Guide to Box Mods

In this guide, you will find more detail on box mods below including what differentiates the various models from each other. Now you’ve learned that the core functionality of a box mod vape is to provide the power source for our vape setup, let’s get started.

What is a Box Mod?

Box Mods are the most popular types of e-liquid vaporizers on the market today.

They are primarily a power source used for atomizers to vaporize the e-liquid which is in turn inhaled by the user. Box mods have rechargeable batteries that are either built-in or added by the user afterwards.

They are called mods because early users would often modify classic hardware at home into something much more powerful. Larger companies have since taken over the practice. Modern mods are packed with functionality and designed to handle this higher power, while also removing most of the risk associated with operating at increased power levels.

The box part of the name originates from early designs being the most basic rectangular shape. While many still have this basic shape, manufacturers have gotten quite innovative in changing up the design both for aesthetics and handling purposes.

Typical Vape Box Mox
Unregulated Vape Mod

An Unregulated Box Mod – Just A Battery & Some Juice!

The Types of Vape Mods

There are two basic classes of vape mods, regulated and unregulated.

Unregulated mods are often called mechanical mods, or mech mods for short. These often come in tube shapes, but you do see the odd box shaped model.

Regulated mods are the more advanced models with loads of features you would find in your typical modern box mod.

The unregulated mods use less sophisticated, often manual, tech and pass on the full power of the battery directly to the atomizer without any safety control features. While this unfettered power is ideal for advanced users pushing the limits, it’s potentially dangerous for those who don’t know what’s going on.

The popularity of these unregulated devices have faded since the technology in regulated mods have offered comparable power on top of built in safety features.

A central microchip digitally controls our regulated box mods. It allows us to adjust the power safely and to our personal preferences. It also opens up many advanced options and the ability to take control of our setup through an LED screen.

Additional features found within the regulated box mods are things like variable wattage, temperature control, bypass mode, safety features, and more. It even allows for very advanced settings like customized wattage curves and high-level memory configuration. We’ll explain what many of these functions are later in this guide.

How to Choose your Perfect Box Mod

#1

System Style

The first factor to consider is if you’re looking for an all-in-one system or an expandable system.

The all-in-one systems have an atomizer built into them. Often that cannot be swapped out for a new or different one. Having the atomizer built in ensures that it’s paired and designed to work well with that particular box. However, the biggest drawback to this system is the lack of flexibility to make it fit your desired vaping style. Another disadvantage is that you can’t upgrade anything without changing to a whole new box mod system.

The expandable system is where you choose the box mod as a base and then find the tank you want to pair with it. Selecting a separate tank is great because the technology rapidly changes and you can improve your tank/atomizer many times before upgrading your box mod. You’ll also be able to find the best fit for your taste and have the best vaping experience possible. The drawback here is that new vapers can have a difficult time finding the right atomizer to get started. Although, you can never stray too far from the path with using a box and tank from the same brand.

#2

Features vs. Cost

Inevitably, the more options the unit has, the more expensive it will be.

No matter which style system you choose, the feature set will be your next determining factor. One of the more important things to look at is how much power you want or need. The number of batteries it can potentially hold is crucial because not only can it allow for more power but also a longer vaping time between charges. You’ll also want to consider the size and shape of the box to make sure it will be comfortable for you to hold and carry around.

Inevitably, the more options the unit has, the more expensive it will be. Advanced chips with a range of features will naturally increase the base cost of a model. Keep in mind that you may have to sacrifice less important options if you have a smaller budget.

#3

Control Modes

There are box mods that work in variable wattage/variable voltage mode, temperature control mode, and bypass mode.

Some only do one of these modes while others have multiple modes supported. If you know you will only one type of mode; you can save money and get one that doesn’t have the more advanced chip to handle the other modes you’ll never use. The majority of you will want a unit that can at least do temperature control or variable wattage modes, so you can match up to most tanks/atomizers that will fit on your device.

All-in-one vs expandable, feature vs. cost and the power modes provide a general outline of some of the wider factors to consider when selecting your best box mod. However, the fun starts when you begin looking into the different features available for purchase. While this list isn’t all inclusive, this gives you a great start on the road to finding your perfect mod.

Box Mod Feature Guide

A lot of the terminology can sound like a foreign language.

The feature list of different box mods can often be intimidating. This is especially true for new vapers or even those looking to upgrade to this type of model for the first time. A lot of the terminology can sound like a foreign language. However, once you understand the basics concepts, what the features do and how they can benefit you, everything will begin to fall into place.

This understanding also makes getting started with your new box mod vape easier and makes for a pleasant transition to this type of vape mod.

So we’ve compiled a list of the most common features you’ll face when deciding on the right model for you. You’ll be up to speed in no time!

Temperature Control

Temperature Control is one of the newer methods for vaping when compared to a fixed voltage, variable voltage, and variable wattage.

It is often referred to as TC, for short, within the vape community. While it’s one of the newer innovations, debuting around 2014, it’s become the standard for nearly all models, not just the best box mods.

Temperature Control Box Mod

A Temperature Control Box Mod

Dry hits are where the coil is overheating or out of e-liquid. When you inhale you end up getting a horrible taste and virtually no vapor. If you’ve ever taken a dry hit by mistake, you know this is something you want to avoid. You’re breathing in burned up materials, rather than E-Liquid, when this occurs. Temperature Control mode can help prevent dry hits. If the coil is overheating, it will reduce the power to ensure this doesn’t happen. If the coil is dry, it cuts power to it and prevents you from taking that dry hit.

If you are going to use Temperature Control mode, you need to have your atomizer use one of three types of coil material: nickel, titanium or stainless steel. We suspect other wire types will work with temperature control mode in the future, but for now, you need to ensure you limit your coil choice to these three materials.

The vaporizer will operate at a range of 100 degrees Celsius to 300 degrees Celsius usually, which roughly equates to between 300 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit. While we’ve seen some have lower operating temperatures than that, 300 degrees Celsius is the maximum we’ve seen out there. You can set the temperature you want, and since this can be adjusted precisely, you’ll be able to find your sweet spot. Keep in mind that different juices will vape better at different temperatures based on the contents of that juice.

Given the benefits of temperature control mode, it would be easy to believe that it’s universally embraced. The main downfall is simple; you tend to get less vapor production. When we say less, this doesn’t mean cig-a-like/vape pen levels. You’ll still blow pretty big clouds. However, if you’re looking to become an aspiring cloud chaser, you would usually pass on a model with this feature.

DIY coil builders also take issue with temperature control mode as the nickel wire used must be thin. Requiring a thin wire makes it difficult to wrap your custom coils, and it tends to cost a bit more too. While you can buy pre-made coils, this defeats the cost savings of building your own.

Temperature control mode is perfect for most vapers and, in dry hits, removes one of the more negative experiences of vaping. Advanced vapers, like cloud chasers and coil builders, will tend to look at other mode options.

important thing…

– Temperature control in its most basic form is the device operating at a particular temperature set by it user. The mod is regulated to this heat to ensure consistent performance on every drag. It will automatically determine how much power should be supplied to the coil to maintain that temperature and adjusts it accordingly. Surprisingly, it doesn’t detect the temperature directly but instead monitors when the resistance of the coil installed changes. Detecting the resistance makes it correspond to predictable temperatures using the high-powered computer chip inside. That allows for a consistent vape from the start to the finish of your battery cycle.

Voltage and Wattage Mode

Variable Voltage appeared first on the scene in 2010, and Variable Wattage emerged soon after in 2011.

Their predecessors were fixed voltage designs which are still in use in many cig-a-likes and products like JUUL. Fixed voltage has one setting and just lets the vape operate at that voltage until the battery is dead. You won’t see any box mods with a fixed voltage on the market. You will, however, see Variable Voltage and Wattage modes that allow you, as the name implies, to adjust the voltage and wattage.

While variable voltage vapes are still on the market today, variable wattage has largely taken its place.

Variable Voltage was a huge step in the right direction for vaping technology. Provari and BuzzPro were some of the first companies to utilize it. It changed the game and paved the path to where we are at today. They used microprocessors that would allow you to exceed or go below the output voltage of the battery. The microprocessor would then let you step up the vapor production or tone it down based on your needs.

While variable voltage vapes are still on the market today, variable wattage has largely taken its place. The issue with variable voltage is that the settings need to be changed depending on the resistance of your atomizer. That means you have to manually find the sweet spot every time you switch to a different tank or coil.

Variable Wattage models started appearing not long after their variable voltage cousins, pioneered in the Darwin by Evolv. It’s a fitting name considering they did evolve things to the next level of excellence. Variable wattage allowed users to keep their power setting constant even when changing atomizer resistance. Which solved the issues that stunted variable voltage models. The chip calculates the atomizer resistance along with the strength of the batteries to set the wattage. This tends to provide the best and most consistent experiences. It also allowed a lot more people to start building their own DIY coils, as it took away the additional work required to make them compatible with variable voltage models.

Variable Wattage Box Mod

A variable wattage device

The most simplistic way to understand both variable wattage and voltage is in their levels. More watts/volts equals a hotter vape, while fewer volts/watts equals a cooler vape temperature wise. As mentioned before, e-liquids vape best at different temperatures to provide better flavor. Users also prefer different temperatures based on their comfort level with the throat hit from the vapor thickness. They can also adjust the temperature based on their lung capacity relative to how much vapor is produced.

We once saw a great analogy to demonstrate the difference of the two. You should think of variable voltage as using the gas pedal of your car. As you approach hills or different obstacles, you adjust the pedal to get the same desired speed. Pushing the pedal is the equivalent of changing voltage based on resistance to hit your sweet spot. Variable wattage is like cruise control. You set the speed of your car to 55mph, and the car will automatically adjust the pressure on the pedal to be at the right speed. Variable wattage mods work like that too but adjusting the battery power based on the coil resistance to meet your desired wattage.

The appetite for Variable voltage vaping can also be credited with the box mod design being born. Creators needed more space than a simple tube for a battery, as they needed to house the chip and, eventually, controls for adjustments. Variable wattage also played a vital role in pushing vaping forward to the modern-day box mods we know today.

Advanced vapers still turn to variable wattage mode for the ultimate level of control. Temperature control mode is different in that it scans the coil conditions, preventing dry hits and creates the right vape consistency. Variable wattage models just read the coil to keep the wattage the same regardless of conditions other than resistance. This means you can push your mod further.

Bypass Mode

Bypass mode allows you to turn your box into an unregulated version.

There are some small differences though because some protections are still enabled, so it doesn’t completely bypass the chip (as is implied in the name). You only have the ability to utilize (not boosted or hindered) the output of the battery at full power. If anything went wrong with it or the atomizer, the protection features would kick in and shut down the device for safety.

Because of the technological advancements of box mods, many vapers see this as a pretty pointless feature that only increases the cost. It also has because more redundant as more people shift from rebuildable drip atomizers to tanks for convenience. You wouldn’t use bypass mode for these types of atomizers. There are still some users out there who enjoy this mode, but often it’s a nice to have mode rather than a necessity.

In fact, Aspire recently polled their users if they should keep this mode or remove it. 80% of them voted to drop it. So unless you’re an advanced vaper, this is far from an essential feature.

Protections

It would be a tragedy to spend hundreds of dollars on a box mod only to have it short out because of faulty coils.

Protections on box mods are more important than ever and for several reasons too. The first being the increased desire to chase clouds and maximize performance. This urge has caused the industry to go after much higher power levels, thus creating more risk. The second reason is to protect your investment. It would be a tragedy to spend hundreds of dollars on a box mod only to have it short out because of faulty coils. Finally, you want to ensure that if you do something wrong, it won’t cause any harm to you.

We’re going to look at four major safety features in detail. They are low voltage protection, short circuit protection, low resistance protection, and lock mode. These have become staples in the industry, and you should verify that any vape box mod you consider has those built it (unless you’re going with an unregulated box).

01.
Low Voltage

Low voltage protection is a setting that prevents the battery from over-discharging which would destroy it. The mod can sense how much power is still in the cells and cut-off the power to them. Without this protection, you’ll need to know your mod well. Low voltage will be distinguishable by a severe drop in quality of the vapor.

Most likely the battery won’t explode, but you can damage its ability to carry a charge if you continue to vape when the voltage is too low. The need for this protection is amplified if you aren’t using quality batteries or even buy counterfeit ones accidentally.

02.
Lock Mode

Lock mode prevents you from accidentally firing your device while in your pocket, purse, or wherever you keep it when not vaping. We don’t really like vaping products that don’t carry this feature these days. We’ve seen cases where the vape is in someone’s pocket, and they accidentally trigger the power button causing turn on for an extended amount of time and burn the person.

While other safety features can also prevent this from causing serious injuries, it’s a no-brainer to have a lock mode. Depending on the model, you can put your mod into lock mode by pushing the power button 3-5 times rapidly. Then it won’t unlock until you press it 3-5 times rapidly again. At the very least it’ll help your battery life if you move around a lot.

03.
Short Circuit

Short circuit protection from the battery is an essential feature that is built into almost every regulated box mod these days. Some unregulated box mods have achieved this from using a fuse that will blow when the current exceeds the limits of that fuse. Sigelei created a Vape Safe Fuse that runs only $6. Which is of course much cheaper than having to replace your whole mechanical mod or dealing with medical bills that could result from injury. The consequences of using a mechanical mod without one can be deadly, which is why when using unregulated model it’s imperative that users know what they are doing.

04.
Low Resistance

Low resistance protection prevents the batteries from firing when your atomizer coil is at a too low resistance level for the current wattage settings. Most models won’t ignite in this case, but some will while also giving a warning. You can find out what resistance settings the manufacturer recommend with your particular mod. It’s important you follow these. However, having this feature will help protect you and your unit should something happen accidentally.

Charging Methods

Different box mods bring different charging options and requirements.

Some have a built-in battery that can’t be removed, while other will use separate batteries that you can replace. For ones that have them built-in, you will need to charge the box mod through a USB cable. For this reason, you want to be sure the battery is big enough to last the full day so you can just charge it at night. Some of them have pass-thru capabilities which mean you can use the product while it’s charging since the power is passed through to the atomizer instead of going straight to the battery.

If you have a vape box mod without a battery built in, you will need to buy a separate battery charger. It will charge the batteries outside of the mod. You can see an example of chargers that will handle multiple batteries in our deals section. A standalone charger is great because you can buy multiple batteries and always have some charged and ready. This way you’re never a prisoner to a static power source should you run low half way through your day. Many newer types of box mods now also have a built-in USB charging for removable batteries too. So, you get the best of both worlds.

Final thoughts

Remember, no single box mod is perfect for everyone.

As you have seen, there are many things you need to consider when choosing the best box mod. Our experts put this guide together to help you along the way to determining which will be the best fit for you. Remember, no single box mod is perfect for everyone. So keep in mind that while you should welcome advice, the most important thing is that you find the one you think will work best for you.

We’ve outlined the top 3 devices that give vapers of all styles and requirements the best experience. In addition, we also have provided ten reviews of different box mods that are loved by the vaping community. Our panel utilized their years of vaping experience and road tested these products to determine the ones that we felt deserved a place for your consideration.

Finally, although we’ve tried to put together one of the most comprehensive guides to box mods online today, we appreciate you might have further questions. You can leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. Our team or our keen community of vapers are always happy to help.

Vape on!