Vape Pens or Vape Mods: Which One Should I Go For?


Anyone trying their hand at vaping will likely have to undergo a learning curve before they fully get into the swing of things.

You need to orient yourself with the inhalation styles (something that will influence your choice of e-cig device), choose the right nicotine strength, experiment with flavours, get a primer on Ohm’s Law, learn about PG and VG, and of course, orient yourself with the various devices on offer.

And that’s just the surface. There will be maintenance to think about – from replacing coils, to cleaning your vape device and handling batteries safely – vaping laws to brush up on, knowing how to score the best vaping deals and need to shop from reputable vendors, you name it.

It can be as confusing as your first time at the sushi shop. Fortunately, by acquainting yourself with the basics, it doesn’t take long to get up to speed.

It starts by picking up on fundamentals like vape pens and vape mods – the device options available to you – and how to choose the ideal fit depending on your experience level.

An overview of vape pens

A vape pen – as the name suggests – is an e-cig device that bears semblance to a pen; only that it’s beefier, sleeker and of course, electronic. However, as vape technology has advanced, we’re starting to see the emergence of sub-ohm devices (more about this shortly) that resemble vape pens. Point here being that not every pen-shaped device these days is a vape pen.

But you can tell a vape pen apart by looking under the hood. Also known traditionally as personal vaporisers, vape pens usually come with an MTL (mouth-to-lung) tank that should be used with regular e-liquids – that is, e-liquids with a PG (propylene glycol) content of 50% vs VG (vegetable glycerine); 50:50 ratio. Any e-liquid with more than 50% VG is considered a sub-ohm juice.

Vape pens are low-powered devices that employ vape coils of more than 1.0 Ohm (above ohm). They are suited for everyday vaping and an ideal choice if nicotine satisfaction tops your priority list.

An overview of vape mods

Vape mods are the largest and most advanced form of e-cigarettes available. Traditionally known as APVs (advanced personal vaporisers) earlier vape mods came in the form of mech mods (short for mechanical), although these have become scarcer and gradually phased out by box mods.

Vape mods also include other sub-ohm devices that may not be categorised under either mech mods or box mods. These are basically devices that make use of lower resistance coils – below one Ohm) hence the name sub-ohm. The term sub-ohm can basically be used to refer to any vape mod, so the two are interchangeable more or less.

Vape mods make use of sub-ohm e-liquids or high VG juices that are high in – you guessed it! – VG (vegetable glycerine) content. These are usually juices with more than 60% VG. So, VG/PG ratios could be 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 or even 100% VG. They produce thick plumes of vapour and are used for cloud chasing.

Therefore, a mod is the device you want if blowing huge clouds is the agenda. However, since they use high VG juices which are characteristically low in nicotine content by design (maximum 6mg/ml of nicotine), vape mods are not ideal for people who are after nicotine satisfaction.

That especially goes for smokers making the transition to vaping. After all, vape mods are powerful devices and are only recommended for experienced vapers – although there are starter kits targeted at intermediate vapers to help ease them into the world of sub-ohming.

So, if you’re a beginner (ex-smoker or not) the mod category is not the aisle to be shopping in.

Vape pens or vape mods: Notable differences between the two

By now, you already have a gist of what to expect with either category of device. But let’s expound on that further by looking at individual aspects where the main differences lie…

  • Size

Vape pens are smaller and lighter compared to vape mods, thus more portable. In fact, before the emergence of vape pod kits, the vape pen was the device of choice when going outdoors. It still is for a good number of vapers.

Vape mods used to be clunky devices for carrying around, although modern versions have undergone an evolution and not as cumbersome to move around with. Regardless, they are still bigger in size considering they have a larger tank and battery.

  • Power (and battery)

One area that vape pens differ most from vape mods is in performance. Vape mods are powerful devices by their very nature as they are primarily made for sub-ohming – a form of vaping that relies on more powerful, high-performing devices.

This is evident in the battery capacity of the two, with vape mods typically dwarfing their smaller counterparts. The battery itself is larger in vape mods besides packing more power. As well, mod batteries come in more options and are built with variable wattage vaping in mind.

  • Simplicity and features

Vape mods are more advanced than vape pens. That’s because the latter are designed for regular vaping, therefore tend to be simpler in design and function and more user-friendly, so much so that it’s possible to pick up a vape pen and start vaping right off the bat.

Vape mods, on the other hand, are relatively complex and will involve a bit of a learning curve before you can effectively use one. Even the inhalation style is different; in this case direct-to-lung (DL) vaping. A DL draw is different. It entails inhaling vapour from the device straight to the lungs.

Vape pens, for their part, are made for MTL (mouth-to-lung) vaping, a style very much similar to a combustible cigarette’s and the default inhalation technique for most people.

  • Features

Vape mods boast a long list of features that you’ll not find in your ordinary vape pen, including variable wattage, temperature control (TC) vaping, safety features and other bells and whistles.

In a nutshell, a mod gives you more control over your vape due to the slew of customisation options it offers.


In closing, it’s also worth pointing out that vape mods are more expensive than vape pens.

They also tend to be more durable, although that will depend on the grade you invest in – this ranges from cheaper models that will hardly last a few months to high quality models that can give you years of service. Where you buy also matters keeping in mind that the market is not short of knock-offs, which is why you should stick to reputable vape vendors.

If you’re new to vaping or vaping for the nicotine satisfaction, a vape pen is the ideal pick. Mods are more suited for cloud vaping and require some bit of experience in the game.

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