If you’re a beginner vaper, chances are you’re overwhelmed by the number of terms used by the community. RDA’s, RTA’s, Max VG juices - there’s a bunch of them floating around on forums and discussion boards and it’s understandable that you feel confused sometimes. However, one term, in particular, takes the cake - squonking.
It’s an actual word, although the dictionary definition would most likely leave you baffled. When vapers talk about ‘the squonk’ they are not talking about a mythical Pennsylvanian monster that haunts the forests in that neck of the woods (thanks for that one, Wiktionary!). What they are talking about is a modified MOD that allows a ready access to fresh vape juice without the need to drip or use a tank system.
What Exactly Are Squonk Vaping Set-ups?
Squonk mods (also alternatively called bottomfeeder mods) are devices that have been modified to allow space for a vape juice bottle (usually 5-7 milliliters but can be bigger) next to the battery. They are used with squonk-friendly atomizers, which allow vape juice to be fed to the wick from the opposite side - the bottom of an atomizer where the 510 connection pin is located.
As you can see in the image below (Kanger DripBox squonk), a small plastic bottle rests right next to the battery. There’s a small opening through which you can manipulate the vape juice - pressing on the bottle pushes the vape juice up through the modified 510 connector and the wick gets soaked. Releasing the pressure creates a sucking action that pulls down excess vape juice back into the bottle, which really helps with the whole ‘atomizer overflow’ issue.
The Pros and Cons of Squonking
Like pretty much everything else, squonking has its positives and its negatives. However, in our opinion, pros heavily outweigh the cons on this particular case. Let’s take a quick look at them:
- Convenience - no more frequent refills or dripping
- Size of the bottle is generally over 7 ml, while most tanks are 5 ml or under
- Squonking on the go is easier than using an RDA and constantly having to drip
- Flavor is generally similar to the one you get with RDA’s
- Minimized overflow and leaking because excess vape juice ends up back in the bottle
There are far fewer cons, but they do exist and some of them might be deal-breakers for some vapers:
- Battery life can be an issue because most squonk set-ups use a single 18650 battery until the recent growth in dual battery squonkers.
- Overflow not totally eliminated- some set-ups have a hard time reabsorbing excess juice
- Because squonking is more convenient, expect higher vape juice consumption (depends in large part on your vaping habits)
- Most squonk mods are unregulated, there are only a few regulated ones on the market
The biggest downside with squonking is the battery life issue. Since the MOD has to fit in a vape juice bottle in addition to a battery, that extra 18650 often gets eliminated straight off the bat to conserve size. Also, regulated bottomfeeder mods are generally larger because they have to make room for a chip - that’s why we don’t see a lot of manufacturers making them.
History of Squonking
Although squonking might look like something fresh and new, especially considering the rate of innovation in the vaping community, it actually isn’t. The term ‘squonk’ was coined by an E-Cigarette Forum veteran, Jack Murray, in describing how the juice gets up to the atty. He was discussing the first commercially available squonk MOD with other vapers in this thread, which was back in 2010.
One of the first actual squonk mods was made by a vaper known as Carlos49 (at least on the forums and on his YouTube account) in the winter of 2009. It was a DIY project - a Radio Shack plastic box that held a battery and a vape juice bottle, as well as a cartomizer (tanks were not a thing back then) that was protruding slightly from the box.
Here’s a video of Carlos’ big unveiling on YouTube:
Completely unappealing and downright dangerous, Carlos’ DIY squonk mod (called the JuiceBox) was still hugely popular with hardcore members of the vaping community. He soon started selling them but the process of making each one was obviously more than Carlos could handle - he never delivered pre-ordered devices and it’s estimated that not more than 250 were ever made and sold.
Robert O’Neill, another member of the E-Cigarette Forum, waited for Carlos’ unit for months until deciding to make his own. He took Carlos’ idea, fixed it (JuiceBox had integrated atomizers so coil swaps and cotton changes were not possible without sending the device back to Carlos), and started selling it under the brand name REO. It’s safe to say that REO was the first truly commercially available squonk MOD and pictured below is the first of many that Rob made.
The Up and Coming Squonk MODs and Atomizers
Although squonking is gaining in popularity recently, large budget-friendly manufacturers are still reluctant to invest heavily into something that might be (and was in the past) a fad. The biggest issue is the fact that, in order to have a mass appeal, these new mods will need to be regulated - most new vapers don’t want to invest the time needed into learning a bunch of things associated with running a mech mod. This messes with mod size and battery life. Most squonk mods are, for that reason, still unregulated and sold in smaller batches, which drives their price up. High-end squonkers are available but are also pricey, and there’s usually a waiting list you need to sign up to. REO's mods are somewhere in the middle (price-wise, there are no issues with the quality), and can generally be purchased without the wait.
When it comes to squonker atomizers, they are relatively easy to come by these days. There aren’t that many brands on the market but some manufacturers do include a squonker pin into their kits. Since all bottomfeeder mods now work with a 510 connection, this makes it easier to find the gear that’s suited to your vaping style at a lower price point. Some of the more popular ones include Cthulhu Hastur RBA, Origen Dripper V3, and Nar MODs RBA’s.
Could Squonking be Your Thing?
Well, you definitely won’t know until you try!
Squonking has a lot of benefits, as we already mentioned. If you’re looking for something that’s convenient but don’t want to trade the flavor and the vapor production you get when dripping, then squonk vape set-ups might be right up your alley. However, squonking is not for beginners, even if we’re talking about regulated squonk MODs. If you’re not into RDAs and coil rebuilding, then you might want to stick to regular tanks with replaceable coils.
Also, squonking is a slippery slope - a lot of devices are not mass-produced and have a waiting list. Naturally, that makes them more expensive. If you develop a squonk fetish, it can really make a dent in your overall budget.
Still, if you’re a hardcore vaper then it’s more than likely that you always plan for unexpected expenses. Especially if those expenses are guaranteed to give you a very pleasurable vaping experience.
Do you use a squonker? What’s your favorite set-up? Don’t be shy - drop us a line in the comment section and let’s see if this squonking fad can turn into a new vaping movement!