Last Updated on February 2, 2018 by Team Spinfuel

After the huge response that we received, and continue to receive, from our publisher’s Best Of column about vape gear, it was suggested that an alternative to claiming any vape gear or eliquid is the “best”, that we might instead write about what each of the reviewers are currently using, and why.

This column will go into the devices, mods and tanks, that I use daily. I began using these devices regularly just the last couple of months (except for the TFV8 tanks), but I have no idea how long it will be before something new grabs my attention and replaces one or more of the pieces I’m using now.

First let me say that, like John (our publisher) it irritates me to no end when I see all these click-bait articles claiming to be genuine and honest “best box mods” or “best atomizer”, because it is impossible to make such a claim. One person’s idea of ‘best’ is another’s idea of ‘mediocre’. That being the case, I use what I like, and I am happy to share it with you, and to keep you updated when things change. But, remember, I am not trying to tell you what the best of anything is, just what I enjoy using, and why.

Let’s Talk About SMOKTech

Sometimes when I’ve taken a couple of days off and I decide to see what’s been published in Spinfuel VAPE while I’ve been away I can almost understand the emails we get that insist we are “in bed” with SMOKTech. We’re not, of course, but some people will never believe otherwise.

We write about SMOKTech vape gear a lot more than we did last year because the plain truth is, SMOK seems to “get” American and British Vapers. They design mods and tanks that appeal to us, whereas it seems to me that several of the other manufacturers are trying to grasp the mindset of US and UK Vapers, but miss the mark more times than not.

My current devices are not all SMOK devices, but most are. The reason is they fit my lifestyle, they are affordable, and the performance is amazing, most of the time.

So, one more time before we get to my current favorite vape gear; we have zero contacts at SMOKTech. We do not know any sales reps, we have no affiliation with them at all, and for all we’ve talked about and written about SMOK products, no one from SMOK has ever reached out to us, and we like that way. 

My Favorite High Wattage Box Mods Right Now

1 – SMOK GX350 Full Kit in Gold

Aesthetics of Vaping Part 2 The Golden Rainbow Spinfuel VAPE Magazine

Before last week I was using a purple GX350 with the purple TFV8 Cloud Beast, but when the new Gold model arrived I retired the purple one onto my gear shelf. The gold color that SMOK developed for all their gold models is a shade of gold that is rich, deep, and it reminds me of the metal. Like a gold brick, SMOK sees the color gold like we do.

The GX350 has a wattage range of 1-350W, and a minimum resistance of 0.06Ω. That’s all well and good, but for my purposes, I use 0.12Ω coils and my wattage range is 80-150W when using the GX350. I started using the V8-T10 Deca/Decuple Coil recently, and SMOK says the optimal range for this coil is 130 to 190 watts. I find 140W almost perfect with the V8-T10.

I am not crazy about the OLED display sitting on top of the mod, right next to the sub-ohm tank I use, the TFV8 Cloud Beast in Red. (I love the color contrast of the Gold/Red). The Full Kit comes with a Gold TFV8 Cloud Beast, which I will sometimes use as well.

What really sells the SMOK GX350 for me is that as a 4x cell mod, it’s the smallest and most comfortable. Additionally, the Firing Panel is my favorite form of engaging the mod.

2 – SMOK Alien 220W Full Kit

Aesthetics of Vaping Part 2 The Golden Rainbow Spinfuel VAPE Magazine

Another High Wattage piece of vape gear I am using a lot right now is the SMOK Alien 220W TC box mod. Whenever I pick up another Alien I always buy the Full Kit because it is the cheapest way to add another TFV8 tank to my collection, which I’ll get to further down.

The SMOK Alien box mod fits my grip almost perfectly. I say ‘almost’ because, let’s be honest, is perfect even possible? Anyway, the Alien box mod uses my favorite OLED display, an oversized, bright, and easy to understand display that SMOK uses on several of their mods.

Right now, I’m using the Rainbow model which has a black body with a 7-color rainbow accent stripe. On one side is a carbon fiber piece that’s the same size of the glass OLED side of the mod.

The Full Kit model comes with a SMOK TFV8 Baby Beast, an excellent tank but one that doesn’t fit my vape style these days. I’ll buy the kit version every time, but I’ve begun to store the baby beast tanks for a rainy day, or if my vape style changes.

SMOKTech should have, or should start, shipping the Alien 220 box mod kit with their Big Baby tank, not the baby beast. While the Baby Beast has a 3mL vape juice capacity, the Big Baby bumps that to 4.5mL. I will sometimes use the Big Baby in Gold or Black, and I’ll even pop a Cloud Beast on it much of the time. I like using the V8 Baby-T8 Coil Head when I use the Alien mod, with an optimal wattage of 60-80 watts, the Alien performs nicely at 70W with the Big Baby TFV8 tank. When using the Cloud Beast on it I like using the V8-T8 Octuple Coil, which has an optimal range of 120-180 watts. On the Alien, I find 140W to be just about per—- terrific.

I’ve let dozens of people I’ve met hold the SMOK Alien box mod and no one has ever said they didn’t like it.

Temperature Control Vaping

As you can see, the two box mods I use most of the time are both TC mods. You’ll see below that even the small mods I use are TC enabled. That said, I never use Temperature Control, even when I vape with Stainless Steel heating elements, which is rare nowadays.

I enjoy the flavor from Kanthal wires, and I find variable wattage infinitely easier to use, and as long as I use tanks that show the level of vape juice at a glance, I just don’t worry about dry hits. Temperature Control vaping may be great for some Vapers, but to me it’s a pain in butt, whereas variable wattage is just so easy.  I just want you to know that my choices in vape gear never have anything to do with temperature control, not even the Evolv DNA box mods I have.

Moderate Wattage Box Mod I’m Using Right Now

This class of box mod is where I do most of my changing around. Maybe it’s because these pieces of vape gear are the less expensive and I can experiment more, or maybe it’s because these smaller mods are getting better and better.

1 – Joyetech eVic Primo Mini

PREVIEW: Joyetech eVic Primo Mini 80W TC Kit - SPINFUEL VAPE MAGAZINEThis piece of vape gear surprised the hell out of me. I like the eVic Primo 2, but the sample ones we received from Joyetech more than a month ago had the UNIMAX 2 sub-ohm tank. At the last minute Joyetech switched out the UNIMAX 2 for truly nice ProCore Aries sub-ohm. This is the tank that also comes with the eVic Primo Mini.

I picked up one of the eVic Primo Mini’s when our office received several of them (all Stainless Steel colors, which was a bummer), and I wrote the Preview for it. I will begin the actual review sometime this week, or early next week. I’m still pushing on this one to see how well it holds up. But…

Funny thing is, while I have been using Sigelei Enya 66 (it received an A from me) I exchanged it for the eVic Primo Mini. The Primo Mini is an 80W TC mod, but more importantly, the size, shape, and feel of the Primo Mini is so nice, so natural. And that huge OLED display on this piece of vape gear is amazing. 1.3-inches of bright, big fonts, and all the information you could want, this is my favorite part of the box mod.PREVIEW: Joyetech eVic Primo Mini 80W TC Kit - SPINFUEL VAPE MAGAZINE

The Full Kit model comes with a 4mL ProCore Aries sub-ohm tank, with a ProC1 0.4Ω coil head and a ProC1-S, 0.25Ω coil head. I use the ProC1 0.4Ω coil exclusively because of the two, this one is the Direct Lung coil, the other is for MTL Vapers. From what I can see, both coil heads use Kanthal, not the usual Joyetech/Eleaf/WISMEC Stainless Steel. If this is true, and if all 5 ProC coils use Kanthal, then I have to ask “why bother with TC systems?

Anyway, the ProCore Aries sub-ohm tank is an excellent tank, which I’ll talk about more in the review. Oh, and the flip-top refill method works really well.

2 – SMOK AL85 Full Kit

SMOK AL85 Alien Baby 85W TC Starter Kit Review – SPINFUEL VAPE MAGAZINE

Once again, I turn to SMOK for my moderate wattage, small box mod. I have 3 of these little guys, and although they come with the Baby Beast tank as well (it’s fitting in this case), but I switch them out for the Big Baby. The Big Baby’s fit nicely, no overhang, and it doesn’t look too big for the mod.

The AL85 is an 85W mod with full TC capabilities, but the reason I like it is because it uses the same OLED display as the larger Alien 220W, and it’s a single 18650 replaceable cell mod. It’s a mini-Alien is what it is, and I like using it.

Favorite Sub-Ohms

The New Box Mod Aesthetics of Vaping in 2017 Spinfuel VAPE Magazine

I’ve given up on RDA’s and RDTA’s, and will only use them when I am reviewing them. I’m just too busy to bother with coil building and cotton stuffing. All my tanks are Sub-Ohms.

The sub-ohms I’m currently using are:

  • TFV8 Cloud Beast
  • TFV8 Big Baby
  • TFV12 Cloud Beast King
  • ProCore Aries
  • MELO 300

This is not to say that the 5 tanks above are the only tanks I like, these are the ones I use now. I’ll always enjoy the TFV8’s, and I am using the TFV12 more and more, especially on the SMOK GX350.

Extreme Performance eLeaf MELO 300 Sub-Ohm Tank Review Spinfuel VAPE Magazine

The MELO 300 is a far better sub-ohm tank then people are saying. I like that as of right now there is a single coil for it, a 0.17Ω ES Sextuple Coils Kanthal coil with a wattage range of 100W to 300W. This excellent sub-ohm is not meant to be used on moderate power mods, this thing means business. I use it for times when I want sheer power with tons of clouds.

I also use the Melo 300 because of it’s amazing Kanthal coil head. Great Flavor, 98% as good as the TFV12 Cloud Beast King in flavor and vapor, and the top fill method is easy and fast. Read John’s review here.

Vape Gear Favs Conclusion

I’m not recommending any of the gear above, I’m just letting you know what I’m currently using and why. They work for me. As a heavy vaper who likes great flavor and huge clouds of vapor, these mods and tanks are satisfying my needs as good as I can expect.

If you vape like I do, then I’m sure you’ll find these products to be everything I think they are. I’ll touch back again in the late summer and let you know which of these devices I’m still using and which ones I’ve traded up for. For all I know they could be the same as I’m using now, but then again, the eVic Primo Mini caught me by surprise. What else could be lurking out there that will get us excited?

Tom McBride