Vaping for Beginners: Internal vs External Battery Mods
There’s a ton of box mods to choose from with all sorts of features and capabilities. So, which one should you buy?
Vape mods are either powered by an internal or external (replaceable) battery and come in a variety of sizes and functions.
Choosing the right one can sometimes be a daunting task with so many available on today’s market, but we’ll be addressing their primary differences in hopes of helping select what’s best for you.
Internal Battery Mods
Internal battery box mods have the battery cells built into the device itself and are not removable.
Much like a cell phone, the lithium polymer or LiPo battery is charged via a USB cable. They range anywhere from beginner eGo pens all the way up to sophisticated and high-powered DNA chip devices.
The internal battery has a fixed amount of charges before it essentially becomes useless and doesn’t hold a charge. Once its’ natural life cycle has expired or becomes defective, the mod is no longer usable or doesn’t last long enough to satisfy your nicotine cravings.
Vaping on a Budget
Initial start-up costs for built-in battery mods are cheaper and may be a good choice for new vapers with a limited budget.
They come ready to use right out of the box and do not require the purchase of batteries or a charger.
At first glance, this may seem convenient, but e-cigarette users should realize that if your battery life depletes, you must charge the mod before using it again.
You can definitely vape while you’re charging it, but you won’t always be in an environment that makes this possible.
This is a big limitation of built-in battery devices.
Unlike mods that use external batteries, you won’t be able to swap the battery out for a fresh one, and these devices usually sacrifice maximum battery life in favor of a smaller form factor.
Since you can only charge them by using a micro USB cable, if something happens to the charge port and gets damaged, the device will no longer work after the battery is depleted.
With external battery devices, you can simply charge the batteries with an external charger and swap in freshly charged batteries to continue vaping.
Portability or Power?
Size does matter when choosing a box mod.
Internal battery mods come in smaller and more compact forms when compared to external battery mods. It allows for companies to be more versatile with the shapes and sizes of the vapes.
Many of these mods even offer temperature control suites and safety features such as the Snow Wolf Mini and Wismec Reuleaux RX Mini. They are great for traveling light and fit discreetly in pockets or purses.
However, smaller mods do equate to less power and battery life. This will limit the range of available atomizers you’ll be able to pair with the device.
Choosing the right mod that falls within the operating range of your sub ohm tanks or builds will help maximize its full potential.
For tanks that perform best at 90 watts and above, you wouldn’t be able to get optimum performance using it with built-in battery devices, since they usually only go up to a maximum of 80 W.
Even the larger, more powerful Sigelei J150 Box Mod has less battery life than many of the popular dual battery mods.
Internal battery devices simply can’t output as high of wattages as their counterpart.
Sub ohm tanks and rebuildable atomizers these days are cranking upwards of 300 watts; which would require a dual, triple, or even quad battery mod.
Mods with internal batteries are popular among new vapers, and it’s easy to see why.
Just plug and charge them and you’re ready to vape: no hassles with separate batteries or chargers.
However, what vapers need to understand is that you have no control of the quality of the internal battery cells.
What’s in the mod is what you’re stuck with.
If the qualities of the cells are low, the vaping experience and battery life is drastically decreased. This is why choosing a mod from reputable companies such as Smok, Joyetech, Sigelei, and Joyetech is so important.
Here’s a list of popular box mods for 2017:
- Council of Vapor Colt Volt 80 W Mod
- Wismec Reuleaux RX Mini Mod
- Laisimo Snow Wolf Mini Plus
- Council of Vapor Mega Volt 80W
- Sigelei J150 Mod
External Battery Mods
Many different battery types ranging from 26650s to 18650s power replaceable battery mods.
The versatility makes these devices a popular choice among vapers. You have the option of choosing a single or up to a quad battery mod for higher wattage outputs and increased vaping time.
Once the battery life has depleted, freshly charged batteries can be swapped instead of having to wait for the device to charge. This is especially convenient when you don’t have access to any outlets.
Choosing a high-powered device with extra battery life does come at a price: they get substantially larger in size and become difficult to transport in pockets or purses.
Dual battery mods such as the Smok Alien 220 W and Sigelei Fuchai 213 Plus are a favorite due to its balance between size, power, and features.
High amperage batteries are available in Lithium Manganese (Li-Mn), ICR Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), Lithium IMR, and IMR/Hybrids.
The Lithium IMR is the most popular due to its higher tolerance to heat, while IMR/Hybrid batteries are recommended for builders wanting increased maximum load current and life.
A critical aspect to consider when purchasing an external battery mod is learning about battery safety.
Since you have total control of the brand of batteries you’ll be using, picking the right one with suitable specifications will ensure a better experience and safety.
These batteries have the potential to explode or catch fire when handled improperly or used beyond their capacity.
They should always be transported in carrying cases, kept out of contact with metal objects, and away from extreme heat.
The battery should be disposed of or re-wrapped if any signs of wear or tear are observed on the protective wrapping.
They should also never be overcharged or over discharged, and it is recommended for beginners start with regulated devices over mechanical mods.
Mech mods are a whole other topic and require a much steeper learning curve including Ohm’s Law and battery outputs. Manufacturers these days engineer regulated devices with a multitude of protection parameters to ensure safety while used at high wattages.
Some safety features to look out for:
- Low and high voltage cut-off
- Reverse battery protection
- Damaged battery sensing
- Overcharge and over discharge cut-off
- Short-circuit protection
- Over-heat protection
- Heat ventilation ports
The term “married batteries” means the batteries stay together their entire life.
They can be used in different mods but can never split up. They should always be discharged and recharged at the same time.
If a new battery and old battery are used together, it is possible for the old battery to discharge below 3.2 volts, potentially causing damage to the mod or battery itself.
That’s why it’s so important for the device to be draining the batteries at an even rate, which is only possible if the batteries are the same in all aspects, including age, charge, model and brand.
If the mod is designed in series, the batteries should rotate position with each recharge. This is because the first battery will take the majority of the discharge before the second one.
How Much am I Spending?
When purchasing an external battery mod, you also need to factor in the added expenses of batteries and a charger.
They average between seven to eight dollars per battery and from twenty to thirty dollars for a charger.
The 18650 is the most popular battery due to its high compact power density and large quantity manufacturing. They are used in flashlights, laptops, power tools, and even in the electric automobile industry.
Today’s market offers high quality Japanese or Korean batteries designed to withstand 500 charges without deteriorating. Some of best batteries on the market today include the LG HG2, LG HE4, and Samsung INR 25R.
For added convenience, many of the external battery mods are now chargeable via a micro USB port and are a must-have for many vapers.
They even offer a pass-through option that allows for vaping while charging.
It is recommended to keep this charging method to a minimum or when an external charger is not applicable.
External chargers offer better heat ventilation, faster and more accurate charges, and higher quality chips to ensure battery health and longevity.
In addition, not all mods with a micro USB port are used for charging and instead used solely for firmware upgrades. Companies such as Nitecore and Efest offer a wide variety of premium chargers at an affordable price.
Things to Consider
Does it have Temperature Control?
Virtually every new regulated device on the market comes with temperature control and VW/VV mode.
The regulation of temperature when using nickel, titanium, and stainless steel heating elements gives users the ability to dial in the perfect vaping experience.
You’ll be able to vaporize the e-liquid at its optimum temperature for better flavor and prevent burning. It also helps extend the battery life and coils as well as giving a consistent vape with every hit.
Box mods on the market have an average temperature control range between 200 and 600 °F and even include memory modes when switching atomizers.
Another feature to consider when purchasing a box mod is its resistance range. Some are now capable of reading resistances as low as 0.05 ohms for generating huge amounts of vapor.
Plastic or Metal?
You should not be selecting a box mod made of plastic – whether it utilizes internal or external batteries.
There are many devices on the market made of plastic that have little to no security. High-end devices are primarily constructed out of a zinc alloy casing due to its durability, lightweight, and anti-corrosive properties.
Metal offers a much stronger protective barrier as well as better heat dissipation. Ventilation holes also allow the batteries to vent and lowers the chances of explosion during a malfunction. Vapers will be able to tell if there is a malfunction and gain the much-needed time to save the mod or yourself.
Electronic cigarettes used to be simple with nothing more than a single operating button.
Devices nowadays contain large OLED screens for displaying anything from wattage, voltage, amps, temperature, battery life, atomizer resistance, and even puff count.
Purchasing a mod that has all these displays not only looks cooler but also serves a safety purpose.
Understanding what all the values mean keeps the mod and battery in good health.
Here is a list of the best external battery mods for 2017:
Single Battery Mods:
- Sigelei Fuchai 213 Mini
- Smok AL85 Mod
- Sigelei Evaya 66 W Mod
- Eleaf iStick Pico 75 W Mod
Dual Battery Mods:
- Smok Alien 220 W Mod
- Sigelei 213 Plus
- Smok G-Priv 220 W Mod
- Pioneer4you IPV8
- Aspire NX75-Z
- Joyetech eVic VTC Dual (compatible with single or dual battery)
Triple Battery Mods:
- Sense Blazer 200 W Mod
- Wismec Reuleaux RX2/3 (compatible with dual or triple battery)
- Sigelei Snow Wolf 218 W
- Council of Vapor Tempest 200 W Mod
- Smok Marshal G320 Mod
Quad Battery Mods:
- Smok GX350 Mod (compatible with triple or quad battery)
- Wismec RX300 Box Mod (compatible with triple or quad battery)