Top Vape Mods Reviewed by Experts
Vapers who start with cig-a-likes and vape pens eventually look for something more powerful and customizable. While some vape pens offer some degree of customization, none can produce over 10 to 12 watts. This leaves vapers a bit starved for power.
For the ultimate in power and customization, mods are the way to go. On this page we are reviewing the best available options from both worlds: mech and regulated mods. We have tested all of the reviewed devices, so you can be sure that our ranking is based on the actual experience of vaping, rather than some marketing tricks. There is a plethora of mods available in the market today. Which ones are the best for users upgrading from vape pens? Here, we list the best box and mech mods of 2016.
Top Rated Regulated Box Mods
Just as the name suggests, these are regulated mods that usually look like a box. Don’t be fooled by the name, some box mods are extremely elegant. Regulated means there are several protection mechanisms i.e. over-discharge protection, overheating protection etc. While sub-ohm regulated box mods offer immense power, they are less powerful than mechanical mods. Mech mods, however, can be dangerous as there is no circuitry to prevent any hazards, but usually just movable mechanical parts. Most regulated mods recognize battery’s physical capabilities and don’t overburden it. The variable wattage box mods use MOSFETs, amplifiers, and other similar systems to regulate the power delivered by the battery while keeping a check on safety measures. Some box mods can fire over 200W, which is a lot of power. Most box mods have two 18650 batteries to offer higher power and longer battery life.
Here’s a list of the very best regulated box mods. Since we chose only the top performers, you won’t notice a lot of cons, although we’ll definitely mention any weaknesses that the particular mod has.
Resistance: 0.15Ω – 3.0Ω (wattage), 0.05Ω – 1.5Ω (temperature control)
Wattage: 10W – 200W
Pioneer4You is known for high quality box mods. Now, they have really raised the bar with the all-new iPV 5, the most powerful mod released quite recently. Pretty quickly, it has become a huge hit because of extreme power and cutting-edge technology. It’s one of the very few mods that hit a wattage of as high as 200W and a resistance as low as 0.05ohm in temperature control mode. All these impressive features mean one thing for a vaper, and that is biggest, thickest and baddest clouds.
With the right settings and technique, it’s hard to beat iPV5 when it comes to blowing biggest plumes of vapor. Behind all this power and the added benefits of vaping in temperature control mode is a unique cutting edge chipset, the YiHi SX330-200.
What’s more, you can use Stainless Steel, Nickel and Titanium coils in temperature control mode, for ultimate customization. Pioneer4You allows firmware upgrade, so that your powerful hardware is always accompanied by the latest software. It has a long battery life, and is powered by two 18650 battery cells, so you can enjoy extended vape sessions. The iPV5 screams it’s time to saddle up, and start vaping like a true sir – without having to spend big bucks.
Resistance: 0.1Ω (wattage) and 0.06Ω (temperature control)
Wattage: 1W – 200W
The R200 by Smok is yet another box mod that offers temperature control and can fire up to 200W, offering massive plumes for cloud chasers, by yet another industry leading mod manufacture. The mod supports Ni200, Titanium and Stainless Steel coils, offers a resistance of 0.06ohm in temperature control mode and can last for hours, thanks to the two 18650 batteries. Smok has used some quirky technology that even recognizes the atomizer you slam onto the mod and adjusts the power output accordingly.
When it comes to design, the R200 has a simplistic but very sleek appearance, which looks extremely elegant. The Aluminum Alloy and Zinc Alloy body is sure to last for several years to come. We really liked the nice, easily readable OLED display screen, and how you can upgrade firmware using the USB port. The magnetic cover at the bottom is also very handy, and makes installing and removing the batteries a snap. It offers nearly the same functionality as the iPV5 but at a lower price, however, we felt the latter is slightly better when it comes to giving better, smooth flavor, although the difference is nominal. Just like most high quality modern mods, the Smok R200 comes with all sorts of protections such as short circuit protection, overheating protection etc. And to top it off, the R200 is the most affordable mod on our list of the best regulated box mods.
Resistance: 0.1Ω – 3.5Ω (Standard Coil) and .05Ω – 1.0Ω (Ni 200/Ti coil)
Wattage: 7W – 60W
While it might not be the most powerful mod, but the Vox 60 by VaporFi surely deserves to be called a “pocket-sized powerhouse”. The Vox 60W TC Mod offers a wattage of up to 60W and also allows vaping in temperature control mode, but it’s the silver-plated brass electrodes that really make the performance of the mod go through the roof. And it’s impressive how the wattage goes up in 0.5W increments, offering very high level of customization. The zinc alloy body not only makes the mod extremely sturdy, but also makes it lightweight and portable.
The mod comes with a flush-mounted firing button so it doesn’t fire in your pocket accidently. It has a nice digital OLED screen, built-in battery pack and to make sure the battery gets optimal ventilation, there are big ports at the bottom of the unit.
Wattage: 1W – 100W
The Innokin Coolfire IV starter kit is a powerful combination of the Cool Fire IV TC 100 mod and the iSub Sub-Ohm tank. The two devices have been customized to work together and offer an intense vaping experience. The kit offers a variety of features and can fire up to 100W, in addition to allowing you to vape in temperature control mode. The only downside of the kit is that the tank has a capacity of only 3ml. However, this is one of the prettiest box mods we’ve reviewed.
The mod has the capability of automatic real-time atomizer ohm detection, and can adjust to whatever tank you slam onto it. The lowest resistance the mod can support is 0.3ohms, and if the resistance is lower, the mod shuts off automatically. Likewise, it shuts off if the battery voltage is lower than 3.3V, protecting both your battery as well as the mod itself. The unit also has some cool features such as puff counter, over-discharge protection, you can vape even while it’s on charging, and it has the capability to remember the last current voltage/wattage settings you used and starts at the same settings when you turn it on. Innokin’s no-spill coil swap system is also pretty commendable. This unit is surely a high performer and built to last.
Wattage: up to 80W Max
For those who want to experience all the benefits of sub-ohm vaping as well as temperature control, the Smok Micro One 80W TC Starter Kit offers a great choice, at a reasonable price. The company is known for industry’s most popular products, and their latest kit that comprises of the Smok R80 Mod and the Micro TFV4 Tank is definitely a winner. It has a beautiful design, sturdy build and offers temperature control with precision like never before. The Micro TFV4 Tank with its sub-ohming capabilities offer great working combination with the powerful, 80W mod. However, the tank’s 2.5ml capacity isn’t great. Although the kit also comes with a 3.5ml Pyrex glass tank, which you can use to carry more e-liquid with you, however, it could be a nuisance for many. The top fill design and adjustable airflow of the mod allow for easy, customized vaping.
The mod comes with an ultra-powerful 4000mAh battery, which ensures extended vaping sessions without having to recharge. To further improve your vaping experience, the mod comes with innovative temperature control features like Adjustable Initial Resistance and Adjustable Temperature Coefficient Resistance. Simply put, you can vape at a particular wattage for certain amount of time, and then the mod will go back to the previous setting automatically, no matter it was in wattages mode or TC mode. The intelligent circuitry allows for automatic atomizer ohm recognition, puff monitoring, overheating protection, short-circuit protection, and low battery warning. In short, with the Smok Micro One kit, you can enjoy extended vaping, rich flavor without any worries.
Tube Mods Rating
Just as the name suggests, the tube mods look like a tube, are more elegant than box mods, smaller in size and thus are less powerful. Tube mods also have slightly shorter battery life, and usually house a single 18650 battery or a built-in battery. Basically, tube mods are a hybrid device for people who want best of both worlds: style and power. Here’s a list of the top tube mods available on the market:
Resistance: 0.2Ω and 0.4Ω
Wattage: 7W – 60W
It’s simply amazing how a tube mod kit can produce such impressive amount of vapor and such rich flavor, which is pretty close to what only bigger, more powerful but less attractive box mods have to offer. Mig Vapor has ensured that the powerful 3000mAh battery delivers enough power for the mod to hit 100W in a matter of seconds, and yet it lasts for hours – even days. The kit also includes the lightweight Morpheus 3ml vape tank, which comes with an elegant stainless steel mouthpiece. The mouthpiece has a built-in, auto airflow control, while the kit also comes with two coils of different resistance for sub-ohm vaping. One of the coils is 0.4ohm, while the other is 0.2ohm. It’s really impressive how the mod quickly adjusts to any of the two CC Kanthal coils you use to offer the perfect output power and the best vaping experience.
To understand why it’s considered by many experienced vapers as a masterpiece of design and technology, you need to vape on the Morpheus Vape Mod Kid just once. The superior taste and immense amount of vapor with every single drag won’t disappoint you. While the price of the Morpheus kit might sound a little high, but there are far worse mod kits on the market that cost way more.
Wattage: up to 50W
If you’re a new or intermediate vaper, but want to feel the type of vapor mechanical mods produce, the Tracer Starter Kit by Halo is an ideal choice. It’s very affordable, and yet is a mech-style, tube mod with a 2600mAh battery, a 3.5ml tank and allows you to sub-ohm at 0.5ohm – a complete set of feature for cloud-chasing style vaping for extremely lengthy sessions.
The kit is very simple to use, with just a sole firing button. It has an adjustable airflow for enhanced cloud production, plus the combination of sub-ohm coils and organic cotton ensures satisfaction for every single pull. The tank is made of stainless steel, while the kit also includes 30ml Halo V-Type e-liquid. To be bluntly honest we’re not a big fan of the particular e-liquid, but the kit itself is definitely a winner.
0.1Ω – 3.5Ω
Wattage: 0W – 100W
While most tanks have a capacity of 2.5 to 3.5ml, the VaporFi Edge Starter kit has the biggest tank capacity i.e. 7 ml. Apart from the biggest tank, the mod has features that set it apart from the competition. For example, it’s based on cutting-edge, innovative technology with intelligent juice flow system for enhanced performance and a power output of up to 100W, an extra-wide bore tip and a lot more. Its mouthpiece is 12mm wide, which means there is a lot of room for heat dissipation. It’s really annoying that there is no screen or controls to adjust the settings and this is how hard the system will run.
VaporFi not only makes some of the very best tube mods, but also has great customer service. The Edge Starter Kit performs exceedingly well, but is a little expensive. And if you somehow break the tank, the replacements are also expensive. A tank can cost you $59.99 while atomizer heads are priced at $24.99 for five pieces. But when you consider the performance and vapor quality, the kit is worth every single penny.
Top Rated Mechanical (Mech) Mods
Mech mods are the superchargers of the e-cig world. Compared to them, vape pens seem like electric scooters. Extremely powerful, highly customizable, and easy to use and fix, mech mods are the weapons of choice for many advanced vapers. Though regulated variable mods are slowly encroaching on mech mod territory, the humble mech mod still has its place in vapers’ hearts.
Beginners and Advanced UsersPrice: $99.99
The Ragnarok is a mod that’s made out of 99.99% copper. This is a huge deal, because in the conductive order of metals, copper is second only to silver. This means a minimal amount of energy is wasted when power is coursed from the battery through the mod to the atomizer. This efficiency makes the Ragnarok a very capable device any mech mod fan would lust over.
The mod also comes with an adjustable connection pin to ensure flush connections and a firing pin that’s built to stay smooth for years. The best part of it all is that the Ragnarok costs less than $100.
Beginner and Advanced UsersPrice: $59.99
While its copper construction is not as pure as the Ragnarok, the Seeker Copper Mod is still highly efficient when it comes to minimizing voltage drop. It is a stylish mod with engraved accents that make for a classy look. There is also a spring-loaded firing pin for a smooth operation, and the contact pins are made of silver, which is a better conductor than copper. The price for this beauty is just a mere $59.99 – a steal of a deal for an all-original mech mod.
Beginners and Advanced UsersPrice: $49.99
The third revision of the highly popular Magneto series of mods from Smoktech, this edition comes with much improved modular pin contacts. It is a stainless steel, telescopic mod, meaning multiple-sized batteries can be used, and it has a smooth, magnetic bottom firing pin (hence the name). It is a mod design that has survived many years; yet here it stands, a testament to its performance and quality.
Beginners and Advanced UsersPrice: $210
Moving towards the high-end spectrum in terms of pricing, the Maraxus is a mod with a striking design that’s sure to catch anyone’s attention. It is constructed in stylish two-tone brass and stainless steel that is telescopic and collapsible. Copper pins ensure efficient conductivity and it also has an integrated venting system to regulate temperature. This is a great mod for those who like to tinker with their devices. While it comes at a higher price, stylish points alone make it all worthwhile.
Beginners and Advanced UsersPrice: $260
Mech mods don’t just come in tube form; some come in box form. The Axiz Box Mod is a Filipino-made mod that’s made out of teak wood. Carved to have an ergonomic pistol grip, the Axiz Box Mod has a stainless steel firing button and is sand-sealed and coated with polyurethane to preserve its finish. Despite being a wood mod, the Axis still hits like a freight train and is a unique mod for those looking for something different.
Box, Mech, Tube Mods Ultimate Guide:
What are mods? Simply put, mods are more powerful e-cigs. It’s a little dramatic to say that the birth of mods came in a flash of light, but in reality, mods first came about in the form of a flashlight.
It started when some industrious vapers found their current vape pens lacking in power. With a little creativity and elbow grease, they scoured their homes for common household items and found that hobbyist flashlights – when combined with their vape pens – gave them the power they craved. Thus, the first mechanical modification, or mod, was born.
Using the full, raw power put out by batteries, rather than through chips that regulate it, users found that their vape pens were supercharged. As DIY mods rose in popularity, manufacturers realized its market potential and started producing sleeker models of these vape pen mods. The term “mod” stuck, and so now, any e-cig model that’s a step up from vape pens is now called mods or APVs (short for advanced personal vaporizers).
As mech mods evolved, so did chip technology, with manufacturers producing regulated variable mods that allow high power outputs with the added value of safety features built-in. Below we will describe the two main types of vaping mods: mech mods and regulated mods (a.k.a. “box mods”):
Regulated (Box) Mods 101:
Simply put, mods are more powerful e-cigs. It’s a little dramatic to say that the birth of mods came in a flash of light, but in reality, mods first came about
in the form of a flashlight. It started when some industrious vapers found their current vape pens lacking in power. With a little creativity and elbow grease, they scoured their homes for common household items and found that hobbyist flashlights – when combined with their vape pens – gave them the power they craved. Thus, the first mechanical modification, or mod, was born. Using the full raw power put out by batteries, rather than through chips that regulate it, users found that their vape pens supercharged.
As DIY mods rose in popularity, manufacturers realized its market potential and started producing sleeker models of these vape pen mods.
Regulated variable mods come in two forms: variable voltage and variable wattage. Both types are usually confused as one and the same, but there are differences.
Before explaining the differences between the two, it’s important to understand how watts (or power), volts, current (or amps), and resistances (or ohms) interact.
There are formulas to determine each variable – known as Ohm’s Law – and they are:
- Voltage (V) = Current (I) x Resistance (R)
- Power (P) = Voltage (V) x Current (I)
While you can calculate manually for each, there are online ohm’s law calculators you can use to make things easier for you.
That being said, determining your sweet spot means knowing how many watts your preferred vape is. If your perfect vape is achieved by using a 2.2 ohm atomizer at 4.2 volts, the power you’re getting is equal to 8 watts.
When using a variable voltage device with a 2.2 ohm atomizer, simply adjust voltage to 4.2 volts to achieve your sweet spot. To achieve the same 8 watts with a 1.4 ohm atomizer, the voltage needs to be adjusted down to 3.3 volts.
Things are simpler for variable wattage. Using the above example, if your sweet spot is at 8 watts, you simply adjust the wattage of the device to 8 watts and the mod will adjust voltage accordingly. It doesn’t matter if you use a 2.5 ohm or a 0.5 ohm atomizer. Once wattage has been set, you’ll get your perfect vape every time. Based on these facts, variable wattage devices are true “set it and forget it” vapes.
Variable mods are now more often preferred over mechanical mods. Many variable wattage mods are able to match the power outputs of other, more capable, mechanical mods that are in the market today.
This preference over mechanical mods is due to the fact that variable mods are easier to use and maintain and are built with various safety features, such as short circuit protection, reverse battery protection, thermal protection, and automatic cut-offs, which prevent accidental fires inside the pocket or purse.
The Mighty Mechanicals
Mech mods are simple devices. They are basically an enclosure where the battery is held with a connector installed to attach an atomizer. Since no regulating chip is installed, the full output of the battery’s power is coursed through the atomizer for a more intense vape.
E-cigs with regulating chips often limit a battery’s power to 3.7 volts. A mechanical mod with a freshly charged battery can output up to 4.2 volts. While this may seem like a small uptick in power, it will result in a more powerful vape if the mech mod is used in conjunction with a low-resistance atomizer, or, in some cases, sub-ohm ones.
Regulating chips have a protection feature built-in that stops e-cigs from firing if an atomizer is under a certain resistance (usually 1.1 ohms and below). With mech mods, no such feature is present, so it still fires even if an atomizer has a resistance of, say, 0.01 ohms.
Because of the lack of a chip when it comes to safety concerns, mech mod users go around this by using safe chemistry batteries. These are batteries that don’t explode when a short occurs or if power is overdrawn from it. Special springs are also used to melt the battery when it becomes overheated to cut the connection.
Given their simple nature, mech mods are very easy to repair. If a mod stops working, one can easily troubleshoot the problem by checking the atomizer or battery. If both are working, the mech mod might either have a melted spring or a loose connector. While there are a handful of reasons why a mech mod might stop working, all can be easily repaired with a little tinkering.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. Mech mods need to be cleaned out regularly to ensure the threads and connectors are clear, so power can course through it efficiently. If not, shorts can occur.
Another downside of using a mech mod is that as the battery loses it charge, so does the power that comes from it. This means that a freshly charged battery will output 4.2 volts, but after a few drags, it goes down to 4 volts, and so on, down to about 3.2 volts, which is the lowest voltage a battery can go without damaging it. Because of this, mech users often carry several spare batteries to use as replacements once vapor starts to weaken.
Mechanical mods can be fun, but are reserved for advanced vapers who understand the safety risks and know how to get around them. For less experienced vapers who want to experience the power of mech mods, but still want to have safety features built-in for hassle-free vaping, variable mods are what they need.
Batteries for Mods
There are several types of batteries used in vaping. The most common ones you will see sold in stores are:
– Lithium IMR or Li-Mn
– Protected ICR Li-Ion
There is also another – LiPo batteries – but these are used as internal batteries. These are not safe chemistry, and protection depends on the circuitry of the mod. One might hear this name thrown about in vaping circles, but since these are not used as removable batteries, this type will not be discussed in-depth.
Lithium IMR and IMR/Hybrid batteries are safe chemistry, and these are recommended for use with mods. While Protected ICR Li-Ion batteries can still be found, these are not recommended and are considered obsolete.
Both types of IMR batteries are “high drain”, and while also called “unprotected,” they are also “safe chemistry” meaning they will not explode or light up under stress. Instead, they vent gas. These make them the most popular types of batteries vapers use for their mods. However, Lithium IMR types have a lesser capacity compared to ICR batteries. However, IMRs work best when the maximum load current is required.
The IMR/Hybrid batteries, on the other hand, have the same safe chemistry make up as Lithium IMRs but with more capacity. It is the newest type and the one most recommended by users. It renders obsolete both the ICR Protected and Lithium IMR batteries in one fell swoop.
Specs to Look Out For
When shopping for batteries, you must know the size needed. There are three common sizes: 18350, 18490, and 18650. Some mods require the larger 26650 sized batts, but these are rare. If you are not sure of the size you need, you can refer to the manual (if your mod has one). Alternatively, you can bring your mod to the store and have the clerk look at it.
Once the correct size is determined, there are two specifications one must consider: capacity (mAh rating) and amps (current handling). Batteries with higher amps usually have less capacity; this is due to the limits of current battery technology. For users who use high wattage devices or love to use sub-ohm atomizers, higher amps are preferred. For those who vape with standard resistance atomizers and rarely go beyond 15 to 20 watts, high capacity batteries with lower amps can work.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to mAh rating is that 100mAh is equivalent to one hour of usage. This applies to low drain applications such as flashlights, but you can at least make a rough estimate how long it will last in your mod.
However, be careful, some brands overrate their batteries amp and mAh ratings. Some brands mark their products as having 3100mAh capable of 35amps, but in reality they are closer to 1800mAh with a 20amp discharge. Because of this, choosing a battery from a reputable brand is crucial. It may cost you a bit more, but you’ll be getting your money’s worth. There are brands that are making batteries specifically for usage in the box mods, but in our opinion they are overpriced and doesn’t offer any additional value comparing to the traditional manufacturers.
We definitely won’t recommend you using the low-quality brands such as Trustfire, Ultrafire, and Surefire are not recommended. These are cheaply made and they often overstate their specs. They may be more affordable, but the savings are never worth it when safety is sacrificed.
Generic brands are also not recommended. These are usually seen on eBay or Chinese online stores and usually have no markings on them. These should never be used. Even if one is included for free with your mod or kit, it is better to purchase a new one from a trusted brand and replace it.
Wrapping Up Our Mods Guide
Despite its simplicity, mech mods are best suited for advanced users. The lack of a regulating chip can surprise many vapers who are used to vape pens. Regulated mods can output the same power as a mech, but since it can be dialed down to more humble power outputs, it is more suited for less experienced users.
If one decides to invest in a mech mod, they should also be well-versed in rebuildables and battery types. This is because the only way one can customize the power output and overall vape experience with a mech mod is by building your own coils and choosing the type of battery to use.
A mech mod is easy to fix, capable of vapor production most regulated mods can’t touch, and they come in various shapes and sizes. It is also very easy to customize, since parts can be custom-made and improved on (such as changing copper pins to silver pins, or spring-loaded buttons to magnetic ones, etc.). Because of the infinite possibilities mech mods are capable of, mech mods will survive and even thrive, no matter how powerful regulated mods become in the future.
Though mech mods have the unfortunate notoriety of being “more dangerous,” this is not true. Any device, if used the wrong way, presents some sort of risk. When it comes to mech mods, as long as the user is responsible, understands how everything works, and knows the limits of such devices, risk is not an issue. Just vape responsibly, and you’ll be fine.