Box Mods 101
Old school regulated box mods came in two forms: variable voltage and variable wattage. Both types are usually confused as the same, but there are differences. Before explaining the differences between the two, it’s important to understand how watts (or power), volts, current (or amps), and resistances (or ohms) interact.
There are formulas to determine each variable – known as Ohm’s Law – and they are:
- Voltage (V) = Current (I) x Resistance (R)
- Power (P) = Voltage (V) x Current (I)
While you can calculate manually for each, there are Ohm’s law calculators you can use online to make things easier for you. That being said, determining your sweet spot means knowing how many watts your preferred vape is. If your perfect vape is achieved by using a 2.2-ohm atomizer at 4.2 volts, the power you’re getting is equal to 8 watts.
When using a variable voltage device with a 2.2-ohm atomizer, simply adjust the voltage to 4.2 volts to achieve your sweet spot. To achieve the same 8 watts with a 1.4-ohm atomizer, the voltage needs to be adjusted down to 3.3 volts.
Things are simpler for variable wattage. Using the above example, if your sweet spot is at 8 watts, you simply adjust the wattage of the device to 8 watts and the mod will adjust voltage accordingly. It doesn’t matter if you use a 2.5 ohm or a 0.5-ohm atomizer. Once wattage has been set, you’ll get your perfect vape every time. Based on these facts, variable wattage devices are true “set it and forget it” vapes.
Regulated Box Mods Vs. Mech Mods
Box vape mods are now more often preferred over mechanical mods. Many variable wattage mods can match the power outputs of other, more capable, mechanical mods that are on the market today. This preference over mechanical mods is because box mods are easier to use and maintain and are built with various safety features, such as short circuit protection, reverse battery protection, thermal protection, and automatic cutoffs, which prevent accidental fires inside the pocket or purse.
Even though box mods are safer than mechanical mods, they still need to be handled with care. All the reports of exploding mods are either because they were mechanical mods with no circuitry or there was damage to the battery due to mishandling.
Now, if you looked at our vape mod reviews above, you may have noticed that we mentioned several of them offer a “bypass” mode. Bypass mode will make a box mod work like a mech mod. Drippers will have an option to use the best box mods as a mech if they so wish. For most vapers, we recommend taking advantage of the precision control of today’s top-rated vape mods.
Box Mod Batteries
There are several types of batteries used in box mods. The various sizes are 18650, the most common by far, 20600, 20700, or 21700. The most common vape batteries you will see sold in stores are:
- Lithium IMR or Li-Mn
- Protected ICR Li-Ion
There is also another – LiPo batteries – but these are used as internal batteries. These are not safe chemistry, and protection depends on the circuitry of the mod. One might hear this name thrown about in vaping circles, but since these are not used as removable batteries, this type will not be discussed in-depth.
Lithium IMR and IMR/Hybrid batteries are safe chemistry, and these are recommended for use with mods. While Protected ICR Li-Ion batteries can still be found, these are not recommended and are considered obsolete.
Both types of IMR batteries are “high drain”, and while also called “unprotected,” they are also “safe chemistry” meaning they will not explode or light up under stress. Instead, they vent gas. These make them the most popular types of batteries vapers use for their mods. However, Lithium IMR types have a lesser capacity compared to ICR batteries. However, IMRs work best when the maximum load current is required.
For the curious, a short article on how lithium-ion batteries work can be read here.
The IMR/Hybrid batteries, on the other hand, have the same safe chemistry make up as Lithium IMRs but with more capacity. It is the newest type and the one most recommended by users. It renders obsolete both the ICR Protected and Lithium IMR batteries in one fell swoop. Some e-cig manufacturers (like MigVapor) sell special e-cig batteries that are ready to be connected to the vape tank of your choice.