Eleaf is the hottest manufacturer of box mods. At least for the moment. Their iStick line continues to fly off the shelves, my local vape shop sells them almost as fast as they get them in. The original iStick went to market in late 2014. It was quickly followed by the even smaller iStick mini, the iStick 30 Watt and then the iStick 50 Watt. To take full advantage of the popularity of the iStick line, Eleaf has also introduced two sub ohm tanks, the Lemo, which features a rebuildable atomizer (RBA), and the Melo with a 0.5 ohm coil. The Melo was designed especially for the iStick 30 Watt, but will work with other mods as well.
The iStick Mini packs a 1050 mAh battery, is veriable voltage (VV) with a range of 3.3 to 5.0 volts and a maximum output of 10 watts. It’s the smallest of the iStick family, at about half the size of the original iStick and the iStick 30 Watt.
The iStick 30 Watt is nearly identical in size to the original and has the same 2200 mAh battery. It’s variable voltage (VV) and variable wattage (VW) with ranges of 2.0 to 8.0 volts and 5 to 30 watts. It will handle coils with resistances of 0.4 to 5.0 ohms.
I haven’t tried either the iStick Mini or iStick 30 Watt, and they don’t seem to be as readily available as the original iStick and the iStick 50 Watt. This comparison will only look in depth at the original and the 50 Watt iSticks.
Eleaf based the design of the newer iStick 50 Watt largely on that of the original iStick, they look like they’re related. And they both have the same basic functionality. They both turn on and off via five presses of the fire button, and the fire button on each is on the side of the unit. Both are VV/VW. You switch between VV and VW modes by pressing the fire button three times. The up and down buttons on each model are all triangular in shape.
Each has a bright, clear, easy to read OLED display that functions identically on each iStick. When you press the fire button the display shows a puff timer and indicates which mode you’re in (VV or VW) and the output of the selected mode. After about three seconds the screen will display the iStick’s battery level, the resistance of the attached coil, the wattage and the voltage. The output of the non-selected mode will be displayed in smaller font underneath the ohms meter and the output of the mode you’re currently in will be displayed to the far right of the screen in larger font.
Both models feature pass through, vape while charging capability. Eleaf offers both iStick models in four colors; black, blue, silver and pink. They each come with an eGo thread adapter, a micro USB charging cable, a 1A wall adapter and a user manual.
Both models have excellent battery life. While you’d expect the bigger, 4400 mAh battery of the 50 Watt to last longer than the original iStick’s 2200 mAh battery, chances are you’ll be vaping on the 50 Watt at higher power levels than you would on the original, so battery life will be comparable, at least they have been for me. I regularly get two to three days of heavy vaping between charges out of each model.
There are a couple of very obvious differences between the original iStick and the iStick 50 Watt. The first is size. Both of these box mods are relatively small, they each just about disappear in your hand. But the iStick 50 Watt is significantly taller, wider and heavier.
The next major difference is the battery capacity, the original iStick has a 2200 mAh battery compared to the 4400 mAh power plant on the iStick 50 Watt. That difference in the batteries leads to the another major difference, the power ranges of the models. The original iStick has a VV range of 3 to 5.5 volts and a VW range of 2 to 20 watts. The iStick 50 Watt has a VV range of 2 to 10 volts and a VW range of 5 to 50 watts.
While we’re the subject of power, the original iStick will fire coils from 1.0 to 3.0 ohms while the iStick 50 Watt can handle coils from 0.2 to 5.0 ohms. That means that the original iStick can’t use any of the new sub ohm tanks except for the Kangertech Subtanks IF you’re using the 1.2 ohm coil, and even then it’s not capable of firing at 20 watts on that coil.
The other differences are primarily in the area of design and the functionality of the variable power modes and OLED display. On the original iStick the fire button, increase and decrease buttons and the OLED display are all on the flat side of the unit. The iStick 50 Watt places the fire button, which is curved and larger than that on the original, on the side, and both sides of this unit are rounded. The 50 Watt has the increase and decrease buttons and the OLED display on the front of the unit.
To increase or decrease volts or watts on either unit you simply press one of the directional buttons and the power changes in 0.1 increments.
On the original iStick you enter automatic mode by holding in one of the directional buttons. The power will increase or decrease automatically until you reach your desired level. To stop the changes simply press the opposite button. While in automatic mode press a directional button again and the change will increase to 0.2 increments. Press the directional button again and the change will increase to 0.5 increments. Press the opposite directional button to stop the power change once you’ve reached your desired setting.
On the iStick 50 Watt you have to hold in the directional button to increase the rate of change. It will stop changing power as soon as you release the directional button.
The iStick 50 Watt will allow you to lock the power change buttons. Hold both of them in simultaneously to enter the “locked” mode. This ensures that you don’t accidentally change your power setting if you bump one of the buttons. To unlock the power feature hold both directional buttons in again. And the 50 Watt will allow you to flip the display 180 degrees. With the unit turned off, hold in both directional buttons and the display will flip, making it easy to read the display no matter how you hold it. While I like this feature, I think that the 50 Watt is wide enough that Eleaf could have aligned the OLED display horizontally instead of vertically. That would have made it even easier to read.
The final design difference is the placement of the USB charging port. On the original iStick it’s on the bottom of the unit. The problem with that is if you charge the iStick with a tank attached. You have to lay it on its side, which may cause some leakage from your tank. The charging port on the iStick 50 Watt is on the back of the unit, allowing to set it upright while charging.
The last difference is in the price of the models. As you’d probably expect, the larger, more powerful iStick 50 Watt is more expensive. Eleaf lists the MSRP of the 50 Watt as $69.99 and the original iStick as $39.99. American eLiquid Store offers both models and lists the original iStick at $39.99 and the iStick 50 Watt at $59.99.
So which model of the iStick is right for you? That depends on a couple of factors. The first is the type of vaping you do. If you’re eager to try out the full functionality of one of the new sub ohm tanks, then the iStick 50 Watt would have to get the edge. It’s capable of firing coils with resistance levels down to 0.2 ohms, well within the range of all of the currently available off-the-shelf sub ohm tanks from Kangertech, Aspire, Eleaf and Joyetech.
If price is your major consideration, then the original iStick gets the nod. Depending on where you shop the original is going to be $20 to $30 less expensive. And it will still fire the Kangertech Subtanks IF you’re using the 1.2 ohm coil.
Whichever model you choose, you’re sure to get lots of vaping enjoyment out it. Both models are solid, dependable and compact. I’ve used both models extensively and recommend both fully, the choice is really up to you and your style of vaping.
I’ve used the original iStick with the Kangertech Subtank Nano with the 1.2 ohm coil and the Aspire Nautilus Mini. My go to set up with the iStick 50 Watt is the Kangertech Subtank Nano with the 0.5 ohm coil. I purchased my original iStick at Vapes Gone Wild in Newnan, GA for $45. It was on sale for 10% off, so the full retail on it at that time was $50. American eLiquid Store provided the iStick 50 Watt for the purpose of a Seven Report review.
|iStick (20)||iStick 50W|
|Height||75 mm||83 mm|
|Width||32.8 mm||45 mm|
|Depth||21 mm||23 mm|
|VV Range||3.0 - 5.5 volts||2.0 - 10.0 volts|
|VW Range||2.0 - 20 watts||5 - 50 watts|
|Resistance Range||1.0 - 3.0 ohms||0.2 - 5.0 ohms|
|Battery||2200 mAh||4400 mAh|
|Charging||micro USB||micro USB|
|Colors||Black, Silver, Blue, Pink*||Black, Silver, Blue, Pink*|
|In The Box||eGo adapter, charging cable, wall charger adapter||eGo adapter, charging cable, wall charger adapter|
|American eLiquid Store Price||$39.99||$59.99|
|*Pink not offered by American eLiquid Store|