Less Means More: How Ultra-Portable Vapes Are Coming To Dominate The Industry in 2019


Ever since 2003, when 52-year-old Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik created the first commercially successful cigarette-style personal vaporizer in Beijing, there’s been a very clear pattern of upsizing in the manufacture of vapes. For over a decade, product manufacturers have created larger and larger mechanical tank systems and box mods capable of increasingly impressive output values, citing “consumer demand.” It seemed there was no form factor too clunky or impractical for said consumers (i.e. hardcore vapers) as long as it meant more power and souped up specs. That is, at least until the end of 2018. The last two years saw a dramatic change, as ultra-portable vape systems are all the rage now in the vaping world.

In retrospect, what exactly was the point to massive vape mods?
In a single phrase: competitive vaping. The single largest internal component of any personal vaporizer is obviously its battery. The larger or more numerous batteries a device can hold, the longer it will last throughout the day — and the longer it can sustain the maxed out output values calibrated to perfection by advanced vapers.

Larger components allow for greater capacity overall as well. The larger the atomizer coil, squonk bottle or sub-ohm tank, the higher you can go in terms of output values you can set, e-liquid you can carry around and — most importantly — density of the billowing clouds of smoke you can blow while you vape.

Although the past decade and a half has been dominated by advanced vapers and devotees who saw vaping as an identity, 2019 has seen the vape industry mature and expand its appeal to a wider range of users. With this shift in the overarching vape culture we’re seeing the growing popularity of smaller, more discreet personal vaporizers such as all-in-one systems and pod mods. In this post, we take a brief look at the two biggest reasons behind this culture shift.

Modern Batteries

There’s been plenty of advancement in the development of lithium batteries within the tech space. While vapes had been getting bigger over the last fifteen years, the smartphone and mobile computing industries have been producing smaller and smaller devices with advanced lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries. Today, much smaller batteries are able to provide ample staying power in modern vape mods — even at moderate to high output settings.

Changes In Public Perception

Vaping has come a long way from being an esoteric movement of young, hardcore vapers (often referred to as “cloud chasers”) with intimate knowledge of the technical aspects of vaping. Various ten-year studies from numerous independent sources have vindicated the activity, with some going so far as to assert that it’s up to 95% safer than smoking conventional cigarettes.

Naturally, this has brought in hundreds of thousands if not millions of new vapers seeking the promise of a safer alternative to combustibles. This massive influx of potential consumers is obviously not lost on major product manufacturers within the vape industry, and they’ve created plenty of new products with considerably simplified operation — with form factors to match — in order to accommodate them.

Where vaping used to be an obscure corner for enthusiasts and so-called “purists” with a mastery of DIY coil assembly, e-liquid mixing and Ohm’s Law, it’s now populated in large part by casual vapers who are content to use regulated products requiring little to no tinkering whatsoever. For these new, casual ex-smokers, an all-in-one ultra-portable vape system or a simple JUUL will more than suffice.