Updated: September 2021
What are pod mods?
First there were mods. Then there were pods.
Now… there are pod mods.
Mods originally meant a modified electronic cigarette. They later came to mean a device that is larger, more powerful and more advanced than a standard electronic cigarette.
A typical pod system is almost the opposite.
It’s small, compact, easy to use and (usually) low powered.
Pod mods meet somewhere between the two.
They are larger, more powerful and sometimes more advanced than a pod system, but more compact, easier to use and (usually) not as powerful as a mod.
Pod mods are becoming more popular. In our 2021 predictions post, vape manufacturer Vaporesso predicted that 2021 would be the year of the pod mod.
Pod mods at a glance
Don’t want to read through the whole post? Here’s a summary of the devices…
Do note that MTL refers to Mouth-to-Lung. DL means Direct-Lung and RDL means restricted Direct-Lung.
If you don’t know what these terms mean, you can find a full explanation in our post MTL v. DL.
|Product Name||What’s Special?||Style|
|Innokin Sensis||Auto-priming, long-lasting coils, improved flavour, flavour refresh mode||MTL/RDL|
|Oxva Velocity||Great flavour, multiple battery types||DL|
|Voopoo Drag S/X||Stunning aesthetics||MTL/DL|
|Smok IPX 80||Super tough||MTL/DL|
|Voopoo Vinci 2||Superb aesthetics||MTL/DL|
|Smok RPM 4||Precise airflow control||MTL/DL|
|Smok Nord 4||Compact power||MTL/RDL/DL|
|Geekvape Aegis Boost Pro||Tough||MTL/DL|
|Innokin Kroma Z||Lightweight, superb battery life, best option for MTL||MTL/RDL|
Who are pod mods for?
One of the advantages of pod mods is they suit a wide range of experience levels.
I always advise anyone starting out vaping to use a lower powered starter kit.
However, most vapers who have some experience (or a friend to help out!) should be able to use these devices.
Really, for most pod mods the only thing you need to know is:
- how to prime the coil carefully
- the right wattage for the coil you are using.
Many pod mods help out here by providing a smart mode. Depending on the device, this will suggest a power setting, set a maximum/minimum wattage, or both.
If you’re not yet an expert vaper, smart mode is a real bonus because it can help extend the life of your coils.
While most pod mods don’t come with advanced vape modes, we are starting to see more pod mods with RBA mode. This makes the devices suitable for advanced vapers looking for a back-up device.
This leads to another advantage for pods mods.
When you start with a simple starter kit, you often only have one mode of vaping to enjoy. But some pod mods have the ability to grow with you. For example, you might start using a pod with smart mode, which takes some of the guesswork out of vaping, and end up using the device with wattage or bypass mode.
One thing to take into account when choosing a pod mod is your preferred inhale.
Some pod mods, such as the Oxva Velocity below, cater for a Direct-Lung vape. But an increasing number of Pod Mods cater for both Direct-Lung and Mouth-to-Lung vapes. This flexibility makes them a great choice for vapers who like to switch between different styles of vaping.
How did we choose the kits?
We’ve used three criteria for selecting the kits in this post:
- initial testing
- popularity of the device
Before a device comes on sale, we have a sample in for initial testing. I generally get a good idea of how good it is by how soon it gets to me – if our product manager keeps hold of the sample, it generally means it’s really good 🙂
We also take into account feedback from vapers. As we sell thousands of kits every month, this feedback is quite rapid. In fact, unless we are blown away by a new device, we don’t usually list it until we have had plenty of feedback.
After all, sometimes a device can shine in initial testing but fail to withstand the test of time.
Our favourite pod mods
Innokin Sensis: Cutting edge technology, great flavour, long-lasting coils
One of the most exciting devices we’ve seen in a long time, the Innokin Sensis brings a host of new technologies to improve coil longevity and boost flavour.
Coil + mode introduces auto-priming technology. This primes the coil after each inhale to stop it from drying out. Refresh mode allows you to manually prime the coil – and boost the flavour. Alternative Current Mode (ACM), also known as Fourth Generation Vaping Technology, sends a current round the coil in both directions to improve heat transfer and efficiency.
Innokin estimate that the coils last 20-50% longer than regular coils, which has been borne out by independent reviews. The coil has also lasted well in our own tests, even when we have been hammering the device to try and get the secretive F0 mode to unlock!
For a detailed look at the mechanics and science behind the device, see A New Breakthrough in Vape Technology?
Oxva Velocity 21700 Kit: Best pod mod for flavour
Our product team liked the Oxva Velocity so much they insisted we include it in our best vape kits of 2021 post.
The key reason for this is the flavour, but that’s not the only benefit.
The device takes three types of batteries, which offers great flexibility. You can use a regular 18650 battery, which fits into a specially designed sleeve in order to fit into the battery compartment. Alternatively, you can use 21700 batteries, which are larger and slightly heavier than 18650s but also have a longer battery life, or 20700 batteries.
The device comes with a choice of modes. Smart mode automatically limits the maximum power range depending on the coil you use. RBA mode is designed for vapers who like to build their own coils. These different modes mean the device is suitable for a range of experience levels.
What’s to like:
- Great flavour
- Choice of batteries
- Suitable for both intermediate and advanced vapers
Voopoo Drag S/X: Stunning aesthetics
The VooPoo Drag S & X devices provide great performance and taste.
But with many great pod mods to choose from, it’s the aesthetics that made this device stand out to us. The Drag S & X fuse metal and leather for a device which is both great to look at and comfortable to hold.
There’s two options with the device.
The VooPoo Drag S comes with a fixed 2500 mAh battery, which is pretty good for a pod device. If you want a little more battery life, or the ability to switch over the batteries when one runs out, choose the VooPoo Drag X which takes an external 18650 battery.
The smart mode with this device does two things. As with the Oxva Velocity, it sets a maximum limit for the wattage you can use, but it also recommends the best wattage settings.
I think that’s great for less experienced users (although I would never recommend a pod mod for a new vaper), as it reduces the chance they will burn the coil out. More experienced users can switch into RBA mode so they can abuse their coils as they wish 😉
(RBA stands for rebuildable atomiser, but the mode doesn’t require an RBA coil to be used.)
What’s to like:
- Great performance
- Choice of fixed or replaceable battery
- Smart mode great for less experienced users
Smok IPX 80: Super tough, perfect for outdoor use
Named after its IP67 rating (waterproof, dustproof and shockproof) and 80W output, the Smok IPX80 is a super-tough pod mod perfect for outdoor use.
Powered by a long-lasting 3000mAh battery, this is a versatile device that works with RPM and RPM2 coils for both MTL and DL vaping styles.
Unique adjustable airflow wheels on each side of the pod offer a smooth and easy way to precisely tailor the air intake between airy or restricted and the duck-billed shape of the mouthpiece means it fits comfortably to the contours of your lips.
What’s to like:
- Super tough
- Long-lasting battery
- Supports MTL & DL
Voopoo Vinci 2: Superb aesthetics
Voopoo’s Vinci 2 is a versatile device that is not only lightweight, attractive and tough but caters to vapers of all styles and most experience levels.
The 50W device is a newer version of the original Vinci device. It works with the RPM coil range so can be used for both MTL and DL vaping styles and has a choice of two modes to suit newer and more experienced vapers alike. Smart Mode sets the device wattage depending on the coil used and is ideal for less-experienced vapers while RBA mode gives more freedom over the wattage and is suited to more experienced users.
A great feature of the Vinci 2 is its aesthetics. Made with a ‘single grain, single coating’ design, the body of the device is oil proof, smudge-proof and fingerprint resistant so will stay looking good over time.
If you would prefer a version of this device with a replaceable battery and larger wattage range, there is also the option of the Voopoo Vinci X 2.
What’s to like:
- Lightweight yet tough
- Handy Smart Mode
- Attractive design
Smok RPM 4: Precise airflow control
The most impressive feature of the Smok RPM 4 is the extremely precise airflow control it offers thanks to its stepless sliding airflow control. Perfect for those who like to tailor their air intake with pinpoint accuracy, the slider is not only easy to use but means you can literally open or close the air inlets with millimetre precision.
With a 5- 60W adjustable output and a choice of two pod options compatible with RPM and LP2 coil ranges, the RPM 4 can support both MTL and DL vaping depending on which style you prefer.
The RPM 4 is also easy on the eye with a huge choice of 10 colour options including stylish leather or metallic gradients.
What’s to like:
- Precise, stepless airflow control
- Range of coil options
- 10 design choices
Smok Nord 4: Compact power
The Smok Nord 1 and 2 have been some of the most popular pod devices over the last few years. But the Smok Nord 4 is probably the first that could be described as a true pod mod, producing up to 80 watts of power.
That’s fairly standard in the world of pod mods. But what’s impressive is compressing that power into a compact device just over 10 cm long and 3 cm wide.
The 80 watts of power can easily be used with a low resistance RPM 2 coil for plenty of vapour. But this is not just a DL lung device, as the Smok Nord 4 RPM Pod included with the device works with a variety of coils.
At the time of writing, we haven’t had the Smok Nord 4 in for long, but it has gained an impressive review rating – a perfect 5/5 stars from 7 reviews.
What’s to like:
- Compact device
- MTL, RDL or DL vaping
- Positive reviews
Geekvape Aegis Boost Pro: Tough, versatile, MTL or DL
There’s been a trend towards tougher vape devices in recent years, but I really think this has been driven by Geekvape. With a reputation for indestructibility (although I wouldn’t necessarily test this by driving a truck over one), they set the bar high with their waterproof, dustproof and shock-proof devices.
For this reason, if someone is going to be using their vape outside or in a dusty area, I always recommend a Geekvape device. The Aegis Boost Pro, which is rated as IP67 military grade, is no different.
I also like the versatility of the device. The Geekvape Aegis Boost Pro can be used with Geekvape B Series coils for a Mouth-to-Lung vape or P coils for a Direct-Lung vape. The 510 adaptor means it can be used with a pod system or a tank, while the RDTA option means you can use with a rebuildable atomiser.
The Aegis Boost Pro features improved airflow control over earlier Aegis Boost models. It also comes with a handy anti-spitback core to prevent e-liquid spitting at higher wattage levels.
What’s to like:
- Different styles of vaping
Innokin Kroma Z: Compact, lightweight, best pod mod for MTL
Innokin Kroma devices have been some of the most popular kits available on our website, so I was delighted when they announced the launch of their Kroma Z pod mod.
One thing I’ve always liked about Innokin is that they cater well to new vapers and Mouth-to-Lung vapers. The Kroma Z is no different. Used with the 0.8Ω coil, it provides a punchy MTL inhale. You can also switch to a Restricted Direct-Lung vape with the 0.3Ω coil.
The Kroma Z is compatible with Innokin’s Z coil range, which gives you plenty of options when it comes to MTL or RDL vaping. A 510 adaptor means you can use the device with any tank with a 510 connection.
The device comes with a 3000 mAh battery, which is impressive for a fixed battery in a lightweight device. At the lower wattages needed for MTL vaping, this device could easily last for a couple of days or more. The Kroma Z comes with smart mode which will automatically detect the coil and recommend the best wattage.
What’s to like:
- Good MTL coil options
- Long battery life
There’s sure to be more pod mods being launched in 2021. We’ll keep an eye open for more top-notch devices, and add them the best ones here as the year goes on.
What’s your favourite pod mod so far, and why? Do let us know in the comments!