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What Is a Sub-Ohm Tank?

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What Is a Sub-Ohm Tank?

Sub-ohm tanks are the most popular vapor-generating attachments for vaping devices today. They’re so common, in fact, that if you’re currently using a vaping device with a refillable tank, there’s a good chance that you’re using a sub-ohm tank already. If you use a device with pre-filled cartridges or pods, though, sub-ohm tanks might be new to you – and if you like the idea of enjoying bigger vapor clouds, a sub-ohm tank is something you definitely want to consider buying. When you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to choose the best sub-ohm tank for your needs.

Sub-Ohm Tank Definition

First, let’s define what a sub-ohm tank is. It’s really quite simple. In electricity, the term “resistance” defines how easily a current can travel through a circuit. We measure resistance in ohms. In vaping, we’re concerned about the resistance of the atomizer coil – the heating wire that generates vapor. A sub-ohm tank has an atomizer coil resistance under 1.0 ohm.

Why Does Atomizer Coil Resistance Matter?

As vapers, we concern ourselves with atomizer coil resistance because that’s one of the key factors influencing the coil’s potential vapor production. To understand this phenomenon more easily, think of a water pipe. If the pipe is narrow, it limits the amount of water that can get through. If the pipe is wide, more water can flow through it. Wires work in the same way. A wire that’s wider will have a lower resistance. If the battery voltage is constant, using a lower-resistance coil results in a circuit with a greater output wattage; the coil releases more power.

There is, however, a catch. If the battery voltage remains constant, lowering the resistance of the coil results in a circuit that draws a greater current – measured in amps – from the battery. There is a limit to the maximum current that any battery can safely provide without overheating.

Are Sub-Ohm Tanks Safe?

If you use a sub-ohm tank with pre-made coils – and you have a regulated vaping device that automatically monitors the coil resistance and battery current – sub-ohm tanks are completely safe. Virtually every vape mod on this site is a regulated device with full safety features. A regulated device automatically prevents you from using a tank that might draw an unsafe current from your battery.

Regulated vaping devices are not the only devices that exist. A mechanical mod is a vaping device with no electronic components. In a mechanical mod, there is no regulation circuitry to control the flow of power from the battery to the atomizer coil. If you use a mechanical mod, therefore, it is your responsibility to understand the capabilities of your battery and ensure that you use a sub-ohm tank with the appropriate resistance for the battery. Mechanical mods are for experts only.

How to Choose the Best Sub-Ohm Tank

If you’re thinking of trying a sub-ohm tank for the first time, your best bet is to buy a sub-ohm starter kit. With a starter kit, you’ll receive a vaping device and a compatible tank. You’ll also save money compared to what you’d pay if you bought the device and tank separately. If you’re looking for a sub-ohm tank to use with a vaping device you already own, though, we’ll provide a few words of advice that can help you choose the best vape tank for your needs.

Shape and Size

A great deal of variation exists in the world of sub-ohm tanks. There is an enormous difference in output power, for example, between a 0.18-ohm coil and a 0.80-ohm coil. They’re both sub-ohm coils. If the battery voltage is constant, though, the two coils will draw dramatically different currents (23.33 amps and 5.25 amps respectively at 4.2 volts).

You can tell a lot about a tank’s intended purpose by looking at its shape and size. A large e-liquid capacity, big coil heads and a wide mouthpiece are all signs of a tank designed for massive vapor production. When you use the tank, you’ll inhale directly to your lungs. Many people prefer direct-to-lung inhaling because that’s what produces the biggest clouds and richest flavor. The more vapor a tank produces, though, the more e-liquid it will use. The most powerful sub-ohm tanks often require several refills each day.

A sub-ohm tank with smaller features, on the other hand, produces smaller vapor clouds and consumes less e-liquid. If a tank has a narrow mouthpiece, it has tighter airflow characteristics. That’s what you want if you prefer to inhale from the mouth to the lungs as if you were smoking a cigarette.

Top vs. Bottom Airflow

Every vaping tank needs airflow vents. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to inhale the vapor! When comparing sub-ohm tanks, you’ll find that the size and position of the airflow vents can greatly influence the vaping experience. If you want the best airflow and the biggest vapor clouds possible, you want a tank with airflow vents on the bottom. The one problem, though, is that e-liquid can potentially leak through a tank’s bottom vents if the coil assembly doesn’t have a good seal.

Some sub-ohm tanks have top airflow vents. The Aspire Cleito EXO is one example. If a tank has top vents, leaking is virtually impossible. Tanks with top airflow vents also tend to be very quiet during operation. A tank with bottom vents, on the other hand, is more likely to crackle or pop occasionally. Top vents, however, do restrict airflow slightly due to the distance that the air must travel before it exits the tank.

Coil Selection

Tastes vary greatly in the vaping community, and major vaping product manufacturers often equip their tanks with many different coils to accommodate those tastes. The SMOK TFV12 Prince, for example, has at least 12 different coils available at the time of writing. The coils vary in resistance, the number and type of heating wires, the airflow characteristics and more. If you’re new to sub-ohm vaping, you probably don’t know what your favorite coil design is yet. It may benefit you, then, to choose a sub-ohm tank with many types of coils available.


~ Jason Artman



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