Voltage Watts Ohms E-Cigs

The Vaper’s Guide to Voltage, Watts & Ohms (Plus Discount)

Not so long ago a reader told me she was still completely confused about voltage, watts and ohms, and I have a feeling she’s not the only one. (In fact, since Tom and I started writing this post, we’ve had at least five emails from readers asking for an explanation!)

So we’ve put together this tutorial for our E-Cigarette Academy – and you can also win an awesome Aspire CF Ω UK Kit in our easy and quick to enter giveaway.

Before we get started, it’s worth noting if you are starting off with variable voltage, and even with different resistance atomisers, you can get a very good vaping experience without a deep understanding of the science behind it.

At its simplest level, it’s simply a matter of adjusting the voltage of the battery until you get the vapour, flavour and throat hit you desire. You can also experiment with using different resistance atomisers and combining them with different voltages.

Some people want to know more, though, in order to get the perfect vaping experience. If you’re one of those, this post is for you.

When we started writing this post, we did find that it was rapidly getting complicated. Getting a balance between a really good explanation of the science and something that everybody could understand was proving impossible. So we’ve created two parts to this blog post: A Introduction to Voltage, Watts and Ohms as well as a more advanced explanation which covers Ohms Law.

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An Introduction to Voltage Watts and Ohms

Advanced Explanation

discount for sub ohm hardware image

What Are Ohms?

Monks squat in front of a giant coil, chanting ohmmmmm. An ohm is a unit of resistance. Essentially, the lower the resistance of your atomiser, the more electricity will flow through it. Increase the amount of resistance and less electricity will flow through. So when you use a lower resistance atomiser, and more electricity flows through, you will find the following:

  • more heat is generated at the coil
  • more vapour is generated
  • you may experience a more intense flavour (however, flavours perform differently with different resistance atomisers)
  • vapour will be warmer

Depending on your tastes, the above may all be positives! On the negative side:

  • your battery will be drained more quickly
  • battery life may be reduced
  • e-juice will be used more quickly
  • atomiser life will be reduced (very low ohm atomisers may only last 2-3 days)
  • you are more likely to experience a dry hit

Obviously, when you use a high resistance atomiser the opposite will happen:

  • less electricity flow
  • creating a reduced atomiser heat
  • a reduced amount of vaper
  • cooler vaper
  • and you may experience a less intense flavour

But on the plus side:

  • battery life will be longer
  • less ejuice will be used
  • you will be less likely to get a dry hit

Want to know how to sub ohm? See the Vaper’s Guide to Sub Ohm Vaping.

What Ohm Resistance Should I Use In My Clearomiser?

Sub Ohm Vaping Chart

There’s no one answer (although the sub-ohm chart above may help) – it depends on you, the vapour and throat hit you prefer, as well as the voltage you combine with the ohms.

You’ll also find that different e-liquids react differently, and that the resistance used has a big impact on flavour, so it’s definitely an area for experimentation. For further information on how to use different resistance clearomisers see The Ultimate Guide to Clearomisers

Variable Voltage E-Cigs Explained

Sitting on a sofa vaping a Vision Spinner.
Dan from ecigarettedirect with a variable voltage Vision Spinner 2.

The resistance of your atomiser is not the only thing which controls the amount of vapour, flavour and throat hit that are produced. It also depends on the amount of power flowing through your atomiser.

There are two common types of ecig batteries which allow different amounts of power to flow through your atomiser, which are known as variable voltage (such as the Vision Spinner 2) and variable wattage.

As we’ve seen, you can get a more intense experience by lowering the resistance of your atomiser. You can also do the same by increasing the amount of power flowing through your e-cigarette. That may sound complicated, but usually there’s nothing more to it than pressing an up/down button or rotating a dial.

But what if you want more vapour again? Then you can combine a low resistance atomiser with a higher voltage to get even more vapour. But this does come with its own problems – you are far more likely to burn through atomisers or get a dry hit, and atomiser life will be dramatically reduced. Also see The Ultimate Guide to Batteries  and The Vision Spinner VV: A Tutorial.

Variable Voltage vs Variable Wattage Devices

Morpheus meme: Reads - Essentially, the difference between variable voltage and variable wattage is a bit like the difference between an automatic and a manual car. With a variable voltage device you manually control the amount of power (voltage) going through your device.

The amount of energy that is actually output will depend on how the resistance of your atomiser interacts with that power flowing through it. With a variable wattage device, however, rather than telling the device how much power you want to flow through your atomiser, you tell it how much power (wattage) you want it to output. The variable wattage device will then automatically adjust the power going through the atomiser (the voltage) to produce the power output you need (the wattage).

To put it another way, watts is essentially how much power the e-cig produces and voltage is how much power is put through the device. So, as you increase the wattage the voltage also increases and vice versa. Voltage is not the only factor which affects wattage – you also need to take into account the resistance of the coils. Lower resistance coils produce more flavour, vapour and heat at a lower voltage than higher ohm coils because they use more watts.

For example, if you have a 1.8ohm coil running on 3.7 volts you’ll get an output of around 7.3 watts – a decent vape. However, if you change the coil to a higher resistance of 2.8ohms you will notice a considerable decrease in flavour, vapour production and heat, as the wattage will be lower (around 4.4 watts) and you will need to increase the voltage to increase the wattage and thus get a better vape.

Because lower resistance coils use more wattage, they tend to generate more heat and can burn out quicker than a higher resistance coil would. [Currently we only provide variable voltage devices online, but you can purchase variable wattage devices at any of our shops.]

What Does mAh in E-Cig Batteries Mean?

mAh for e-cigs explained You’ve probably seen mAh used to describe electronic cigarette batteries. mAh is important because it measures how long a battery lasts. Going back to our car analogy, if voltage is the fuel then mAh is the size of the fuel tank – the bigger the tank the longer the car will go before it needs refuelling. mAh stands for Milliamps per hour, but we’ll go more into that below.

What Is Sub Ohm Vaping?

Gif cloud chasing
James and Will from ECigaretteDirect Blowing Clouds with the Aspire CF Sub Ohm Battery & Atlantis Tank

So, we’ve seen that by lowering the resistance and increasing the voltage we get more vapour, more throat hit and sometimes more flavour.

Sub-ohming takes this to extremes by vaping at a resistance of less than 1 ohm. While this can produce massive amounts of vapour, it also puts stress on both the battery and the coil in your clearomiser.

It’s often done on a mechanical mod, which has no electrical safety switch and may increase the risk of an exploding battery if not used correctly. Until recently, sub-ohm vaping has been reserved for experienced vapers who want to push the boundaries with rebuildable atomisers.

The Atlantis CF Sub Ω battery and clearomiser, is part of a new breed of devices that allow you to enjoy sub ohm vaping with the safety, convenience and serviceability of regular Tank devices.

Advanced Explanation of Voltage, Watts and Ohms for Vapers

Ohms Law Vaping With Ecigs Electronic cigarettes are incredibly simple circuits that contain a battery, a switch and a heating coil. The circuit is effectively a controlled short, with the power being output from the battery being used to create heat.

mAh

A milliampere hour (mAh) is 1000th of an ampere hour (Ah). Both are used as a measure of battery capacity, a higher mAh rating means more capacity. mAh only measures capacity and should not be confused with power.

Amps

The Amp (short for ampere) is a measure of current. An ampere is defined as 6.241*10 18 electrons (1 Coulomb) per second passing through a point in a circuit.

Voltage

Voltage is the amount of potential energy between two points in a circuit. One point will have more charge than the other. This difference in electrical charge between the two points is called voltage.

Watts

Watt is a measure of the amount of power consumed by an electrical device.

Ohms Law

Cartoon demonstrating how volts, watts and ohms work. Image above from sengpielaudio.com Ohms law refers to the calculations used to show the relationship between voltage, current and resistance. There are three of them, which we’ve listed below.

  • V = Voltage measures in volts
  • I = Current measures in amperes (Amps)
  • R = Resistance measured in ohms

By knowing any two of the three values, you can calculate the third using ohms law;

  • V = I x R (Voltage = Current Multiplied by Resistance)
  • R = V/I (Resistance = Voltage divided by Current)
  • I – V/R (Current =Voltage Divided by Resistance)

So, if you are using a 0.5ohm coil on a battery that gives 4.2 volts, you use the following sum to work out how many amps the circuit is draining from the battery.

I = 4.2/0.5 = 8.4A

This is useful for vapers to know, particularly if they are making their own coils. The sum above is the most useful, as you should not be vaping on a coil when you do not know its resistance, or on a battery with unknown voltage output.

For those who prefer video, here’s a stellar explanation from New Amsterdam Vape:

You’ll find an excellent calculator which you can use to calculate ohms law here. Update: Shawn Hoefer has suggested also using the Ohmaster and CigToy apps. Given the importance of battery safety, he recommends using both rather than one or the other.

There’s a lot to take in here, so we’ve created a PDF version which can be downloaded to your computer and printed. Just click the image below!

download your free pdf version icon

Leave a comment:

34 thoughts on “The Vaper’s Guide to Voltage, Watts & Ohms (Plus Discount)

  1. I have a friend, a retired Physics teacher, who explained all this to me some time ago (when I was considering sub-ohming). I shall now send him a copy of this Guide, to show him how he should of done it! 😉

  2. Very informative article… I have always been a little worried about sub-ohm vaping, but the device you are offering in this Giveaway seems to be the perfect answer for people like me!!

    Thanks for the opportunity… <3

    1. Could not edit my post… but I hope this shows up!! 🙂

      [IMG]https://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn313/loupop13/E-cig%20Stuff/Vaping%20Humor/Sub-ohm-X.jpg~original[/IMG]

  3. You missed one of the key benefits of ‘variable’ wattage devices – which is power management. As a vaper uses his/her device, the electricity stored in the battery drops. This will manifest itself as a drop in the voltage at output. Typically a fresh, fully charged battery will show 4.2 volts. As it is used this will drop to below 3.5 volts. Variable wattage devices compensate for this because what they deliver is a consistent wattage (V x I = W). Thus the user dials in the wattage required and the device delivers this until it alerts the user (most do) that battery power is depleted to the point and a charge/battery change is required.

    1. @Bryan

      I know this thread is ridiculously old, but I felt the need to comment for anyone else that might stumble across it.

      Sorry, I have to disagree. Regulated mods are “supposed” to keep the voltage constant as the battery voltage drops as opposed to mech mods that give you whatever voltage the battery currently has. I don’t know if James covered this or not, because I just did a quick scan, but the benefit of variable wattage over variable voltage is that with variable voltage, the voltage is held constant. The coil resistance will fluctuate over time so the wattage (actual work done) will change based on the following equations:

      I=E/R and P=IxE Where E=Voltage I=Current R=Resistance.

      So, as “R” increases, then “I” decreases and “P” decreases given a constant voltage “E”. The reverse occurs as “R” decreases, obviously.

      Therefore, rather than adjusting the voltage to compensate for changes in the coil resistance over time to keep a constant wattage, which is what you want, you use variable wattage. The voltage is automatically increased or decreased to compensate for the change in the coil resistance. It’s less hassle. Not that big of a deal either way.

  4. Great tutorial/guide, I’m currently using aspire esp30w with a tobeco super tank 0.3 coil. At 10 watts using 2.0 volts, I get s refreshing hit from my oils. Will this burn my coil out quicker

  5. LOVE the wattage/voltage/resistance chart! I’ve never seen such a clear and useful resource for calculating ideal settings on my ecig…

    Bravo!!!

  6. Hi
    When should you top up fluid in i sub tanks and can it burn out your coil or damage your device if you leave till very little fluid is left.

  7. sorry but im still pretty confused. I have a joytech vape with coils that i made myself and this is the first time im using my own built coils. before i changed my coils, my ohms were around 0.35ish and now that i made my own my ohms are at 1.04 and my box’s watts can be changed going all the way up to 80 watts. so im wondering if having my ohms that high is bad? and if so what can i do to fix it? i used kanthal wire i think 24 gauge but im not positive on the size wire. since im now using my own coils my vape has been running differently and not popping as much, which is what im used to happening. i just wanna make sure im not gonna catch this thing on fire lol someone help please! thank you~

    1. Hi Anna, this isn’t meant to be a guide for coil building, I am afraid. You would need to find a specialist guide, and our advice is always don’t do it unless you know what you are doing!

  8. Hi, I’m running a Cool Fire 1V with a 0.4ohm DCC coil in the Aspire Cleito tank and would like to know the amount of Watts you recommend. I currently am using it at 30W and am pleased with the results but Aspire rate the 0.4ohm DDC coils to be run at a min of 40W and max 60W. Should i be not be using this tank set-up with the CF1V?

    1. We used to make attempts to estimate the wattage to be used with different resistances but we tend to avoid that now because there are so many variables, and as manufacturers should know their products best we generally recommend following the manual. That said, I can’t really see the harm – it’s not as if you are using too high a wattage and are likely to burn out the coil, so if it works for you why not go with it?

  9. Thanks James, at least i now know that im not in any danger of burning my coil out quicker than it would normally but was wondering if running at 40W constantly (as this is the max watts the CF1V puts out) would be ok for the battery?

  10. Hi there,I recently bought the Istick power Nano from a vape store.I don’t know much about vaping as this is my first vapebox but when I bought it the guy behind me told me that although my box can vape at 40watts he told me not to go over 25watts as this would burn the coil out.Can you please tell me what coil I need to buy so I can vape over 25 watts.I would like to vape at 40 watts but just don’t know what coil to buy.The tank is a MELO 3 Nano.Thank you.

  11. Thanks, very informative piece.

    -minor editing needed as ‘the difference’ is repeated twice (just under the Matrix picture).

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