There are many options on the market for new and experienced vape enthusiasts. For new users, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when trying to replace a smoking habit with vapor alternatives. Even experienced vape users can get confused or overwhelmed by the seemingly endless variety of options and vape vocabulary. Furthermore, products in the vapor industry are constantly evolving and technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Whether you’re new to vaping or have been vaping like a pro for years, there is always more to learn! Read on to learn about differences between e-cigs and mods.


Vaporizer is a general term used to describe any device that vaporizes materials from solid or liquid into a gaseous form. This term most popularly applies to devices that vaporize e-liquid or loose-leaf materials. For the purpose of this article, we will be covering devices that are designed to vape eliquids for inhalation.


Cig-alikes are a category of e-cigarettes. The term cig-alike was derived from the product design based on being very cigarette-like. Cig-alikes mimic the look and feel of a traditional analog cigarette – they are designed to be small, light, slim, and short, and are often colored to reflect an identical look with a “filter”. They even have an LED tip to mimic the lit-up end of a burning cigarette. They’re designed to be a entry-level product for smokers to upgrade to the habit of vaporization, while satisfying all the normal sensations (sight, touch, smell, feel, taste) of smoking a cigarette.

They are small, easy to use, and very portable. Cartridges come pre-filled, and must be replaced with new cartridges. Generally speaking, people who want to quit smoking permanently move on quickly from these cig-alikes and venture into more advanced vaping territory. This is because cig-alikes have low battery capacity, limited flavor selections, and less filling capacity for eliquid (the material being vaporized, which is sold in a liquid state and may or may not contain levels of nicotine).


You can find low-cost disposable cig-alikes at most gas stations and smoke shops. These are built to last on a single pre-charged battery and, on average, can replace 1-2 packs of analog cigarettes. Once you’re done, it gets tossed in the garbage – not exactly eco-friendly, but they also don’t require much commitment for a tentative new user and can easily be found when traveling. Disposable options are great for new users who are just trying out vaporization technology.


Compared to disposable versions, rechargeable cig-alikes are higher quality and cost a bit more up-front, but they save money in the long run. They require a charge when the battery runs low, and you replace the cartridge when the vapor production stops. Still, long-term users tend to upgrade to the more advanced category of standard e-cigs or mods.


Although cig-alikes are a primitive version of e-cigarettes, when people talk about e-cigs, they are commonly referring to the more advanced standard e-cigs that are found in mall kiosks, smoke shops, and vapor stores. These standard e-cigs are generally preferred by light users. They are relatively low-cost (compared to more advanced mods), simple to use, and they provide far more customization options than pre-filled cig-alikes. Often sold in starter kits, these e-cigs have a light and slim profile similar to a fountain pen, and they offer the discretion of being able to store them in a shirt pocket. They feature a simple battery with a fixed output that cannot be adjusted. Most come with a matching vape tank which is sold empty and can be filled with the best vape juice flavors to suit your preferences. Standard e-cigs generally feature one button that is held down to power the vape and released to power off. Many ecigs also have a safety feature, so the user can press the single button multiple times in quick succession to lock or unlock the device, so it does not accidentally get activated in a pocket or purse. For heavy vape users and those who seek a more customized vapori experience, mods are a better option than standard e-cigs.


Also called a vape mod, this is the part that powers a vaporizer. Mods (modified e-cigarettes) are made up of the battery and mechanical parts of the vaporizer. They come in many designs and colors, different shapes, and often feature advanced technology. They generally have a larger size and heavier weight because they are made of bigger batteries and durable components (commonly stainless steel, brass, or copper). Mods produce thicker vapor clouds, which is what many vape enthusiasts seek from their vaping experience. Mods require the use of tanks (to hold e-liquids), which also come in different options and sizes.

Mechanical Mod

A mechanical mod is designed using only physically-moving mechanical parts to fire the mod and to prevent is from misfiring. A mechanical mod does not feature electronic components such as wires or switches. Also called mech mods, these are powered by a battery. They are considered more durable because they don’t use electronic components, but that also limits control of the power output. The power output of a mechanical mod is directly related to the resistance level of your and the charge level of your battery.

Box Mod

Box mods are available in two options: regulated and unregulated. The term “box mod” comes from their boxy or rectangular shape. Box mods come in a variety of sizes and power outputs, many of which feature adjustable power to allow modification of the flavor and intensity of your vaporizing experience. Most box mods have LED screens to view wattage and voltage levels, while some count the number of inhalations with a specific time period (this can be a great feature for heavy users trying to track or cut back on their use).

Regulated box mods have variable voltage or variable wattage. These mods will remain constant no matter their battery charge, and the resistance of the coil you use will not have any effect on the wattage output (which is the opposite of the way a mechanical mod works). Regulated box mods may be safer for new users to learn with, as they have added software (a chip) to protect the mod from shortages, keeping the voltage or wattage constant. The setback with box mods is that they have a minimum resistance, which some vape users do not prefer.

Unregulated box mods work like mechanical mods but they feature wires and a switch. Overall, box mods may be simpler for a new user than a mechanical mods because box mods perform more consistently and have great safety features. Similarly, regulated box mods may be easier for new users than their unregulated counterparts.

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