Quite simply, a box mod is the battery in an e-cigarette. The clearomizer holds the e-liquid and makes vapour, and the box mod houses the battery (which is actually rechargeable) and the fire button. While this would have adequately described a box mod 10 years ago, they’ve changed considerably since then to meet user demand. Nowadays there are hundreds of designs on the market, and many of them rely heavily on electronics to improve user experience.
Even though some models are very easy to use, you still need to read the user manual carefully before you start. As is often the case with e-cigarettes, newer models aren’t always better than the older ones. It really depends on what you’re looking for. Although there’s a vast range of box mods out there, your choice ultimately still boils down to a few essential criteria.
All box mods are powered by a rechargeable battery. Ordinary batteries aren’t powerful enough and won’t last long enough. There are two main types of batteries: first, built-in batteries. They are sealed inside the box so you can’t access them, like most mobile phones nowadays.
Built-in batteries have several advantages. You don’t have to buy them separately from the box, and you can recharge them inside the box via a standard USB cord. They’re also smaller, which lets manufacturers reduce the overall box size. On the other hand, you can’t replace them during the day if the box runs out of battery, so you need to keep an eye on your battery level and remember to charge your box!
When it comes to removable batteries, you can obviously replace them yourself. They look like big batteries, and the most common size is the 18650. They offer a long battery life, you can charge them in the box or in an external charger, and you can replace them whenever they run out. However, they’re sold separately, and you must always carry them in a protective case.
Most boxes with removable batteries use 18650 batteries. These are standard batteries. The number 18 denotes their diameter in millimetres, 65 is their length, and 0 means they’re cylindrical. Single battery boxes use just one, and of course dual-battery boxes take two. This means that they can deliver higher power and have double the battery life, even though they are smaller.
The 21700 format is also now commonly used in e-cigarettes, although far less widely. These larger batteries also offer superior performance when it comes to power and battery life. They’re almost always used as single batteries because two would make a box very cumbersome. Most boxes that use 21700 batteries can also use the 18650 type with a small adapter, which is usually included.
The biggest difference is whether a box is electronic or mechanical. Electronic boxes are by far the most common. They use an electronic circuit to manage how much power is sent to the atomizer, and protect the device in the event of a short circuit, for example. That means you can use them with any clearomizer. You just adjust the power level to suit the coil you’re using. They also manage battery output to make the charge last longer.
Mechanical mods don’t use any electronic circuits. They fire via a simple mechanical switch, and they have no built-in security if they malfunction. The vaping power you use with a mech depends on the coil you’ve installed and the battery charge. Their design is simpler, but you really need to know how to use one to vape in complete safety. They’re really reserved for passionate amateurs who know how to use these types of products.