What Is Sub Ohm Vaping? Our Sub Ohm Vaping Guide & Tips

A guide to Sub Ohm vapes and how to become a Sub Ohm vaper.

Vaper firing a sub ohm vape device

What is sub Ohm vaping?

Man with a question mark box on the head

Welcome to the realm of Sub Ohm vaping, known to many vapers as Sub Ohming. This has nothing to do with Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat, and everything to do with atomizers with a resistance of less than 1 Ohm. (An Ohm is a unit used to measure electrical resistance named after Georg Simon Ohm.)

At the end of the day, Sub Ohm vaping comes down to three words: big ass clouds. If that sounds appealing, then you may want to consider trying it. Read on to find out whether Sub Ohm vaping is right for you. Don’t just do it because everyone else does. It isn’t the only way to vape.

If you just want a regular vape with good flavor and normal clouds, check out the JUUL. Sub Ohming is for the extreme vapers. This ain’t your Daddy’s vape tank… unless your daddy is a cloud chaser.

Race to the bottom

Sub Ohming produces bigger plumes of vapor, essentially providing a bigger mouthful of flavor with each puff. More intense clouds paired with rockin’ flavor is how it all started. Vapers began building lower resistance coils until they reached below 1 Ohm of resistance, hence the name, Sub Ohm.

Soon enough, it just became a race to the bottom, as builders found new and ingenuous ways to achieve lower resistance coil builds. Chances are, if the guy in the vape shop is blowing bigger clouds than you, it’s because he or she is running a Sub Ohm build. In other words, nobody has ever won a Cloud Competition with a build over 1 Ohm. (And probably never will.)

Why sub Ohm?


Big Cloud Production – If you’re looking to blow bigger clouds than the guy or girl next to you then this is the best way to do it.

Intense Flavor – Once you try an atomizer with a low-resistance coil using organic cotton wicking, it might be hard going back to your old school clearomizers. The flavor might seem less intense because you won’t be taking in as much vapor per puff as you would with a sub ohm tank.

Warmer Vapor – With higher wattage comes a slightly warmer vape. Of course, the wide airflow helps to cool it down so that you don’t burn your lips. Many people enjoy a warmer vape because it satisfies their nicotine craving better, and just may be the only thing keeping them off the stinkies.

How to sub Ohm

Tools to build a sub ohm clearomizer

The vape game is picking up steam (pun intended) and rapidly changing. In the past, if you wanted to Sub Ohm, it would require that you buy a Mechanical tube or box mod that uses rechargeable 18650 batteries, an external charger, Kanthal wire and organic cotton for wicking.

A basic understanding of Ohm’s law and coil building used to be a prerequisite. Fortunately, these days all it takes to blow colossal clouds is the purchase of a Sub Ohm Tank, and one of the many great vape mods on the market that can push out 50 watts or more.

Here are the three main ways that anyone can enjoy Sub Ohming, even if you just started vaping.

Sub Ohm Tanks – These tanks use disposable, pre-made coil heads. This is a great option for people who are new to the whole Sub Ohm thing, but don’t want to start building. Sub Ohming has never been more accessible since the invention of tanks like the Atlantis by Aspire and the Kanger Subtank.

These tanks have been getting closer to that RDA/RTA experience. These days we have even better tanks like the Fireluke Mesh or the Horizon Falcon. If you’re looking to pick one up, but can’t figure out which one is right for you, be sure to check out the Best Sub Ohm Tanks of 2018.

RDA’s – (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers) aka Drippers, were the original way to Sub Ohm. These devices are typically smaller than tanks that attach to Mechanical or Box Mods. They contain a deck where coils are built and attached using a screwdriver and cotton for wicking. Users drip a small amount of juice directly on to the coils and wick before every few puffs.

RTA’s – (Rebuildable Tank Atomizers) are for people who want to build coils but don’t want to drip. RTA’s are essentially Sub Ohm tanks that require the user to build the actual coils inside. This gives you the freedom to create a coil that gives you the exact type of vape you want.

Recently many RTA’s have been geared towards the Sub Ohm vaper with the appropriate airflow options. Today we even have RDTA’s which are somewhat of a hybrid between the traditional dripper, and a tank.

Sub Ohm vaping Vs. regular vaping

Different vape tools

Here are some reasons why you might NOT want to go Sub Ohm:

Mouth to Lungers – Some vapers just don’t want a deep lung-hit. These people are referred to in the vape community as mouth to lung vapers. Mouth to lungers prefer a more restrictive draw which simulates that of an analog cigarette.

Stealth Vapers – Many people vape to get their nicotine fix without having to smoke tobacco. Sub Ohm vaping can draw a lot of attention to you when out in public so for that reason many people will stay away from doing it in these types of situations.

Juice Guzzlers – The bigger the cloud, the more juice it takes to produce. Therefore, Sub Ohming will require larger quantities of e-liquid which will cost more money than your standard setup. For those looking to conserve juice and save money, Sub Ohm vaping just might not be in your budget.

Power hungry – Sub Ohm devices require more power to heat up the coils since they are running at a much lower resistance. This means you will be draining your batteries faster, and changing them out more often. If you Sub Ohm often, you may need to carry a charger, extra juice and spare batteries.

Nic’ed out – Keep in mind that you’ll probably want to lower your nicotine level when Sub Ohming because big clouds usually means you get a bigger blast of nicotine. Most people that Sub Ohm, tend to use lower than 6mg of nicotine while some even go with 0 mg. (OMG, right?)

Increased risk – With greater power comes great responsibility. Sub Ohming requires knowledge and caution. Naturally, there are more risks involved. When in doubt, take advice from my old high school woodshop teacher. ABC – Always Be Careful. Read on to learn more about the risks of Sub Ohming…

Is sub Ohm vaping safe?

worried vaper

Are hammers safe?

Nobody wants to hear this answer but, it really depends on the user. If you’re looking to get into Sub Ohm vaping, then please educate yourself first. You don’t need a Degree in Electrical Engineering, but understanding Ohm’s law and basic electronics can save your ass when Sub Ohming.

Read the instructions carefully and, two words: battery safety! Do your homework, and if you’re too lazy, talk to somebody knowledgeable on sites like Reddit, ECF, Vaping360, etc. and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Go to a trusted vape shop or read some of our fantastic articles about battery safety.

NEVER use a hybrid mechanical mod with a non-hybrid safe tank as this is extremely dangerous. The tank MUST have a protruding 510 pin. If you are unsure, then don’t risk it.

The safest way to enjoy the benefits of Sub Ohm vaping without the risks would be to use a regulated box mod like the Geekvape Aegis Legend or Vaporesso Switcher, with a good Sub Ohm tank such as the Vaporesso Cascade or Horizon Falcon. These tanks put out massive clouds, great flavor and are easy to operate.

The dangers of sub Ohm vaping

You won’t just mess up your face, you’ll ruin vaping for everyone.

The media can never seem to get enough stories about exploding “vape batteries”. The funny part is that there’s no such thing as a “vape battery”. There are only batteries. The same ones in your phones, laptops, flashlights, vibrators, etc.

If you’re using a mech mod with a Sub Ohm tank, be sure that it’s properly vented. Never use a mod that doesn’t have visible battery venting holes. If you don’t know what any of this means, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it just yet.

Always be sure to use proper authentic batteries that are suitable for Sub Ohm vaping. Most vapers use 18650 batteries which can be bought cheaply from a trusted vaping vendor. Be sure to never exceed the Amp limit of your batteries! If you are uncertain, use the Steam Engine app.

Never use batteries that are damaged, as this is the major cause of battery failure. Always make sure your batteries are fresh, with no visible nicks or dents. Get them rewrapped, or just buy new ones… Finally, never carry loose batteries in your pocket, to avoid the possibility of a battery venting.

For more info on battery safety refer to our Best Batteries for Vaping and our Battery Safety Guide.

Do I have to sub Ohm?

The truth is that some Sub Ohm Tanks can also be used with lower-wattage devices such as the iStick Pico for example, by using higher-ohm coil heads. This is great for people who like the wider airflow options that come standard on a Sub Ohm tank, but don’t want to vape at such high wattages.

These tanks will still produce a ton of flavor and mountains of vapor with a slightly higher resistance coil head. This is another option for anyone who wants to upgrade to a Sub Ohm tank without having to go out and buy a new mod, if yours only goes up to let’s say, 20 or 30 watts.


Now that you have a better understanding of what Sub Ohm vaping is all about, don’t just follow the trends blindly. Do some research to truly decide whether it is right for you or not.

Vaping started as a means of quitting cigarettes, but has quickly evolved into a hobby, just like anything else. This hobby is now becoming a sport, just like people who rebuild cars for racing. If you just started Sub Ohming, then welcome to the fast and furious world of vaping!

Running out of juice already? Check out the Best E-liquids of 2018. Leave a comment if you sub ohm!

Dave Kriegel
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dave has always had a passion for helping people quit smoking. As a former smoker himself, he knew how hard it could be. As soon as he learned about vaping, he instantly became obsessed with it and helped many people stop smoking. Vaping360 has given Dave a platform to do this on a much larger scale, by educating the public about the wonders of vaping. When Dave is not writing he is either listening to music, performing it, or cruising around on his Penny board.