Mods can offer greater flexibility, convenience and control
Many who start out vaping begin with a starter or beginner e-Cig, and whilst there can be fundamental differences with Mods, all are categorised as e-Cigs. Mods are also called e-Cigs, Vapourisers, Mechanical Mods and Electronic Cigarettes; a term that is somewhat frowned upon by vapers, and rarely used today.
How Mods differ from Starter e-Cigs?
At times there’s a fine line, but in contrast to Mods, most of today’s starter e-Cigs are either AIO’s (All In Ones) or a scaled down version of a Mod. AIO’s are an enclosed system that house a tank and frequently have built-in batteries, although that is not always the case. See our guide on Starter e Cigs.
Mods differ, in that they are not traditionally an enclosed system, meaning that the atomiser or tank portion is a separate purchase, and hence, a Mod is really the battery housing or power supply unit only. However, many vendors and or manufacturers may sell a Mod in kit form, complete with a compatible tank.
Mods Types – Regulated and Unregulated
Firstly, there are two distinct types or categories of Mods, regulated and unregulated, known as Mechanical or Mech Mods. Regulated Mods are the most common, and offer a variety of features being that they incorporate on-board electronics.
Mechanical Mods have no internal wires or circuitry, and are just a hollow tube or box, with only positive and negative contacts for a battery. Let’s look firstly at regulated Mods.
These Mods are essentially the battery section, and or the power supply unit that drives the atomiser or coil residing in the tank. They invariably handle higher wattage and lower ohm coils than starter e-Cigs, and thus are compatible with more advanced atomiser solutions such as rebuildable atomiser tanks, or RTA’s.
However, all Mods are quite content powering more entry level clearomisers/tanks such as the beloved Nautilus, or older styled eGo clearomisers. Also, even though many of today’s Mods are capable of 100 watts or more, one can vape at low power levels, providing a similar amount of vapour as with smoking.
Mods are easy to control, a simple click or two, or a touch of a button can provide the perfect power settings.
Common Features of Regulated Mods
Mods today provide a lot of features, here are the most common and practical ones –
- Variable Wattage and Voltage
- Battery charge level
- Power on – off
- Detects ohms-resistance of the atomiser coil
- Safety features – Overload & Discharge protection – Lock screen
- Temperature control
- Standard 510 connection for atomisers
- Ability to use virtually any tank
- USB port for charging if built-in battery
One of the biggest advantages of Mods over many starter e-Cigs is the battery. If they’re a fixed internal battery, many are of higher mAh, or milliamps per hour. In layman’s terms, a 2500 mAh battery should last a pack a day smoker a full day.
However, most seasoned vapers prefer Mods that support replaceable batteries; 18650 type being the most common.
The advantage of replaceable batteries
Many Mods, as with many starter e-Cigs, have built-in batteries, and therefore their life expectancy, at least in part, is dependant on the battery. These types of e cigs only last around 300 re-charges, or about a year. The advantage of Mods that support replaceable batteries, is that they will last far longer. Once the battery no longer charges, you simply replace the battery, not the whole Mod.
I own a couple of these Mod types that are nearly 4 years old, and they’re still going strong.
Safety and Satisfaction
The ability to select high-quality replaceable batteries is a huge selling point for this type of Mod, both in terms of safety and longevity. Premium batteries such as Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic are among the best.
Regulated Mods, in contrast to mechanical’s, are by far the safest option, and are suitable for both beginners and veteran vapers alike. New vapers often select starter e-Cigs, fearful of a Mods complexities, but in reality they’re fairly simple to grasp. Having more features means more options, but the benefits far out-way any concerns.
Virtually all who start vaping will eventually move to regulated Mods.
Mods offer superior flexibility, customisation and control. You aren’t able to experiment with all the various tank options if using starter e-Cigs, but with Mods you can. Although they’re suitable for all vapers, medium to heavy smokers, and or those with a strong dependency on tobacco will benefit most, and should look no further than these e-Cig types.
Choosing a regulated Mod
I often say “It’s all about the juice”. In the case of regulated Mods, it’s really all about the tank, or atomiser coil. One could stack a $150 Mod against the performance of a $40 Mod, and given one is using the same tank, see little to no difference at all. This is because, as I’ve said, a Mod is essentially a battery or power supply unit. The tank and coil type will govern the amount of flavour and vapour production.
(The tanks discussed on our site are compatible with virtually all regulated Mods)
That’s not to say that one should choose the least expensive Mod you can find. However, virtually all Mods from reputable manufacturers, as endorsed on our site, that meet the spec requirements, will suffice for most. The overwhelming majority will be fine with a Mod that offers the following –
- Variable wattage and voltage
- A minimum of 50 watts
- Accepts resistance down to 0.5 0hms
- Fairly solid construction
- A sizeable clear screen
- Temperature control if desired
- 510 standard connection
- If it’s a built-in battery, a minimum of 2500 mAh
- If it takes replaceable batteries, 18650 are most common
Video Introduction to Regulated and mechanical Mods. This video is an old one but it covers the topic well. The devices are old too but the science doesn’t change. From AndrewWVids YouTube channel
Unlike regulated Mods, Mech Mods are very simplistic in design. They have no wires or internal circuitry and comprise only of top and bottom caps that correspond with the positive and negative sides of the battery. The only other addition is a firing button to engage the battery and thus activate the atomiser.
They are traditionally tube shaped, although today many are box shaped. They’re mainly constructed from metals and can be the most beautiful, and expensive of all Mods. Below are two images, an Odyssey Mech Mod with an attached tank, and a basic KTS Mod disassembled. Further below is a very expensive, yet gorgeous high-end Caravela brand Mechanical.
Being that there are no electronics, and hence no protection for battery failure, or moreover, battery discharge, the risks of use are substantial if one hasn’t the required knowledge.
A solid understanding of ohms law is essential, as is battery know how. Engaging a battery that doesn’t have sufficient amperage to match a particular coil, can be a disaster. One must also have experience with various atomisers – coils.
Many veteran vapers use mechanical’s however, this is not an area that I have much expertise in, although I’ve used them a few times a number of years ago.
Personally, I’d never recommend a new vaper buy one, that would be foolish. Given that regulated devices are the norm, and that safety is such an important issue, stick to regulated, and research as much as possible before even entering the mechanical world. Even then, make sure you visit a vape shop or learn from a fellow vaper first hand. Never go it alone.
As I mentioned previously, the perfect Mod isn’t just about the Mod. The atomiser and or tank is just as important, and in reality, this is where most of one’s focus should be directed.
From The Table,
It’s all about the juice… and the atomiser, and the Mod.