What’s the difference between a regulated and a unregulated device?

regulated mod, unregulated vape, regulated mod, unregulated mod, variable wattage, variable voltage

Quick Intro!

We will discuss the basic differences between these devices for those that are somewhat new to all this. And just in case you are wondering, no advanced knowledge of electronics will be required to understand this post. Future posts will go into more technical detail, but this for those that want to get the basics and move on with their day.

The first thing to know is that most vape mods on the market are regulated. They are the most popular choice for vapers from beginners to veterans.

Go into a vape shop and you will eventually find a vaper, many times and employee, vaping with an unregulated and/or a regulated mod. Or maybe you are just trying to determine which mod is the safest– an unregulated mod or a regulated mod?


A vape device that supplies raw battery power to an atomizer with no electronic circuitry, power adjustments or electronic safety features

Being available in the form of metal tubes or boxes made from wood to metal or plastic, an unregulated mod is the simplest of all vape mods in whens it come to functionality. Housing one or multiple batteries, a press of the button will complete the circuit and send raw battery power to the installed atomizer and coil.

Simple in functionality, unregulated mods are deemed “advanced devices” because they will power any atomizer & coil regardless of the coil’s resistance, the type of wire, or even if the atomizer has a short (not good!). They also allow the knowledgeable hobbyist freedom to create a wide range of vaping experiences from subtle to the extreme.

Unregulated mods:

Parallel mods: In a parallel mod, no matter the number of cells used, the voltage will remain that of one battery unlike a series mod (ex. The battery life (mAh) and maximum current (amps) will be doubled, thus allowing very low coil resistance while minimizing the strain on any one cell.

Squonk Boxes: Started in ’09 with the JuiceBox, and then popularized by Reosmods, squonk mods are (mostly) unregulated box mods with either a single battery or battery bank with an on-board bottle of ejuice. That bottle is squeezed (or squonked) through a small window to supply juice upward into the atomizer. These devices helped make dripping more like using a tank.

Series mods: An advanced mod like the Wismec Noisy Cricket (v1) that uses more than one battery, most times side-by-side. In that example, it’s twice the voltage of a single battery, but with the battery life and load capabilities of one battery.

Mechanical mods (tube): Mechanical tube mods first hit the marketplace in 2008 with the Screwdriver by Trog. It took a few years, but mechanical mods became highly sought-after. Generally in single-battery set-up housing an 18650 (or 18350, 18490, or 26650), and in a variety of metals, like stainless steel to copper to brass, these were the ideal device for hobbyists that eventually helped DIY coils (“building”) and cloud blowing become a thing.


Any of various vaping devices that include one or more safeguards or advanced features (like power adjustments) from electronic circuitry.

Fixed-voltage may relate to a cigalike (cigarette-looking ecigs), a pod vape like the Kilo 1k, or something like a standard eGo (pen-style) battery which uses fixed-voltage battery power from built-in batteries (all mods with built-in batteries are regulated). Fixed voltage devices often times have limits to the resistance of the atomizer’s coil that they will accept which makes them ideal for rank beginners. Similar to an unregulated device, the vape with a fixed-voltage device will diminish with the battery’s loss of power.

Adjustable power devices have a chipset that allows for controlled power to the atomizer to remain constant, even if above or below the batteries actual voltage (ex. After the battery drops below the mod’s battery minimum voltage limit, the device will no longer run and batts will need to be charged, but the vape will remain constant until that point.

Regulated Mods:

Variable Voltage (VV): Introduced in 2010 (BuzzPro and the Provari), these devices were revolutionary! Using microprocessors like buck-boost converters, these mods allowed vapers to go or exceed below a battery’s output voltage, thus mellowing the vape or intensifying. VV devices like eGo spinners and the Provari are still widely used, but most variable wattage devices do the same, and more.

Variable Wattage (VW): First on the scene in January of 2011 with the Darwin by Evolv (and a year later with the SvoeMesto Semovar). These devices really propelled modern vaping to what it is now. In basic terms, your desired power setting can be constant if you like, even after charging an atomizers resistance, something that variable voltage mods can’t do.

Fixed voltage: Fixed voltage devices were the very first ecigs. Cigalikes (both disposable and rechargeable), standard eGo, e-cigars, AIOs, JUUL ecig, etc are all fixed voltage.

Temperature Control (TC): Released in 2014 by (Evolv), the originator of the variable wattage device, temperature control (TC) mods allow the user to set heat limitations to their to specific types of coils, something VV or VW can’t do. TC mods are not their own kind of device per se, but a further development for many VW mods. TC mods are also VW mods.

*curated vaping360 article

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