WHAT IS A VAPE MOD? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MODSby Dan Overgage
Are you new to vaping? Does the amount of vaping-specific language have your tongue twisted and mind melted? Don’t worry, you are not alone!
There are many different types of vape devices out there, with different advantages, disadvantages, different levels of involvement required, all delivering different vaping experiences. The names help us to distinguish the style of device, so you know what vape experience you will be choosing when you select your vape!
Vape mods, also called ‘box mods,’ are at the more intimidating and complicated end of the spectrum. Are they a good entrance to vaping? Who uses them? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Read on to find out everything you need to know about mods!
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A VAPE?
Vape kits are all classified as ‘electronic cigarettes’ and all work on the same fundamental principle. A liquid mixture, often containing nicotine, is held by wicking material and heated by a coil that is powered by a battery. This is the atomiser.
The liquid, called ‘e-liquid’ or ‘vape juice’ or ‘e-juice’, heats up and is aerosolized - this is when the particles are suspended in air or gas. This aerosol is inhaled by the user, where nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the lungs.
The variations in vape devices occur in the batteries, the housings, the nature of the vape tanks, and the coils. All of these contribute to the overall experience in some fashion.
What is a vape mod?
Identifying a vape mod comes down to the complexity, and how far towards ultimate customisation the device leans.
A vape mod allows for customisation in terms of the liquid tank, the coil, and the brand of battery, if it uses what some people would call ‘external batteries’, which really means removable batteries. To my knowledge, no vape devices use external batteries, but plenty of vape mods use removable batteries, and built in batteries, too!
These advanced vapes feature microchips that allow variable wattage for temperature control over the coil. Many vape pens do offer a variable wattage, but the degree of control is limited to ‘low-mid-high’ settings, compared with the precision temperature setting offered by a vape mod.
What does a vape mod do?
Vapers that prefer a smooth inhale are likely to lean towards vape juices with higher levels of vegetable glycerine (VG) - anything from a 50/50 VG to PG - that’s propylene glycol - balance, all the way up to 100% VG!
VG thickens the e-liquid mixture, so a higher temperature is required to turn the liquid into an aerosol. If your device is struggling to vaporise a 50/50 VG to PG liquid, then you will have no end of trouble vaping a liquid that favours VG.
Vape mods achieve higher temperatures because of the increased power supplied by the batteries, and offer temperature control displays. Variations in vape coils add another layer of complexity - another reason why box mods are suitable for the more experienced vapers!
The SMOKO E-cigarette use liquids with a higher PG content, and can use higher nicotine levels as a combination of the low power and PG reduces the amount of vapour produced, allowing for more nicotine in a single inhale. This is where the smoking sensation comes from as these factors provide the ‘throat hit’ that many smokers seek when switching to vaping.
Who are vape mods suitable for?
Vape mods are meant to be used by the more advanced vapers - those who understand the composition of e-liquid and how this impacts the requirements for a vape device.
Things like the coil will have an effect on this too, so understanding the coil resistance is more required learning for these devices to make sure you don’t burn through coils or e-liquid at breakneck speed!
What are the different types of vape mods?
Box mods are units that are box shaped - funnily enough - and the ‘mod’ part of the name is short for ‘modification,’ indicating that some parts are changeable. The connection at the top is where you attach the vape tank, and you can use your choice of coil - but remember: the coil resistance will impact the vape experience.
Box mods allow the user to control wattage and voltage to tailor the vape experience. Increasing the wattage increases the coil temperature, which will result in more vapour produced. For some vapers, producing huge clouds is part of the experience, and devices that use sub-ohm tanks and coils produce more vapour because of the low resistance - less than 1 ohm - meaning the wattage will increase. This is why some vape mods are called ‘sub-ohm’ kits.
The other popular style of box mod are the unregulated ones - these don’t contain a microchip and so do not offer any display or wattage control - so named ‘mechanical mods’. As there are no displays, the batteries in these units are only supplying power to the atomiser, which could mean a longer battery life compared to the regulated box mods.
Remember that no chip also means no safety features, so you had better make sure you know what you are doing - rare as they are, there have been instances of mechanical mods exploding while in use so novice vapers should stay well away!
Comparatively, the SMOKO E-cigarette has a chip and is low powered, making it ideal for beginners, and experienced vapers that desire that smoking sensation.
VAPE MODS VS POD KITS
Pod kits are designed to be more convenient to carry - these have a built in tank, so you can’t swap it out like you can on a box mod. Pod kits do still offer control over the wattage, many offering a display so you can see your settings.
The top of the pod mod is the ‘pod’ part - this is removable and is where the coil and wicking material are housed, as well as where the e-liquid is filled. This is what makes pod mods ‘open systems’.
Pod mods can be tailored to either inhale techniques - ‘mouth to lung’ or ‘direct to lung’ - by choosing an appropriate coil and e-liquid. This decision will likely dictate the nicotine strength of the e-liquid you vape, as higher nicotine levels in a ‘direct to lung’ device can lead to an unbearable throat hit!
Thing is, if convenience is a priority for you, and you prefer the mouth to lung inhale technique and a hit on the throat, then a cigalike device or vape pod system will deliver this experience and save you a lot of hassle and time in the long run!
Batteries of a vape mod
Some pod mods have built in batteries so need to be charged with a USB cable provided by the manufacturer, some have replaceable batteries that need to be charged outside of the device - that makes a battery charging station another hidden cost for these devices…
How long your battery will last on a single charge is impacted by the power delivered to the coil, how hard the e-liquid is to vaporise, and the venting on the unit.
- If you are vaping a high VG liquid, you will be sending more power to the coil to heat up the e-liquid and so will drain the battery faster.
- Open vents allow for good airflow which can help reduce the temperature required to vaporise the e-liquid. Vaping with closed vents will therefore use more power.
- Using a coil with higher resistance results in less vapour production because less e-liquid is vaporised. This will naturally draw less power from the battery, giving it a longer life on a single charge.
Type of e-liquids used
This is where you will need to tailor your pod mod to the liquid you want to use. With the wrong setup, the pod mod will either not be able to vaporise the e-liquid, or deliver a throat hit that is way too strong.
Therefore, you need to get the appropriate e-liquid for your pod mod setup:
- If you like a smooth, ‘direct to lung’ inhale and want big clouds, then a low resistance coil will go well with a low nicotine e-liquid that is made up of 50% or more VG.
- If you want a throat hit, then using a higher resistance coil with liquids containing more PG will be suited to a ‘mouth to lung’ inhale.
At SMOKO, our low power devices use UK made e-liquid in an 80/20 PG to VG balance to consistently deliver the throat hit and flavour that our customers enjoy.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PURCHASING A VAPE MOD
Safety features are important on these vape mods - there have been instances of vape mods short circuiting and exploding in people’s pockets, which is a scary thought. The key here is to make sure you don’t carry any metal objects in your pockets when your vape is in there, as these can cause a short circuit.
The inhale activated devices, in my opinion, are safer than devices with a ‘fire’ button. They are also more efficient, too. They are activated when air flows past the sensor, so the chances of them activating in your pocket are slim to none, and if you manage to do so, it won’t activate for long.
Compare this to a button operated vape mod. The circuitry provides a degree of protection to prevent overheating, and to cut power if there is a problem with the atomiser or battery. These safety features are in place to protect the consumer, but with button operated devices there is always a chance you will manage to activate it in your pocket - this is known as auto firing.
If you are just making the switch from smoking, then starting off with a vape mod is very much ‘jumping in at the deep end.’ It’s an expensive way to start, requires more time investment, and may well be more harmful than low powered devices like the cigalike or closed pod systems.
If your goal is to give up smoking in a way that causes the least stress, then vape mods are not the answer for you.
WHAT IS A VAPE MOD? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MODS: CONCLUSION
At SMOKO, our experience tells us that smokers looking to make the switch are searching for a simple device that feels like a cigarette, delivers a smoking sensation, in a tobacco flavour. This is about as opposite as you can get from the vape mod style devices.
Our recommendation for smokers is to start off on a low powered vape - it is going to be closer to the smoking experience, it is easy to manage for any newcomer, and is inexpensive both in terms of the initial cost, topping up refills, and replacing batteries.
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