Vaping airflow and why it matters
Airflow is important to getting a good quality and satisfying vaping experience. We've talked about it a little before with regard to 'Mouth to lung' and 'Direct to lung' vaping, but it can also affect flavour, vapour production, the warmth of the vapour, and the overall feel when you inhale. If your device has adjustable airflow or inserts to restrict the air flowing over the coil it can have quite a dramatic effect, sometimes more so than simply adjusting the power.
Fixed airflow e-cigarette devices
A lot of the more basic e-cigarette devices, like the smaller pods and pens, will lack any kind of airflow adjustment, so does this mean they are bad? No, not necessarily. These are designed to be as simple to use as possible and because many of them will also have a fixed wattage going to the coil, the ability to adjust the airflow becomes less important. We have to presume that the designer and manufacturer has given the device what they consider to be the optimal amount of airflow for the device and the heat and vapour that it produces. If you don't like messing around and just want to pick something up and use it, then this could be the best option.
There are downsides to this type of design though. Because vaping is somewhat personal, if you prefer a slightly looser draw feel or a cooler vape, then you don't have any other option other than to buy a different device that's more suitable for you. In the early days of vaping people would modify them by drilling out the holes or partially blocking them but that isn't really necessary these days with the choices we have now, including many devices that are easily adjustable.
Air flow control rings are by far the most common method of adjusting the airflow and are found on almost all modern tanks that are designed to fit on a mod with a 510 connection. By rotating the ring you can expose or cover holes or a large slot to adjust the amount of air entering the tank, it also adjusts how restricted the draw feels when you inhale through the mouth piece. It's worth spending some time trying different options to see what suits you and the power you use. Small adjustments here can even make a big difference to the flavour you taste in your vapour. The best of these type of air controls either have 'clicks' or are firm enough to stay where you put them. There's nothing worse than an airflow control that won't stay where you want it!
Under coil inserts
These are usually only found in rebuildable tanks and can alter the way a tank feels dramatically. The effect is larger than using an external AFC because it changes the way the air flows over the coil directly. Some have 'shower head' arrangements that can diffuse the air and other will simply restrict or direct the air towards the centre of the coil (which is always the hottest part.) These types of airflow controls make sense in rebuildable tanks as there are a wide range of coil types and sizes you might want to use in them. It might be a bit too much fiddling around for some people, and you might not need something so complicated, but if your tank uses these you'll have a lot of ways to tailor your vaping experience exactly how you want. It can be highly rewarding when you find the perfect match for the way you like to vape.
Noisy tanks and RDA's can be very annoying, sometimes it's a high pitched whistle or whine, or it could just be a deeper whooshing noise. Sometimes it's bad enough to ruin the whole experience for you, especially if it's loud enough to irritate others around you. If you are lucky it's possible to reduce it or get rid of the noise completely by making some small adjustments to the airflow. If you aren't having any success then it might be worth checking to see whether there is something stuck inside the airflow channels. Give it a good blow through and see if that helps.
Airflow really matters
Airflow is a vital part of the vaping experience, more so than you might have imagined. The best designed vaping gear often has the best designed airflow, sometimes it's completely hidden away and you won't even see the holes, channels and chambers that the airflow passes through. It isn't always complicated though, sometimes a simple hole in the side of an RDA can produce an amazing vaping experience if everything else has been designed to work around that. We put a lot of thought into our liquid choices, the coils we use and the power or temperature we like to vape at, and airflow always goes hand in hand with those things. If you are using temperature control then it's a vital part of the equation in cooling the coil, if you add more cool air then you'll lower the temperature of the coil and the mod will need to apply more power to keep the coil at the temperature you have your device set to.
If you are struggling with a tank or RDA because it's just not producing flavour or a comfortable vape then adjusting the airflow control should always be something you try first. It's there to be used and experimented with but often we might forget it's even there and focus only on the power settings.