Vape Mods – A Complete Beginner’s Guide


When you first start vaping, you think of your atomizer and e-liquid as the most important stuff. The truth is, your vape mod is equally or more important. It’s where you get the power to fire your atomizer and enjoy your vapor.

A good mod can help you get the perfect vaping experience while keeping you safe.

However, there are so many options out there today, it’s easy to get lost in it all. In this article I want to help you understand how every single vape mod works, what it can do, and if it is for you.

I’m going to divide mods into these three categories:

  • Mechanical Mods (Mechs)
  • Battery Cells
  • Regulated Mods (Tube & Box Mods)

Then, I’m also going to talk about a few important buying decisions when it comes to mods:

  • Buying custom / stabwood mods
  • Buying clones vs authentics
  • Buying used mods for a bargain

Vape Mods: Mechanical Mod (Mechs)

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Mechanical mods are really simple devices, but there are safety concerns. Here’s what you need to know about mechanical mods:

  1. A mechanical mod has no circuitry. Its basically a metal tube with a switch.
  2. Mech mods have no protection. It draws power directly from the battery, and performance sags as your battery charge levels go down. Battery choice and safety is the most important thing about using a mech mod.
  3. Your build controls the wattage output. With no circuitry, the only way you control how many watts is produced is by understanding Ohms law, and putting in the right build.
  4. A regular mech mod has a center pin that connects the atomizer and the battery. This is safer, but you can have voltage drop.
  5. A “hybrid” mech mod, which is more common today, connects the battery directly to your atomizer. Because of this, there are additional safety concerns you need to pay attention to.
  6. Mech mods come as tubes or box mods, although a tube mech mod is the most common. The most common size is a 22mm tube mod, although 24mm mech are becoming more popular.
  7. A mech mod is more rugged. It is not easily damaged by water, and dropping a mech mod generally doesn’t damage its performance.
  8. It can last forever. You need to regularly clean the insides of your mech mod, preferably with rubbing alcohol, to remove grime and dirt.
  9. Authentic mech mods are expensive. Most are made by small businesses, sometimes by hand. Most authentic mech mods are sold out quickly, to private groups.
  10. Clone mech mods are dirt cheap. They cost slightly more than the raw metal and paint used. Clone mech mods can be a really good deal, as long as the switch construction is good.
  11. You need to buy a charger. A 2-slot charger with data on your battery health, and some protection for your battery would be the best.

Some people wonder if mech mods are still relevant today, especially when some regulated mods can easily do 200 watts of power, can emulate mech mods, and have a ton of safety features.

The truth is, owning a mech mod is a joy. The vape that you get from a good mech mod with a good build, cannot be matched by any regulated mod. You get raw, smooth power and no delay.

Mech mods also tend to be much better built, last much longer with less issues, and have good resale value.

The BIG issue is safety. Most videos you’ve seen of mods exploding are mech mods. Without the right knowledge, you’re putting yourself at risk. Although no one has died from an exploding mech mod, you can get injured.

I will talk about that in a different article, but I have to warn you not to get a mech mod until you do some research on battery safety.

Vape Mods: Battery Cells

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If you like the tube form, but don’t want to get a mech mod, you can try getting a battery cell. Here’s what you need to know about battery cells:

  1. It has a built-in battery. Ranging from the eGo pen to more recent cells, they essentially have the same battery internals on the inside, but are not removable.
  2. Battery cells can be charged with USB. The Cfiber mod I mentioned can easily be charged via USB. That makes it extremely portable, great for when travelling.
  3. Basic safety & protection included. Unlike mech mods, battery cells have basic protection like low Ohm protection, weak battery protection and overheat protection.
  4. You can get good performance and battery life. Some cells like the Cfiber can do up to 100w, and have a big 3,000 MaH battery with USB charging.
  5. More consistent performance. Unlike a mech mod, your regulated device can draw the wattage you want from your batteries, until you need to recharge. So you get a consistent vape.

If you’re looking to get a good, portable battery cell, I recommend getting the Smokjoy Cfiber mod. It’s cheap, dependable, and powerful.

Regulated Mods (Tube and Box Mods)

Vape Mods – A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Now we get to the most common, and most popular type of mod; the regulated mod.

  1. Regulated mods are fully protected devices. They are the safest choice for vapers, especially for beginners. It will be very hard, if no impossible, to make a regulate mod explode.
  2. They can be frustratingly complex. Unfortunately, they also tend to be very complicated. In my opinion, most regulated mods today have way too much going on. If you are a beginner, skip all the advanced features and for a simple device, or you might get turned off quickly.
  3. They come in all shapes and sizes. From “mini-mods” to quad-battery devices, there’s definitely a look and shape for you. Some a basic, others are luxurious.
  4. You can get regulated tube mods. Although most regulated devices are box mods, tube mods used to be the most common. Today, you can still find good tube mods but they are typically high-end devices that cost much more.
  5. Regulated mods are upgradeable. The firmware can usually be upgraded with a USB cable and the update software, which you can get from the manufacturer’s website. However, some manufacturers do not provide updates, so you need to check for this when you buy. Even the mods that support firmware upgrades, only have one or two minor updates in its lifetime.
  6. Regulated mods can be charged with USB. Just like a battery cell, you can charge most regulated mods with a USB cable. However, take not that although the USB port may be there, sometimes they are for firmware upgrades only.
  7. Buying a charger for your batteries is highly recommended. Charging via USB can take a long time, and with two or three-battery devices, there’s the issue of your batteries not charging evenly. Get a good dedicated charger, and extra batteries, if you can.
  8. Constant performance. Unlike a mech mod, your regulated device can draw the wattage you want from your batteries, until you need to recharge. So you get a consistent vape.
  9. Regulated mods can do temperature control. Unlike a mech mod and a battery cell, you can do temperature control vaping with the right regulated mods. Some handle temperature control better than others, of course.

Take a look at our list of DNA mods, DNA200+ mods, and best affordable mods for some recommendations on what to get. Take a look also at the best squonking mods and squonk atomizers for some interesting options.

I hope this introduction to vaping mods has helped you understand the pro’s and con’s on mechanical mods, battery cells and regulated mods.

If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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