Temperature control (TC) in vape mods is a technological solution for dry and burnt hits. It also creates a consistent vape while taking longer drags because the temp stays the same—instead of getting hotter. The user chooses the temperature limit, typically from a range of 300°F to 600°F (100°C to 315°C). The power sent to the coil then automatically adjusts to keep the coil—and your vape—at the chosen temperature.
It all began with the creation of the DNA chip by a company called Evolv in 2014. Even now, many still consider mods with DNA chips to be the best temperature control mods on the market. When Evolv first introduced temperature control for vaping, it was revolutionary! The word “innovative” gets thrown a lot, but it’s surely warranted here. Prior to TC, most top vape mods could only adjust watts (another innovation from Evolv a few years prior.) Now in 2020, like wattage control, temperature control is a feature found in most vape mods.
You can use TC without ever knowing why or how it works. But if you’re curious, TC works because the metal of certain coils predictably increases its resistance as it heats up. As a vaper, you’re probably already familiar with resistance. You know there’s a coil inside your tank or atomizer that has a resistance, which—if you use any regulated mod—is shown on the screen generally with a “Ω” sign.
When you vape with Kanthal (the most popular vape wire), that resistance value doesn’t change. That’s a particular property of Kanthal: its resistance is static regardless of its temperature.
For TC vaping, you’ll use wires that have a known resistance-increase as their temperature rises. The mod checks the resistance of the coil at room temperature, then it continues to monitor it as you vape. The resistance change is converted into a temperature increase and the mod adjusts its power to maintain the selected temperature. Think of it as a car traveling in cruise control. To maintain a speed, more power is needed to go up a hill than down a hill… but the speed would stay the same.
First and foremost, a vape mod that supports TC. Most mods that do temperature will have “TC” in their name. There can be a number of differences between devices as well, and some have special and advanced features. More importantly, some do a much better job in temp control than others. Remember, not all mods are created equally.
Some companies have a solid reputation for this technology. Evolv DNA and Yihi’s chipsets have been the holy grail of temp control for quite some time, but they tend to be on the more expensive side. The good news is that several budget mod companies have done excellent in their own right at a fraction of the price. Mods from companies like Aspire, Vaporesso, Innokin, and Smoant have proven to be reliable in temperature control, although this varies between chipsets.
Next, you must vape with the right wire type.
TC vaping generally uses one of these four types of vape wires:
Each of these wires has its own temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR). “A temperature coefficient describes the relative change of a physical property that is associated with a given change in temperature.” Your mod needs to know the specific TCR of your wire to send the correct power to the coil to limit its temperature. And the resistance for TC coils can be very low. TCR is not something to ballpark! Different wires will have different TCRs, and even within one metal type. Luckily, most TC mods have preset TCR values for Ni200, Ti and SS (316L), which are the most popular TC wires.
Having said that, due to the different grades of metals having different TCR values, and preset TCRs sometimes being questionable, a very useful feature for a TC mod is customizable TCR. That allows any TC-capable coil to be used most accurately. Check the specs of your mod and see that it has customizable TCR. If it does, you can dial in the TCR value for your chosen metal type and grade.
Put your mod into TC mode and select the corresponding wire type for the coils you have. If the mod has a TCR you can enter the exact TCR value. After that, ensure that your mod and tank are both at room temperature so the temperature readings will be more accurate. The easiest way to achieve this is to not use the tank or the mod for at least 10 minutes before starting.
Install the coil as normal but take care to ensure it is screwed down tightly, as far as it can be. In the case of rebuildables, make sure the leads are trapped firmly. Then put the atomizer or tank on the mod, and again make sure that it’s tightened down as far as possible (but don’t go crazy with over-tightening). Check that the resistance is reading accurately and lock the resistance if applicable (typically by pressing the +/- buttons).
If you are using a rebuildable atomizer, stainless steel is the only TC coil material that can be dry-burned if needed—but use lower wattages than what you would for Kanthal or Ni80. Skipping the dry burning process is recommended though. If you slightly space your coils, you will generally not have hot spots. Plus, the resistance will be more consistent and easier for the mod to identify.
Some TC mods will allow you to change the wattage as well as the temp, but some automatically set your watts. If you can adjust the watts and you’re using stock coils for a tank, set your wattage and temp to the lowest recommendation printed on the coil head. You can change up from there to suit your own preferences. A mod that works well in TC should automatically limit the wattage when the set temp limit is reached; in this case, by changing the wattage you are mainly affecting ramp-up time.
Common vaping temperatures are in the range 390°F to 480°F (200°C to 250°C ), with the temperature usually adjusted quickly in increments of 10°F (5°C).
Set your target temperature. Hopefully, you’ll get a good vape and, because it’s TC, you should be able to take really long hits without fear of overheating the coil and wick. It should be just like normal—except when you run out of juice you’ll notice the vapor dropping off significantly.
Adjust the temperature up or down if necessary. Like most things in vaping, your sweet spot will be subjective. How you want to vape your e-juice is a matter of personal preference. Do you like it hot or cool? It’s up to you!
When vaping in TC, if you do notice any dryness when you’re low on juice, adjust the temperature down. If your mod has wattage control in TC, you can adjust that too. Higher is usually fine, but don’t go too low; as mentioned earlier, your mod should limit your wattage when the set temp is reached, but it won’t compensate when the wattage is set too low.
Temperature control vaping can be an amazing experience. It provides the security of consistency that wattage vaping often lacks. No one likes dry or burnt hits, or vapes that get too hot with long hits. TC vaping solves that.
Although it’s still not as popular as regular wattage mode, there are vapes for beginners that are making TC much more user-friendly. In fact, there are even pod vapes that make TC vaping automatic. Keep an eye out for vapes that come with “automatic dry hit protection” or similar features. If you are tired of frequent dry hits and don’t feel like tinkering with settings and temps, auto-TC might be just what you’re looking for.