Mechanical mods, or mech mods, were some of the first mods available only a few years ago. In fact, they were originally conceived by vapers who modified flashlights, and the name “mod” just stuck. Today, mech mods come a variety of shapes and sizes beyond your standard tube.
Due to its simplistic design, the performance of a mech mod can be vastly different depending on the type of battery that is used. Likewise, the type of build in your atomizer will greatly affect the vaping experience when using mechanical devices. They are not for your beginner vapers.
At one time they were commonplace, today mechanical mods are mostly used used by advanced hobbyists, vaping enthusiasts and collectors of high end mods.
We noticed that most of the “Best Mech Mod” pages on the web were outdated, so we decided to focus on the current products in the world of mech mods. There are many classics that are tried and true, but here’s a look at the best mechs widely available, affordable, and reliable in 2018…
Mechanical tube mods
- 27 mm body tapered to 25 mm diameter
- 21700 / 20700 / 18650 capable (with included 18650 adapter)
- Innovative multipoint and silver plated contact pin for increased conductivity
- Reversible tube for customizable grip
- Automatic battery adjustment & hybrid connection
Imagine a mech mod that allows you to use any kind of battery you want. This hard hitter will make all your dreams come true. The Dreamer is a versatile 27 mm hybrid mech mod that tapers down to 25 mm. It uses either a 21700, 20700, or 18650 and self-adjusts to your battery.
The Dreamer uses an innovative multipoint silver plated contact pin for maximum conductivity. The tube is reversible, so you can rock it whichever way you want. For the price, you aren’t going to find too many other authentic mods with such nice quality and versatility of options.
- Copper: brass or white brass chassis
- Delrin button face
- Accepts single 18650 or 20700 battery
- Adjustable silver-plated copper contacts
- Includes delrin 18650 adapter sleeve
- Short circuit safeguard
- Negative pole inserted first
- Proprietary broadside firing switch
- No spring & no magnet required
- Solid and multi-point contact
- Impeccable energy transfer
- Downward facing vent holes
- Floating 510 positive pin
- Diameter: 25 mm
If you’re into mech tubes, you know about the Broadside. The latest version is a collaboration between Broadside mods and BJ Box Mods. It uses a unique new switch that doesn’t require magnets or springs. It also provides excellent contact no matter which way you press it.
The Admiral uses a 20700 battery or an 18650 with an included adapter. It has downward facing vent holes for added safety. The mod is 25 mm in diameter and comes in either copper, brass or white. If you’re looking for a hard hitter that takes both 20700s or 18650s, this is a great option.
- Dimension: 24 x 85.2 mm
- Material: copper/stainless steel
- Cell type: Single high-rate 18650 cell (not included)
- Thread: 510 threaded
Vape like a pro. If you want a hard-hitting hybrid that performs like a high end tube, this is it. VGOD has put together a fantastic kit for under $100 that includes everything you need. It comes with the Elite RDA, but also works great with any 24 mm dripper of your choice.
The VGOD Pro Mech 2 uses a carbon fiber TriCon switch that provides excellent conductivity. The mod is made of copper and is coated in black cerakote. It has option delrin grips for added comfort and style. If you’re serious about blowing clouds and doing tricks, this mech is for you!
- Three Piece Clutch Contact
- Interchangeable Sleeve
- Hybrid 510 Connection
- Locking Switch
- High Flow Battery Safety Vents
- Reverse Battery Protection
- Internal Short Protection Sleeve
- 25mm Diameter x 96mm Length
- Single 18650 Li-ion Battery (Not Included)
Sub Ohm Innovations is back with another hard hitter for competitive vapers! The Sub Zero X takes the best features from two of their most popular mods, the Shorty and the Legendary. It’s slightly wider, and now utilizes interchangeable sleeves to allow more user customization.
The SubZero X is now 25mm in diameter, 1mm more than its predecessors. They’ve included some new additions including an internal short protection sleeve and reverse battery protection. These are features that you wouldn’t typically find on a competition-grade, cloud chasing mod.
- Machined at 28mm tapered to 24mm
- Ergonomic curves for comfort
- One thread section with compatible threads to all future VC Tube Mods and accessories
- Milled in button and hybrid connection
- Silver plated copper battery contact with gold plated copper socket button
- Capable of running 20700 and 18650 batteries
Not just another tube. The XXX is a cloud chaser’s fantasy. Silver-coated contacts, gold plated copper switch and a solid body construction make it ideal for competitive vaping. The XXX is one of the first to utilize 20700 batteries, but also comes with an adapter to use a single 18650.
Made of a solid body construction, the only threading is on the battery cap, ensuring a super-low voltage drop. It has an ergonomic curved design for extra comfort and style. It starts at 28 mm on the top and tapers down to 24 mm. Both 24 and 25 mm atomizers will look great on the XXX mod.
Vaperz Cloud also sells an extension tube to convert it into a dual 18650 stacked series device.
- Extra-thick magnetic switch
- Pure silver contacts
- Hybrid top cap
- Carved stab wood body
This ain’t your standard tube. It’s a hand-carved stab wood tube mod only for the serious collectors. One of the first of its kind, there are not many exotic mods like this out there, made of stabilized wood. It features an extra thick magnetic switch and pure silver contacts. The tube is 24 mm in diameter and utilizes a hybrid 510 connection. Now you can chase clouds with style.
Bettlecraft mods are made in Taiwan with meticulous attention to detail. Complete with polished brass accents and an expertly crafted design, this is the definition of high end perfection. If you are looking for a high end, single 18650 mod, be sure to consider the Bettlecraft stabwood tube.
- Brand: Hellvape
- Type: Electronic cigarettes accessories
- Accessories type: mod
- Model: Trishul
- Material: brass
- Mod: mechanical mod
- Battery form factor: 18650
- Battery quantity: 1pc ( not included )
- Dimension and weight
- Product weight: 0.1700 kg
- Package weight: 0.2200 kg
- Product size (L x W x H): 9.10 x 2.40 x 2.40 cm / 3.58 x 0.94 x 0.94 inches
- Package size (L x W x H): 12.00 x 6.50 x 4.00 cm / 4.72 x 2.56 x 1.57 inches
Simplicity and elegance perfectly describes the Hellvape Trishul. A 24-mm mechanical tube with an understated aesthetic, and a tapered groove on the bottom. Its solid brass design is conductive and durable at the same time. Its unique firing switch also functions as your battery cover.
The Hellvape Trishul runs on a single 18650 battery. However, it performs like a mech mod that costs double or triple the price. You won’t be wasting any time adjusting for battery rattle either. Its innovative design automatically adjusts for you. Plain and simple, this is an excellent choice.
Mechanical box mods
- Aircraft T6 aluminum body
- Brass sliding 510 deck
- Stainless brass plate
- Signature stainless firing switch
- All copper silver plated internals
- Peek insulated firing pin
- All detachable parts
G.I. Mods is known for delivering the finest in quality and the Nitro is yet another prime example. This is a mod for the collection, especially for lovers of high end mechanical box mods. For the price, it’s worth every penny. The Nitro is an elegant piece of gear that performs like a champ.
The Aventador Nitro by G.I. Mods is a stunning piece of craftsmanship out of the Philippines, home of some of the most beautiful and hardest hitting mods. The Nitro is a dual parallel, fully mechanical box mod with silver-plated copper internals that is a luxurious hard hitting device..
- Size: 53 x 96 x 25.5 mm
- Resistance: 0.1-3 ohm
- Battery: 1 (or 2) x 18650 (not included)
- Shell processing: spraying
- Material: zinc alloy
You don’t need to spend a ton of money for a nice hard-hitting mech box. The Geek Vape MechPro is a perfect example of this. It gives you the option of using either a single or dual 18650’s. For the mech enthusiast who wants a nice parallel box that won’t break the bank.
The MechPro utilizes a visible gold-plated brass circuit system. Covered by interchangeable plates, which allow you to customize its appearance. The box features a locking mechanism to disarm the device with the flick of a switch, and complete with reverse battery protection.
- Proprietary chipset
- 1-240 W output
- 3.6 to 6.8 V output
- 0.15 ohm minimum atomizer resistance range
- Hybrid stabilized wood chassis
- Gold accent plates
- Ergonomic chassis design
- Dual-18650 battery powered
- Dual-threaded battery access caps
- Batteries run In series
- Batteries sold separately
- Single-button control face
- Jeweled firing button
- Potentiometer adjustment dial
- LED indicator light
- Indicates on/off
- Indicated error
- Stainless steel 510 connection
- Spring-loaded gold-plated contact
- Accepts up to 28 mm atomizers
Like a high end mechanical box mod, only safer. The Asvape Lucifer has all of the basic protections that you would find on a regulated device. The output is controlled but a potentiometer dial, giving you more control than your typical mechanical box mod.
Crafted out of a solid block of stabilized wood with gold accents and a jeweled firing button. Powered by two 18650’s, the mod is simple to use. The Asvape Lucifer is capable of putting out 240 watts and can fire down to 0.15 ohms. A powerful and beautiful stabwood high-end box mod.
Mechanical mods in deeper detail
What is a mechanical mod?
A mechanical mod is a simple vaping device that offers great potential, but requires strong user knowledge and regular maintenance in order unleash its full potential. Most mech mods are metal tubes, though there are some mechanical box mods. Unlike regulated vaping mods, which are currently the majority of the market, fully-mechanical mods do not have any electronics.
Enthusiast vapers enjoy mechanical mods for several reasons. For vapers that enjoy high wattages, mechs allow for the unfiltered use of high-amperage 18650 batteries. Some like the collectible aspects of these devices; there are several models that use expensive metals and feature incredible workmanship. Lastly, some vapers prefer the simplicity of mech mods. Since there aren’t any electronics that will fail, they can potentially last for decades if used appropriately and maintained properly.
A brief history of mechanical mods
Mech mods were created when cigalike products ruled the vaping market. Unsatisfied with the short battery life and low power of cigalikes, vaping tinkerers looked at other sources. One of these sources was flashlights. Many high-powered flashlights use 18650 batteries. Pioneers converted such flashlights to use for vaping. Some believe that the term “mod” is used because some of the earliest enthusiast vaping devices were modified flashlights.
Inventors didn’t have to do too much work to transform an 18650 flashlight into an 18650 vaping device. Many of the components were already there. A basic flashlight has negative and positive terminals to complete a circuit, while the tube houses the battery. The ingenuity involved replacing the bulb portion of a flashlight and replacing it with an atomizer housing. While the earliest modded flashlights look primitive by today’s standards, the work that went into them was groundbreaking and would help create a new business.
The basic components of mech mods
The vast majority of mechanical mods are comprised of three basic parts. The switch, the body, and the connector. While the basic components are simple, there’s a lot of variation each part can have. For the ultimate in performance, each part — including the threads that connect them — can be optimized for minimal voltage loss. The end result is more power potential. To get a better understand of the different parts of a mech mod, let’s go down the list, using a standard tube mod as an example.
The switch is the cap at the bottom of a mech mod. The negative end of a battery makes contact with the switch. To fire a mod, you press the switch’s button. This completes the circuit and makes battery provide power to the atomizer. Springs are most often used to give a switch “feel,” while some mechs use opposing magnets. In terms of performance, spring material and design can affect performance. High-end mod makers aim to minimize voltage lost to the switch.
The body of a mechanical mod is the simplest part. Its job is to house the battery and connect the other two parts of the mod. That isn’t to say that its role in performance is minimal. The material of the body and the quality of its threads can affect voltage loss. Vapers concerned with performance look for mech mods that use highly conductive metals and feature precise threads.
Lastly, there’s the connector. This part of a mechanical mod connects the positive end of the battery to the atomizer. Traditional connectors use a metal pin to make contact. The metal type makes a huge difference in conductivity, which translates to performance. Some mech mods use a hybrid-style connector. These connectors eschew a pin, allowing the battery to make direct contact with the atomizer. There are even mods the drop a connector entirely, having threaded atomizer screw directly onto the tube. While these designs help maximize performance, extra care needs to be used with mods that feature hybrid connectors. Batteries can vent if a hybrid connector is used improperly or carelessly. And since anything with a 510 pin will fit, one must exercise serious caution with these devices.
Different mech mod materials and their advantages
Mechanical mods come in a wide variety of materials. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a rundown of the various types of metals used for mech bodies and caps.
Generally speaking, stainless steel mods are the easiest to maintain. They don’t tarnish, so they don’t need to be polished. Stainless steel mods are also relatively affordable. That said, the material also comes in different grades. Using the Society of Automotive Engineers scale, 304 stainless steel is the most common material used for mech mods. This type of steel is often used for kitchen appliances and sinks. Mechs that use 316L stainless steel are more expensive. This type of steel is used for luxury wristwatches. While stainless steel is durable and easy to maintain, it’s not as conductive as brass or copper.
Brass is a metal alloy that’s made up of copper, zinc, and tin. Brass mech mods are more conductive than stainless steel ones, but require more work to maintain. The metal tarnishes with skin and e-liquid contact. Some prefer the tarnished look, also known as patina. Whether you like the look or not, the threads still need to be cleaned, which can be frequent work.
Brass also comes in different grades. The more expensive alloys contain a higher amount of copper, which translates into stronger performance. Naval brass is rough 60 percent copper, admiralty brass is around 70 percent copper, and aluminum bronze is approximately 90 percent copper. In addition to providing stronger conductivity, the higher-quality brasses are also better at resisting corrosion.
For vapers that are concerned with performance, copper is almost always the best choice. It’s much more conductive than stainless steel and slightly more conductive than brass. If you’ve ever gone to a cloud comp, you’ll often find the best competitors using copper mods for their superior conductivity. Similar to brass, copper tarnishes easily and requires work to maintain. It’s also a relatively soft metal, making dings and dents more likely. Copper mods are often more expensive than their brass and stainless steel counterparts. Some high-end mod makers use 99-percent pure, oxygen-freen, or beryllium copper, resulting in higher prices and sometimes better performance.
Some manufacturers go as far as to list the grades of their 99-percent copper. The metal is graded based on its oxygen content. The less oxygen there is, the purer it is and the better it performs. C110 is 99.9-percent and has 0.02 to 0.04 percent oxygen. C102 is 99.95-percent pure and contains 0.001 percent oxygen. The highest quality copper used in mechanical mods is C101. It’s 99.99-percent pure and contains 0.0005 percent oxygen.
Just like the bodies of mech mods, pins used in traditional connectors come in different materials too. Stainless steel is the most common, while brass and copper are also used for better conductivity. Some companies add a coating to the base metal. Gold plating is used to provide lower maintenance, since gold is highly resistant to corrosion. Silver plating is used to provide maximum performance, as it’s one of the most highly conductive metals. When considering a plated pin, be sure to pay attention to the thickness of the coating (measured in microns). While plating can be beneficial, a cheap and thin layer will cause that benefit to disappear in short order.
Maintaining brass, copper, and silver
Stainless steel mechanical mods are great because they’re low maintenance. After disassembling them, you can wash the various parts with a mild dish soap and clean the threads with a tooth brush. Brass and copper require more work.
Some vapers prefer to clean their brass and copper mods with automotive metal polish. Blue Magic and Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish are popular choices. These are very strong polishes that can be harsh to inhale and gloves are recommended while using them. While this is the most thorough way to clean brass and copper mods, it also required the most effort. Getting every last bit of polish off of a mod’s thread can be a lot of work.
For those that can’t stand the smell of strong polishes, ketchup is a good solution, though not as powerful. Most people have ketchup in their refrigerator, so it’s easily accessible and inexpensive. The key ingredient is vinegar, which the pastiness of ketchup make it easy to spread across a mod and into its threads. You simple apply a generous amount of ketchup to a mech mod, paying close attention to its threads, and wipe it off. A soft toothbrush should be used to remove buildup on the threads.
Plated pins also require special care. Brass and copper pins can be treated with the methods mentioned above. Gold-plated pins can usually be washed with a mild detergent to remove buildup. In addition to providing the best conductivity, silver-plated pins are also easy to maintain. All you need is aluminum foil, baking soda, and boiling water. Place a tablespoon of baking soda into a bowl. Crumple up a square of aluminum foil. Drop the silver-plated pin into the bowl and add boiling water. The tarnish will be removed from the silver-plated pin. Some say that this is a result of a chemical reaction, but I’m certain that it’s some form of wizardry.
What to look for in a mechanical mod
While the metals used in the construction of a mech mod greatly determine its performance, there are several other factors to consider. Some vapers prioritize low maintenance over high performance, while the inverse is true for others. How well a mod is put together matters as much as the materials used to make it. All vapers should be mindful of safety when buying a mechanical mod. Lastly, service and support should be factored into the purchasing decision as well.
Performance vs. maintenance
If you’re looking for a mech mod that’s easy to maintain, stainless steel models are definitely the way to go. They don’t require the diligent upkeep that brass and copper mods do. For vapers that don’t care about maximum conductivity, stainless steel is perfectly fine. It’s also the material of choice for clumsy vapers or those looking for the best durability. Stainless steel mods can take a lickin and keep on ticking…or vaping, as it were.
Vapers that do care about performance should definitely pay attention to the materials used. High-end brass or copper offer superior performance. If maximum power is your priority then consider aluminum bronze over standard bronze or C101 copper over standard copper. Materials like For traditional connectors, copper or silver-plated contacts are often the go-to choices
A well-made mech mod can last you a lifetime. In addition to durability concerns, precision craftsmanship plays a role in performance as well. Precise machining absolutely makes a difference with conductivity. I’ve seen copper copper mods with hybrid caps that have worse voltage loss than they ought to simply due to sloppy workmanship. The thing to remember is that every connection on a mechanical mod is important because every connection is an opportunity for voltage loss. A finely crafted mech will minimize voltage loss at every connection.
This should be a huge consideration for anyone looking for a mechanical mod. Since mechs lack protection circuitry, it’s up to the manufacturer and user to ensure safety. The mod should provide adequate ventilation for when the battery heads up. Most mods use strategically placed holes to help dissipate heat. In the event of a catastrophic battery failure, some manufacturers put the holes towards the top of the mod, since that is where the most heat will build up. Quality workmanship also plays a part in safety, helping to prevent shorts and minimize arcing on stainless steel.
Service and support
Look, the world is an imperfect place. Threads can wear out. Springs can collapse. Pins can be accidentally washed down the drain. If you’re going to commit to a mechanical mod then it’s important to find a company that backs up its products with strong support. Should you need something repaired or require replacement parts, a quality company should be able to take care of you. If you’re sure that mechanical mods are right for you then it’s recommended that you go with a company that supports its customers well.
Mechanical mods certainly aren’t for everyone. They require more work and maintenance than a typical digital box mod. However, they can be extremely gratifying and last a lifetime. Equating mods to cars, something like a iStick Pico Mega is like a Ford Focus. It’s an affordable appliance-like product that does what you need it do, but isn’t necessarily built to last. A mechanical mod is more like a classic muscle car. It requires more work and maintenance, but if cared for properly will last you for decades and potentially offer you the ride of a lifetime.