Tutorial: Guide to Sub-Ohm Vaping
What is Sub-Ohm Vaping?
What is sub-ohm vaping? Simply put it is vaping on a device whose atomizer coils have a resistance of less than one ohm. The reason some advanced vapers “sub-ohm” is to increase the power output of fixed voltage devices like mechanical vape mods and non-variable regulated devices to create more vapor or flavor. Although it might sound simple it's actually a complex and often controversial topic within the vaping community. The goal of this guide is to make sure you have accurate information so you can decide if sub-ohm vaping is right for you.
How Does Sub-Ohm Vaping Work?
All mechanical mods, VV/VW regulated mods and e-cigarettes are electrical devices powered by a battery. Sub-ohm vaping utilizes the principles of Ohm's and Joule’s laws of electricity. For our purposes this means, a non-variable voltage source like for instance the battery in a mechanical vape mod will increase the overall power output (wattage) of your device when you decrease the resistance (ohms) of your coils. It is absolutely crucial that sub-ohm vaping must be done safely. As you decrease your resistance you will increase the amperage your device uses to supply the current needed. This increases the strain on the battery and also increases heat that the battery and coils generate. For this reason you must ensure that you never exceed the amperage limit of your battery or it could fail causing possible fire or explosion.
Is Sub-Ohm Vaping Dangerous?
Is sub-ohm vaping dangerous? The honest answer is yes and no. When some basic safety rules are followed sub-ohm vaping is quite safe. If these safety rules are not followed your battery or device can fail resulting in injury or property damage from fire or explosion.
E-liquid, Nicotine and Sub-Ohm Vaping.
When vaping using sub-ohm coils a substantial amount of vapor is produced compared to using coils above 1ohm on the same device. Typically sub-ohm vapers take lung hits meaning they inhale straight to their lungs increasing the vapor they can inhale each puff. Those who vape sub-ohm usually favor e-liquid with a higher percentage of vegetable glycerin than propylene glycol. The reason for this is that the vegetable glycerin creates larger clouds and denser vapor production. This is because VG has reduced throat hit compared to PG which helps to accommodate for the increased amount of vapor inhaled. Usually those vaping sub-ohm will also use lower nicotine strengths (typically 6mg/ml and under) compare to those vaping above 1ohm also because of the additional vapor produced and inhaled each pull.
Sub-Ohm Vaping with VV/VW Devices.
Although it has become quite popular for people to use variable voltage/wattage devices for sub-ohm vaping it is actually unnecessary. Sub-ohm vaping evolved as a way to increase power to the coils beyond what the safe capacity of regulated devices available at the time. Today high power regulated devices are widely available can deliver a consistent amount of power to the coils allowing you to use the resistance of your choosing and the ability to adjust it to your liking while potentially out performing the capacity of even a sub-ohm build on a mechanical vape mod. While low power regulated devices remain best suited for resistances above 1ohm.
Sub-Ohm Safety: Mechanical Mods
To ensure safe performance you will want to always make sure you keep your mechanical vape mod clean. This includes all threads, vent holes, contacts, and the switch. If using a spring loaded switch be sure to take notice of how stiff it feels, if over time your spring seems to be getting softer or feels easier to press it is beginning to “sag” or wear out and needs replaced before it fails. If you are going to replace your spring in your switch you should strongly consider upgrading to magnets. You will also want to be sure that you use your mods locking mechanism when it is not in use. When selecting a mechanical mod for sub-ohm vaping there are a few things to consider. You will want to select a mod that is well vented. These vents allow heat to escape from normal use but also allow gases to vent in case of battery failure. You can't have too many or too large of vents for your mod. NEVER USE AN UNVENTED MOD TO VAPE SUB-OHM. You will also want a vape mod with low voltage drop. Voltage drop is the amount of voltage lost when the electricity travels from your battery through your device and to your coils. For this reason the most preferred are mods that feature a single piece tube, fixed position contacts, and magnetic switch. Spring loaded or threaded contacts, multiple piece tubes, or telescoping tubes might be convenient but will raise voltage drop. While spring loaded switches can wear out quickly or fail.
Sub-Ohm Safety: Batteries
When sub-ohm vaping your batteries are quite possibly the most crucial component of your setup. It is of the greatest importance to understand selecting the right battery and using it safely. Although I will only touch on the subject here. Please see our Tutorial: Best Batteries for Mods and Vaping Safety for more information on this Topic. Never expose your battery to water, extreme heat or cold. If your batteries wrapper becomes damaged discontinue using it or take it to a reputable vape shop to see if it can be re-wrapped. If your battery is dented in any way discontinue using it right away. For the purpose of sub-ohm vaping you will want to carefully select your battery. You want to make sure it is an authentic battery from a reputable brand. Typically sub-ohm vapers use unprotected IMR or hybrid lithium batteries. These batteries use a “safer” chemistry so in case the battery fails it vents gasses more slowly lowering the risk of fire or explosion opposed to traditional Li-ion, LiPo, or ICR battery types. Usually sub-ohm vapers prefer batteries with the highest possible continuous amperage limits. By staying within your batteries amperage limit you can be sure you sub-ohm safely. You can take your batteries voltage (4.2v fully charged) and divide it by your coils resistance to find out how much current your device will draw. For example 4.2v / 1ohms = 4.2A discharge rate while 4.2v / .5ohms = 8.4A. and 4.2v / .2ohms = 21A. Always be sure to use an Ohms reader to be sure there are no shorts and to check your resistance before you vape. Remember it is absolutely critical that you NEVER EXCEED YOUR BATTERIES AMP LIMIT or it is almost certain your battery will fail.
Our strongly recommend to use authentic, reliable and high AMP vape batteries for your Sub-Ohm Vape Device and Vape Kit: LG HG2 18650 LiMn 3000mAh Battery and Sony VTC4 18650 2100mAh 30A Battery