In this guide, we’ll explain what a vape mod is, how vape mods work, why they’re good, and help you figure out which vape mod to buy…
Vape mods. If you’re new to vaping they can seem kind of scary and complicated. But as you’ll find out below, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Traditionally, these types of vaping devices were the most commonly used. Back when I started, everybody used vape mods and tanks. Nowadays, people – especially new users – tend to gravitate towards pod vapes and disposable vapes.
Simplicity. With pod vapes and disposable vapes, there’s no real learning curve, especially with disposables. They’re plug-n-play devices, basically, and this makes them very attractive to new users, especially those that have never vaped before.
But, if you simply ignore vapes mods because you think they’re A) too complicated or B) dangerous, you’re missing out on a whole load of benefits – benefits you simply do not get with any other kind of vape.
Read on as we delve into the varied and often extremely interesting world of vape mods…
What Is A Vape Mod?
A vape mod, in its simplest form, is a collection of wires, a chipset, and a battery (usually of the 18650 variety) all housed together inside a rectangular, boxy unit. They can come with screens, buttons, and controls, and some even have touchscreens just like modern phones.
In fact, the parallels between phones and vape mods are far closer than most people think.
Both types of devices run on silicon chipsets that control their power and settings, and both usually come with some form of UX and display, through which you access different settings.
Generally speaking, a vape mod is designed to draw power from its battery and deliver it to the tank’s atomizer which, in turn, heats up and vaporises your vape juice, creating vapor.
That’s how they work in a nutshell; the actual process is a bit more nuanced (as you can see in the diagram in the next section) and far more complex. But for the layman, that’s basically all you need to know to get started with vape mods.
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How Vape Mods Work
A vape mod, regardless of its brand and/or type, has one job: deliver power to the atomizer. That’s all it does really. And while it can do this in a myriad ways, the basic concept remains the same.
You push the fire button on your vape mod > the battery sends power through the mod into your vape tank’s atomiser > the atomizer heats up the vape juice and turns it into vapor that you can vape.
A vape mod’s power delivery is usually measured in wattage, anywhere from 10W all the way up to 200W. This is why you often see a vape mod, say, the DRAG 3, for instance, marketed as the “VooPoo DRAG 3 200W” – it’s a way of telling potential users its maximum power.
You won’t ever need to use 200W of power, however, in most cases. I’ve vaped for over a decade and have NEVER gone above 80W, but most vape mods can and will output power up to 200W with ease.
Most sub-ohm tanks, even the high-end performance ones, only usually require 80W to 100W of power. Any more than that and you’re vapor will be boiling out and you’ll be putting far too much strain on your batteries.
Vape mods also pack in loads of additional vaping modes like:
- Temperature Control Vaping;
- Bypass Mode;
- And Variable Voltage Mode
The battery or batteries inside your vape mod provides the power and the chipset (like the one in your phone) controls its settings (wattage, vaping modes) and ensures the current is delivered safely.
With the vast majority of vape mods, you will need to get a vape tank as well. This is usually attached to the top of the mod via a 510 connector. And this is a big plus for using a vape mod too – you can use all kinds of vape tanks on them, from rebuildable tanks to sub ohm tanks to MTL tanks.
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The Different Types of Vape Mod
Because a vape mod is just a battery and some circuits strapped inside a box, you can essentially get all kinds of vape mods. A pen vape is effectively a vape mod. Ditto a pod vape. They all work the same way.
Generally, though, when you’re talking about “vape mods” people tend to mean the bigger, boxier kind of vapes. And in this category, you have several different options to choose from. And they are as follows:
- Regulated Vape Mods – the vast majority of the most popular vape mods on the market are regulated vape mods. Regulated means that the current is controlled by the mod’s built in chipset. This ensures there’s never any issues with power delivery and/or explosions. If you’re a beginner, you should ONLY EVER use regulated vape mods.
- Mechanical Mods – mechanical vape mods do not have any regulated current safeguards built into them; it’s just you and the battery. To use this types of mods, you need to know about Ohm’s Law and know exactly what kind of resistance your coil is using. If you don’t know about that, do not use mechanical mods. They can and do explode when used incorrectly.
- Squonk Mods – You can buy regulated and unregulated squonk mods. The term “squonk” means to push vape juice up from inside the vape mod to a rebuildable vape tank. The juice is stored in a squeezable bottle in the vape mod and can be refilled. You use squonk mods with RDA tanks which, again, aren’t too popular with new vapers.
- AIO Mods – AIO stands for All In One. An AIO vape mod does away with the need for a vape tank by incorporating the tank into the vape mod itself. In this sense, an AIO is more of a pod vape than a traditional vape mod but it does have all the usual vape mod-style settings, just without the need to buy a tank to go with it.
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Vape Mod PROS & CONS
If you’ve never used a vape mod before, what exactly are the PROS of using over, say, a simpler type of vape like a pod vape or a disposable?
For me, the main benefits of vape mods, or why I continue to use them, is that they have significantly better battery life than smaller pod vapes; they can run multiple styles of vape tanks – anything from rebuildable tanks like RDAs and RTAs to sub-ohm mesh coil tanks and MTL tanks.
Compared to disposable vapes, a vape mod is also much better for the environment too. There’s less waste associated with it and, once you’ve bought one, you can theoretically run it for years at a time. I have a few vape mods that are getting on for five years old now, and they still work fine.
Here’s a complete breakdown of all the PROS and BENEFITS associated with vape mods (meaning, the main reasons why people tend to use them):
- Power – Modern vape mods come in all shapes and sizes, but most will output up to at least 100W. Nearly all of the vape mods you’ll come across online inside most vape stores will have the potential to hit 220W. They will also feature things like programmable power curves, Bypass Mode, and temperature control. Why do you need that much power? If you’re running a sub-ohm tank or an RDA with low resistance, you’ll need a lot of power to run the tank.
- Control – With a vape mod, you have way more control over your vaping experience. You can turn up the power or turn it down. This will affect how your tank vapes. And because you have complete control over the power, the volts, and the wattage, you can run a myriad of different tanks on one vape mod. All you have to do is remove one tank, add another, and then adjust the settings accordingly. Use a DNA-powered mod and you can assign profiles to each of your tank, so as soon as it is installed, the mod will recognise it and adjust all the settings for you automatically.
- Battery Life – The vast majority of vape mods run on 18650 batteries, usually two of them. These batteries are extremely powerful and, when combined with a good vape mod, will provide you with up to two days’ of battery life. And this is one of the key reasons why must vapers use vape mods. Think about it: a vape mod will deliver two days of battery life, whereas a device like the JUUL will last maybe 2-3 hours.
- Different Styles of Vaping – Vape mods support different vape modes, so you can move between things like POWER (vaping in wattage, the most common) to temperature control, to things like Bypass Mode. Having this amount of choice allows users to get more mileage and satisfaction, which brings me to my next point…
- Ability To Run Multiple Tanks – Once you have a vape mod, you can run RDAs, RTAs, MTL tanks, and sub-ohm tanks on it. The choice is yours. Most seasoned vapers have big selections of tanks, tanks for different days of the week, or different settings. I use RDAs when I want flavor and MTL tanks for when I’m out and about, for instance, and I can do this because I use vape mods.
- Durability – Vape mods are usually pretty big. Not massive, but definitely bigger than your average ecig or pod mod vape. Modern design language has made vape mods a lot more pocketable, though non-vapers often still find them hilariously oversized for what they are. Me personally? I honestly do not mind the size of any of my vape mods. It’s a tradeoff, in my mind. If you want great battery life and lots of features, you need space inside the device to accommodate all these things.
- Vapor Quantity – Because a vape mod can output at much higher levels than a traditional ecig or pod vape, you get much more vapor (especially if you use a sub-ohm tank or an RDA or RTA). Basically, if you want big clouds, you need to be using a vape mod. Big clouds require lots of power (and a decent tank), so if that’s what you want you to need to pick yourself up a vape mod.
- Tend To Be More Expensive
- Can Be Overwhelming For New Users
- Requires External Batteries
- You’ll Need To Invest In A Charger
- Mech Mods Can Be Dangerous
Vape Mod vs Box Mod – What’s The Difference?
I touched on this earlier, but it is worth going over again. A vape mod and a box mod are essentially the same thing. People referred to vape mods as box mods back in the day because back then people used to build their own inside, well, boxes – hence the term “box mod”.
Nowadays, at least according to Google Trends, the term “vape mod” is far more popular than “box mod” but both are still used in the vaping world. The main takeaway here, however, is that vape mod and box mod, most of the time, refer to the same thing – a vape mod.
And because vape mods, thanks to over a decade of innovation, now often do not look like boxes, have things like OLED screens and, in some cases, actual touchscreens, the term “vape mod” does tend to feel more appropriate. So, yeah… vape mod = box mod, and box mod = vape mod.
Best Vape Mod Brands
There are A LOT of vape companies in operation today, most of them Chinese. You have household names like SMOK, Geekvape, Innokin, Vaporesso, and Aspire, for instance, as well as smaller, more boutique brands like Lost Vape, Bantam Vape, Ambition Mods, and dotmod to name just a few off the top of my head.
Generally speaking, you can pick up a very decent vape mod for anywhere from 50 bucks to 80 bucks. You can also pay way more – up to $200 to $300. As with most things, the vast majority of users gravitate towards products in the $50 to $80 bracket.
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Should I Buy A Vape Mod?
Should you buy a vape mod? Here’s the thing: if you like value for money, having more control, and having more features and better performance at your fingertips then, yes, a vape mod is definitely for you.
You will need to buy a vape tank to run on it – or, like most vapers, a collection of vape tanks – and some 18650 batteries and a charger, but once you have all these elements you’re basically good to go for the foreseeable.
The only thing you need to worry about is coils (for your tank) and vape juice to run in it.
Speaking personally, I use all kinds of vapes, including disposables and pod systems, but my go-to vape, meaning the one I use ALL THE TIME, is a vape mod and tank combo.
Why? Battery life, mainly. But I also like having more control over how my tank performs. I like being able to use temperature control, if I fancy it. Similarly, sometimes I want to use an RDA. And with a vape mod, I can do this.
For me, a vape mod is the most utilitarian vape option. It is a little more involved than a pod vape or a disposable but it allows for so much more variation in what you do, how you vape, and the type of tanks and juice you can use.
That’s why, for me personally, a vape mod and tank will always be my go-to vape setup. I’d take a solid vape mod over a pod vape any day of the week and twice on a Sunday.
Here’s my current picks for the best vape mods and vape mod starter kits.
Vape Mod FAQs
How Much is A Vape Mod?
Vape mods vary in price; you can pay anywhere from $50 right up to $300 or more. The vast majority of vape mods, however, are marketed at the mass market and, therefore, retail for between $50 and $100. And the best ones for 2022 can be found inside our best vape mod guide.
Where To Buy Vape Mods Online
What is The Best Vape Mod
The best vape mod you can buy right now – based on our testing, overall performance, and value for money – is the Geek Vape Aegis Legend 2. For the price, you really will not find a better option on 2022’s market. It has all the features you’ll ever need and is simple enough for beginners to use.
Are Vape Mods Safe?
Vape mods, especially regulated vape mods, are incredibly safe. They have built in protections that ensure if anything is setup incorrectly, the batteries, the atomizer, the tank, the mod will not fire. Mechanical mods, those that are not regulated, are where things can get dangerous.