The popularity of e-cigarettes have exploded over the last few years with a huge surge in sales of small pod based devices that mimic the feel of an actual cigarette. This is of course due to the millions of people looking to quit a life-long habit of smoking and looking for a healthier alternative. Devices like the Juul and the Vuse Alto accomplish that without any of the traditional cigarette additives and with comparable nicotine so the user doesn't feel like they are going "cold turkey".
It serves as a good first step and then gives the user the freedom to seek other devices that would allow them to use a lower nicotine juice and eventually step down gradually to a point where they can be entirely nicotine free. Breaking old habits isn't easy but these new pod devices give people an easy way to quit cigarettes with a less harmful alternative that feels familiar to them. For many people the massively popular Juul has been the saving grace in terms of kicking their old cigarette addiction. But what about the Vuse Alto? Vuse has been a player in the electronic cigarette game for a few years now and their new Alto is their answer to Juul.
So how do these two devices stack up? They are both smaller, rechargeable, pod based systems but they do have their differences.
Let's start with the Juul device.
For all intents and purposes, the Juul has started a revolution of sorts. Its a small, light, rectangular device that has a slew of flavored pods and a single indicator light. Out of both devices the Juul seemingly feels more like a cigarette in your hand. The shape is unique but its so small and light you barely notice it. The USB charger has a strong magnet on it, so charging it is quite easy. The LED light indicates when you take a drag and with a slight tap of the Juul it can display 3 colors depending on how charged your battery is. The Juul also has the infamous "party mode", which when the white light is on if you shake the device is turns a rainbow of colors while you are shaking it. The drawback with such a small, light device is that it equates to a smaller battery (200 mAh). Unfortunately with heavier use, that means more frequent charging. Also, with a smaller form factor the size of the pods aren't going to be huge either; each pod is about 0.7 ml when full.
When taking a drag the Juul occasionally made some crackling sounds during the vaping process. Also a bit of a "air rushing" type sound, nothing major but it wasn't as quiet as the Alto. The cloud and overall "throat hit" were moderate with the Juul. Occasional smokers may not notice it but it doesn't really pack that same punch if you more of heavier smoker before. Nonetheless, the draw is still satisfying and overall I found it to be a simple and convenient device.
|The Juul's "party mode".|
Very small, very stealthy and easy to use. I haven't even tried all the flavors yet, but Juul clearly has an advantage here: there are tons of flavors to choose from. Classic menthol tasted like a familiar Newport type smoke, while Cool Mint had more of an icy peppermint flavor, like that of a Marlboro Smooth or Nat Sherman menthol cigarette. Both were excellent in terms of menthol flavor. As well as the menthol flavors you have the traditional flavor pods of Virginia Tobacco and some fruity options like Mango. Overall there are plenty to try and see what suits you best.
With the Juul, I understood the hype. It was a simple device that just works. Using it is easy and it provides a satisfying hit, has tons of flavors and tons of third party products - skins, battery packs, knock-off pods, refillable pods etc. It's a popular device with tons of support and extras you can buy to enhance your experience.
So, what about the Alto?
The Vuse Alto is a similar device. Like the Juul it is draw-activated to take a drag, it has a single LED indicator light, internal battery and the same type of pod system. Right off the bat when you hold it, you notice this device has a bit more heft and a bit larger overall. The Alto weighs in at 22 grams with a full pod, whereas the Juul is about 14 grams with a pod. So it does feel a bit more substantial in your hand compared to the Juul but neither of them feel too big for your pocket. A larger device does mean larger battery (350 mAh) and larger pods (1.8 ml). So in this case the larger size does have a purpose. It also has a decidedly more rounded feel to it. Not so much it will be rolling around on the table, but definitely more curvey compared to Juul. I do like the more ergonomically shaped mouth piece on the pods as well.
Taking a puff from the device is noticeably more quiet than the Juul. Much more silent overall with no noticeable cracking or popping sounds at all. The Alto produces a nice hit as well; a bit more of a cloud with this one and less of a loose hit and more of that "cigarette feel" in your throat. With longer drags it has more of a punch than the Juul, for sure.
Final Thoughts and Comparisons
As a disclaimer, I don't work for either of these companies. I wasn't paid in any way to do this. I bought and tested both devices and pods without any incentive. However, I did do this a bit backwards. Despite the popularity of the Juul, I tried the Vuse Alto first and overall have spent more time with that device. I bought the Juul after and have spent about a week using that device and then going back to the Alto for comparison between both of them.
Overall, they are both great devices and each one worked perfectly. However, the both have their pros and cons. The Juul is very small and convenient device that just works. It's doesn't make for a massive cloud, or a heavy hit with each puff but it works well and is sleek. You get a large selection of flavors and other companies making products for it, but you do pay for it. It is a more costly device in the long run than the Alto. While the Vuse is cheaper, I did have some minor gripes with it. Occasionally some of the Alto pods expirienced spit back, leaving a bit of juice on my lip. Also, many of the Alto pods developed a burnt flavor at the end of the pod. The pod was about empty, but the Juul doesn't have that same gross flavor at the end, it just sort of becomes more mild at the end of its pod.
In the end, they are both good devices and I will use both, but for me the Alto wins and it's the one that I will use more frequently.