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.

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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?

Why

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 is hard to return to your high-resistance ceramic fiber or silica-wicked clearomizers.

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 just about any good vape mod on the market that can push out 50 watts or more, such as the Aspire Zelos 50 W.

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 Aspire Cleito and the Vaporesso NRG. 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 2017.

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 Geek Vape Aegis or SMOK Alien, with a good Sub Ohm tank such as the SMOK TFV8, Vaporesso NRG. These tanks put out massive clouds, great flavor and are simple 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 Sub Ohm Tanks can also be used with lower wattage devices such as the iStick 30W, for example, by using above-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.

Conclusion

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 2017. If you Sub Ohm, leave a comment!

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.

  • Joey Gilbert

    can I use a 18650 3.7V 11.5Wh 3200mAh Li-ion Rechargeable Battery for sub ohm vaping?

  • Sam loops

    Hi I have a question about sub ohm I want to know if I buy joyetech ego one or the aspire cf sub ohm battery with the non removable battery or others just like that are those the same as Mechanical mod with removable battery are the joyetech and aspire are little safer then the Mechanical mod. I just trying to say do i need to follow the same rules as.

    • Both of those you mention were made to use with sub ohm tanks, so are safe to use. They work like mechanical mods. Mechanical mods with hybrid caps are the ones you need to stay away from when using sub ohm tanks.

      I would take a look at this regulated tube mod by Apollo:http://vaping360.com/apollo-v-tube-4-review-50w-regulated-tube-mod-capable-of-0-2ohm/

      You can adjust the wattage up to 50W and it fires down to 0.2ohm. This is in my opinion far superior when using a sub ohm tank, as you can adjust the wattage unlike those you mention above!

  • Hannah Lee

    Okay so I’m VERY new to the vape community and am looking into buying an eleaf istick 50W (50 being max wattage). I’m not buying a kit just the battery so the world is my oyster as for choosing the tank. I’m leaning towards the Atlantis 2, but my question is what would be the best coil to use at 30W?

    • Hi Hannah! Do note that the Atlantis 2 will be a direct lung style inhale, which if you are coming from smoking is something you might not be used to. If you want a mouth to lung style draw I would look at something like the Nautilus Mini. If you are happy with a direct lung inhale, then the Atlantis 2 is a good tank, although Aspire are launching a new one next month, which will be a top filler, so might be worth waiting on that. If you want the Atlantis 2 the 0.5ohm coil will work well at 30W. The new Kanger Subox kit might also be another good 50W option that comes with a good tank and looks pretty cool!

      vaping360.com/kanger-subox-review-sexy-box-mod-tank-combo-kangertech/

      I hope that helps.
      Best regards
      Chris

  • casey

    hey how many mls would you be able to use on the nautilus minis coils before you need to change em

    • Hi Casey. This is a difficult question to answer as it comes down to many factors. You can probably get 2 weeks from one coil with medium usage.

  • yasmin

    I was recently given a IPV4S and a herakles by sense tank. Are these two safe together? Ive been reading about and realised the batteries in the set is not safe to use (ICR18650-26F samsung). Can you advise what battery I should purchase for the set up I have? Thanks!

  • Albert S. Kuzma

    If you’re worried about the extra heat burning your juice, don’t worry. There is more heat overall, but each specific point will be receiving the same amount of heat. The extra vapor is produced by the fact that it is spread out over a bigger surface area.

    [email protected]

  • David Davis

    Hello, I just got my first vape kit yesterday. I have only smoke a couple of cigs since getting this. But I want that big cloud of smoke. I have a ITaste MVP 3.0 30W MOD. AND A Ijust 2 atomizer tank. And just put in a sub ohm coil in it. Hits like a bitch now, but still can’t get that cloud. Any help would be great.

    • What is the resistance of the coil you are using? You might want to try a .3 ohm coil instead of .5. You may want to invest in a nice RTA or RDA if you are looking to get even bigger clouds.

    • Adam levine

      The Aspire Atlantis 2 tank is great for for sub-ohm cloud chasing without the hassle of having to rebuild your own coil. Use zero or low nicotine e-liquids if you’re into making vast amounts of vapour clouds.

    • PJ

      No idea if you’ve picked up advice elsewhere. Before sub ohming, you’re going to want a very good understanding of how watts, amps, and ohms work.

      In the meantime, if you’re looking for big clouds, use a juice that has a higher VG percentage. Bear in mind that VG is sweeter, so it will likely influence the flavor of your juice. But the higher the VG percentage, the bigger the clouds you’ll get.

  • Tonya

    Has anyone had the popping sound that comes with the I-sub G tank? Is that normal?

  • Joseph Carnes

    is running .1 ohms safe with a single sam 18650 with smpl mod and a rda? Joseph

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      In my opinion, not really. Of course it does depend on the type of 18650 as some have higher amperage than others however, for the most part, I would not recommend it. My advice is to stay in the .3 range to be on the safe side.

    • To be 100% sure please take a look at our battery safety section: http://vaping360.com/category/guides/battery-safety/

  • Doug

    Hi, I have a Smok X-cube II mod with the Smok TFV4 tank. Currently using 0.22 ohm coil which came with the tank and the liquid I have is 75/25 but i’ve noticed I’m not getting a heavy cloud (pretty much the same if not less than what I was getting on my Joyetech EgoOne). How can I increase my vapor production and get thicker nicer clouds?

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      How many watts are you vaping on? Try bumping it up! I would also try playing with the RBA section and learning how to build it. I’m getting huge clouds of pure flavor with TFV4 right now with a fused clapton coil at only around 30-40 watts, and it can handle way higher.

      -Dave

      • Doug

        I was vaping at 50 watts but I noticed that the puff setting on the smok was on soft. Bumped it up to hard now and getting a much thicker cloud. Also I think my air intake was too much before which was thinning it out. I will check the RBA articles and try and make a build eventually. Still quite new to vaping in general so I didn’t want to mess around too much. Thank you for your help!

      • João Garcia

        How is the right way to big clouds ? im with tfv8+xcube2. Is it necessary to use higher VG when sub ohming for big clouds ? or just sub ohming and 50/50 make big clouds ?

        U sad u are getting big clouds of flavour with 30-40wtts, how % the liquid ? and about the ohms ?
        @DaveVaping360:disqus

  • Saif Adel

    Hi, I’m using a reuleaux rx200 with a smok tfv4 tank and a tf-t3 coil head but the problem is after priming it correctly and filling the tank and leaving it for like 5 minutes to soak in the e juice after like 3-5 hits on 60 watts i get a burnt taste idk why please help.

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      Hey sorry for the late response but try starting below 60W (probably around 20-30W), and working your way up every few hits next time you change your coil. Hope that helps!

  • Jayson Del Rosario Fernandez

    good day everyone! I’m using Cuboid 150W + iJoy Tornado T4
    0.45 ohms
    40watts
    9.43 amps
    other forum said that sub-ohm is very dangerous, do you think i should go with 1.0 ohms just to be safe? or i’m good with kind of settings?
    thank you

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      They were most likely talking about using rebuildable atomizers and mechanical mods. You are not using either one so there is no major risks involved. Hope that helps!

      -Dave

  • Fred

    I have never read such a total load of hipster nonsense in my life. You people really hang around in ‘vape shops’ and care about who can blow the biggest cloud?

  • Aaron Bee

    I just started vaping and was wondering if i can vape a 70pg/30vg blend in a sub ohm tank?

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      Yes, that sounds good to me.

  • Shannon

    I have a 40 watt battery with the Atlantis 2 tank is this safe

    • k. russ

      Yes!

  • Gerry Elanda

    I have a 40A 3.7V AWT 18650 Batteries , using tesla invader 3 mod and 0.09 Ohm (24g kanthal A1 – parallel coil build)

    Is this safe ?

  • Lucas Torstensson

    I’m using the Cuboid 150W with the tfv4 tank and the quadruple coil that is at 0.15Ω. I’m very new vapor I have maybe been vaping 3-4 months and I’m vaping on 80-90 watts and I’m wondering if I can use 80/20 VG/PG or even 90/10 VG/PG e-liquids?? And how long do you think I can Use it until I should change coil?? And because I’m so new vapor I was also wondering if you know how to get in to RBA coils and wicking because I don’t think We have any vape stores here and if you know any webbsites That can help me and things like That and I also Would like to know what you think and if you think I should change something or have some advice to a new vapor

    • Spero Branoff

      Best way I found to learn yo rebuild coils or to build coils is watch videos on Youtube. Just put what tank your trying to rebuild for in the search engine. Watch the videos and practice building.

  • Alessandro Marcheselli

    Hey, newbie here, i need a quick tip: i purchased an alcohol-free, max vg liquid which is “compatible with sub-ohm tanks”, i have a Smok micro tfv4 tank is it fine or do i need to buy another one?

  • Desmond Miles

    eleaf istick tc60w melo 2 tank with aspire atlantis 0.5 Ω–is this safe? please suggest me..

  • Brandon Johnson

    Thank you I understand now. Vaped for a year until these sub ohm tanks took over and I was back to smokings ciggs. Now I know to get my wicks above 1 ohm and it keeps me from smoking.