The Blu rechargeable kit is one of the best known and best selling of the cigalike vaping devices. (Blu also makes disposable models.) They’ve done a fair of amount of advertising, using spokespersons Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy. They’re available at thousands of convenience stores, gas stations and even Wal Mart. That’s where we bought our Blu rechargeable kit, in the classic tobacco variety.
The Blu rechargeable kit comes with two batteries, a five-pack of flavor cartridges, a USB charging cable with a car charger adapter, an owner’s manual and the rechargeable pack. Everything you need to start using the Blu is included. Just charge the pack, then pop a battery into the pack’s charging bay (wait for it to charge), screw on a flavor cartridge (which is a cartomizer, containing an atomizer, which turns the ejuice into vapor, and the cartridge that holds the ejuice) and you’re ready to start using the Blu. While you’re vaping with one battery the second battery can be charging in the pack. Each time you inhale, the end of the battery glows blue. It will flash repeatedly to let you know that the battery requires recharging.
The Blu is a cigalike or cigarette look-a-like type of vaporizer. The charging pack itself is shorter and thinner than a pack of traditional tobacco cigarettes, and the Blu battery/flavor cartridge combo is also shorter and thinner than an analog cigarette. There are two LED lights on the side of the Blu charging pack, one blue and the other red. The blue light is activated when the pack itself is charging and shuts off when the pack is fully charged. It also flashes whenever you close the pack with a battery in the charging bay to let you know how many more batteries the pack will charge before it needs to be recharged itself. The red light comes on when a battery is charging and goes out when the battery is fully recharged.
What’s In The Box
- 1 X Rechargeable Pack
- 2 X Rechargeable Batteries
- 1 X USB Charger
- 1 X Car Charger Adapter
- 1 X Owner’s Manual
- 1 X Five-Pack Of Flavor Cartridges
Performance: For many people, us included, Blu is their introduction to vaping. As such, they have no frame of reference, so their experience is happening in an experimental vacuum; they really don’t know how well or poorly Blu performs compared to other vaping devices. Blu provides a decent amount of vapor, but, because Blu uses only vegetable glycerin (VG) and no propylene glycol (PG) in their flavor cartridges, there is very little throat hit. The batteries won’t hold a charge for a full day of vaping, but the pack itself will usually provide eight to 10 battery recharges before it needs recharged. In fact, a fully charged battery won’t even last long enough to finish off a single flavor cartridge. Blu estimates that a full charge will last for 80 – 100 “puffs” and that each cartridge will last for about 250 “puffs.”
Features: The recharging kit, which also serves as a carrying case, is a nice idea, and works well enough (until it doesn’t, but we’ll get to that in a minute). The inclusion of the car charger adapter is also a nice addition. But beyond that, there are no bells and whistles. There is a limited variety of flavors, and you have to buy them in five-packs, so you’re stuck with one flavor for awhile. The Blu flavor cartridges are available in seven flavors: tobacco, menthol, cherry, vanilla, Pina Colada, peach schnapps and Java Jolt. Each five-pack of flavor cartridges is available in one of four nicotine levels; high (13mg – 16mg), medium (9mg – 12 mg), low (6mg – 8mg) and non-nicotine. So you’re never sure exactly how much nicotine you’re getting, and those levels on the “high” variety aren’t enough to satisfy anyone who smokes more than half a pack of tobacco cigarettes a day. Blu does offer a variety pack (that includes tobacco, menthol, cherry and vanilla cartridges), but that’s only available when you buy the entire starter kit.
Quality: This is the area where the Blu rechargeable kit is the weakest. Our charging pack stopped accepting a charge within the first 90 days of use. And another associate ran into the same problem with his pack. Blu did send out a new pack, but it took about a week to arrive, which left us with two options; buy another kit or disposable model at the store or go back to tobacco. For us, the choice was tobacco.
Looks: The Blu is a good looking cigalike, available in black or white. It’s slim, non-obtrusive, and feels good in your hand and mouth. It’s heavier than a tobacco cigarette, so it’s not easy to simply hold it between your lips. But its size, somewhat smaller than a tobacco cigarette, makes it easy to hold between your fingers.
Price/Value: We paid $35 for our Blu Rechargeable Kit at Wal Mart. Since the kit contains everything you need to get started, it seems like something of a bargain. But the flavor cartridges are only available in five-packs. They can run as much as $16 at convenience stores or as low as $10 per pack online from Blu, if you buy five of them. When you consider that the EVOD 2 starter kit from Kanger Tech costs only about $15 more than the Blu, and that 10ml bottles of ejuice can be purchased for around $4.99 (and last longer than the Blu cartridges), that $35 isn’t such a bargain. And with the quality issues of the Blu charging pack considered, the value of the Blu is questionable at best.
The Blu Rechargeable Kit may be many people’s first exposure to vaping. Our concern is that it may also be their last. While the Blue kit does contain everything you need to get started and is available in stores where many smokers are buying their cigarettes, those limited nicotine levels probably aren’t going to be enough to satisfy any but the most casual of smokers. If you know a smoker who is considering vaping, do them a favor and take them to your local vape shop so that they can get a more balanced idea of all of the options available to them.
The Blu is, however, a much better option than allowing a friend to continue smoking tobacco, so don’t discourage them if they tell you they’ve purchased one. But do encourage them to investigate a refillable device, like the EVOD 2 or one of the EGO or Aspire kits.
The final point on Blu is that the company is owned by Big Tobacco. Currently Lorillard owns Blu, but Lorillard is being acquired by RJ Reynolds. As part of that deal, mainly to pass regulatory muster, Reynolds will sell a number of their brands and Lorillard will sell Blu to Imperial Tobacco. The fact that the industry that got us hooked on their cancer-causing death sticks is now in the business of trying to keep our business by buying up and/or developing their own vaping divisions is a matter of concern to some in the vaping community. And when you consider that Big Tobacco is among the most vocal of those calling for bans or severe restrictions on refillable mods and ejuice (which they don’t make), many more in the vaping community want as little to do with anything Big Tobacco gets its hand on, including Blu.
(For details on Seven Report review methodology, click here.)