The Mechlyfe Ratel Rebuildable Pod Kit is up for review today and I’m rather pumped to be the owner of this sexy device.
You could consider this the OG of pod systems but, to be fair, I’ve come to see it more as an AIO with an RBA deck and pod-like features. That, however, didn’t make it any less awesome, as you will see!
What Can We Expect From the Mechlyfe Ratel RBA Pod Kit
Mechlyfe is something of a household name amongst competitive vapers. They are a brand that have been all about creating high end mechanical mods, stacks and RDAs.
Their current inventory is a small one, the Mechlyfe competition kit, the Mechlyfe and AmbitionZ Vaper Arcless Mech Mod and the Mechlyfe and AmbitionX Slatra RDA.
On the subject of today’s review item, which, though advertised as a pod, may be considered far too big and too advanced to be a pod system. I mean, it takes a replaceable 18650 battery!
It’s a gorgeous, tall standing device that looks like a GIANT pod system.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I love GIANT little things, and GIANT little things that I can vape are even better!
Let’s jump straight in and see if this does enough to gain a spot on our best pod mod list.
This was sent free of charge for the purposes of review. As always my views are my own.
In The Box
- Mechlyfe Ratel Rebuildable Pod device and pod
- 2x MTL fused clapton coils
- Organic cotton
- USB cable
- User manual
- Size: 104x26x42mm
- E-liquid capacity: 4ml (standard)
- Battery: 18650 (not included)
- Output: 5-80W adjustable (also variable Voltage mode 0.5-8V)
- User modes: Variable Wattage, Variable Voltage, Bypass, Temperature control (Ti, Ni, SS)
- Resistance range: 0.05-3.5ohm
- Temperature range: 200-600°F
- Rebuildable single coil deck
- MTL and DTL compatible.
- Replaceable side panels
- CNC Carved aluminium main body
Design and Build Quality
Opening up the spiffy, black Mechlyfe box I really did get the shock of my life. I’ve never seen a vape quite like this.
A tall, rectangular box with a gorgeous matte finish, which is apparently CNC carved aluminium. I discovered that CNC carved just means it’s machine made although this feels for all the world like plastic or some sort of resin/metal composite, if you ask me.
Nonetheless, the matte finish is scratch resistant and very attractive, as are the two velvety resin, removable side panels, which run the entire height of the mod. The panels each have a small, open rectangular window near the top, so you can see your coil chamber and juice levels.
I have the resin white version, which is grey black and white, beautiful swirly resin patterns, it looks stylish AF!
The narrower sides of the tall rectangular box are ergonomically curved, with a large, full length MECHLYFE logo impression up the one side and the work face on the opposite side.
The top of the mod features a narrow and tall, Mouth to Lung (MTL) style removable drip-tip, which fits into a wider, short, knurled base.
That base piece screws into the cartridge, through the outer shell of the device, so that it must be unscrewed when you want to remove the cartridge and access the RBA deck…but we’ll get to that later.
The 22 x 8 mm OLED screen is bright and readable in any light. It features mode, power setting, resistance, voltage and a pictorial display of your single 18650’s battery level.
With the help of easily accessible tabs at the bottom of each removable side panel, as well as concealed magnets, the side panels can be removed from their snug, position either side of the mod.
Removing one panel will expose the battery chamber where one 18650 sits, very snugly in its recess, with its gold plated connects.
There is no ribbon for removing the battery and it is impossible to do with your fingers.
The trick is to remove the opposite side panel, as that will provide a long, narrow band of access to the battery from the other side. So you just push the battery out from the other side.
This may sound convoluted but it’s actually quite convenient, something you’ll get used to.
Cartridge and Deck
Removal of the side panels will also reveal the large, rectangular, tinted plastic cartridge, with it’s knurled airflow adjust ring protruding from its bottom.
To remove the cartridge the drip-tip base must be unscrewed, which frees the cartridge to be pushed out from either side the mod.
The drip-tip base actually completes the circuit, so the device will not fire when it is unscrewed and the pod is not fixed in.
Airflow / Deck
The airflow ring is easy to adjust, exposing or closing a cyclops style DL airflow slot or a single MTL airflow hole.
Twisting the ring counter clockwise will allow you to remove the deck from the chamber, via the bottom of the 4ml cartridge.
The deck is adorable. A teeny tiny single coil deck with quite an interesting design. Dual posts are set to one side of the raised deck, with a host in the middle that functions as an additional inner-adjustable airflow.
It has a top-accessible screw which can be adjusted to alter airflow coming at the coils from the post side.
There is also a massive, round airflow hole, externally adjustable, which sits directly beneath the coil head.
The deck posts have well threaded, top accessible screws.
There are two holes in the base of the raised deck through which you can thread your wick and then tuck them into the curved recess below.
Side Fill Cartridge
Looking from one side of the cartridge, you will find a large, silicone stopper with an access flap, to the bottom left.
This allows you to fill the cartridge without removing the pod.
Despite not having to remove the cartridge to fill, it’s still a nightmare and trying to prevent juice backing up and spilling due to air bubbles is a special kind of nightmare.
When it does backup and spill out, which is every time, the juice has a tendency to immediately get into the nooks around the side of the cartridge, since the full port is right on the side of the cartridge.
There is always liquid within the device and around the cartridge because of this…it irritates me no-end and is one of my only two cons for this device!
How Does The Mechlyfe Ratel Rebuildable Pod Perform?
Other than the messy fill con, this device is freaking awesome.
I love the tall design and find it such a pleasure to grip onto. It is so simple and just so neat, I love it.
The first big pro is how responsive the controls are, even if you space your 5 clicks all funny because you’re a psychopath or distracted by your dog, this device will still know what you mean and turn off or switch on accordingly.
Same with all adjustment functions.
I tested Bypass mode, temp control modes and voltage modes, finding all of them thoroughly effective and accurate, as well as really intuitive to access and adjust, with clear and bright display.
Power really gets through here, this on the Mechlyfe Ratel, 80W will blow your mind.
Airflow is outstanding, with flavour incredibly full and vapour rich, in spite of the itty bitty deck….also dependent, of course, on your build and wicking.
Airflow is outstanding, for direct to lung (DTL) vaping from restricted to open but not so outstanding if restricted mouth to lung is your preference.
It’s a very open draw, even with only the MTL airflow hole exposed and the inner airflow dialled right down.
You would have to have a much larger face, larger lungs and larger lips than I, to find this airflow sufficient for a very restricted MTL, lol!
I only use the Ratel for DTL.
The deck, though small, can handle complex, lower resistance coils quite easily. I fitted one of my own 0.3 ohm coils in order to review the upper wattage settings, with great success!
0.7Ohm Included Coils
The little MTL fused Clapton coils included with this purchase get a little too toasty for my liking when vaped above 23W. They would be great MTL coils, but unfortunately this device, MTL and me are not a thing.
That said, this device does 23W like few can, it really does kick ass.
These coils and the provided wicking will give you a high flavour, full vapour, low wattage vape.
Battery life on this device is awesome!!!!
Battery levels dropping even slower, since this mod kicks so much ass at lower wattages, at a cool 40-50 watts, expect 8-10 hours solid vaping on this device…lower wattage, even more!
I also love the fact that even with the lowest battery level, this device will deliver solid hits to the last.
- Gorgeous, sleek design with a beautiful finish
- Excellent battery life
- Delicious, rich DL airflow
- Easy to build, well designed deck
- Large, 4ml cartridge
- Very responsive controls
- Instant ramp and fire
- Ultra portable, with no breakable tank
- Airflow very open for medium to restricted MTL
- The fill process is difficult and messy
Final Review Verdict
The Mechlyfe Ratel Rebuildable Pod system is gorgeous and performs a charm, in spite of the two features which fall short.
If you’re looking for a bad ass all-in-one that delivers a solid, flavourful DTL vape with great battery life and a rebuildable freaking deck inside then this is a great choice for you!
Convenient, stylish and with the extended lifespan that the rebuildable deck provides, the Mechlyfe Ratel Rebuildable Pod is a must have for build-loving vapers who’re in the mood for something sleek, efficient and in a class of its own.
Did you buy the Mechlyfe Ratel rebuildable pod system? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!