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We noticed that most of the Best Mech Mod pages on the web were outdated, so we decided to focus on the current products in the world of mech mods.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 2017…
Best tube mods
- Thick C145 copper construction for hefty feel and conductivity
- 8-point Clutch Contact for maximum consistency and efficiency
- Sub Ohm Innovations signature short switch
- Excellent venting for safety in the event of catastrophic battery failure
- Silver plated contacts
- adjustable contacts for compatibility with all 510 atomizers including a 12mm reverse threaded contact for positive battery pressure
- Efficiency of >99% at 0.1 ohms for extremely low voltage drop even on the lowest resistance builds
The Sub Ohm Innovations Shorty is best known for its patented switch which has a short throw and an eight-point clutch system. This innovative feature allows for maximum conductivity and consistency. It also provides excellent battery venting, which can prevent catastrophic failures.
Another important thing to know about the Sub Ohm Shorty is how incredibly low its voltage drop is. This is especially important for competitive vapers, and this is a competition-grade mod. The inner walls are extremely thick, making it substantially heavier than your average tube mod.
Note: The SOI Shorty can be purchased with the SOI Sub Zero RDA or by itself. It comes in copper, black, red, blue titanium, tungsten gray, tan, pink, green, tiffany. You can also get custom engravings and an extension tube that allows you to stack one on top of the other.
$150 – Mod only
- Fully mechanical mod
- 24mm Diameter Top Deck
- Hybrid connection
- Bottom fire button With 35-pound spring
- Engraved fire button
- Individually serialized
- Accepts single 18650 batteries
The TVL Colt .45 has built up a “colt” following since its initial debut in 2015. The Colt .45 features a hybrid 510 connection and a 20-pound spring, which can be also be swapped out with a magnetic one, making it a hard hitting mech. A solid option for competitive vapers.
The TVL Colt .45 has a stylish design which has grooves resembling the handle of a vintage screwdriver. The battery rattle can be adjusted by simply rotating the firing switch, which can be convenient when using different types of batteries.
Note: Custom engraving for the TVL Colt .45 is available upon request for an additional fee
The mod is available in solid 99.99% trillium copper or oxygen-free naval standard brass. There is also a variety of custom limited edition finishes that are released on a regular basis
aluminum – $150
stainless steel – $200
naval brass – $200
copper – $225
- High Grade Copper
- Self-Adjusting Top Contact to eliminate battery rattle
- Automotive Grade 4lb Spring
- Anti-Rotational Button
- 510 Connection Fits all 25mm and below Atomizers
The Vaping American Made Products Rig mod hit the scene hard when it first came out (no pun intended) It quickly became a no brainer for professional cloud chasers and tricksters. The version 2 was also a big hit, to no surprise, and now VAMP has come out with the version 3.
VAMP proudly boasts that all of their products are made in the USA of the highest quality materials. The Rig V3 is one of the most resilient mods you can get, they are designed to withstand the test of time. If you’re looking for a hard hitting mod for life, look no further.
The original Rig mod only was available in steel, copper and brass, but VAMP decided to step up the design by creating a plethora of colorful and wild customized finishes. The Rig V3 is available as a set with the Roughneck RDA, Terk RDA or by itself as a standalone device.
Note: The Rig V3 automatically adjusts for battery rattle making it extremely practical to use.
$112 – $365 depending on the finish
- Competition Mechanical Mod
- 24mm Diameter
- Hourglass Shaped Body
- Heavy Knurl Top Cap
- Heavy Knurl Bottom Button
- Hybrid Connection
- Adjustable Magnetic Brass Bottom Firing Button
- Uses 1 x 18650 High Drain Battery (Sold Separately)
Avid Lyfe is best known for the classic Able mod, which set the standard for hard hitting mech tubes. The Timekeeper takes that to the next level, making it one of the most desirable tube mods to date, although it is hard to even call it a tube mod with its hourglass shape.
The Timekeeper is made in the USA with naval brass using state of the art CNC machines. It also comes standard with a magnetic brass adjustable firing switch. Its unique shape sets it apart from the rest in terms of aesthetics, while still delivering the power that mech lovers crave.
AV takes pride in their craftsmanship and quality control. Every Timekeeper comes with a lifetime warranty, so they are good for life. The AV Timekeeper brings functionality, beauty and power together in this little tube. If you loved the Able Mod, don’t sleep on the AV Timekeeper.
- Diameter: 24mm
- Authentic Billet Copper Construction
- Durable Matte Coating
- Deep VGOD Logo Engraving
- Hybrid 510 Connection
- Self Adjusting Battery Contact
- 5 Large Vent Holes
- Precision Threading
- Pristine Quality Look and feel
VGod is a name that has become synonymous with vaping, especially amongst tricksters. They have created a mod that is affordable without compromising performance. They’re calling it elegant, robust and powerful, which are some of the most desirable features in a mech mod.
The VGod Pro Mech is constructed of billet copper and treated with a matte black coating. It has self-adjusting, gold-plated battery contacts and a hybrid 510 connection. On this device, you will find features that were previously only available on much more expensive mods or their clones.
VGod has managed to produce the level of quality that people expect from a good tube mod, for only half the price of what you would expect to pay. The firing button is made of carbon fiber so it is not only durable, but looks great too. The VGod Pro Mech is an affordable, hard hitting mod.
Note: The VGOD Pro Mech is available in copper with black, red or white coating or in aluminum with a black coating. Both designs feature the VGOD logo engraved on the device.
Best series mods
- Voltage can be adjusted from 2.0V - 6.0V
- Supports multiple circuit protection systems
- Optional circuit in series and parallel
- Direct output and constant voltage output modes
- Work with dual 18650 batteries ( not included )
- Magnetic battery cover
- 510 spring loaded threading connection
- Made of zinc alloy
- attractive and durable
The original Noisy Cricket was popular for being a bite-sized mod that hit like a freight train. The Noisy Cricket II, unlike the original Cricket is not a true mechanical mod, but deserves a spot on this list because of the sheer innovation that Wismec and Jaybo have set forth with this device.
The Noisy Cricket II has a switch that regulates voltage from 2V up to 6V, something you can’t do with a regular mech mod. It also allows you to choose whether you want to run it in series or parallel. When using in series, It has two modes, direct output and constant voltage mode.
Some other features that set this mod apart is short circuit protection, low-voltage protection and atomizer protection. These bonus features make the Noisy Cricket II much safer than the original one, which was a series hybrid mech mod. Is this the future of mechanical mods?
- Body: Brass
- Core: Delrin
- Series Box Mod (Safety: 0.4 Ohms and above recommended)
- Bottom Contact: Copper
- Button: Copper
- Uses 2 18650 Batteries (Not Included)
The Rig Pig is a box mod by the same makers of the popular Rig mod. It is a hybrid series box that is made to be used exclusively with the Roughneck V2 RDA. It has a brass body and the contacts are made of copper, which is a recipe for a hard hitter. The core is made out of delrin.
VAMP brings the same craftsmanship that everyone loved about the Rig mod and put it into a sleek, powerful series box mod that fits comfortably in the hand. It comes in brass and sea foam, which look both sophisticated and classy. The Rig Pig is a hard hitter and a work of art.
$250 (Including the Roughneck V2 atomizer)
- Solid Alloy and copper construction
- Dual 18650 battery setup in series (8.4 volts!)
- Full high grade copper contacts
- Adjustable solid copper 510 pin
- Flush mounted delrin firing button (no need for locking switch)
- Flush mounted battery door with clear positive and negative icons for correct battery configuration
- Recommended Resistance Range: 0.25 - 0.5 ohms
- Fully Mechanical Switch
The Vaperz Cloud King VCL is a fully-mechanical series box mod that’s compact, but puts out a massive amount of power. Constructed of solid alloy and copper, it has an extremely responsive switch, made of delrin. The contacts are fully made out of high grade copper.
The King VCL is a special brass edition of the popular Vaperz Cloud Piglet.
The outer layer is made out of brass and has an engraving that says KING on it. For lovers of series box mod, it is a real beauty. Strong, rugged and powerful in a tiny package, the King VCP mechanical series box mod is a must-have for the serious (or series) hobbyist or collector.
- Series connection
- With battery adaptor for single battery option
- With free heatsink
- Hybrid 510 connector
- Delrin/brass switch
- Delrin body
- Brass internals
- SS plates on each side
- H73mm x W24mm x L50mm
- Made in the Philippines
The Philippines is known for being the home of some of the hardest-hitting mechanical mods, and the Underground is no exception. The Underground series box mod is made of brass on the inside, and delrin on the outside. The stainless steel outer plates have a beautiful mirror finish.
The Underground is a series mod, but includes a heat sink that functions as a 510 adapter. It can be run in series, or in single-battery mode. If you thought the Noisy Cricket was a hard hitter, than you haven’t tried the MCM Underground. It’s a cloud chaser’s dream come true!
- Series box mod
- Takes dual 18650 married batteries
- Flush 510 connection
- Neodymium magnetic door
- MOSFET protected
- CNC milled aluminum box
- Designed in the USA
The Ohmega BMF is an affordable hard hitter that makes use of a MOSFET board, so although it is a fully-mechanical box mod, it has some basic protection, making it safe and practical. The switch is extremely smooth and tactile. The battery door is firmly held by Neodymium magnets.
Each Ohmega BMF box mod is made in the USA and are individually serialized. This mod truly gives you the best of both worlds because it is a hard hitter that’s safe and practical. The box is available with Sugar Skull, Flag Plain or Splatter. A stylish mod, built to last, that chucks hard.
Note: The Ohmega BMF box mod is available in both a series or parallel configurations. They also offer custom laser etched designs of your choice.
Best parallel mods
- Full Solid Copper ``Magazine``
- Dual 18650 Batteries in Parallel
- Tool-less RELOADING of Batteries
- Unique Gun “Hammer” like Firing Switch
- PEEK Insulated Switch with Locking System
- Back to Back Design for Left and Right Handed Users
- Silver Plated Internals
- Dimensions 25 x 56 x 95mm
The Incubus is a truly special device that can’t be called a box mod. The most unique features are its gun-like firing switch and battery compartment that loads in like a magazine. The Incubus provides novelty but is also ergonomical and functional for both right and left-handed vapers.
The internals are silver plated and the magazine is made of solid copper. The switch is insulated with peek and has a locking system. The entire mod can be taken apart for cleaning. The Incubus is a rugged parallel mechanical mod is a powerful mod that is built like a real firearm.
- Proprietary Chip Set
- 180W Maximum Output
- 0.1 ohm Minimum Atomizer Resistance
- 3.0V to 6.0V Output Range
- Efficient Battery Consumption
- Screenless Design
- Tactile Use
- Dual Battery Powered
- Spring Loaded Solid Brass Contacts
- Master On and Off Switch
- Safely Transport and Carry
- Oversized Firing Button
- Spring Loaded Solid Brass 510 Connection
Hex Ohm has become a household name amongst vapers, and the Hex Ohm V3 is the latest offering from Craving Vapor. The Hex Ohm is a perfect daily driver for mechanical mod lovers. The contacts are made of solid brass and the V3 body comes with a powder-coated finish.
The Hex Ohm V3 performs like a mech, but also has low voltage cutoff for battery protection, a 10-second cutoff and a locking switch. The firm spring-loaded 510 is made of brass. The board itself is rated for up to 30 amps and is capable of 180 watts. This is a new look for mech mods.
Note: The Hex Ohm V3 is now using a proprietary board designed and made by Craving Vapor.
- Triple 18650 Battery Output
- Runs in Parallel
- Can be run in Single
- Dual or Triple 18650 Modes
- MOSFET Protected Mechanical Output
- 0.15 ohm Atomizer Resistance Cut-Off
- 3.7V to 4.2V Output Range
- Five Clicks On and Off
- Internal LED Indicator
- Dual-magnetized Battery Access Door
- Gold Plated Contacts
- Spring Loaded Gold Plated 510
- Black Plated 510 and Firing Button
The Wotofo Twisted Triple is a mechanical box mod that was a collaboration with the popular YouTuber Twisted420. It is a parallel device that can be run with either a single, dual or triple battery setup. It has a MOSFET protected mechanical output, but it can fire down to 0.15 ohms.
Note: The side of the mod has battery venting holes that are in the shape of the number “420”.
Some standout features include LED battery life indication, on/off functionality and gold plated contacts. The dual magnetized battery door is held firmly, but easy to access. The Twisted Triple has a spring loaded gold plated 510 and has the YouTuber’s Ninja Turtle-style logo on the side.
- Dual 18650 wired in parallel in conjunction with a very powerful MOSFET.
- The enclosure is made out of a rigid cast aluminum material
- Magnetic lid with a custom machined lip to allow for easy removal.
- Spring-loaded Varitube 510 connector custom machined into the box
- so your atomizer sits flush
- Designed & Handbuilt in the USA
- and priced affordably.
The Titan V2 by Silver Steam Vapor is a dual parallel box mod with a powerful MOSFET that is made out of strong cast aluminum. The magnetic lid is very strong and easy to remove. The spring-loaded 510 allows for a flush connection. It is essentially a Hammond box on steroids.
The switch has a high-end feel, and is the same button used on high-end mods. It has just right amount of clicky-ness and looks classy. The Titan Box by Silver Steam vapor is a dependable and rugged box mod that’s easy to use. The Titan comes in a variety of colors and designs.
- Dual Parallel Configuration
- Resin Body Option
- Delrin Body Option
- Self Adjust 510 pin
- Brass Deck and Bottom
- Silver Plated Copper internals
- Stainless firing switch (Embossed Logo)
- Stainless plate logo
- Peek firing pin
- Positive breaker
- All detachable parts
- Standout and very elegant design
The GTR by G.I. Mods is a stunning piece of craftsmanship out of the Philippines, home of some of the most beautiful and hard hitting mods. The GTR is a dual parallel fully mechanical box mod with silver-plated copper internals and either a delrin or resin body option.
G.I. Mods is known for delivering the finest in quality and the GTR is another prime example. This is a mod for the collection, especially for lovers of high end mechanical box mods. For the price, it is worth every penny. The GTR is an elegant piece of gear that performs like a champ.
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, 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.