Beginner’s Guide to Sub-Ohm Vaping
Sub-ohm vaping, or simply sub-ohming, has definitely become the holy grail for cloud chasers. However, there are still several misconceptions about it because of insufficient information. Many new and even intermediate vapers don’t know exactly what sub-ohm vaping is or how it works. So, here’s a comprehensive guide to help answer any of the questions you might have.
Before we delve into what is sub-ohm vaping, let’s try to understand why you would want to try sub-ohm vaping in the first place. Well, the answer is quite simple: better flavor and bigger clouds. This is the main difference between sub ohm vaping vs regular vaping.
Sub-ohm vape mods produce bigger and thicker clouds as compared to regular mods. Because there is so much more vapor, the vape liquid used for sub ohm atomizers tends to have less nicotine than a standard e-cig. For example, sub-ohm e-juice is usually either 3mg or 6 mg and a higher vegetable glycerin (VG) concentration. More on that topic later. To dive deeper, let’s learn about Ohm’s Law.
Understanding Ohm’s Law: What Does Sub Ohm Mean?
Even if you’re not a scientific aficionado or physics enthusiast, with patience and a willingness to learn, anyone can understand the basics of Ohm’s Law. So, please just bear with us as we briefly explain Ohm’s Law.
Ohm’s Law, in the simplest possible terms, is what sub-ohm vaping is based on. Furthermore, the modern, more simplified Ohm’s law mathematical equation is:
I = V/R
Named after its initiator Georg Ohm, a German physicist, the law states that the current passing through a conductor from one point to another is directly proportional to the voltage supplied and inversely proportional to the resistance of the conductor.
To put it simply, the higher the voltage and the lower the resistance, the more current will go through, and vice versa.
Think of it in this way, the less resistance there is to something, the easier it is to overcome. In the case of sub ohm vaping, a lower resistance atomizer allows more current to pass through it. Increased current causes a metal element to heat faster. As a result, more e-liquid is more rapidly vaporized.
Initially, people tried to use more powerful vape batteries to get higher voltage, but there are limits on how far you can push the amperage. So, the focus turned to reducing resistance in order to get more current. The lower resistance resulted in thicker vapor — this brings us to sub-ohm vaping.
The resistance of a coil used in the atomizers is measured in ohms, which loosely defines the amount of current the coil will allow to pass through it. If you keep the voltage constant and reduce the resistance of the coil, the current passing through the coil will increase.
Thus, making it hotter and generating more vapor. Generally speaking, thicker wires offer lower resistance since they have more surface area which allows for more current to flow.
Sub Ohm vaping is also called DL vaping. DL stands for Direct Lung Vaping which means that the vapor is drawn directly into the lungs.
Standard vaping with coils above 1.0 ohms is also called MTL vaping. MTL vaping stands for mouth-to-lung. That means that the vapor is drawn into the mouth and then inhaled. Much like smoking a cigarette.
While the usual range for standard vaping is between 1.5 ohms and 3 ohms, using a vaporizer containing an atomizer coil with a resistance of less than 1 ohm is technically referred to as sub-ohm vaping. While it might sound somewhat simple, it’s actually a fairly complex topic. So, let’s dig a little deeper.
Is Sub-Ohm Vaping Safe?
The brutally honest answer to whether sub-ohm vaping is safe is yes, and possibly no. Depending on what type of vape tank you choose and mod, there can be some risks involved but sub-ohm vaping isn’t categorically dangerous.
For instance, the risk of batteries getting damaged from overheating is possible in a wide variety of other gadgets, like cell phones or laptops, let alone vape mods. But if you’re using substandard vaping gear, you will be inhaling more volumes of low-quality flavoring elements as compared to regular e-cigs, and might even inhale some unwanted particles of burnt metals. You can minimize these risks by choosing better products that are carefully made with safety in mind.
Since there is a wide variety of coils, heating temperatures, wick materials and e-juices, only high-quality products made by skilled and experienced vendors can increase safety conditions. In other words, the safest way is to use a regulated box mod instead of a mech mod. But if you want to try sub-ohm vaping with a mechanical mod, make sure it’s generously vented so that the batteries can cool down during the operation.
➢ NOTE: Mig Vapor does not recommend using mech mods. A mech mod draws current from a battery without any regulation or safety features. It is too easy to make a mistake, fry a coil, and even have a battery thermal runaway, which is very dangerous. Today’s regulated mods are fully capable of delivering optimal vapor production. Mech mods are obsolete. Let the technology do the work. Mig Vapor box mods and tube mods are designed with the latest safety features and accurate, reliable current regulation.
Battery Considerations for Sub-Ohm Vaping
The most important components in sub-ohm vaping, on which the reliability and robustness of the entire unit depends, are the vape batteries. Therefore, it’s extremely important to comprehend the capabilities as well as the limitations of the batteries you’re using. Especially their discharge rate. Some batteries have safe discharge rates under seven amperes, while others are safe at 30 amperes and even higher.
As you lower the resistance of the coil, the required discharge rate for the battery goes up. To be on the safe side, the rule of thumb is to use batteries with the highest discharge rate with high resistance coils. However, this could cost you in terms of vapor volume and flavor. You have to find common ground or a so-called sweet spot — this is where experience and knowledge really count.
- The most common sub-ohm box mod vape batteries are 18650s. There are also 20700, and 21700 but 18650s are the most commonly used. It is recommended to always use an external battery charger with 18650, 20700, and 21700 batteries.
- Box mods and tube mods also come with built-in batteries, also known as internal batteries. Using built-in, internal batteries offers several advantages. Primarily, avoiding the expense of having to buy vape batteries separately. In addition, removable batteries are more prone to being damaged — in which case, it is wise to remember that a damaged battery is a dangerous battery.
- Mig Vapor box mods and tube mods come with built-in batteries. We use only top-grade battery components. Not everybody does, but we do. And it makes our vape mods and e-cig devices better and safer.
Advantages of Sub-Ohm Vaping
When it comes to identifying the advantages of sub-ohm vaping, there are 3 major benefits of sub-ohm vaping:
1) More Vapor
2) Better Flavor
3) Warmer Vapor
You’ll be blowing out the biggest clouds among your friends! But probably not best to do at the office. The flavor is intense, yet so smooth — once you have tried sub-ohm vaping, it’s nearly impossible to return back to any other type of vaping.
Most old hands love a warmer vape, and that’s what sub-ohm vaping guarantees. Don’t worry, the warmth won’t burn your lips, thanks to the wide airflow on the sub-ohm tank that brings the vape to a pleasantly warm temperature.
Approaches to Sub-Ohm Vaping
Depending on the type of atomizer you use, there are 3 different options for sub-ohming.
1) Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers
Also known as Drippers, the RDAs are where it all started. Early vapers used devices, slightly smaller than a tank, that could be attached to a mod. These devices were equipped with coils and a cotton wick. The user had to drip e-juice onto the wick after every few puffs. As of 2019, RDAs are used almost exclusively by only the most intense vaping enthusiasts. Today’s advanced sub ohm vape tanks like the Gordo Fat mesh coil tank and the WTF sub ohm tank have rendered dripping obsolete.
2) Rebuildable Tank Atomizers
RTAs are an enhanced form of RDAs that don’t need to be dripped continuously, which surely was a hassle. They are essentially clearomizers with a rebuildable atomizer deck built-in. The RTAs offer the highest volume vapors, plus very good flavor. Like RDAs, not many vapers use RTAs anymore. The art of building your own coils is amazing. But for most people they just want vapor and they want it now! Pre-built coils are fully capable of delivering as much, if not more, flavor than RDAs and RTAs.
3) Sub-ohm tanks
Until lately, sub-ohm vaping was nothing less than an ordeal. You’d have to buy a mod (either a mech or box mod), rechargeable batteries, Kanthal or Nichrome wire, organic cotton, and whatnot. Sub-ohm tanks have made life really easy, as you can slam them on virtually any mod, that can work at 30 watts or higher, and start blowing out massive clouds. They are pretty similar to RTAs, but have disposable, built-in coils. They offer nearly the same experience as RTAs, but take convenience to a whole new level.
Other Styles Of Sub-Ohm Vaping
Before moving on, there are a couple of other styles of sub-ohm vaping we should quickly touch on. Those two are squonking and temperature control.
1) Temperature Control Vaping
Temperature control vaping uses sub ohm atomizer coils. But instead of setting the wattage, the user instead selects a vaping temperature. Most modern sub-ohm vape mods come with a temperature control option. This is usually denoted as a TC mod.
The temperature settings for TC vaping are typically between 200F and 600F. Now, you will never really use 600F. 400F is more than enough for most! But the idea is that the mod supplies just enough power for the coil to reach the desired temperature. As opposed to sending the same current every hit.
You cannot use standard Kanthal vape coils for TC vaping. Instead, temp control requires one of the following coil materials:
- Stainless Steel
The TC mod will prompt the user to enter the type of coil material used. Just as a quick note, stainless steel coils can be used in both temperature control mode and power mode, or variable wattage.
What is squonking? Well, it’s a funny word! But squonking refers to vaping with a squonk mod. A squonk mod pairs with an RDA or RTA with a hollow 510 center pin. The pin is hollow because a squonker device contains a built-in vape liquid bottle. The user gives the bottle a squeeze to flood the atomizer base with e-juice.
Squonking is another style of sub ohm vaping where the user builds their own coils. As a result, it is generally limited to the more hardcore enthusiasts. Many of whom are amazing artisans when it comes to coil building.
Vape Juice For Sub Ohm Vaping
Vape juice for sub ohm vaping must have at least 70% VG content. A 50/50 or PG e-liquid will not work for sub ohm vaping. VG juice is thicker and made for low resistance vape coils. In addition, the VG makes massive plumes of vapor. There is always at least some PG in a VG vape juice to carry the flavor. You see, VG makes huge clouds but does not carry flavor as well as PG.
One more very important note here. Because there will be so much more vapor production, a sub ohm vape does not need as much nicotine as a standard mod or e-cig uses. The highest nicotine content required for sub ohming is 6mg. Most vapers use 3mg.
Sub Ohm Vape Tanks
Sub-ohm vape tanks have made sub-ohm vaping so much more accessible. Vapers can enjoy the massive vapor production and perhaps do some vape tricks, all with an easy to use tank.
With the new vape tanks, there is no need to build your own coils. Simply replace the old coil and keep going. Just make sure to clean the tank in warm soapy water at least every two weeks to keep it clean.
The newest sub ohm vape tanks are mesh coil tanks. Like our Mig Vapor Fat Gordo. The Gordo uses the latest, precision laser-cut, mesh coils that cover a massive amount of surface area on the wick. With the extended surface area coverage, more e-juice heats more rapidly. As a result, huge vapor and amazing flavor can be generated at lower wattages.
Here are the key points to remember:
- Sub ohm vaping uses atomizers with a resistance of less than 1.0 ohms.
- Also called DL, or Direct Lung vaping.
- Use regulated mods, mech mods are dangerous.
- Use sub ohm vape tanks as opposed to building your own coils.
Always use an authentic device. The vape market is full of counterfeits. it is true that counterfeits are a real problem in the vape industry. We want to ensure that you are vaping with top quality devices and also understand the safety precautions involved. It is important to us that you have an enjoyable experience on your vape journey. Shop the best vape tanks and juices for sub-ohm vaping at VaporFi today!
Audrey Durand is the Senior Brand Manager for VaporFi Online Division for the US and Australian Markets. She is an early adopter of e-cigarettes and vaporizers and uses her market expertise to continue developing the marketing programs of the brand, Audrey looks forward to the dynamic operations and growth opportunity with VaporFi. She is also the founder of BlogIntoLife, a platform that helps beginner bloggers start a professional blog and grow their business in the CBD market and in other verticals.