I feel like I’ve typed “SMOK” more in the last few weeks than I have in the last 18 months. And after seeing great kits like the SMOK SCAR-18 setup, I was thrilled to have ANOTHER good-looking kit come across my desk. I don’t know, call it nostalgia… but it kinda feels like the “old days” again. [Nothing wrong with pre-pandemic days buddy! – ED]
Well, we’ll always have our memories, SMOK. Now, that doesn’t mean the Rigel kit is a bad investment – it’s actually a pretty good rig for those who like to keep things simple. But if there was ever a mod kit that needed to be test-driven, it’s this one. Let’s start with the product description and specs.
The Official Line
The SMOK RIGEL 230W Starter Kit, featuring dual 18650 battery layout, 1-230W output range, and comes paired with the SMOK TFV9 Sub-Ohm Tank. Constructed from durable zinc-alloy and carbon fiber, the chassis of the SMOK RIGEL is lightweight yet durable, withstanding falls and drops with ease. Coated in soft touch rubber, the exterior coating offers improved grip and helps absorb shock to mitigate damage. Equipped with an ultra-fast firing rate of 0.001s, the RIGEL allows for a wide wattage range of 1-230W, while delivering outstanding flavor and vapor when paired with the SMOK TFV9 Tank equipped with TFV9 Mesh Coils.
SMOK RIGEL 230W Box Mod Features:
- Dimensions – 88mm by 44mm by 28.8mm
- Dual High-Amp 18650 Batteries – Not Included
- Wattage Output Range: 1-230W
- Voltage Output Range: 1-8V
- Resistance Range: 0.1-2.5ohms
- Firing Speed: 0.001s
- Zinc-Alloy Chassis Construction
- Soft-Rubberized Coating
- Single Firing Button
- 96″ TFT Display Screen
- Two Adjustment Buttons
- Magnetic Battery Back Cover
- Intelligent Atomizer Recognition
- Puff Monitoring System
- 8S Cut-Off Protection
- Short-Circuit Protection
- Overheating Protection
- Low Battery Warning
- Threaded 510 Connection
- Type-C USB Port
- Available in Black Red, Silver, Black Blue, Black, Black Green
SMOK TFV9 Sub-Ohm Tank Features:
- 28mm Diameter
- 5mL Tank Capacity
- Pyrex Glass Reinforcement
- Superior 304 Stainless Steel Chassis Construction
- Sliding Top Fill System – Single Fill Port
- SMOK TFV9 Coil Series
- 15ohm V9 Meshed Coil – rated for 40-90W
- Press Fit Coil Installation
- Dual Slotted Airflow Control Ring
- 510 Connection
The SMOK Rigel Kit Includes:
- The RIGEL Mod
- One TFV9 Tank
- 2x 0.15ohm V9 Meshed Coil
- 1x Replacement Glass Tube
- Type-C Cable
- A User Manual
Aesthetics of the SMOK Rigel Kit
The SMOK Rigel mod is definitely a “try before you buy” device in this reviewer’s opinion. On the outside of the box, my silver and black test model looked like the pinnacle of smart, mature design, with a professional vibe and a durable look. Then I opened the box.
When I removed the Rigel from its enclosure, I was floored by how ridiculously light the mod really is. The exterior has a solid metal look, but the device is among the most weight conscious I’ve used this year. In fact, it reminded me a lot of last year’s Kanger Ripple mod, in terms of how the company attempted to cram a lot of power and tech within a VERY slender, lightweight exterior.
I appreciate the compact design, but as is always the case with mods built with weight in mind, I worry about dropping it, even from minimal heights, for fear the casing will snap or warp.
In other areas, the Rigel has some really bright spots. For starters, the user interface, from the tried-and-true control scheme, responsive fire key and linear TFT screen and menu system all work and look great, with a mature feel that most of today’s mods forego to grab attention on shelves.
On the downside, the press-fit 510 connection is a dud, wiggling as soon as I attached any tank, save for a few RDAs that sit flusher than the included TFV9 tank. (You might want to speak to your seller or SMOK is this happens to you)
Speaking of which…
A Few Final Words About the TFV9 Tank
As we mentioned in our full SMOK TFV9 review, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this tank. The mesh coils are solid performers while they last, with better than average flavor and vapor production. But the longevity is pretty weak, and when compared with the flavor, the ratio just isn’t equitable.
Also, I should mention again that the TFV9 is a maddeningly thirsty tank, with coils that just swallow juice in ravenous gulps. If this was matched by unparalleled flavor and vapor production, I’d be all for it. But the middle-of-the-road performance makes me think it’s a little much.
As I always say, use the TFV9 tank, enjoy it, form your own opinions. But in this reviewer’s eyes, it’s only valuable as a kit add-in, and not a standalone purchase.
Vaping the SMOK Rigel Mod Kit
Despite the lightweight frame, the Rigel kit is surprisingly hefty on specs. With 230 watts of output power and an extremely user-friendly menu system and interface, SMOK knows what its audience wants and needs.
Interestingly, one of the “missing” items is temperature control or bypass options. As a wattage-only vaper, this was fine, but anyone looking for a fully featured mod might want to check out something more substantial. (Like the SCAR-18, for example.)
When first firing the mod, I was happy to see how responsive the fire key was. It wasn’t as good as some of the recent “record-setting” ramp-up we’ve seen on higher-end devices, but it was more than adequate, and gave me near-instant jolts of flavor and vapor on mid-high wattages. Moving the device up to its 230-watt limit, I noticed a few stutter-steps around 160 or so watts, with massive battery drain after that point.
Truth be told
I don’t feel like the Rigel’s target audience is aiming that high anyway, so it’s not likely to be a deal breaker. But all the same, there’s no need to market this as a 230-watt device, when only 160 are consistently usable.
One thing we rarely discuss is how the device FEELS when using it. To that end, I loved having the Rigel on display when I was out at my local bar, because I think the professional appearance makes a nice impression.
But because of the lightweight frame, the Rigel immediately feels top-heavy when a tank is attached (even with a pair of 18650s in the battery compartment). I didn’t enjoy this lack of balance, as it felt like it might tip as soon as I laid it on a table. I was lucky that it never fell onto its side or the floor, but it never felt quite “right” standing upright.
Pros of the Rigel
– Attractive, mature design
– User-friendly menus and display
– Nice buttons and ramp-up time
Cons of the Rigel
– Too lightweight
– TFV9 tank is underwhelming
– Not as powerful as it claims to be
Bottom Line for the 230W SMOK Rigel Starter Kit
The SMOK Rigel kit is definitely a “try before you buy” setup. On one hand, the sleek design, easy usability, and mature aesthetic all lend itself to vapers who don’t want to draw attention during use. On the other, there’s the lightweight casing, questionable power output and middling tank to consider.
(Editor’s Note: I’ve been enjoying the SMOK Rigel Kit, with the TFV9 and TFV16, with a lot of pleasurable hours of great vaping. Sure, it might remind us days gone by, but it’s an excellent mod. The TFV9 a very good tank. And the coils last me a good 14+ days. Now, unlike many high wattage vapers, I use 50:50 or 60:40 e-juice from The Plume Room. I’m thinking maybe this might be the reason we disagree on the tank and the coils. The higher VG the faster you’ll ruin the coil. Put plainly, I love the Rigel, and the new TFV9 sub-ohm tank. Others, as you see here, can have a different opinion, just as valid.)
Personally, I’m keeping the mod, because it’s pretty good, and I feel like it might grow on me. But if you only want to buy one mod to “do it all,” you’ll want to spend a little extra time with the Rigel before laying down the cash.