You’ll hear it all the time…
‘Oh, ever since I switched to sub-ohming, I’m blowing massive clouds and loving it!’
‘I’m guzzling juice like crazy with my new sub-ohm tank - it’s probably costing more than cigarettes ever did!’
When you’re a beginner vaper, this technobabble means absolutely nothing, right? Those experienced vapers might as well speak Klingon for all the sense they’re making.
Since you’ll be hearing about sub-ohming for hours on end, it’s a good idea to know what the term actually refers to. Even if you never explore that particular style of vaping yourself, you can still be a part of the conversation. It definitely beats sitting there with a big question mark hovering above your head.
So, what does sub-ohming actually mean?
What the Heck Is Sub Ohm Vaping?
In the good old days (when vaping was still in infancy and was a lot less complicated than it can be today), atomizers operated in the resistance range of 1.5 to 2.8 ohms. The vapor generated was whisp-like and the flavor was a lot more subdued because it took the coil a considerable amount of time to heat up. So everyone was just puffing on their little cigalikes and producing next to nothing in terms of vapor.
Fast forward a couple of years and vapers are making coils with resistances lower than 1 ohm. The move to a 0.9 ohm coil marks the beginning of sub-ohm vaping. Actually, sub-ohm means ‘lower than 1 ohm’. It’s quite obvious now that we’ve pointed it out, right? Coils with a lower resistance heat up a lot faster and, at higher wattages, they will produce a lot more vapor. Consequently, the flavor that’s generated is also more intensive.
It looks like a sweet deal - more flavor and more vapor, what else could you ask for? Well, while there are certainly advantages to sub-ohm vaping, there are also disadvantages. In the end, whether or not you decided to switch to lower resistance coils will depend on a lot of things.
Let’s take a look at some of them so you can make up your mind more easily. To sub-ohm or not to sub-ohm, that is the question?!
4 Sub-ohm Vaping Advantages
Switching to sub-ohming has certain perks. First of all, you’ll be walking around with your head in the clouds all the time. If that’s what you’re looking for, transforming your vape into a cloud machine is relatively easy. However, there are other positives here that we’d be remiss not to mention:
1.) Huge Clouds
The ability to create big clouds of vapor is probably why most vapers try sub-ohm vaping in the first place. Because sub-ohm coils are usually larger, they can heat up a bigger surface area of the wick faster, producing more clouds. That coupled with the fact that you’ll be using predominantly VG vape juice for sub-ohming and that more air will be circulating through your device, and you quickly see the potential for more vapor.
However, be mindful of others when doing this. Big, billowy clouds can bother the people around you. Not everyone likes to bask in the visible exhale of others so do your best not to be a vapehole and cease and desist if someone objects.
2.) Intense Flavor
Because you’ll be using a lot more juice when sub-ohming, it’s only logical that the flavor intensity is going to increase. You will also notice that your juices tend to taste differently. That’s because the vapor is warmer and it brings out flavor subtleties that you can’t really notice when vaping on high resistance coils.
Word of caution - some of your favorite vape juices might end up tasting a bit iffy on low resistance coils because they weren’t designed for them. If you decided to stick with sub-ohming, you might have to hunt for new all-day vape juices. Of course, that’s not a bad thing at all. Who doesn’t love vape mail?
3.) Smoother Hit
There are several different reasons why sub-ohming produces a gentler hit. Because of a large amount of warm vapor you’re inhaling, you will quickly notice that high nicotine vape juices are very harsh when vaping them this way. For this reason, most sub-ohm vapers go low with nic, dropping it to 3 mg and even buying 0 mg vape juices.
Additionally, if your sub-ohm vaping for the clouds, you will want to use a high VG vape juice. Vegetable glycerin has a milder throat hit than PG and high VG juices usually feel a lot silkier on the throat.
When you pair those two things together (low nic and high VG) you get a gentler throat hit than when you are vaping on high nic/high PG vape juices.
4.) Warmer Vapor
Despite losing the throat hit, you will be getting a warmer vapor on the average with sub-ohming. It’s just a compromise you will have to make. This is not ideal for ex-smokers trying to quit, but it is great for everyone else who likes a warm vaping sensation.
Sub-ohming generates warmer vapor because vape juice is both heated and delivered more quickly. Also, you will be firing your device at higher wattages to create all that extra vapor. Will that warmth be too much to handle? Occasionally. However, all sub-ohm vapers increase their airflow, so that’s usually enough to cool the vapor down before it gets a chance to burn your lips or throat.
4 Sub-ohm Vaping Disadvantages
As you can see, there are many sub-ohm vaping advantages that might tickle you into trying it yourself. That said, where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages so let’s take a closer look at those:
1.) Costly Habit
As much as vapers love sub-ohming, they are still all complaining about the cost associated with it. When you’re vaping at a higher resistance (and lower wattage), 5 ml of vape juice can last you the whole day. That’s not true with sub-ohming. If you get carried away, you can easily burn through 5 ml of vape juice in an hour or even less!
Thanks to the higher temperature, quicker heat up, and more surface contact with the wick, sub-ohm vaping is a definite vape juice guzzler. That’s something that you will need to take into account. Are you into vaping because you want to save money? If you are, then sub-ohming is definitely not your cup of tea.
2.) Shorter Battery Life
More vapor means more wattage, which, in turn, means shorter battery life. If you’re frustrated with weak battery life on your regular coils, just wait until you pop a 0.5 ohm coil in there. The battery goes from full to zero in an hour of recreational vaping.
This creates another problem. Since you will be charging your batteries more often, you can expect them to die faster. This means that you will have to have a healthy supply of extra batteries because you do not want to be caught without - ever!
3.) Weaker Throat Hit
As mentioned, some vapers are in it for the throat hit. Vaping can mimic the sensation of smoking a cigarette, which some people claim makes it easier on them to quit the analogs. However, sub-ohm vaping has a very mild throat hit thanks to low nicotine content and high VG vape juice.
If you’re looking for throat hit, you will be better off sticking to your regular vape coils and not making a switch to sub-ohming. After a while, when you no longer crave cigarettes that bad, you can give it a try. Sub-ohming is definitely not going anywhere so there’s no need to rush.
4.) There’s No Stealth With Sub-Ohming
Some people are not comfortable vaping in public so they opt for ‘stealth’ vaping devices. These devices create minimal vapor that’s hardly noticeable outdoors - actually, the vapor is easily mistaken for breath condensation on a cold day.
Unfortunately, this is not going to work for sub-ohm vapers. The amount of vapor that’s created is so massive that you can’t really hide it. Of course, you can blow inside your coat but then you’re risking people thinking you’ve caught on fire. Bottom line - if you want to go stealth, don’t go sub-ohm.
Is Sub-Ohm Vaping Dangerous?
Are hammers dangerous?
It’s a fair question.
Sub-ohming is as dangerous as you make it. If you go into it blindly, without any concept of battery safety, then it can be pretty dangerous. That’s because you’re pushing your batteries to their limits when firing low-resistance builds. Occasionally, if you have no idea what you’re doing, this could lead to thermal runaway - or, to put it bluntly, your battery might explode.
To avoid that, you need to have a working knowledge of Ohm’s Law and never push your batteries over the edge. Batteries need to be new, undamaged, and made by reputable manufacturers. Don’t skimp on them because cheap batteries can be dangerous and accident-prone. Also, if you’re using a mech mod with your sub-ohm tank, make sure that it has vent holes.
If you’re scratching your forehead, wondering what all these terms mean, you’re not yet ready for sub-ohm vaping. Before diving into it, make sure to read a bit more about battery safety.
Sub-ohm Vaping Advantages and Disadvantages
There’s no real way of telling whether sub-ohm vaping is for you without trying it. There are certainly benefits associated with it but whether or not it’s a good fit for you is going to depend on your vaping preferences. If you’re into more vapor and intense flavor (and don’t mind spending a bit more on vape juice) than sub-ohm vaping advantages definitely outweigh disadvantages, at least in your case. However, don’t get pressured into sub-ohming. Classical vaping still has its charms and there’s a reason why it has lasted this long, despite all the fads on the market!