It’s been a LONG time since I have reviewed any kind of pre-built tank. In fact, the last one I even used was an Aspire Nautilus around the beginning of 2014. The fact of the matter is, I found my vaping niche, which is rebuildable drippers, and settled comfortably into it.
When the folks at Vape it Now reached out and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Kanger Subtank Mini, I was certainly interested in trying the latest and greatest but didn’t necessarily have high hopes.
The last Kanger tank I tried was an Aerotank, quite a long time ago. I felt it worked ok, but still suffered from a lot of the issues surrounding tanks at the time. As someone who really started out using Kanger tanks, and has a lot of experience recoiling them and using them in a lot of different configurations, I ultimately gave up on them well over a year ago.
The earlier Kanger tanks like the Protank were really quite good at the time, given a lot of this technology was quite new, however they all shared a lot of the same common flaws.
The primary flaw is they were designed to use silica wicks with small coils. I personally don’t like silica wicks at all and I’ve never really had any kind of configuration with them I liked. I don’t like the quality of flavor they put out, I think they burn out too easily, and they are hard to work with.
So out of the box, I would already be inclined to have a negative opinion of any tank running a silica wick.
Another thing I didn’t like about the early Kanger tanks is just the overall inconsistency. The biggest problem in consistency is that the tanks were prone to easily flooding and dry burning. I could take an out-of-the-box coil head, or rig up my own custom coil head and either way, I wouldn’t feel super confident about leaving the house for the day with just a single tank as my only vaping device because I have had these things flood out or dry burn on me countless times, and they are not super easy to fix while you’re on the go. So in an effort to avoid getting into a really bad situation while out and about, I slowly just phased these out of my lineup due to inconsistency.
Airflow was always an issue – you never really had a lot of options on early models to modify the airflow much, and were forced into using whatever stock airflow the device had. This issue was addressed starting with the Aerotank, but was a real issue on earlier models.
Last, but not least, I never really thought the quality of the components was super high. I had a lot of problems with gaskets breaking and so forth and those are all things that can lead to issues – sometimes at the worst possible time.
So for all these reasons (plus more), I naturally gravitated more towards using RBAs, which are much less likely to malfunction when you least expect it, and generally give you very consistent performance across the board.
With all that in mind, I didn’t have super high hopes for the Subtank Mini, but I have to say that virtually all of those problems are almost non-existent. In about a week’s time of using this device, I went from being someone who really wouldn’t recommend a tank system to a new vapor, to someone who could easily point a new vapor towards something like this as a great starter setup.
What I DIDN’T Like about the Subtank Mini
I really liked this device a lot and there weren’t a ton of issues. One thing that kind of confused me is why this is called a “mini”, when it appears to be a pretty standard sized tank. At 22mm, it seems to fit pretty well on most standard mods. I would think of a mini as having a much smaller diameter to fit on something like an iStick or an ego sized battery. It’s not really a problem for me because I like it at 22mm, but I did find that to seem somewhat awkward.
Additionally, I have either a complete o-ring, or like half of an o-ring that is loose when I unscrew the tank from the base. I can’t really figure out where it was supposed to go or what its purpose is. I leave it loose, but in place when I screw/unscrew and I haven’t had any problems at all with leaking but it does seem slightly odd.
What I DID Like about the Subtank Mini
This has been nothing but a great all around device with absolutely no performance issues whatsoever, so in a nutshell, I actually find myself liking almost everything about this device.
Let’s start off with the wick – this tank uses an organic cotton wick that looks somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3/32 to 1/8 diameter. This is a DRAMATIC improvement over the early Kanger tanks that really worked best with a 1/16 and were meant for silica wicks.
The cotton wick has performed beautifully. You basically just need to make sure you soak about 5 -10 drops of juice into it before your first use to get it nice and saturated. If it starts to seem a little dry and you still have plenty of juice in the tank, stop vaping it for a few minutes and it should be fine. As long as you don’t burn it while it is dry, you will probably have few problems ever with this wick. I’ve ran multiple tanks through mine and haven’t had to give the wick a second thought.
As a result of the upgrade to a thicker cotton wick, I feel that the overall quality of vape gets a huge boost. I have been getting the best flavor I have ever gotten from any type of tank system and it’s really not even close at all. There may have been a hint of cotton flavor on the first 3-4 hits I took on the device, and once the juice fully soaked into the wick, I haven’t had a single issue since then in hundreds of hits.
The wick is great and all, but one of the areas where this piece really shines is the airflow. I’ve been using RBAs with HUGE airflow for over a year as my primary vaping devices, so I have developed a strong affinity for big airflow, and the Subtank really comes through in that area. While they have several settings for airflow, I have been using the biggest configuration and it stands right up there with the quality of airflow I was getting from my RBAs.
Despite loving huge airflow, I’m not trying to break any cloud records. I frankly don’t care how much vapor I can blow out as long as I get a nice hit. However, a lot of people out there are chasing clouds, and if you are a cloud chaser looking for a tank that will let you compete with big air RDAs and other devices, this is the one for you. I’ve found the clouds on this device to be as good as anything I’ve ever seen.
One thing I was not sure about was how this tank would respond to higher VG juices. I started out vaping several tanks of a 50/50 blend and found that to be damn near perfect. Then I switched to several higher VG blends to see if the wicking would still be as good.
My initial setup was using the 0.5 ohm coil head at around 29 watts – 1 watt below the maximum recommended by Kanger for this head. This worked flawlessly for the 50/50 blend and I went completely through several tanks without getting a dry hit.
After switching to the higher VG juice, I did find that at 29 watts, I would start getting dry hits if I took too many drags in a row. As a result I turned down the wattage to the 20 – 22 watt range. This worked almost flawlessly. I didn’t notice really any decrease in performance, and the dry hits almost completely stopped. I did have a couple instances where I took several long drags in a row and I could tell the wick was starting to dry out, but letting it sit for several minutes solved the problem every time.
Last, but not least – leaking, gurgling and flooding – these were all issues that commonly came up with early clearomizers. I have been absolutely amazed by how well they have been addressed with the Subtank. Despite having a loose o-ring, I haven’t had a single leak whatsoever. I also haven’t had a single bit of juice gurgle up through the drip tip, and I haven’t been anywhere near flooding out a tank to this point. In fact, After about a week of using this, I felt confident enough to start taking this device out with no backup and leaving my RBA at home on my desk.
Who is it good for?
These tanks are clearly getting so good these days that they have a broad appeal to both beginners and advanced users. While I probably would have scoffed at the idea of using nothing but a kanger tank and pre-built coil heads a year ago, I can comfortably embrace the idea now. Really the only time you wouldn’t want to be using a tank like this is when you intend to change juice flavors a lot. In which case a dripper is very convenient. Otherwise, a tank like this seems to be strictly better for taking on the go, and just general everyday use as there is really no hassle to it at all and very little chance of malfunction.
Do I use it?
I never would have expected this to enter my everyday lineup when I first agreed to use it, but I honestly haven’t used anything BUT this tank in over a week. For me, that is pretty amazing because I was solidly in the RDA camp before trying this device. I think I may have gotten behind the times a little bit and didn’t really realize just how good this new wave of tanks is. I absolutely use this device, I plan to continue using it indefinitely, and I have a bunch of friends who would love for me to give this to them if I stopped using it myself.
Where to buy?
I haven’t really looked, but I have a feeling that this device is readily available at a lot of places that carry vape supplies both online and at brick and mortars. That said, my friends at Vape it Now are running a 12% off deal on this item using the coupon code: “vape120ff”. These are really great guys, and any little discount you can get on a device like this is a solid deal. This should bring the price to around the $30 range which I think is more than fair for a tank of this quality. You can go here to pick one up: http://www.vapeitnow.com/tanks/rebuildable-atomizers/kangertech-subtank-mini/
The Bottom Line
Quality. Overall the quality seems great. I did have the one odd oring issue so I can’t give it a full 100% for quality, but compared to tanks from a year or two ago, this isn’t even close. This tank even makes stuff like the Kayfun and Taifun look a little ridiculous. Everything seems to work great, I’ve had no leaks or flooding, the wick seems superior to anything else I have tried, and the packaging is quite nice. For around $30, you would be hard-pressed to do much better.
Performance. I actually used to think that there wasn’t any tank that really worked well for sub-ohming – yet another reason I gravitated away from tanks in general. That is clearly not the case anymore as this .5 ohm coil works as good or better than anything I could coil myself. I get great throat hit, superior clouds and no hassle whatosever.
Ease of Use. This is hands down the easiest tank I have ever used. I literally opened the box, primed the wick with about 5-10 drops of liquid, filled the tank, screwed everything together and started vaping. I haven’t looked back since, and haven’t had to do a single bit of troubleshooting.
Appearance. What can I say? It’s a pretty good looking tank. I thought the old-school protanks looked pretty crappy. The Aerotank was a big step forward, and this is continuing that trend. I like the fact that it is 22mm, because that is the size that probably works the best for the vast majority of mods I own. I’m glad it’s not any bigger. I wouldn’t mind if there was a smaller diameter version for devices like the iStick – maybe there is even one already. Overall I think it looks good – nothing necessarily to write home about, but very solid appearance.
Price. $30 may have seemed slightly high to me for a tank system like this a year or two ago, but that was largely because those tanks didn’t work nearly as well. This tank works perfectly – and in fact makes my Kayfuns and Taifuns look pretty stupid – both of which are in the $15-$30 price range and actually require quite a bit of work to get running properly. For the superior performance combined with best ease-of-use I have ever seen on a tank system, I think this is a great deal for the price. You get 2 coil heads with it – I’m still on my first coil head and I don’t see any reason why I would have to replace it anytime soon. So as long as you take care of the device, you can get a ton of use out of your $30 and without having to mess around troubleshooting anything.
Overall. I spent a lot of time going over this piece because I really was truly amazed by how well it works. As much as I don’t mind coiling up my own RDAs and even coiling my own tanks, I can’t say I feel any shame in using this prebuilt coil at all. It works just as good, if not better than something I could coil myself, and is literally hassle-free. I think we are actually reaching the point where the technology is so good now, it’s really going to become more about appearance and portability, because I can’t see any way they could really improve on what they already have here. It works great, looks good and is super easy to use.
If you’re like me and haven’t used a tank in a while, I can’t stress enough how much of a step forward the Subtank Mini is. I love this thing, and could easily see myself being totally happy vaping off nothing but these tanks.
I highly recommend it, and certainly recommend checking out Vape it Now to pick one up for 12% off. You can go here to pick one up: http://www.vapeitnow.com/tanks/rebuildable-atomizers/kangertech-subtank-mini/
- Ease of Use