When e-cigs first became popular, choices were limited. Either you had a cig-a-like (disposable or rechargeable), or you had a vape pen. Then mech mods came and it just about changed the game. However, when another type of mod came, things went from great to awesome. These are what we call “variable mods.”
When talking about variable mods, there are two types that fall into that category: variable voltage and variable wattage. Simply put, both variable voltage and variable wattage devices enable users to change the power output of their device, thus giving them the ability to customize their vape experience. Both are similar in function, though there are significant differences.
Variable voltage mods came before their watt-based brothers. When they first appeared on the scene, the most popular were the Provari and the Darwin. Both cost a lot of money back in the day, yet were considered well worth the price. These devices let users adjust the voltage output from around 3 volts to 6 volts. Some models can go as low as 2.6 volts and as high as 8 volts. The versatility of these variable voltage mods were unheard of, and users can go from discreet low voltage vaping, to hard hitting high voltage drags in a few seconds. Needless to say, variable voltage was a hit and it was here to stay.
However, as vapers became more jaded, and as technology advanced, manufacturers started creating variable wattage devices. The basic function of these devices were similar to variable voltage mods in that users can easily adjust the power output of their devices. However, instead of adjusting the voltage, users can now adjust the wattage. What does this mean? It means users can get a consistent vape, even if they swap out tanks or atomizers. How does it work?
Let me explain.
In a variable voltage mod, say a user finds his or her sweet spot at 3.9 volts on a 1.5 ohm atomizer. When a different atomizer is used, this time with a resistance of 1.2 ohms, the user must adjust their voltage to about 3.5 volts to get the same vape. The exact settings can either be derived using Ohm’s Law where Voltage = Current X Resistance, or they can just play it by feel. Either way, every time an atomizer is replaced, the settings need to be changed to achieve a user’s sweet spot.
Now, in variable wattage devices. The need to adjust settings for every atomizer swap is not needed. The same 3.9 volts on a 1.5 ohm atomizer produces power of about 10 watts. If this is a user’s sweet spot, they only need to set the wattage on the device once so that whenever they switch atomizers or resistances, the voltage automatically adjusts to match the same 10 watts. Unlike variable voltage devices, variable wattage devices is a “set it then forget it” device. You set your sweet spot once, and you don’t need to change settings anymore (unless there are times you need a milder or more powerful kick).
While there are still variable voltage devices being sold today, it is best to get a variable wattage one instead. If you really want variable voltage, there are some variable wattage devices that allow users to set wattage or voltage. At any rate, unless you are a hardcore mech user (and love the challenges it brings), once you go variable, you may never go back.