Kanger Subtank Mini Review
PRICING UPDATE – 1/20/2015: We sincerely apologize for informing you in this review and video below about the proposed pricing of the Subtank Mini and Nano. Now that pre-orders are being accepted for this glorious tank the actual selling price is going to be much less than previously suggested. For instance, AVE40 will now offer the Kanger Subtank Mini for $38.50(USD) and the Subtank Nano for $33.50(USD). We are very happy to see that the price of these newest tanks will be much more in line with competitive tanks and glassomizers on the market. – John Manzione
Kanger made a lot of noise back in November when it shipped the original Subtank. It’s OCC coils sporting .5 ohms, and its full RBA component were inspiring innovations in a normally uninspiring section of vape gear. About the only downside to this dead-serious tank was its size.
Smaller than the Aerotank Turbo (Thank God!), but still a very intimidating tank, the Kanger Subtank is designed for full-size devices in mind. Personally, I thought the Subtank on a box mod, such as the SMOK XPro M50, looked terribly awkward. The same can be said for the new iStick 30, MVP20W from Innokin, and others. The Subtank looked its best on a larger batteries/devices, and even then, with its wide diameter it always hung a bit over the edge no matter what I was using with it, unless of course it was a 26650 mod.
Despite being larger than most vapers were comfortable with it performed incredibly well. Massive vapor production, great flavor, the Subtank achieved a great vape using both its OCC coils and the RBA component. There was, and remains, little to complain about, but it is far from perfect. For more on the Kanger Subtank you might want to check out these recent reviews.
Enter the Subtank Mini
The Game – Most vapers know the Kanger game by now when it comes to their tanks and glassomizers. It began with the ProTanks, then the Aerotanks and Nautilus tanks, and most certainly continues with the Subtanks. I’m talking, of course, about the various incarnations of Kanger’s successful glassomizers and tanks. It was a matter of time, not a matter of “if”; Kanger would follow up with a Subtank Mini, and Subtank Nano. How many AeroTanks are there now? GeniTanks, Protanks, etc. etc… Indeed, the Subtank Mini surprises no one.
The Kanger Subtank Mini is, in many ways, what the original Subtank should have been. The biggest change in the tank is the size, of course, and now at 22mm it fits flush with most tube vaporizers and doesn’t look half bad with most box mods. In retrospect the Subtank Mini should have been the initial release, followed the Subtank Nano as the Subtank Mini and the Subtank original as the Subtank Mega/Giant/Turbo at a later date.
Much The Same
The KangerTech Subtank Mini has a few small improvements over the original Subtank, but it’s basically just a smaller version of the original. With the OCC coil installed the tank holds 4.5ML of juice, about 1.5ML less than the original. The OCC Coils remain .5ohm and 1.2ohm, they still use organic Japanese cotton and a single coil inside, and tank remains made of Pyrex, and of course it is still a 510-connection tank. Only the RBA component has seen a radical change.
Kanger improved the airflow controller, or at least I believe they did, some of you might prefer the original airflow controller with the three holes instead of the slot. This time out the controller has definite click-ins as well, and as you move the ring to cover or uncover the air “slot”, it slides into position with that click. Adjusting the airflow with the Mini allows vapers to fine-tune the airflow a bit more accurately than simply covering or revealing the 3 individual holes on the outside ring.
Kanger also made some modifications to the RBA component. Now this component is a little smaller and it has a single coil. Thankfully the Mini RBA component hasn’t yet spit back tiny drops of very hot juice like the original Subtank has, squarely and sorely on the tip of my tongue. Ouch!
One Carry Over Annoyance
While I like the original Subtank and value the flavor and vapor output I wasn’t thrilled when I began to see darkish eliquid form between the stainless steel skeleton and the Pyrex tank. I had hopes that this might somehow get fixed in the Mini and Nano, but without a major makeover, which would destroy the whole carry over “Subtank look”; the Pyrex tank and stainless steel skeleton are exactly the same, just a bit smaller. Within hours the same small blotchy spot of dark juice had squeezed its way between the steel and glass.
Like the original Subtank, the Mini features:
OCC to RBA coil components
Organic Japanese Cotton in the OCC coils
Pyrex Glass tank (an extra tank is included)
Stainless steel parts
A better airflow system (debatable)
The Kanger Subtank Mini has a retail price that will range from $45 to $50 each, higher than the original, which I’ll speak to below. The money spent will get you the following:
- The Tank itself
- 1x OCC Sub Ohm .5ohm (Range of 15-30w)
- 1x OCC 1.2ohm (Range of 12-25w)
- 2x RBA .5ohm 30w Coils
- 1x pack of Organic Japanese Cotton
- 1x Mini RBA Base
- 1x Pyrex Glass tube (extra tube)
- 1x Screw Driver
- 2x Screws
- 3x Extra Seal Rings
- 1x Manual
- Bottom Line – Real World
For several weeks I used the Aspire Atlantis much more often than I did the Kanger Subtank, or anything else. I avoided the Subtank for one reason; Size. The Subtank is too big for my own personal preferences. The Spinfuel Team on the other hand, loves the tank and don’t mind the size.
The Aspire Atlantis is the perfect size for me, and I was quite happy with the vapor production and flavor. But, about a week ago I decided to see how much I would, or wouldn’t, like the Subtank if I stopped using all other tanks and clearomizers.
When I first began using both tanks off and on the vapor and flavor seemed to be pretty much the same using my preferred all day vape eliquid. Even after a week of steady use with the Subtank I still think they are very close in both vapor and flavor, but as Smokenjoey indicated in his review of the original Subtank, the nod does have to go to the Subtank for flavor. The vapor production, for the way I vape, is a tie, though I can understand how this might change depending on your normal vaping habits.
But what then of the Subtank Mini? Kanger has made some improvements, but what about flavor and vapor? This morning, as I write this, its Day Three of exclusive use of the Subtank Mini, and if the comfort factor isn’t clouding my judgment (the comfort factor being that the Mini has a much better ‘fit’ on my devices and it doesn’t feel unwieldy) I would say that the biggest improvement in the Subtank Mini is the flavor factor, but only by a smidge.
Vapor production, using all three methods to test it, the .5ohm OCC on my eVic Supreme, the 1.2ohm OCC on my Sigelei 30w, and the RBA component at .5ohm and 29.4w on an iStick 30w, is every bit as good as the Subtank Original.
Who will want to the Subtank Mini? Anyone and everyone that wants to visit this area of vaping, but not without a cost to Kanger. I don’t think there is a chance in hell that the original Subtank makes it out alive, the Subtank Mini is everything the original is, only at a better size. It fits flush with most other vaporizers, and looks sharp on the iStick 30w, and SMOK XPro M50, the two vaporizers I’ve been using the most lately. On the Aspire CF Sub-ohm battery it’s a nice flush fit, and with the .5ohm OCC coil it performs excellently with it.
Subtank Normal vs. Subtank Mega vs. Subtank Mini
Did Kanger make a mistake by introducing the larger tank before the “normal” size tank this time around? I think so. The minor changes we see in the Mini (which should have been the Subtank Normal, or original tank), could just as easily been a part of the Subtank Mega, (the Mega being the original Subtank release) had Kanger followed the Aerotank release strategy, and the Subtank Nano, with many of the same features as the Mini, should actually BE the Subtank Mini (are you writing all this down?). If you get the opportunity to use all 3 Subtanks what I just wrote will make absolute sense, I promise.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Subtank Mini will cannibalize the original Subtank sales because for today’s vapers it’s a much better fit. Even the single coil RBA component is a better choice for most vapers today.
This is the part that makes the least sense, except if Kanger knows that the release of the original Subtank wasn’t the right thing to do in the first place. The Subtank Mini is, right now, more expensive than the original Subtank. At Ave40, where we obtained all 3 Subtank products, it is selling for $50.99, the original, larger Subtank is $43.50, a full $7.50 less. The Nano is priced at $40.99, and I’ll review the Nano over the next couple of days and let you know if the price is just. Both the Subtank Mini and Subtank Nano are expected to ship out to customers by next Monday, maybe a couple of days earlier depending on Kanger and how fast they can manufacture enough for a first shipment. In any case, it will be on vendors shelves and product pages long before the Chinese Spring Festival begins.
Finally, there is this; is The Kanger Mini Tank Worth $51 plus tax and shipping? Well, my answer has to be yes… and no.
The Kanger Subtank Mini, at $50+ is worth it IF your intention is to use it for at least 90% of your vaping. I don’t mean buying 2 or 3 tanks for 90% of your vaping needs, I mean just one. $50 for a tank is expensive, but it is versatile enough to warrant the price if you take advantage of everything it has to offer. The RBA component allows you to enjoy all there is to enjoy with rebuildables, its single coil and cotton wicking can provide a wonderful vape, as can the .5ohm and 1.20hm OCC coil heads. So, if the Subtank were to be my only tank, or at least my “most used” tank, I would buy one, and a couple of packs of extra coil heads…but only one.
The Kanger Subtank Mini is expensive, more expensive than its larger brother (or sister), making it one of the most expensive mass produced tanks ever. If, for whatever reason, you won’t use the RBA component you just don’t need this tank, or the larger version. Whether you decide to use it or not, if you spend the $50+ to buy one you are most certainly paying for that RBA component. For $15 less you can buy the Aspire Atlantis for sub-ohm vaping and not have to pay for a component for you won’t use anyway. The Atlantis doesn’t have the RBA feature, nor does it offer a 1.2ohm coil head either, but as a sub-ohm tank its priced right.
In closing, the Kanger Subtank Series are excellent tanks for modern vaping, but they are not perfect. They are also expensive, and the replacement coil heads are also expensive. Unless you plan on using the tanks for most of your vaping it will take some time to earn its investment back. There are less expensive alternatives that will also provide an excellent vape, making the purchase of a Subtank, any of the 3 versions, a luxury purchase.
Not convinced the Kanger Subtank is right for you? Here are some excellent alternatives:
- Aspire Atlantis for sub-ohm vaping only
- Joyetech Delta 2 – sub-ohm, 1+ ohm, and RBA component.
- Council of Vapor Stratos – 0.8-sub-ohm to 2.1ohm