A tremendous performance variance exists among the products available to electronic cigarette buyers. Although your e-cigarette’s battery is most likely rated for operation at 3.7 volts, you’ll find that your vaping experience changes when you use different e-liquids, atomizers and cartomizers.
Some combinations may produce rich flavor and full-bodied throat hit, while others may leave you wishing you could “turn up the volume” a little.
Variable-voltage electronic cigarettes allow you to do exactly that, making it possible to change the voltage of your device to achieve the vapor production, flavor and throat hit you want.
It’s All About the Watts
The key benefit of variable-voltage electronic cigarettes is the fact that they produce more vapor than the small e-cigarettes most people buy when they start vaping.
To understand the difference, consider the specifications of a standard electronic cigarette; most devices use 3.7-volt batteries and 2.5-ohm cartomizers, thus producing a little under 5.5 watts of power. To squeeze out a little more performance, some e-cigarette owners buy large batteries and couple them with low-resistance atomizers and cartomizers.
When you pair a 3.7-volt battery with a 1.5-ohm attachment, the vapor production of the e-cigarette increases to over 9 watts. However, this still doesn’t equal the performance a variable-voltage e-cigarette can achieve: up to 12 watts at 6 volts with a 3.0-ohm attachment.
Understanding Variable Voltage Electronic Cigarettes
How Do Variable-Voltage Electronic Cigarettes Work?
Variable-voltage electronic cigarettes use 3.7-volt batteries, just like standard electronic cigarettes. The difference is in the fact that a variable-voltage e-cigarette includes a booster circuit that stores and regulates power from the battery, delivering it to the atomizer or cartomizer at the voltage you select.
Many variable-voltage e-cigarettes also include microprocessors for safety and precise control over vapor production. These advanced internal electronics often make variable-voltage e-cigarettes more expensive than standard e-cigarettes.
Is Variable-Voltage Vaping for Me?
Variable-voltage devices produce the best performance currently available in the e-cigarette industry.
If you’ve never owned an e-cigarette before, though, a variable-voltage device may not be right for you. If you smoke infrequently or prefer ultra light cigarettes, you may find the extreme vapor production of a variable-voltage device too intense at peak power. If you have to dial a variable-voltage e-cigarette down to 3.7 volts to achieve the desired vapor production, you may be better off buying a 3.7-volt e-cigarette.
In addition, variable-voltage e-cigarettes can be finicky. When operating at six volts, an atomizer will produce a harsh, dry vapor with an unpleasant flavor if the heating coil isn’t kept wet. If you add too much e-liquid to the atomizer, though, it could flood and leak. The people who have the best results with variable-voltage devices tend to be experienced e-cigarette users.
Variable-Voltage Electronic Cigarettes vs. Stacked Battery Mods
If you’re looking for information about variable-voltage electronic cigarettes, it’s probably because your current e-cigarette isn’t delivering the vapor production and flavor you want.
You may have also read about another type of electronic cigarette that delivers more power: the stacked battery mod. These e-cigarettes – usually shaped like tubes – use two 3-volt batteries stacked in series to achieve 6-volt operation and generally cost less than variable-voltage e-cigarettes.
However, these e-cigarettes have two major problems: flexibility and safety.
A variable-voltage e-cigarette can work with any atomizer or cartomizer with compatible threading. If you want to use a low-resistance or dual-coil attachment, you can simply lower the voltage level.
A stacked battery mod doesn’t have a microprocessor to calculate the resistance of the attachment; if you connect a low-resistance attachment, it will burn out immediately. The only way to prevent this is by removing the two 3-volt batteries and replacing them with a single 3.7-volt battery.
The second – and more crucial – difference between variable-voltage e-cigarettes and stacked battery mods is safety.
The microprocessor in a high-quality variable-voltage e-cigarette can automatically detect when the voltage selected is unsafe for the connected atomizer or cartomizer. Depending on the e-cigarette, the device lowers its voltage automatically or displays an error code.
A stacked battery mod doesn’t have this ability; if you use it improperly, you may ruin the attachment, the batteries or the mod itself. In rare instances, improper usage of a stacked battery mod can even result in a battery explosion.
Variable-Voltage with Stacked Batteries
Some variable-voltage electronic cigarettes forgo a boost circuit in favor of a buck circuit.
In this case, the electronic cigarette uses two 3.7-volt batteries stacked in series for a native power level of 7.4 volts. The buck circuit then lowers the output voltage to achieve the desired flavor and vapor production.
In most cases, this type of electronic cigarette doesn’t have a microprocessor or digital controls. Instead, you change the voltage by turning a screw or dial. These devices may cost slightly less than variable-voltage electronic cigarettes with boost circuits.
When stacking batteries, however, it is extremely important that you only use the batteries the manufacturer recommends.
Why Should I Buy a Variable-Voltage Electronic Cigarette?
If you’re a current electronic cigarette user and you occasionally feel tempted to return to smoking because your current e-cigarette doesn’t deliver quite the vapor and flavor you want, you are the ideal candidate for variable-voltage vaping.
However, increased performance isn’t the only reason to buy a variable-voltage device.
Because variable-voltage devices hold much larger batteries than standard e-cigarettes, they can also help you avoid the untimely battery deaths that happen all too often with smaller devices.
If your electronic cigarette is the same size and shape as a real cigarette, it has a battery capacity of about 90 mAh. You can use it for around an hour before the battery dies.
Variable-voltage electronic cigarettes are large enough to hold batteries with capacities of 1600 mAh and higher; for many people, that’s enough for a full day of vaping or more.
The second item to consider is the fact that variable-voltage devices are some of the safest electronic cigarettes available.
The intelligent microprocessors in variable-voltage devices prevent you from using them in unsafe ways. With a well-designed device, you can’t insert the battery in reverse, discharge the battery to an unsafe level, hold the activation button long enough to cause overheating or operate at a voltage too high for the connected atomizer or cartomizer.
In all of these conditions, the device displays an error code, adjusts the voltage level to compensate or simply shuts off. In addition, variable-voltage electronic cigarettes use high-quality batteries with cells produced by reputable companies such as Sanyo and Sony – batteries that won’t overheat or fail, even during your heaviest vaping sessions.
If you think a variable voltage device is for you, be sure to check out: