Design & Packaging:
When we received our package from Smoko, we were shocked. The overall appearance can be summed up in one word: classy. Similar to premium tobacco cigarette kits, Smoko kits come in a lightweight and sturdy square aluminum box with their brand name sitting beautifully atop. When we opened the Original Starter Kit box, we were met by one battery with a cartridge already attached, a second cartridge and a USB charger. These contents were held in place by a firm yet cushy foam material. Moreover, the cartridges themselves came in small square boxes that looked like mini-tobacco packs. It was instantly clear that Smoko, at least from a design standpoint, is incredible for customers who are just switching to e-cigs from tobacco.
Battery Performance/Vapour/Throat Hit:
We would like to point out that in addition to the Original Starter Kit, we received the Smoko Vape Starter Kit (which came with the same design and packaging as the Original Starter Kit). While one is a cig-a-like and the other is a vapourizer, surprisingly there were several similarities (albeit some notable differences).
When we put the cig-a-like (Original) up against the Smoko vapourizer, the battery performances were very similar. This was quite surprising to us given the fact that the cig-a-like kit comes with a 180mAh battery while the vapourizer comes with almost double the battery power – a 320mAh battery. From full power to dead, the 180mAh battery lasted roughly 250 puffs while the vapourizer 320mAh battery operated for about 300 puffs. The performance on the cig-a-like exceeded our expectations while the vapourizer’s battery performance was in line with what we were expecting.
It is also important to note that upon the first hit from the vapourizer, we didn’t receive a cloud of vapour as we exhaled. This was initially worrisome to us because generally speaking, products that don’t respond on the first hit tend to be of lower quality (for the record, no primer puffs are needed on the cig-a-like kit; you will see a great deal of vapour from the very first puff). However, our fears were completely put to rest upon the very next hit from the vapourizer, which is when we saw the full results…which bring us to our next section.
Smoko makes a bold claim that they are the UK’s premium e-cig. One of their talking points is their vapour volume. After a one-time primer puff, we saw huge vapour clouds from both the cig-a-like and the vapourizer; clouds that rivaled the now defunct Green Smoke (the leader in cig-a-like vapour volume). The fact that the vapour volume from Smoko was in line with what Green Smoke offered was nothing short of incredible. A company that started as a husband and wife, and then keeping up with Big Tobacco e-cig brands by offering this level of quality? Impressive.
As for the throat hit: we noticed that the throat hit from Smoko e-cigs are a bit more ‘potent’ than your standard vapour kits. It is clear that they are going after new or beginner users to e-cigs. Smokers are looking for a familiar nicotine hit from a tobacco cigarette and that’s what you get with Smoko – on both their cig-a-like and vapourizer kits.
The flavours that Smoko offers was unexpectedly the standout ‘feature’ of their company; yes, even better than their vapour volume. No, really – we’re not joking. Yes, their liquids are manufactured in the UK. Yes, they only use pharmaceutical grade ingredients. Yes, they perform quality assurance tests. These are all telltale signs that a company is looking out for its customers first, not its profits.
In regard to the cartridges: each pack comes with 5 individual cartridges inside. For the vapourizer refill (1.1mL e-liquid tanks), 2 tanks come in a refill pack. The cig-a-like cartridge lasted approximately 200 puffs – a bit over the 175 puff industry average. So, there could be some improvement there but perhaps we are being overly critical in this regard. The tank refill, on the other hand, lasted a whopping 2 days. We lost count at the 300 puff mark.
As for the flavours themselves: Smoko offers 11 flavours: Original Tobacco, Virginia Rolling, Menthol, Havana, Mint Breeze, Energy, Coffee, Absinthe, Apple, Gold Tobacco, and Raspberry. We tested all of these, and while taste is subjective, our personal preferences were their tobacco flavours (specifically Original Tobacco) and coffee. We did not enjoy the Absinthe flavour. All of these flavours are also offered for their vapourizer refills and even come in 10mL e-liquid bottles should you want to test out their e-liquids with other devices (such as a box mod). The PG/VG ratio is 50/50. As a side note, they also offer Strawberry Mint & Strawberry Breeze as vapourizer refills or standalone e-liquid bottles. So if you are looking for insane clouds, look elsewhere as you will need something like a 10/90 PG/VG split. But if you are looking for solid vapour and a tier-one throat hit, in addition to high quality flavouring? As mentioned above, it is clear Smoko is an excellent choice for beginner e-cig users.
So the Smoko nicotine levels were at first a bit confusing. On the surface, it seems as though they offer more nicotine levels than just about any other company (including e-liquid industry giant VaporFi). While this is technically true, unfortunately Smoko only offers certain nicotine levels on different flavours. For example, while the Original Tobacco vapourizer refill comes with 1.5%, 1.8% and 2.0% nicotine options, the Absinthe vapourizer refill only comes with a 1.8% nicotine option. The same goes for Smoko’s cig-a-like refills. The Original Tobacco nicotine options are 2.4%, 2.0%, 1.6%, 1.5%, 1.1% and 0%. However, Coffee flavour only comes with 2.0% and 1.8% nicotine options. You will need to check which nicotine levels are offered per product.
When we were greeted by the Smoko website, the fact that they had Live Chat support was already a massive indication that support would be unbeatable. We came back three times – morning, afternoon and night. All three times we were answered on Live Chat within one minute. Additionally, since Smoko is UK based rather than having a Chinese-type setup, their business is built around providing standout customer service. You can call them Monday-Friday 9AM – 5PM. Similarly, you can email them via their web form and you will generally receive a reply within 2-12 hours. And of course, you can always connect with them through their social channels – Facebook Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn. A+ customer service all around.
There is no beating around the bush. Smoko’s price, though cheap as an individual price, is relatively expensive compared to other e-cigarette brands. However, being that Smoko is a premium e-cig, you end up paying a premium. The old proverb “you get what you pay for” undoubtedly holds true here. Here is a breakdown of their pricing, along with the components:
1. Smoko Original Starter Kit – £24.99: 1 180mAh battery, 2 refills, 1 USB charger, 1 designer metal case
2. Smoko Starter Kit – £29.99: 1 kit with designer metal case, 1 180mAh battery, 1 USB charger, 2 Original (2.4% nicotine) cartridges, 1 box of refills (5 cartomisers)
3. Smoko Black Premium Starter Kit – £49.99: 1 PCC charging case, 2 rechargeable batteries, 1 wall adapter, 1 charging cable, 1 pack of refills, 1 USB charger
4. Smoko Vape Starter Kit – £24.99: 1 rechargeable battery, 1 Original Tobacco tank refill, 1 USB charger, 1 designer metal case
5. V-Style Vapourizer Starter Kit – £24.99: 1 rechargeable battery, 1 tank with coil, 1 USB charger, 1 designer metal case
Before we get to the breakdown, for informational purposes for our readers, one cartomiser (also known as a “cartridge”) equals roughly 1.25 – 1.5 tobacco cigarette packs (25-30 individual cigarettes).
1. 1 cig-a-like refill pack (5 cartomisers inside): £12.50 (average of £2.5 per cartomiser)
2. 1 vape refill tank (1.1mL): £7.99
3. 10mL bottle of Smoko e-liquid: £3.99 – £6.99 depending on the flavour
There is also an option to purchase a 10 pack of cig-a-like refills, however you cannot purchase these alone. This 10 pack comes with a starter kit and an extra battery, and retails for £100.
Money Back Guarantee & Warranty:
After testing the Smoko products and understanding the nature and makeup of the company, we expected a good money back policy. As it turns out, they do offer a guarantee that is better than most of the market. Smoko’s policy is that all unopened or faulty packages can be returned within 14 days for a full refund. Opened or unopened e-liquids cannot be returned for obvious consumable item/hygiene reasons. The only downside to Smoko in this regard is that there is no warranty policy.
Again as we were expecting, Smoko’s shipping options are excellent. There is free delivery on UK orders over £40 and over £100 on international orders. If you order less than £40 worth of Smoko products, you can expect to pay just a few quid extra. Smoko ships via Royal Mail and packages are generally delivered within 2-4 working days within the UK and 7-14 days for international parcels.
Since early 2016, the UK market has been looking for a high quality replacement to Green Smoke’s fantastic cig-a-like e-cigs. While V2 Cigs is a great alternative, if you are looking to enter the world of e-cigarettes, then look no further. The vapour volume and high quality e-liquids within their cartomisers, in addition to excellent battery performance and a very familiar throat hit, makes Smoko our new favourite cig-a-like in the UK.