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Vaping: What you might not know
What is Sub-Ohm Vaping?
What is Sub-Ohm Vaping?
Sub-ohm vaping has been around for some time, but until relatively recently, it was primarily the preserve of more advanced vapers building their own coils and running them on mechanical mods. The first half of 2015, however, saw an explosion in popularity of sub-ohm vaping, largely thanks to a wide range of consumer-friendly, regulated sub-ohm devices and tanks.
But just what is sub-ohm vaping, and how does it differ from the more traditional vaping experience? To help explain, we've created an overview of what is required, and what to expect, with sub-ohm.
The key element which defines sub-ohm vaping is the resistance of the coil used in your set-up. A sub-ohm coil is any which is rated at less than 1.0Ohm. This means that a coil rated 0.99Ohm and a coil rated at 0.1Ohm can both be classed as sub-ohm, though there will be a large difference in terms of performance between the two ends of the spectrum.
This can become even further complicated when discussing dual, tri and even quad coils, with each individual coil in the atomiser rated at a different resistance, only coming out at the final resistance when they are taken together.
We've also seen in recent months the development of more and more temperature control compatible coils. These ultra-low resistance coils are usually manufactured from nickel (Ni-200), though titanium or stainless steel is also possible. When in use, these can return Ohm readings of 0.1Ohm or even less in some cases.
For those of you who are brand-new to vaping and who may not understand fully what resistance means and how it affects the vaping experience, it's a fairly straightforward concept to get to grips with. The spool of metal wire we refer to as a coil is what heats up in response to power supplied from the battery. The resistance of this wire will help to determine how much heat is generated, which in turn will affect the volume of vapour produced and the throat hit which is delivered.
If we assume that the power level remains the same, using a low resistance coil will result in more heat, vapour production and throat hit than a high resistance coil. A sub-ohm coil takes this a step further and delivers a great deal more heat, vapour and throat hit per puff than more conventional coils.
There are other variables which have an effect, such as the power level of the battery, amount of airflow and ratio of PG and VG in the e-liquid, but the resistance of the coil is key factor in adjusting your vaping experience.
Something else to consider when dealing with sub-ohm coils is that you'll need a tank which can support them. Due to the higher temperatures they produce, a tank which offers adjustable airflow, such as the S-22, is preferred, but the tank certainly will need to be fitted with large airflow channels in order to supply enough air to help cool the coil, and to help generate the large volumes of vapour sub-ohm vaping is known for.
The other side of effective sub-ohm vaping is the power level at which you vape. While it's possible to run a battery or device at a similar or even lower voltage as a conventional setup, due to the resistance of a sub-ohm coil, the end result is a significantly higher output in watts.
Watts are a measurement of the total final output of power, and measure the heat generated by the coil. Whereas a more conventional setup of a SERIES-E battery running at 4.2v paired with a 1.5Ohm coil will result in a an output of 11.76W, dropping to a 0.5Ohm coil instead will produce 35.28W. This is a huge difference and will result in much greater vapour production (thanks to added heat produced) and throat hit.
A more traditional eGo style battery isn't able to supply this kind of power, owing to its relatively low amp limit (unless you are using a device designed with sub-ohm requirements in mind, like the SERIES-S), so a sub-ohm capable device is required to truly get the most from vaping at sub-ohm levels. A device which uses a high drain IMR battery with a suitable amp limit is required.
A regulated variable wattage device, such as our SERIES-B Tilt is the best solution to this. These are devices, often commonly referred to as mods or box mods, which allow the user to dial in their preferred wattage output. Even if you choose to change your coil resistance, or switch frequently between tanks, the device automatically recalculates the volts required in order to continue supply the required watts.
With all of the above to consider, why does sub-ohm vaping have an appeal? Well, for many it doesn't, and if you're happy with your existing setup then we'd encourage you to continue to use what works for you. For others, however, sub-ohm vaping offers much greater performance than they're able to achieve using a more conventional device.
The difference in vapour production when using a sub-ohm device is marked, with volumes of vapour being produced which are difficult or impossible to reproduce using a standard coil. If cloud-chasing is your thing, sub-ohm is the best way of achieving this.
For those seeking plenty of throat hit, again, a sub-ohm setup is an effective way of achieving this. While it's possible to boost throat hit with a more conventional device by adjusting nicotine level, coil resistance and power level, the mechanics of sub-ohm vaping mean that it's possible to deliver much more nicotine per puff, which has the biggest impact on throat hit.
This leads to another consideration, however, which is the strength of the e-liquid you choose to use. As much more e-liquid is being vaporised every time you take a draw, a sub-ohm tank is going to deliver a higher dose of nicotine per puff. This means that most sub-ohm vapers will naturally reduce the strength of their e-liquid to compensate, with many stepping down from 18mg to 6mg overnight.
E-liquid consumption also generally increases, as much more is being vaporised at sub-ohm levels. Many users regulate their usage to compensate, but for most vapers, switching to sub-ohm means more e-liquid will be required each week.
With the growing popularity of sub-ohm capable, regulated devices, sub-ohm vaping can be just as safe as a conventional e-cigarette. That said, it's always a good idea to understand the technology behind what you're using. For users of mechanical mods especially, knowledge of battery limits and how your coils interact with your battery is essential.
Vaping at sub-ohm levels has a direct effect on your battery. The nature of these very low resistance coils is that they will draw more power (Amps) from the battery than if they were used with more traditional coils. Knowing this is important, as all batteries can only safely support a specific maximum amperage drain. Exceeding this can result in damage to the battery, and in extreme cases may even cause your battery to vent, which can be dangerous.
In order to vape safely, it's recommended that you familiarise yourself with Ohm's Law, or use an Ohm's Law calculator. This will help you determine the safe limits you should stick to when using your device. As an example, below you can see the difference in amp draw between a 0.9Ohm, 0.5Ohm and 0.2Ohm coil when paired with a freshly charged 4.2v IMR battery.
0.9Ohm - 4.67A draw
O.5Ohm - 8.4A draw
O.2Ohm - 21A draw
In the above examples, we can see that the amperage draw increases dramatically as the resistance drops. Most IMR 18650 batteries currently available have a maximum continuous amperage rating of 20A, so a 0.2Ohm coil would be pushing past its safe limit.
With the development of regulated sub-ohm capable devices, the risks involved in over-taxing your battery are lessened, thanks to internal safety mechanisms. In a regulated device, the power level of the battery can be bucked or boosted electronically, which helps the battery to safely exceed its regular limits.
In a mechanical mod, however, no such safety mechanism is in place, so it's very important that you understand your coil build and whether or not your battery is able to support it safely.