I must admit, a few short months ago I never really understood the draw of a mechanical mod. Especially when you get to the ‘high-end’ of the spectrum when it comes to the mechanical mod. I’m talking about the $225 ‘Nemesis’, the even more expensive ‘BaGua’ and anything by ‘Atomo’ to mention a few. I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending that kind of money for something that amounts to just a pretty battery tube.
I mean I do have a Provari, so I’m not opposed to spending my hard earned coin on vape gear, it just that it always had to seem worth it to me before I took the plunge. Then something happened. Fast-forward to today and it just so happens that there are a few factors that have recently changed my mind when it comes to the high-end mechanical mods. I find myself a believer, of sorts, and I’m here to tell you what happened, and how.
First a little background on myself- after a close to a year of vaping I stumbled upon the Spinfuel forums and joined up.
After getting acquainted with everyone there and learning a lot about vaping in general, I found myself staring down the rabbit hole of rebuildable atomizers, particularly, those of the dripping variety.
It seemed the perfect way to taste test new juices and not have to fill up a tank to do so. First step, find an RDA and learn how to build it and I did that very thing. I purchased an IGO-L and off to the races I went.
After vaping with it for a couple months I started looking at RDA’s on the higher end of the spectrum. After all a ProTank has better performance than a CE4, so the old adage applies- you get what you pay for. After countless hours of watching video reviews and reading reviews I settled on the Grand Vapor Trident.
From the first build I was in love with this atomizer. Let me tell you folks, adjustable airflow is a glorious thing when it comes to RDA/RBA’s. You can adjust it on the fly to get the exact performance you’re wanting at any given moment. I was in love with my Trident, but I still found myself wanting more.
One thing we all know (should know?) about the ProVari, you can’t vape under 1.0 ohm and all I kept hearing about was how wrapping a 0.8 ohm dual coil on my RDA would give me flavor and vapor like I’d never seen before. So the only real option then was get a mechanical mod, commonly referred to as a ‘mech-mod’. But I’ll be damned if I was going spend the kind of money I spent on a ProVari for what’s basically just a tube that holds a battery and has a connector that an atomizer screws onto.
So back to researching I went and after a lot of searching I settled on the SMOKTech Magneto. It had an attractive price tag at sub $50, was ‘telescoping’ so it could be used in a wide variety of battery configurations and my local B&M (brick and mortar) had them in stock so I could have one in my hands immediately.
A Word About The Magneto
So there I was ‘sub-ohming’ on a mech mod and enjoying every moment of it. Big clouds, huge flavor, massive throat hit! This is how vaping was supposed to be! (Well in my opinion anyways.) Then once again the little gears started turning in my hand. If a $50 mech mod works this well, how great would a ‘high end’ mech-mod be?
Like I said before with the ProTank/CE4 analogy, you get what you pay for certainly holds true. So on the hunt again I go, looking at higher end mech mods. I’ll be honest, I didn’t look all that much, because I was completely in love with my Trident RDA. Grand Vapor was where I started my search for a new mech. Needless to say, that’s also where the search ended.
I had made friends with the manager at my local B&M where I bought the Magneto and I knew they carried a few high dollar mech-mods. So I went to him first to see if he could get me one (there’s something gratifying about buying local and supporting small business isn’t there?) He assured me he could and would have shipped to me. And he did.
The Grand Vapor Private v2
The day had finally come, I tracked the package and there it was, the words all Vapers love to see in their browser window, ‘out for delivery’.
Vape mail! Isn’t it a glorious thing? It’s like reoccurring Christmas all year long! When I removed the box from the package (the unboxing ceremony!) I was surprised at how small the non-descript box was. When I took the mod out of the box I was shocked at how tiny it was and how heavy it was for the size. The Private V2 is a telescoping device, allowing you to run it in several different battery configurations. You can use 18350, 18350 kicked, 18490,18490 kicked and 18650. The device was shipped to me in its 18350 configuration and it’s noticeably shorter than a ProVari Mini. My preferred way to use it is with an AW IMR 18650 battery with the Trident RDA on top. In this configuration the device is actually shorter than a ProVari Mini with a Protank on it. Talk about stealth vaping!
This device is made up of five parts. The top and bottom caps, the middle tube and the two telescoping tubes- so when you break it all down you’re left with this:
The top cap is stainless steel, the bottom cap is brass with a stainless steel locking ring. The locking ring features reverse threading for locking the switch so you don’t accidentally fire the device when it’s not in use. The middle tube is stainless steel and the two telescoping tubes are brass. The bottom mounted firing button is brass and has an adjustable throw. It is embossed with the Grand Vapor logo and an individual serial number. Both firing pins are silver coated brass and the top pin is floating so you can flush mount any atomizer you decide to top it off with. This is a well-engineered, expertly machined product. When you’re holding it in your hand, you can feel the heft of it and automatically know it’s built to last and not some cheap knockoff made out of aluminum.
Assembly of the device is easy enough, thread the telescoping tubes into the middle tube and attach your bottom cap. Drop your battery in and attach the top cap and snug everything down for the size battery your using. Top if off with your atomizer of choice, unscrew the locking ring and depress that bottom firing button and viola! Itsssssssss alive! This device vapes like an absolute champ! With those silver coated, brass firing pins there’s no voltage drop off from the battery when you fire it. Paired with a good RDA/RBA you’re going to get performance and flavor that’s head and shoulders about most devices.
The Private v2 is an expertly engineered device and features top notch materials and excellent manufacturing and machining. All the threads on the device are buttery smooth, as is the 510-connection. I’ve tried a variety of atomizers with this device and everything threads into the 510 connection and fires up nicely. It’s telescoping so you can run it in a variety of battery configurations. Fit and finish is excellent and performance is flawless. I’ve had nary an issue with the device since I’ve been using it and I expect it will stay that way thanks to the build quality. It’s an absolutely beautiful device- the stainless steel, brass and copper look wonderful together when you’re using it in it’s 18650 configuration. In the18350 configuration it’s the ultimate stealth vaping device.
Since I’ve been gushing over this device the entire review you’re probably thinking there can’t be any cons. But that’s the give and take with vaping- Any device, no matter how wonderful, is going to have a few drawbacks and the Private V2 has a couple. First and foremost is the price. This is not a cheap device by any stretch of the imagination. After a quick online search, the cheapest I can find it is $179.99 and that’s on closeout at this particular website. Average price is $215.00 and that gets you into ProVari territory. Spending this kind of money on a device isn’t for every one. Secondly, and this is just nitpicking on my part, but those brass telescoping sections are already starting to lose their luster after a month of use. The oils on your hands are going to naturally darken the brass from use, so if you want to stay in the same beautiful condition as it was when you got it, you’re going to need to invest in a polishing kit and throw some elbow grease into keeping it shiny.
I now understand the appeal of mech mods. There’s something glorious about their beautiful simplicity and I am absolutely in love with this device so far. As a matter of fact, it’s dethroned the ProVari for getting the most of my attention when it comes to vaping. I take it everywhere I go, so it gets a ton of use. Now I know sub-ohm vaping and mech mods aren’t for every one. Especially if you don’t have the experience or the tools to build good coils and check their resistance. But if you were already going down that road, you are going to be hard pressed to find a better device than this one, vape budget be damned!
Cameron Skaggs (Cam) is a member and moderator of the Spinfuel Forums where he is more commonly known as Irish. He’s well versed in all things vaping, but has taken a particular liking to mechanical mods and rebuildable atomizers. Look for a wide variety of reviews from him in the future.