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Is Sub Ohm Vaping Right for Me?

It doesn’t take a long time looking around for vaping gear or reading forums before you come across the phrase “sub ohm vaping” – but what does it mean? Proponents of sub ohming claim that it offers unbeatable vapor production and robust, vivid flavor. But are there downsides too? How do you sub ohm safely? And how do you work out if it’s right for your vaping tastes? Here’s everything you need to know in one handy sub ohm vaping guide.

What is Sub Ohm Vaping?

The definition of sub-ohm vaping is easy to understand once you know a little about electronics. Resistance is the opposition to the flow of current through a circuit. So for a certain voltage, increasing the resistance will decrease the amount of current, and decreasing the resistance will increase the amount of current.

Resistance is measured in ohms, after Georg Ohm (who came up with Ohm’s Law), and every coil you use for vaping represents a certain amount of ohms. Sub ohm vaping is simply vaping with a coil less than one ohm in resistance. This means anything from 0.9 ohms and lower is a sub ohm coil.

For vaping, decreasing the resistance and increasing the current means that the coil vaporizes more e-juice, and therefore gives you more vapor and a more robust hit. So at a specific voltage, a sub ohm coil will put out more vapor than a non-sub ohm coil. This is the key benefit of sub ohm vaping.

Sub Ohm Vaping Safety

So if you want big clouds, you need a coil with as low a resistance as possible, right? Sort of, but there is a lot more to consider than that, and the most important factor is safety.

Any battery you use can only safely supply a certain amount of current. This is usually indicated as the “maximum continuous current” rating (in amps) for the battery. If you have a battery with a maximum continuous current of 15 A, if you draw 16 A from it, you’ll be pushing your battery too far and it may wind up venting hot gas or even exploding.

So how do you stay safe when sub ohm vaping? The answer revolves around Ohm’s Law. The most useful form of Ohm’s Law for battery safety is:

Current = voltage / resistance

So let’s imagine that you send 4 volts to a non-sub ohm setup at 2 ohms. You put the voltage and resistance values in their spots and get: current = 4 volts / 2 ohms = 2 amps. This would be no problem for our 15 A limit battery.

But for a sub-ohm setup – the same 4 V with a 0.2 ohm coil – things change dramatically. The math says: current = 4 volts / 0.2 ohms = 20 amps. This would be an issue for a 15 A limit battery.

Thankfully, aside from to illustrate the idea (as we’re doing here), doing the math isn’t necessary: there are plenty of ohm’s law calculators you can use to check your setup.

The core point is that if you want to vape sub ohm, you need a high amp limit battery. For example, the Sony VTC 4 and VTC 5 offer up to 30 A continuous current, meaning that they can support most reasonable setups without problems.

What Mods Can Support Sub Ohm Vaping?

Generally, there are two types of device capable of supporting sub-ohm vaping: mechanical mods and regulated mods. Mechanical mods are very simple, but rely on you to know Ohm’s Law and make sure everything is safe before vaping. They have no in-built regulation to ensure your resistance is in a safe range, and will fire any coil you put on them. This makes them great for sub ohm vaping in a sense, but also means that you need to know about battery safety (and find out the resistance of your coil) before you try it out.

For most vapers, high-power regulated devices are the perfect solution for sub-ohm vaping. Most modern mods will support sub-ohm resistances, often down to 0.2 ohms or lower. The benefit of these devices is that you can not only set your desired voltage, they also have in-built safety features to protect you if you run into any potential issues, such as a fixed maximum amp output.

They also often come with in-built batteries that are perfectly designed to cope with the amount of power the mod can put out. However, if you need to use your own battery with a regulated mod, it’s important to choose high amp limit batteries for the reasons given above.

Generally, eGo-style batteries can’t support sub ohm vaping, nor can older regulated mods. There are exceptions to this (like the eGo One), but in most cases the rule holds true.

What Atomizers Can Support Sub Ohm Vaping?

Most new vapers will encounter sub ohm vaping due to sub ohm tanks. These are big tanks that use pre-built coils with resistances in the sub ohm range, often 0.5 ohms. They work like standard clearomizers – you just fill up and vape, occasionally needing to replace the atomizer head with a new one – except that they take lower-resistance coils. This makes them perfect for newer vapers or those who don’t want to get too technical.

Rebuildable atomizers are the other major type of device suited to sub-ohm vaping. These allow you to build your own coils and choose your own wicks, either to drip liquid directly onto or to sit at the center of a tank like an atomizer head. These aren’t beginner-friendly, but allow you to build a coil with any resistance you want, making them well-suited to sub ohm vaping.

Sub Ohm Vaping: Pros and Cons

So what are the benefits and downsides to sub ohm vaping? Here’s a quick run-down of the pros and cons:

Benefits of Sub Ohm Vaping:

  • More vapor: Sub ohm setups support higher power vaping and lead to much bigger vapor production.
  • Better flavor: In comparison to standard clearomizers and tanks, sub ohm tanks produce better flavor thanks to higher-quality wick materials and the fact that more flavoring is vaporized with each puff.
  • Warmer vapor: Most sub ohm vaping is done at higher power settings, and this means that the vapor you inhale is usually warmer. This may seem unpleasant, but for many people (including smokers), this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Downsides to Sub Ohm Vaping

  • More e-juice used: When you get more vapor, you’re also using more e-juice. This means that a day spent sub ohm vaping will use more e-liquid than a day spent vaping at higher resistances.
  • Reduces battery life: As well as boosting your juice consumption, the higher power settings used when sub-ohm vaping also means that your battery won’t last as long between charges.
  • No “mouth-to-lung” hits: Smokers inhale by first drawing smoke into their mouth and then taking another breath to bring it down into their lungs. You can vape using this approach with many atomizers, but sub ohm tanks aren’t well-suited to it. Instead, you inhale directly into the lungs, which can take a while to get used to.
  • More complicated gear: Finally, the devices and tanks you need for sub-ohm vaping are a little more complicated than many beginner-level options.

Is Sub Ohm Vaping Right for Me?

This is a question only you can really answer, but if you consider the points above, you should be able to make your choice. The upshot is that sub ohm vaping offers better vapor production and flavor, possibly a crucial factor for somebody who doesn’t find vaping satisfying enough, but adds a bit of complexity, requires some basic battery safety knowledge, means you’ll use more juice and may mean you’ll have to learn a new inhalation style.

These sub ohm vaping tips might make it look like there are more downsides than upsides, but in reality, getting better performance from your device when it comes to vapor and flavor is a huge benefit. For most vapers, and for smokers who don’t find normal devices satisfying enough, sub ohm vaping is exactly what they’ve been looking for.

Resources (Further Reading)

Vaping 360: What is Sub Ohm Vaping?

MistHub: Tutorial: Guide to Sub Ohm Vaping

Best Clearomizer: What is Sub Ohm Vaping? Is it Dangerous?

EcigOne: Sub-Ohm Vaping Ultimate Guide