The iStick 50W & KBOX Mini Comparison
Over the past few months Seven Report has had the honor of reviewing some of the hottest products on the market. Today I’ll compare two of them, the Eleaf iStick 50 Watt and the Kangertech KBOX Mini box mods.
Before Seven Report publishes a review of a product I use that product extensively. Such was the case for these two box mods. But my use didn’t end with the publication of the reviews. I still use each of these devices on a daily basis. And both continue to sell very well.
If you’re in the market for a new box mod, either would serve you well. I realize though that not everyone may need or want or be able to justify the expense of two very similar box mods, and there are quite a few similarities. So I present this comparison as a means of arming you with as much information as possible to assist you in making a choice. And while the iStick 50 Watt and KBOX Mini do have quite a few similarities, there are enough differences between them that one may suit your individual needs or preferences better than the other.
Seven Report hardware reviews are based on five criteria; performance, features, quality, looks and price/value. In my original review both of these mods scored very high in each of these areas. But to be fair, the review of the KBOX Mini also included the Kanger Subtank Mini as the two are packaged together as the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit. Suffice it to say that I’ve had no major problems with either of these mods in real world, every day use. Both are solid and dependable, firing when you press the fire button. You can read the in-depth review of the iStick 50 Watt here and the SUBOX Mini here.
So let’s put them head-to-head, with the pertinent details all in one place for you, taking a look at where they’re similar and where they differ.
What’s In The Box
This is going to be the biggest difference, and may well be the final deciding factor for many vapers. As of this writing Kangertech does not sell the KBOX Mini as a stand alone item, but packages it with a color coordinated Subtank Mini as the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit. It comes with the KBOX Mini unit, a Subtank Mini and 3 different coils; a 1.5 ohm organic cotton coil (OCC), a 0.5 ohm OCC and a rebuildable RBA Mini Plus. Kanger also includes two pre-wrapped coils for the RBA, a package of organic Japanese cotton, screwdriver, extra screws, a micro USB charging cable a second drip tip of contrasting color and a user manual.
The Eleaf iStick 50 Watt comes with the iStick unit, a micro USB charging cable, a 1A wall adapter, an eGo thread connector and a user manual.
Edge: KBOX Mini
Each mod is variable wattage (VW), but the iStick 50 Watt is also variable voltage. The wattage range on the iStick 50 Watt is 5 – 50 watts and the voltage range is 2 – 10 volts. The iStick 50 Watt will fire coils down to 0.2 ohms. It has an internal 4400 mAh battery that’s charged via a micro USB port on the side of the unit. It has pass through charging capability, which means you can continue to vape with it while charging. Eleaf includes both a micro USB charging cable and a 1A wall adapter for the cable.
The KBOX Mini VW range is 7 – 50 watts, the unit is not variable voltage. It will fire coils down to 0.3 ohms. The KBOX Mini is powered by an external 18650 battery, which is not included. You can charge the battery while it’s in the device, via the micro USB port located on the side of the mod, and it also has pass through capability. Kanger includes a micro USB charging cable, but not a 1A wall adapter.
Edge: iStick 50 Watt
Controls & Display
Each mod has three buttons; a fire button, a “+” or increase button and a “-” or decrease button. The KBOX Mini has all three buttons and the OLED display on the side of the unit while the iStick 50 Watt has the fire button on the side and the increase and decrease buttons and the OLED display on the front of the unit. All of the buttons on each mod function smoothly and are easy to reach, though I’ve found the proximity of the buttons to one another on the KBOX Mini to be slightly more convenient.
Both units feature a vertical OLED display that is bright, sharp and easy to read. And you can flip the orientation of that display on each model, so no matter how you hold them you should be able to read the displays easily. Both mods display a battery level indicator, ohms of the attached atomizer, selected wattage setting and volts, though the KBOX Mini only display the volts while the fire button is pressed, and you have to be really fast, or hold the unit in what is for me an unnatural manner to actually be able to read the voltage.
The iStick 50 Watt display also includes a puff timer which is displayed when you fire the unit, and the selected power mode is also displayed with the puff timer. And the iStick 50 Watt will allow you to “lock” the unit so you don’t inadvertently change your power setting.
Edge: iStick 50 Watt
This is where it gets a little tricky, since Kangertech doesn’t, at least yet, offer the KBOX Mini as a stand alone product, so we’re really not comparing apples to apples on price. But I think we can work around that for you.
Kangertech, who provided the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit for a Seven Report review, lists the SUBOX Mini Starte Kit, which includes the KBOX Mini and the Subtank Mini, at $82.90. Eleaf lists the iStick 50 Watt at $69.99. Based simply on the list prices the difference is about $13, and I’m not sure you’re going to get a sub ohm tank comparable to the Subtank Mini for $13. But, the SUBOX Mini does not include a battery, so now that $13 difference is closer to $18 to $23 when you add in the cost of a battery. Still, I haven’t seen the Subtank Mini for less than $30.
Of course, if you do a little shopping around you should be able to find the iStick 50 Watt and the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit for less than the MSRP. American eLiquid Store, who provided the iStick 50 Watt for a Seven Report review, lists it for $54.99. They also have the Subtank Mini, listed at $39.99, for a total of $94.98, which is $12 more than Kanger’s list price on the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit, or a little more than the price of a decent 18650 battery. And I’ve the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit listed well below that $82.90 MSRP.
Edge: KBOX Mini
Your final decision is ultimately going to come down to one or more of a couple of considerations. If you already have a tank, or an RDA, that you’re happy with and you’re on a tight budget, then I’d suggest the iStick 50 Watt, since you don’t really need another tank.
But if you don’t have a sub ohm tank, or you really need another one, or the slight difference in the total out of pocket expenditure isn’t a stretch for you, then go with the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit. Its inclusion of the Subtank Mini with those excellent OCC coils and that RBA Mini Plus rebuildable coil will serve as a wonderful introduction to sub ohm vaping and rebuilding.
Another potential decision maker factor may be looks, which is a very subjective area. I like the looks of each of these mods, but that’s me. I should note that the KBOX Mini is available in black or white and the iStick 50 Watt has four color options, black, silver, blue and what Eleaf lists as red but really looks more like pink to me.
I use and really enjoy both of them. I think they’re both good looking, high quality devices. I like the solid feel of the KBOX and its slightly smaller size and with that RBA Mini Plus I’m finally starting to try my hand at rebuilding. But the iStick 50 Watt is great too, and its 4400 mAh battery lasts a good longer between charges than the 18650 battery I have in the KBOX Mini.
Whatever you decide, I’m confident you’ll be happy. These are both very good mods, especially for the price. Once you’ve made a choice and have a chance to use either mod, I’d be interested in your impressions. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Specs: iStick 50W & KBOX Mini
|SPECS||iStick 50 Watt||KBOX Mini|
|Height||83 mm||82 mm|
|Width||45 mm||39 mm|
|Depth||23 mm||22 mm|
|VV Range||2.0 - 10.0 volts||NA|
|VW Range||5 - 50 watts||7 - 50 watts|
|Lowest Resistancew||0.2 ohms||0.3 ohms|
|Battery||4400 mAh internal||18650 external|
|Charging||micro USB||micro USB|
|MSRP||$69.99||$82.90 (price of SUBOX Mini Starter Kit w/Subtank Mini)|
You can order the Eleaf iStick 50 Watt from American eLiquid Store
You can order the Kangertech SUBOX Mini Starter Kit in black or white from Kanger
Order the SUBOX Mini Starter Kit from DirectVapor for $68.95.