A vape mod is a power source, essentially a case that contains one or more rechargeable batteries, that supplies electricity to a vaping atomizer. They are also referred to as “vapor mods”. The term “mod” has its origins in the early years of e-cigs, where hobbyist vapers “modified” existing electrical hardware (cases, batteries, wiring, etc.) for custom use as vaping hardware. Now all e-cig power sources are called mods. Box mods are one of two primary types of power sources, with tube mods being the other. (Tube mods vary from small disposable “cig-a-likes,” some with fused atomizers to large cylinders with screw-on connectors for external atomizers.) Almost universally, box mods have a firing switch or button. Press the switch, and the atomizer gets power from the mod and “fires,” vaporizing eliquid with the instantly heated coil. Release the button, and the power is cut off.
Box mods come in different designs, configurations, and aesthetics. They may be constructed with fixed internal LiPo batteries that recharge via USB cables or with removable Li-Ion batteries that can be recharged either via USB or outside the mod in a dedicated charger. The majority of USB-recharged box mods allow vaping while charging (called “passthrough”), but not all. Removable battery vape mods allow the user to “swap out” drained batteries for fresh, fully-charged batteries. Both types are popular and available.
A box mod with removable batteries may incorporate one to four rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, although one or two is most common.
Typically, box mods have a rectangular shape, but this varies from regular boxes with sharp, straight angles to more ergonomic and aesthetic curved designs.
Box Mods can use any of various regulating chips/boards that vary from providing simple safety protections to more sophisticated functions, such as variable wattage output and temperature control. The second type usually has a display screen that shows information about the settings and functions. Some box mods are designed and made with no chips at all, and occasionally even no soldered wiring, in which case they’re called “mechanical mods.”
Vape mods (or vapor mods) are made in many sizes and every conceivable design. Materials include plastic, metal, and wood. Colors range from basic black or silver through the entire spectrum, and from simple monochromatic adornment to beautiful works of art.
Most vaping hardware qualifies as “disposable,” and this includes box mods. Few are designed and manufactured to last forever in actual use. Lifespan varies wildly, from a couple months before they break or stop working to many years of faithful, dependable service.
Choosing a the best vape mod for you requires answering numerous questions about your preferences:
- How much power do I want?
- How large (or small) do I want my box mod to be?
- How important to me are the ergonomics and aesthetics of my box mod?
- How much sophisticated chip technology do I want?
- How long can I vape between battery recharges?
- How much am I willing to spend?
There’s likely to be a box mod available in the marketplace for every combination of responses, so finding the best vape mod to fit your preferences shouldn’t be too difficult
Vaping began in 2005 by using fixed voltage power sources exclusively. Around 2011, variable voltage was developed, followed quickly by variable power (wattage).
Temperature control followed on the heels of those earlier improvements. Temp Control (or TC) is the most recent technological development in vaping chips that emerged initially in 2014 and has quickly become an industry standard feature of most mods.
Atomizers operate by vaporizing e-liquid with a metal heating element, usually in the form of coiled alloy wire. E-liquid is supplied (or “wicked”) to the atomizer by silica, cotton, or other fibrous cellulose material that goes through or around the coil or coils. If the wick is not sufficiently saturated with e-liquid, the result is “dry hits.” A dry hit not only produces no vapor, but tastes terrible, with either a nasty burnt wick taste or an even more unpleasant hot metallic aftertaste.
Also, unregulated e-cig mods perform less efficiently as the battery/batteries drain. What starts out as a great-tasting full vape with fresh batteries diminishes over time, providing less flavor and vapor.
Temperature control addresses both those problems by regulating and controlling the amount of power supplied to the coil. When the coil is not “bathed” sufficiently in e-liquid, it quickly overheats, producing dry hits. Temp control technology doesn’t actually sense temperature — instead, it monitors the changing resistance of the coil, which corresponds to predictable changes in temperature. When the coil begins to overheat, the temp control chip instantly reduces the power, thus preventing the wick from burning and minimizing or eliminating dry hits. If the coil becomes totally dry, power will be completely cut off.
In addition, temp control provides a consistent vape throughout the power range of the battery drain.
Most temp control vape mods currently require atomizers to be outfitted with coils using one of three specific wire types — nickel, titanium, or stainless steel. As the technology is improved and refined, however, other wire types, such as Kanthal, Nichrome, or even Tungsten, may be usable with TC.
TC lets the vaper specify the maximum temperature allowed before temp protection (i.e., instant voltage limitation) activates. The range is typically from 100-300° Centigrade, or 300-600° Fahrenheit. As much power is applied as necessary to maintain the set temperature, but no more.
Temp control has not been universally adopted by vapers. Those who use TC tend to swear by it, but many other vapers use TC only sporadically or not at all. Since most mods now contain regulating chips, however, and since it’s no more expensive for manufacturers to include temp control technology in their chips, TC has largely taken over the vape mod marketplace.