Sub-Ohm Tanks – Vaping with Julia Column
Over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed more reviews for sub-ohm tanks than usual. So far, all the sub-ohm tanks have received excellent grades for flavor and vapor production, but are they worthy of your hard earned cash?
The question above is something I’ve been struggling with lately. During these past 4+ years of writing for Spinfuel I’ve spent, maybe, $100 for tanks and replacement coils. Mostly replacement coils actually, because whenever a new sub-ohm tank reaches our review desk everyone here gets one, at least one, and a pack of replacement coils. I spend money only when I decide to continue using it after the review, on replacement coils. If I had to pay for the tanks I dare say I wouldn’t own many of the ones I review, no matter how good they are.
Just because a large number of tanks cross my desk it doesn’t mean I actually use them on a regular basis. In fact, I use just 3 different tanks, and if a better tank comes my way I will give one of the 3 to someone else and replace it with the new one. Who can keep track of a dozen or more tanks anyway?
Recently John (Manzione, the publisher) has begun to break sub-ohm tanks up into two very befitting categories; Leisure tanks and Workout tanks. As soon as he said I knew exactly what he meant. The 3 tanks in my rotation break out as 2 Leisure tanks and 1 Workout tank.
Sub-Ohm Tanks – The Leisure Tank
A Leisure tank is not an under-performing tank; it is a tank we feel comfortable using all day long. A Leisure tank provides plenty of real flavor and ample vapor, but it doesn’t consume eliquid in alarming amounts, nor does make your living room resemble a speak-easy from the 1920’s. Leisure tanks are relaxing and unassuming. The Leisure tank doesn’t get you kicked out of bed, or banned from the kitchen.
A typical Leisure tank also uses a smaller coil head. Joyetech has done great things with their small coil heads, things I would have never believed 4 years ago. The first time I used a Cubis with its 0.5-ohm coil I didn’t believe it could produce as much vapor, and flavor, as it did. Yet, because of the size, the balance, and the wattage range of the Stainless Steel coils the experience was one I look for as an all-day tank.
Sub-Ohm Tanks – The Workout Tank
A Workout tank is a sub-ohm tank that prides itself on chucking huge clouds with a minimum inhale. If you have not yet purchased a tank that fits the Workout tank definition you need to understand one thing before you do: Whatever you think about your current tank’s ability to churn out vapor, you haven’t seen vapor production at its maximum yet. There is “ample” vapor production, and “monstrous” vapor production. It must be seen, in person, to appreciate just how much a Workout tank can produce.
While the flavor can be amazing, its primary objective is to fog up the room. A Workout tank will get you kicked off the bed, off the couch, and certainly out of the kitchen. Workout tanks can also cause other types of problems, for some users.
Forget about the fact that a Workout tank can annoy the hell out of your partner, it can also lead to over-consumption, nausea, and headaches.
Also, let’s not forget that as safe as vaping is, and it is quite safe, for every molecule of vapor a molecule of air is displaced. If half of your next inhale of air is made up of vapor instead, you will suffer the consequences, however minor.
In this respect there is such a thing as “too much vapor production”. And since the whole idea behind a Workout tank is vapor production, using it on a full time basis, as your all day every day tank, you risk the maladies of partial suffocation.
Vaping Styles and Sub-Ohm Tanks
I do not vape in the same manner in which I used to smoke. I sometimes wonder how many people mirror their smoking habits with vaping. I vape far more often than I ever smoked cigarettes. Not because I needed a nicotine fix, but because vaping is very, very pleasurable.
As a smoker I never “lung hit” a drag from a Winston Light. I would take a 2, maybe 3 second drag into my mouth, and once I pulled the cigarette away I would draw the smoke into my lungs and let the smoke escape back through my lips a second or two later. Vaping is completely different for me. I still inhale for 2 or 3 seconds when “leisurely” vaping, but instead of a stop over in my mouth it goes straight into my lungs.
I never cared about the amount of smoke I produced from a drag off a cigarette. All I cared about WAS the nicotine fix. It was this need for nicotine that caused me to smoke for far too many years before wising up to its deadliness. With vaping, its the wonderful flavors and harmless aromatic vapor that keeps me vaping. However, there is a personal limit on the amount of vapor that I find pleasurable, hence the “leisure” tank and the “workout” tank idea.
Naturally there are exceptions to everything, including what someone considers an all day, every tank. I know people that use these these outrageously wicked tanks that produce vapor that you can almost cut with a knife, and they never suffer the ‘ills’ while doing so.
Below I’ve written about my experience with two Workout tanks. Can you see yourself in my experience, or are you someone that can use a Workout tank all day, every day? After relating my experience with them I’ll let you know when I find this kind of tank useful.
The Uwell Rafale
While I agree with most of what John had to say about the Uwell Rafale, there are some things about the tank that cause me to give the “leisure/workout comparison speech” when someone asks for my advice about it, and other tanks.
The first, and most obvious caution is the amount of eliquid you’ll go through. For a tank that has a capacity of 5mL of ejuice, some users of the Rafale will vaporize that 5mL in less than 90 minutes with the airflow set to full and the wattage high enough to produce warm vapor.
A 30mL bottle of High VG eliquid will vaporize before your eyes in 12 hours or less with the Rafale, if used all day. I’m not kidding. I have asked John to produce a video to show how quickly it vaporizes juice and I hope he decides to do it. I recommended a video running at 4x speed, in one take, to illustrate this ‘problem’.
Personally, I find it impossible to use the Rafale as a full time sub-ohm tank. The tank delivers the flavor, though not as good as some others, but the vapor production is much too overwhelming.
The Horizon Arctic V8
I could say basically the same thing I said above about the Uwell Crown, except that the flavor from the Crown is better than the flavor from the Rafale. So instead I’ll use the Arctic V8 with the V4 coil head as my second example. I worked with Tom on the review, and there were only a couple of minor points on contention between us.
The first thing you should know about the Arctic V8 is that it is a versatile tank that can be used as a Leisure or a Workout tank, provided you choose the right coil heads.
Set up as a Workout tank, with the quad-dual-coils called V8, this Kanthal wire coil head can use as much as 100w without hitting too hot or too hard. Just imagine how quickly you’ll go through ejuice with an octuplet Kanthal wire coil head.
However, the Arctic V8 offers a rather simple dual-coil called V2. This is a Bottom Vertical Dual Coil made with Kanthal wire and the performance, in flavor and vapor, is borderline Leisure/Workout. A fantastic tank, but an all day tank? It depends.
When Is a Good Time to Use a Workout Tank?
The answer if different for everyone, so I can tell you what Kiera and I consider as a good time to use a Workout tank. I would love to hear your opinions on this as well.
Obviously using a Workout tank during a test of an eliquid you’ve never tried before is a good time. A tank that fits the definition of a Workout tank will absolutely tell you how much vapor production a particular eliquid can produce.
Depending on how well the tank can relate the real flavor of an eliquid, you can also find out the limits to the eliquids flavor profile with a Workout tank.
I’ll admit that there are times when all I care about is chucking the biggest clouds I can. This can happen when I’m anxious about something, or if I’m upset, or wound up. It doesn’t happen often, but its nice to be able to pull out one of these monsters and let it go. What’s not nice is having to refill a 5mL tank every 45 minutes.
Because these Workout tanks push so much vapor there are times when you should never use one. Driving is dangerous with a Workout tank. Trying to read, or type with one can be impossible, and you’ll wind up cleaning your display (or windshield) more often.
Vaping with a Workout tank in the office, in the elevator, in the restroom, or anywhere people congregate is a terrible time to use one, unless everyone else is doing it, but even then the headaches will come quicker.
Buying Leisure and Workout Sub-Ohm Tanks
Leisure tanks, like the Joyetech Cubis, Mega One, Subtank Mini and Nano, the Tron, the Riptide and Mermaid tanks… and a hundred others, provide marvelous flavor and excellent vapor, but not so much vapor that you’ll fill the room with the clouds in minutes. There is no problem with headaches or nausea with a Leisure tank and moderate vaping.
Workout tanks, like the Rafale, the Crown, the Arctic V8 or Turbo, the Goliath tanks, the Zephyrus tanks, and even the Triton tanks, all produce massive amounts of vapor that can cause minor problems. I’m not saying that Workout tanks are tanks you should avoid. They have their place, and they can be a lot of fun to use. But if your budget is limited, if you’re looking for a new tank that you can use all day long, and if you haven’t yet experienced the real power of one of these tanks, then be aware that although you may be blown away by its performance, after a couple of hours you may wish you never bought it.
A Word about Ceramics
I was going to leave ceramic coils out of this column, but, because the vape community is buying into these new ceramic tanks and coil heads faster than anyone ever thought, I think it’s worth a mention.
If you’ve been vaping for 3 years or more you might remember ceramic coils. Today’s ceramic coils are a whole new game. A prime example of what these ceramic coil tanks are capable of you need to read the review we did on the Scylla tank. The ceramic coil heads in this tank puts the Scylla right smack in the middle of the Workout tank arena. The amount of vapor these ceramic coils in the Scylla produces is shocking.
The ceramic coil heads in the Council of Vapor’s Defiant is a fantastic thing, but the heat it creates makes the drip tip practically impossible to put between your lips. The best flavor and vapor may sit in the 60-watt range, as John says, but to actually use it for a time it has to be in 40-watt range.
Another thing about ceramic coil heads that we’ve yet to speak to is the break-in period. Unlike cotton and wire coil heads a ceramic coil will change its characteristics once its fully broken in. The perfect example of this is the aforementioned CoV Defiant. Kiera has been vaping with the Defiant exclusively for a week now and last night she told me that the ceramic coil head finally aged properly.
I learned that Kiera had been vaping the Defiant at 54-watts from Day One. This wattage caused the mouthpiece to get hot after 3 or 4 quick hits. So much so that Kiera had to put it down after the 4th drag and wait till cooled off. Last night, at the same wattage, the Defiant was still producing amazing flavor (it is a flavor tank!) and vapor, but it did so much cooler than before. Now she can vape with it for 10-12 quick hits before it becomes too hot to hit. Tom says the Scylla is the same way, and that a ceramic coil will produce great results at a cooler temperature only after it is broken in.
This new class of sub-ohm tanks, the Workout class, are marvelous devices that can surpass RDA performance, but in so doing the large amount of eliquid in the tank, comparatively speaking, can create a lot of heat, more clouds than you might want, and increase your eliquid consumption far and away more than you might be willing to spend. But they are here to stay, and it won’t be long before a manufacturer builds a tank that produces vapor that is so compact that you’ll need to pull it out of your lungs with your fingers.
After spending a few months with these incredible tanks I’ve began to ask the question; is there a limit to how much vapor is too much vapor.