IQOS vs Elf Bar: Features, Price + More (2024)

The epic showdown: IQOS vs Elf Bar. 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 Elf Bar, 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:

Explore these resources: Check out these links:

A Quick Intro to IQOS and Elf Bar

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.
 

Elf Bars is an electronic cigarette brand that sells disposable vape devices coming in a wide range of flavors, nicotine levels, and sizes. Known for their fruity flavors and colorful appearance, Elf Bars are draw-activated devices, meaning they operate by inhaling through the top of the device.

They are rechargeable devices designed to be used and disposed of after their e-liquid has run dry.

Brand History and Background of IQOS and Elf Bar

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.
 

 

Founded in 2018 and owned by parent company iMiracle Technologies, Elf Bar is the brainchild of active CEO Victor Xiao.

They’re considered a pioneer in the flavor department of vaping, releasing a wide range of fruity blends and colorful device options. 

Elf Bar has faced criticism for allegedly marketing the products toward young adults with sweet, candy-like flavors. For this reason, they’re discontinuing several of their flavors in an attempt to curb the rising use of their products by underage people. 

In the US, they dropped the Elf Bar name because of a trademark dispute and actions taken by regulators to seize its imports. It has been renamed to EBCreate, selling products under the domain “EB Design.”

IQOS vs Elf Bar Comparison Summary

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

 

 

IQOS

Elf Bar

Product Range

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

Elf Bar BC/NC/TE/CR/BM/FB Series (Disposables)

Elf Bar CIGALIKE (Disposables)

Elf Bar Lux Series (Disposables)

Elf Bar T Series (Disposables)

Elf Bar 600 (Disposables)

Elf Bar Mate Series (Pod Vape)

Elf Bar ELFA pro (Pod Vape)

ELFIQ E-Liquid (E-Juice)

 

Nicotine-free options available?

No

Yes

Device Quality & Build

Stylish and premium devices with a focus on ergonomics

Minimalist design, compact,  round edges, sturdy body, 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)

Elf Bar disposable range (non-rechargeable): ≈ 600 mAh

Elf Bar disposable range (rechargeable): ≈ 650 mAh

Pod Capacity, Nicotine Strength

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

BC5000: 9.5-13ml of e-liquid.

TE6000: 13ml

Mate 500: 1.2ml

Nicotine strengths (US): 
- 0mg (0%)
- 20mg (2%)
- 50mg (5%)
- 70mg (7%)

Nicotine Strengths (UK):
- 0mg (0%)
- 10mg (1%)
- 20mg (2%)

Number of Puffs per Pod

~14 puffs from each compatible tobacco stick

Mate 500: 500 puffs

Elf Bar BC5000 (and BC series): 5000 puffs

Elf Bar Cigalike: 400 puffs

Elf Bar ELFA Pro: 600 puffs

Charging Time

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

30 - 90 minutes

Safety Features

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

LED indicator, auto-shutoff, overcharge protection, overheat protection

Device and Pod Cost

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

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

BC5000: $15.00

TE6000: $9.99

Pi9000:$21.00

Customer Support and Warranty

1 year

6 months

 

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.

Elf Bar’s design is sleek and compact, with a rounded, lightweight finish. They are very portable, discrete, and minimalistic. Elf Bars have no buttons or LCD screens - to activate them, you draw on the mouthpiece, making them very user-friendly.

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).

Elf Bars have batteries ranging from 500 - 650 mAh, which packs enough punch to keep you vaping for hours at a time. Their larger vapes typically contain a 650 mAh battery, providing up to 4 days of battery with casual use on a single charge of 90 minutes. 

Elf Bars come with temperature regulation and overcharge protection.

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.

There’s a reason Elf Bars are so popular in the vaping world - large batteries and larger tanks.

Designed as disposable vapes, Elf Bar lifespans are primarily measured in terms of puffs rather than days. Here are some estimated durations based on usage patterns:

  • Heavy Vapers: 2–4 days, consuming around 4–6 ml of e-liquid daily.
  • Average Vapers: 5–7 days, consuming around 2–4 ml of e-liquid daily.
  • Casual Vapers: 7–10 days, consuming around 1–2 ml of e-liquid daily.

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.

Elf Bar has an almost endless flavor range. However, we can break them down into five major categories:

  • Fruit favors
  • Beverage flavors
  • Candy flavors
  • Ice flavors
  • Mixed fruity flavors

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.

Elf Bars offer a flavorful and simplistic vaping experience. Using only nicotine-salt-based e-liquids, Elf Bar vapor is generally soft on the throat and substitutes well for smoking.

Being easy to use, with an endless flavor range and a variety of nicotine strengths to choose from, Elf Bar can appeal to a wide audience - veterans and beginners alike.

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.
 

Elf Bars are generally considered safer than smoking cigarettes, yet they carry risks of addiction and various health concerns. Nicotine content of 6% in some of their products is great for transitioning smokers, but they can get more and more users addicted to nicotine in no time.

These can range from dizziness and nausea to cardiovascular disease, largely due to their high concentrations of liquid nicotine and the general tendency for misuse.

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.

Elf Bar has faced regulatory compliance and legal issues due to its unauthorized sale in the United States. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to 189 retailers in 2023 for selling unauthorized tobacco products, including Elf Bar.

In addition to the FDA's actions, Elf Bar has faced legal challenges and has been involved in trademark disputes. The company has been forced to drop the Elf Bar name after losing a trademark case to a smaller company.

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.

Elf Bars contain varying levels of nicotine, ranging from sub-mild 20mg (2%) all the way up to an astounding 50mg (5%) nicotine.

For reference, in the UK, Elf Bars are limited to a maximum nicotine concentration of 20mg/ml (2%) to comply with regulations.

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.

Elf Bar’s proprietary design limits its cross-compatibility, but its popularity has spurred a market of counterfeit pods and accessories, though these can be hit or miss in terms of quality.

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.

Having found a way to work around the US vape import ban, Elf Bars are widely available in various locations and through multiple channels. They can be found at brick-and-mortar vape shops, convenience stores, petrol stations, and online retailers.

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.

Elf Bars are considered to be a budget-friendly option for disposable vapes, with prices ranging from $5 to $20 depending on the vendor, location, and any promotions or discounts.

However, it's important to note that the cost of vaping products should not be the only factor considered when choosing a product.

Pros and Cons of IQOS and Elf Bar

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 Elf Bar

Cons of Elf Bar

  • Convenient, easy-to-use design
  • High nicotine content provides a satisfying hit for smokers transitioning to vaping
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Replacement warranty for device malfunctions

  • High nicotine content can lead to addiction, especially for beginners
  • Regulatory and legal challenges hamper product availability
  • Doesn't allow customizing nicotine levels or flavors
  • Restriction in flavor range due to regulations.

 

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

 

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

 

Now, if you’re on the lookout for a nicotine-free alternative without compromising on the vaping experience, we’ll tell you what’s best.

Cyclone Pods: The Safest, High-Quality, Nicotine-Free Alternative

Cyclone Pods is a game-changer for vapers looking to ditch nicotine without losing the vaping experience. We offer a wide range of nicotine-free vapes, making it easier than ever to cut down or stop nicotine consumption.

 

Our innovative products include the Surge and Thunder rechargeable vapes, and the Gust Super disposable range. Pick from our stunning range of:

 

We use only high-quality flavorings, vegetable glycerin, and propylene glycol in our vape juice giving you big clouds and the purest of flavors. There’s absolutely no vitamin E acetate, diacetyl, or any other addictive substances, including nicotine.

 

We're committed to providing choices that make your nicotine-free journey both enjoyable and satisfying.

 

So, why wait?

 

Find out which nicotine-free vape you’d like to start with now.