Mods – are they good, bad or downright ugly?
If you’re a seasoned vaper it’s highly possible you have a few mods in your arsenal and have been drawn into a world that is so much more than an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. I think it’s fair to say if you own a mod (or 7) you have made this switch to ecigs a hobby.
I say this for the simple reason that to understand what a mod is, which one is right for you and knowing what to buy and how it will fit your needs transcends the world of cig alike from a convenience store counter to something more of a past time.
So let’s dive into it a little more and perhaps take some of the mystery from these contraptions that to some are hideous and unfathomable, and yet to others the ultimate in vaping perfection!
A mod in terms of ecigarettes is a modified battery compartment. There’s no funny business going on with the actual battery that’s inserted but the casing, electronics, switches and connections are just some areas that are tinkered with to allow a more flexible and versatile vaping experience.
Aesthetically they come in many shapes and forms. Typically there’s two shapes of mod – a cylindrical tube shaped mod that’s wider and longer generally than your average ego style battery and also a box mod which is exactly as it says on the tin, shaped like a box. Another example of a mod would be a pipe mod which is a battery inserted where the pipe tobacco would usually go, I’ve even seen a cola can modified to use as an ecigarette!
Basically if it can fit an AA size battery into it, chances are most things can be “modded”. I will answer the “elephant in the room” question of why one would choose to buy and use a mod as we continue!!!
Within the two major categories of mod there are lots of things to consider and many brands and styles of mod available for each. The materials used range from beautifully hand carved wood, to brass or stainless steel and plain ol’ plastic among many others. A switch will almost always be included on the device, sometimes as a design feature and sometimes hidden. They are usually in strategic places and as an example on a tube mod at the side on underneath the mod. I have found switch placement is important – I could never get to grips with the bottom switches so this is something to take into consideration if searching for your first mod.
Switches can be mechanical or have a “lifespan”. Mechanical switches involve a little DIY to replace worn parts but are pretty much guaranteed to live longer than you or the other will have a lifespan of a certain number of clicks before it needs replacing. This too is something to consider when looking at the cost and replacement parts in future.
Speaking of cost, Mods to date range from as cheap as an ego battery for a Simple and straight forward, no frills mod and can go right up to 4-500USD plus!! High end mods cost can be contributed to higher quality materials used and some even have serial numbers as there are only a few produced, not to mention one off custom mods.
Connections and Adapters
Taking a look further, it is important to know what connection the mod has and/or can adapt to. Most connections these days are 510 connections, the same as an ego battery. Beware if the mod has a flat top as you will need an adaptor for “ego style” clearomizers and atomizers with a lip or overlap that will not screw readily into a flat top mod. The adaptor simply raises the connection to allow for the overlap and some people will claim this has an effect on the draw and performance of mods.
This seems to be an in exact science however – nevertheless something to bear in mind. Still on the topic of connections, some mods have custom made for their mod top sections with various connections as another feature which makes them more attractive as they allow for more connections including 901,801,808 etc.
If you’re not quite sure what the numbers I referred to above denote there is another article relating to atomizers you may find interesting suffice to say if in doubt, go for 510 as this is the “universal” connection of the ecigarette world that most manufacturers use (I may get wrapped on the knuckles for that statement but for simplicity let’s say PinkVaper is right!).
So what’s the main purpose of a mod?
Next up is a brief spin by the area of voltage & wattage and the battery you’re gonna place in your device….let’s not get too bogged down in this here but the main purpose of a mod is to a) last longer than a regular battery and b) provide optimal performance (the sweet spot).
Batteries range in general from a 10440 size right up to 18650. The first will be rather wimpy and useless in terms of battery life but will fit in a sleek and slender device that will no doubt be good for stealth vaping! The latter will literally last days! There are many sizes in between and when it comes to some mods you may even require a certain brand if you’ve got a snug fitting device. There are protected and unprotected batteries which relate to safety.
Some mods will not work with protected batteries which can be frustrating so make sure to find out which batteries are recommended when purchasing a mod and be aware of safety at all times when charging and using your device. Still again there are batteries that perform better than others.
Examples are AW IMR high drain batteries which perform better but don’t necessarily last as long as their standard counterparts. We’ve really washed over this area but it’s always worthwhile doing your research or shooting an email over to the vendor when working it all out in preparation for your purchase – any vendor who is legitimate will be knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to mods, batteries and most importantly safety surrounding this.
Always, always, always make sure your mod of choice has vent holes. Basically these are spaces somewhere along the length of the device to allow air to escape should the worst happen and your battery decides it’s going to fail. Without air your mod is the equivalent of a pipe bomb and will explode if there’s a faulty battery in there – with great force – and could potentially have disastrous results. Do I sound like I’m being melodramatic?!! I most definitely am not. I have been vaping 4 years, I’ve seen it happen and it ain’t pretty.
This can occur due to failed batteries quickly venting gas, if the gas has no way to escape, the resulting pressure buildup will eventually rupture the weakest part of the mod. If you use a mod without vent holes, you might as well carry around a handheld IED! If you discover your mod has no airways, don’t fret, you can easily drill or create some makeshift vent holes instead of tossing it in the garbage.
Variable Voltage and Wattage
Now where were we? Oh yes, the fun stuff – volts and watts are where the fun begins, but the headache and frustration sometimes kicks in if you weren’t paying attention in physics class!! Many mods now allow the user to set the voltage at a higher or lower than regular setting (regular being 3.7v). Higher voltages will use up your battery life quicker but heat up your vapor and increase throat hit.
Too high and you’ll get a burnt taste from your eliquid. Lowering the voltage has the opposite effect which can sometimes be desirable with a very low resistance atomizer (covered in a separate article!) for example -the sweet spot is that amazing moment when you change the setting and it all adds up to the perfect taste, throat hit and vapor production!
Wattage….hmmm…wattage control is a relatively newer addition to mods. Simply set the wattage and your device will perform the same way each and every puff regardless of the atomizer attached. It does the math for you and hey presto, vape heaven. There are so many bells and whistles on various mods that to dive into them all now would leave us in a decompression tank when we come up for air so let’s leave it here folks with a few final thoughts.
Mods are simply great in my humble opinion. Choosing just the right one can be tricky but there’s so many to choose from now we are spoiled for choice (not always a good thing if you’re indecisive like me!). Be warned, once you own one there is a certain shineyitis associated.
Don’t be surprised if you suddenly begin tracking your postman’s route so you will know when to expect your next parcel or find yourself making excuses to your other half about why ecigarettes are healthier and just because you spend as much on mods as you spent on cigarettes it’s still worthwhile (it is!). Purely for not having to swap out batteries three times a day and always getting a consistent, enjoyable vape (atomizer trouble excluded!) each time these devices are well worth a look!!!