Introduction to Box Mods
Box mods are the most popular and powerful kind of portable vaporizers on the market, earning their namesake from their boxy form factor. They’ve proven themselves to be the premier choice for users looking to upgrade from smaller vapes like pens, delivering enhanced battery and vapor performance. More advanced box mods offer users advanced features like innovative chipsets which monitor and adjust the temperature dynamically.
As year after year, more companies continue to release brand new devices it can seem a bit overwhelming when trying to look around for your perfect box mod. Thankfully the experts here at CocktailNerd have tirelessly spent the past few months puffing cloud after cloud, testing some of the most excellent devices to hit the market, helping you sort through the clutter. We’ve compiled this devoted research into a list of extensive reviews featuring top mentions for the Best in Class, Best for Beginners, and Best Value Box Mods of 2018. We then wrapped up with a comprehensive buyers guide, breaking down every aspect of box mods and their functions, so you know what to look for in a box mod.
Our Top Box Mods
Best In Class
Yihi SX Mini G Class 200W TC
YiHi is quickly becoming the favorite brand of many vapers, and with incredible devices like the SX Mini G Class 200W Box Mod, it’s easy to see why. The incredibly advanced YiHi Chipset makes all their devices powerful and able to function in lots of different ways. Other brands have tried to keep up with the tech coming from YiHi, but no one has yet been able quite to hit that sweet spot between functionality and power. Looking over everything the YiHi SX Mini G Class has to offer and it’s no wonder it earned our top pick this year, as the Best In Class Box Mod.
The SX Mini takes two replaceable 18650 batteries, enabling precise user control between 5 – 200W and 1.0 – 9.5V. It’s also a fantastic sub ohm vape, functioning with resistance as low as 0.05 ohms. The body is made from a combination of top-quality Zinc Alloy and Stainless Steel, which gives it plenty of durability. It’s still quite sleek though, as it’s made to be both portable and ergonomic. The simple additions such as joystick control, Bluetooth connectivity, and high-quality OLED screen help provide a fresh and intuitive overall vaping experience for all level of vapers.
Everything about the SX Mini G Class comes back to the powerful SX550J chipset at its heart. One of the best features is the ground-breaking SXi-Q Intelligent Taste Curve which ensures incredibly thick and potent vapor with many different types of e-liquids. It’s easy to see that YiHi goes above and beyond what many brands are willing to do to stand behind their product. Instead of just putting in the minimum effort, the makers at YiHi are always looking for ways to improve their already fantastic vaporizers. They come in your choice of several beautiful colors and sell for $239.95 MSRP. That being said, it’s likely you can find a much better price if you look at the right time, so always check back. The YiHi SX Mini G Class is simply put one of the best vaporizers to come out in the last couple of years. So if you’re the kind of vaper who wants the best, don’t miss out on yours.
Best For Versatility
Vaporesso Polar 220W TC Vape
Vaporesso proved once again they are the king of high-quality vaporizers for a bargain price. By far their best device of last year was the Polar 220W Starter Kit, with many critics noting how insanely versatile it can be. Taking a brief look at the compatible devices and it’s easy to see why vapers who love using different types of atomizers are falling in love with the Polar 220W Kit. So if you’re always buying the latest and greatest tank, and spending hours experimenting to perfect it, the Vaporesso Polar 220W Starter Kit is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. That’s precisely why it earned our pick for Best Versatility of 2019.
It’s powered by two replaceable 18650 batteries, which provide a maximum output of 220W and 600 degrees Fahrenheit while functioning with resistance as low as 0.03 ohms. They gave it such a wide range to make it easy to support many different types of atomizers. It even comes with one standard, providing the high-quality Vaporesso Cascade Baby SE Sub-Ohm Tank. This simple but powerful tank is excellent for those who are just getting into sub-ohm vaping, while the Stainless Steel and Pyrex reinforced glass make it quite durable. The Polar’s internal Omni Board 4.0 chip provides consistent and precise levels of power at just the touch of a button. It won’t take long either, as it boasts an incredibly fast 0.001-second activation speed.
This high-quality vape sports a vibrant OLED screen, providing all the most relevant information in an easy to read manner. It comes in seven different beautiful colors, including three slick gradients. You can pick one up for only $99.95 MSRP, making it one of the better deals on our list. That being said, you can always find a better price if you look at the right times, so always check back if you’re a true bargain hunter. The Vaporesso Polar 220W Starter Kit was made to answer the prayers of vapers who always want the newest atomizers without having to get a new mod every time.
Innokin Proton 235W Box Mod
Innokin has quietly built a reputation over the years for providing top-quality vaporizers for much lower prices than their competitors. So much so, that they earned our 2019 pick for Best Value with their Proton 235W Box Mod. As you can imagine, this mod provides an impressive amount of power and functionality for any vape, but when coupled with the price it’s a no brainer for any bargain hunters out there.
The Innokin Proton takes two 18650 batteries, which gives it a wide output range maxing at 235W and 7.5V. This mod was made to be used in sub-ohm setups, functioning with resistance as low as 0.05 ohms. The Proton was built to be extremely compact, but it’s also a beautifully crafted device. Constructed out of high-quality Zinc Alloy, the Proton is well weighted and feels solid in your hands. One of our favorite new features is the joystick controls, which makes it possible to change all your settings with just a single finger.
Innokin has truly earned its reputation by continually living up to their own high standards. They’ve once again created a classic vaporizer which provides everything you could want at a fraction the price others charge. They’re offered in three color styles and only cost $79.95 MSRP each. But if you’re never satisfied until you’ve got the best deal possible, be sure to check around for special offers as you can typically find even better prices if you look at the right time. Any budget conscious vaper should seriously consider the Innokin Proton 235W Box Mod for their next purchase.
Honorable Mention Box Mod Reviews
Vapor Storm Puma 200W TC
Vapor Storm is still an up and coming name in the vaping game. But they’re out to prove that doesn’t mean they can’t hang with the big boys, releasing top-notch vapes like the Puma 200 Box Mod. This exquisitely designed device provides a surprising amount of power and functionality for a discount price. Vapor Storm offers over 20 unique faceplates, with many being original designs in addition to vibrant color schemes. The Puma is ideal for budget-minded vapers who still want their vape to say something.
Powered by two 18650 batteries, the Puma has a maximum output of 200W and 600 degrees, while working with resistance as low as 0.06 ohms. It was designed to be great for lots of different types of sub-ohm tanks and atomizers, as they become more popular. It’s made from a high-quality and durable ABS material, making it able to handle plenty of abuse. The Puma is temperature controlled with Ni200 Nickel, Ti01 Titanium, or SS316 Stainless Steel coils.
Vapor Storm hit a home run with their Puma 200W Box Mod. Not only is it powerful and versatile enough to use with lots of different atomizers, but it’s also one of the more affordable devices on our list. They sell for just $49.95 MSRP, but many of their faceplates are commonly sold out. So if you’ve got one in particular in mind that’s sold out, be sure to keep checking in. The Vapor Storm Puma 200W Box Mod is perfect for vapers who are looking for a high-quality experience without having to spend hundreds of dollars.
Vaporesso Revenger Mini 85W TC
When Vaporesso released the original Revenger Mod it made huge waves in the industry, and they seem to have struck gold twice with their compact update, the Revenger Mini 85W Mod. As you can imagine, this update was focused on taking everything great about the original Revenger and making it more portable. But don’t think that’s all it has to offer, as Vaporesso also added a couple of key features which improve the overall experience.
Powered by its internal 2500 mAh battery, the Revenger Mini has a max output of 85W and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, while the resistance can be brought as low as 0.05 ohms. The shell was crafted using a new method which combines high-quality ABS material with an aluminum alloy frame to create a much stronger and durable body. Popular modes from the original, such as the Customized Curve of Wattage and Customized Curve of Temperature make a welcome appearance on the Revenger Mini.
Portable versions of popular devices is not a new concept, but Vaporesso proved you don’t have to lose much to make it work. The Revenger Mini 85W Mod has everything you loved about the original, and even a few small additions, all inside a much more sleek device. They come in five color schemes, including one that’s Christmas themed. They sell for $69.95 MSRP, but it’s not hard to get a better deal if you know where to look. Vapers looking for an excellent vape they can take with them on the go should take a serious look at the Vaporesso Revenger Mini 85W Box Mod.
VOOPOO MOJO 88W TC
While plenty of brands spend time on flashy features that ultimately don’t add to your vaping experience, VooPoo consistently brings you everything you need in a tidy little package. This is as true as ever with their latest creation, the Mojo 88W Mod. This versatile vaporizer is easy enough to use for beginners but offers all the functionality to keep advanced vapers interested as well. We particularly suggest it for vapers who are ready to upgrade to their first Box Mod.
Powered by its internal 2600 mAh battery, the Mojo offers a max output of 88W and 8.5V. It’s also an excellent device for sub-ohm vaping, as the resistance can go as low as 0.05 ohms. It works great for a wide variety of different vaping styles and the size make it super easy to carry around. Built from durable Zinc Alloy, the Mojo can handle a fair amount of abuse without taking any damage. The device is regulated by VooPoo’s advanced GENE chipset, which is well known for providing incredible power and consistency, all in a ten millisecond firing time.
The Mojo isn’t a direct sequel to other incredible VooPoo mods like the Too and Drag, but the connection is evident in design and functionality. VooPoo takes pride in providing some of the best devices on the market, at very reasonable prices. It’s not common to find a brand that stands behind their product the same way VooPoo does. The Mojo sells for $64.95 MSRP and is available in one of seven vibrant colors, including a Tiffany company inspired shade of blue. The VooPoo Mojo 88W Mod is perfect for any vapers who look for easy to use devices that still provide lots of functionality.
Aspire Puxos 100W
Many in the vaping community laud Aspire for their incredibly designed and built vaporizers. Last year was another great one for the company, who released the super popular Puxos 100W Box Mod. This device was made to be highly efficient while still offering users a wide range of functionality. As such, it’s the perfect vape for those who are always on the road and want a device that won’t require lots of maintenance but still provide plenty of battery life and power.
One of the most underappreciated features of the Puxos is the variety of batteries it can take. It can be powered by either a single 20700, 21700, or 18650 battery, which offers different specialties. With either a 20700 or 21700 battery, the Puxos has a max output of 100W, and with a single 18650 battery the max output is 80W. Regardless of battery type, the resistance can be safely reduced to just 0.1 ohms. You can even make a few presets thanks to the Customized Power Settings mode, which is a must-have feature for many vapers.
With 18650 seen by many as the standard battery type these days, it’s nice to see some brands are keeping the variety alive. While they all technically work in the same way, certain kinds of batteries provide better output for specific tasks and Aspire uses them to perfection, offering a more well-rounded experience. Sold for $89.95 MSRP, they come in fourteen different styles, which includes both solid colors and more intricate patterns and designs. Vapers who want a high-quality mod with a distinct style should seriously consider the Aspire Puxos 100W Mod.
Sigelei Kaos Spectrum
The Kaos Spectrum by Sigelei offers users one of the most exceptional values available today, earning the honor of Best Value Vaporizer. Sigelei crafted this gorgeous modern vaporizer with a glossy black body wrapped in a belt of customizable LEDs. The six distinct colors allow you to adjust the vaporizer to fit any mood or occasion. Coming in at under $70 the Kaos Spectrum easily earns itself our honor of being the Best Value Vaporizer of 2018.
The Sigelei Kaos Spectrum delivers a solid feature set in spite of its value pricing. The vaporizer offers variable voltage and temperature control allowing users plenty of customization and control over their vaping experience. Quite the versatile device, the Kaos Spectrum supports the standard 510 threading, allowing expandability with a wide array of accessories. It even supports firmware upgradability through its micro USB charging port.
While the Kaos Spectrum by Sigelei easily offers users over $100 worth of performance and value, you can frequently find it for as little as $50, especially with the tremendous deals available here at CocktailNerd. The Spectrum offers users excellent performance and versatility, all at a bargain price. That makes it the perfect vaporizer for anyone seeking a premium vaping experience for an entry-level price.
GeekVape Aegis Shielded
From the same innovation house that brought you classics such as the Griffin RTA, Tsunami RDA, and the Avocado RDTA, brings you their latest and greatest creation, the shockproof and waterproof Aegis shielded box mod. Featuring robust waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof design its built to withstand the harshest of conditions. Its compact form makes it perfect for the vaping enthusiast on the go, and its unique, unmatched durability makes it ideal for our more adventurous vapers.
The Aegis is a powerful little vaporizer that can deliver up to 100 watts of power of a single 18650 or 26650 battery. It offers users variable voltage and temperature control, giving users a substantial amount of customization and control over their vaping experience. The atomizer heats within seconds allowing you to begin blowing rich clouds near instantaneously. Through the use of LSR injection molding technology, the Geekvape Aegis meets strict MIL-STD-810g shock-proofing standards and features an IP67 rating for water and dust-proofing.
The Aegis Shielded box mod delivers users powerful performance in a slimline form featuring a wide array of colors. GeekVapes proprietary chip delivers a powerful feature-set making for one of most advanced box mods available on the market today. All this for a hyper-competitive price makes the Aegis by Geekvape a fantastic option for anyone looking for precise control over their vaping experience.
The GX350 Starter Kit by SMOKTech offers users a remarkable value, featuring one of their most successful vaporizers to date. The GX350 box mod has managed to be quite the hit among advanced enthusiasts in the vaping community thanks to its all-around feature-set and compact design. Paired with some impressive battery life and packed into a robust value-packed kit, and you have a strong contender for one of the best devices of the year.
The GX350 utilizes 4 18650 batteries, which delivers up to an impressive 350 watts of power. These extra batteries give you incredible daylong performance enabling you to chase clouds deep into the night. The onboard chipset features fully upgradable firmware, allowing you to expand and enhance the performance of the device. SMOKtech utilizes 510 threading which offers compatibility with a wide array of accessories.
The SMOK GX350 provides several built-in safeguards such as low voltage, short-circuit low resistance, and battery depletion protection to keep you and your device safe. Their starter kit delivers a powerful vaporizer packed with everything you need to get started in the world of vaporizing. The SMOKTech GX350 is an excellent vaporizer for any enthusiast looking to get into e-liquid vaporizing without breaking the bank.
SMOK G Priv Touch Screen
While some companies are complacent with the status quo, churning out minor iterations of the same platform year after year, SMOKtech refuses to stagnate and continues to push the boundaries of innovation with their latest offering, the SMOK G-Priv Touch-Screen box mod. SMOKtech eliminated the cumbersome, bulky buttons of past models to make room for a beautiful 2.4” OLED touch-screen. This gorgeous display delivers pertinent information and allows access to nearly every setting of your device allowing you to unleash its full potential.
Aside from the remarkable OLED display, the G-Priv offers variable temperature control allowing for a high degree of customization over your vaping experience. The vaporizer is powered by dual 18650 batteries delivering up to 220 watts of raw power, allowing you to chase only the richest clouds. The G-Priv features a rapid startup time allowing you to power up your device and begin vaping in no time. The elegant modern design of the case is crafted from shatterproof glass, giving users unprecedented durability.
For some of our more power-conscience users, the G-Priv offers a dedicated button to toggle the display on and off to conserve battery when not in use. The powerful display and rich feature set are powered by SMOKtechs revolutionary proprietary chipset. The G-Priv by SMOK delivers users an advanced and high-end vaping experience, and thanks to some of the great deals available through CocktailNerd you can find the G-Priv for as low as $75. A perfect vaporizer for any enthusiasts seeking a high-end experience at a low-end price.
iJoy helped revolutionize box mods as a whole by being one of the first companies to incorporate a large-capacity RDTA directly into the body of the mod itself. iJoy delivers users the unrivaled convenience of a built-in RDTA with an impressive 12.8mL capacity to fill with your e-liquid of choice. The iJoy RDTA box is powered by dual 18650 cells which can deliver an impressive 200 watts of power to produce some rich, massive clouds.
The iJoy RDTA is a flagship device for the company, incorporating a robust feature set and durable build quality. iJoy gives users an unparalleled level of customization through its incorporation of interchangeable IMC gold-plated building decks, allowing users to build their perfect device through a choice of 11 different variants. The vaporizer features a gorgeous LED vertical-stack display showing only the most pertinent information regarding your device.
The RDTA Box by iJoy seamlessly blends notable efficiency, high powered performance, and untouched customization to deliver the ultimate builders dream. This box mod features easily one of the greatest RDTA’s on the market, with most competitors scrambling to match the innovation. From merely incorporating an RDTA directly into the body of the mod, to more nuanced intuitive tweaks, few companies can match the quality of product delivered by iJoy. While there are some solid contenders on the market, the performance and customization offered by iJoy is rarely bested.
SMOK Alien 220W
The Alien from SMOKtech is one of the most popular dual-battery box mods ever created; it’s simply an otherworldly vaporizer, featuring remarkable performance and space-age design. That is one of the first devices from SMOK to feature a lateral firing bar, giving users a more natural way to use the device. This beast utilizes dual 18650 batteries delivering an impressive 220 watts of power. The Alien’s fantastic display and controls help deliver a highly customizable vaping experience unlike anything else on the planet.
The Alien has a beautiful OLED screen displaying essential information and features dual battery indicators. The Alien utilizes the most advanced iteration of the SMOKtech proprietary chipset to date, ensuring the greatest performance and efficiency. The firmware is fully upgradeable giving you the ability to unlock the real power of this monster consistently. SMOKtech boasts an impressive reputation for delivering timely and innovative updates ensuring you’re always getting the most out your vaporizer.
For our power-building enthusiasts, the Alien features several of the latest safety protocols including protections against short-circuiting, low voltages, and low resistance. These built-in safety features help ensure peace of mind for you and your investment. The Aliens inspired modern design features out-of-this-world performance packed into a futuristic slimline form. Do Aliens exist? Find out with the Alien 220w box mod from SMOKtech.
Wismec Electronics partnered with Sinuous Designs to bring you the Predator 228, an advanced dual-battery box mod built as a direct competitor to the SMOKtech Alien. Sinuous designs deliver a gorgeous modern aesthetic that you’ll want to show off, while Wismec provides powerful and advanced performance by taking advantage of the latest innovations in box mods. Is the Predator an Alien killer? Let’s break it down.
The Predator is powered by dual 18650 batteries delivering an impressive 228 watts of raw power. This monster is capable of rapid charging through the use of the Avatar quick charger, allowing you to go from dead mod to blowing clouds in mere minutes. The firmware of the onboard chipset is fully upgradeable, allowing you to expand your device for greater customization over your vaping experience. The Predator is even capable of functioning as a power bank so you can charge your phone in an emergency through a separate reverse-charging adapter.
So does the Predator kill the Alien? Not exactly, it brings strong performance that gives the Alien some competition but doesn’t necessarily innovate enough to be a clear winner. Wismec’s advanced chipset delivers users dominant performance in a beautiful compact case brought to you by Sinuous Designs. You can frequently find the Predator for only about $50, making a tremendous choice for users looking to experience a higher-end performance at an entry price.
WISMEC Reuleaux RX GEN3
The third generation of the Reuleaux RX series by Wismec is smaller and lighter, yet somehow more powerful than previous iterations of this vaporizer. Wismec Electronics sought out California-based Jay Bo designs to deliver a truly impressive and powerful box mod. The Reuleaux RX GEN3 is the culmination of the latest innovations in performance, built to test the limits of you and the device.
The Reuleaux RX GEN3 features a gorgeous 1.3-inch OLED screen giving you convenient access to information as well as your devices controls. This mod is powered by three 18650 cells delivering a mighty 300 watts of power. It features variable voltage and temperature control modes giving users a high degree of customization and control over their experience. To help protect your device and ensure your peace of mind, Wismec has implemented some safety protocols including protections against low voltages, low resistances, short-circuiting, reverse polarity, and battery depletion.
The Reuleaux RX Series GEN3 by Wismec Electronics is an incredible builders mod allowing you to create some incredible clouds when paired with a proper atomizer and build. This box mod was built for customization and tweaking, enabling you to test the limits. The GEN3 is more portable than ever thanks to innovative styling courtesy of Jay Bo designs. The Reuleaux RX Gen 3 is the perfect box mod for the intermediate to advanced builders thanks to its customization and powerful features.
WISMEC Reuleaux RX 2/3
Wismec Electronics and Jay Bo Designs bring you an interesting revision to the Reuleaux series, the RX 2/3. This box mod features the ability to use 2 or 3 18650 batteries delivering tremendous flexibility in power options and capability. The RX 2/3 offers variable wattage with a maximum of 150 watts of output using only two batteries and the ability to reach up to an impressive 200W with three.
The Reuleaux RX 2/3 by Wismec is an impressive step up from the 200x series. It comes in a variety of six colors and looks tremendous in all of them. You can even place a custom logo of your choice on its OLED screen thanks to the mods upgradeable firmware. This device makes a great at-home vaporizer as it’s barely portable due to its larger size to account for the expansive battery capacity.
The Reuleaux RX 2/3 is an advanced, powerful device with a bold modern aesthetic thanks to designs by Jay Bo. Thanks to the great deals here at CocktailNerd you can get the RX 2/3 for some of the lowest prices online. An impressive blend of functionality and design available at an even more impressive price make it an excellent choice for the novice looking to push their vaping experience to its limits.
SMOK X Cube Ultra
The X Cube has proven to be quite the popular and successful platform for SMOKtech, and they continue its storied legacy with the X Cube Ultra. SMOK incorporated several innovative features such as OTA upgradability and haptic feedback. The X Cube Ultra is a culmination of years of research and innovation resulting in a true powerhouse box mod.
The built-in haptic feedback gives tremendous insight into your vaping experience, such as vibrating when attaching an atomizer or powering on the device. Although if you don’t want the input, you can disable this feature entirely through the menus on its gorgeous OLED display. The X Cube Ultra also features an LED strip to help indicate current battery life, keeping you informed at a passing glance.
The X Cube Ultra by SMOKtech is a powerful mod in a bold box. The Ultra gives users advanced control over the vaporizer through either the built-in buttons or through the SMOKtech companion app. The firmware is upgradeable through either micro USB or Bluetooth 4.0 via the SMOKtech app delivering upgrades in an impressive three minutes. It’s a great box mod for both new and experienced vaping enthusiasts who want to push their device to its limits and unlock all it has to offer.
Eleaf iStick Pico Box
The iStick Pico line by eLeaf has become quite successful for their creators, and they’ve now packed their years of engineering experience into a robust modern design thanks to a partnership with Jay Bo designs. Their latest creation is the Pico 21700. Pico is an acronym standing for preferable, innovative, compact, and outstanding, and we can readily attest that the 21700 lives up to the name.
The iStick Pico 21700 is powered by an impressive 21700mAh cell, paired with an ELLO tank to give users the ability to blow rich clouds all day. The ELLO tank has a capacity of 2mL, which should allow most vapers to puff throughout the day without needing to refill. The iStick Pico 21700 features variable wattage that can reach up to 100 watts and adjustable resistance that ranges from 0.1 to 3.5 Ohms.
The iStick Pico 21700 by eLeaf delivers a remarkable vaping experience in a beautiful box thanks to Jay Bo designs. Thanks to the great deals here at CocktailNerd you can find the 21700 for as low as $35. The 21700 combines bold style with powerful features, while its attractive price makes it an excellent choice for enthusiasts ranging from beginners to pros.
Tesla Invader 2/3
Teslacigs brings the predecessor to the Invader III with their innovative Invader 2/3 box mod. The Invader 2/3 earns its name from being powered by either two or three 18650 batteries. The device blends dominant performance and extensive functionality at an impressive price point. Teslacigs managed to improve the efficiency of the Invader 2/3 more than 50% over the Invader III.
As a powerhouse box mod, the Invader 2/3 offers support for back covers that can hold either two or three 18650 cells. Two batteries can reach an output of 240 watts, while three can produce as high as 350 watts. The Invader 2/3 features variable voltage which can be adjusted between 3 and 8 volts. It’s also paired with adjustable temperature controls, so you have plenty of room for customization while you chase that perfect cloud.
The Invader 2/3 by Teslacigs delivers some impressive performance packed into an attractive, sleek box. Tesla continues to extend their legacy of innovation with their latest iteration of the Invader series. You can often find the 2/3 as low as $40, making it a great choice for users wanting a powerful experience without going broke in the process.
Guide to Vaporizer Pens
The Basics of Box Mods
Formerly referred to as advanced personal vaporizers, box mods are powerful and feature-packed e-liquid alternatives to simpler cig-a-likes and e-cigarettes. Box mods are potent vaporizers that offer the latest innovations to hit the market such as variable voltage and adjustable temperature controls. These devices are often expandable through upgradeable firmware and offer exceptional support for an array of e-liquids and accessories.
Box mods emerged and quickly gained popularity after early adopters began modifying their old cig-a-likes in an attempt to extend the vaporizers functionality and unlock all their pen had to offer. As more companies began to take notice, an entire industry centered around advanced personal vaporizers, or box mods, began to take shape. Contemporary box mods offer users support for wide variety of accessories and functionality, with impressive gains in performance and efficiency over simpler devices.
Box mods earned their namesakes from the boxy and rectangular designs found in earlier advanced personal vaporizers. While modern devices still maintain these basic concepts, companies have gotten much bolder regarding design, pushing the limits while simultaneously improving ergonomics and portability. In the proceeding, comprehensive buyers guide we’re going to break down every aspect of the box mod including the different classes, styles, and features of the device.
Types of Vape Mods
Every advanced personal vaporizer or box mod is either an unregulated (mechanical) or regulated (circuit-protected) mod. Simply put, regulated mods feature advanced circuitry while unregulated mods offer the bare essential hardware.
Unregulated mods, also commonly known as mechanical or mech mods for short, have the less sophisticated hardware, but deliver the full power of the battery directly to the atomizer. While being able to utilize this raw output is perfect for our power-user enthusiasts looking to push the limits of their devices, these mods can pose a potential risk to beginners or novices that lack fundamental knowledge on safe use and operation of batteries and atomizers.
As regulated mods manage to deliver similar results while implementing the latest safety features to offer users peace of mind, they’ve quickly emerged as the more popular choice. These mods feature an integrated chipset that actively manages and regulates the amount of power that goes to the atomizer. These vaporizers offer advanced features usually not seen in mech mods, such as variable wattage, temperature control, pass-thru charging, upgradeable firmware, and even more. For more advanced power-users some devices even offer hardware-level customization such as high-level memory configuration and dynamic wattage curves.
How to Choose Your Perfect Box Mod
The first thing you’re going to want to consider when looking for your perfect box mod is whether you’re looking for an expandable, or all-in-one system. All-in-one systems feature the atomizer built directly into the vaporizer. While these atomizers usually can’t be swapped out and upgraded with other types, an integrated atomizer ensures perfect parity with your mod guaranteeing an excellent vaping experience. Many builders in the community enjoy upgrading and expanding their devices and see this lack of customization as a negative though.
An expandable system allows for greater flexibility. Simply choose a base mod and match with the proper atomizer to create the vaporizer of your dreams. As technology advances, having the option to upgrade your atomizer is considered a positive for many. Expandable systems also allow you to extend their functionality through a wide array of accessories. The only real negative is that beginners may have a more difficult time trying to find the atomizer that’s right for them in a such a competitive market. Although, in that case, we recommend buying an atomizer from the same company you’re getting your mod.
Features vs. Cost
Of course, regardless of the system style, you may choose, the next thing you’re going to want to consider is the feature set. A good starting point is figuring out how much power you’re going to need. Another vital aspect to factor in is how many batteries a mod can hold and the types of cells it supports. You may also want to keep in mind the ergonomics and overall design of the mod itself because you’re going to want to make sure it’s comfortable and convenient to carry.
The more features a box mod offers, the more expensive it tends to be, generally speaking of course. Some manufacturers offer feature-packed devices at a lower cost as we’ve outlined in our reviews, but these should be taken as exceptions to the rule. Advanced integrated chipsets provide users a wide array of features and functionality, although these vaporizers come with larger price tags to match. Cost-conscious users may need to look a little harder to find a great deal on a feature-packed device or sacrifice a bit of functionality to stay within their budget.
Box mods offer several control modes such as bypasses, temperature control, and variable voltage/wattage modes. One mod may support just one of these modes, while another may offer all of them. You can save money by choosing a less feature-intensive device if you know you only prefer one of these modes. The majority of users are going to want to a mod that offers temperature control or at least variable wattage mode. These vaporizers provide broad compatibility with most tanks on the market and offer a significant degree of customization over your vaping experience.
The differences between system styles, features, and control modes are all critical factors to consider when on the market for that perfect box mod of your own. Your research is going to ramp up as you explore the recent innovations and advanced features that are beginning to take hold of the industry. Our comprehensive guide was built to serve as a reliable educational foundation so can feel confident and informed in your search.
Box Mod Feature Guide
With such a wide array of features and functionality available today it can seem overwhelming trying to sort through it all. Most of the terminology can read like a foreign language at first glance, but with a little proper education, you’ll be proficient in no time.
A solid educational foundation can help ease the anxiety of trying to figure out what’s best, whether you’re new to vaporizing or transitioning from simpler vaporizers such as cig-a-likes. We’re going to break down traditional feature sets found in box mods to help you feel a little more informed and confident in your hunt for that perfect vaporizer.
Temperature Control is a newer method of controlling your vaping experience compared to fixed voltage or variable voltage/wattage control modes. Temperature control, or TC for short, offers users a safe and innovative way to customize their experience and dial in that perfect cloud. While only around since 2014, temperature control has quickly emerged into a standard for much of the industry.
In simple terms temperature control allows the device to operate at a user-defined temperature. The mod maintains this temperature to allow consistent performance and to prevent dry-hits. An integrated onboard chipset helps regulate the amount of power supplied to the coil to keep the heat consistent regardless of any fluctuations. It doesn’t detect the temperature directly; it instead monitors any changes in the resistance of the coil. The chip inside the device identifies the resistance to respond to any possible temperature fluctuations. That ensures consistent performance and that you’ll never experience a dry-hit again.
Dry-hits occur when the coil overheats or the tank is out of e-liquid. They’re marked by a lack of vapor and an awful flavor. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of accidentally drawing a dry-hit, you’ll know how badly you want to avoid this. Luckily temperature control mode helps to prevent dry hits through dynamic temperature adjustment. Simply put, if the chip detects the device is overheating or out of juice it will power off to prevent a dry-hit. That is quite a blessing for more seasoned vaping enthusiasts who have suffered through trial and error to figure out how to best avoid them.
With box mods that feature temperature control, there are three different coil materials to consider: nickel, titanium or stainless steel. There isn’t enough research on other materials to accurately determine their safety and efficacy, so it’s best to stick to these three until more studies are conducted. Temperature control vaporizers operate at a range of 100 to 300 degrees Celsius, or about 300 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. While there are mods with lower operating temperatures, 300 degrees Celsius is the highest temperature we’ve seen yet. Temperature control allows users to dial in that perfect cloud, enabling easy customization over their vaping experience. It’s important to note that certain e-liquids may vaporize more efficiently at different temperatures so be sure to note this when shopping for juice.
While temperature control mode and its many advantages may make it seem like an obvious choice, it does have some disadvantages. The main one being the fact it produces less vapor compared with other methods. We’re not talking cig-a-like less, but if you’re looking to take cloud chasing to the next level, you may want to pass on a TC-only device. Do-it-yourself custom coil builders don’t like Temperature Control modes since the nickel wire used needs to be quite thin, and thin wire increases the complexity and cost when building custom coils. However, temperature control mode is an excellent feature for the vast majority of vaping enthusiasts. More advanced power-users such as cloud chasers and coil builders may want to shop around a bit to find something offering more customization over their experience.
Voltage and Wattage Mode
Variable voltage and wattage modes are a bit older than temperature control mode. Variable voltage mode emerged in early 2010, with variable wattage following shortly after in mid-2011. Variable voltage and wattage modes are an evolution of simpler fixed voltage designs such as those found in cig-a-likes. Fixed voltage devices are simpler, offering a single setting and operating at that voltage until the battery depletes. Due to this distinct lack of versatility, you’re not going to find any advanced box mods with a fixed voltage. You will, however, find plenty of advanced box mods offering variable voltage and wattage support. That allows for customization over your vaping experience.
Variable Voltage was a massive innovation and represented a giant leap forward in vaping technology. The introduction of the variable voltage mode shook the vaporizer industry as we knew it, giving birth to a litany of various mods over the past near-decade. These devices feature advanced microprocessors that allow you to manually adjust your mods voltage, enabling you to increase or decrease vapor production to your liking. The main downside to variable voltage is that settings need to be adjusted based on the resistance of whichever atomizer you’re using, meaning you’re going to need to recalibrate your settings each time you swap hardware. While there are still a decent amount of variable voltage vaporizers out there, variable wattage is by far more popular nowadays.
Variable Wattage was built on the lessons learned from creating variable voltage devices in an attempt to build a smarter device. Variable wattage first appeared in the pioneering Evolv Darwin, which we would say lives up to its name as the Darwin indeed evolved the industry, surviving as one of the fittest in what some would consider an overpopulated marketplace. Variable wattage allows for power settings to remain constant even when adjusting atomizer resistance, solving issues that held back the first variable voltage vaporizers. An integrated onboard microprocessor calculates atomizer resistance against the strength of the batteries to set the wattage. That means you don’t have to worry about adjusting your settings every time you add a new coil. Speaking of new coils, variable wattage mods offer some of the most exceptional support for building custom ones, allowing you to control every aspect of your vaping experience.
Variable voltage and wattage allow you to adjust the power supplied to the atomizer; variable wattage is just a slightly more advanced method that simplifies adding new hardware. In general, higher wattage or voltage tends to produce a hotter vaporizer, while a lower wattage or voltage produces a cooler vaporizer. As we went over previously, some e-liquids vaporize more efficiently, delivering a richer vapor when set to the correct temperature.
An easy to understand analogy to help you differentiate between the two would be to think of variable voltage operating like your car’s gas pedal. When you approach hills or other obstacles you manually adjust the pedal to get the same desired speed. So pushing your gas pedal is like changing the voltage of your device based on the resistance of the atomizer to get the best performance. Whereas, variable wattage operates more like cruise control, in that when engaged the acceleration will automatically adjust to match the defined speed. Variable wattage functions similarly by altering power based on coil resistance to match the wattage desired.
More advanced power-users and serious vaping enthusiasts continue to seek out variable wattage thanks to a high level of precision and control that allows them to maximize their vaping experience. Temperature control mode delivers a satisfying vaping experience and helps prevent dry-hits by monitoring coil conditions and cutting off the mod if any irregularities are detected. Alternatively, variable voltage models monitor the coil to keep consistent wattage regardless of what happens, making it the perfect choice for users who desire a high degree of customization without micromanaging their vaporizer.
A bypass mode allows users to bypass the integrated safety protections on their device, basically turning your vape into an unregulated mod. Please do note that this mode can’t entirely bypass the chipset, meaning the core safety protocols remain functional. In practice, you’re only given the ability to utilize the full output of the battery, and should any issues occur the safety features would kick into power down the mod. Nowadays box mod users with tanks often see this as a redundant feature, seeing as you don’t need to use bypass mode when using a tank.
Of course, there are still many power-users and serious enthusiasts in the community who enjoy the customization of their experience offered by bypass modes, but a good portion of the vaping community dismiss it as a useless feature. In fact, in a recent poll by AspireCigs, they asked their users if they should keep this mode or remove it in future models, and almost 80% of respondents voted to drop it entirely. That just isn’t an essential feature in the modern era and only caters to a niche of dedicated enthusiasts.
With new features and innovations emerging near-daily, the need for robust safety standards and protections has never been greater. Alongside the desire to maximize performance comes a race for higher and higher power outputs, which only leads to increased risk for users without stable protocols in place. You want to enjoy the peace of mind that regardless of user or device error, you and your investment are safe. It would be tragic to shell out possibly hundreds of dollars on that perfect box mod just to have it potentially short-circuit or burn-out.
It’s crucial for you to have a solid understanding of standard safety features and what they do so you know what to look for when buying a mod. We’re going to break down four major safety features in detail: low voltage protection, short circuit protection, low resistance protection, and lock mode. These protections are industry standard, so be sure to seek them out when shopping around. Unless of course, you’re the type of enthusiast who likes to live on the edge and is purposefully seeking out an unregulated mod.
Low voltage protection helps to prevent the battery from over-draining, which would ultimately ruin its ability to hold a charge. An integrated microprocessor detects when the voltage gets too low and cuts off the battery. Newer and more inexperienced users who lack a fundamental understanding of battery voltages should strongly consider vaporizers with low voltage protection. Low voltage is indicated by a severe and noticeable drop in quality of the vapor itself. You would severely damage your batteries capacity to carry a charge if you were to try to continue vaping when the voltage dips too low. The need for this protection is even more significant if you’ve made the unfortunate choice of using cheap knock-off batteries.
Short circuit protection has emerged as an industry standard over the last couple of years, proving to be an essential feature in modern regulated box mods. There are some unregulated mods out there that achieved this through use of a special fuse that blows when the current exceeds device limits. Sigelei offers a very cost-effective Vape Safe Fuse that only costs about $6, which of course is significantly cheaper than having to replace the entire mod or potential medical bills. The consequences of using an unregulated mechanical mod without a short-circuit fuse could prove very dangerous, making it all the more important to have a solid understanding of what you’re getting into before using unregulated mech mods.
Low resistance protection prevents the mod from firing when the atomizer coil receives too low a resistance for the current wattage selected. While some models may have an audible or visual indication, none of these mods will fire. Of course to help prevent this, always make sure you know the proper resistance for your atomizer and box mod before vaping. You can find this information in your manual or online if you’re like me and have a habit of misplacing manuals. Having a solid fundamental understanding of your device and its functionality should help prevent any issues, although it’s always a good thing to have peace of mind that no avoidable accidents will occur.
Lock mode is protection that prevents the device from misfiring when not in use. For portable users, this feature is a no-brainer, as I have a small scar on my right thigh from a very old cheap mod that fired after I put it in my pocket. It’s a very painful and very avoidable accident that makes a lock mode a necessity when shopping around for a new mod. Even if the safety aspects don’t intrigue you, it’s a great way to conserve battery life when not in use, helping to ensure daylong performance. In most vaporizers, you set your mod into lock mode by rapidly pressing the power button 3 to 5 times, which ensures it won’t fire until you quickly press the power button an additional 3 to 5 times in quick succession.
With a variety of different box mods, come a variety of different charging methods. Some mods favor simple removable batteries, while others prefer complex, integrated cells. Mods featuring an integrated cell are going to need to be charged either through a standard USB or proprietary connection. In general, you’re better off opting for vapes featuring USB charging as cables are cheap and abundant. Whereas with a proprietary connector you’re going to need to buy a new cable directly from the manufacturer, often at a high markup. When looking for a mod with an integrated cell, be sure to seek out battery capacity to match how frequently you’ll be using the device.
Of course, if you purchase a mod that doesn’t feature an integrated battery, you’re going to need to buy a separate charger. If you check out the deals section here at CocktailNerd, you’ll find great offers on powerful chargers that handle a wide variety of batteries. One of the upsides to using a standalone charger is you can buy batteries in bulk and always keep a couple charged and ready to vape. Several modern box mods now offer USB charging for removable batteries as well, offering users the best of both worlds.
Final thoughts on Box Mods
There are many factors you’re going to need to consider when searching for the perfect box mod. The excellent staff here at CocktailNerd have been tirelessly working away to compile this guide to help you determine the box mod that’s just right for you. Always remember no single box mod will be ideal for everyone. Knowing your own needs and preferences alongside a basic understanding of the features a device can offer is the perfect starting point in the search for your dream mod.
We brought you several comprehensive reviews featuring the top devices on the market including our mentions for Best In Class, Best For Beginners, and Best Value vaporizers of 2018. We also reviewed ten additional critical and commercial hits that have proven to be standouts in the vaping community. We hope our expertise paired with these in-depth reviews and fundamental guide have left you feeling informed and confident to go out and find your box mod.
While we’ve tried to cover every basis in our comprehensive guide and reviews, we appreciate and understand if you have any further questions or comments. Feel free to simply leave us a comment below or connect with us on through Facebook or Twitter. The CocktailNerds and our helpful community would be glad to help guide you in the right direction.