There are all kinds of vape mods to choose from in today's market, which can make shopping a bit overwhelming. These differences are more than just brand or stylistic choices. You'll find unique features and uses as you explore the types of vape mods you may want. We've found that many beginners struggle to discern and choose between the different vape mods available.
Inside this article, the Firefly team discusses the different types of vape mods you can expect to find, what those mods are designed for, and how to pick the best vape mod for your vaping needs!
What Is a Vape Mod?
Originally, vape mods were "modified vaporizers." They were homemade devices (or heavily modified retail devices) designed to quickly create large plumes of vapor. These devices were used at a risk, as sparks, fires, and ruined vaping components were common.
The popularity of vape mods continued to grow, regardless of the difficulties, and eventually, mainstream vaping companies caught on. Nowadays, vape mods are high-end vaping devices with powerful batteries, plenty of precision heating features and are compatible with a wide range of vaping accessories (like vape tanks).
You should note that "vape mods" do not include all types of vapes. As you're reading, if a vape mod doesn't seem like a good fit, there are all kinds of vaping options that may be a better choice for you.
Different Types of Vape Mods
While there are a lot of sub-categories of vape mods (which we will get into later in the article), there are two major categories of vape mods you'll find on the market: regulated and unregulated mods. If you're familiar with how to use a vape pen, then some of the features of a regulated mod may look and feel familiar.
These are the mods you're most likely to see available. They're called "regulated" because there are circuit boards that act as fail-safes to prevent dangerous surges of energy coursing through your device. This can prevent damage to your battery, internal components and can prevent sparks and fires when using a powerful device.
Regulated mods have grown to dominate the market since they meet the needs of the vast majority of vaping enthusiasts, even veterans who want exceptionally large plumes of vapor created quickly and easily.
True to their name, these are mods that do not have a circuit board inside. This means power flows directly from your battery to your vape tank (or related attachment). These devices are not for beginners. You should have extensive knowledge of vaping devices, general electrical systems, and a solid grasp of Ohm's Law before using these vapes.
Two Kinds of Regulated Mods: Tube Mod and Box Mod
When you start shopping for a vape mod, box mods and tube mods will be the most common devices you run across. These are easy to find in your local vape store, dispensaries, and online e-retailers. These devices are similar but have some key differences.
Tube mods look a lot like vape pens, and they essentially are! They maintain the cylindrical design that vape pens are famous for, though they usually are thicker to accommodate a larger battery. Tube mods can also accommodate sub-ohm tanks in addition to clearomizers, which makes them a great choice for experienced vapers that want a more travel-friendly device.
Tube mods can sometimes be limited with features (especially with variable heating options). However, they are often budget-friendly, and the support for sub-ohm tanks makes them a viable choice for cloud-chasing vapers.
Box mods, as you might expect, are usually boxy in design. They have batteries with high mAh capacity (usually 1500mAh and up) and power a variety of useful features for experienced vapers. These devices are fantastic for vapers wanting to quickly and easily create enormous vape clouds or for vapers looking to use concentrate or dry herb vaping attachments.
Box mods will have plenty of features, compared to tube mods which may only support a single heat setting or a set resistance. Most box mods will have features like:
- Precision voltage control (being able to adjust the voltage by small increments)
- Precision temperature control (being able to adjust the temperature by a few degrees)
- Large, replaceable batteries
- Support for sub-ohm tanks
- Informative LED screens that show the above information in an easy-to-read manner
You'll find a lot of variations within box mods, but you can expect to find the above features in most types of vape brands.
Unregulated Mod - Mechanical Mod
When you see a mechanical mod, you may be surprised by the design. Even though they are meant for experienced vapers, these devices look very, very simple. The body of the mod will be a simple battery (usually in a cylindrical shape) that directly attaches to an atomizer. The only feature you'll find on a mechanical mod is the power button, which is used to fire hits.
Mechanical mods are used by vapers who build their own atomizers (which are called rebuildable atomizers, or RBAs) and coils. The idea is to create a highly customized vaping experience that is catered exactly to what the user wants. These unregulated setups create an unmatched amount of vapor, though they require immense expertise to properly build and use.
Are Vape Mods a Good Choice for You?
It completely depends on what you want out of a vaping device. For users who are more experienced, have a better idea of the specific features they're looking for, and are ready to pay a premium for a high-end device, vape mods can be an excellent choice. If you aren't sure what you want out of a device, we don't recommend investing in an expensive device.
However, if the common features of a vape mod (especially box mods) seem appealing, there are many entry-level options that won't break the bank. Take your time shopping and see if there's a box mod that's a fit for what you want!
Pros and Cons
If you're trying to decide if a vape mod is a good fit, consider the following pros and cons. While these specific pros and cons may vary between models or types of vape brands, it should serve as a good, general guide to helping you decide what device to buy.
- Higher vapor production
- Better tasting vapor
- More powerful batteries for longer sessions between charges
- Precision heating settings to find the perfect option for your unique vaping needs
- Availability of a variety of attachments, tanks, and coils
- Generally more expensive
- Require more maintenance and more expertise to properly operate
- Longer charge time
- Batteries may be sold separately
What Is a Pod Mod?
Even though "mod" is in the name, pod mods are very different devices from vape mods. Pod mods are extremely simple, stripped-down vaping devices that are usually set apart by unique, modern-looking designs. Pod mods typically do not allow for precision heating, and most are draw-fire operated (meaning they don't have a power button).
Pod mods have grown in popularity due to their ease of use. All you do is connect a disposable or reusable pod to your device, and you can quickly begin vaping. Without the distraction of a full suite of features, pod mods are particularly popular among beginner vapers who are just getting started.
Anatomy of a Pod Mod
Pod mods have a simple anatomy, and while the specifics will vary between brands, this is what you can usually expect to find:
- Disposable or refillable pod (sometimes called a cartridge)
- An LED light indicating battery strength (this is often absent on lower-end pod mods)
A port for charging (usually micro-USB).
What Are the Characteristics of a Pod Mod?
Since pod mods are meant to be simple, beginner-friendly devices, most will share common traits. If the majority of these characteristics are appealing to you, then a pod mod might be the device for you!
You won't get super spicy hits with pod mods. The voltage provided will be low (around 15W or below). Low voltage keeps hits cooler, though it will restrict overall vapor production.
Intended for Nicotine Users
The vast majority of pod mods are designed to use nicotine-infused vape juice (and more specifically, salt nicotine). Salt nicotine provides very potent doses (usually 20mg and higher of nicotine per cartridge). This makes them ideal for heavy smokers transitioning away from tobacco.
Pod mods are usually small and discreet, which makes them a perfect choice for vaping on the go. Many pod mods have nontraditional designs that are not easily identified. This may be an ideal choice if you're trying to vape in public without drawing a lot of attention to yourself.
Mouth to Lung (not Direct to Lung)
Most pod mods are mouth-to-lung (MTL) devices. Users first draw vapor into their mouths, then inhale the vapor into their lungs (instead of breathing vapor directly into their lungs). This is a trait that will mostly appeal to former smokers since you smoke tobacco cigarettes with a similar technique.
Are Pod Mods a Good Fit for You? Pros and Cons
Trying to decide if a pod mod might be a better choice than a vape mod? Pod mods have distinct pros and cons that will make it easy to determine if the device will be a good fit!
- Portable and light
- Ideal for former smokers
- Low vapor production
- No variable heating options
- Disposable pods can get expensive
- Typically designed for salt nicotine, which is very potent
What You Need to Know Before Using Pod Mods
You've read a lot of information about pod mods, so take a moment to consider some of these highlighted facts. We've talked about most of these, but it's important to keep them in mind when trying to decide if pod mods would be a good choice for your vaping needs:
Pod Mods Are For Beginners
Pod mods aren't just beginner-friendly. They are for beginners. If you're an experienced vaper and enjoy using box or tube mods, you are going to be disappointed with how limiting pod mods are.
You Pay a Premium for Convenience and a Modern Design
Pod mods have gained a loyal following being they are easy, convenient, and discreet. Unless you're using refillable pods, the cost of using pod mods is quite high. Even when compared to traditional disposable vape cartridges for vape pens, you'll see a premium price. If you're trying to vape on a budget, pod mods likely aren't for you (but there are many other great choices!)
Pod Mods Have Nicotine Users in Mind
If you don't like to vape nicotine, or are more interested in vaping THC or CBD, then a pod mod is not going to be an ideal choice. Most pod mods (disposable or otherwise) are designed to vaporize salt nicotine-infused vape liquid, so unless that's your goal, your needs will be better served looking at vape mods or even dry herb or concentrate vapes.
What Device Works Best For You?
There's no clear-cut way to quickly determine which device is right for you. You'll need to take the time to consider your specific needs and see which kind of device might be best. If you're overwhelmed with choices, ask yourself some of the following questions. It will help narrow down your choices and make it more likely you get a device you love on the first try!
- What do I want to vape? (Vape juice, dry herbs, concentrates, or a combination)
- What's my budget? (certain devices, like box mods, are more expensive)
- Do I plan on frequently traveling with this device? (if so, consider a vape with a travel-friendly design)
- What features do I want on my vape? (Do you want to be able to change the temperature, or do you want simplicity and easy use?)
- Do I want a cost-effective device that needs maintenance, or am I willing to pay a premium for disposable choices?
After asking yourself these questions, you may even discover that a vape mod isn't the right kind of device for you at all. For example, if you're interested in how to vape dry herbs, then the Firefly 2+ (which is not a vape mod) may be the best fit for your needs!
Regardless, take your time to identify your needs and wants, and be patient while shopping for devices. It's the best way to find a fantastic device without a lot of trial and error!