What is wattage and volts in e cigarettesIf you are reading this then you are either considering purchasing or have just purchased a Variable Voltage or Variable Wattage e cig device.

For vapers this is the big transition from a device that looks like a cigarette or a vape pen style e cig. You are marking a stage where you are moving up from a starter kit to intermediate/advanced vaping.

In today’s vaping world the majority of devices you will come across will be variable wattage, a standard which most manufacturers build their devices.


The reason people go for vape devices where you can change the power output is because they are seeking something more from their vaping experience.

Being able to change the voltage or wattage on your device means that you can increase/decrease the electrical current flowing through the coil. The benefits of this are improved flavour and vapour production.


You may wish to try out different e-liquids containing different amounts of nicotine, different ratios of PG/VG, different flavours of e juice or using a different atomiser/resistance coil.


By altering the flow of current through the coil it will heat differently. You will find a setting that works for you, one that produces the flavour and vape you find more satisfying than the fixed voltage from an Ego/vape pen style battery.

Experimentation is a term you will hear a lot in vaping and it’s no different here. We all have our own way of vaping so choosing the right wattage is a personal preference.


An typical vape pen battery contains a 3.7 volt battery and most of the atomisers for it are around 1.5ohms.Jacvapour Series S17 Review

Using the equation known as Ohm’s Law V=I*R tells us that a maximum current of 2.5amps flows in this circuit.

Using the Power equation P=V*I tells us what energy is being provided to heating the e-liquid, in this case 9.25 watts.

BUT as the battery is used the voltage will begin to drop. As it decreases so does the current flowing around the circuit and the energy getting to the coil.


So who uses a VV/VW device?

The short answer is people who want a consistent vape experience or more ‘oomph’ in their vape.IPV D3 Mod Review

The electronics contained within a VV/VW device will automatically adjust the voltage or the wattage to keep it at a constant level.

If you set your device for 4.2 volts the device will “step-up” the battery’s output as it begins to run down so that even if the battery would read 3.6volt the device will boost it to 4.2V.

This means a consistency of vape until the battery needs replacing with another.

Many people prefer to use the power setting and select the watts they want as this provides a more even delivery of energy to the coil and automatically adjusts itself for fluctuations in the battery’s output.


What setting do you need?

The answer here is to begin at a low setting and gradually increase the output until you reach one that is giving you the flavour and/or throat hit you desire.

tessera screenThe setting you choose can vary depending on the juice you are using and the resistance of the coil.

Note that a lot of VV/VW devices will not operate if the resistance of the coil is too low. This offers a good safety function as it protects you and your device from a short circuit.

You will notice that there is a peak setting above which the coil gets too hot and evaporates the e-liquid so quickly the wick (cotton) can not feed juice fast enough to the coil – this will give you a dry burn.

Again, by slowly dialling up the power you will avoid this problem and experience will quickly tell you the levels you are comfortable vaping at.


There are two main types of vape device that you will come across, a device with replaceable batteries and ones that have integrated batteries.

For a vape mod with replaceable cells you may also need to buy an 18-series battery or batteries. The larger the battery the longer it will last. Cool Fire 4 TC18650 vape mod

The ‘18’ refers to its diameter; the 18350 battery is 350mm in height. The 18650 is larger at 650mm in height and will therefore, last longer. The 18650 battery is the most popular option although other batteries have recently come to the market.

If you go for the replaceable option then please be sure you know your vape battery safety! Check out our guide to batteries for sub ohm vaping if you go down this route.

Of course, if you don’t want to mess around with replacing batteries then you will want to go for a vape mod with an integrated battery.

Like any product with a battery it will have a lifespan, once the battery dies the whole device will need to be replaced.

Doesn’t sound great but I have used plenty of integrated battery mods that have lasted 8-12 months+.On Off button cool fire 4

You can check out our best rated box mods which will help you choose the right vape mod for you.

Which Variable Wattage Device Should I Buy?

The range is so big you can afford to get something you think looks good but the rule of thumb will be that the cheaper it is the sooner it will probably need replacing…but then not everyone wants to spend £100+ on a DNA vape mod when it does the same job as a £40 device.

Some prefer the tubular mods but the most popular are without doubt box mods, for me, these are the easiest starting point for vapers.

Which is best – Voltage or Wattage?

Batteries do not give out a consistent voltage, it fluctuates up and down and most people favoured wattage settings, as this setting would compensate for the fluctuations.

So no matter what the resistance (oHm rating) of the coil in your tank/clearomizer, the device using variable wattage would adjust automatically.

For this reason and the ease of use the majority of mods you will see function using wattage mode.

Using the variable voltage setting would mean manual adjustments need to be made depending on the resistance of the coil.

So, what you will find is that it will come down to your personal preference. There is no right or wrong, just what works for you.

What do I need to look out for?

  1. Does it have a display?
  2. What readings does it show?
  3. What does it let me adjust?
  4. What are its operating limits?
  5. Does it work with the resistance of the atomizer tank I am using?
  6. Do I really need those functions?
  7. Can I afford it?
  8. If something goes wrong can I return it to be fixed?
  9. Will I be covered by UK buyers protection?

As always, if you have any questions please ask in the comments below!

Dave is a freelance writer for companies associated with tobacco harm reduction. He provides daily news coverage to Planet of the Vapes. He has been widely published in a number of print magazines focusing on vaping and tobacco harm reduction. A physicist that holds degrees and post-grad qualifications in business, physics, education, computer science and fine art.


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