SMOK has parlayed its TFV4 (TF stands for “Taste Furious”) flagship line of sub-ohm tanks into a franchise. Starting with the original TFV4 Tank, with its large 24.5 mm diameter, SMOK has added progressively smaller tanks to the line:
No other company making sub-ohm tanks (with or without RBA heads) has produced such a comprehensive line of tanks. All the tanks use the same design, including SMOK’s patented swivel top fill system.
In addition to the five tanks, SMOK offers an almost bewildering array of different coil heads. The full-size TFV4 and Mini TFV4 use the same coil heads, while the Micro, Micro Plus, and Nano TFV4s all share another set of smaller, more compact heads. Both sizes of heads include two different RBA deck cores — one for single coils and another for dual coils. (The 18 mm diameter of the Nano TFV4, however, much like Kanger's Subtank Nano, is too small to accommodate an RBA deck, so the SMOK Nano uses only stock factory coils.)
As if that’s not confusing enough, a third size of heads was introduced recently. Users of the original TFV4 and Mini TFV4 praised the intense flavor and massive clouds, but many complained that the huge coil heads for those tanks consumed eliquid at an alarming rate. SMOK listened and came out with a “Backup Kit” specifically for the Mini TFV4 that reduces eliquid consumption and increases the tank’s capacity (from 3.5 to 4.0mL), even while shortening the overall height of the Mini. The kit includes two “shorty” coil heads (0.3Ω dual Clapton and 1.8Ω single Clapton), plus a shorter glass tank section and chimney adapter. (This kit fits only the Mini TFV4 and will not work with the original, full-size TFV4 tank.)
The SMOK Micro TFV4 is available either as a stand-alone product for $20-25 online or as part of a bundled Starter Kit:
By contrast, the SMOK Nano TFV4 tank cannot be purchased as a stand-alone product (as of late May 2016). It’s currently available only in either of two all-in-one Starter Kits:
Over the coming months, SMOK may decide to sell just the Nano TFV4 alone, but, as of late May, 2016, they haven’t.
The original, full-size SMOK TFV4 Tank garnered much praise and considerable criticism — praise for the great flavor and voluminous clouds it produced at very high power, and criticism for its massive size and tendency to consume eliquid like there was no tomorrow. To some extent, excessive eliquid consumption is simply a fact of life with sub-ohm tanks vaped at higher power. On the other hand, the original TFV4 tank was about the worst offender in this drawback.
The Micro TFV4 tanks in both standard and Plus versions one of the two shortcomings. They are much smaller and more diminutive tanks in overall size, which many vapers appreciate. They’re still incredibly thirsty tanks, however, and their smaller capacity makes even more frequent refilling necessary. SMOK has attempted to address this problem in the Micro TFV4 by including an additional larger glass tank section and offering the more compact “shorty” coil heads, which increase the tank’s capacity while reducing the rate of eliquid consumption. That’s probably as good a solution as SMOK could offer, short of redesigning the entire line of tanks and heads.
Those who use either the Micro or Nano TFV4 tanks in their standard 2 mL capacity, however, will simply have to put up with frequent refilling. Happily, SMOK’s top fill system — with a swiveling top cap — make this less painful then it was back in the early days of sub-ohm tanks when the 2 mL capacity Aspire Atlantis tank had to be filled from the bottom after removing it from the mod.
Another questionable feature is the dual-coil RBA deck core for the Micro. Using the deck with the preinstalled Clapton coils is relatively easy, since all one has to do is wick the coils, but the deck is necessarily so tiny (since it screws into a outer shell that is then screwed into the base of the tank like a regular factory coil head) that rebuilding with new coils is difficult. Oh, it can be done. I know, because I did it. Compared to building on the more spacious Velocity-style decks of many current-generation dedicated RTAs, however, the task was much more challenging on the cramped little Micro deck.
This is generally true of all sub-ohm tanks that offer RBA decks in addition to factory coil heads. Having a deck is a nice option, but it’s a bit like trying to fit the proverbial square peg into a round hole.
A different problem applies to the higher-ohm factory heads intended to allow mouth-to-lung vaping. They just don’t work very well in tanks designed for sub-ohming. If you want to do mouth-to-lung vaping at lower power, your best bet is to get an Aspire Nautilus or any of the many other, older tanks that are still available, even though they’re been eclipsed in the marketplace by higher-wattage sub-ohm tanks.
Once set up, the RBA deck performs nicely. No, you can’t vape the Micro at 70 watts using the RBA deck core, but that’s not a realistic criticism. At 40-50 watts, however, I had no complaints. I’m just not enthusiastic about RBA decks in sub-ohm tanks.
The same cannot be said for the high-ohm MTL factory heads. I just didn’t like them. Period.
With the CLP2 or STC2 factory heads — which are really the coils for which the inherent design of the Micro TFV4 is best suited — performance is very, very good. Flavor is rich and satisfying, and vapor is thick and full. This is where the Micro TFV4 shines, and it shines quite brightly. For such a diminutive, compact tank, the Micro provides a full-sized vaping experience.
Despite my criticisms, I like the SMOK Micro TFV4. It’s well-designed and manufactured, with good performance, especially using the supplied factory coil heads. Currently, more sites offer the Starter Kits than the tank alone. If you want one, but not in a Starter Kit, then google it to find the vendor sites that sell just the tank.
I’ve already reviewed the Stick One Basic Kit (which includes a Nano TFV4 tank) and found it an acceptable, if not particularly thrilling, choice for new or less experienced vapers. The Stick One battery is a little too much like an overgrown eGo battery. I’d probably feel the same way about the Stick One Plus Kit. I’m interested in (and curious about) the R80 Micro and R-Steam Nano Kits, but we’ll have to wait for possible future reviews of those. Stay tuned.
SMOK’s extended family of TFV4 tanks, heads, and kits inspires ecstatic praise from a high percentage of users, but also strong criticism from others (mainly for exorbitant eliquid consumption). As a result of these polarized opinions, I’ll stay on the sidelines — each vaper can decide for him/herself whether or not to buy and use a TFV4 tank.