Despite recent setbacks in the world of vaping, we’re looking at you TPD, vaping is becoming more popular than ever. As of a 2016 study by the Office of National Statistics, approximately 2.9 million - about 5% of the population - people in Great Britain currently use e-cigarettes, showing a rapid 0.6 million growth of the space of a year. Not to mention the 9 million regular users across the pond.
Following the trend of steady growth over the past few years, it means that there’s going to be a lot of new vapers. The world of vaping isn’t necessarily the easiest to break into and whether you’re looking to just give up smoking, or graduate onto more complex vapes, the lingo, gear can get a little complicated.
Vape mods are one of the most exciting, yet the most intense, areas of vaping, and where most experienced vapers direct their energy. Not renowned for being the most beginner friendly, trying to break into the world of modding can be dumbfounding if you haven’t got access to the insider info. In our guide, we’re going to give you an introductory insight to vape modding, so you can go forth and mod with confidence.
What is Modding?
The vaping industry has always been pushed forward by the grass roots effort of the passionate community surrounding it. Back in the early days of vaping, there was nowhere near as much choice as there is now. The early vapes were modelled extremely closely on real cigarettes and were usually just small cylinders. As more people began to vape, more vapers coalesced to online forums, sharing experiences and tips to push their vaping forward.
Driven by a necessity for better hardware that the industry wasn’t providing, the communities would test out different wicking materials or toy around with the atomiser, until a father and son duo, radically at the time, completely replaced the body of the e-cig. This was the original mod, so called because the user modified the object, or cigarette, to create a better e-cigarette. Originally done for increased performance and battery life, these mods quickly developed the aesthetics, mechanics and even the use of vapes, changing the vaping game forever.
Of course, the industry soon picked up on these new tricks and now most mods are mass produced and industry regulated. However, in keeping with their roots, they’re still customisable.
What is a Modded Vape?
So, as you can tell from above, a vape mod is essentially a vape, that has been modified. Breaking it down though, a mod is primarily comprised of a battery, a power button, a tank, atomiser, and then a few replaceable components you can add at will.
However, since the days of the first box mod, the industry has grown rapidly, and a few different subsections of mods have been established.
The traditional mods were the OG step towards customisable vapes. Born from a couple of vapers replacing the usual casing of their vape with the body of a torch, in order to fit in a bigger battery for a longer lasting and more powerful vape. The traditional style mods are essentially made up of the same components, just larger than your standard cig-a-like. The mod part comes in with their swappable components for further customisation, such as the heating coil, tank, and top of the unit.
Whilst they are more powerful than your standard e-cig, they’re not as powerful as the box and mechanical mods, and won’t give you the battery life, or the vapour.
The box mod is larger so it can fit a stronger battery and usually, a significant amount of wiring and circuitry for built in displays that detail information like the temperature and wattage. This is important as it’s with the box mods that vapers really get the chance to tweak their vaping experience through their choice of tanks, coils and other hardware. Which, by affecting the temperature and wattage and so on, can give comparatively different experiences.
Dependent on what tank and coil you use, the Box Mod has several different settings and many are intelligent enough to regulate the vapor production and wattage without any input from the user.
To fully understand how to work box mods, they do require you to do a significant amount of homework, as dealing with replacing parts and electrical components can be dangerous for the inexperienced.
Another important subset to note after the introduction of box mods are regulated, and unregulated mods.
If the larger box mods are just a bit too big for you, why not think about a mini vape mod? Read our guide to the top 3 mini vapes.
Mechanical mods are the faction of the fanciest mods on the market, in terms of complexity and design. Mechanical mods don’t have any additional circuitry, and as such, are unregulated, meaning you have to be extra careful when playing around with them. Essentially, with mechanical mods, when the user turns it on, the power from the battery travels to the coil without any alteration.
Whilst their simplicity makes them reliable, it also makes them difficult for beginners to grasp, as there’s too much-unmodified power and complexity in the build. For the experienced, mechanical mods offer the space to get creative and develop a truly tailored vaping experience.
Squonk mods place the e-juice at the bottom of the device and feed it through directly to the atomiser. All that this means is that you can enjoy the experience of dripping your e-liquid onto the wick, without all of the fuss of having to do it manually.
All that dripping means is that instead of filling up your clearomizer up with e-liquid, you drip a few drops directly onto the coil. People ‘drip’ because it tends to produce cleaner and bolder flavours, denser vapour clouds and intensifies the throat hit. If you’ve got the time to spend deconstructing and reconstructing your mod, dripping can be worth the payoff.
DNA mods refer to any mods fitted with a specialist vaping chip-set manufactured by US based manufacturer Evolv Vapor. Their chips control the temperature of your vape by giving you unparalleled wattage control, temperature protection, preheat, OLED screen and waterproof on board buttons - allowing you to totally tailor your user experience.
These mods are a technical step ahead from your regular box mods, with additional Escribe software and a USB port that will allow you to monitor and modify how you use your vape through your mobile. Running on a 3 cell lithium polymer battery, DNA Mods have an extremely long lifespan.
Not as much battery life as the 26650 mod however, which is ideal for vapers who want to take their vapes out and about. The 26650 mods battery life outlasts any other mod on the market and tends to be bigger, meaning it can pack a lot more e-juice too.
One of the key features of vape mods is that they can be modified, and to do that, they need to have replaceable components. The following are the most common replaceable options you’ll see when you first pick up your first vape mod, exciting.
- Batteries: Not the usual AAA’s you can find at your local garage, these are rechargeable, speciality models you’ll need to buy at vape specific stores.
- Sub Ohm Tank: Convenient and easy to use, these all-in-one tanks, including a replaceable coil, screw directly into an atomizer base unit, which can then be filled with e-juice. “Sub-Ohm” refers to the amount of resistance in the coil, we’ll get back to that later, and produce high quantities of vapour and flavour.
- Wick: Most commonly made of cotton, the wick absorbs the e-juice and, when heated, releases it as vapour.
- Atomiser: If you don’t want to mess about with fitting separate wicks, tanks, coils and drip tips, the atomiser provides an all-in-one option. Just screw in and vape away.
- Drip Tip/Mouthpiece: What you use to smoke out of the vape.
- Coil: The coil is the element that heats up the wick. Coming in a variety of different resistances and materials, each will affect your vaping experience in different ways.
Ohms, Volts and Watts, what?
So we’ve called things sub-ohm, referred to wattage and temperature and probably just confused things for you even more, but we’re going to explain ourselves.
This aspect of vaping is definitely one of the most confusing. Whilst mods technically display temperature control, implying that you can control the heat of the mod mechanics, you can’t actually directly control the temperature.
What you can control, however, is the wattage of your vape. If your wattage is high, the hotter your atomiser is, which means, the better your vape clouds will be. However, don’t get your vape too hot as this will only burn your lips. The optimum watts are between 4 and 9.
Controlling your wattage means adjusting your ‘ohms’ and voltage. The resistance (how easily the current can get from point A to point B) of your coil is measured in ohms. Lower ohms need less voltage, or current, from the battery to get the desired watts or heat.
What that means is, the lower the resistance of your coil, the less power you will need from the battery to get the coil to the desired heat quicker. A mechanical, unregulated mod, gives you the most control over this. But what does this mean?
The effects of a lower resistance are bigger, warmer and more flavourful clouds, yet, conversely, a higher level of stress placed on the battery and a faster burn out of e-juices and coils. However, sub-ohm specific tanks are designed for these higher temperatures, allowing more air flow in the tank to preserve your equipment and protect your lips.
Ultimately, what you do with your vape is up to you. Personalisation is a huge aspect of the vaping culture and using a vape mod gives you more control than ever to do just that. If you’re giving up smoking, vaping provides you with a lot more freedom to ease over you transition and create the perfect experience. To find the right vape mod for you read our guide to the best vape mods of 2017.