industry. 

However, facing declining smoking rates and growing health concerns, the company began exploring alternatives in the early 2000s. This led to the creation of a dedicated research and development division focused on smoke-free products, paving the way for IQOS.

Philip Morris International first launched IQOS in Japan and Italy in 2014.
 

 

Blu vs IQOS Comparison Summary

Take a quick look at the features of Blu and IQOS vapes before we get into the details:

 

 

Blu

IQOS

Product Range

Blu 2.0 rechargeable device & pods

Blu Pro (Direct-to-Lung) device & pods

Blu Bar 600, Blue Bar 1000 (Disposables)

ILUMA, ORIGINALS (ONE, DUO), BONDS, lil

 

Nicotine-free options available?

No

No

Device Quality & Build

Sleek, minimalist design with a durable, lightweight aluminum body. Ergonomic shape for comfortable handling.

Stylish and premium devices with a focus on ergonomics

Battery Capacity

Blu 2.0: 400mAh

Blu Bar: 400mAh

Blu Pro: 1100mAh

IQOS ILUMA Prime: 2380 mAh (provides 2 consecutive uses per charge) IQOS lil Solid Ez: 2950mAh (3 consecutive uses per charge)

Pod Capacity, Nicotine Strength

Blu 2.0: 1.9ml pods, 18 mg/ml

Blu Pro: 9 mg/ml and 18 mg/ml (0.8% and 1.6%).

Blu Bar: 20 mg/ml

Not applicable - uses tobacco sticks that contain real tobacco (like HEETS & TEREA SMARTCORE)

Number of Puffs per Pod

Blu 2.0: 262 puffs per charge

Blu Bar: 600 puffs

Blu Pro: 600 puffs

~14 puffs from each compatible tobacco stick

Charging Time

Blu 2.0, Blu Bar: 1 hour

Blu Pro: 2 hours

90-120 minutes (can vary for different product ranges)

Safety Features

Blu 2.0 has a magnetic pod retention system that secures the pods in place while you use it. This eliminates the risk of unintended pod detachment. Blue Pro has a 10-second cut-off protection, overcharge protection

Heat-not-burn technology, LED indicator, auto-shutoff, and age verification at purchase

Device and Pod Cost

Blue 2.0: £9.99 (UK)

Blu Pro kit: £17.99 (UK)

Blu Bar 600: £3.99 (UK)

Blu Bar 1000: £5.99 (UK)

Pods: £3.99 - £6.99 (UK), $9.99 (2-pack)

IQOS kit: $100 - $200 (depending on the product)

Tobacco sticks: $5 - $10 (pack of 20 sticks)

Customer Support and Warranty

1 year

1 year

 

Now let’s compare these brands in detail:

1. Design and Aesthetics

Blu's design is sleek, minimalistic, and compact. The Blu 2.0 comes with a satin and gloss finish and has a PowerTap feature for checking your battery on the go. It has a closed pod system, rapid recharging, and uses PURLAVA™ heating technology with ceramic wicks. This prolongs the life of the coil, ensuring all of the e-liquid in each pod is vaporized before the coil expires.

Each Blu device has unique configurations that contribute to their vapor output. For example, the Blu Pro is designed for a more direct-to-lung vaping style, which typically produces more vapor compared to the more discreet, mouth-to-lung style of the Blu 2.0 and Blu Bar disposables.

IQOS devices have a sleek, modern look, available in matte, glossy or metallic finishes and various colors. They embody the brand's signature monolithic look — a unified minimalist form. Simple button layouts and clear LED lights prioritize user-friendliness. The mix of plastic and metal aims for a sturdy yet stylish build, though some models scratch easily or feel bulky.

2. Performance and Battery Life

The Blu 2.0 and Blu Bar, both with 400mAh batteries, provide adequate power for light to moderate users. But, they need to be recharged frequently and may fall short for heavy vapers. The Blu Pro, with its 1100mAh battery, stands out for longer-lasting performance, catering well to more demanding users. However, across the board, Blu's battery life can be a limiting factor, especially when compared to competitors offering higher capacity options for extended use.

IQOS devices offer varying battery life depending on the model. Some devices are all-in-ones, while others come as starter kits, comprising the main device (aka the holder) and a charging case. Most IQOS devices provide enough power for around 20 uses per charge and 2-3 consecutive uses (2-3 tobacco sticks in a row).

3. Longevity

Blu vapes' longevity varies, with the Blu 2.0 offering 262 puffs per charge, falling short for heavy users. Meanwhile, Blu Bar and Blu Pro provide a more robust 600 puffs, catering better to frequent vapers. This range indicates a moderate lifespan, positioning Blu as a practical option for daily vaping needs.

Since IQOS devices are more of an alternative to cigarettes, it might not be fair to compare them with vapes. 

IQOS offers potential cost savings vs. cigarettes, with each stick lasting 10-14 puffs at a lower cost per puff. Some users report 1-2 years of use before encountering issues like battery degradation, button malfunctions, or heating problems. Others claim their devices have lasted longer, depending on usage frequency and care.

4. Flavor Selection and Nicotine Options

Blu vapes' flavor selection ranges from classic Tobacco and Menthol to more exotic ones like Pina Colada and Java in Blu 2.0. Blu Bar flavors lean into fruit-based flavors like Banana Ice and Peach Ice, appealing to users who favor sweet, refreshing tastes. 

The Blu Bar variety pack allows you to try multiple flavors before committing to a single one.
 

IQOS offers a diverse flavor palette through its HEETS, Fiit, and TEREA tobacco sticks. Flavors are categorized into Classic, Menthol, Aromatic (mint and fruit flavors), and other ranges.

5. Vaping Experience

Blu vapes are generally known for moderate vapor production and a discreet and satisfying experience. The vapor output is sufficient for casual vaping, providing a smooth and consistent draw. 

The throat hit from Blu vapes is notably satisfying, especially for former smokers or users who prefer a stronger sensation reminiscent of traditional cigarettes. This is achieved through their nicotine formulation and the device's design, which ensures a sharp, clear hit at higher nicotine strengths, such as the 20 mg/ml offered in Blu Bars.

IQOS offers a vaping experience distinct from traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Users report a smoother, less harsh experience with various flavor options. However, some find it less satisfying than cigarettes, and the lack of strong nicotine options might be a drawback.

6. Health and Safety Concerns

Blu has been in the hot seat for health concerns, especially with its high nicotine content leading to worries about addiction and cardiovascular impact. There's also the buzz about exposure to harmful substances like benzoic acid in their pods, though they're generally considered less harmful than traditional cigarettes. 

IQOS products, while marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, still carry health risks, including potential lung damage and impacts on immune function. 

And while IQOS sticks contain less total nicotine, the amount absorbed may be similar to traditional cigarettes. So concerns also revolve around nicotine addiction and exposure to harmful substances.
 

7. Regulatory Compliance and Legal Issues

The FDA’s marketing denial orders (Feb 2024) against some flavored Blu vapes, including menthol are mainly due to insufficient evidence on their public health impact. Concerns highlighted include the lack of data on harmful ingredients in the aerosol and battery safety issues.

IQOS got a US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) nod for their "reduced exposure" claim (vs. cigarettes) in 2020, but a patent infringement lawsuit in 2021 halted US sales, with no clear timeline for resumption. 

As of February 2024, PMI emphasizes its ongoing "constructive dialogue" with the FDA, as it plans IQOS’s US launch in 2024.

Note: Consumers must also verify adherence to the latest local laws prior to any purchase of devices from these brands.

8. Nicotine Content Potential

Blu vapes offer nicotine levels that vary across their product range, including 18 mg/ml for their pods and up to 20 mg/ml for Blu Bar disposables, providing a potent nicotine delivery that can satisfy cravings effectively. However, these higher nicotine concentrations also raise considerations for addiction potential.

IQOS heats real tobacco, providing a controlled nicotine delivery similar to traditional smoking. As a result, the nicotine strength options are limited, typically available in regular and light versions.

IQOS tobacco sticks contain about 70-80% of the nicotine in regular cigarettes. Each stick has over 4mg of nicotine, which is high but slightly less than the 10-14mg per cigarette in regular brands.

9. Compatibility with Other Products

Blu vapes' proprietary design restricts cross-compatibility with third-party options. This exclusivity ensures a consistent experience but narrows customization options.

IQOS devices are not cross-compatible with cigarettes or tobacco sticks from other brands, or any other vaping products. They are specifically designed to be used with their own branded tobacco sticks, such as HEETS for earlier models and TEREA SMARTCORE STICK for the IQOS ILUMA series, ensuring device functionality and safety.

10. Availability and Accessibility

Blu vapes are widely available in both the US and UK in online and retail stores. Availability in other regions may vary due to local regulations and market presence.

While IQOS devices were authorized by the FDA for marketing in the US, sales currently remain halted due to a legal dispute. Their availability depends on resolving this issue and navigating import restrictions. That said, PMI plans to launch its products in the US in phases (subject to approval from authorities), starting in two unnamed states staring May 2024, followed by a national launch.

Note: The US FDA has not authorized IQOS as a smoking cessation aid.

11. Cost vs. Quality

Blu vapes offer a competitive price range, from the affordable Blu Bar disposables at £3.99 to £5.99 in the UK, to the more comprehensive Blu Pro kit at £17.99.

This offers a good cost-to-quality ratio, with an affordable and reliable vaping experience despite limitations like restricted third-party compatibility and variable vapor production. Their wide flavor range and user-friendly design make them an attractive option, though higher nicotine levels may deter those seeking lower intake.
 

IQOS devices, priced around $100 and up, aim for quality with Heat-not-burn technology, offering a consistent smoking alternative with reduced harmful chemicals. Despite a higher initial cost compared to some competitors, the investment reflects its technological and safety features.

Pros and Cons of Blu and IQOS

To summarize, here are the benefits and drawbacks of both these brands:

 

Pros of Blu

Cons of Blu

  • Sleek, compact
  • Wide range of flavor options
  • User-friendly design ideal for beginners
  • Durable, lightweight aluminum body for comfortable handling
  • Variety pack options allow trying multiple flavors before committing

  • Some models need frequent recharges
  • No nicotine-free options available
  • Restricted compatibility with third-party products
  • Higher nicotine levels raises addiction concerns
  • Variable vapor production across devices
  • FDA marketing denial orders for some flavored products due to

 

 

Pros of IQOS

Cons of IQOS

  • Potentially reduced risk compared to cigarettes
  • Smokeless and odorless, reducing second-hand smoke concerns
  • Portable and user-friendly design
  • FDA authorized for ‘reduced exposure’ claim, indicating a level of regulatory acceptance

  • Nicotine dependence remains a concern
  • Higher initial cost compared to some e-cigarettes
  • Limited nicotine strength options
  • Regulatory controversies and legal challenges affect product availability

 

In short, both Blu and IQOS stand out in the vaping market with their unique strengths and offerings.

 

However, both Blu and IQOS are not without their regulatory challenges.

 

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