What’s better, a box or a mechanical mod?
Ever since the rise of box mods, this has become a popular question but what’s the answer?
Well first, what’s the difference?
A mechanical mod uses only mechanical (physically moving) components in its design to both fire and protect the mod from misfires.
A box mod comes in two styles, unregulated box mods and variable wattage / variable voltage box mods. Both of these types typically use circuits to fire the mod. The difference between the two is that an unregulated mod only uses the battery’s physical capabilties, similar to a mechanical mod, but they can sometimes hold more batteries, thus offering more power/longer battery life.
A variable wattage box mod uses voltage amplifiers, MOSFETs or other similar power amplifiers to increase or decrease the power from the battery. Some can get over 250 watts which is a ton of power.
So which one is better?
Simpler design – Since it only uses the physical properties of the mod to fire and conduct, there is less of a chance for failure since you don’t have to worry about circuits getting fried
Durability – Mech mods are usually made from stainless steel, brass, copper and more recently aluminium which are very strong metals for the most part. Copper and aluminium are a little less resistant to scuffs and scratches than steel or brass, but tough nonetheless. If you drop one, it’s most likely still going to work fine afterwards.
Size – Mechanical mods come in all different sizes but all of them are pretty compact for the most part. A full size 18650 mod is somewhere around 4″ – 5″ without an atomizer on it while an 18350 is about 2″ or so. No matter which way you go, it’s likely to fit in your pocket.
Simplicity – Some box mods have lots of menu options to choose from: auto fire shutoff, puff counters, voltage, wattage etc. With a mechanical mod, just pop in the battery and you’re good to go.
Power – A mechanical mods power output is determined by the conductivity of the metals used, the impedance (ohms) of the coils in your atomizer, lack of physical imperfections that cause voltage drop in the design, and the amperage of the battery. Other than these things, you cannot adjust the output unless you rebuild your coils or use a stronger battery, but even then, there are still physical limits.
Safety – Other than locking rings, there are no safety measures in place on a mechanical mod so you have to know what you’re doing when you build. If you build a coil with too low of an impedance for your battery to handle, you risk blowing your mod and your battery up and causing injury. Same if you put the battery in backwards, don’t do that!
Battery Life – Since there are circuits to regulate the current flow, when you fire a mechanical mod you get the full force of the battery. A box mod sometimes has circuits that will reduce the current flow based your settings, putting less wear on your battery.
Options – You can choose from unregulated, variable wattage and/or variable voltage in a wide range of power outputs. For the most part, you can match or beat any power that you will ever see from a mechanical mod and if you’re using a variable wattage box mod, you don’t need to rebuild your coils if you want a cooler or warmer vape.
Ergonomics – To fire a bottom-button mechanical mod, your hand is usually in a kind of awkward position. You don’t realize it until you start using a box mod. Overall, a side firing box mod is just more comfortable to use, not to mention many box mods are grooved for your fingers.
Cost – This one can go either way. If you compare a Chinese made box mod such as a Sigelei to an American made mechanical mod, most of the time the price is going to be less and the reliability of a Chinese box mod will be on par with an American mechanical mod (they make all of our electronics anyways!) When comparing an American made box mod to an American mech mod, the price will be about the same, give or take a few bucks for the most part. But, you get more power and longer battery life than a mechanical so you still get more for your money.
Safety – With a regulated box mod, there are often safeties like low impedance protections, thermal protection and reverse polarity protection. Basically, if something isn’t right on a box mod, it won’t fire. Not the case with a mechanical mod.
Size – Unless you’re getting a micro sized box mod, they’re going to be taller and wider than a mechanical mod. But even if you do get a tiny box mod like the Sigelei Mini, it’s still bulkier than a mechanical mod.
Electronics – All electronics, no matter if it’s a Tesla Car, Sony TV, or a blender have a failure rate. Period. There’s no getting around it. That’s not to say that it will fail in a week, or even a year, but there is always a chance they will fail. A circuit could fry, or a wire could come loose. There’s always a chance that an electronic component will fail.
Durability – Most box mods are made from wood or aluminium with a couple exceptions. These materials are obviously not as strong as solid steel, brass or copper. If you drop a box mod, there’s a much better chance that you’ll physically break it. Plus, since there are electronic components, you run the risk of knocking a component loose.
So which one is better? Box mods or mechanical mods?
It really comes down to preference. Some people like the simplicity of the classic mechanical mods and enjoy rebuilding their coils and finding ways to get difference effects by actually physically working with a mech mod. Not to mention, the metal combinations with different atomizers looks sick.
But some people don’t want to rebuild their coils to get different effects on their vape and enjoy the options that come with box mods. And box mods aren’t nearly as phallic as a mechanical mod (hey let’s be honest here).
I still love mechanical mods. I appreciate the metal working and artistry in the design, not to mention the precision that goes into manufacturing them. But after using a box mod, I’m going to have a hard time switching back to using a mechanical. The comfort and not (always) having to rebuild if I don’t like how it’s hitting is what sells me on them. But they aren’t for everyone. It all depends on what you’re looking for in a mod!
What do you prefer, a box mod or a mechanical mod? Sound off in the comments below!