Sub-Ohm Vaping Explained – Pros and Cons of it

Sub-Ohm Vaping - An Explanation of a Controversial Trend

First thing, for a better understanding, instead of defining what is sub-ohm vaping, let’s do a little practical experiment. Here are the results of using three vaporizers with different powers and different coil resistances:

Equipment Used An e-cig starter kit A box vape mod with an above-ohm tank A sub-ohm box mod with a sub-ohm tank
Sub or Above-ohm




4.2 Volts

4.4 Volts

3.89 Volts

Coil Resistance



0.5 ohm





Vapor production








Throat hit




Note: These were actual results when we vaped using different e-cigs, however, remember that they are relevant and depend on the e-liquid, airflow settings, and your style of vaping.


Here are the main takeaways from the table:

Firstly, if you looked at the results, you can see that the first two entries were above-ohm vaporizers. In the case of the two above-ohm devices, we increased the voltage and reduced the resistance of the coil. As a result, there were increases in the wattage as well as vapor production and flavor. However, the overall increase was nothing substantial.

On the other hand, as soon as we enter the world of sub-ohming (i.e. the resistance of the coil goes below 1-ohm) the wattage, vapor production, and flavor just skyrocketed.

This should give you a good idea of what sub-ohm vaping can do. Now, let’s take a look at the formal definition and some of the factors. This will determine how your sub-ohm vaping experience will unfold.

What is Sub-Ohm Vaping?

We can define the most popular yet equally controversial trend in vaping as:

Vaping while using an electronic cigarette that has a coil with a resistance level of less than one ohm.

Resistance is how much opposition is registered to the regular flow of electricity in a circuit, ie a coil in an atomizer. Ohms are just the standard of measurement of this resistance.

It’s that simple!

Consequently, it means that if you are vaping at a resistance level of 1-ohm or higher this is above-ohm vaping. Anything other than that is sub-ohm vaping, sometimes, they also refer to it as sub-ohming.

Sub-ohm vaping is now a free for all.

In any case, the playing field has changed pretty quickly over the last couple of years. Until quite recently, sub-ohm vaping was relegated to experts only. At least some understanding of coil building, as well as Ohm’s law, was necessary. Owing to the growing demand and competition, the quality, and variety of vaporizers has gone through the roof over the last few months. Therefore, this has introduced safer and better devices that allow you to enjoy sub-ohm vaping.

Nowadays, you can even find several starter kits based on sub-ohm ideology. While they might not offer an as intense experience as a box mod, however, they let you step into the sub-ohm world. And you do this without any risks, even if you have little vaping knowledge or experience.

The Three Deciding Factors of Sub-ohm Vaping

There is only one major factor that defines sub-ohming, and that is the coil resistance. However, two other factors including voltage and wattage also play a role in determining the overall experience.

  1. Coil Resistance

A measure of the potential of a particular material to reduce the electric current passing through it.

sub-ohm vaping person

Firstly, you can think of coil resistance as the thickness of a water pipe. The thicker the pipe, the more water will flow through it. Likewise, if the coil has more surface area, it will have a lower resistance and will allow more current to pass through it. But if the coil is thin, it will have less surface area and will need more power (voltage) to let the current go through. That means the resistance and wattage output are inversely proportional, while voltage and wattage are directly proportional.

Initially, the manufacturers tried to offer a better vaping experience by improving the power and quality of the batteries. However, it was just a matter of time before they hit the limits posed by hardware and technology. It was only then that they turned their attention to the resistance of the coil. Slightly lowering the resistance of the coil immensely increased the overall wattage output. Consequently, this gave birth to sub-ohm vaping.

  1. Battery Voltage

The electromotive force or potential difference of any power source expressed in volts.

When considering vaporizers, this is the power generated by the batteries. The usual voltage range of the 18650 lithium-ion batteries is between 3.7 to 4.5 volts (although you may find batteries with much higher voltage).

The higher the voltage, the higher the wattage will be. However, if the resistance goes up, you’ll need more energy to get the same wattage.

  1. Wattage

Electromotive power output expressed in watts.

This is the actual power that the unit generates at the end of the day. In other words, more wattage means more heat produced, more vapor, and ideally more flavor.

Understanding the difference between terms can be confusing, but since a vaporizer is an electrical device, it is important to have at least some basic knowledge.

Pros of Sub-Ohm Vaping

  • Firstly, the biggest advantage of sub-ohm vaping is the humongous plumes of vapor. Because of this capability, it’s opted by those people who want to take their experience to a whole new level. In addition, loud< chasers and those competing in vaping competitions, totally love sub-ohm vaping.
  • Secondly, more vapor also means more flavor. Although the wider airflow might diminish the flavor to some extent, unless you are doing direct lung hits, sub-ohm vaping usually increases the overall flavor. That is because you are inhaling a lot more vapor than when you are doing above-ohm vaping.
  • Thirdly, more satisfaction because of a stronger hit and more nicotine. This is why with sub-ohm vaping, they recommendusing an e-liquid with lower nicotine concentration. As a result, you will have a lot more nicotine going into your lungs. Moreover, his could result in bad taste and even head rushes.
  • Finally, if you prefer warm vapor, you’ll simply love sub-ohming. However, if you prefer a cooler vape, then this might be a disadvantage.

Cons of Sub-Ohm Vaping

  • First, sub-ohming is not for new vapers, as too muchvapor can be overwhelming.
  • Second, sub-ohm vaping gear is more expensive than the above-ohm vaping gear.
  • Third, competitively, it consumes a lot more e-juice and is also expensive in the long-run
  • Fourth, the coils burn faster and need to be replaced sooner
  • Lastly, it is not an ideal option for those who love mouth to lung hits


While sub-ohm vaping can be a lot of fun for some people, for others it can be overwhelming. Even so, the good news is that with the latest vaporizers available on the market nowadays, sub-ohm vaping is now safer. To increase your safety when sub-ohm vaping, make sure to check for any damage to the batteries and other components.Furthermore, it can be enjoyed by anyone, irrespective of their experience. It’s a hobby that’s quickly become a sport. All in all, sub-ohm vaping is the next big thing and is here to stay. However, don’t just blindly follow the trends, do some research, and vape in a way that’s in line with your vaping expectations and desires.

Happy cloud chasing!

Published: February 6, 2017 Updated: February 11, 2022

Best Choice 9.5/10

Falcon King Sub Ohm Tank


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3 comments on “Sub-Ohm Vaping Explained – Pros and Cons of it

  • Ashley Thorpe

    June 23, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Hey thank you so much for all the information! I currently smoke 2 packs a day and am wanting desperately to quit. I’m not a current vaper but bought one years ago that was horrible. If I were to go to a vape store, what are the most important questions I should ask to make sure I purchase the best beginner vape? There are so many! Thanks in advance ?

  • Oliverd420

    June 12, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I smoked 2 packs a day for 23 years when I switched to vaping. I bought a sub ohm mod and 225w Procolor. I started at 12mg/ml and steadily grew to 24mg/ml over about 40 days. I wasn’t getting the nicotine I wanted till I got to 24mg/ml. After reading this I may cut back to 12 for the sake of safety. Not sure and a little confused about the real risks..

  • Pier Besozzi

    July 15, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Thanks to you I could understand all this topic of sub-ohm. I started too recently so i will need a above-ohm mod (im from Uruguay and nowadays the e liquids are expensive). In spanish i saw few information. so thanks again!