What is Sub Ohm Vaping?
Ever seen a vaper exhaling big plumes of vapour and wondered what it’s all about, or heard the term ‘sub ohm’ but have no idea what it means? Read on to find out what it is and where to start.
The short version
In short, sub ohm is vaping using a vape kit with particular specifications, which creates large clouds of vapour.
How Does Sub Ohm Vaping Work?
It’s useful to understand the different parts of an e cigarette or vape kit before going into how sub ohm vaping works. Read on below to familiarise yourself with the construction of an e cigarette or click here to skip ahead to the sub ohm vaping guide.
Parts of an E Cigarette
E Cigarette Batteries
E cigarette batteries range from very small and made to look like a cigarette (aka cigalikes), larger pen styles (like the ego vape pen shown above) or box-shaped. Some have just one button to activate whereas some allow you to change settings such as the power delivered in watts or volts. Batteries with variable settings are usually referred to as variable voltage (VV) or ‘mods’.
E Cigarette Tanks
The tank is the part of the e cigarette which is filled with e liquid and usually is constructed in a similar way to the below example of the Smok Baby Beast Tank.
Nearly every vape tank or clearomizer nowadays has replaceable coil heads (usually just referred to as a coil). The coil contains the wicking material which soaks up the e liquid from the tank and the coil bundle which heats up and ‘atomizes’ the e-liquid (turns it into vapour).
Coil resistance is one of the most relevant factors when it comes to sub ohm vaping and a coil can either be ‘above ohm’ or ‘sub ohm’. Generally, different tanks all have their own specific coils.
Examples of SMOK and Aspire coil heads
What are ‘ohms’ & where does the term sub ohm come from?
Without getting too technical, here’s a brief description of ohms and how the coil works.
When power flows through the coil, it meets resistance which is measured in ohms. If a coil has a resistance below 1 ohm, it generates more heat. This means more vapour is created rapidly than in a coil with a resistance above 1 ohm (above-ohm coils). Therefore, vaping with big clouds is known as sub ohm vaping.
Other elements of an e cigarette also influence the type of vapour created in terms of volume, heat and flavour.
Most more sophisticated vape tanks will have an airflow adjustment which affects the delivery of vapour. With sub ohm vaping, the vapour tends to be warmer in which case having the airflow wider is usually preferential as it creates a looser, cooler vape. Adjusting the airflow to the closed position will create a tighter, warmer vape. There are no rules here and the airflow can be adjusted for individual preference.
The wattage and voltage settings of the battery are also important in terms of sub ohm vaping. You can refer to the handy table on this page (https://vapingdaily.com/what-is-vaping/sub-ohm-vaping/) if you’d like more information on power settings in e cigarettes.
What are the benefits of Sub Ohm Vaping?
- Produces thicker clouds of vapour than standard kits
- Warmer vapour
- More vapour means more nicotine in one hit which can be more satisfying (this is why the most common nicotine strength in sub ohm e liquids is 3mg)
- Greater range of kit options
Is sub ohm vaping safe?
Initially, sub ohm vaping was only really accessible to experienced vapers who understood Ohms Law and had a technical knowledge of how e cigarettes work. The wrong combination of power and resistance in a coil can be dangerous so this form of vaping was only pursued by very experienced users.
Sub ohm vaping is now much more accessible and kits are regulated to ensure safety for users. Some kits come with batteries where you can change the wattage and voltage. Others are simple to use and already set up for a great sub ohm experience with just the press of a button. Examples of great beginner sub ohm kits are the Aspire PockeX & Smok Stick V8 Baby Kits, both available from our online store.
Provided you follow the overall safety guidelines for e cigarettes and batteries and buy a kit from a reputable supplier then sub ohm vaping is just as safe as above-ohm vaping.
What else do you need to know before buying your first kit?
Styles of vaping – Mouth-to-lung (MTL) and direct-to-lung (DTL)
As a general rule, sub ohm kits will provide a direct-to-lung vaping experience. This simply means that you should inhale the vapour directly into your lungs. Standard kits tend to be more suited to the mouth-to-lung style of vaping. Mouth to lung vaping is similar to how a cigarette is smoked, where the vapour is inhaled into the mouth, then into the lungs.
Sub ohm vaping can take a little getting used to. If you find you cough when trying a sub ohm kit for the first time, practice inhaling the vapour directly into your lungs. Also, make sure that the nicotine strength isn’t too high. As mentioned about, the nicotine delivery is faster with sub ohm kits so you generally won’t need as much nicotine strength as you would with a standard kit.
Which e liquids should you use with sub ohm kits?
The main ingredients in e liquids are Propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), natural & artificial flavourings and nicotine (where indicated). The main base ingredients of PG and VG are important when it comes to the kit you are using.
Sub ohm e liquids tend to have a higher ratio of VG. This is usually 70% and above, however 50/50 mixes tend to work with all types of kit. Higher PG liquids like those from our Classic E Liquid range are more suited to standard vaping. High PG juices will produce a harsh vape in a sub ohm tank.
As mentioned above, the increased volume of vapour with sub ohm means you will need to use a much lower nicotine strength. The most common nicotine strength for sub ohm vapers is 3mg (0.3%). If you’re new to vaping, you may want to try 6mg, or use a short fill e liquid where you can add your own nicotine to get the desired strength.
You can find out more about e liquid ingredients on our ‘What is PG/VG’ page.
Is sub ohm vaping right for you?
If you find that lower powered, above-ohm hardware such as a ego vape pen isn’t giving you the satisfaction you need, then sub ohm vaping might well be a great option for you.
Although popular, sub ohm vaping won’t necessarily suit every vaper. If you would prefer a kit that produces more subtle vapour, you might prefer a standard or ‘‘classic’ vape kit.
You can also check out our guide to Choosing a Vape Kit if you’re new to vaping and would like more information on getting started.