Vaping: Voltage, Watts & Ohms Explained

Understanding Ohm’s Law is a key part of  vaping, especially when you become more involved. In the beginning, when you first start out with vaping, you will probably be using a cig a like starter kit so there is no need to be concerned about voltages, currents or resistances, however once you are more experienced and decide to move on to using an advanced personal vaporizer, you will find that the voltage and the resistance of your atomizer will often both be variable to adjust the power of your vapor hit. This is when you will need to begin learning about the equations of Ohm’s Law. Luckily, it isn’t too difficult to understand, and you can always use an Ohm’s Law calculator to make the job easier.

What Is Vaping Wattage And Voltage?

Both wattage and voltage are measurements of electricity. If you are trying to picture electrical readings, one of the best ways to get an image in your head is to imagine a garden hose, with the water representing the electrical current. When the faucet is open, the water running through the hose builds up pressure, and if you use your finger to partially close off one end, you will find that the water’s force is stronger and the flow will be faster. This is exactly the case with electricity through its wiring. When you vape, the heat that is generated by the tank or atomizer is defined by wattage, and when it is adjusted, the amount of heat generated will also vary. To increase the wattage of your vaporizer, fine tuning the resistance or voltage levels is necessary, with all atomizers being different from each other in terms of their resistance levels (which could be between 1.5 and 3 ohms).

 When using an e-cig with variable wattage and voltage, there are some advantages, not the least of which being that more vapor is produced than when using standard entry-level e-cig a likes which are so popular with novice vapers. For example, a standard e-cig will have a 3.7V battery and a 2.4Ω tank or atomizer, producing just under 5.5 W. It is possible to get more out of an e-cig by purchasing a bigger battery and pairing it with a tank or atomizer with a lower resistance of 1.5Ω or 1.8Ω which will boost vapor production up to around 9W, however this will not match the performance of an e-cig with variable wattage and voltage which is able to produce around 12 W at 6 V with a 3.0Ω tank.

About the Ohms

Ohms is a measurement of electrical resistance. When you lower resistance while increasing voltage, you will enjoy more vapor, an improved throat hit, and often, increased flavor. If you try sub-ohm vaping, you reduce the resistance to low extremes of under 1 Ohm, although this can be risky. Ohm’s Law is a formula which establishes the relationship between Amps (the measurement of the current), Volts (measuring the voltage) and Ohms (which measures resistance). This information can be found in an Ohm chart.

Ohm’s Law is basically I=V/R (or current equals voltage divided by resistance), and this equation is able to be rearranged should you need to calculate one of the other figures. Usually, however, vaping is discussed in terms of its power, or wattage, which is a measurement of energy over time and is represented by W. In order to work out the wattage at which you are vaping you need to figure out the Voltage squared, then divide the product by the resistance. If you find this too challenging, a vaping chart is a good idea that takes all of the hard work out of working out your vaping power.

What Ohms Should You Use?

There is no definitive answer to what ohms you should use when vaping as everyone has their own favorite style. To find out which coil you prefer, you should try different ones until you find one that suits you best.

An atomizer is a heating coil which produces the vapor in your e-cig. It works by electrical resistance creating heat, and while you may think than an atomizer with a higher resistance would make an increased amount of heat and therefore an increased amount of vapor, the power itself is actually more important. The level of resistance in the atomizer converts some of the energy that flows through the system into heat, and while a larger proportion is beneficial, it is the amount of energy which flows through the system that is essential. As electrons flow through the wiring at a faster rate, they produce more heat and this is why the wattage is the key measure of vapor production. Therefore, when a low resistance is paired with high voltage, the largest amount of vapor is produced – on the other hand, however, your atomizer burns out more rapidly. Experimentation is the key, however if you require a larger output of vapor,you should choose an atomizer with a low resistance instead of a high resistance one.

vape chartWhile variable voltage devices are arguably the best performing on the market, if you are only a light vaper, you will probably find that the amount of vapor or power of the throat hit produced by a variable wattage/voltage device is too much for you and you may be better advised to choose a regular 3.7 V e-cig instead. Using a variable device can be tricky, and referring back to a vape chart can be too complex for novice or inexperienced vapers. For example, if you use a variable e-cig at 11W or 6V, you may find the vapor is too dry or harsh and the flavor is unpleasant when the heating coil is not wet enough, but if you add more e-liquid to the atomizer, you may find that you flood the tank, causing it to gurgle and emit e-juice through the drip tip. Using these devices is therefore best left to those e-cig users who have more experience.