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

The epic showdown: IQOS vs SMOK. 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 SMOK, 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 SMOK

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.
 

Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, SMOK offers a bevy of products including vape pens, starter kits, advanced mods, and disposables. Their products are ideal for the cloud-chasing enthusiast and the discreet, on-the-go user.

Brand History and Background of IQOS and SMOK

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 2010, SMOK is known for its high-quality disposable vapes, mods, pod mods, vape pens, and accessories. 

In the Vapouround Global Awards 2021, SMOK’s RPM 4 Kit bagged the award for the Best Pod System. 

Early in 2024, the FDA issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) for 22 SMOK e-cigarette products (including devices, pods, atomizers, and cartridges) in the US. In response, SMOK has submitted an appeal in the US Court claiming that the MDO is arbitrary and lacks substantial evidence.

IQOS vs SMOK Comparison Summary

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

 

 

IQOS

SMOK

Product Range

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

SPACEMAN TURBO, MAVIC S9000, NOVO BAR B600, RAINBOW BAR 5000, AL6000, ETO BAR, RAINBOW BAR, STICK BAR, MINIONE, NORD BAR, MBAR, VVOW, MBAR PRO, and NOVO BAR  (Disposable)

ISPEED, IGEE, and IGEE PRO (Closed systems)

NOVO PRO, NORD GT, NOVO MASTER BOX KIT, NOVO MASTER KIT, PROPOD GT KIT, NORD C KIT, NOVO 2C KIT, NOVO 5 KIT, SOLUS G-BOX, SOLUS G, PROPOD, IGEE A1, and more (Pods)

tech 247, RPM C KIT, RPM 25W, RPM 4, and more (Pod mods)

MAG SOLO KIT, MORPH 3 KIT, MAG-18 KIT, FORTIS KIT, and more (Advanced mods)

VAPE PEN V2 KIT, STICK 80W, VAPE PEN NORD 19 & 22, STICK PRINCE, and more (Vape pens)

 

Nicotine-free options available?

No

Yes (SMOK NOVO 2 KIT, SMOK NOVO BAR, SMOK NOVO 5 Pod Kit, and more)

Device Quality & Build

Stylish and premium devices with a focus on ergonomics

Innovative design, incorporating high-quality materials like zinc alloy and stainless steel

Battery Capacity

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

SPACEMAN TURBO, MINIONE: 800 mAh

AL6000, ETO BAR: 650 mAh

NORD BAR, NOVO BAR: 600 mAh

RAINBOW BAR 5000, STICK BAR: 550 mAh

MAVIC S9000, NOVO BAR B600, VVOW, MBAR PRO: 500 mAh

RAINBOW BAR: 400 mAh

MBAR: 280 mAh

ISPEED, IGEE, and IGEE PRO: 400 mAh

Pod Capacity, Nicotine Strength

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

SPACEMAN TURBO: 5% (16 ml)

MAVIC S9000: 18 ml

NOVO BAR B600, VVOW, MBAR PRO, NOVO BAR: 2% (2 ml)

RAINBOW BAR 5000: 20 mg nicotine (13 ml)

AL6000: 13 ml

RAINBOW BAR: 3% (2.5 ml)

MINIONE: 4.5 ml

NORD BAR: 5% (8.5 ml)

MBAR: 20 mg (1.3 ml)

IGEE, IGEE PRO: 2.5 ml

Number of Puffs per Pod

~14 puffs from each compatible tobacco stick

SPACEMAN TURBO: 10,000-15,000

MAVIC S9000: 9000

NOVO BAR B600, RAINBOW BAR, VVOW, NOVO BAR: 600

RAINBOW BAR 5000: 5000

AL6000: Up to 6000

ETO BAR: 8000

STICK BAR: 1000

MINIONE: 1600

NORD BAR: 4000

MBAR: Up to 300

MBAR PRO: 550 

Charging Time

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

ISPEED, IGEE, and IGEE PRO: 40 mins

Safety Features

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

Low voltage detection, short circuit detection, LED indicator, age verification on website

Device and Pod Cost

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

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

SMOK SPACE MAN TURBO: $11.50

SMOK IGEE AI KIT: $23.99

SMOK NOVO 5 KIT: $39.99

SMOK RPM 100 KIT: $57.99

SMOK MAG-18 KIT: $99.99

VAPE PEN 2 KIT: $34.99

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.

SMOK devices have an intuitive interface with LED display, battery life percentage indicator, and touch screens. They usually come in cylindrical or plump shapes and tend to be lightweight and portable. They’re available in various color options.

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).

SMOK devices offer different battery capacities, catering to the needs of both heavy-duty users and casual vapers. The SPACEMAN TURBO and MINIONE lead with an 800 mAh battery, designed for longer vaping sessions. Whereas MBAR's 280 mAh is the more portable option but won't last as long before needing a recharge.

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.

SMOK’s product lineup includes the high-capacity SPACEMAN TURBO offering up to 15,000 puffs and also the low-capacity model of MBAR with up to 300 puffs. 

The longevity is also influenced by battery capacity, ranging from 800 mAh in models like the SPACEMAN TURBO, ensuring extended use, down to 280 mAh in the MBAR, indicating shorter usage intervals. So, while some SMOK models are designed for durability and prolonged sessions, others prioritize compactness and convenience.

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.

SMOK disposables and rechargeables come in different flavors, including watermelon, peach, mango, kiwi, mint, blueberry, strawberry, and more.

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.

With several fruit-flavored e-liquids and nicotine strengths as high as 50mg, SMOK offers a vaping experience that meets the satisfaction levels of heavy smokers looking to switch and casual vapers seeking to try different flavors. It offers a range of products featuring mesh coils – key to enhanced flavor production and vapor output.

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.
 

SMOK, like other vaping products, comes with health implications — from potential nicotine addiction to exposure to substances like vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. However, the vapes with higher nicotine content, especially the 5% options, pose a significant addiction potential.

The brand also provides nicotine-free vapes for those looking for a less risky vaping experience in the UK and South Africa.

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.

The FDA issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) for 22 SMOK e-cigarette products (including devices, pods, atomizers, and cartridges) in 2024. The federal agency claims that SMOK failed to provide adequate data related to “product stability and product abuse liability”. SMOK has challenged these MDOs by submitting an appeal in the US Court.

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.

SMOK vapes offer a range of nicotine levels, from 2% in devices like the NOVO BAR B600 and MBAR PRO, up to 5% in the SPACEMAN TURBO and NORD BAR, catering to varying user preferences for nicotine intake. Nicotine delivery is also varied, with pod sizes ranging from 1.3 ml in the MBAR to 18 ml in the MAVIC S9000 – quite a broad spectrum of vaping durations and intensities to choose from.

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.

SMOK’s refillable pod systems like SMOK NOVO 2, NORD 2, RPM40, and POZZ X can be paired with any high-quality e-liquid of your choice. The brand recommends nicotine salt liquids for optimal performance.

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.

SMOK products can be bought in their official website store and are available in more than 50 countries. However, none of the disposable products are for sale in the US. Further, location-based restrictions can apply due to regulations on vaping products, affecting availability and shipping.

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.

The pricing of SMOK products, ranging from $11.50 for the SPACEMAN TURBO to $99.99 for the MAG-18 KIT, cater to various budgets and preferences. The brand offers options for entry-level vapers looking for affordability and seasoned users seeking advanced features. SMOK is priced higher than some competitors, especially for their feature-rich kits.

Pros and Cons of IQOS and SMOK

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 SMOK

Cons of SMOK

  • Intuitive interface that improves user experience
  • Various flavor and nicotine strength options
  • Mesh coils enable high-quality vapor production and flavor delivery 
  • Wide product range catering to beginners and advanced users
  • Sturdy devices in stylish color combinations

  • Complexity of advanced mods can be overwhelming for new users
  • Occasional reports of firmware issues or device malfunctions
  • Lower battery capacity models, like the MBAR (280 mAh), may require frequent charging 
  • Disposables aren’t available in the US
  • Lower warranty period compared to other brands

 

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

 

However, both IQOS and SMOK 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.

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