Welcome to Vaping Hardware’s KangerTech Subtank Mini review! Barely needing an introduction, the KangerTech Subtank series has taken the vaping community by storm over the past few years. With the release of the original Subtank at the end of 2014 and the soon improved ‘Subtank Nano’ and ‘Subtank Mini’ models in 2015, vapers the world over breathed a sigh of delight.
What had once been considered a skill set reserved for the faithful few, ‘sub-ohm vaping’ became accessible to the masses almost overnight. In the midst of the ‘power race’, KangerTech came into the foray and provided a series of tanks that not only looked beautiful on just about any mod, but also allowed for a no-nonsense sub-ohm vape. Before the clouds had cleared KangerTech had cemented their place in the community and sold these tanks in their droves.
In this article we’re taking a look back at the most popular tank of the series and what we consider now as the granddaddy of sub-ohm tanks; the Subtank Mini. Uncovering what made the Mini as popular as it is today and considering the chinks in this giant’s armour.
Subtank Mini; Features and Specification
- Hybrid tank – Can be used as a Clearomizer or an RBA
- Organic cotton coil heads – 0.5 ohm or 1.2 ohm available
- 5ml Tank capacity
- 510 Threaded connection
- Durable Pyrex glass
- 22mm Diameter
- Enhanced airflow control system
- Stainless Steel construction
- Height w/o drip tip: 48mm
- Height with drip tip: 63mm
Subtank Mini; What’s in the box?
- Subtank Mini x 1
- Drip tip x 1
- Replacement Pyrex tank x 1
- 0.5 Sub ohm coil head (Japanese organic cotton wick) x 1
- 1.2 Ohm coil head (Japanese organic cotton wick) x 1
- Mini RBA base x 1
- 0.5 Sub ohm pre-built RBA coils x 2
- Muji Japanese organic cotton pad
- Replacement screws x 2
- Replacement O-rings x 3
- User manual
Subtank Mini; Design and Appearance
With a Stainless Steel construction and red O-rings that immediately catch the eye, the design of the Subtank Mini is sleek and stylish. The O-rings are replaceable with several other colours, meaning you can also tailor the look of the tank to fit the colour of your mod!
The 22mm diameter of the tank means that it sits flush with most of the mods on the market (a marked improvement on the original 25mm wide Subtank). KangerTech have neatly inscribed their name at the top of the tank (just in case you forget!) and the bottom of the tank features grip groves to allow for easier unscrewing when changing the coil or topping up with e-liquid.
Subtank Mini; Performance
The first thing we noticed when using the Subtank Mini for the first time was the sheer amount of vapour produced. While the 1.2 ohm OCC coil head packs a fair punch, KangerTech really raised the bar with its 0.5 sub ohm coil head. For any vaper who wanted to chase clouds, the 0.5 ohm coil at the time was revolutionary. In fact, it more than holds its own alongside the next generation of tanks currently for sale today. The 1.2 ohm coil has a recommended wattage range of 12 – 25 watts. The 0.5 ohm coil has a recommended range of 15 – 30 watts. Both coil heads never fail to produce fantastic clouds when used between these ranges.
The Japanese organic cotton used to wick the coils produces fantastic flavour and dry hits are virtually non-existent. Personally, I’ve been using the Subtank Mini with my favourite Vampire Vape juices for the last year and a half. I have to say, it remains a favourite to this day simply because of the awesome flavour and vapour production! The only slight drawback to the cotton; when switching flavours the coils have a habit of retaining the previous flavour.
Every member of the Vaping Hardware team owns at least one Subtank Mini and we’ve all noticed that the lifetime on the coils is great. With consistent daily use (with crisp flavour!) you’re looking at around 1-2 months without needing to change the coil. For those on a tight budget, the coils have been known to last anywhere up to 6 months!
We all love saving money right?!
The last big performance enhancing feature of the Subtank Mini is the improved airflow control. A major upgrade over its predecessor, the airflow offers three options… one 5mm air hole, two 5mm air holes or one completely open elongated air hole. All three of the tanks in the Subtank series were designed with direct to lung inhales in mind. However, the single air hole setting does provide the chance for a mouth to lung inhale. The open setting is a personal favourite and provides you with a nice airy draw, huge vapour production and little to no compensation on the flavour front.
Subtank Mini; Capacity
While the tank is mini in name it’s certainly not in nature. Boasting a capacity of 4.5 ml the Subtank Mini is on par with most of the bigger capacity tanks on the market today. That being said, if you’re like us and you enjoy puffing on your mod until the wee hours, then you’ll need to refill once or twice throughout the day (especially when using the 0.5 ohm OCC coil available). If you haven’t vaped with a sub-ohm coil before then prepare yourself for having to spend a lot more on e-liquid. While it doesn’t drink as much juice as some of the other tanks released since (Smok TFV4; we’re talking about you!) you’ll still notice a sudden increase in your e-liquid consumption compared to earlier tanks using a +1 ohm coil head.
Subtank Mini; RBA Deck
One of the best features of the Subtank Mini is the vastly improved RBA deck when compared to the one provided with the original Subtank. There are no longer any screws to remove when wanting to switch between the OCC coils and the RBA deck and the deck itself is reasonably easy to build on. Compared to many of the RTA’s available, the Subtank Mini RBA deck is straightforward to build on for beginners and veteran builders alike.
KangerTech have also increased the airflow holes on the deck itself which makes a marked difference when using the RBA option this time around. The deck is slightly larger than the original and we’d really encourage you to try out the RBA section as soon as possible given the endless options available. The space allowed for the coil is generous meaning you can try out numerous variations of coil builds.
As much as the RBA section on the Subtank Mini shines, over time we’ve discovered a couple of drawbacks to the deck provided. The peak insulators used to separate the posts on the RBA from the deck itself have been known to loosen over time and become hard to fix back down. As well as this, all of the Vaping Hardware team have found that the cover to the RBA can be extremely hard to remove if even slightly over-tightened onto the base (pliers at the ready!). These were fairly trivial complaints though when taking into account the overall performance of the RBA.
In terms of price it’s a little tricky to pin down exactly how much a Subtank Mini will set you back these days, given its relatively old now, at least in vaping circles. Despite its age though this is still a tank that won’t fail to deliver so it’s worth checking out sites like EBay to see if you can grab yourself one for a real bargain price.
Failing that there’s also the Subtank Mini V2, which is identical in almost every way except for the enhanced airflow system featuring dual airflow openings. At the time of writing, these retail at around £24.99 in the UK and $20 in the US. For those prices you really can’t go wrong adding one of these to your vape collection.
Subtank Mini; The Verdict
The Subtank Mini really is a remarkable little tank! It remains a solid favourite for all of the team here at Vaping Hardware and is this writer’s go to tank when looking for a straightforward vape with great vapour and flavour production. We found very few negatives and other than the trivial drawbacks mentioned above, the biggest comment we now hear about the Subtank Mini is that it isn’t a top fill tank.
Regardless, the Subtank Mini looks great on just about any mod and the 22mm diameter means it sits flush on the majority of mods out there. The build is solid and the materials used make the Mini almost idiot proof when it comes to breakages. There are several improvements made over the original Subtank showing that KangerTech listened to the feedback given by the community and made a real effort to produce a tank that would meet the needs of beginners and veterans alike.
The inclusion of the RBA deck was a stroke of genius and gave way to many of the tank’s later competitors following suit. The improved airflow and well-engineered coils mean you’ll be blowing clouds full of flavour for years to come. The Subtank Mini hasn’t shown its age at all and should be a must buy for any vaper. Check out Vaping Hardware’s rating scores below:
- Price – 8.5
- Ease of RBA build – 8.9
- Vapour production – 8.8
- Flavour production – 8.8
- Appearance and Design – 8.6
- Build quality – 8.7
- Great for cloud chasing
- Amazing flavour production
- Extremely durable
- Fantastic RBA section
- Bottom fill tank
- Delicate touch needed with the RBA section
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Photo Credit: Featured image by Jacek Halicki
Further Image by Ecig Click