The Smok TFV18 sub ohm tank review and for the uninitiated let’s take a brief look at the history of what has become one of the vaping industries most renowned cloud chuckers.
Back in 2011 Smok was the first manufacturer to release a dual coil atomiser but were generally known for mimicking other products on the market.
It wasn’t until the emergence of sub ohm tanks in 2015 that they really began to make a name for themselves.
The Smok TFV4 sub ohm tank was born and for the first time quadruple coils were unleashed onto an unsuspecting vaping public.
Bearing in mind that single coil tanks were still finding their feet this was a massive and highly significant moment for the vaping landscape.
Consequently Smok catapulted to the top of the vaping industry with this one giant leap in pre-built coil structure.
Read the History Of SMOK and an interview with the CEO.
When Big Means Better
However, there was still much to be done with many stating the tank only produced average flavour quality, diminished in favour of voluptuous thick cloud production.
A few years later the TFV8 sub ohm tank hit the market to more favourable reception. Using octuple coils it was capable of delivering fantastic flavour alongside ample vapour production.
Curiously, Smok threw a spanner in the works quite recently by releasing the TFV9 sub ohm tank. Although numerically it indicates a return to earlier endeavours, the tank together with the Smok Rigel mod has gained generally positive feedback.
Now Smok double the numbers and double the stakes to offer us their TFV18 sub ohm tank.
It’s time I placed my cards on the table and gave an honest assessment of what I personally experience with the product.
What Can We Expect From the Smok TFV18 Sub Ohm Tank?
The TFV range of sub ohm tanks has always been characterised by the use of top quality stainless steel and Pyrex glass, so expect nothing less from the Smok TFV18.
The signatory top slide fill mechanism remains in place and there’s little doubt these coils are going to guzzle e-liquid like it’s going out of fashion.
By the way! Wait ’till you see the size of those coils!
Three large airflow ports are integrated into the deck section and given the wattage demands of the coils we can expect the average lounge to swiftly resemble that of a Finnish sauna!
Here’s an interesting factoid. Apparently the TVF range of tanks are explosion proof. Not that I endorse throwing any spare grenades you may have in their vicinity!
Inside the Box
- TFV18 sub ohm tank
- 0.33ohm mesh coil (Pre installed)
- 0.15ohm dual mesh coil
- Spare bubble glass (7.5ml capacity)
- User manual
- Spares bag containing O rings and gasket seal
Smok TFV18 Sub Ohm Tank – Features
The Smok TFV18 is available as a standalone purchase but has also been bundled as part of the new Smok Morph 2 kit.
There’s a standard version as well as an EU version. Both are identical and come complete with the contents as listed above.
It doesn’t look like there’s a TPD version but then again, try fitting these coils in a 2ml tank!
The bets are on that a baby beast variant may well hit the market in the very near future and maybe with smaller renditions of the same coils.
It’s also worth noting at this point that the Smok TFV18 is compatible with the coils of the Smok TFV16 meaning another three coil types including a triple mesh design.
You’ve several colours to choose from and these are: Plating Matte, Stainless Steel, Gold, Red, Blue and seven colours (rainbow effect).
Perhaps one of the most intriguing features is that of the optional RBA section.
Don’t worry. We’ve got that covered here too!
Smok TFV18 Sub Ohm tank – Specifications
- Size 66.3 x 31.6mm
- Weight 93.3g
- Tank capacity 7.5ml (0.33ohm mesh coil) 6.5ml (0.15ohm dual mesh coil)
- Recommended power output 80-140W (Best 100 – 110w)
- Material Stainless Steel / Pyrex
- Thread 510
Design and Build Quality
Smok TFV18 – Drip Tip and Top Cap
There’s no doubting the Smok TFV18 is a heavy bugger and a lot of the weight can be attributed to the design of the child proof top cap mechanism.
It’s certainly solidly built. I also noticed that despite their size, the coils don’t contribute that much to the overall weight.
Starting at the top there’s a wide bore (10mm) replaceable Delrin drip tip. When slipped over the dual O rings incorporated into the top cap it measures around 12mm in height.
Those dual O rings ensure a good, snug fit and if black isn’t really your bag there are other colour schemes available. The drip tip is said to be scald resistant and odourless.
Owners of previous Smok tanks will feel very much at home with the familiar filling arrangement. For those that are new to them how does the child proof top cap perform?
Very well indeed. Simply push the button on the side of the top cap and spin in the direction of the arrow. This provides more than enough clearance in order to fill the tank.
It’s just a case of simply snapping the cap back into place when closing.
On the underside of the top cap is a large silicone gasket or seal to help stop any potential leakage.
The kidney shaped fill port measures 12 x 4mm which is more than sufficient for the majority of bottle tips. In turn this reduces the likelihood of spilling juice down the sides of the tank when filling.
Smok TFV18 – Knurling, O Rings and Threading
The knurling around the top cap and base of the Smok TFV18 is on point and it’s incredibly easy to unscrew the deck from the tank.
Decent quality O rings ensure this is a silky smooth operation.
I also found it easy to remove the 7.5ml Pyrex glass extension tube from the top O rings for maintenance purposes. In fact I’m very impressed with the whole threading arrangement. I didn’t notice any crunching, squeaking or grinding while checking.
Smok TFV18 – Adjustable Airflow, Deck and 510 Pin
Now we move to the triple bottom adjustable airflow and when fully open the cyclops style slots measure 11.5mm. You can probably imagine the amount of airflow when tripling that measurement!
The turning tolerances are fantastic and it’s possible to make the very finest of adjustments for finding that “sweet spot”.
This sub ohm tank has been designed for an airy, semi restrictive and restrictive direct lung vape.
The deck measures 26mm across the base and balloons out to around 32mm with the glass extension.
Unscrewing the deck from the tank and removing the pre-installed coil exposes five vertical posts. I thought they were there to prevent continuous rotation of the airflow ring. Wrong, apparently!
Smok state they are five copper braces placed in direct contact and designed to efficiently transfer power to the coil in a circular and faster heating manner. In other words more efficient conductivity.
Who am I to argue lol?
Finally, on the underside we have the protruding gold plated 510 connector. So if you wish to use the tank on a hybrid MOD it’s an option. I’ll stick with my regulated devices if it’s all the same..
Smok TFV18 – Filling
If not already installed, screw the coil (clockwise) into the deck of the Smok TFV18 and ensure a finger tight connection – don’t over tighten.
At this point it’s best to prime the four large wicking ports. Replace the glass chamber then screw the coil and deck back onto the rest of the tank.
- Locate the locking pin on the top cap, push and rotate in the direction of the arrow
- Insert a bottle nib into the exposed fill port and carefully fill the tank with E liquid
- Rotate the top cap back and ensure the pin has been locked into place
How Does the Smok TFV18 Sub Ohm Tank Perform?
My usual preference is for RDA and especially RTA vaping devices so in all honesty I don’t come into contact with a vast array of sub ohm tanks but boy oh boy! These are by far the most humungous I’ve come across to date.
In fact it begs the question. Just how much bigger can they get? (Answers on a post card).
Smok TFV18 – 0.33ohm Single mesh coil 80-140W (Best 100-110w)
We’ve only got to look at the dimensions of the coil to gauge just how large it is.
It has a height of 30.5mm and a diameter of 16mm – each wicking port measures 9.5x6mm.
It’s what I call “A whole lotta coil” lol
Smok tell us the cotton has been tightly packed and designed to produce a mellow flavour quality. It’s time we found out.
Smok TFV18 – Airflow Wide Open
I went to the lowest end of the recommended wattage range, vaping at 100W which to be honest is well outside my personal comfort zone. Such is the power of these coils I have no other option.
So I have to be completely honest of course and state that with unrestricted airflow I got an incredibly good vape! The flavour from the funnel cake was excellent.
The cinnamon is able to puncture through the centre with aplomb and the texture of the cake is rich with plenty of depth.
There’s absolutely no loss of flavour quality during the exhale and the brown sugar finishes the whole experience off, settling on the tip of the tongue.
As some of you would imagine, vapour production is off the scale yet typical of a sub ohm cloud, dissipating quite rapidly after tumbling out some thick white fluffiness.
However it should be noted the vape is loud during inhale, perhaps expected with the amount of air being fed to the coil. I also encountered the occasional distant whistling but nothing of audible concern.
Smok TFV18 – Mid Restriction
There’s definitely a difference to the airflow at mid restriction and more of the spicy nature of the e liquid profile pulls through.
In general the restriction leads to a much richer texture during exhale with really nothing of the ingredients being lost.
Again, vapour production is extremely satisfying and the exhale is also a very smooth affair but the noise generated by the tri-airflow slightly taints the overall vape experience.
This is not an option I can recommend anyone using. Why?
I now discovered an issue to the airflow design. There’s a continuous whistling noise created by such a restriction that’s only solved by opening the ports to around 75-80% restriction (two thirds shut).
This single mesh coil does not lend itself to a restrictive lung hit. It works fine as an airy unrestricted or semi restrictive vape but otherwise loses the fight.
In fact, imagine the sound of a rocket firework going off and you’ll have some idea.
Despite that criticism the flavour qualities are still present and a very tasty vape is possible albeit with a lack of vapour density.
Let’s put it this way, the 0.33ohm single mesh coil clearly favours and indeed craves airflow for optimal performance.
Smok TFV18 – 0.15ohm Dual mesh coil 80-140W (Best 100-110W)
We lose one ML capacity in the tank using the dual mesh coil, no real surprise as it has a width of 17.2mm.
The dual vertical wicking ports are the same size as the single mesh coil and the two horizontal ports measure 10mm across.
I used Zeus Juice Death By Bunny (80VG/20PG with freebase nicotine) to test the coil which has been specifically designed for a denser vape. As before I vaped at a conservative 100W.
Airflow Wide Open
I still get the same level of noise generated during inhale and in all honesty I’m not quite getting the same level of vapour production as that of the single mesh coil.
It’s still good but maybe dissipates a little faster too.
Flavour production is again on point and I have no difficulty picking out the strawberry and the dairy content of the e-liquid profile.
I would have to say that as a full, open and airy vape there’s still around 10% more restriction than found with the single mesh coil.
Still a very smooth inhale and the flavour properties hold very well during exhale.
This is where I prefer to vape and the level of restriction doesn’t let me down.
It’s your classic semi restrictive lung style of vape without doubt, I would hazard a guess of around 30% more restriction than found with airflow wide open.
This also makes for a comfortable and familiar vape to me. Even at the lower end of the recommended output range the vape is cool, not cold.
The noise generated remains and the flavour production is definitely more dense on this setting, choosing to bring out more of the cream notes than before.
I could happily vape the coil on this airflow setting all day long. A satisfying experience all round.
I should note that by full restriction I mean around 80% of the airflow is capped off. Once again, whistling Rufus makes an unpleasant return!
It ruins the whole experience from the get go and it’s also where the most air bubbles are created within the tank. There’s nothing wrong with the vapour produced and the flavour remains on par of a semi restrictive vape just maybe a little wetter after exhale.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t say the coil is producing much more of a denser vape than the single mesh.
For an intermediate vaper both coils do their job pretty damn well for both flavour and cloud production.
Smok TFV18 RBA Section
The moment some of you may have been waiting for. Or skipped to…
It’s always nice when a manufacturer gives a build enthusiast the chance to play around with other coils and resistances.
It’s also nice for tight wads like myself to avoid shelling out on premade coils! lol
What Smok has done is further capitalize on the capacity of the TFV18 tank and produced an RBA that looks to be large enough and easy enough to work on.
Just like the 0.15ohm dual mesh coil it’s going to reduce the actual capacity of the tank, probably allowing for around 6 – 6.5ml of E liquid.
Inside the Box
We’re given everything needed to get up and running.
- TFV18 RBA section
- 2 x 3mm cotton strips
- 2 x Fused Clapton coils
- 4 x spare grub screws
- Replacement sealing O ring
Specifications and Features
The Smok TFV18 RBA measures 20mm around the base. It has a height of 25mm and weighs a mere 10g.
The included coils are mounted inside a post less deck. Each post acts as a closed terminal to prevent the RBA from short circuiting.
The screws are of grub type variety and prone to stripping in careless/impatient hands. Luckily four replacements are provided.
For an RBA the wicking ports are quite wide at around 11mm and there’s also adequate depth. The single airflow intake is large too at approximately 7mm.
The threading on the chimney is silky smooth so it’s highly unlikely they’ll thread easily. The width of the deck will allow for some relatively large builds but I don’t recommend anything over 3.5mm inner diameter personally.
Smok TFV18 RBA – How To Build
First unscrew the chimney section from the base of the RBA.
Using the supplied screwdriver loosen the grub screws on the post less deck, taking care not to detach them completely. It’s very easy to loose them. That’s another reason you’re given spares!
Smok TFV18 RBA – Coil Positioning
Position the coils into the positive and negative post terminals and gently push down into place.
The legs of the included coils have been pre cut to a length of around 7mm, conveniently removing any guess work.
Once the height of both coils is to satisfaction, tighten the grub screws ensuring an adequate “bite” on the coil legs but not so much that the screws gets stripped in the process.
Use a tool to push the coils towards the centre of the deck making sure both hover over the airflow intake port, but not touching each other.
Breaking The Coils In
Next we need to dry burn the coils checking for a consistent resistance when doing so. By the end of this process both coils should be glowing from the centre out and in unison.
So to do this, screw the RBA into the deck of the SMOK TFV18 tank and whichever mod you’re using keep the wattage initially low to help “break” the coils in.
Then slowly increase the power as the glow becomes more even. It’s also known as pulsing the coil.
Wicking the Smok TFV18 RBA
The cotton strips now need to be passed through the coils, the ones included are already the correct thickness so run them through in a back and forth movement.
Then cut to a length that will allow them to sit just inside the wicking ports.
There may still be too much thickness to the cotton so rake some of the fibres out to thin. If there’s too much cotton crammed inside the wicking ports the juice may struggle to reach the coils effectively.
This is often the cause of a dry hit and not the fault of the RBA.
Now it’s time to prime the cotton by dropping some e-liquid on while test firing the coils. Keep the cotton saturated then screw the chimney back over the top of the RBA base.
At this point test fire the coils again to ensure they are not in contact with any part of the chimney. You’ll know because the MOD will register a “short” message if using a regulated device.
Also check once more to make sure the coil resistance remains steady and not fluctuating.
Screw the rest of the SMOK TFV18 tank back into place and then fill with e-liquid.
How Does The Smok TFV18 RBA Section Perform?
I opted to use another 70VG/30PG ratio in the form of V4 Vapour Apple Crumble. Mainly because I’d been recently using it on an RTA thus affording me the opportunity to compare how the RBA stacked up.
The dual fused Clapton coils resistance settled in at 0.19ohm so I used a power output of 74.5W (3.7V) while vaping on my dual 18650 GeekVape Aegis Legend.
Across Open, Semi and Highly Restricted Airflow Settings
At this power level the coils aren’t really living up to expectation but it has to be mentioned that the inhale isn’t quite as noisy as that of the two stock coils tested.
There’s a little bit of snap crackle and pop generated but the flavour is quite rich with the green apple showing much sweetness. Cloud production is good but not to the level of the single mesh coil.
At this point I increased the power to 85W (3.95V) to see what effect this would have. The flavour is drastically improved and the pastry notes and cinnamon pop to add another dimension to the overall flavour.
As the coils become more lively the snap, crackle and pop becomes more audible and the exhale lends itself very heavily to that of an RTA vape. Air bubbles bounce around in the tank by way of gratitude!
The tank becomes warmer than found when vaping the stock coils but that’s to be expected from any RBA set up. It also produces much more condensation on the surface of the mod.
A semi restrictive setting will provide a smooth, turbulent free vape and provide what I would consider the best flavour qualities.
Guess what? That incessant whistling makes another return under tighter restrictions! Ha! Can’t have it all ways, I guess..
In general, expect a wetter vape and decent vapour production from the RBA. It’s really not that far from the experience received from a standard RTA.
While using the included coils I found my sweet spot at 80W with around a 25% airflow restriction. Very nice indeed!
I see no reason not to recommend juice ratios of 70VG/30PG up to high VG with the RBA. It’s possible to increase coil diameters when using your own but just keep an eye on their positioning in relation to the inner chimney.
- Top fill works a treat with no spillage
- Great flavour with an airy vape to boot, especially the single mesh coil
- Hassle free maintenance
- Leak free coils and RBA
- Excellent coil conductivity thanks to the five copper braces on the deck
- Both coils and RBA prone to whistling under tighter airflow settings
- RBA produces a lot of condensate (subjective)
- A juice guzzler. That goes double for the RBA (subjective)
Final Review Verdict
Of course we’ve been here many times before with the tank design not to mention large coils, it all does feel very familiar.
The Smok TFV18 sub ohm tank and RBA have lived up to expectation regardless.
In order of preference I have to go with the single mesh coil first, followed by the RBA and finally the dual mesh coil. Why?
I think the single mesh coil gave me just that added bit of authenticity when it came to flavour reproduction. As an added bonus, nothing was lost even with the most airy of vapes and that really impressed me.
The RBA was fantastic for flavour qualities, rivaling that of a standard fare RTA although the vapour production was less than either stock coil.
The dual mesh coil also performed admirably but wasn’t producing quite enough punch while using fruit based e-liquids.
Although good, cloud production wasn’t as satisfying as that of its single mesh counterpart.
I could easily recommend the Smok TFV18 sub ohm tank to an intermediate vaper and one that craves power, flavour and bags of vapour production.
The RBA is also suited to a relatively new builder thanks to its size, thus making it easy to get to grips with, and that makes for a great jumping on point.
Do you own the SMOK TFV18 sub ohm tank or thinking of buying it?
Let us know your thoughts on this one in the comments below…