So, let us get (just mildly) technical for a second.
To the uninitiated, sub-ohm vaping is using a device whereby the atomiser (the element responsible for actually vaporising your e-liquid) has a resistance of less than one ohm.
Already a bit lost? Not to worry.
This basically helps increase the power output on devices that have a fixed voltage, which is what helps create the huge vapour output of some e-cigarettes.
There is a divide in the vaping community as to whether the sub-ohm experience brings any advantages, with some enjoying the heady benefits of a sub-ohm device, where others would argue for the simpler life of a normal mod that requires less overall maintenance.
In truth, neither is necessarily better than (or brings any distinct advantage over) the other.
It largely boils down to the level of experience of the vaper, their propensity for spending time cleaning and checking their device and – ultimately – whether you want cloud-like vapour at the expense of a bit more work, or are happy with a more average output and an easier mod to live with.
To give you more insight, we’ve created this short guide to share some of the pros and cons of picking up a sub-ohm mod…
How does sub-ohm vaping work?
In devices that use a power source with a fixed wattage - such as a battery – decreasing the resistance (read: ‘ohms’) of the coils can actually help to increase the overall power output of the device. This means more bang-for-your-buck on each inhale (which is great for some) but it also means a lot of consideration must be given to the safety and integrity of the device.
Basically speaking, reducing the resistance increases the amperage used to power the atomiser and create the vapour. In turn, the battery comes under a more intense strain, which can cause excessive heat to be produced by both the battery itself and the coils within your device, presenting some risk if in the hands of someone who does not properly understand the intricacies of the e-cig they’re using.
With this in mind, it is vital vapers never go above the amperage limit of their battery, as this can lead to any number of accidents. The result?
Your face spread across one of the many tabloids, alongside an article lamenting the dangers of fires and explosions if you so much as touch an e-cigarette.
While it may sound dangerous (and there are some associated risks), the truth is that – if you follow the correct advice – you will have nothing to worry about and will, perhaps, find a mod that truly satisfies your vaping needs.
For advice on battery safety, check out our guide here.
The key reason so many choose sub-ohm vaping is the cloud-like output that smaller devices can produce, thanks to the enhanced power thanks to reduced resistance.
Most sub-ohm vapers take lung-hits – that is, they inhale the vapour deeply into their lungs – and create substantially more vapour per inhale. Coupling this with lower-nicotine VG-liquids, they get less of a throat hit, more vapour, need lower quantities of nicotine and still get to enjoy the precipitous clouds that spill from their mouths.
Choosing and maintaining your sub-ohm mod
A couple more ‘do’s and don’ts’ but trust us, these will help to keep you safe.
While we do hear the odd horror-story relating to vapes – in particular those of the sub-ohm variety – there is little reason to worry, as long as you understand the device you use.
To start with, be sure to attach a low resistance coil, screwed in to an appropriate tank with a battery that is able to handle the power output. You can adapt the output to your preference, but be sure to stick within the manufacturer’s recommendations so as not to risk the proverbial face-explosion (again, extremely rare, but not unheard of).
Then - once set up and ready to roll - take a hit and marvel at the power of your vapour-producing lungs.
For all sub-ohm-er’s out there, the key to a safe experience is keeping your mod in clean working order. Be sure to check all vents, contacts and the switch regularly, ensuring the spring remains tight (and doesn’t risk failure) and be sure to keep the device locked when not in use.
Should I use a sub-ohm device?
As we’ve said, sub-ohm vaping tends to be for the more experienced who have a dedication to the cause (given the more involved maintenance and usage considerations) rather than for those just looking for something different. It is worth a try if you prize the quality of each inhale, but just be aware of the increased attention required to ensure the device remains safe and stable over the long term.
That said, there are more user-friendly sub-ohm mods for those considering a trial run.
The Aspire Speeder 200W Mod is compact but heavy-duty mod, able to adjust to any changes you wish to make. If looking for a specific tank, the Aspire Atlantis Evo has a 0.5-ohm coil, which is good for those stepping into the market who still want some flexibility around airflow.
Choosing an e-liquid
When switching to a sub-ohm device, you might opt for a lower nicotine strength with a higher-VG content. Increased vapour can be a bit harsh on the throat, but less nicotine will offset this.
50:50 VG splits can be fine (although even that may be too harsh for some), but it’s worth trialling a few options until you find the smoothest experience for you.
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There is certainly a move towards sub-ohm devices for the committed vapers among us, with most enjoying the enhanced vapour cloud produced on each exhale. While this is a genuine benefit for those who actively enjoy vaping, beware the onlooker who may take offence to the cloud that suddenly envelopes them as you pass by.
It would be fair to say the devices are more appropriate for outdoor (or well ventilated) environments to avoid the risk of upsetting those around you. So, if you do make the switch, be sure to have a more discrete vape to hand, so as not to deprive yourself in certain situations.