Most people are familiar with a standard vape pen akin to a cheap electronic cigarette with a disposable e-liquid cartridge. If you’re unfamiliar with a vape mod, think of it as a more powerful, “souped-up” version of a vape pen.
We like to compare the differences between a vape pen and a vape pen mod to the differences between a joint and a bong.
They both serve the same general purpose, i.e., a way to consume cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes. However, one of them is much more potent than the other.
With that in mind, it’s relevant to think of a vape mod simply as a more powerful tool than a vape pen. A vape mod also has lots more features that can enhance your vaping experience greatly.
In this article, we’ll look at the differences between a vape mod (or a vape pen mod) and a standard vape pen. We’ll also go through the various types of vape mods, and let you know which one is best. Finally, we’ll tell you which one we think you should start out with if you’re just getting into vaping.
Vape Mod Pens and Advanced Personal Vaporizers – Are They the Same Thing?
One question that we get asked often is: “are vape pen mods and Advanced Personal Vaporizers (APV’s) the same thing?”
Well, the short answer is that they are mostly the same thing. Both vape mods and AVP’s are just a variation on traditional, disposable vape pens or e-cigarette.
They typically contain some advanced feature(s) of the latter, most often in the form of:
- A more powerful heating unit
- A higher-quality wicking system
- A larger e-liquid capacity
- A bigger battery
With that said, there are LOADS of different styles of vape pen mods out there. So it doesn’t clarify matters by classifying them all under the vague definition of a “beefed up vape pen” (even though that’s essentially what they are).
Should I Use a Vape Mod if I’m Just Starting to Vape?
Another question we get all the time in addition to “what are vape mods?” is, “what kind of vape mod should I start with?”
If you’ve never used a personal vaporizer before, you should probably start with a simple, cheap, disposable vape pen. These can give you an excellent idea of what the whole vaping experience is like. There really is no need to spend your hard-earned cash on a top-end mod in the beginning.
Let’s look at the differences between the various vape mod brands and models that are currently to choose from.
Vape Mods 101: The Basics
Like we mentioned, vape mods are essentially just “beefed up” versions of cheap e-cigarettes. But what exactly do we mean by “beefed up?”
The actual mods are generally variations on the major working parts of a vape pen, which are:
- The battery: The battery supplies the heating mechanism with the power that it needs to heat up. On cheap vape pens, the battery is generally way too underpowered for experienced users. Vape mods are designed to provide a significant boost, and ultimately a more powerful hit.
- The heating mechanism (e-coil): This is the very life force of the device – without it, the unit is about as useless as a joint without a lighter.
Vape Mods and Temperature Control
You might think that the e-coil on a vape mod can heat to much higher temperatures than a disposable vape pen can, but, in reality, the opposite is true.
When you’re vaporizing, the goal is to heat the material (whether it’s dry herb, CBD vape oil, etc.) to temperatures just above the boiling point of the active compounds. For most cannabis substances (including THC and CBD vape juices), this is under 500℉.
Most cheap vape pens (and even some vape mods) with single-temp controls will heat WAY beyond these necessary temperatures. Of course, this utterly defeats the purpose of vaporization. It can also cause some of the thinning agents in the e-liquid to break down into carcinogenic aldehydes.
Moreover, the heating elements on many vape pens are very erratic when it comes to the distribution of heat.
Even on a coil that’s no more than a centimeter in width, you can get hot spots. These hot spots can be hundreds of degrees warmer in one area than they are in another.
Most high-quality vape mods have superior e-coils that are much more stable in terms of heat distribution. Also, many of them allow for total temperature control. This will enable you to choose which active compounds you want to inhale, thus giving the ability to customize your vaping experience — pretty amazing stuff.
Vape Mod Components
The unit containing both the heating element and the wick is called the atomizer.
The wick is simply the part of the vaporizer that delivers the e-liquid (or oil) to the e-coil. In most models, one end of the wick sits submerged in the oil cartridge (which thereby saturates it). The other end is wrapped around the coils in the atomizer, giving the liquid direct contact with the heat.
In cheap vape pens, the wick is usually a simple cotton wrap. In higher end vape mods, they are often made of much more efficient and durable materials like silica.
The cartridge is the last major functional element of the vape pen. On disposable models, you usually never see it, as once the pen is empty, you simply discard it.
On higher-end vape mods, however, you usually have the option to refill the cartridges. This is crucial if you like to switch up your e-liquids. It allows you to change flavors or switch from a high THC blend to a CBD blend. Moreover, some cartridges (or ovens) on a vape mod can give you even more freedom. Some give you the option to switch between vape oils, wax/resin concentrates, or dry herb (flower buds).
Want a Vape Pen Mod? You’ve Got Plenty of Options
Hopefully, by now, you have a basic idea of the differences between a vape pen and a vape mod pen. This knowledge should help you to decide which one will work best for your needs.
However, with so much choice, it can be challenging to narrow it down to one. There are lots of good units out there, so our advice is to do some homework. Shop around (either online or in-store) for some of the most reputable brands. This should help you to find the one that best suits both your budget and your needs.
Bear in mind that there are some pretty sketchy brands out there. Some are selling straight-up junk vape mods for ridiculously high prices. Therefore, if you’re unsure of where to begin, check out our Vape Starter Kit for Newbies article.
Hundreds of Different Types of Vape Pen Mods to Choose from
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different vape mods out there (brands, models, etc.). Also, you can use many individual components to build up your own customized vape pen mod.
You may decide to customize your vape pen mod if you know you’re going to be vaping a particular oil. If you know you need a specific heat pattern and wattage output, you can choose precisely the battery you want. You can then source a suitable e-coil and wick system to pair it with.
You can also switch up your wattage/power supply within the same vape mod unit. You can do this by merely screwing off one battery and replacing it with another. And vice-versa with the e-coil/atomizer unit. There is a whole convoluted network of thread sizes and male/female joints to take into consideration, though. You’d need to know the difference between 510, 306, and 901 styles, but we’ll save that for another article!
Origins: How (and Why) Did the Vape Pen Mod Come to Fruition?
The origins of the vape mod came about because of the limitations of disposable e-cigs and vape pens. Consumers wanted something more powerful, which could deliver a more potent hit than any vape pen was able to provide.
And actually, rumor has it that some of the very first vape mods were built out of flashlight housings. Most flashlights have a cylindrical, hollowed out body, they provide a perfect framework for building a customizable vape mod. Don’t try this at home, though!
At some point, a skilled and resourceful vaper made one out a flashlight.
They were able to do so by filling the empty flashlight housing with the necessary components. By inputting the atomizers, vape oil cartridges, and mouthpiece, they could make a high-powered, fully-functional portable vaporizer.
From there, of course, the rest is history. This innovation has led us to where we are today. Now we have insanely futuristic devices like the state of the art Apollo E-cig.
Rookie Vapers: Should You Start With a Vape Pen Mod?
Like we mentioned earlier, it is totally up to you what vaping device you choose. You could begin with a more expensive vape mod. Alternatively, you could do what most people do and purchase a cheap, disposable vape pen. This will give you a good idea of what vaping is all about. This way, if you ever decide to upgrade to a vape mod, you’ll have a basic understanding of vaping beforehand.
If you have some experience vaping, you may want to try out the enhanced features of a vape mod. If so, by all means, spend a bit more and treat yourself to a good unit. You can pick up some great mods for well under $50.
People who start with a cheap vape pen, often invest in a vape mod unit reasonably quickly. The main reason they do so is for health and safety reasons. As previously mentioned, a lot of low-quality vapes out there will heat the oils and e-juices to ridiculously high temperatures. These pose a risk of converting compounds like propylene glycol (PG) into carcinogenic formaldehyde and other aldehydes.
What About Vape Pens? Are They Even Good?
Like with most things in life, though, if you want the top end products, you’ll have to pay more for them. You can easily get a functional vape pen for around $20. However, the best vape pens currently available on the market will run anywhere from about $60 to well over $100.
Hopefully, this article on vape pens and vape mods answered some of your questions. If you’ve got some burning questions, feel free to hit us up or message us on our Facebook page! Enjoy, and happy vaping!