Variable Voltage & Variable Wattage: A Beginner’s Guide to VW & VV Modes
- 10 May, 2021
Last fact-checked 10 May 2021 | Report a factual error on this article
What are the Variable Voltage (VV) and Variable Wattage (VW) modes on a vape? Do you need them, and which mode should you buy? We get asked this question a lot — there’s plenty of confusion out there, possibly because the two modes are closely linked.
In this guide, we’ll give you a simple, no-nonsense answer to the difference between VV and VW enabled vape devices. You don’t need a huge amount of vaping experience to use these modes correctly. With a little practice, you’ll get a lot more out of your vaping experience.
Both Variable Voltage and Variable Wattage modes help you tailor your vape’s power settings to suit your own personal vaping style. VV and VW modes effectively do the same thing (if you change your vape’s voltage you also change the wattage, and vice versa — see the formula below), but one mode is a little more user-friendly than the other.
VW and VV modes both control the voltage coming from your battery. This in turn controls the wattage passing through your heating coil, which in turn affects the heat of your coil. This gives you control over the density and size of your vape cloud, and helps you get more out of your batteries.
Even though VV and VW mods effectively do the same job, there’s still an important difference between the two:
Variable Voltage Mode, or VV mode, is a setting on your vape device that lets you define the precise voltage (Volts) running through your device.
VV devices don’t require a very advanced vape chip, so they tend to be slightly cheaper than VW devices. If you vape in VV mode, you will need to calculate the right voltage to suit your coil’s resistance.
Variable Wattage Mode, or VW mode, is a setting that lets you define the precise wattage (Watts) running through your vape device.
VW devices are great if you want to keep life simple. You just tell your device what wattage you want, and your vape chip will calculate the correct voltage settings for you. VW devices tend to be slightly more expensive, as a VW vape chip needs more computing power than a VV chip.
When you’re able to adjust the voltage and/or wattage of your vape device, you can control three main factors: the heat of your coil, the consistency of your power flow and the safety of your device...
- Coil Heat: The more wattage you push through your vape’s coil, the hotter your coil will get. As a rule, low wattage gives you cooler, looser clouds, and high wattage gives you hotter, denser clouds. High wattage also gives you a faster ramp-up time, but it can potentially lead to more dry hits.
- Vape Consistency: Your battery’s power output changes as it runs out of juice. On basic vape devices that don’t have VV or VW modes, you’ll notice that the quality of your vapour cloud declines as your battery starts to die. This is usually because the voltage coming out of your e-cig batteries is starting to wane. With a VV or VW device, the power settings are controlled, so you don’t experience the same loss of flavour or cloud density. Your vape stays consistent right up until the point where your batteries reach the end of their lifespan. The downside is that your battery life may be reduced when you vape in VV or VW mode.
- Device Safety: If you accidentally install a coil with an Ohm rating that’s just too low for your battery, a VV or VW device simply won’t work. It’s very similar to how a safety chip works. Learn more about safety chips.
Even when you’re vaping on a Variable Voltage device, you need to know what Wattage you’re aiming for. Finding the right wattage takes a few minutes of trial and error, but it’s quite a simple process to get started.
The first thing you should do is refer to your coil for the ideal wattage range. Most coil packets will have a MAX and MIN W figure printed on the box (and sometimes on the coil itself). Set your voltage/wattage to the lower end of this range, then just start vaping.
You’ll then need to increase your wattage slowly until you get a cloud and flavour that feels right to you. Don’t feel you have to max it out. A high wattage setting will increase your chances of getting dry and burnt hits — it will cost you more in batteries, too. You should aim for a wattage level that delivers a tasty cloud and gives your wick time to re-soak between firings.
Ignore any negative press about vaping at low wattage. Vaping at low wattage or high wattage isn’t necessarily ‘bad’ — it just might not taste strong enough for you. The best wattage to vape at is the one that gives you enough flavour, cloud density and — if you’re still addicted — enough nicotine to satisfy your cravings.
Interested in learning more about the science behind your vaping experience? We have a few articles for you! The guides below will explain some of the science behind a really good vape:
Just remember that there’s no substitute for experience. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just play with a setting on your box mod and see how it feels.
Remember that these settings are there to make your vaping experience even better. If you get stuck or if you need a little advice, please feel free to ask — we’re happy to help!
Stay safe and happy vaping!
- John Boughey