Should you be starting to get into vaping, or even if you haven’t quite got that far yet, and are merely curious and looking into it as a healthier alternative to smoking, it could well be you’ve come across the terms ‘ohm’ and ‘sub-ohm’. And the likelihood is you’re wondering what they mean and what relevance they have to e-cigs, mods and the vaping experience. If all that sounds eerily familiar, then why not read on…?
What’s an ohm?
Quite frankly, you’re likely to recollect the word ‘ohm’ from school physics lessons, but can you remember what it means? Well, fundamentally, it’s a measurement of resistance in electricity – just like an ‘amp’ is a measurement of current in electricity. In terms of e-cigs and mods then, this means the amount of resistance in a coil – that amount is in ohms (often represented by the symbol ‘Ω’). Indeed, replacement heads for mouth-to-lung (MTL) vape tanks/ clearomisers tend to come in at 1.2-2.0Ω; a resistance reading beneath this (or essentially beneath 1Ω) is described as ‘sub-ohm’ – that is, it’s less than one single ohm.
Why opt for a sub-ohm coil?
It’s all about the vaping experience. Should you, as you become more and more experienced at them, wish to enhance your vaping and ‘modding’ by upping the ante so you get more taste out of the flavours from your e liquid suppliers, then you’ll need to generate more and bigger clouds by maximising the airflow in your device and ensuring more fluid’s being vaporised via it coming into contact with a hotter coil. And the way to do that is to enable more electric current to flow through the device so the coil’s temperature rises more, courtesy of a coil with reduced resistance – in other words, a sub-ohm coil.
Should you reduce your nicotine level?
If you’re thinking of going the sub-ohm route, then yes, it’s pretty much necessary really. Generally speaking, when former- or looking-to-quit smokers make the switch to vaping, they start with a higher nicotine level in their e-juice (it’s natural, as it’s best to start with the level of this addictive chemical that you’re used to from standard cigarettes, perhaps before you try to reduce it and wean yourself off the need for the ‘hit’). Yet, with sub-ohm-vaping, constantly seeking hits of vapour with something like 11-24mg of nicotine isn’t advisable. Why? Because the sub-ohm ‘hit’ itself is usually bigger than standard ones (fundamentally because it usually requires mouth-to-lung/ MTL hits – i.e. deep drags – which general vaping doesn’t), so combined with a high nicotine level, such hits may be too much for you. Indeed, a good rule of thumb here may be to cut your nicotine level by half or even two-thirds when sub-ohm-vaping.
What else is there to consider?
Well, there’s the other bits of kit you’ll need for successful vaping below 1Ω. To wit, your best bet is to opt for either a regulated or an unregulated (mechanical) mod; both of which should come with integrated batteries, as well as rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to replace the originals with which they’re fitted.
The difference between regulated and ‘mech’ mods is that the former kind have inbuilt, digital tech that will cut the thing off from doing anything at too low (too sub-ohm) a level that it could harm the battery (i.e. give rise to the battery leaking and, in the very worst-case scenario, exploding); the latter kind simply don’t possess that tech, ensuring they’re more welcome to experimentation.
However – and this is very important – to use a mech mod like this requires a decent level of understanding of how the batteries it’s fitted with work and how far that means you can push the device. You can’t simply ignore the need to be sensible and safe with a mech mod; the onus is for you to deal with that yourself, as unlike with a regulated mod, you’re in total control. And so have all the responsibility!