An overview: What are mechanical mods?

Mechanical mods began their life as the creations of at-home tinkerers who were unhappy with the capabilities of the devices available at the dawn of the vaping industry.

However, mechanical mods eventually became commercial products, and those products proved successful among beginning and advanced vapers alike.

Today, many people still use mechanical mods as their primary vaping devices – but times are changing rapidly.

Are you shopping for a new mod? Do you think that a mechanical mod might be the right choice for you? In this article, we’re going to help you make an educated buying decision by discussing the pros and cons of mechanical mods.

Do mech mods still have a place in the vaping industry in 2019? That’s what you’re about to find out.


How do they work? 

A traditional regulated vaping mod is essentially a small computer. A microprocessor and system firmware regulate the device’s power delivery and allow you to control its functions.

When you press the fire button on a regulated mod, the chipset checks the batteries' charge status, the resistance of the atomizer, and the operating wattage you’ve selected.

If the chipset determines that you can vape safely, the atomizer will begin producing vapour. A regulated mod usually has design elements such as control buttons and an LCD display.

A mechanical mod, on the other hand, has none of those features. A mechanical mod is nothing but a tube or box with battery connections and a button. It has no electronic components of any kind. Pressing the button completes a circuit and activates the battery.

As you can probably imagine, these two highly different approaches to the design of a vaping device result in two very different experiences for the end-user. Let’s learn more about what the experience of using a mechanical mod is like.


Simplicity makes Mechanical mods inexpensive and durable

The traditional design of a tube-shaped mechanical mod has just three components: a metal tube, a top cap with threading for the tank or atomizer and a bottom cap with a button for activating the battery.

The extremely simple design means that you can buy a mechanical mod cheaply. Some companies produce expensive hand-made mechanical mods, but those boutique devices aren’t necessary; you’ll have the same experience with an inexpensive mod.

The simplicity of mechanical mods also means that they can theoretically last forever. With a mechanical mod, you’ll never have to deal with an unfixable problem like a failed microprocessor.

Furthermore, if you happen to cause physical damage to a mechanical mod, you can usually replace the damaged component yourself.


A Mechanical mod wastes no power

A few paragraphs above, we provided a simplified description of how a regulated mod works. When you press the fire button on a regulated mod, several things happen before the atomizer activates.

A modern mod can do those things in a minute fraction of a second, but a regulated mod still has a slight noticeable delay before it produces vapour.

Also, a regulated mod needs to use some of the battery’s power to drive those electronic components. On the other hand, in a mechanical mod, the battery’s full power goes directly to the atomizer. When you press the button, vapour production is instant.


Mechanical mods leave safety management to you

The biggest drawback of mechanical mods is that owning a vaping device with no electronic components also means that your vaping device does absolutely nothing to keep you safe.

Some of the safety features that you’ll find in a typical regulated mod include automatic monitoring for a short circuit, low battery voltage, overheating or a dangerously high output current.

If a regulated mod detects any of those conditions, it’ll stop working and display an error message until you rectify the situation. 

If you choose to use a mechanical mod, your device won’t check for potential dangers when you press the button.

No matter what, pressing the button will complete a circuit and cause something to happen. Therefore, making the choice to use a mechanical mod means that you’re making the choice to take safety matters into your own hands. If you don’t feel comfortable learning and applying some basic principles of mechanical mod safety, you’re probably better off buying a regulated mod.

Mechanical vape mod

Do Mechanical mods still have a place in 2021?


One thing to remember about mechanical mods is that when they began their life, vaping equipment was very different from today.

A typical atomizer operated at no more than about 12 watts and drew no more than about 3 amps from a battery. Sub-ohm vaping has changed that. A modern vaping coil with a resistance of 0.15 ohms, for example, will operate at 117 watts and draw 28 amps from a 4.2-volt battery.

Are you sure that your battery can deliver 28 amps safely? There’s a reason why most single-battery regulated mods top out at around 80 watts; anything more than that is asking too much from one battery.

You can find dual-battery mechanical mods in which the batteries are wired in parallel to provide double the maximum continuous discharge. Doubling the batteries means that you’re doubling the number of potential points of failure, though, and that’s a safety issue you shouldn’t ignore.

So, do mechanical mods still have a place in the vaping industry in 2021? It’s extremely unlikely that mechanical mods will ever go away entirely.

They’re simply too cheap, versatile and durable. For those reasons, they’ll always have a place among a specific subset of the vaping community.

If you build your own vaping coils, it’s easy to build something that perfectly suits your mod’s capabilities. If you prefer tanks with pre-made coils, though, you should know that vaping companies rarely design modern tanks with mechanical mods in mind.

If you want to use a modern tank with big, low-resistance coils – such as the Geekvape - Zeus Sub Ohm Tank – you’re going to have a better experience if you use that tank with a regulated mod that can deliver the required wattage safely.


Updated 29/07/2021