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What Is Sub-Ohm Vaping?

August 01, 2020 6 min read

As you read about vaping and shop for things like vape mods, “sub-ohm” is a phrase that you’re going to see constantly – and it’s been part of the vaping vernacular for so long that some websites simply assume that everyone knows what sub-ohm vaping is and don’t bother to define it. In this article, we’re going to fix that by explaining everything you need to know about what it means to use a sub-ohm vaping setup.

What Is Sub-Ohm Vaping

Before we begin, we’ll give you a bit of good news. If you’re using a vape pen or mod that includes its own glass tank with a replaceable coil, you are most likely using a sub-ohm vaping setup already. Sub-ohm vaping is so common these days that it’s no longer thought of as something just for experts or hobbyists. It’s simply the way that almost everyone vapes.

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of how vaping works, though, this article is for you. We’re going to explain everything that you could ever possibly want to know about sub-ohm vaping – but first, we’re going to answer the primary question that’s on your mind. What exactly is sub-ohm vaping?

What Is Sub-Ohm Vaping?

A vaping device might look like a small piece of consumer electronics, but it’s actually much more than that. To vaporize e-liquid, your device’s atomizer coil needs to produce intense heat – and for that to happen, the atomizer coil draws a significant amount of power from the device’s battery.

Exactly how much power does an atomizer coil require? To determine that, we need to know the resistance of the atomizer coil. Pairing that information with the operational wattage of the device, we can use Ohm’s law to determine the amperage that the coil draws from the battery.

In electronics, resistance refers to the degree by which a given component restricts the electrical current flowing through it. A lower-resistance component restricts the current less, meaning that it will draw a higher amperage from the battery at a given voltage.

We measure resistance in ohms. Sub-ohm vaping is using a vaping device with a coil that has a resistance of under 1.0 ohm. Sub-ohm vaping is so common these days that, if you’re using a vaping device with a large glass tank, it’s almost a guarantee that you’re using a sub-ohm coil already.

Is Sub-Ohm Vaping Safe?

Sub-Ohm Vaping Definition

Yes; sub-ohm vaping is safe. A modern vaping device such as the box mods sold here at E-Cigarette Empire regulates power delivery automatically and checks for dangerous situations such as an unusually high current or a short circuit. All modern vaping batteries are certified to safely handle the loads generated in standard vaping scenarios. If you want to ensure that you’re vaping safely, all that you need to do is use a modern regulated mod with a battery that’s intended for vaping. If your device has a removable battery, you should also familiarize yourself with the tips in our article about vaping battery safety.

There are also two things that you must keep in mind to ensure that sub-ohm vaping is as safe as it can be for you.

  • Only use batteries that are specifically designed for vaping. You can’t just pull an 18650 cell out of an old laptop battery, for example, and throw it in your mod. Look for a battery with the highest possible continuous discharge rating. If your vaping device uses two batteries, make sure that the batteries are the same type and made by the same manufacturer. If you want to avoid worrying about battery management, use a mod with a built-in battery.
  • Don’t use a mechanical mod. Unlike a regulated mod, a mechanical mod doesn’t have an electronic subsystem to monitor safety parameters. Even vaping experts can make critical safety mistakes with mechanical mods, so it’s best to avoid mechanical mods regardless of your experience level.

What Equipment Do I Need for Sub-Ohm Vaping?

To get started with sub-ohm vaping, you need three things.

  • You need a tank with a sub-ohm coil. You’re only sub-ohm vaping if your coil has a resistance under 1.0 ohm.
  • You need a vaping device that supports the resistance of the coil you’re using. If you check the device’s instruction manual – or you look at the manufacturer’s website – you’re going to notice that the official specifications of your device mention a minimum supported coil resistance. That’s the lowest coil resistance that your device will accept without displaying an error message. Most modern vaping devices support coil resistances as low as 0.1-0.15 ohm.
  • You need a battery with an appropriate continuous discharge rating for the coil you’ll be using. Let’s suppose, for instance, that you’re using a 0.15-ohm coil with a recommended operational wattage of 90 watts. Using Ohm’s law, we can determine that the coil would draw a current of 24.49 amps at that wattage. Your battery needs to support that current.

Now, if you’ve never paid attention to the specifications of your vaping hardware before, you might be thinking right now that all of these details are a bit over your head. Well, there’s no need to fear. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, virtually every piece of vaping hardware on the market today is sub-ohm capable. Just about every glass-walled vape tank that you can buy uses sub-ohm coils. Manufacturers of vaping products know that, so they design their mods and batteries to handle the loads that those tanks will generate. For the most part, sub-ohm vaping isn’t something that you need to think about at all when you’re shopping for vape gear. That’s particularly true if you buy a full vaping kit with a built-in battery and an included tank. In that case, you can be certain that the manufacturer has thoroughly tested all components to ensure that they’ll work together.

What E-Liquid Is Best for Sub-Ohm Vaping?

Is Sub-Ohm Vaping Safe

There are two types of vape juice: freebase nicotine e-liquid and nicotine salt e-liquid. Freebase nicotine e-liquid – the kind that usually comes in a large bottle – is almost always the type of vape juice that you want to use with sub-ohm vaping equipment. That’s because a sub-ohm tank produces very large vapor clouds, and nicotine salt e-liquid usually has a very high nicotine strength. The most common nicotine strengths that people use with sub-ohm equipment are 3 mg/ml and 6 mg/ml. Nicotine salt e-liquid, meanwhile, usually has a nicotine strength of 20 mg/ml and higher. It’s much too strong for a vaping setup that produces big clouds.

What Should I Know Before Buying a Sub-Ohm Vaping Kit?

As we mentioned previously, if you’re using a box mod or large vape pen with a glass tank, you’re probably using sub-ohm vaping equipment already. Let’s suppose, though, that you’re not using a larger vaping device. Perhaps you’re using a small pod vaping system, for example. The smallest vaping devices operate at low temperatures, and they don’t use sub-ohm coils. If you decide to trade in your small device for a sub-ohm vape mod, you’re going to enjoy big flavors and even bigger clouds. As we mentioned, you’re also going to reduce the nicotine strength of your e-liquid to compensate for the much greater cloud production.

Those, however, aren’t the biggest things that are going to change about your vaping experience. The biggest thing is that you’ll be changing from the mouth-to-lung inhaling style that you currently use to a direct-to-lung inhaling pattern. Most cigarette smokers inhale from the mouth to the lungs, and they continue to use that inhaling style when they buy their first vaping devices. That’s the inhaling style that feels natural for a smoker, and when you use a higher-nicotine e-liquid, the mouth-to-lung inhaling style gives you the same satisfying throat hit that you would get from a cigarette.

To give you a good mouth-to-lung inhaling experience, a small vaping device needs to have fairly tight airflow characteristics – just like a cigarette. To produce huge vapor clouds, though, a sub-ohm vape tank has free, open airflow characteristics. That’s because a sub-ohm vape tank produces such large clouds that you can’t possibly hold all of the vapor in your mouth. So, when you use a sub-ohm tank, you’ll inhale the vapor directly into your lungs.

If you’ve never tried direct-to-lung inhaling, it might sound a little strange to you on the surface. We encourage you to give it a try, though, because it’s actually the way that most people vape. Inhaling directly to the lungs is the only way to enjoy the biggest clouds that your vaping hardware can produce. In addition, you’re going to find that using a low-nicotine e-liquid and inhaling directly to the lungs produces a vaping experience that’s much more flavor forward compared to inhaling from the mouth to the lungs with a high-nicotine e-liquid. Because of the extremely large clouds, you’ll still get enough e-liquid to feel completely satisfied. You’ll experience almost no throat hit, though, and the peppery flavor of the nicotine won’t overwhelm the flavors of your favorite e-liquids anymore.


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