Battle of the Boxes: Zamplebox, VapeBox and Other E-Liquid Subscriptions
[Note: We've now put together a new version of this post, with up-to-date information and prices, a new cost comparison and six different services fully reviewed.]
While browsing /r/electronic_cigarette on reddit last October I stumbled across a post titled “I am the creator of ZampleBox. AMA!” Having never heard of ZampleBox at the time, I was curious for more information and would come to find out it was an e-liquid subscription service based in Washington state. Even though I already had access to plenty of local juice vendors, I decided to sign to try it out and signed up on my birthday. A few days later I received my invite and opted for the “Gold” ZampleBox.
Thus was my introduction to e-liquid subscription services. Since then, I've discovered several other business ventures including Vape Box, Drip Club, Easy Vape Club and Zodist that each send out boxes of e-liquid to customers every month. So let's take a look at each and break down their pros and cons.
Having been around since October, with first boxes shipped in November, ZampleBox is one of the original e-liquid subscription services. The Redmond, Washington-based service offers two types of memberships: silver and gold. Signing up for a standard membership will get you at least 60ml of e-liquid in 5 bottles every month while gold members receive at least 120ml in 10 bottles.
How It Works
Invites are no longer needed to register an account and sign up for a subscription. ZampleBox contracts with several e-liquid vendors including NicQuid, Johnson Creek, The Standard Vape, Golden Drops and Alpha Vape, among others. Customers have the option of selecting either the standard membership for $24.99/mo. or gold for $44.99 plus shipping.
When I first signed up, there was no nicotine preference available but since then, the company has added an option to select either 18mg/ml, 6mg or 0mg. Customers are billed on the same day every month and can cancel at any time. Boxes are sent out at the beginning of the month and contain an assortment of e-liquid from various vendors as well as member-only coupons and discounts for members to purchase more of their favorite juice from each box directly from vendor.
Vapebox has been around about as long as ZampleBox and is based in Alhambra, CA. They offer three different subscription levels at prices ranging from $20 to $60 plus shipping per month. Depending on which subscription is chosen, members may also receive hardware in addition to e-liquid from several different vendors.
How It Works
Vapebox requires an invite which can be requested through their website and takes about 2-3 days to process. Once invited, members have the option of choosing from three different subscription packages ranging in price from $23 to $64 including shipping. Members then fill out a “palette test” in which they select between four nicotine strengths (0, 6, 12, or 18mg), flavor preferences, favorite mod, and atomizer style. Accounts are billed on the 15th of each month, aside from the first month in which they are billed the day they order, and boxes are sent out the last week of every month.
The basic package includes three bottles of juice plus coupons. Then there's the premium box which includes four bottles, one accessory and coupons. For die-hard vapers, there's also an enthusiast package that comes with five bottles and two accessories plus coupons. Accessories can include mods, atomizers and other hardware from brands like UD, Kamry and Kangertech while e-liquid includes juices from Villain Vapors, FlavorZ by Joe and Juice Society.
The Drip Club
The Drip Club is another e-juice subscription service that started shipping in late 2013 and is based in Los Angeles. Unlike the first two I've mentioned, they only really have one subscription but with three different payment plans.
How It Works
Like ZampleBox, no invite is required to sign up. Once an account is registered, potential subscribers can then choose their flavor preferences, nicotine level, VG/PG ratio, favorite vape setup and how many mL of juice they use per day. These can be changed at any time as they are accessed through account settings.
As for subscriptions, members can choose to be billed once monthly, every three months or every six months. The more months payed for upfront, the cheaper the cost per month. E-liquid subscriptions range in price form $29.99 paid monthly, $86.97 paid every three months or $167.94 paid every six months. All three plans include shipping in the price. No matter what subscription is chosen, the member will receive at least 45mL of e-liquid every month in samples from 4 Seasonz Elixir, Alpha Vape and Dr. Mike's Rad Vapors, among several others.
Another thing that separates The Drip Club from other e-juice subscription services is they have a point system. Members receive 300 points per month they're subscribed which is convertible to $1 of store credit to be used in shopping the website for their favorite juices from each sample box.
Easy Vape Club
Also based in Los Angeles, Easy Vape Club is an e-liquid subscription service that lets members choose what juice they want in each box. Currently, members can their favorite flavors and nicotine strengths from three “gourmet” brands including Crown Liquids, Infusion E-liquid or Alpha Vape, although a $3 per bottle surcharge is added on the latter option.
How It Works
Easy Vape Club only deals with 15mL bottles in each of three different subscription levels. The “newbie” box includes 2 bottles while the “hobbiest” subscription gives members 4 and “vape master” package offers a choice of 6 bottles. Fees are pretty meager and start at $15, $25 and $35/mo, respectively for each subscription level. This breaks down to 50 cents or less per milliliter, or at least half as much as most brick & mortars charge for the same flavors.
Members are billed on the same day they sign up every month thereafter, until they cancel. Boxes are shipped on either the 10th, 20th, or 30th of the month, depending on the day a member signed up on. Finally, flavors can currently be adjusted by sending a message through the website's contact page, although an option to do it from member profile pages is in the works.
Craft Vapery is yet another premium e-liquid subscription service based in the Los Angeles area. The service offers subscription plans at five different pricing levels from some of the more high-end juice vendors.
How It Works
Potential members can select how many 15mL bottles they want each month in increments from two to six. The more bottles a member orders, the more they save. From there, customers select flavor preferences from a pretty wide variety of options as well as preferred nicotine strength from either 0, 6, 12 or 18mg/ml. Finally, Craft Vapery presents the option to add on a starter kit, pack of atomizer heads or cartomizers at a discounted price. Their curators will then hand pick flavors each month for each member, based on their flavor preferences.
Because Craft Vapery only deals with premium, high-end e-liquid vendors, their subscriptions are slightly on the pricier side, but still cheaper than purchasing from a vape shop. Packages range from $24 for two 15mL bottles on up to $58 for six of them, and that doesn't include shipping. E-liquid in each box may come from vendors like Ben Johnson's, Clever Vape, BluePrint Vapor, The Standard Vape and several other premium brands. Members are billed on the day they order and then on the 15th of every month thereafter. Boxes are shipped shortly after, ensuring customers receive their package by the end of the month.
Last, but certainly not least, there is Zodist, a subscription service I only discovered a week ago via this reddit post of some uniquely packaged vapemail. Zodist, while being the newest to join the e-liquid subscription service game, is known for their exquisite packaging and customer service. The Houston-based company only offers one subscription at this time and it ships with 60mL of some quality e-liquid.
How It Works
There is no invitation required to join Zodist, as with some other juice subscription services. Potential members simply select their flavor preferences on one page and fill in any flavors they absolutely dislike on the next before choosing one of four nicotine levels and checking out. Zodist boxes currently run $40/month and include shipping.
Juice vendors partnering with Zodist aren't listed on their website, but from looking at member photos I can tell you they've been sending out bottles of Space Jam, Mad Alchemist, Vaping Monkey, Vapewell and will be adding Coval Vapes to their lineup. I'm not exactly sure when recurring billing takes place, but Zodist boxes ship on the 24th of each month.
I can only really comment on ZampleBox, since it's the only e-juice subscription I've tried. For one, ZampleBox can definitely be a money-saver for vapers. For just around $44/mo., I received about 120mL of e-liquid on or around the beginning of the second week each month I was subscribed. Initially, they didn't offer a nicotine preference so I wound up with a few bottles of 18mg liquid, which I gave to friends. The service has since added 0, 6 and 18mg options.
The main problem I had with ZampleBox was the flavors of e-liquid they sent. Since there was no flavor preference option, I only wound up enjoying two or three flavors I was sent each month, and now have a backpack full of juice I'll never use. It's important to note, however, that, as a reviewer and resident of what I' like to call the e-liquid capital of the world, my standards are probably ridiculously high. Most other Zamplers seem to greatly enjoy all the flavors they receive in their boxes.
On that note, I'd be interested in trying out one of the other e-liquid subscription services. If you've tried any of them, or even others I may have not heard of yet, let us know how they are in the comments section below!