Last fact-checked 19 March 2021 | Report a factual error on this article
Vape chips: the brains of your box mod! Originally invented to keep vapers safe, mod chips have evolved into a category of their own in recent years. The latest chips can improve the quality of your vapour, add an extra level of fun to your vaping experience and even make your battery last longer.
In this guide we’ll explain why regulated box mods all have a chip in the first place (and why you should never buy an unregulated box mod). We’ll also show you some of the cool things that the latest vape chips can do, and we’ll explain the differences between the various chips on the market today.
Safety First: Why Every Box Mod Needs A Chip
In the early days of vaping, box mods had no safety cutoff systems whatsoever. They were often little more than a battery case wired directly to an atomiser.
These primitive first-generation box mods (also known as unregulated or ‘mechanical’ box mods) were incredibly dangerous. If you accidentally installed the wrong coil, overcharged your batteries or even just held down the fire button for too long, your box mod could overheat, short circuit and even explode without warning. It was an incredibly dangerous way of vaping, and totally unsuitable for the majority of vapers.
In response to these safety issues, vape manufacturers started installing a safety chip in their box mods. These safety chips would cut power to your box mod if you tried to…
- Fire your vape below a pre-set safe voltage
- Overcharge the batteries
- Hold down the fire button for too long
- Install a sub-ohm coil with a dangerously low resistance
Box mods with pre-installed safety chips soon became known as regulated box mods, and soon became the industry standard. Nowadays almost every box mod in the UK is a regulated box mod (in fact, they’re the only type of box mod we sell), and the chips themselves are incredibly advanced.
The Latest Vape Chips Can Do Amazing Things
Putting safety considerations to one side, there are lots of great reasons why you should invest in a mod with a top-of-the-line chip. Advanced chips are more efficient, produce better flavour and cut your chances of getting a burnt hit. Some of the functions of a good vape chip include…
- Monitoring: advanced vape chips can diagnose everything from battery power to coil temperature and wattage/voltage in real time, then display this information on the box mod’s screen. Some box mod chips can even count the number of vape draws you’ve taken in a day, which is helpful if you’re weaning yourself off nicotine.
- Temperature Control (TC): every time you fire your vape, your coil gets a little bit hotter. Vape chips with Temperature Control will measure the heat of your coil, calculate the wattage needed to keep your coil at the optimum temperature, and fine-tune your wattage setting as you vape.
- Advanced Vaping Modes: In addition to TC mode, some chips offer Eco Mode (gives you 10% to 15% more draws out of each battery), Stealth Mode (low vapour clouds), Replay Mode (saves your ideal wattage/voltage), and more. Our favourite is Pulse Mode, where you just hold your thumb over your fire button and regular ‘pulses’ of heat course through the coil.
- Responsiveness: Whether you’re TC vaping or using an advanced vaping mode, your vape chip has to ‘respond’ to what’s going on in your coil as quickly as possible, which is why response time is so important in a vape chip. You need a super-fast CPU that can compute the perfect power settings in a split-second.
- Fun: You don’t need to be able to change the colour of the glowing LED trim on your box mod, nor do you need to customise the widgets and brightness of your box mod’s screen … but it’s fun to do! Some box mod chips give you the power to add custom text to your box mod, and we’ve even seen an e-cigarette screen with a computer game pre-loaded onto it (take a look on YouTube).
Which box mod chip is the best? (Top Five)
No two chips are created equal. Every vape chip suits a different vaping style, budget and battery setup. Most vape manufacturers have developed their own proprietary chip technology, and the chip is pre-installed in the box mod, so you don’t ‘choose’ a chip in the same way that you choose your coil or e-liquid. It’s still worth paying attention to if you’re shopping around for a new box mod.
With its fast ramp time and super-accurate vaping modes, DNA is an unbeatable chip at the very premium end of the market. The best-known feature of the DNA chipset is its Replay Mode setting, which allows you to save the exact temperature, voltage and wattage settings of your perfect vape and recreate that vape again whenever you like. DNA chips can be found in the latest Lost Vape box mods, (Lost Vape are also using it in their Orion Q Pod Device).
VooPoo have worked hard on their super-fast high-performance GENE chip over the years, and it’s now being compared to the DNA by many in the industry. Some of VooPoo’s best mods with GENE chips include the Drag X Plus (a superb beginner box mod), the tough and durable Drag 2 Platinum TC and the battery-agnostic VooPoo X WoodyVape. If you like VooPoo mods, chances are you like the GENE chipset!
Offering a beautifully balanced Eco Mode and a 0.2-second Pulse Mode as standard, Vaporesso’s AXON chip is a smart, functional workhorse that squeezes every last drop of power out of your batteries. Perfect for single-battery mods (like the Vaporesso Forz) the AXON chip is so good that Vaporesso use it in every size of their X series (the 6-inch tall Gen S, the 4.5 inch Gen Nano and the 3.6 inch Gen X).
With a super-fast CPU and big, bold display capabilities, Geekvape’s AS chipset just gets better and better every year! The newest version of the AS chip can be found in Geekvape’s Aegis Legend and Aegis X models, but AS technology underpins their stylish, hardy Aegis Max and their single-battery Aegis Solo, too.
YiHi has a reputation as one of the most user-friendly premium chips on the market. While YiHi doesn’t offer quite as many custom controls as the DNA chip, it’s a highly accurate, responsive chip packed with enough control and transparency for most vapers.
That’s it on vape chips! I hope this guide gives you enough information to go out there and pick the right box mod with confidence.
Just remember that — whatever chip you get — it’s not going to alert you to hardware problems like a faulty 510 connection or a bad coil. You still need to know your way around your own equipment.
And please, whatever you do, stick to regulated box mods. Take it from me:I’m an electrical engineer, and if anyone should be able to vape safety on an unregulated mech mod it’s me. I avoid mech mods because they offer vapers no protection whatsoever, and they produce a worse vaping experience than a good regulated mod.
Stick with a safety chip and you’ll have a much better vaping experience — I promise!
Stay safe and happy vaping!