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March 28, 2015

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank Review


In the past year, sub-ohm vaping has really taken the e-cigarette world by storm. It began with rebuildable atomizers, which allowed e-smokers not only to save a great deal of money by wiring their own coils rather than buying new ones, but also allowed them to tinker with the resistance of their coils to achieve incredible vapor production with simple mechanical mods. For many people, a larger vapor cloud equates to a more satisfying vaping experience. Some have also found that sub-ohm coils have allowed them to begin using lower-nicotine e-liquids.

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Sub-ohm coils have always had a barrier to entry, though. Even with detailed instructions, the prospect of wrapping one’s own coils is scary. Although the possibility of danger appears to be low, at least one explosion has been reported in a case that most likely involved an extremely low-resistance coil used in conjunction with a counterfeit battery or stacked batteries. What if you could have someone else wire sub-ohm coils for you, and you could simply drop them into a tank like a regular atomizer head? Well, now you can.

TL;DR: The VaporFi Volt Hybrid tank is by far the best e-cigarette attachment I have ever used. If you have a device that supports sub-ohm atomizers, you want this tank. If you aren’t sure, read on for my full review.

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank Review

About the VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank

In short, the VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank is a tank system designed for sub-ohm vaping. It requires a device that supports sub-ohm attachments and produces at least 15 watts. VaporFi markets it for use with the VOX 50 mod, which produces a maximum of 50 watts. My Volt Hybrid Tank review is written in this context; I used it in conjunction with the VOX 50. However, it should work with any mod that has similar power characteristics, including many mechanical mods. It will not work with devices that have strict amperage limits such as the ProVari P3.

The Volt tank holds about 4.5 ml of e-liquid and includes three interchangeable atomizer heads that you can use simply by screwing them into the tank’s base as you would with another tank system. Two of the heads are pre-built, fitted with Japanese organic cotton wicks and ready for vaping; one has a resistance of 0.5 ohms and the other is 1.2 ohms. VaporFi sells these replacement heads in packs of five for $24.99.

The third atomizer head is a tiny RBA that you can re-wire yourself. It comes with a coil pre-installed; all you need to do is add a wick. The resistance of the Volt Tank RBA is 0.5 ohms.

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank Coils Gaskets

The VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank includes replacements for all breakable components. The replacement Pyrex glass tank is not pictured.

One of the things that impresses me most about the VaporFi Volt Tank is the fact that it’s such a complete package. In addition to the three atomizer heads, the package includes an additional pre-wrapped coil, enough organic cotton for up to 20 wicks, a screwdriver, two replacement screws, a replacement Pyrex glass tank and a set of replacement silicone gaskets. The Volt Tank is a single package that includes everything you need to get started with sub-ohm vaping, and it’ll likely be months before you need to buy a single replacement part.

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank Review: OCC Atomizer Heads

VaporFi markets the pre-built coils for the Volt Tank under the term Organic Cotton Coil, or OCC. The coils are available in 0.5- and 1.2-ohm varieties and the Volt Tank includes one of each. According to VaporFi, the 0.5 ohm OCC atomizer has an operable range of 15-30 watts, while the 1.2-ohm atomizer works from 12-25 watts. I was able to use both coils at the VOX 50’s minimum displayed power level of 7 watts without any problem, although I am not sure that the VOX 50 vaporizer is actually able to step down to the 1.87 volts needed to drive a 0.5-ohm atomizer at 7 watts.

VaporFi Volt Tank OCC Atomizer Heads

VaporFi sells sub-ohm atomizer replacements for the Volt Tank in packs of five.

I am not new to e-cigarette tank systems; I used cartomizer tanks for a while and enjoyed their functionality. I preferred glass tanks to the more inexpensive plastic ones, though, and eventually became frustrated by how easily they shattered. The article linked to above — which is now woefully outdated as I write this — doesn’t even mention the newer style of e-cigarette tank system which uses a replaceable atomizer head rather than a cartomizer with punched holes. I’ve tried plenty of those, too. Unfortunately, I never liked any of them well enough to bother writing about them. Every tank had a critical problem; they either imparted plastic tastes to the vapor or failed to wick e-liquid quickly enough and produced “dry hits” too frequently.

That all changed when I tried the VaporFi Rebel Tank system. Here was a glass tank that didn’t impart off flavors, could wick e-liquid quickly enough to work at my preferred voltage and used atomizer coils that were as affordable as the dual-coil eGo cartomizers I used previously. I was in love. Only a couple of weeks later, though, VaporFi supplied a VOX 50 mod and Volt Hybrid Tank for review, and my opinion of modern e-cigarette tanks was once again transformed.

The Volt Tank comes with the 0.5-ohm OCC atomizer pre-installed, so that was the one I tried first. I was not prepared for the volume of vapor a sub-ohm coil is capable of producing. When I first received the Volt Tank a few weeks ago, I was using e-liquids with a nicotine strength of 8 mg. I have since stepped down to almost half that amount because with so much vapor per puff, I was simply getting far more nicotine than I needed or wanted.

What’s more, I have never before used an e-cigarette attachment of any kind that was able to produce such intensity of flavor without a burned taste. If you are a long-term e-cigarette user, you can probably remember certain devices and attachments — your first variable-voltage device, for example — that made you feel as though you were “tasting your favorite e-liquid for the first time.” For me, the VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank is one of those devices. My preferred e-liquid is a neutral-tasting high-menthol with a relatively low percentage of VG. In other words, it isn’t designed for those who aspire to win vapor cloud contests. And yet, my very first puff on the VaporFi Volt tank — at just 7 watts — produced the largest, most intense puff of vapor I’d ever experienced.

Aside from coil resistance, the 0.5-ohm and 1.2-ohm OCC coils for the VaporFi Volt tank are similar in design. They feature very large wick holes and are able to take e-liquid in quickly enough to meet the maximum wattage ranges specified on VaporFi’s product page. For me, the “sweet spot” seems to be around 10-12 watts with the 0.5-ohm atomizer and 15-17 watts with the 1.2-ohm atomizer. Around the 20-watt range with either atomizer, the vapor becomes too hot and intense to be fully enjoyable for me. Above 30 watts or so, the e-liquid can no longer wick quickly enough and I begin to get “dry hits.”

So, if the VaporFi Volt OCC atomizers have any weakness, it’s that they are unable to operate at the 50-watt maximum power level of the VaporFi VOX 50. Based on my experience, though, I’m not sure why anyone would ever want to crank them up so high. Even at my modest settings, the OCC atomizers produce more vapor than I’ve ever experienced before and have driven me to drastically lower the nicotine strength of my e-liquids.

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank Review: RBA Atomizer Head

VaporFi Volt Tank RBA Atomizer Review

The holes on the sides of the VaporFi Bolt Tank’s RBA atomizer aren’t quite large enough.

If you’ve never used a rebuildable atomizer before, the RBA atomizer head included with the VaporFi Volt tank is essentially the perfect RBA for beginners. Building an RBA coil is a three-part process in that you wrap a coil, connect it to two contact points and install a wick. Using the Volt RBA atomizer, you’ll only need to learn one of these skills at a time. The first coil is pre-installed, requiring you to only thread a wick. When that coil stops functioning, the second coil is included with the tank. You’ll just need to connect the coil and wick it. You’ll only need to start from scratch with your third coil. Or, if you’d rather, you can buy pre-wrapped coils from VaporFi at $9.99 per five-pack. Just connect a coil, add a wick and vape.

After working with the Volt RBA atomizer, I feel much more confident with the idea of building my own RBA coils. The RBA is easy to use and as user-friendly as a do-it-yourself electronic device could possibly be. The one issue I have with the Volt RBA is the fact that the liquid holes on the sides are far too small to work at anywhere near the same power levels as the pre-built OCC atomizers. The small holes restrict the flow of air and e-liquid, and I experienced dry hits even at very modest wattage settings. I think it might be possible to alleviate this issue by tinkering with the width and length of the wick, but I didn’t feel inclined to do a great deal of troubleshooting. My experience with the OCC atomizers was so wonderful that I have since begun using them full-time — and no amount of wick tinkering will fix the fact that the small holes of the RBA prevent free and easy puffing.

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank Review: The Bottom Line

With the VaporFi Volt tank, you get a heck of a lot for your money. Given the unique nature of this tank, it would have been very easy for VaporFi to include less add-on items without dropping the price. With this one package, though, you’ll get the opportunity to build a couple of your own atomizer coils and experiment with a pre-built sub-ohm atomizer, while knowing that if you happen to make a mistake and damage a component, every breakable part has a replacement right there in the box. All of this extra thought and care make the VaporFi Volt tank by far the most user-friendly e-cigarette tank I’ve ever encountered.

From a usage standpoint, I have high praise for the pre-assembled 0.5-ohm OCC atomizer, which VaporFi sells in packs of five. It is by far the best e-cigarette attachment I have ever used. The incredible performance of the OCC atomizer has allowed me to reduce the nicotine strength of my e-liquids while still enjoying a more satisfying e-smoking experience than I’ve ever had before. This is especially remarkable to me when I consider the fact that I didn’t even like e-cigarette tank systems a couple of months ago — and I’ve been trying them, on and off, for years. The VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank is now a permanent part of my vaping setup. I think it ought to be a part of your setup, too.

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank: The Pros

  • OCC sub-ohm atomizer boasts amazing flavor and vapor production; better than any atomizer, cartomizer or tank I’ve previously used
  • Extremely complete package for the money; includes replacements for all key components
  • Process for replacing OCC sub-ohm atomizer is the same as it would be for the atomizer head in any common tank system
  • RBA atomizer component allows you to ease into building your own coils, one step at a time

VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank: The Cons

  • RBA atomizer holes are too small for adequate airflow and wicking

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