Published on June 21st, 2013 | by Trick1
Review: The Smok E-Pipe Mod
Summary: Aside from a fairly major safety issue, we like the Smok E-Pipe... But we'd like it a lot more if the price dropped to about half.
Budget E-Pipes haven’t really fared well in the scores here. Maybe it’s the limitations of the small 18350 battery format they typically use, or the small amount of room for frills in a small device like a pipe, but we’ve been pretty underwhelmed with the pipes we’ve received from Chinese manufacturers so far. It was with a small amount of trepidation that we joined a co-op for SmokTech’s new E-Pipe Mod which, as far as we’ve been able to tell, they’ve creatively named “E-Pipe Mod.” It even has “E-Pipe Mod Pipe Mod” written right on the front of the box.
The Smok E-Pipe is a mechanical mod which runs on an 18350 battery, and it’s innards look much like other Smok mechanicals like the Telescope. A brass spring on the bottom cap handles the negative contact, and there’s a stainless steel post for a positive at the other end, just under the button. Pressing the spring-loaded button on top of the mod presses the top post down to the battery, making contact, and the mod fires.
One word of warning here. If you have button-top 18350 batteries, and use them in the typical fashion, with the button up and the negative end making contact with the spring , you are likely to have problems. Because of how the switch is built, this will push to button top of the battery right up into the positive post. If an atomizer is attached, the Smok E-Pipe will self-fire until you either pull off the atomizer or open it up and take the battery out. If you’re not paying attention, this could be disastrous, as it will rapidly discharge the entire battery. We’ve been able to use button top batteries by placing them in upside-down, with the positive end toward the spring, but we’re very concerned that people may throw batteries into these without realizing what’s going on, and bad things are going to happen.
Our Smok E-Pipe is equipped with 510 threading set into a fairly deep well, so it works well with any small devices that use a 510 connector, which includes a large range of devices but excludes things like most of Kanger’s eGo-based clearomizers — the T3 and EVOD, for example, don’t fit the E-Pipe. Small, unobtrusive cutouts around the connector ensure airflow to the atomizer.
Other than the self-firing issue mentioned above, this little E-Pipe seems to be fairly well-built. It feels heavy and substantial, everything fits snugly and the mod is rattle-free. The button is responsive, though the spring is just a bit stiffer than we’d like; it takes a decent amount of pressure to depress the switch, though the throw is short enough that it’s not really a big problem. Threading seems pretty good, particularly for a Smok device, with a minimum of screech or drag in the top and bottom caps and 510 connector — everything screws together pretty effortlessly.
Performance of the Smok E-Pipe was pretty mediocre, which we can’t say came as a big surprise to us. Voltage drop was around .25 volts on a fully-charged 18350, or about 8%. We should probably note here that we typically test with 18650 batteries, so test results from the E-Pipe may not be completely comparable to test on larger mods.
One other thing we’re not thrilled about with the Smok E-Pipe is the $50 retail price tag. While we don’t find it to be a bad mod once the battery issues are worked out, we’re also not sure it’s enough to justify $50. We’re quite pleased with this little mod at the $25 co-op price we paid for it, but we might not feel as good about it had we paid twice as much.
Overall, we think it’s likely our Smok E-Pipe will see more use than previously pipe purchases like the Oakley X Cube and Beautiful King. The Smok E-Pipe is a good-looking devices, without the pretentiousness of the King or the aggravating fragility of the X Cube. With its chromed industrial look, we don’t think we’d be too self-conscious about having people see us using it outside the house, which may be more than we can say for a lot of other E-Pipes.
The safety issue is a bit of a shame, because otherwise we really like this thing, and we’d recommend it much more strongly if we didn’t think there was a good chance of it blowing up in someone’s face.