Sub ohm vaping, it’s something which literary boffins would call an oxymoron. Even though the phrase is widely recognized amongst the vaping community, the art of sub ohming itself is still relatively unknown, a mystery, if you will. Most beginners will have heard of it, but haven’t a clue what it actually is, and most Average Joe vapers deem it too perplexing and convoluted to try. As such, the arcane secrets of sub ohm vaping have been left to veteran vape wizards who can make epic box mods, create coils which look like curly fries and who can control electricity like a boss. However, this is all about to change. Thanks to our handy guide (as well as investing in a specially designed sub ohm tank – but mainly thanks to our guide) anyone can now navigate through the ohmazing world of sub ohm vaping.
What Exactly Is Sub Ohm Vaping?
Huge clouds. Intense flavors. A warm vape which simulates smoking but with none of the consequences. This is what sub ohm vaping is all about.
There are two ways in which a vaper can experience the delights of sub ohm vaping. Firstly, for those who aren’t confident at making their own coils, e-smokers can purchase a new-fangled sub ohm tank (like the Herakles Plus or the Artic) and attach it to a box mod (like the iStick 30W or the Innokin iTaste MVP 3.0) which can push out at least 30 Watts of power. The great thing about purchasing these types of sub ohm tanks is that the coils always come pre-made and are disposable. No fuss, no muss.
The second way – if you have a good understanding of Ohm’s Law, are happy to make your own box mod and are confident to build your own coils – is to design your own sub ohm vaporizer. You can create one from an RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer) a.k.a a Dripper, or an RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizer), but there are also some great sub ohm tanks to use in this circumstance too. They are the Vaporfi Volt or the SMOK TFV4. The benefits of creating your own vaporizer to crack on with sub ohming is that you have more control over the type of vape you get.
Simply put, it all comes down to two things: vaporizer batteries (no duh, that’s where the power comes from to operate a vaporizer) and the coils used in an atomizer. More specifically, it comes down to their resistance levels, which is measured in Ohms. Aha, it’s all becoming clearer now!
When it comes to sub ohm vaping, your box mod should run on batteries which don’t have a lot of resistance. The lower a battery’s resistance, the more power you get flowing to your atomizer. In terms of the coil, it’s the same principle. The lower the resistance, the higher the electrical flow which not only results in warmer temperatures but much more drama when you vape.
And the ‘sub’ part of sub ohm vaping? It basically means that a coil must be capable of working under one Ohm of resistance. To put this into context, traditional clearomizers and cartomizers have coils which operate between 1.5 and 2.8 Ohms. That’s why they always generate cooler, smoother hits.
Now that we’ve seen how electricity affects the way we can achieve ohmness, now’s the time to learn how to control it. After all, with great power comes great responsibility. This is particularly the case if you’ve decided you want to build your own sub ohm vaporizer.
N.B. This section isn’t just about electrical sorcery, harnessing the power of batteries and coils to produce big ass clouds and immense flavors, it’s about keeping safe too. Sub ohming isn’t categorically dangerous (unless you use a mechanical mod with a hybrid top cap, then that would be the case), but because sub ohm vaping relies heavily on manipulating battery power (which as we know can sometimes result in explosions) and dealing with high temperatures, it’s important to understand the basics of Ohm’s Law to prevent bad things from happening as best you can. Unfortunately though, sometimes shit just happens and it can’t be helped.
Ohm’s Law is a very important but tricky concept to get your head around, but it’s all about wattage, voltage, amperage, and resistance.
- All 18650 batteries have a voltage and most portable vaporizer cells run at 3.7V. This is the level of power (a.k.a force) which comes out of a battery until it needs recharging.
- The Wattage refers to the amount of power which can come through your atomizer at any one time to make your vaporizer work.
- The Amperage (a.k.a current) is the thing that actually does the work. This is what powers your vaporizer.
- And as we discovered earlier, resistance controls how much power can flow through your vaporizer. The lower the resistance, the more power there is to heat up your e-juices, dry herb or cannabis concentrates.
When you’re on your quest to heat things up and you’re trying to work out which temperatures are the best for your sub ohm needs, you’ll need to work out what your vaporizer’s limits are. You don’t want to push your batteries too hard. Make sure to look out for the following things before you start to vape, lest there be any accidents:
- You’ll need to find out what your battery’s voltage (V) is.
- You’ll need to decide which type and what gauge of Kanthal wire you’re going to use to create your atomizer coil(s) with. Kanthal wire comes in a variety of different diameters. For sub ohm vaping you’ll need the one with the least resistance, so the smaller the gauge number, the better. Click here to work out how much wire you’ll need and how many times you’ll have to wrap it to get your desired coil resistance. Remember, resistance is important because it gives your vaporizer more power.
An ordinary portable vaporizer runs on a 3.7 V battery. The coil used inside the vaporizer has a resistance of 2.5 Ohm. This results in a meager, 5.48 watts of power.
In a box mod designed specifically for sub ohm vaping, you can replace the coil for one with a resistance of 0.5 Ohm (because remember, for sub ohming, a coil must have less than one Ohm resistance) and get a whopping 27.38 watts of power. Now that’s amazing!
If you’re not quite sure how to recoil your atomizer, check out our post on how to do just that.
3. Sub ohm vaping allows vapers to generate a higher wattage without needing to increase the voltage of their vaporizer batteries. To work out how high you can get your wattage without exceeding your battery’s amperage, use this handy Ohm’s Law calculator to make sure that you stay safe whilst you vape. Remember, increased amperage puts a strain on the battery which not only depletes its power quickly, it also creates a lot of heat. Your atomizer coils get pretty hot too. That’s why it is imperative that you are aware of the amperage limit of your battery. If you go over that limit, your coils can set fire or worse, your battery can explode.
If you’re still confused about Ohm’s Law, check out this video. It’s been created by our friends over at New Amsterdam Vape and it’s well worth a watch.
Aside from making sure that you don’t exceed your box mod’s battery amperage, there are a few other things which you can do to make sure that you stay safe whilst sub ohm vaping.
- Always make sure to keep your vaporizer properly vented, the air flow isn’t just important to keep your lips and throat cool, it’s also meant to cool down your mod. The vents in your vaporizer allow the heat from normal use to escape but they also allow gasses to vent out of battery failure. You can’t have too many or too large a vent for your mod and you must make sure that they never get jammed up. So…
- Always make sure you keep your mechanical vape mod clean. This includes all threads, vent holes, contacts, and the switch. If using a spring loaded switch be sure to take notice of how stiff it feels, if over time your spring seems to be getting softer or feels easier to press it is beginning to “sag” and needs replacing.
- Bone up on battery safety as these are the devils which can cause nasty accidents if they explode. To maximize the safety of your sub-ohm vaping setup, we recommend selecting a battery with the highest possible safe discharge limit.
Yes. They’re not exactly stealthy seeing as they produce what is essentially a small fog when you exhale. They also tend to guzzle e-juices like no one’s business, so you might find yourself having to refill your vaporizer more often. And because you’re heating your ingredients to such high temperatures over a short space of time, you’ll probably find that you’ll have to recharge your vaporizer more often too.
Advanced vapers say, yes, there’s nothing better. There’s a real sense of pride and achievement when you build an awesome coil and have managed to transform an ordinary box mod into an epic sub ohm vaporizer. Plus, you always get huge hits of flavor and, if you’re vaping marijuana in one of its many various forms, you always get more out of the plant’s cannabidiols. However, vapers who prefer a more carefree vaping experience or are simply looking for an advanced way to fine-tune their vaping experience say, no. They’d rather stick with vaporizers that don’t need such confidence and knowledge to use.
What do you think? Are you going to give sub ohm vaping a try?