• February 28, 2024

Disposable Debate

 Disposable Debate

Two popular disposable vaping devices, Hyde IQ and Elf Bar BC5000, each have their faults.

By Mike Huml

The Hyde IQ vs. the Elf Bar BC5000

With vaping continuously rising in popularity, convenience is the name of the game. In particular, disposable devices have quietly begun dominating the market. As with any vaping product, there exists benefits and drawbacks, and as the overall quality of disposable devices has unquestionably been increasing, some drawbacks are inherent to the nature of disposables. Two popular disposable vapes have seen the mitigation of these drawbacks to different extents—the Hyde IQ and the Elf Bar BC5000. Both are similar at first glance, but how do they truly stack up against one another?

Aesthetics

The Elf Bar and the Hyde IQ are similar in size and shape. The Hyde IQ is slightly shorter and wider than the Elf Bar, but both are very lightweight and easy to slip into a pocket or pocketbook. The Hyde IQ features hard plastic all around with some texturing to improve grip. There’s a sticker placed on the front that brands the device “Hyde.” The Elf Bar is also fully plastic with hard plastic on the top and bottom, but the body has a rubberized finish for a better grip. Additionally, the labeling is applied directly to the surface and reads “Elf Bar,” and “BC5000,” followed by the name of the flavor contained within.

Both the Hyde IQ and the Elf Bar are clearly constructed with economy and value in mind, but the Elf Bar edges out the Hyde IQ by presenting a more premium look and feel. It’s more subdued and not as flashy as the Hyde IQ and is likely to appeal to both men and women. While the Elf Bar favors pastel colors and a softer aesthetic, the Hyde IQ leans into a Hot Wheels car-type appearance and color scheme. While the Hyde IQ may stand out from the rest on the shelf, there are certainly more important features other that looks when it comes to any vapor product.

Battery

For many vapers, neither the Hyde IQ nor the Elf Bar will last all day on a single charge, but they’re not far off. The Elf Bar contains a 650 mAh battery while Hyde has not revealed the battery specifications. From a subjective standpoint, the Elf Bar does last considerably longer than the Hyde IQ, but it also takes longer to charge. With an empty battery, the Hyde can charge to full in approximately 15 minutes while the Elf Bar can take up to 30 minutes. What’s more, the Hyde IQ has passthrough functionality, allowing it to be used while it’s connected to the charger. The Elf Bar does not offer this feature.

Normally, the trade-off here would be obvious—longer battery life versus faster charging—which is a wash and a matter of personal preference. However, due to the lack of passthrough functionality in the Elf Bar, the Hyde IQ takes the point in this category. Although the battery charges remarkably quickly, that means that passthrough functionality isn’t needed for the most part. Ironically, the device that would benefit most from passthrough functionality is the one that does not have it—the Elf Bar.

Capacity

Both the Hyde IQ and the Elf Bar boast 5,000 puffs, but something doesn’t quite add up. The Elf Bar contains 13 mL of e-liquid while the Hyde IQ only contains 8 mL. On paper, that information may lead one to believe that the Elf Bar perhaps hits a little warmer, but that is not the case. Both devices are very similar in terms of vapor production and heat, but the Hyde IQ does come off as slightly warmer with a bit more vapor.

Without a puff counter, it’s nearly impossible to determine the actual number of puffs in each device, but subjectively, the Elf Bar lasts longer before needing to be discarded and replaced. With a slightly smoother vape experience and larger capacity, this makes perfect sense. As such, the Elf Bar comes out on top.

Extra features

Fancy features are usually an afterthought when it comes to disposables as they tend to bloat the price and take away from the simplicity of such devices. However, in this case, the Hyde IQ offers a few things that are useful and unique.

First, the Hyde IQ features adjustable airflow. A sliding switch on the bottom of the device allows for a narrow range of airflow adjustments, but there is a range nonetheless. The Elf Bar has nothing to compare. Granted, the airflow is smooth and the amount of air is just right for mouth-to-lung vaping, but it might not be for everyone.

The Hyde IQ also features 2 LEDs that change color to indicate remaining battery life as well as remaining e-liquid. This is extremely helpful to avoid a surprise dry hit when there’s no e-liquid remaining and to give the user a heads-up when a charge is needed. Now, these lights are not 100 percent accurate nor consistent. The Hyde IQ’s e-liquid light will often begin to blink, indicating there is less than 15 percent e-liquid remaining, but continues to work properly for quite a while. It’s by no means perfect, but it does offer a very general idea as to how much juice is left. Anything is better than guessing.

The battery life indicator is much more reliable than the e-liquid light, likewise turning from green to yellow to red, then to blinking red at critical levels. It’s simple and effective, and having some idea as to the remaining battery life is a fantastic quality-of-life feature, particularly for devices with smaller batteries like disposables.

The Hyde IQ takes the point in this category. Although the airflow adjustment is rudimentary and the indicator lights can be somewhat less than accurate, it’s nice to be able to adjust the airflow according to user preference and to have some level of confirmation when it comes to the battery and reservoir.

Vape quality and flavors

Flavors are highly subjective, and every vaper has their own tastes and preferences. Both the Hyde IQ and the Elf Bar have lots of flavors to choose from, although the Elf Bar has a few more than the Hyde IQ. In general, the Hyde IQ will offer flavors that are more robust while the Elf Bar’s flavors are more subtle. Both devices’ flavor descriptions match the actual taste to a large degree—if you order spearmint, it will taste like spearmint.

As for overall vape quality, there are some slight differences between the Elf Bar and the Hyde IQ. The Hyde IQ is a bit warmer with greater throat hit. It’s punchy, and the flavors shine very apparently. This results in great amounts of flavorful vapor, which doesn’t necessarily require long drags. On the other hand, the Elf Bar’s flavors are more nuanced, and the vapor is cooler and smoother. Neither is objectively better than the other, but there are differences, nonetheless.

In addition, the Elf Bar never floods or gurgles whereas the Hyde IQ can, potentially, when left on its side or when its e-liquid is running on empty. This clears up after a drag or two and doesn’t seem to cause leaking or spitback, but it can still be annoying when it happens. With the charging port located on the bottom of the device, some gurgling is likely to be experienced after charging the Hyde IQ since it cannot stand upright while it is charging.

All other things being equal, this slight flooding isn’t a deal breaker. However, the Elf Bar does pull slightly ahead due to this. For fans of warmer and harsher vapes, it’s still worth going with the Hyde IQ despite this small issue.

Value

The Hyde IQ and the Elf Bar both retail for between $15 and $30 depending on the retailer. In terms of best bang for the buck, the Elf Bar wins outright. It contains 13 mL of e-liquid compared to the Hyde IQ’s 8 mL and houses a larger battery. On the other hand, the Elf Bar is missing all the features that make the Hyde IQ unique—adjustable airflow, battery and e-liquid LED indicators and passthrough functionality. So in terms of pure value, the Elf Bar offers the most nicotine for the money while forgoing all the bells and whistles.

Overall

Between the Elf Bar and the Hyde IQ, there really is no clear winner. For a slightly smoother and more consistent vape at the best value, the Elf Bar is the way to go. For a bit more fine-tuning and peace of mind along with a hotter, throatier vape, the Hyde IQ is the better option.

Either way, both devices satisfy the ever-popular need for a quality vape experience with minimal fuss. Smaller pod systems and disposables require bulk purchasing or frequent stops at the vape store whereas these larger 5,000-puff devices can last 3 days to a week without breaking a sweat. The Elf Bar and the Hyde IQ both offer similar experiences with subtle differences, but as is always the case with vaping, it will ultimately be up to the user which device is best for them.