I didn’t used to care about clouds at all.
For me, vaping was all about getting nicotine and feeling that comforting punch at the back of my throat that reminded me of smoking.
But somewhere down the line, things changed.
As I moved further away from smoking and got accustomed to vaping, producing sizable clouds of vapour started to seem more and more appealing. I’ve never been a full-fledged cloud-chaser, but the wispy vapour from pen-sized and cigalike devices started to feel like it just wasn’t enough.
So I took some tentative steps towards increasing the vapour production from my device. Over time, as I tweaked my setup and learned more about vaping, I started to put out some serious clouds.
I won’t be winning a cloud competition any time soon, but the key lessons vapers have learned over the years are enough to make your clouds as big as you like.
However, many posts on improving vapour production focus on rebuilding, and not all vapers are interested in wrapping their own Clapton coils or fretting about the surface area of their builds. Modern sub ohm tanks are about as far as more casual vapers are interested in going.
So, if you want to produce massive clouds of vapour, but are not particularly interested in rebuildable mods, this blog post is for you.
Together we’ll explore the device, techniques and the juice that you need to maximise the vapour from your electronic cigarette.
What type of clearomiser to use?
While smaller clearomisers like the Aspire BDC are great for everyday, and more discreet use, to get really big clouds, you’re going to need a low resistance sub ohm clearomiser like the Aspire Atlantis, Aspire Cleito or the Innokin iSub V.
The Atlantis features a BVC (bottom vertical coil) with a low resistance of 0.5ohms. The BVC coils give less air resistance and more vapour than the still great BDC clearomisers.
Like the Atlantis, the coils on the Cleito were designed for vapour and flavour, using a dual “Clapton” coil design and keeping the resistance low at 0.2 or 0.4 ohms. The iSub V has both BVC and Clapton coils, in addition to standard (but still low-resistance options)
To use the Aspire Atlantis or other sub ohm tanks, you need a battery powerful enough for sub ohm resistances. Here are three compatible e-cig batteries (read on for more information about these devices):
- Aspire CF Sub Ohm (fixed voltage)
- Council of Vapour Mini Volt 40 W (variable wattage)
- Innokin Coolfire IV TC100 (variable wattage and temperature control)
These are all great devices, but if you’re relatively new to e-cigs, they can seem a bit expensive.
The Aspire Nautilus Mini features the same BVC coil design as the Atlantis and enjoys increased flavour and vapour production but at higher resistance, meaning it is compatible with a wide range of batteries including variable voltage and standard eGo batteries.
(Update: The Nautilus Mini is now being replaced by the Nautilus X.)
How to set airflow settings for maximum clouds
More airflow means more cooling capacity and more vapour. The more air you can get over your coil, the lower you can keep the temperature. The temperature should be low enough so that you do not burn your wick caused by excessive power, or insufficient airflow.
Keeping the temperature low minimises the risk of burning your wick because it keeps everything cooler, but also brings a fresh flow of air into the mix and encourages condensation of the vapour into a cloud.
By increasing the air going over your coil, you’re giving your device the chance to make more vapour.
As e-liquid is vaporized, the space above the coil becomes “saturated” with vapour, and the only way more can be created is if some condenses back into e-liquid. This effectively prevents new vapour from being created if your airflow is completely closed off (or close to it).
Having air flowing rapidly across the coil removes this “old” vapour and allows it to be replaced by “new vapour.” This means you get more vapour than you would with less airflow, because you’re providing a constant supply of fresh air to be filled with vapour.
This is really only one of the reasons vapour production increases with more airflow, though.
Another, more important factor – explained excellently in an old ECF post – is that when you vape, it’s not really “vapour” you’re visibly exhaling. It’s actually an “aerosol,” which means a mist of liquid droplets. In other words, condensation is actually what you need for big clouds, as long as you have enough air to pull the condensed aerosol out of the chamber.
The airflow over your coil cools down the vapour, and this makes it condense into liquid droplets. So the more airflow you have, the more condensation there is and the more visible “vapour” (i.e. aerosol) you produce.
The extra airflow also “dilutes” the vapour with more air, which has the effect of puffing it out. It’s been compared to cotton candy – the more air that’s in the mix, the bigger and fluffier it seems. You can go too far and get wispy vapour, but in most cases, more air is a good thing for cloud-chasing.
The adjustable airflow in the Atlantis, the Nautilus Mini and other devices allow you to match the cooling air over the coil to the heat generated by the power from the battery (particularly important for regulated mods).
But before you run off and start drilling the air holes in your CE5 (which we don’t recommend you do, ever), there’s another important ingredient.
Adjusting Your Power Settings for Maximum Clouds
The simple lesson here is that more power generates bigger clouds.
If you vape at 60 W you’ll get much bigger clouds than when you’re vaping at 30 W, as long as it’s with the same tank and e-juice. It seems easy (and it is), but there are a couple of other things to bear in mind before you go cranking it up to 100 W.
When you increase the power flowing through the coil (in your clearomiser), you increase the amount of heat generated, which is one of the reasons you need that extra airflow.
Some people do like hotter vapour than others, but most will want to counterbalance that heat with some extra air. There is no right or wrong way to vape, though, so just experiment and see what you
But the decision to increase airflow has other consequences too. The airflow plays an important role in the tightness of the draw. Less air will give more resistance, more air will give an airier vape.
Again, vapers’ preferences for airflow vary, so you should experiment a little to find what you like.
To choose a specific power setting, you need to consider your choice of tank too.
Although you should use a sub ohm clearomizer (which can all cope with higher power) for cloud-chasing, not all of the coils in your clearomizer are rated for the same power settings. The suggested settings are usually printed on the coil itself, and these are a good guide to the power you can put through them.
The guidelines are there for a reason. It usually struggles with wicking or the vapour gets uncomfortably hot towards the upper end.
However, they aren’t set in stone, so if you find yourself wanting more vapour, you can always try out some higher settings. We don’t recommend going too far above the recommendation (you’ll probably get some dry hits), but really it’s all about your preferences.
The bottom line is; for big clouds, you want maximum airflow and plenty of power. This is where regulated mods and big batteries come in.
Which battery should I use?
Your choice of battery is important. A regulated box mod can provide variable voltage and variable wattage giving you a wide range of settings to explore.
On the other hand, simpler devices often use a fixed voltage. Both types of device can work for cloud-chasers, but mods with variable wattage are usually preferred.
The more you are able to adjust the power range on your battery, the more you can fine-tune the battery to your clearomiser and air resistance to hit your vaping sweet spot.
This is because the more you are able to adjust the power range on your battery, the more you can fine-tune the battery to your clearomiser and air resistance to hit your vaping sweet spot.
These are the batteries we recommend for sub ohming.
The Aspire CF Sub Ohm Battery
The CF Sub ohm battery from Aspire works at a fixed voltage, making it easy to use. All you have to do is attach a clearomizer (with a coil resistance between 0.3 ohms and 1 ohm) and press the fire button to vape.
It’s rated for up to 40 A of current, making it well-equipped for low resistance vaping. This battery has all the benefits of a mechanical mod, with the added safety of a regulated device.
Innokin Coolfire IV TC100
The Coolfire IV TC100 by Innokin is an excellent choice for cloud-chasing vapers, with a massive 100 W of power to play with. It includes temperature control with nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils, which is great feature in its own right (although not too important for increasing vapour production).
The mod also incorporates a 3,300 mAh battery, which is more than enough to keep you vaping throughout the day.
Variable Wattage or Variable Voltage?
When using a regulated box mod, we would recommend variable wattage over variable voltage, as it adjusts the voltage input automatically to allow for the resistance of the coil (which can vary very slightly according to the temperature it is at).
In other words, if you vape at 4 V with a 0.5 ohm coil and with a 1 ohm coil, the vapour production and performance will be different with each coil. But it you vape at 50 W on both coils, the performance will be consistent.
For more about the differences, see:
To find the sweet spot for clouds with a regulated mod in variable wattage mode, follow these steps:
- Start on the maximum airflow setting and a low wattage, towards the bottom end of the range suggested on your coil.
- Take a few drags on the device.
- If the vape is not too hot and you don’t get dry puffs, increase the wattage and repeat steps 2 and 3
- When the vapour starts getting too hot or you experience dry puffs, dial back the wattage to the last good setting
You should increase the wattage slowly and always start low. If you start at too high a wattage, you can burn the wick giving a horrible burnt taste. Once the wick is burnt, you cannot get rid of the taste and will have to replace the coil.
We mentioned above that everyone’s perfect vape is different, and you might prefer a cooler or a warmer vape. It is worth spending some time adjusting these settings to your liking.
Higher wattages are better for vapour production, but you can still account for your preferences and get tons of vapour.
How does coil resistance affect vapour production?
The resistance of the coil plays an important role in the amount of vapour that can be produced by your e-cig.
The lower the resistance, the easier it is to achieve high temperatures. Furthermore, a lower resistance coil will reach the higher temperatures required to produce more vapour more quickly.
Although low resistance has a big part to play in this, some wire types also heat faster than others. In general, the bigger the wire, the longer it takes to heat up.
So for something like the Aspire Cleito, which uses Clapton coils, the “ramp up time” will be longer than with a basic coil type. Even if the resistance and wattage are equal, thicker wire takes longer to heat up.
Low resistance coils can generally cope with high wattages better than higher-resistance ones, but with a high-power e-cig, you don’t necessarily need the resistance to be too low.
As long as the tank can keep up with the wicking demands of high-wattage vaping, you can get great vapour production on higher-ohm coils too.
That said, with sub ohm clearomizers being so common, as long as you have a capable battery there’s not much reason to choose a higher-resistance one. Unless you prefer a tighter airflow (which is more common with higher-resistance coils), sub ohm clearomizers are the way to go.
You can upgrade your BDC clearomiser with a BVC coil for increased flavour and vapour production. Click here to view the BVC coil upgrades for BDC clearomisers.
Sub ohming is the terms used for vaping on a clearomiser below 1.0ohms of resistance. Because the resistance of the coil is so low, it is an excellent way to produce massive clouds of vapour.
When sub-ohming, you must use a battery that has a high enough discharge rating for low resistances, such as the Aspire CF Sub Ohm Battery or the others referenced above.
If you’re using a mod with a separate battery, you need to ensure the battery you choose has a high “continuous discharge limit.” This tells you how many amps of current the battery can safely provide.
Anything over 20 A will be more than enough for most purposes, but it’s important to use Ohm’s law calculators to check the current your setup will be pulling if you’re not sure.
You should always stay within your battery’s limit, ideally comfortably within them. There’s more info about this in a post on Vaping360, if you’re interested.
For more about sub ohm vaping see:
The Best E-Liquid for Clouds
The e-liquid you choose will make a difference in the amount of vapour produced.
More PG – More throat hit
More VG – More vapour
Whether you are using a CE5 or a sub ohm clearomiser, the ratio of PG to VG will make a big difference to the quantity of vapour produced.
It’s important to know that when you go beyond 50% VG, the e-liquid can become quite thick which which can cause problems in some clearomisers. This isn’t usually a problem with sub ohm clearomizers, though.
(Note: Our e-liquids are in the process of being switched to a 50/50 pg/vg ratio.)
For big clouds, choose an e-liquid with a 50/50 PG/VG ratio, or higher VG. High PG e-liquids are not good for producing lots of vapour and can be quite harsh on your throat.
E-liquid strength is also important when using lower resistances. When I use an Aspire BDC, I use a 1.8% e-liquid on an Aspire BDC clearomiser. On the Atlantis & other sub ohm clearomisers, I use 0.6%. That’s a big difference in strength.
The bottom line is: when you produce more vapour, you get more nicotine, so you should adjust your nicotine strength to compensate. Some e-liquids come in 0.3 % nicotine for this reason.
Inhaling Technique – When you’re not sucking hard enough
Yes, I just used that title! To get lots of vapour, you need enough airflow to cool the coil and help your cloud condense. Even when the airflow setting on your clearomiser is at maximum, it’s no good if you’re not inhaling enough to make use of it.
When I’ve given a low resistance device to a friend who is more used to CE5’s, 9 times out of 10 they will not inhale enough and start coughing.
They’re using the same device with the same wattage and airflow, but while I’m happily blowing clouds, they’re often left coughing. Why?
If you don’t inhale (suck) hard and fast enough, you won’t get enough air over the coil to cool it sufficiently, the coil heats up and the vapour can get uncomfortably hot.
It seems counter intuitive, but the harder you inhale, the less harsh the vape will be. Once you’ve got over this, it’s easy.
Conclusion – Things Are Going to Get Cloudy
Getting massive clouds of vapour is a huge topic, but this post covers the key things you need to think about when it comes to tailoring your vape.
As we’ve stressed several times, the important thing is getting the right amount of vapour for your preferences: there is no “wrong” way to vape, and you don’t need dense, billowing clouds to enjoy vaping. So it’s important to balance your vapour production against your other preferences, especially when it comes to the tightness of the draw, throat hit and flavour.
The key piece of advice is to experiment.
Try out a higher-VG e-juice and see if that satisfies your cloud-chasing urges. Test out some higher power settings. Pick up a new sub ohm tank. Tweak your airflow. And then you can work towards finding the right balance of these and other components to suit your tastes.
Be as much of a cloud-chaser as you want to be, but always vape the way you want.
What are your pro tips? Let me know in the comments!