What is Sub Ohm Vaping?
Sub Ohm vaping refers to vaping using a coil with a resistance less than 1 Ohm. There are a great many kits, RDTAs, RDAs, RTAs and even pod kits which can accommodate this style of vaping, a style which requires high power and is able to produce unparalleled vapour and flavour. Sub Ohm devices are generally bigger than a non-sub ohm device and usually require an 18650 battery, though many do use internal batteries. Lower resistance coils require more power to heat up as they’re bigger, but they also run hotter so they can heat the E Liquid more quickly.
Many sub-ohm atomizers are rebuildable, meaning you can rebuild your coils yourself once the coil has past it’s prime (this can happen due to caramelisation of sweeteners in your E Liquid which coat the coil, producing a burning taste.
Sub Ohm vaping provides what is called DTL (Direct to Lung) inhale. Due to the high power and heat produced by the coil(s), this style of vaping requires increased airflow and as a result you must change how you inhale. Sub ohm atomizers almost always have adjustable airflow with the max setting giving lots of air to the coil and thus your lungs. Direct to Lung inhale means you don’t hold the vapour in your mouth first, you inhale straight to your lungs.
To recap and explain the difference between MTL and DTL vaping styles:
Table of Contents
MTL – Mouth to Lung
MTL vaping closely mimics the feel of smoking a cigarette with a tighter draw and reduced vapour production. First you inhale into your mouth, then breathe it into your lungs, exhaling afterwards.
DTL – Direct to Lung
Produces more vapour due to increased power and airflow. Inhale directly to your lungs without holding it in your mouth first.
Why should I try Sub Ohm Vaping?
Sub Ohm vaping has a great many benefits over other styles of vaping and we aim to cover them all in this succinct guide. Vaping in this way provides the same nicotine hit but with a reduced strength. Typically and whether on purpose or not, sub ohm vaping is actually the most sustainable form of vaping due to it’s propensity for re-use. Most devices are fully rechargeable, often designed to last and many require the use of 18650 batteries which can be recharged with a charger, or recharged by plugging the mod into the charging cable supplied.
There’s a myriad different atomisers on the market, all offering different features whilst providing much the same experience.
Due to the high power and airflow, E Liquid is atomised more quickly in a Sub ohm kit so nicotine salts aren’t the best option, but don’t worry – Sub ohm is our bread and butter so we have you covered! Our Hackshots are designed for people vaping this way, providing much better value than any nicotine salt out there so although you may be using juice more quickly, it’s much cheaper per ml!
What E Liquid can I use in my Sub Ohm kit?
Sub Ohm devices can handle much thicker E Liquid and we recommend 70% VG. You can also opt for lower strength nicotine such as 3mg/ml or 0.3%, though some people like to use 6mg/ml – it may be a trial and error situation for you if you’re just getting into Sub Ohm. Our Hackshots, Jumbo Nic Salts and Shortfills are all designed for use in Sub Ohm Kits, giving you freedom to choose your nicotine strength and in the case of the Hackshots, even your VG/PG ratio.
For sub ohm vaping the two most important things to consider will be the VG/PG concentration and nicotine strength of your e-liquid. We recommend a 70% VG e-liquid or higher for sub ohm vaping, as these thicker e-liquids produce more vapour for an authentic sub ohm vape. E-liquids with more PG than VG are too thin and can spit when used with a sub ohm vape, they also create a harsher throat hit.
With your nicotine strength, you’ll probably need to go for a lower strength than you’re used to, otherwise the throat hit you’ll experience will be too strong. We recommend a 3mg e-liquid or, if you really need something stronger, a 6mg e-liquid at most. You might find that your sub ohm kit gets through e-liquid quite quickly, shortfill e-liquids can help. These larger bottles of e-liquid contain zero nicotine, but have room for you to add 10ml nic shots to create a 3mg e-liquid.
What Sub Ohm Kit is best for me?
First you must ask yourself what you want in a Sub Ohm kit. Do you prefer practicality over aesthetics or features and quality? There’s much to consider before you pull the proverbial trigger but we’ll try to give you some useful hint for your Sub Ohm vaping experience. These days Sub Ohm vaping is as varied as ever with kits in pod form, pen form and box mod form.
Sub Ohm Pod Kits
Sub Ohm Pod Kits like the Vaporesso Luxe XR Max offer a full-on DTL vape in a compact and attractive format, appealing to those who desire simplicity, aesthetics and variety. With a built in battery and replaceable pods and coils, this is the perfect introduction to Sub Ohm vaping that might even be your last device! These pocket friendly kits are great for their small size and ease of use, not to mention the range of pods and coils available to go with them, giving you freedom to choose without being confused.
Sub Ohm Vape Pen
Sub Ohm Vape Pens are slightly larger than the Pod Kits but offer a similar package in a “pen” format. These devices are all cylindrical but offer higher power than the traditional pen style vapes and sometimes allow you to choose your output power (wattage) for great customisation. With replaceable coils instead of the whole tank (pods) Sub Ohm vape pens offer an affordable introduction to DTL vaping and a means to save some serious money.
Sub Ohm Box Mods
The traditional Sub Ohm setup is referred to as a “mod” and in this case a box mod (being shaped like a box). The word “mod” comes from the early days of vaping when vapers would make their own devices (modding/modifying) and the term became the norm for most if not all vapes at the time. Box mods normally employ bigger batteries to cope with high power whilst still providing excellent battery life.
These kits come with the full range of functions you won’t find elsewhere including Temperature Control, output power, LED screens etc. A fully customisable level of vaping able to take any atomiser with a 510 connection.
Sub Ohm power modes explained
There’s a variety of different modes to supply power to your atomiser and some are better suited to certain types of coils. When you select one of these modes, the computer chip in the mod alters how power is delivered which changes the way your device will vape. Here’s a basic breakdown of the choices available on most box mods:
Variable Wattage Mode
The most simple form of power control which changes the wattage delivered to the atomiser based on your input. Simply choose the wattage and hit the fire button. The higher the chosen value, the more power you’ll use and the more vapour your device will produce. This is the most popular choice and lets you experiment with power to find what suits you and your atomiser of choice.
Temperature Control Mode
This is a more advanced option allowing the selection of temperature your coils can reach instead of power draw. Used to experiment with flavours to maximise their potential, temperature control mode is best used with Nickel, Titanium and Stainless Steel resistance wire for your coils.
Bypass mode is self-explanatory in that it bypasses the mods control chip, meaning your batteries will deliver their full power based on their current level of charge. It can be a confusing mode to get to grips with as the overall power level is based around Oms law. Your coil resistance will matter more so in this power mode than others as it will determine the wattage you’re vaping at. Using low resistance coils with charged batteries means you’ll draw maximum power.
Variable Power Curve
Perhaps the most advanced power mode, this setting gives you the ability to select various level of power so your output power changes as you vape. This can be useful for large coils which take some time to heat up. Variable power curve means you can push maximum power to these coils for the first second just to get them hot quickly, then normal power once they’re warm. Large coils with a big surface area like the Ridgeback Clapton coils are a great example of an instance in which variable power would be useful.
What is Ohms Law and why should I understand it?
Ohms law is only really necessary for those using mechanical mods, a mod with no electronics or any kind of safety built in. If you opt to use a mechanical mod, you’ll need to understand Ohms law and how it applies. With a “regulated” mod like almost all on the market today, the work is done for you by the devices chip. If there’s an electrical short, it’ll tell you (or just not fire). If the coils are too low in resistance, it’ll protect you.
With a mechanical mod you have none of these safety features so you must ensure you’re not pushing your batteries beyond their safe limits before you press that button!
Ohms law is essentially the relationship between Current (I), Voltage (V) and resistance (R). It states that the Current is equal to the Voltage divided by the resistance – I = V/R
Lets do a quick calculation to figure our the current based on the below figures:
- Voltage (V) = 4.2v – This figure is the nominal voltage (or full charge) for 18650 batteries
- Resistance (I) – Lets assume we have 2 coils with an overall resistance of 0.5 Ohms
Current = 4.2/0.5 = 8.4 amps.
Now we can calculate the wattage from this figure using Power (watts)(P) = Current² x Resistance
8.4² x 0.5 = 35.28 Watts.
Firstly you’ll need to check the maximum safe current draw of your batteries. Our Molicell P28A 18650 batteries are capable of delivering up to 25A of current, so the above situation would be safe!
Drip Hacks list of Pros and Cons for Sub Ohm Vaping
- Better flavour
- Increased Vapour production
- Requires lower strength E Liquid
- Maximum customisation
- Smooth throat hit
- More Sustainable
- Lower long term costs
- Better for the environment
- Less compact kits
- More complicated with a slight learning curve
We may be biased since we ourselves prefer Sub Ohm, but our comprehensive list of pros and cons should shed some light on the subject. Ultimately the style of vaping you prefer depends on your needs, but we feel that sub ohm is the very best available. Whilst generally being more complicated – it’s getting easier with the advent of pod style kits offering a full DTL style vape. Interestingly, Sub Ohm vaping can be much cheaper than pod kits in the long run given their robustness and build quality. Since they don’t use specialised micro components, they aren’t as prone to breaking or malfunctioning as pod kits are.
If you’re rebuilding your own coils and mixing your own E Liquid using our great value Hackshots, you’ll spend less vaping than you would with any other style of vaping, and you’ll certainly spend a huge amount less than you would smoking.