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With the popularity of Rebuildable Dripper Atomizer (RDAs) and the birth of the early Rebuildable Atomizers (RBAs) for tanks over the last few years that allow people to build custom coils well into the Sub-Ohm realm, it was pretty clear that some company would take this concept and apply it to a tank with a pre-made disposable coil that was capable of delivering sub ohm performance.
First, Some Basic Vape Tech:
To simplify, Sub Ohm vaping uses much more power to spread a larger amount of heat over a much larger area, which causes more e-liquid to be vaporized in one moment. If you really want to geek out and learn more about the science of this, check out Ohm's law video - The Arduino Guide.
In a nutshell, the atomizer which powers the vapor production on a vape rig is basically a heating coil. It works because electrical resistance (the energy lost to the metaphorical “friction” on the circuit) creates heat, which can be thought of as “waste” energy.
You might assume that a higher resistance atomizer would produce more heat and therefore more vapor, but in actuality the power is more important. You can think of the resistance in the atomizer as converting a proportion of the energy flowing through the system into heat. So whilst a higher proportion is good, what’s much more important is the amount of energy flowing through the system in the first place.
With electrons flowing through the wire at a greater rate, more of them bang into stuff (encounter resistance) and produce heat. This is why power (the wattage) is the most important measure of the amount of vapor and flavor transfer you’ll get.
Whether you get the science behind the technology, or not, all that really matters is vapor production and a device that delivers the full flavor locked inside of the eLiquid you choose to vape.
Sub Ohm Vaping Moves from Hobbyists to Mainstream:
Eventually the engineers at some of the big vaporizer hardware companies caught on and got to work to replicate the experience of using an rebuildable atomizer (RBA) without the hassle and engineering know how. In 2014, Aspire released it's newest tank called the Atlantis. The Atlantis was the first Sub Ohm tank to hit the market with pre-made coils.
As a result, Sub Ohm vaping has created this new era in vaping where it doesn’t take a lot of experience to reach a high performance with much more vapor production and much better flavor delivery from e-liquids.
Leonardo DiCaprio spotted on a beach in St. Barts vaping
Sub Ohm tanks with pre-made coils have quickly established themselves as the industry’s hottest hardware segment, with companies like Aspire, Kanger, Joyetech and Smok and Herakles by Sense ( to mention just a few) all releasing their own new models over the last few months.
All of these represent an exponential leap forward in terms of vapor production and flavor clarity, delivering an experience that has historically been the exclusive purview of folks with ohm readers and spools of wire. Technologically speaking, these new tanks aren’t doing anything mind-blowing — they’re essentially taking what RDAs and RBAs have been doing for years and putting it on a production line.
So What does this All Mean for Vapers and the Industry?
Sub Ohm vaping delivers much more vapor. Vapor production is a key component for a satisfying vape experience. If you’re a smoker and try vaping for the first time, you would want to experience a full hit (ie throat hit) that you can feel as well as get some nice flavor. Many of the early e-cigs failed to delivery much vapor and required a lot of patience and persistence to get a decent draw, never mind replace the experience and ritual that smokers were looking for.
Since most of the early rebuildable atomizers required quite a lot of skill to make - this wasn’t a good option for a newbie looking to switch from smoking to vaping. They typically would buy a cig-alike at a convenience store or if they were well informed - might actually seek out a vape shop to see what was available in the higher end models. The early open tank vaporizers that used cartomizers were a big leap forward from the early cig-alikes, but still didn’t deliver an experience anything near what the more advanced RDA’s could.
Photo Credit: www.vaping360.com
Enter the new Sub Ohm tanks with pre-made coils - and you have a real game changer. Now pretty much anyone with a few $’s in their pocket can walk into a Vape Shop and get an advanced sub ohm tank and battery powerful enough to safely power the coil and walk out with a high performance device that delivers heaps of vapor and lots of flavor.
Does Sub Ohm Vaping Deliver Better Flavor?
Definitely! You have access to much higher concentration of vapor and the extra power being used unlocks many of the flavor subtleties that you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t using a Sub Ohm coil.
The flavor transfer is extremely intense. A good e-Liquid tastes amazing (and bad eLiquid tastes even worse). This has helped push the e-Liquid industry to work on more complex flavors that delivery an amazing range of flavors. It’s become an art form to work on not only the flavors but how those flavors mix and even the order that you experience them i.e. Cafe Racer's Peach Guzzi flavor starts off with the Peach, then you get some sweet notes from the Blueberry followed by the rich taste of Vanilla Custard - all on the inhale. On the exhale you pick up a nice refreshing hint of Green Tea. This was by design and this experience would not be possible without a more powerful (sub ohm) device.
Dropping Levels of Nicotine:
3MG is the new norm!
Many sub ohm vapers drop their nicotine level quite low as soon as they enter the Sub Ohm realm to avoid the harsh taste that nicotine delivers. Simply put, the less nicotine you use, the better your liquid will taste, especially with Sub Ohm coil performance. There is also a lot more volume of vapor being delivered with a sub ohm coil, so more nicotine is consumed, even though the percentage is less.
The most popular Nicotine level in Cafe Racer’s e-Liquid line up is 3MG - the lowest offered! This is a trend that we are hearing from almost every other e-Liquid manufacturer and all of our Vape Shop retail partners. Some e-Liquid companies are now offering 1.5MG - something unheard of just 2 years ago when the typical nicotine level for your average (non-sub ohm) vaper was between 12MG and 24MG.
Besides not having to deal with making your own coils (or having a builder at a vape shop make one for you) many long time vapers like the convenience of a tank over dripping. Dripping certainly has it's place but it's a bit of a pain in the ass when your driving, out with friends or working away at your latest project around the house.
You will need a higher wattage battery or MOD to put your sub-ohm tank so look for something above 20-30 watt range. There are a ton of options out there ranging in price from $30 to $100's of dollars. The variable voltage batteries tend to dominate the market with new models and chip sets that power them coming to market weekly.
The latest trend in vaping these high powered devices is temperature control.
Temperature control is the vaping industry’s latest attempt at improving e-cig power delivery technology. As with variable wattage and variable voltage devices before them, temperature control devices promise a better vaping experience with less fuss, by measuring and limiting the temperature a coil is allowed to reach. This is something that is still unfolding and is a topic that is worthy of it's own post sometime in the near future.
For a detailed History of Vape Design and Evolution - click HERE to check out a previous post we did on this subject covering the birth of e-cigs up to the Sub Ohm RDAs.
Note on this post:
Vaping and Vape technology can be a very complex subject. This article is a less about the tech side than about the implications of what the new technology means to vapers and the industry. We're sure we left out a lot of details on this subject and welcome your feedback on in the comments area.
We invite you to check out Cafe Racer's line of hand-crafted e-Lliquid. We launched in May of 2015 with just 2 flavors - Lucky13 and Peach Guzzi after more than 9 months of R&D. We focus on creating amazing flavors and releasing them slowly as we continue to push the frontiers of flavor delivery and experiences. On October 2 we'll start shipping our latest flavor creation - Yogurt Bomb. Enjoy.