So, you’ve found this wonderful world of vaping. Maybe you have given E-Cigs are try and want more? Cig-A-Likes seem to be a gateway to more cloud and more flavour…
There is a cloud on the horizon, and the cloud tastes good. If you’ve spent any time reading up on vaping you’ll have heard about sub-ohming, seen pictures of cloud-chasing, and noticed that very few people manage to resist the allure of the higher power. This guide is here to help you out with making the big jump.
In a nutshell, sub-ohm vaping is at its simplest form, vaping at an ohm resistance of less than 1 ohm.
There’s a lot of sciency talk when it comes to vaping, and when you cross into sub-ohm territory it can feel a bit like a physics lesson. Hell, the name itself is enough! But the basics are the same as with your standard vape rig; you’ve got a tank and a battery, and you need to get tasty clouds out of it. If you are desperate for a more in-depth explanation of Ohm’s Law (maybe you have some time to kill, or really like equations) then there is a decent Wikipedia page for it here, but the nitty-gritty is this.
Introduction to Sub Ohm Vaping
Electricity heats juice to create vapour – the more surface area the coil has the more vapour it produces. The battery outputs power to the coil in your tank, which resists, in turn creating heat. More power equals more heat which equals more vapour (in theory). Great! Except for one thing. All coils have a maximum amount of power that can pass through them without burning which is governed by the law discovered by our guy Georg Ohm. You’ll have seen that coils come in different resistance values (1.2, 1.5, 1.7 and so on). That’s basically telling you about how much current can pass through the coil before it can’t handle the power. Lower resistance value means you can, no, must, push the coil harder to get results. Go lower, under 1 Ohm (hey, sub-ohm right), and you have a coil that can take a lot more power which results in bigger clouds.
What Is An Ohm?
Just as how electrical current is measured in amps or length measured in meters or yards, the measure of resistance of a coil is in ohms, Ω is the symbol used to refer to an ohm.
Most standard replacement heads for clearomizers are between 1.2Ω to 2.0Ω.
The term ‘sub-ohm’ is used when the resistance of a coil measures less than 1 ohm.
You’ll have seen that coils come in different resistance values (0.2Ω all the way through to 1.8Ω etc). That’s basically telling you about how much current can pass through the coil before it can’t handle the power anymore. A lower resistance value means you can, no, must, push the coil harder to get results. When going lower, say under 1 Ohm (hey, sub-ohm right), and you have a coil that can take a lot more power which results in bigger clouds and more flavour.
What is the difference?
What does this mean for you? Firstly, the experience is a bit different to your regular vape. Big clouds mean big throat-hit and huge flavour, but also have a couple of downsides. You’ll have probably noticed how different your favourite juice tastes in different tanks. Sub-tanks are no exception, so prepare yourself for certain things to be accentuated and others to sort of fade away. The volume of vapour does mean that you’ll be taking in much more nicotine, so you will need to drop a couple of
The volume of vapour does mean that you’ll be taking in much more nicotine, so you will need to drop a couple of nic levels to make sure you don’t overdo it. I would not ever go above 6mg nicotine when on a sub ohm coil. Also, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise but hey, it’s a comprehensive guide; you’re going to get through a lot more juice. A lot. Sub-ohming will regularly rip through your stock of juice like wildfire, but that’s the price you pay. You can always go into DIY juice making which is a completely different topic which I will cover at a later stage in the game once I have perfected it myself.
It’s not just the juice either. You can’t just put a low resistance coil in any old tank and go cloud-chasing (though there are new, low-Ohm coils available for tanks like the Nautilus which are interesting); it’s got to be built differently to maximise air-flow and make sure the coil wicks properly while moving so much juice; the coils are also bigger to create that extra surface area we talked about.
Where to Next?
If you’re going to really get involved you’ll probably find yourself splashing out on a new mod too (trust me, you will buy a few), so you can push more watts and explore some other options. For a newbie there are a few options that will let you test the water without making a massive spend, all of which will give you a proper sub-ohm experience. There’s no room for snobbery here, no fanboying or whatever, just some sweet gear that can help you get your head in the clouds, and we’ll take a proper look at the best choices in the next post.
The last thing you want to take into account is safety (boring). We sort of glossed over Ohm’s Law up at the top, but if you want to have a play with higher powered mods then safety is pretty key. You don’t want to be holding a 100w appliance to your face and pressing ‘go’ without a bit of knowledge behind you. We’ll investigate Ohm’s Law in a bit of detail in another post (and hopefully do it without having to get out the chalkboard and glasses). For now, play it safe; you can sub-ohm happily at low wattages and if you have a question, just ask us.
Introduction To Sub-Ohm Vaping Gear
Okay, so before we start we need to lay out a couple of ground rules. Firstly, there are some mods that you cannot use sub-tanks with. Pen mods, as a rule, cannot accept coils with resistance values lower than 1 Ohm. You also need to be careful with mechanical mods, because poorly made or counterfeit batteries are ridiculously dangerous and can just straight up explode; that’s a hell of a price to pay for a big cloud. On the plus side, regulated devices with adjustable power are a pretty safe bet, and they tend to list the coils they can take either on the packaging or on the manufacturer’s website. Basically, make sure you have a good, reliable mod with adjustable power; something you trust and preferably know pretty well.
Let’s make a couple of quick assumptions. You’re likely to be vaping on something like an Innokin Cool Fire 4 or an iStick, which top out at 40 and 30 watts respectively. A sub-ohming pro will tell you that that is not enough power to get the best out of most subtanks. This is not true. You’ll find that you will be able to get some great results with this gear – and after all, you’re taking the first steps into sub-ohming, not building your own dripper in a lock-up somewhere, so don’t panic. Let’s also assume you don’t want to drop crazy money on the first try.
My Personal Journey
My first foray into sub-ohming was not impressive. I bought an Innokin iSub, which is pretty basic and made out of plastic. It was loud, it felt a little rickety (in fact, it felt sort of dangerous and not in a thrilling ‘sweet, I’ve bought a motorbike’ kind of way), but it was cheap. Sort of ridiculously cheap. It was £15 and felt worth about that much. This tank nearly put me off sub-ohming all together. However, Innokin make a glass version called the iSub G that I think would probably address a lot of those concerns. From trying other tanks since I can look back through the fog and realise that the iSub actually produced some pretty nice clouds and a really decent flavour; I particularly remember vaping some Valley Girl by Khali and it just opening up, crazy big fruits with an amazing sweet finish. I think I was re-watching Entourage. Good times! So for an extra fiver, get the slightly more pro feeling iSub G and have a go.
Taking things up a bit of a notch from there, though still very much in the entry-level range with regard to price, Kanger have a real foothold in the sub-ohm market and are well worth checking out. I have seen a baffling amount of hate directed toward Kanger products online, and I can only assume it comes from them being seen as a bit basic. The Toptank Mini is a good starting point; it costs the same as the iSub G but is a top-filling tank (less mess is always best), has a nicely implemented adjustable airflow and accepts alternative drip tips. It also looks darn snazzy. I used to have a Kanger Nano, which was a little on the small side, but this pocket powerhouse holds 4 ml which is decent if you’re vaping in the sort of power range we’re talking about. Flavour from these tanks is brilliant. A friend of mine was vaping Omusa by Manabush in his, which I had only ever previously tried on 1.2 Ohm coils at the lowest. The sweetness and subtlety that it brought out was ridiculous, I almost felt cheated for not having tried it in a subtank before.
Uwell Crown Tank
Last up in this round-up of beginners’ vape gear, the Uwell Crown (not so much in the beginners range but well worth the shout). This is an extremely well-respected tank that puts out big clouds with a matching big flavour. It is possible to get hold of a Crown for the same price as the last two tanks but the general consensus is that the Crown will grow with you as a vaper a bit more than either of the others, so if you are thinking about the long-haul then it’s a good investment. Coils cost a little more than for the Kanger tanks or the iSub but they last a decent amount of time, and the feature list is very similar to that of the Kanger; top-filling, adjustable airflow, replacement drip-tips, the works.
The thing with the Crown, and this is anecdotal but bear with me, is that every time I have talked about how to maximise flavour from it with people I trust they have said to push more power through it. Now, I had a good time with the Crown when I owned one, but I did feel that the Kanger matched, if not exceeded, it’s capabilities in the power range that I was vaping in. As I didn’t want to buy a more powerful mod, the Crown lost out. Still, it’s horses for courses with vape gear, and if the Crown works for you then you can have a very good bit of kit for not a lot of outlay.
So that’s it as far as your first sub-ohm rig goes. Don’t get power-hungry, don’t listen to the naysayers, don’t assume you have to spend tonnes and tonnes. For under £50 you can get hold of a nice variable voltage mod and one of these tanks and you will be cloud-chasing in no time!