If you’ve been vaping for a while or have looked around for mods you’ll have undoubtedly come across temperature control vaping. It’s gone from being a niche addition to some higher-end devices to basically a must-have feature for many vapers. These days you’ll barely ever see a mod released which doesn’t feature it. But what is temperature control vaping? How does it work? Why would you want to use it? What coils can you use with it? Here’s everything you need to know about temperature control mods.
- Temperature control works by making changes in temperature from how your coil’s resistance changes when it gets hotter or colder.
- This allows you to avoid ‘dry hits’ and get a more consistent performance out of your device and tank.
- Wire materials like nickel, titanium and stainless steel work with TC mods. Kanthal and nichrome don’t change resistance enough with temperature to work.
- All you need to TC vape is a mod with the feature (almost any modern device will have it) and a tank or atomizer with a suitable coil type.
- The “TCR” – the temperature coefficient of resistance – tells you how much the coil’s resistance changes with temperature.
- Some TC mods operate in joules. From a vaper’s perspective, this is effectively identical to watts.
The basics of what temperature control (TC, for short) actually does are very easy to understand. In ordinary variable voltage / variable wattage (VV/VW) mods, you choose a wattage or a voltage setting and vape. The setting you choose dictates how much current is sent to your coil, but the only real difference between voltage and wattage from a vaper’s perspective is that the wattage takes account for the resistance of the coil.
However, regardless of the differences between voltage and wattage settings, they work in the same basic way. Each setting sends a certain amount of electricity through your coil for however long you’re pressing the button down. This heats up the coil and vaporizes your e-juice. If you keep pressing the fire button, the temperature will keep increasing, because you’re still sending the same amount of electricity to the coil. Eventually, if your coil starts to run low on juice, this will overcook what is there and you get a ‘dry hit’ and possibly burn your cotton. Both of these things taste really gross, so you don’t want that to happen.
TC vaping, as the name suggests, focuses on the temperature of the coil rather than the voltage or wattage you’re working at. So instead of telling your mod, “send 40 W to the coil for as long as I press the button” you’re telling it, “don’t let the coil get hotter than 430 °F.” For TC devices, they do ultimately work at a set wattage (and some let you choose your “ramp up” wattage), but their main aim is to limit the temperature at whatever value you set. When you reach that temperature, the mod then reduces or stops the power to maintain the temperature.
The benefits of temperature control vaping should be clear. If you want to avoid horrible ‘dry hits’ temperature control is the perfect solution. When there isn’t enough liquid in your coil or it’s going to get overcooked as a result of your setting, the temperature of the coil will quickly approach the limit you set and the mod will save you from the dry puff before it even happens.
This has quite a few consequences for vaping. Firstly, it means you can vape when your tank is low on juice without risking constant dry puffs. You don’t have to worry about getting dry puffs because you’re using a higher-VG e-juice on a device that isn’t well-equipped to deal with it. And if you’re chain-vaping too much, where you’d normally risk running into a dry puff, TC will ease off the power before that happens.
Although most vapers like TC, for anybody unsure it’s worth pointing out that not everyone loves it. It’s excellent for consistency in performance and maximizing the harm reduction potential of vaping. On the other hand, vapor production will often be reduced a little bit on TC devices. If you’re a cloud-chaser, this can be rectified by using higher-end coil types like Clapton coils. In general, though, the vapor production will be lower for TC vaping. Another widely-cited downside is for rebuilders. It’s obviously possible to buy some wire suitable for TC and make your own coils in the way you ordinarily would. However, nickel in particular is difficult to work with. To build a coil in the workable resistance range for most mods, you need to use very thin wire. It’s softer than kanthal too. Both of these points mean that rebuilding is a delicate process. The wire can even break when you tighten down your post screws.
When you’re learning about TC vaping, you’ll come across the term “temperature coefficient of resistance,” or TCR. This tells you the size of the change in resistance for a given change in temperature for each material. So with these TCR values and the relationship between temperature and resistance, your mod works out how hot your coil is getting.