Vapes (everything from electronic cigarettes to box mods) work by converting E-Liquids into an aerosol of vapor and tiny drops of liquid.  When this is exhaled, people tend to confuse it as smoke but it is decidedly not.  Every vape has three parts to make it work — a battery, an atomizer, and a tank.  Let’s break down the function of each.


As you’ve probably assumed, the battery provides all the power needed to operate a vape.  Most vapes use lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries because of the excellent energy they can provide without taking up a lot of room.

All E-Cigarettes, from the single-use store-bought you might find at the gas station to the refillable pen systems like the Kangertech Evods, have a built-in battery.  Since these cannot be removed, once the battery has hit its end of life, the entire pen will need to be replaced.

Most box mods utilize a removable battery that can be charged in a separate charger, which allows you to keep your device running for longer as you can simply swap a drained battery for a fresh one.


Depending on which device you are using, the atomizer is a metal strip or series of coiled wire wrapped around a wick, which is usually made from cotton.  The cotton absorbs the E-Liquid, delivers it to the coils/strip, and then when heated by the battery vaporizes it.

Pen-style vapes generally utilize a simple screw-in atomizer that cannot be modified and is store bought.  Some box mods also utilize this type of atomizer, which generally last two to three weeks before needing to be replaced depending on frequency of use.

Some higher-end mods, made for people who are very serious about vaping, feature rebuildable atomizers.  In this type of atomizer, you would purchase your own cotton (organic Egyptian cotton is very popular) and also wind your own coils before reassembling and installing your atomizer.  It can be challenging but very rewarding.


Obviously, all vapes need a place to store their liquid and that’s the function of the tank.  Refillable tanks come in varying sizes for both pen systems as well as box mods, and the quality can fluctuate as well.  The challenge is to allow enough air in while not allowing them to leak all over the place.  Most box mod tanks also feature an adjustable air flow design — more air usually means its easier to draw on but lighter flavor and cloud production.