Sub-Ohm Vaping

Published by Matt Brown on 3rd Nov 2015

2015 has been a big year for e cigarettes. In an industry like ours, technology moves pretty quickly and this year has been no exception. Sub-ohm vaping has been the headline development over the past 10 months and it shows no sign of letting up.

While sub-ohm has been around for a good while, it’s traditionally been more the preserve of vapers using mechanical mods. This year though has seen an explosion in the numbers of users giving it a go, thanks mainly to rise of sub-ohm capable box mods, as well as the dozens of tanks offering pre-built sub-ohm coils and high airflow which have sprung up in support.

What is sub-ohm and why should you care?

Sub-ohm vaping refers simply to using a tank fitted with a coil rated at less than 1.0Ohm. At this point, the resistance of the coil is such that it’s able to produce much more vapour per puff than a regular tank. Sub-ohm capable tanks, such as the Kanger Subtank or Aspire Atlantis, are also fitted with much greater airflow, which helps to produce the increased amount of vapour.

The huge volumes of vapour which are achievable also mean that the vapour itself is usually much warmer that you may be used to. This can be counteracted somewhat by using a tank fitted with adjustable airflow. More vapour also usually will mean greater flavour, as well as more throat hit, though there is another school of thought which says that mouth to lung, or non-sub-ohm, tanks will produce more flavour owing to the vapour being held in the mouth before being passed to the lungs.

The increased vapour production is achieved by combining a coil which reaches greater temperatures (sub-ohm) with a tank with high airflow. Good airflow is required both to increase the air used to generate the vapour, but also to help cool the vapour down. Without enough airflow, the vapour will heat up too much and the taste can become rather unpleasant.

This additional vapour has to come from somewhere, though. Sub-ohm vaping will consume e-liquid much more quickly than a standard set-up. This means that you will have to refill more often, but it also means that you’ll be inhaling more nicotine per puff. This in turns greatly increases throat hit, which is why most users will naturally step down the strength of the e-liquid they use to accommodate. It’s not unusual for vapers who had been using 18mg or above to step right down to 6mg – vaping 18mg e-liquid at sub-ohm levels will most likely be very uncomfortable for most people.

Often vapers will even step down to nicotine free e-liquids (0mg) with the sheer volume of vapour enough to satisfy their nicotine craving. Being able to kick an addictive substance is a big bonus and for many worth any potential downsides of sub-ohm vaping.

There’s also something incredibly satisfying about being able to create billowing white clouds of vapour, though it may not always be socially acceptable to do so.

Mouth to lung vs direct lung inhalation

Something which many vapers may not even think to consider is how they actually vape. No matter what you choose to use, vaping involves inhaling vaporised e-liquid. The act of inhalation comes in two flavours:

Mouth to lung

You may not have even thought about it, but mouth to lung (MTL) inhalation is usually how most vapers will have smoked a cigarette. This is a two-step process, first taking a draw into the mouth, then inhaling again into the lungs. In the early days of vaping, tanks had much more restricted airflow that naturally meant users would favour this method. MTL will generally result in lower vapour production than direct lung.

Direct lung

Direct lung inhalation is different. Here the user will take only one inhalation directly into the lungs – the vapour is not held in the mouth first. This can be thought of like sucking on a straw, rather than smoking a cigarette and can feel a little unnatural to begin with, though most users do adjust relatively quickly. It’s becoming much more common owing to sub-ohm vaping and the design of sub-ohm capable tanks. The vastly increased airflow in such tanks means that drawing directly into the lungs will greatly increase the amount of vapour produced. It’s also often difficult, if not impossible, to mouth to lung inhale using such tanks. If you’re a cloud chaser, direct lung is going to be your preferred method.

In short then, new users will find mouth to lung tanks more familiar, but may eventually find the allure of sub-ohm something very attractive to experiment with. For this reason, many new users are starting to opt for box mods like our SERIES-B Tilt. These sorts of devices offer massive flexibility and power in a compact package, and will pretty much handle any tank you throw at them.