Temperature control isn’t something you’ll find if you vape cig-a-likes or pen-style e-cigarettes. But if you take the next step and start looking for a mod it’s something you’ll have to consider.
Is it a good idea? What are the options? What does it even do? It can be pretty confusing, especially if this is the first mod you’ve ever bought, so here’s a handy guide to help you navigate through it.
WHAT IS TEMPERATURE CONTROL?
Basically it’s a smart way of controlling how much power is sent to the coil.
The first adjustable-power mods were what’s called Variable Voltage, or VV. As you can guess, the controls on the mod adjusted the voltage the device put out, usually between 3V and 6V in steps of 0.1V.
This voltage, combined with the resistance of the atomiser, determined the power going to the coil. Next came Variable Power, or VW (the W stands for Wattage).
These did basically the same as VV mods, but with a twist. VW mods have their own internal resistance checker.
Instead of deciding how much power you wanted, then calculating what voltage you needed to get that with your favourite atomiser, you could just set the power you were looking for.
The mod would then check the coil resistance and set the correct voltage automatically.
The advantage of this was that if you always liked to vape at 12 watts, but you regularly switched between atomisers with different resistances, you only had to set the power once. When you change atomisers the mod detects the new resistance and adjusts the voltage for you.
Both VV and VW work, but there’s one flaw in both systems. What really matters to your vaping experience isn’t voltage or power – it’s the temperature the coil reaches.
Within a certain range, a hotter coil means more vapour is produced and it’s warmer. Sending more power to the coil just means it reaches a higher temperature before the energy being pumped in by the battery.
The energy being taken out by the liquid it’s vaporising, balance each other out and the temperature stabilises.
The problem is that if your tank runs dry, or the coil is evaporating liquid faster than the wick can feed it with more, the balance changes.
Because less liquid is reaching the coil, it uses less energy to vaporise it. That means there’s energy left over, and that goes to pushing up the coil temperature.
Eventually it gets hot enough that the liquid stops vaporising and starts thermally decomposing – it basically burns.
The result is a “dry puff” or “dry hit”; this is hot, unpleasant and tastes completely foul, so it’s something vapers prefer to avoid.
Temperature Control, or TC, mods let you avoid it every time.
Instead of setting the power that goes to the coil, you set the temperature you want it to reach. Then, when you push the fire button, the mod will bring the coil up to that temperature as fast as it can and keep it there.
Even if your tank’s empty it won’t go above the setting you chose. If the coil tries to get hotter the mod will simply reduce the voltage until it stabilises again.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The resistance of metals changes along with their temperature. A TC mod constantly tracks the resistance of the coil and compares it with its resistance at room temperature.
This lets it calculate how hot the coil currently is. If the temperature rises above the one you entered, the mod lowers the voltage; if it falls below it, it raises the voltage.
Just to complicate things, the resistance of different metals changes at different rates as they heat up.
That means TC mods need to use coils made of pure metal – not alloys, like kanthal or nichrome – and the mod has to be told what one it’s using.
The first TC mods could only use nickel – Ni200 – coils. Later ones could also use titanium – Ti – and now most can run with stainless steel (SS) as well.
The setup menu of the mod lets you input what type of coil is fitted. If you don’t do that, the temperature reading can be very inaccurate.
IS IT WORTH HAVING?
Yes. It gives you much more accurate control of the coil temperature, and that can make your vaping experience a lot better.
Every liquid has its own temperature that it tastes best at, and after some playing around you can find out what these are then dial them in exactly every time.
Avoiding dry hits is also a big plus. These aren’t just unpleasant; they also create chemicals like formaldehyde, which you’re best not inhaling. The amount created even by a dry hit is pretty small, but if you can avoid it, why not?
Another point is that almost all TC mods can also run in VW mode, so if you do find that TC isn’t what you’re looking for you can just switch to VW.
Although the first TC mods were expensive, now it’s so common they don’t really cost any more than VV/VW models.
On the other hand, if you don’t like sub ohm vaping TC might not be for you. The metals they use for coils all have very low resistances, so 0.1 ohm coils are common and none are much above 0.2 ohms.
If you prefer a higher resistance you’re probably best sticking with VW.
WHAT ATOMISERS WORK WITH IT?
TC coils are available for almost any modern tank. If it’s a Kanger Subtank or anything more recent you should be able to get at least Ni200 coils for it.
If you prefer rebuild-able atomisers that’s fine too. Just buy the right wire and make your own coils.
There are vapers – including sub ohm fans – who still prefer VW to TC, but temperature control is steadily becoming a standard feature on new mods.
If you’re buying a mod it’s definitely worth getting a TC coil for one of your tanks and trying it out.
If you like it, great; if you don’t, it’ll only cost you a coil, and you can just carry on with VW mode.
It makes sense to give it a shot.
Do you use temperature control? Let us know in the comments…