Our Smok D-Barrel review takes a look at the affordable dual-battery device from Smok. The $30 price-tag makes it a tempting option, but can you do better for your money?
Is it worth picking up?
In many ways, the D-Barrel isn’t a particularly impressive device. It has a good set of features and performs well, but it doesn’t offer anything you can’t find on tons of other mods out there.
The thing that really sets it apart is the price. Being able to get a dual-battery mod with everything you could basically need when you’re vaping for under $30 is pretty astounding, and it’s well worth picking up. If you already have some mods, this won’t add anything much to your collection, but if you’re just getting into vaping or want to try out your first mod, it’s a great option.
Smok is one of the most prolific vaping companies in the industry. With a gigantic collection of mods spanning back to the early days of vaping, most vapers have some experience with the brand. Aside from the gigantic selection of devices, one of the things that makes Smok such a common feature in vapers’ collections is how incredibly affordable the devices are. The D-Barrel is the perfect example of this: it’s a dual-battery box mod, offering up to 225 W of power, with temperature control functionality and all of the bells and whistles you’d expect from any mod these days, and yet it’s available for just $29.99. For such a great price, the device will undoubtedly be tempting to vapers on a budget anyway, but how good really is it? Our Smok D-Barrel review takes a look at the device to find out.
What You Get
The D-Barrel mod comes in the standard-style Smok box, with an outer sleeve featuring a picture of the device and a black inner box with “Smok” printed on it. Your device sits in a foam insert in the top of the box, and underneath there is a separate section containing a USB charging cable, a battery warning card, the warranty card and a basic instruction manual. Not including a tank might be a bit of an issue if it’s your first vaping device, but overall the price is so low that it isn’t a huge deal.
Smok D-Barrel Review – The Design
The D-Barrel has a pretty unique look, somewhere between the Alien 220 and the Mag Grip, with a vaguely cylindrical shape but a clear focus on ensuring the device fits comfortably in your hand. There are two curved sections cut out at the sides of the body, revealing the outside of the tubes for the battery but giving your palm and fingers somewhere comfortable to rest. The device comes in four different colors, either with a black body and red tubes, the same with a metallic rainbow effect on the tubes, a blue body with stainless steel tubes or a red body with black tubes. All of these look pretty cool, though, and while the device is a bit more visually striking than most mods, it does a good job on the design front overall.
Trigger-Style Fire Button
The biggest similarity between the D-Barrel and the Mag Grip (apart from the vaguely gun-handle like shape) is the use of a trigger-style firing button, on the edge of the mod behind the tank. The positioning is great, because when you hold the device your finger wraps around naturally and falls onto the trigger, and it’s also easy to press in, letting out a small click as you do. Combined with the ergonomic design of the body, this makes it a very comfortable device to use overall.
The display screen on the D-Barrel is on the top of the device, beside the tank and on the opposite side to the trigger button. The screen is oriented so it faces you as the vape and in the way you’d naturally hold the mod, and it clearly displays all of the key information you need. There are two battery icons in the top right, your main setting shown to the left, the resistance of your coil and the firing voltage below these, and finally a bar that times your puffs along the bottom edge. It’s kind of small compared to other devices, but it still gets all the key information across in a clear and efficient manner.
The battery compartment on the D-Barrel is accessed through a hinged door on the bottom of the device. This is pretty easy to get open: you pull it out horizontally at first, and then swing it downwards to get access. There are clear marks for the polarity of the batteries, both on the inside of the swinging door and on the inside of the compartment, and your batteries fit snugly inside the tubes. There’s also a USB charging port on one of the large faces of the device, right towards the top above the “D-Barrel” logo.
The design of the D-Barrel is great overall, it has a unique look and it’s clearly put together with comfort in mind. The appearance might not be to everybody’s taste, but if you’re happy with how it looks it’s excellent.
Smok D-Barrel Review – The Features
Variable Wattage Up to 225 W
The D-Barrel features variable wattage (VW) vaping at up to 225 W of power, which is about as far as you can go with two 18650 batteries. This is more than enough for most vapers’ needs (if you even go that high), so it’s hard to fault in that regard. You adjust your setting in 0.1 W increments (or 1 if you hold down) up to 100 W, then 1 W per press after then (or faster if you hold it down). This is good in terms of precision of your setting, but to be honest I only use whole-watt settings and if you’re the same, this is a little pointless and just means that making small adjustments is harder than it needs to be. It’s a small complaint, though, and overall the D-Barrel does everything you need it to in VW mode. It also offers the “hit strength” feature Smok often include on their mods, which is an easy way to give things a boost (“Hard”) or a gentle build-up (“Soft”) at the start of your draw.
TC Vaping with Nickel, Titanium and Stainless Steel
The D-Barrel comes with a full-featured temperature control mode, which works with nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils. The device covers the usual temperature range of 200 to 600 °F (100 to 315 °C), and you have the option to set both the ramp-up wattage and the temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR). This gives you plenty of control over your TC vape, although you probably won’t need to adjust the TCR values unless you’re using an unusual wire type or a unique type of coil.
The D-Barrel features the standard Smok menu system, with three quick presses of the fire button taking you into the menu. You navigate with the adjustment buttons and then press and hold the fire button to advance to the next part of the menu. I find this a bit clunky, but for the most common actions (e.g. changing your mode) there are key shortcuts (e.g. fire and the down adjustment button) so you can go straight to what you need.
The D-Barrel has the usual selection of safety features, including reverse battery protection, low voltage protection, high voltage protection, low and high resistance protection, short circuit protection, high (internal) temperature protection and a 10-second cutoff in case you accidentally fire in your pocket. It also features a key lock (press both adjustment buttons together or the fire key five times in quick succession) and you can switch the device off entirely too. This is all expected, but it’s important that these features are in place and the D-Barrel does a good job in this department.
Smok D-Barrel Review – In Use
Performance – VW Mode
The D-Barrel works well in VW mode, responding quickly and performing nicely with a wide range of atomizers. Of course, the performance you get depends on your tank and the juice you’re using, but broadly speaking the D-Barrel is a hard-hitter and it works well across the whole wattage range, although I’ve mainly used it at under 100 W.
Performance – TC Mode
The temperature control mode on the D-Barrel does a good job too, especially when you have it set up to your liking in terms of ramp-up wattage. There isn’t a notable drop in output as you approach the temperature limit, and it keeps firing pretty much continuously as you vape. There isn’t much to complain about here at all – it does exactly what you want it to.
Comfort and Portability
The design of the D-Barrel makes comfort while you vape one of its strong points. The device fits comfortably in your hand, and the positioning of the trigger fire button makes it a really nice mod to vape with. It is a dual-battery mod, though, so it’s expectedly a little heavy and bulkier than many other devices in terms of size too. That said, it does a much better job at remaining portable than most competing dual-battery devices, and so if you want something hard-hitting but you’ll be vaping out of the house a lot, it’s a pretty solid option.
The D-Barrel is really well made, too. It’s sturdily put together, the fire trigger and adjustment buttons work consistently, and the battery door is solid enough to stay closed but still comes open easily enough when you need to switch a pair out. Although the device is really affordable, Smok has done a great job in terms of manufacturing.