History of Squonk Vaping
History of Squonk Vaping
Squonk vaping is on the verge of yet another comeback, and for those familiar with the devices, this should be cause for celebration. If you've never heard of squonk vaping, you're probably a bit confused - what the heck is a squonk, anyway? As bottom feeder mods prepare to take the spotlight once again, let's take a look at the history of these vapes, and the technology behind them.
First off, what is a squonk box? Also known as bottom feeder mods, squonk devices are vapes that have space for a bottle of liquid tucked inside the shell of the mod, alongside the space for the batteries. A hole in the side of the mod's body allows the user to squeeze, or 'squonk' the bottle, pushing juice up a tube and through a hole in the firing pin of a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA) up top. The RDA's wicks soak up as much liquid as they need to keep the coils wet, while any excess seeps back into the reservoir below.
Think of it as dripping, but from below the coils rather than above, hence the 'bottom feeder' designation. It's also easier than dripping, since you don't have to carry a bottle around separate from your mod, or disassemble the RDA every few puffs to keep your wicks wet - just a quick squonk on the bottle that's already connected and you're good to go!
While squonking may seem like something new, it can be traced back to 2009 as a DIY project by a member of the E-Cigarette Forum. The project prompted a discussion on YouTube. Dubbed the JuiceBox, Carlos49 wasn't able to replicate the device commercially, and this model didn't take off, but vapers wanted to get their hands on this device. The JuiceBox paved the way for what is considered the first successful commercial squonk mod, the REO.
The REO was created by another member of E-Cigarette Forum in 2010 and quickly fueled the desire for more squonk mods. These devices are still popular today for their durability and fine craftsmanship, though the drawbacks of a fully mechanical operation system, a limitation on the style and availability of atomizers and the fact that they can only house a single 18650 cell limits their appeal to novice vapers who've transitioned during the era of computer-controlled multi-cell mods with pre-built coils and adjustable power and temperature settings.
In the years following the groundbreaking REO, more devices have come to market and squonk mods have gained popularity, though most were still made in small batches and not readily available on the mass market. That is, until the early-2016 release of the Kanger Dripbox.
Stylistically, the Dripbox had plenty in common with the REO - it was a single-18650 mod with on-board squonk bottle, and it featured semi-mechanical operation (a safety chip cut power if the device tried to draw more than 60 watts). But for the first time, Kanger made available disposable coil decks to go with its RDA, meaning customers who weren't willing or able to build their own devices could get a plug-and-play solution. And instead of the $150 or more custom and semi-custom bottom feeders cost, this Chinese import could be had for as little as $30.
Sales of the Dripbox were robust, and positive feedback convinced Kanger to deliver a follow-up product, the Dripbox 160. This model featured a dual-18650 battery capability and an on-board chipset for power and temperature control, but an explosion of new offerings from all of the major mod makers around this time meant the upgraded Kanger product got lost in the shuffle.
With rumblings from several other large-scale manufacturers that new bottom feeder offerings are on the horizon, now is as good a time as any to consider, especially if you're a full-time dripper, looking into giving one a try. We'll take a look soon at some of these exciting new products in fuller depth.