Introduction To Vape Modding: Vape Mods Explained
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We’ve all seen the headlines — vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes, according to findings from Public Health England.
This statistic is a major selling point for those looking to quit smoking for good, as switching to vaping creates a natural bridge towards going smoke-free. Rather than going through the stress of nicotine withdrawal, or splashing out on hypnotherapy to kick the habit, you can easily switch to vaping and lower your nicotine intake over the course of just a few week: ideal.
However, vaping isn’t just about quitting smoking. Many vapers now see it as a pastime, passion and hobby in its own right. The vape subculture is thriving, with people seeking more and more unique vaping experiences.
In your first dabblings with vaping, you may have gone to your local smoke shop and forked out on a beginner’s kit that gave you everything you needed to get into vaping. But that’s just the beginning when it comes to vaping...
Using vape customisation, you can switch flavours, alter the strength of your device, and create a unique hit that suits you. Create bigger plumes of smoke, increase the strength of your device’s wattage, or even create your owncustomised flavours.
So how can you use vape mods to tailor your vaping experience? This post will give you an introduction to the world of vape modding — covering everything you need to know about this vaping trend.
Vape mod basics: Why modifying your vaping device works
Vaping devices can seem complicated at first, but they are quite simple once you understand the fundamentals.
E-cigarettes and vaping devices both work in the same way, and they’re made up of two main parts:
- The power unit that holds the battery
- The atomiser that vaporises the e-liquid (or whatever else you choose to vape).
All vaping devices work in the same way. Inside the tank that houses the liquid flavouring, you will find an atomiser. Atomisers are composed of a metal coil wrapped in a wicking material (typically cotton). The cotton soaks up the vaping liquid and draws it into the spiral. Once the control unit activates the coil, the coil heats up and vaporises the liquid inside.
The first e-cigarettes that were developed contained just a small lithium battery and non-refillable tank to release the flavour (known as a cartomiser). However, as advanced e-smokers grew tired of continually replacing their dinky little e-cigs, some started to experiment with modifying the power units of their device — that’s when the term ‘mod’ was coined.
Early mods were created from things like high-powered torches. These customised units atomised at a higher voltage and had a longer battery life. The modifications enabled vapers to use their devices on-the-move, without having to worry about replacing the battery or charging from a mains socket or USB port.
As a result of this trend, e-cigarette manufacturers then began beefing up their devices’ power units, providing a safer way for vapers to enjoy stronger hits, without compromising on quality and battery life.
Nowadays you can find an abundance of box mod vape devices, making it super easy to create a pleasurable, safe, and consistent e-cig experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the main types.
Regulated box mods
Box mods with built-in microchips are known as ‘regulated vape mods’ because the level of power can be controlled by the user with the touch of a button.
Regulated mods allow you to vary both the wattage and voltage to enhance vape production, and as a result, they tend to be amongst the most expensive on the market.
The higher the wattage you set on your vaping device, the hotter the coil inside gets. A wattage increase will, in turn, increase the amount of smoke emitted from each pull. Many regulated vape mod models will allow you to set your wattage to anything from five to 200 watts.
Also, most regulated box mods carry a digital display, allowing for easy temperature and battery life reference.
Regulated vaping mods are perfect for e-vape enthusiasts who like a lot of smoke and flavour.
With these, you can screw on a tank filled with your favourite vape juice and vape away to your heart’s content all day.
For those getting started with regulated box mods, the Minikin Boost Kodama 155W box mod by Asmodus is a beautiful unit, decorated in a stabilised wood and acrylic chassis. It’s also packed with all the features a pro-vaper needs, like a micro-USB charging port, full temperature control suite, and a battery life indicator.
Unregulated (mechanical) box mods
Unregulated box mods (also known as mechanical or ‘mech mods’) contain no microchip within the device. Therefore, you cannot vary the voltage or wattage on this type of vaporiser.
For many vapers, unregulated box mods are highly satisfactory, despite the lack of power output controls. Unregulated box mods contain replaceable or rechargeable batteries. And in some cases (such as 'hybrid' models), the battery will connect directly to the atomiser. With the mech mod setup, no energy is wasted on digital displays: you just get pure power to the vape atomiser, and you're good to go.
Mech mods are great for the experienced vaper who knows precisely what wattage and throat pull effects they prefer. If you want more power, for instance, you can modify other parts of the vape pen build. For example, you can switch to a titanium coil, enabling your device to withstand hotter core temperatures. Or, you can try replacing the battery with a higher strength model.
The Dreamer Mech Mod by Timesvape, for example, allows you to switch from 21700, 20700, or 18650 batteries. This degree of flexibility makes it a popular model with vape enthusiasts, as the unit self-adjusts to the battery, making for a great plug-and-go option.
What is Ohm's Law?
It is vital that vape enthusiasts understand Ohm’s law, as it will keep you safe if you’re using a mechanical box mod setup.
If you are using a regulated mod, Ohm’s law won’t be an issue, as the inbuilt battery control features will handle everything for you. However, if you’re using a mechanical mod, Ohm’s law will help you work out if you’re drawing too much power from your battery to your atomiser.
Ohm’s law calculates the voltage, resistance, and current within a given circuit, and you may remember this formula from your high school Physics lessons.
The formula is:
- I refers to the current measured in amperes, i.e., the amount of electricity flowing through your mod.
- V is voltage, and it is measured by the potential difference in energy at two points of the circuit.
- R equals ‘resistance,’ and this is measured in Ohms (Ω).
Ohm’s law becomes a necessary safety precaution if you’re using your own coils with a mech mod unit. As these devices come with no in-built safety checks, mech mods will allow you to fire even if the resistance of your coil is too low. This means that mechanical mods carry the risk of shorting out your coil.
Why expert vapers should try making their own coils
The element of the vaping device that heats up is known as the coil. Building your own coils gives you the option of using materials like nickel, kanthal, and titanium. Each of these metals provides the perfect vaping sensation at different mod wattage settings. So, making your own can be an excellent idea for mech mod vapers.
However, making your own coils comes with certain risks. As mentioned previously, if the resistance of the coil is too low, your mechanical mod will complete the electrical circuit regardless, and you risk burning out your coil.
Make sure you invest in something like the Renegade DIY Coil Making Kit. This specialist set provides you with an Ohm’s meter and all of the tools you need to make and test your coils safely.
Drippers vs. tanks
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When it comes to creating the perfect vape mod, you need to think about the atomiser you’re using.
The atomiser is the part where your coil and wick reside, and there are variable methods for wetting your wick with vape flavoury goodness.
Tanks (aka clearomisers) house the e-liquid inside a pyrex tube, with the atomiser placed inside an attached stainless steel housing. These are great for vaping on-the-go with a regulated box mod device, for example. With ‘plug and play’ vape starter kits, tanks are often disposable and need replacing every six or so weeks.
More advanced tanks, in contrast, offer a replaceable atomiser, these are also known as rebuildable tank atomisers (RTA’s). So, instead of replacing the whole thing, you just unscrew the coil and replace it as and when required. Pyrex tanks can also come in larger sizes, if that's something you're after.
Dripper atomisers work differently than the tank atomizsrs and are not so great for on-the-go vaping. However, many vape enthusiasts prefer drippers for their intense flavour hit. Dripper atomisers are also known as rebuildable dripping atomisers (RDA’s) because you ‘build’ the flavour up every two or three hits.
Once you place your fresh coil above the battery and thread your wick through the wire, just drip the vape e-juice formula directly onto the coil and leave it to soak in for a couple of seconds before firing up your device to smoke.
Alternatively, you can also check out RDTA's i.e., rebuildable dripping tank atomisers.
These are a hybrid of the two types, where the RDA is housed on top of a tank, and the wick soaks in liquid from the reservoir stored below.
RDTA’s are great for preventing leaking fluid, and they have the same flavourful taste of an RDA without the hassle of pouring on juice every few hits. Advanced tanks are also known as sub-ohm tanks, and they come with more unique features, such as a built-in vent, to allow for more or less airflow to the coil. Sub-ohm tanks contain coils with a resistance of less than one ohm (which helps create a lot of flavour and clouds).
Then, of course, you may also want to try squonking .
Some vape fans go bonkers for squonking. Instead of the e-liquid coming from a tank or drip method, squonk mods allow the vaper to squeeze the vaping liquid from the bottom of the device directly into the RDA and wick.
For this reason, squonk mods can also be known as ‘bottom feeding mods’ or ‘the lazy man’s dripper.’ Squonk mods are great for vapers who prefer the dripping method but need their vape hits on-the-go.
Personally, I think there’s also something viscerally pleasing about squeezing the e-liquid into your RDA before taking a big fat pull on your vaporiser.
The HIVE Bottom Feeder Mod by HSTONE Mods is a high-end choice for squonkers.
It can be used with 20700 or 18650 batteries, and with its silver plate system, low voltage drops are a guarantee, as well as a superior throat hit for the user.
What’s your vape flavour?
The choice of e-liquid flavours is endless, everything from rhubarb and custard to copies of popular tobacco brands. Some branded liquids come with varying concentrations of nicotine.
These can help you wean off tobacco until you have well and truly kicked your smoking habit.
You can even have a go at mixing your own flavours, either with the help of store-bought kits or using a mix of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin and diluted nicotine.
Find out more in our ultimate guide to making your own e-liquid flavours.
Final words for all the cloud-chasers out there...
Switching to vaping from cigarettes is cost-effective, better for your health and more sociable, as the formula leaves little to no residue on your clothes or breath.
Plus, there’s a whole bunch of modification options you can test out, to help you build your perfect vaping device. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our extensive collection of vape mods and start experimenting with your perfect vape setup now.