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Ohms explained – what’s the difference?

The majority of e-cig clearomizers/tanks/atomizers have replaceable coil heads/atomizer heads.

These coil heads are heating elements that are powered by the battery and heat the e-liquid in the tank. Many come in a choice different resistances which you will see expressed as an ohms rating such as 1.8ohm or 2.2ohm, or you may see ohms represented as Ω.

The choice of ohms ratings allows e-cig users to fine tune their vapour production and general experience including matching the most appropriate coil for their batteries.

Ohms is a measure of electrical resistance, it refers to how freely or not an electrical current is able to travel. If it passes freely there’s less resistance, if it can’t travel so freely there’s more resistance.

It's the same principle as water running through a pipe, if you make the pipe smaller but there's still as much water the resistance will increase as it can't travel as freely as it did running through the bigger pipe.

There are two things that determine the speed of heating and how hot the coil head gets, which is the battery voltage (voltage is electrical pressure) and the ohm rating of other parts attached to the battery.

Below is a general guide of two similar coils (with lower and higher ohms ratings) listing their differences, advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you look at it.

Lower Ohms / Higher Voltage (1.8ohm for example)

  • More electrical current (it travels more easily)
  • Coil gets hotter faster
  • More vapour is produced
  • Vapour is warmer
  • Flavour may be intensifying but it could also be diminished
  • Battery will drain quicker
  • Dry hits are more likely
  • Battery life may be reduced
  • More e-liquid is used (so more refilling)

Higher Ohms / Lower Voltage (2.1ohm for example)

  • Less electrical current (it travels less easily)
  • Less heat created at the coil
  • Less vapour is produced
  • Vapour is cooler
  • Flavour may be intensifying but it could also be diminished
  • Battery power will last longer (will drain less quickly)
  • Dry hits are less likely
  • Battery life maximised
  • Less e-liquid is used (so less refilling)

So as you can see there are pro's and con's whichever way you look at it, and if you're still not sure what you should be doing, just bear in mind that there’s no definitive answer, there’s no right or wrong choice as such, much of this comes down to personal preference plus differences in equipment and e-liquid.

Ideally aim for the lowest ohm rating that won’t result in too many dry hits. This will give the best vapour production and usually the best flavour.