The Joys of Building a Vape Mod
Are you an adult who is new to vaping? Congratulations and welcome to the vaping community. The jargon and wide range of vaping devices on the market can seem a bit overwhelming. But you will be speaking the language soon enough.
Do not hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions. There are many experienced vapers on the VapeBargains.com team. We are your best source of information on vape juices and hardware of all shapes and sizes.
Whether you want the most basic vape starter kit or demand the top-tier performance of a vape mod, we have a device for you and the expertise to match you with a perfect product.
For many adult vapers, a reliable device straight out the box is the point of entry into the world of vaping but not the final destination. A temptation to graduate to bigger and better vape mods is common.
Today we are going to look at building your own vape mod kit. Not only does building your own vape mod provide you with a more thorough understanding of vaping, but the result is a device custom built to suit your needs.
Vape Mods versus Vape Pods
Every vape functions the same way. There is an e-liquid composed of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Nicotine strength will vary greatly but this e-liquid is the heated into vapor using a coil. A battery provides the power to heat the coil.
Two terms common terms are vape mod and vape pod. A vape pod has a pod that can be filled with e-liquid. For most models, the pod can be tossed once the coil contained within the refillable pod has lost flavor or performance. This typically occurs after 15ml for most salt nic juices.
Some vape pods have swappable coils and are known as AIOs. Vape mods also have coils that can be swapped. To make matters more confusing, terms such as pod mod and mod pod also appear with frequency. What makes a vape mod different than a vape pod?
Best Vape Mods
The difference is simple. Vape mods have standardized 510 threading. It is this compatibility that allows you to build your own. You can find vape pod kits that nearly match vape mods in features, wattage output and ultra-low resistance coil options. We discuss coil resistances below.
But when it comes time to replace the pod and coil, you are stuck buying those from the manufacturer. There is no cross compatibility between brands or even product families within the same brands. While the same is technically true for the coils in individual tanks, you can switch the tank you use on your mod.
The Best vape mods offer a world of possibility. You can drop a 510 threaded UWell Tank on a Smok Mod or vice versa. There is a bit more to perfecting your own vape mod, as we will discuss below, but that basic compatibility is what makes it possible.
For more information you can check out our recent feature on the Top 5 Vape Mods. Another great starting point is our article titled Tanks for Every Flavor. These can help you get the lay of the land and understand the current state of the art in vaping technology.
The Best Vape Mod Starter Kits
The best vape mods come in many shapes and sizes. The most common shape is the box mod. Many are sold as starter kits, complete with a tank, coils, and charger cord. But several manufacturers also sell just the mod without these accoutrements.
Vaping hardware was more complex a few years back, with all sorts of threading standards. The market was littered with a variety of e-cigarettes, cig-a-likes, EGO Twists, vape pens, pods and of course the mighty vape mod. If you are looking for a refillable device in 2021, customer preferences and the PMTA process has winnowed the field down to 510 threaded vape mods and vape pod kits.
The best vape mods that remain on the market are reliable, long-lasting, generate great flavor and fire almost instantly.
Building Your Own Vape Mod
New vape mod designs are often designed to operate with an equally new vape tank that comes standard with the vape mod starter kit. If you are new to vaping, it may make sense to stick with one of these bundles. Many vape mods now have integrated and built-in rechargeable batteries. In this case, all you need to get starter is an outlet to charge your mod. Once this is done, just fill and affix the vape tank. Make sure you let the coils prime for 10 minutes before firing.
Many vape mods still use removable 18650 lithium ion batteries. In this case, you will have to purchase them separately.
Vape Brand Loyalty
If you are brand loyal and have a mod or tank you love, consider sticking with the same brand but upgrading. With few exceptions, you can screw a 510 tank onto any 510 mod but there may be overhang if it is a larger tank.
As mentioned above, coils are not so forgiving. They are only compatible with specific vape tank models. There are compatibility guides that help you avoid purchasing the wrong coil.
Your old Smok Alien or first generation Voopoo Drag vape mod may not have all the bells and whistles or as sophisticated of a chip, but it has more than enough power to fire the newest Smok Tank. If you are on a budget and want to upgrade, this is the easiest way to do so.
The biggest single obstacle to building your own vape mod kit is going to be vape tank size. Most vape coils operate between 50 and 100 watts, meaning pretty much any vape mod in the market is going to be able to fire the coil. With adjustable wattage being a standard feature on most vape mods, selecting the right vape mod for you can often boil down to which form factor, screen size or features you prefer.
There are outliers, there are still some tube mods on the market. These are simple and tubular mods. They have one button for locking and firing, no screen or menu and often use a built in tank. Some are even asutodraw like a vape pod kit. Tube Mods perform like a box mod but with fewer features and an integrated battery. There are also mini-mods like the small Vaporesso Gen Nano. It has 510 threading but is much smaller than the Vaporesso Gen S. Voopoo has some interesting mods as well.
Vape Tank Size
If you are building your own vape mod kit through mixing and matching, check the width of the tank and the mod. Mods are not all the same size. A big tank like the Smok TFV16 has a diameter of 28mm. It will work on a smaller vape mod but will overhang the sides. An oversized tank will also make the combination top heavy and more likely to tip over. Make sure you determine the largest size tank which can fit on your vape mod without overhang.
The e-liquid capacity of vape tanks can vary greatly. There are massive models that hold 7 or more milliliters of ejuice. Then there are compact tanks like the Vaporesso GTX which has a diameter of 22mm and a capacity of 3.5ml.
This is going to be the single most important piece of information in this deep-dive. It is a hard won lesson that many a novice vaper has stumbled upon. Vape coils are not cross compatible within brands. On the contrary, the biggest manufacturers have a wide range of coils and multiple tanks similar in name and appearance that do not have an interchangeable coils. Smok has a very cryptic naming convention and development cycle for their coils and tanks. Cloud Beasts, Baby Beasts, TF tanks, TFV tanks, TFV8, Cloud Beast Kings, etc.
Direct to Lung Vaping
There is no way we can cover all the permutations of coils and compatibilities in this article. Just make sure you check carefully before purchasing replacement coils. Coil performance is measured in ohms of resistance. You will see ohms applied to vape pods as well. The lower the number, the more vapor is going to be produced.
Lower resistance coils also require more power to work optimally. This is sub-ohm vaping. The drip tips (mouthpiece) on a sub-ohm tank may be as wide as 810mm. This is because sub-ohm tanks are designed for vapor production and direct to lung (DTL) vaping. The name describes it well. You hit the fire button and a blast of vapor heads straight into your lungs without pausing in your mouth.
There are multiple coils for most tanks. They vary a bit in terms of performance. There are some vape tanks that have high resistance coils ideal for more potent e-liquids, but most are sub-ohm coils meant for vapor production first. They work best with max-VG juices. The best coils blend good vapor production with slightly lower wattage. Thanks to advances in coil technology, a sub-ohm coil operating between 50 and 80 watts can generate a huge amount of vapor. New mesh coil designs simply work and are very efficient.
Mouth to Lung Vaping
High resistance coils generate less vapor and work at lower wattage settings. They usually have a tighter airflow as well because they are meant for mouth to lung (MTL) vaping. The name says it all. Mouth to Lung vaping has you first inhale into your mouth and then drawing the vapor into your longs. The tighter draw, which is the force required to drag on a vape, facilitates this authentic form of vaping.
If nic salts and MTL vaping is your thing, there are not a huge number of choices available for vape mods. When compared to the number of vape pods on the market, it is positively miniscule.
The Vaporesso GTX tank has high resistance coils. An even bigger game changer in the Voopoo PnP tank. It can either be affixed to one of Voopoo’s mod pod kits or with a 510 adapter it can be vaped on a classic vape mod. Voopoo is trying to create a universal atomizer family that works on pods and can be attached to any mod. Good luck with that. It would make matters a lot easier for everyone involved.
If you want to continue to vape salt nic juices, building your own vape mod probably doesn’t make much sense. There is one exception. If there is a tank you love that has 510 threading and high-resistance coils, the Vaporesso GTX being a perfect example, affixing this little tank to a big box mod gives you a very powerful and long lasting platform.
The vape mod base will provide a ton of battery life. With the power dialed down for nic salt vaping you will have a device that can vaped for days between charges. Figure that salt nic juices are usually vaped between 10 and 25watts. Even the lower wattage sub-ohm coils are usually firing at 50 watts.
Salt Nic Juices
In general, vape pods are the preferred way to enjoy salt nic juices. Most nicotine salt e-liquids have a 50/50 VG/PG ratio. The emphasis is on flavor. They are perfect for compact mouth to lung devices and that generate less vapor.
It is not just a matter of power. The air flow and even firing mechanisms on these devices are optimized for potent salt nic vape juice.
Most vape pods are draw activated. This lends itself to Mouth-to-lung vaping. With very few exceptions, vape mods are button fire. The 510 threading of a vape mod does not lend itself to autodraw activation.
It is crucial to look at the nicotine strength that you are vaping. There are massive differences. A salt nic juice can range from 25 to 50mg nicotine strength. Regular freebase max-VG juices generally come in 0, 3 and 6mg strength. That is an 8 to 16 fold difference in potency. Freebase simply describes the type of nicotine used in lower strength e-juices.
Max-VG juice is perfect for a vape mod with sub-ohm coils and the nic salts are not. Do not vape salt nic juices out of a sub-ohm tank or a vape mod and tank set-up unless you have a high-resistance coil installed.
The typical ratio is 70 percent VG and 30 percent PG for a freebase juice. There are plenty of vape pod coils that pay lip service to DTL vaping and max-VG juices, but none that can match the flavor and performance of a true vape mod.
How To Use Your Vape Mod
The way you build your vape mod will determine what kind of vaping experience(s) you will get. Today, vape mods come with a variety of features such as wattage and temperature control that directly affect the vaping experience. For the most flavor and vapor, crank up that wattage. On the side of each coil the optimal wattage will be listed. While most coils function fine at a slightly lower number, exceeding the suggested wattage could result in quicker coil burnout,
Also keep in mind that the higher the wattage, the faster you are going to blow through e-liquids and battery life. However, you’ll be burning through vape coils faster as well.
Most adult vapers start with small and easy to use to vaping devices that generate great flavor. Ease of use and satisfying performance are the goals. Disposable vapes and prefilled vape pods both fall in this category. Disposables are autodraw devices that you can use right out of the box. Prefilled vape pods require pod swapping but are still very basic. You can save money with refillable vape pod kits, which you fill with your own bottled e-juice but are roughly the same.
But there is a tradeoff with a smaller vape pen. They achieve their diminutive size by using a smaller battery and generating less vapor. Prefilled pods and disposable vapes still provide satisfactory performance with less vapor production but do so by using higher nicotine strength e-liquids. If you are looking to user lower-nicotine juices, a bigger device is probably going to be more effective.
Building a Vape Mod
One topic we did not discuss is building out your own coil designs or even operating your own mechanical mod. Those are topics for a specialist forum. You had best have experience in electronics, electricity, and myriad other hand skills if you want to embrace that hobby. User forums are perfect for seeking out the hands on experience required to safely build a mech mod and wrapping your own coils.