What is a Box Mod?
There is still debate over what the term “mod” means when it comes to vaporizers and vaping devices, but I’ve always thought of it as meaning a “modified” vaporizer. In the auto tuning world, a car enthusiast will “mod” an ordinary vehicle with performance parts or style accessories. Do-it-Yourself hobbyists and enthusiasts will cleverly “modify” and re-purpose common household items to solve unique problems.
In the vaping world, a mod can have ALL of the above definitions.
In comparison to your typical e-cigarette or pen style vape, a mod is usually larger and almost always allows for various sized removable/rechargeable high-drain batteries. Mechanical Mods are arguably the most popular because of their simple operation, their look, and their ability to handle powerful atomizers.
Usually tube-shaped, they are called “mechanical” because they lack wires and other electronic components would normally bottleneck power. The downside to owning a mechanical mod is that you cannot control or regulate power directly from the battery.
A box mod is another type of “mod”, with the biggest difference being the most obvious – its shape. While they look nothing like cigarettes or cigars, the extra space gives mod makers the ability to add components like variable power control, digital screens, and even fused protection.
Personally, I love box mods because they don’t want to roll off of the dining room table.
To understand why tube and box mods exist at all, you have to go back nearly a decade ago to when vaping was in its infancy. The first e-Cigarettes were naturally met with a great deal of skepticism by smokers and non-smokers alike. They were intentionally small and shaped like real cigarettes, because the idea of vaping replacing smoking was already difficult to accept. They were expensive, inconsistent, cumbersome, and messy – but they WORKED!
Once people (including myself) took to vaping and stopped smoking completely, they began to realize that the typical e-Cig was not adequate for daily use. The small size was convenient, but the poor battery life and lackluster power left users looking for more. At the time, there was nothing better that was commercially available – so average people (not engineers) began building their own “mods”. These were nothing more than glorified battery packs crafted from old flashlights and battery holders.
“The Detonator” was one of the first “mods” I ever owned and was literally a flashlight tube with a button and 510 connector attached. Early models that were like it had stacked batteries without any sort of regulator, which is something we would frown upon today. Also, the name of the thing was probably a poor choice. As silly as this device might look now, it and others like it were the precursors to the tube-shaped mechanical mods that we see today.
There were also many box mods made from AA and AAA battery holders of all sizes. Some of these were basic and ran using standard voltage, others were more sophisticated made use of common voltage regulators like the LM317. “The Puck” is a good example of a simplistic box mod with power control.
The key to remember is that these mods were not being made by large tech companies – they were hand made by home hobbyists on their free time. It would be a while before mods like this were made on a large production scale.
Within a short span of less than 5 years, the ingenuity and creativity of mod makers has expanded dramatically on a global level. Battery technology, power regulation, and a better understanding of electronics made this revolution possible – but it is only during the last couple of years that box mods have shown their true strength.
To really think outside the box means thinking inside the box.
The same cultural shift that we are seeing with new cell phones is similar to what we see with vape mods. People are willing to accept that their device must be larger, but only if the benefits are worth the added size! A larger box mod can not only house multiple batteries and a high wattage power regulator – it can also house displays, meters, fuses, and an array of other features that would otherwise be impossible.
While big companies will try to produce these type of box mods on a large scale – they will never be able to replicate the character, style, and intricacy that goes into making one by hand, one at a time. Mass produced boxes will almost always be unnecessarily large, because making them as compact as possible is laborious. I put a minimum of 15 hours of work into each device, which doesn’t include painting or any real world testing to ensure that each mod performs as it should. A lot of love goes into making each of these and there is not one of them that leaves my home, that I would not be proud to own myself.