Along with the UK and Japan, the U.S. is one of the three biggest vaping markets in the world. Vapers in these countries spent a combined $16.3 billion on this habit in 2016, as part of a global marketplace that’s now worth around $22.6 billion.
This industry is also diversifying at a tremendous rate, with sub OHM vaping one of the latest trends to grip the marketplace.
But what exactly is this latest craze, and why should vapers care?
How Does Sub Ohm Vaping Work?
The purpose of sub Ohm vaping is to increase the power output of fixed voltage devices, including mechanical vape mods. There are two ways in which this can be achieved, with one of the most common being to increase the power of your battery.
This increases the power delivered to your coil, enabling it to heat quickly and generate the optimal amount of vapour.
However, there are limits to the amount of power you put through a coil before it stops producing vapour, and start to generate excessive heat instead. Rest assured that this will not taste good, while you may even burn your wick in the worst case scenario!
With this in mind, your best option is to combine a low resistance coil with an increased airflow, as this enables you to boost the power output without generating excessive heat.
What are OHMs?
In simple terms, an OHM is a scientific unit for measuring electrical resistance.
In the case of vaping, it’s applied to the atomiser coil in an e-cigarette, which is the element that makes contact with the battery on one side and the e-liquid on the other.
This component ultimately transforms the liquid into a vapour that can be inhaled, and each one will have a resistance reading that can be found on the body or the packaging that it comes in.
This unit of measurement was conceived by George Simon Ohm, who was a German physicist and mathematician from the 19th century.
He created a body of research based on the newly discovered electrochemical cell, revealing that there was a direct proportionality between the potential difference applied across a conductor and the subsequent electric current.
This is referred to as Ohm’s law, and when applied to vaping it explains how the resistance level of the coil relates directly to the power output that it produces.
This is where the concept of sub OHM vaping comes into play, as this refers to the use of a device where the atomiser coil has a resistance reading of less than one OHM.
This optimises the power output of mechanical vape mods and non-variable regulated devices to create bigger and denser clouds, or potentially enhance the flavour during your vaping experience.
But despite its potential benefits and relative simplicity, sub OHM vaping has become a source of debate within the community.
It's been suggested that this practice is potentially dangerous. with potential to result in injury from fire or explosion.
But these dangers only really occur when people don't follow safety rules, building their own coils and mods which could be faulty.
It's imperative that if you decide to go down this route, you have a full understanding of the necessary requirements to build these correctly & safely.
To avoid the dangers, choose quality equipment from reputable, trustworthy brands.
Do you Need to Understand Ohms Law to Sub Ohm?
As a sub ohm enthusiast, you’ll hear numerous terms and examples of jargon banded around. You may even hear about Ohms law, which is the scientific principle on which the entire concept is based.
Outlined by George Ohm, this law states that the current running through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the associated voltage.
However, knowledge of this law is not a prerequisite of sub ohming, as there are plenty of enthusiasts that indulge this passion without any understanding whatsoever.
Much will depend on whether you’re into rebuildable or mechanical mods, as having an underlying knowledge of Ohms law can ensure that you operate as safely as possible. These devices have no recognised safety system or guidelines, while a lack of understanding could also cause you to use a coil with a resistance that is too low for the battery unit.
If you prefer to buy packaged and regulated box mods, there is no real requirement to understand Ohms law as these devices will include in-built safety measures. They are therefore designed to prevent common development issues or the risk of electrical shorting, delivering genuine safety to users as a result.
Sub Ohm Vaping – Power Settings
When sub ohming for the very first time, it’s crucial that you start with a relatively low wattage and temperature setting. Similarly, you should also utilise a low resistance coil, before looking to adjust and increase these settings until you achieve the desired clouds.
This negates one of the main risks with sub ohming, as there’s always a danger that inexperienced vapers will start out too high and burn out their coils.
If you purchase a regulated box mod or sub-ohm tank, we’d definitely recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. These offer strict guidelines on wattage and temperature, while they’ll also help you to identify the ideal resistance level.
If not, you’ll need to tread carefully and adjust your settings as your progress, creating the ideal settings to suit your needs.
What are the Pros and Cons of Building your Own Coils?
Another source of controversy is the individual devices used for sub OHM vaping, which are often built from scratch or modified from standardised products.
The reason for this is simple; as these products are designed to supply raw battery power to an atomiser with no electronic circuitry, power adjustments or built-in safety features.
Given that most vape mods on the market are regulated, those in search of greater power output often have to develop their own unique device.
It’s not unknown for people to design and build their own coils from scratch, although there are significant pros and cons associated with this practice.
- Produce More Smoke: By producing your own coil, you can ensure that it produces a resistance reading lower than one OHM and an optimal amount of power. This will translate into far larger plumes of vapour, which in turn provides a more intense vaping experience for more seasoned smokers.
- Enjoy a Greater Depth of Flavour: Not only will a custom coil produce an optimal amount of vapour, but it will also boost the depth and quality of flavour. Even though you’ll inhale vapour directly into your lungs when using a sub OHM (we’ll have more on this later), the taste and the purity of the product will be greatly improved.
- Create a Coil that Meets your Needs: On a fundamental level, building your own coil enables you to create a personalised vaping experience that meets your needs. More specifically, you can create a stronger and more impactful hit of nicotine or CBD, allowing you to elevate your experience onto an entirely new level.
- Include a Cheap and Replaceable Cotton Wick: Every coil that you build will require a wick, and cotton is one of the best materials for crafting this component. This not only absorbs e-liquid well and features flavour enhancing qualities, but it’s also exceptionally cheap and easy to replace. In many instances, this may mean that you can replace the wick rather than the coil, which will save you even more money over time.
- Can be Time-consuming to Build: Unless you’re an expert vaper with a genuine passion for the hobby, building your own coil and sub OHM vaping device can be tedious in the extreme. It’s also a deceptively complex process, and one that may not be particularly satisfying.
- Sub OHM Hardware is More Expensive: As a general rule, the components and hardware required to sub OHM vape is more expensive than traditional products. Not only can above OHM gear be cheaper to source, but it’s also more affordable to replace over a period of extended use.
- Your Coil Could Short out: Whether you’re building or rebuilding a coil, there’s always a risk that custom components will short out. Every mod will have a limit in terms of the OHM resistance and type of coil they can use, and attempting to exceed this will cause the device to fail intermittently.
- Dual Coils May Not Heat up Evenly: When creating dual coils for your device, you may find that one heats up a little quicker than the other. This can be caused by a number of factors associated with self-builds, each of which increases the OHM resistance. For example, one coil may have a slightly longer lead, while a poor connection may also have an impact in some instances.
Confused About Resistance?
While sub ohm vaping may seem like a simple concept, it’s actually quite complex and has the potential to confuse newcomers to the market.
Much of this confusion relies on the relationship between resistance and power, as this type of vaping requires you to optimise output by using atomiser coils with a resistance rating of less than one ohm.
One way in which you can lower the resistance of your coil is to use thicker wire. However, if you were to apply the same amount of power to two wires of different thickness, it’s interesting to note that the thickest one will heat up at a slower rate.
So, to compensate for this and reach the desired temperature with a lower resistance coil, you’ll need to ramp up the power provided by your battery unit or increase the airflow supplied to the device.
If you use thicker wire, you’ll also increase the surface area of the coil contacting the wick. This delivers multiple benefits, including higher levels of vapourisation and the production of larger and more impressive clouds.
How to Inhale when Sub OHM Vaping
When you first start using a traditional e-cigarette, you’ll probably be encouraged to inhale vapour through a method known as ‘mouth-to-lung’ (MTL). This requires you to take the vapour into the mouth and hold it there briefly before inhaling it into the lungs.
This is considered to be the best method of inhalation for beginners, as it offers a far tighter draw while delivering more concentrated nicotine levels and a far better throat hit.
When sub OHM vaping, you’ll need to inhale through the so-called ‘direct-to-lung’ (DTL) method. As the name suggests, this requires you to inhale a more powerful vapour directly into the lungs, as you draw in a significant slug of air while also pursing your lips.
This can provide a far more intense vaping experience, while the strength and the purity of the hit can be enhanced considerably through this method. This is why it’s primarily recommended for those with previous experience of vaping, rather than those who are new to the habit.
We’ve already touched on the benefits of increasing airflow, particularly when looking to optimise power output.
This is why sub ohm vaping devices often feature larger air holes, so that there is enough airflow to cool the coil and the vapour produced.
This prevents long-term damage to the wick and ensure that you do not experience discomfort or an unpleasant taste while vaping.
You can also adjust the airflow to manage your expectations as an e-cigarette smoker, depending on how you sub ohm and the device that you use. In simple terms, less airflow lends itself to mouth to lung vaping, while it also delivers a stronger throat hit and warmer vapour.
Conversely, an increased airflow is better for direct to lung vaping, while it produces cooler vapour and a less intense flavour experience.
Who is Sub OHM Vaping Aimed at?
Let’s make this clear; sub OHM vaping is not suitable for those who are new to the practice or have not yet purchased a starter vape kit.
In truth, the intensity of sub OHM vapour and DTL method of inhalation can be overwhelming, forcing smokers to cough uncontrollably or struggle to appreciate the experience.
However, if you’ve already purchased a starter kit and have vaped regularly for some time, the concept of sub OHM may be one to consider.
The key thing to bear in mind is whether or not you’re satisfied with your vaping experience and the hit delivered by MTL inhalation. If you find that this is not the case, you may decide to take vaping to the next level by decreasing your coil’s OHM resistance and optimising the power output of your advice.
To get started, you’ll just need to invest in a sub OHM tank, along with the necessary components to modify your device and build or restructure your coil as required.
Why do vapers sub ohm?
Quite simply, vapers sub ohm because they want to produce more vapour and potentially create an intense flavour experience.
The goal of generating large and thick plumes of vapour is particularly alluring, and something that remains at the heart of sub ohming as a whole.
In terms of the immediate throat hit, sub ohm vapers optimise their power output while simultaneously using a high vg e-liquid to create an ideal balance.
At the same time, sub ohm vaping also creates warmer vapour, and this may be considered as a benefit for some smokers.
Resistances: How low can you go?
As we’ve already said, you cannot vape in this manner unless your coil has a resistance level of less than 1 ohm.
But exactly how low can you go?
The answer may surprise you, with Aspire Cleito 120 coils dipping as low as 0.16 ohms. However, it’s important to remember that this level of resistance will require a minimum power output of between 50 and 70 watts, particularly if you to get the most out of your device.
This is one of the primary reasons why you should use a less extreme coil and lower wattages when you start sub ohm vaping, as you like to strike the ideal balance between resistance and power. You’ll also be less likely to burn your coil out, which is extremely important from a cost and value perspective.
Just as with standard vaping, dry hits are extremely unpleasant when sub ohming.
So when you change your coil, you’ll need to leave a few minutes before filling your tank and vaping. You may also want to prime the coil before filling the tank, as this expedites the process and helps you to get back to vaping quicker.
You can prime the coil by dropping some e-liquid into any juice holes on your coil and the mesh inside. Then simply attach the coil and leave it soak for around five minutes or so, before getting started once again!
Over time, you’ll experiment with your temperature control to create the ideal sub ohm vaping experience.
However, even when you think you’ve found the perfect balance, you need to remember that a constant current flows through your coil whenever you press the fire button. In instances where you take long or extended draws from your device, this means that your coil will continue to heat up for as long as the button is held down.
As we’ve already touched on, the generation of excess heat can have a negative impact on the flavour while also burning the wick in your tank. This is why you must try to control the temperature according the manufacturer’s recommendations and start with minimal heat and wattage at the outset.
Sub Ohm vaping Vs. regular vaping
While sub ohm vaping is increasingly popular, it remains an acquired taste and is even considered as controversial by some.
So while anyone who wants to minimise resistance and produce thick clouds of vapour should at least sub ohm vaping, it will not be suitable for everyone. Here are some instances in which you may want to consider sticking to standard vaping:
Mouth to Lungers
If you’ve ever heard of mouth to lung (MTL) vapers, you’ll know that this demographic tends to prefer a more restrictive draw that accurately simulates an analog cigarette.
These individuals do not enjoy the type of deep lung hit that can be achieved through sub ohm vaping, while they’re perfectly content with the resistance and output of standard devices.
You may well vape simply to achieve a nicotine fix without inhaling tobacco, rather than to replicate the experience of smoking a traditional cigarette.
In this instance, sub ohm vaping is largely unnecessary, particularly given the time and cost associated of building a low resistance coil.
Sub ohm vaping can also garner a great deal of attention, and this may not be desirable for someone who simply wants a quick and subtle hit of nicotine.
Similarly, many of you will be inclined to conserve your e-liquid and save money, particularly as only small amounts are required to produce modest clouds.
This is not the case with sub ohm vaping, however, which uses higher power outputs and considerable quantities of e-liquid to produce the amounts and density of vapour required.
So you unless you’re in search of bigger and thicker clouds, you’ll most likely consider sub ohm vaping as an unnecessary and costly luxury.
On a similar note, sub ohm devices require more power to heat the thicker coils included within.
They’re also running at a relatively low level of resistance, meaning that you batteries will drain faster and require more frequent charging.
This may require you to carry a sub ohm vaping kit including a charger, extra e-liquid and spare batteries, and this is hardly ideal if you like to travel light.Similarly, those of you who are energy conscious may also consider this to be highly unnecessary.
On a final note, it’s worth remembering that sub ohm vapers tend to lower their nicotine levels.
This is because big clouds usually deliver a considerable blast of nicotine, so your starting level and dosage must be tempered to compensate for this.
This represents a big change in comparison with standard vaping, and it ’s one that you’ll need to consider before starting out.
The Last Word
This brief guide offers an insight into the fascinating world of sub OHM vaping, while explaining some of the reasons behind its growing popularity.
This controversial practice is not for everyone, however, as its intensity may prove overwhelming for novice or inexperienced vapours.
It’s ideal for anyone who has a starter kit and wants to elevate their vaping experience onto a new and more satisfying level, particularly if you’ve taken the time to understand about OHM resistance and its impact.