Posted March 7, 2011 by Jack Keenan in About e-Cigarettes

What are Low Resistance Atomizers?

Low Resistance LR Atomizer Definition
Low Resistance LR Atomizer Definition

What is a low resistance (LR) electronic cigarette atomizer?

The electronic cigarette is a relatively new product. There have been several key advancements in the technology behind this product, from new types of cartridges, to cartomizers, to dripping. The electronic cigarette market has become very diverse, with something to fit nearly everyone’s personal taste.

Electronic cigarette users themselves have contributed greatly to these developments, and around 2009, someone figured out that you could connect an atomizer to a 5-volt battery instead of the standard 3.7-volt electronic cigarette battery, thus producing more power. More power leads to a hotter atomizer, thus producing a greater amount of vapor. More vapor at a hotter temperature leads to more flavor, a stronger throat hit, and for many, a more satisfying vaping experience.

5V Electronic Cigarette

5V Electronic Cigarette

However, these “5V mods” had their own problems. They were expensive — often well over $100 — and much larger than standard 3.7V electronic cigarettes. While standard electronic cigarettes look similar to actual cigarettes (or pens, in the case of some models), 5V mods looked more like flashlights, or boxes, in the case of some home mods. They were very unsightly and never caught on with mainstream electronic cigarette users.

Enter Cisco. Cisco is the person who is credited with the idea of modifying the atomizer rather than the battery; by lowering the resistance of the atomizer, you can get the experience of 5V vaping on a standard 3.7V battery. This resulted in the beloved Cisco atomizer (no longer stocked — see my review of the new Lava atomizer).

How does this work? Let’s perform some calculations with Ohm’s Law, using the Cisco and Volcano’s Magma atomizer as examples. The Cisco has a resistance of 1.5 ohms, while the resistance of the Magma and other standard atomizers are closer to 2.5 ohms.

3.7V battery with 2.5 ohm atomizer: 5.476 watts

5V battery with 2.5 ohm atomizer: 10 watts

3.7V battery with 1.5 ohm atomizer: 9.12 watts

Note: you cannot use a low resistance atomizer on a 5V battery. It will destroy the atomizer.

As you can see, a low resistance atomizer gets you very close to the experience of vaping with a 5V battery, without the enormous size and prohibitive cost. More vapor makes for a more satisfying experience, and a low resistance atomizer is the easiest way to produce massive amounts of vapor from a standard electronic cigarette battery. This has led to an explosion in demand for low resistance atomizers, and many electronic cigarette companies now provide them.

Low-resistance atomizers do not work well with the smallest electronic cigarette batteries, as they drain the batteries quickly and can reduce their usable lifespan. The Volcano Inferno electronic cigarette is compatible with low resistance atomizers.