If you spend any time at all on vaping-related websites, or talking to vapers, the chances are it won’t be long before you come across the term “sub ohm”. Obviously, you’re going to wonder what it means. Read on and you’ll find out!
What is sub ohming?
Sub-ohm vaping, very simply, is using a coil with a resistance below one ohm. The resistance of the coil has a huge effect on your vaping experience. Basically, resistance is a measure of how easy it is for electricity to flow through something. If resistance is low, electricity can flow easily. If it’s high, electricity can’t flow easily.
In an electronic cigarette, vapour is produced by the coil heating up and evaporating some of the e-liquid from the cotton. The more power you can push through the coil, the more vapour you can produce; more electrical power means more moving electrons, which means more heat is released, which means more vapour.
There are two ways to increase the power. One is to use a higher voltage, but it’s not a perfect solution. A fully charged battery will put out around 4.2V, falling to about 3.2V as it discharges. The circuitry in your mod can boost the voltage to around 6V and prevent it falling off as the battery drains, but there are limits on how far you can push it. One option is to add more batteries in series, which will allow higher voltages, but it also means a larger and heavier mod.
The other option is to reduce the coil resistance. If you keep the same voltage but lower resistance, you’ll get more power. In fact before modern, regulated mods became available this was the only way to get more power.
Should I try it?
That depends what you’re looking for. Like most things in life, sub ohm vaping has plus and minus points. Here’s a quick summary:
- Bigger clouds. If you like lots of vapour, sub ohm is definitely the way to go. You’ll get far better output than with a higher-resistance setup.
- Better flavour. Sub ohming is better at bringing out the full taste of your liquid. Because there’s more vapour it carries more flavouring along with it, giving you the full sensation.
- Warmer vapour. A sub ohm coil will deliver a warmer vape that’s closer to the temperature of tobacco smoke (without burning anything).
- Airflow. Sub ohm vaping only works with an airy draw. If you prefer it tighter, and more like a cigarette, sub ohm probably isn’t for you.
- Stealth vaping. Do you like to have a discreet setup that lets you vape unobtrusively in public places? Sub ohm is rubbish for that. The vapour production will give you away instantly.
- Economy. You’ll use a lot more liquid with a sub ohm device. That’s the price you pay for more vapour.
How do I get started?
To sub ohm, you need the right equipment. The good news is that this equipment is now a lot more mainstream than it was even a couple of years ago. You can make it as complex as you like, but there’s no need to anymore. Here are the essentials:
- A mod. Mechanical mods used to be the standard for sub ohm vaping, but unless you’re very experienced and know exactly what you’re doing, it’s best to steer clear of those. Instead look for a modern regulated mod. Most devices made in the last couple of years will let you vape down to fractions of an ohm – 0.2 ohm is fine.
- Batteries. Sub ohm vaping draws a lot of current from your batteries, so don’t cut corners here. Get batteries from a trusted brand like Sony, Samsung or Imren, and make sure they can deliver a continuous current of at least 20 amps. Cheap or low-spec batteries could fail.
- An atomiser. If you’re new to sub ohming your best choice is a tank designed for pre-made low resistance coils. There’s a wide range of these now, and they’re very affordable. Older tanks, including most rebuildables, aren’t really suitable; their airflow holes are usually too small to bring enough air in.
- Coils. Most sub ohm tanks can be fitted with a variety of different coils. Often you’ll have the option of temperature control coils. These are very low resistance, and you should never use them on a mod that doesn’t have a TC mode. At first, stick with standard (non-TC) coils.
- E-liquid. For sub ohming, a juice with a high VG content works best. Look for one that’s at least 70% VG. You’ll probably want to lower your usual nicotine level, too, because you’ll be using more liquid. 6mg/ml is a good strength to start with.
If you’ve just switched from smoking, and you’re still getting used to e-cigs, sub ohm vaping might not be for you. Once you’ve been switched for a while, though, it’s definitely worth checking it out. It’s much easier than it used to be, now that you don’t have to mess around with mech mods and rebuildable atomisers, and the extra performance makes a big difference!