Vape Pens vs Vape Mods - Which Is Better?

Vape Pens vs Vape Mods - Which Is Better?

July 21, 2022

Contrary to popular belief, the concept of a vape device has been around for a long time. While the earliest concept for handheld vaping devices that users could inhale goes back to at least the 5th century, our modern era of vaping began with the e-cigarette in the 1930s.

We've come a long way from the days of disposable e-cigarettes. Nowadays, you have your pick in the vaping world if you want to partake in tobacco or nicotine products. There are sleek devices with built-in battery designs and micro USB charging capabilities. On the other end of the spectrum, you have bulkier vape devices with a separate tank, bigger battery, and bigger clouds.

In short, you can choose between vape pens and box mods—but which is better?

The answer will be highly subjective, depending on where you are in your vaping journey, how steep your learning curve is, and your personal preference regarding power and flavour.

The following guide will explain the key differences between vape pens and vape mods. We get into the details for wattage control, cloud production, and more.

What's a Vape Pen? 

If you're a first-time vaper, this is the ideal vaping device for you. Leave tank-type devices for when you have more vaping experience. Those devices have more power and have larger batteries to produce a more powerful throat hit.

Vape pens are direct descendants of electronic cigarettes, the first kind of vaping device that was available for the average consumer to purchase. Initially, when vaping took off, there were few vape pens — only a small variety of slightly sophisticated e-cigarettes with cheap built-in batteries. Users would toss these devices in the bin after use. Now? The market has exploded with variety.

Most vape pens offer simplicity. Think of them like iPhones, as opposed to Androids (box mods) — there's less freedom to customise, but the user experience is much more streamlined.

Pens generally have a power button as the single point of contact in the interface. You intake simply by sucking from the mouthpiece, like an ordinary cigarette. These devices hold smaller amounts of e-liquid, have less power, and contain a built-in power source (though now rechargeable and much longer lasting than their predecessors).

What's a Vape Mod?

The key difference between vape pens and vape mods is size. Also called box mods, these tanks, and sub-ohm tanks, these vaping devices are beasts compared to pens. They have longer battery life, hold more e-liquid, and offer a heartier vaping experience.

While you can get a decent flavour from a vape pen and a vape mod, many vape mods deliver a deeper, savoury flavour. You get that heartiness whether you're using propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine e-liquid. The vast majority of box mods come with the battery sold separately and generally have more extra parts.

This is a self-contained device. You have the vape device itself, which houses the rest of the parts, including an atomiser, a tank, and a battery (separately sold). Experienced vapers will know how to put these parts together, but those new to vape mods will want to seek instruction on getting their vape mod going. The separately sold parts are available online, and you can even find options for same-day dispatch.

One important thing to keep in mind with vape mods is battery safety. You can take steps to avoid battery fire or explosion, which is rare but should not something to take lightly.

What's the Difference Between Vape Pens and Box Mods?

Vaping products come in an endless variety of these two devices. Whether it's nicotine or nicotine-free e-juice that you want to consume, something fast charging or slower burning (read: longer battery life), there will be a mod or vape pen that is right for you.


Size is the critical difference between vape mods and pens. The average vape pen is no larger than a regular writing pen. More often than not, the pen is as short as a USB drive. Electronic cigarettes mimic the size of real cigarettes, but most modern vape pens are short boxy little devices.

The size of vape mods correlates to their power, complexity, and endurance. These aren't the products for vaping novices, but if you're ready to invest in something effective and customisable, go with the mod.


Unsurprisingly, the oversized, more complex vape mod tends to be more expensive than the simple, elegant vape pen. What you have to think about when it comes to price is not the device itself but all the replenishable items you need to make it work. We're talking batteries and e-liquid.

It's not the initial device cost that will hit your wallet—it's the entire vaping experience that will start to add up. To that end, you could pay quite a bit if you need to replenish your pen often. But if you kit out your mod, the costs could rise quickly. It's best to weigh your usage against your expectations for features and add-ons.

Parts and Accessories

Mods often require other products sold separately to function. Your basic mod will come with the battery, tank, mouthpiece, and atomiser. But experienced vapers enjoy learning how they can swap elements out and build the ultimate mod suited to their particular tastes.

A pen will come with everything needed to work right out of the box. Many rechargeable or disposable options don't require any additional parts or accessories, minimising how much additional funds you need to invest in putting together a starter kit.


You might think that box mods are sturdier than vape pens, but think again. Most pens are self-contained cylinders of durable plastic, steel, and sometimes even carbon fibre. The only time you would need to expose the sensitive sheath that encases the e-liquid is when you take the pen apart to refill that liquid.

But some box mods have the tank on the outside, which means if it were to drop, that's a direct hard surface to glass contact possibility.


The two types are about equal in this category. Many different designs are available on both sides of the aisle. You're sure to find something to match your tastes in colour, shape, size, and style.

That said, a box mod is generally considered bulky. The aesthetic is that there is no aesthetic — likely because so many tank vapers prefer utilitarian appeal when it comes to design and functionality. If you're looking for creative, aesthetic beauty, you may have more luck with pens.


There's a considerable wattage variation between an e-cig-type vape pen and a mod. Mods will often have more power than vape pens, battery sold separately or not.

Other Kinds of Vapes

There are plenty of other types of vapes — ones specially crafted for nicotine or nicotine-free products. You'll find cigalikes, mech mods, pod mods, disposable vapes, and more.

It's important to note that pregnant or lactating women are advised to abstain from partaking in e-cigs, vape pens, box mods, and even conventional cigarettes. According to the Mayo Clinic, using a vape device like vape pens and box mods while pregnant is unsafe, as it can expose the mother and the child to harmful chemicals and toxins in the e-liquid.

The e-liquid in your average vape pen, box mod, or other designs can contain a highly addictive substance like nicotine. For medical reasons, it's generally advisable that pregnant women and all persons suffering from respiratory issues or cardio-vascular diseases stay away from vape pens.

Which Style of Device Is Right for You?

Hopefully, you have learned the essential distinctions between vape pens and mods. Both are excellent choices for vapers along the spectrum of experience, from vaping novice to expert.

To get your hunt for the perfect device off to the right start, you can check out the entire collection at RELX. These vape products combine modern aesthetic design with a phenomenal user experience.

Products like the RELX Alpha, the RELX Classic, and the RELX nano combine inspirational design with cutting-edge technology to create vapes that give users a premium experience.

Combining over 20 patent-level innovations, RELX's line of mould-breaking vapes will take your vape experience to the next level.

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