Updated: March 2022
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. While disposable vapes turned out to be the trend of the year (and are likely to continue to do so into 2022), the combination of power and simplicity means pod mods are likely to stay popular throughout 2022.
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 & PnP-X Pod||Stunning aesthetics||MTL/DL|
|Smok IPX 80||Super tough||MTL/DL|
|Smok Nord 4||Compact power||MTL/RDL/DL|
|Voopoo Argus Pro||Great aesthetics, infinite airflow||MTL/DL|
|Vaporesso Luxe PM40||Turbo boost for consistent flavour||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/Drag X & PnP-X Pod: 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 that is both great to look at and comfortable to hold.
There are 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
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
Voopoo Argus Pro: Great Aesthetics & Infinite Airflow
The Voopoo Argus Pro combines both impressive features AND an impressive look.
A combination of leather and metal along with the device’s rounded shape gives this compact pod mod both a stylish aesthetic and comfortable grip.
The Argus Pro uses the Voopoo PnP pod and supports both MTL and DL vaping styles. An innovative infinite airflow design means you can also precisely tailor your airflow to exactly how you like it – very airy, very tight or anywhere in between.
With an adjustable output of up to 80W paired with a 3000mAh battery, the Argus Pro provides long-lasting power and a choice of user modes that cater to different experience levels. Newer vapers or those who want less fuss can choose easy to use Smart Mode, which provides automatic coil recognition and wattage selection. There’s also RBA mode for more experienced users who like to build their own coils.
Also see the Argus X for a replaceable battery version.
What’s to like:
- Great aesthetics
- Different modes for different experience levels
- Infinite adjustable airflow
Vaporesso Luxe PM40: Turbo boost for consistent flavour
When you find a vape juice flavour you love, you want to fully taste it with every puff. The Vaporesso Luxe PM40 ensures this with innovative Turbo Boosting technology that keeps flavour consistent from the first puff to the last.
This technology, along with GTX mesh coils (0.6Ω, 0.8Ω and 1.2Ω only), creates a satisfying MTL/RDL vape with consistent flavour throughout. An adjustable airflow slider allows you to further tailor the airflow to create a tighter or more restricted vape style.
Don’t be fooled by the size of this device. The Luxe PM40 provides 40W of adjustable power and an 1800mAh battery – impressive for a device measuring just 9.5 x 3cm. Vaporesso has even managed to fit an OLED screen along the side of the device that allows you to keep an eye on and control your device data.
What we like:
- Consistent flavour
- Compact size
- Precise adjustable airflow
There’s sure to be more pod mods being launched in 2022. 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!