One of the biggest changes in vaping over the past couple of years is that far more people are now using sub-ohm gear.
Maybe you’ve heard vapers talking about this, and wondered what it’s all about.
If so, here’s a handy guide where we’ll look at:
- What Exactly is Sub Ohm Vaping?
- Why Sub Ohm?
- How to Sub Ohm?
- Is Sub Ohm Vaping Safe?
- What are the Drawbacks?
- What are the Benefits?
WHAT EXACTLY IS SUB OHM VAPING?
This bit’s simple.
Sub oming is just vaping with a coil that has a resistance of below one ohm.
WHY SUB OHM?
Here it starts to get a bit more technical.
If you’ve tried a small cig-a-like you’ll know that it isn’t a very satisfying experience. It doesn’t produce much vapour and the flavours are weak.
That’s basically because it isn’t powerful enough – the battery isn’t delivering enough energy to the coil. If you can increase the power then more liquid will be evaporated with each puff.
You’ll get a better sensation, more throat hit and the flavours will be much bolder.
One way to increase power is to raise the voltage, but the higher you go the more complex that becomes. A standard e-cigarette battery puts out around 4.3 volts, and that falls steadily as the charge runs down.
The electronics in your mod can boost that a bit, as well as keeping the output steady until the battery’s nearly flat, but with a single battery it’s hard to get much more than 6 volts or so.
Adding more batteries can raise that – 200 watt mods pack in two or three batteries – but things soon get bulky and heavy.
The other way to get more power is to lower the atomiser resistance. If you put the same voltage across two coils, the one with the lower ohm rating will deliver more energy.
So the reason to sub-ohm is to get a more powerful device without packing in so many batteries you struggle to lift it.
HOW TO SUB OHM
Not too long ago sub ohming was pretty technical and definitely not recommended for beginners. Now it’s a lot easier, but you will need to have the right equipment.
Here are the basics:
- A mod. Most modern VV/VW box mods – and all temperature control ones – will handle sub ohm vaping. Avoid older models, which won’t fire below one ohm, and mechanicals. Also make sure you have good-quality batteries that can deliver a continuous current of at least 20 amps.
- An atomiser. If you’ve been vaping in the usual 1.5-2.5Ω range, your atomisers probably won’t do for sub ohming. Some drippers and rebuildable tank models will probably be fine, as long as they have adjustable airflow with fairly large holes – you’ll want a lot more draught coming through with a high-powered coil. The easiest solution is to get one of the new generation of tanks designed for sub ohming. Most of these tanks can also be used for higher resistance vaping if you tighten down the airflow a bit.
- Coils. If you have a sub ohm tank just get a pack of low-resistance coils for it and you’re all set. For drippers and rebuildables you’ll need to make some. Most sub ohm setups use dual coils, because it’s easier to get low resistance that way – if you run dual 1Ω coils you get a total resistance of 0.5Ω. Look for heavier gauge wire to help keep the ohms down; twisted or Clapton wire will help produce more vapour.
- Liquid. For sub ohming you’ll want a juice that contains at least 50% VG and has a relatively low nicotine level. Because sub ohm devices produce a lot more vapour than lower powered ones, a high-nic liquid is likely to be a bit startling to vape. Try 6mg/ml, and adjust up or down from there to find out what suits you best.
Once you have your gear set up and filled, you’re pretty much ready.
A lot of sub ohmers prefer the direct to lung inhale style instead of the mouth to lung method used by smokers and most vapers, but you can stick with whatever’s comfortable.
IS IT SAFE?
The answer to this, like the answers to many questions, is “It depends”.
If you’re using a mechanical mod…You don’t understand battery safety…You don’t test all your coils with a multi-meter or resistance checker before putting them on the mod…Or if you generally don’t know exactly what you’re doing…
Then the answer is a resounding “no”: Sub-ohming is not safe at all.
And you should stop doing it now.
If you don’t stop you’re going to have a battery explosion sooner or later, and make vaping look bad in the newspapers.
On the other hand, if you’re using a modern box mod, relax; it’s perfectly safe.
A regulated mod – anything that lets you set the power or temperature level – will simply refuse to work if you try to use it with a coil it can’t handle.
If the atomiser resistance is lower than it can safely use, when you press the button all that will happen is a warning message appears on the screen.
Any decent box mod made in the last year should be able to run sub ohm coils with no problem. Temperature control mods can often go as low as 0.1 ohm.
As long as you have electronics between your coil and batteries there isn’t anything to worry about.
WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF SUB OHM VAPING?
Nothing’s perfect, and sub ohm vaping does have its negatives. Here are the main ones:
- You prefer a tighter draw. That isn’t going to work with sub ohm gear.
- You like to stealth vape. One of the main features of sub ohm vaping is the huge vapour production. That makes it hard to avoid being noticed.
- You want to keep juice consumption down. Lots of vapour means lots of liquid being vaporised. Expect to see the amount you go through increase hugely when you start sub ohming.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUB OHM VAPING?
But of course there are good points too:
- Warmer vapour. If you want to recapture the hot inhale of a real cigarette, high-powered sub ohm coils will help you.
- Amazing taste. With a sub ohm setup you get more flavour with each inhale. You’ll also notice the fine details of your favourite liquids.
- Loads of vapour. Of course this deserves another mention. If you want huge clouds, sub ohm is the only way to go.
Sub ohm vaping isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t fancy it there’s no need to go there.
You can still find plenty of gear suitable for mouth to lung inhales and higher resistances.
If you want to get the best flavour experience, though, or have a go at cloud chasing, then sub ohm is something you should definitely try out.
It’s easier and more accessible than it’s ever been, with dedicated starter kits now available, so you don’t need a knowledge of Ohm’s Law any more.
If you’re curious, go for it!