In the early days of e-cigarettes, there was little room for custom approaches to vaping. The design was quite simple too – a battery would allow electricity to pass through a heated coil that caused the e-liquid in the wick to turn into vapor that the user could then inhale.
Of course, as soon as a new technology arrives, it’s only a matter of time before people with a flair for the dramatic begin to modify it. And it was this community of garden-shed geniuses that gave the world sub-ohm vaping.
What is sub-ohm vaping and why does it exist?
Whether it’s on the internet, or even on the street where you live, you have probably seen someone using an e-cigarette producing unreasonably huge plumes of vapour and wondered to yourself how they do it. Well, the secret is sub-ohm vaping. But why would you want to do that? Well, other than wanting to show-off of course.
To put it bluntly, sub-ohm vaping uses an extra hot coil to vapourise a greater amount of e-liquid than a normal e-cigarette, producing big clouds (which enthusiasts love), while simultaneously producing a more intense flavour, and warmer vapour.
But what is the point of sub-ohm vaping?
To be blunt, there’s no real need to try it if you’re happy with your current vaping experience. But if you fancy experimenting, there’s no harm in giving it a try. Until a few years ago, you would have to build your own sub-ohm mod – and depending on your electrical skill-set, this could end very badly. Thankfully, most e-cigarette manufacturers now produce their own factory-made sub-ohm kits which achieve the same results, without the risk of the device blowing up in your face. So, if you’ve got the spare cash, why not give it a go?
So, how does it all work?
To understand the question, “what is sub-ohm vaping?”, you first need to understand the basics of how an electric circuit works in regard to potential difference (voltage), current (amps), and resistance (ohms) – this is known as Ohm’s Law, named after the German physicist who discovered it, Georg Simon Ohm.
When electricity is passed through a circuit that is connected to a power source, the amount of power that can be passed through the circuit is limited by two factors, the voltage (or battery power), and the resistance of the material from which the circuit is made. The flow of electricity through this circuit is called the current.
If we increase the power of the battery, the current will increase. If we increase the resistance of the circuit, the current will decrease.
But how is this relevant to vaping?
In an e-cigarette, the heat produced by the coil dictates how much e-liquid can be vapourised, and the heat of the coil is dictated by the amount of current passing through it. To produce a huge cloud, you want to get the coil as hot as possible, but due to the resistance of the material (measured in ohms) from which the coil is made, a standard coil will simply melt and become unusable. The standard resistance across an e-cigarettes’ electrical circuit is between 1.5 to 2.8 ohms.
So how do you increase the current without the coil melting? All you need to do is reduce the resistance of the coil, and the easiest way to do this is by making the coil itself thicker. Think of the number of cars (current) that can travel down a motorway as opposed to a single country lane in any given time period – the extra lanes provide more space for a greater amount of traffic.
So, in conclusion, using a higher voltage from a larger battery, combined with a thicker coil that possesses a lower resistance (less ohms), you can vapourise much more e-liquid than you could with a lower-voltage standard battery using a thinner coil with a high resistance (more ohms) in the same time frame.
Hence why ‘sub-ohm vaping’ refers to any coil with a resistance of less than one ohm.
Is it worth the effort?
The greatest issue facing those that enjoy sub-ohm vaping is that it requires more expensive coils, uses a lot more e-liquid, and uses up your battery power much faster. However, thanks to the low prices of e-liquid, and the number of high capacity batteries available on the market, these issues are less of a problem today than they were five years ago. So next time someone asks you “what is sub-ohm vaping?”, whether or not you wish to give it a try you will, at least, know what they’re talking about.
Looking to make the switch from traditional cigarettes?
Our resident vaping expert with nearly a decade of industry experience. From working on the shop floor, bottling, picking and packing vaping products for customers, to designing and formulating e-liquids in the lab, there isn't much about vaping that Ollie doesn't know. His expertise, knowledge and insight into the industry make Ollie the go-to for reliable and trustworthy industry info.
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