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

The epic showdown: IQOS vs Eleaf. 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 IQOS or rooting for Eleaf, 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.

 

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A Quick Intro to IQOS and Eleaf

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.
 

Eleaf is a China-based vaping company that offers a wide range of electronic cigarettes, including mods, tanks, and starter kits, catering to both novice and experienced users. They’re known for simple designs at affordable prices.

Brand History and Background of IQOS and Eleaf

Let’s look at how the two brands evolved.

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.
 

 

Eleaf was founded in Shenzhen in 2011. The 2014 launch of the iStick series, known for its compact design and ease of use, bolstered the company’s reputation among a diverse user base.

As the brand evolved, it broadened its offerings with various mods, tanks, and starter kits, prioritizing tech advancement and customer satisfaction.

Eleaf has faced regulatory scrutiny from the US FDA and has been subject to health debates, but the company remains focused on product safety and compliance.

IQOS vs Eleaf Comparison Summary

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

 

 

IQOS

Eleaf

Product Range

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

iStick Series, iJust Series, Pico Series (mod and tank mod vapes)

IORE Series, iSOLO Series (pod mods)

IORE 500 Disposable, iStick D Disposable (disposable vapes)

EN Series, EP Series, GTL Series, MELO Series, GS Series, iJust Series, ELLO Series (tanks)

EN Series, EP Series, GTL Series, EC Series, GX Series, GZ Series, HW Series, GT Series, EF Series (coils)

(Note: Availability differs by country)

 

Nicotine-free options available?

No

No

Device Quality & Build

Stylish and premium devices with a focus on ergonomics

High-quality, smooth, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, leather (on select products only), and plastic construction

Battery Capacity

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

Varies between 1050mAh to 5000mAh, depending on the device

Mini iStick 10W: 1050mAh

iStick (standard): 2200mAh

iStick Power 2: 5000mAh

Pod Capacity, Nicotine Strength

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

Disposable vape range: 1.5-2.3ml, comes with 50mg (5%) nic salt vape juice

Reusable tanks: typically 2-5ml, recommended to be used with 5mg - 20mg nic salt vape juice

Reusable pods: 2ml, recommended to be used with 5mg - 20mg nic salt vape juice

Disposable pods: 1.5ml, used with 20mg nic salt vape juice

Number of Puffs per Pod

~14 puffs from each compatible tobacco stick

IORE 500 Disposable: 500 puffs

IORE Lite Disposable pod: 3000 puffs

GX Series and MELO series coils: 2000 puffs 

Charging Time

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

Stick Power 2: 120 minutes

iStick 30W: 120 minutes

iJust Start: 180 minutes

Safety Features

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

Short circuit protection, battery level indicator, automatic shut off, low-voltage protection

Device and Pod Cost

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

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

iStick range: $22.99 -$53.99

IORE range: $10.09 - $16.09

Customer Support and Warranty

1 year

90 days limited warranty

 

Now let’s compare these brands in detail:

1. Design and Aesthetics

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.

Eleaf vapes are known for their innovative designs and aesthetics across the board. Most Eleaf vapes incorporate tanks into their designs, as well as smooth, flush finishes that give off a sophisticated feel and tone.

The IORE range introduced ultra-lightweight pod-based vapes that pack a punch with fast charging and sleek, minimalistic designs.

But users have raised some functional issues like inconvenient refill mechanisms on some models, like in the iJust's atomizer design and the iStick P100's overly turbulent and noisy airflow.

So, while Eleaf excels in functionality and affordability, there's room for enhancing design, convenience, and overall aesthetic appeal.

2. Performance and Battery Life

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).

The battery life of Eleaf products varies depending on the specific model and usage patterns.

The Eleaf iStick, for example, features a compact design with a 2200mAh capacity, reaching up to 20W output wattage and adjustable voltage settings.

On the other hand, the iStick Power has an impressive 5000mAh battery capacity, supporting up to 80W output and various modes like VW, Bypass, Smart, and TC for different vaping experiences.

3. Longevity

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.

Eleaf incorporates leather, aluminum, and ABS plastic in its vapes to boost its longevity. However, the longevity of Eleaf products, such as the Eleaf iStick and iCare, varies depending on usage and maintenance.

Fortunately, repair and maintenance is easy and convenient, as replacement parts like coils and tanks, pods, and glass tubes are readily available and easy to install.

4. Flavor Selection and Nicotine Options

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.

Eleaf offers a diverse range of e-liquid flavors and products designed to enhance the vaping experience:

  • Tobacco
  • Mint
  • Pineapple Ice
  • Banana Ice
  • Peach Ice
  • Mango Ice
  • Blueberry Ice
  • Lush Ice

5. Vaping Experience

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.

Eleaf vapes allow you to select from a wide range of personalized coils and cutting-edge features like temperature control and power outputs.

You can personalize your vape's taste, vapor production, and power output – whether you prefer large, smooth clouds or chasing that throat kick.

6. Health and Safety Concerns

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.
 

The Eleaf brand's official website and product pages are upfront about the addictive qualities of nicotine, making it clear that their offerings are strictly for adult users.

But, nicotine use is widely associated with addiction, nausea, breathing difficulties, and cardiovascular issues.

7. Regulatory Compliance and Legal 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.

In 2020, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to Eleaf USA regarding health and safety concerns associated with their Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).

This letter highlighted issues related to new tobacco products without required marketing authorization, which are considered adulterated and misbranded.

Since then, Eleaf has abided by US regulations and continues to sell in the US.

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

8. Nicotine Content 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.

Eleaf’s disposable vapes contain either 17mg, 30mg, or 50mg (1.7%, 3%, and 5%) nic salt vape juice in 2.3-4ml capacities.

Note: Eleaf pod and mod vapes are compatible with third-party e-liquids of varying strengths (check coil compatibility before use).

9. Compatibility with Other Products

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.

Eleafs’ proprietary design limits its cross-compatibility with other pods. However, Eleaf devices are compatible with third-party e-liquids.

10. Availability and Accessibility

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.

Eleaf products are widely available through various online vape stores and their official online stores across the US and the UK.

11. Cost vs. Quality

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.

Eleaf vapes offer a variety of vaping options across different price points. For example, the Eleaf iStick range is priced between $24 and $47.

Other Eleaf products with limited features, such as the IOre range, are more cost-effective and are priced between $10 - $16. Eleaf’s disposable vapes are typically around $6.

Pros and Cons of IQOS and Eleaf

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

 

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

 

 

Pros of Eleaf

Cons of Eleaf

  • High-quality materials using aluminum and leather
  • User-friendly designs, catering to a wide range of users
  • Simple, straightforward operation (especially iJust 3, iStick P100)
  • Mesh coils and atomizer designs enhance flavor and vapor
  • Easily available online

  • Some models, like the iJust D20, have been critiqued for simplistic and generic designs that lack distinctiveness
  • Inconvenient refill mechanisms (in the iJust series) complicating on-the-go use
  • Noisy airflow issues with some products (iStick P100) detracting from the overall experience
  • Limited design updates in older models (like iStick TC40)
  • Doesn’t offer a zero-nicotine option

 

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

 

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

 

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