Hardware Review: Kanger Subtank Mini

Specs

Material: 304 Stainless Steel, pyrex glass
Length: ~54mm
Diameter: 22mm
Capacity: 4.5ml
Battery Connection: fixed center pin 510 connection
MSRP: Β $49.90
What’s in the box:

Kanger Subtank Mini Package Contents

  • (1) Kangertech Subtank Mini
  • (1) OCC: 0.5 Sub Ohm / Range 15 – 30 W
  • (1) OCC: 1.2 Ohm / Range 12 – 25 W
  • (1) Mini RBA Base (with preinstalled coil)
  • (1) Tool Kit (screwdriver,screws)
  • (1) Spare Glass Tube
  • (1) Organic Cotton Square (made in Japan)
  • (1) Spare RBA coil (Kanthal)
  • (2) Spare O-Ring
  • (1) Drip Tip
  • (1) Gift Box
  • (1) User Manual
  • (1) Genuine Product Verification Card

Pros

  • Organic cotton wick (!).
  • Capable of handling subohm vaping.
  • Widely available coils.
  • Available factory made Ni200 coil heads.
  • No leaking (so far).

Cons

  • Slightly higher cost than other similar tanks.
  • Not backwards compatible with previous Kanger coil heads.
  • Spotty availability of OCC coil heads.
  • Sparse availability of Ni200 coil heads.
  • Visible o-rings.
  • Theoretically possibly to vent a mod by using a Ni200 OCC head on a mech.

Errata

OCC heads

The biggest advance with the Subtank by far is the OCC heads. Coiled with “organic Japanese cotton” these are the heads I’ve wanted in a Kanger tank since the original ProTank was released. I started recoiling the original Protank heads so that I could use cotton wick, so it tickles me pink that Kanger is now mass producing cotton wicking coil heads.

First, these new OCC heads are rebuildable. It’s nothing like rebuilding an older Kanger atomizer, but it is doable. I’ll have a post covering rebuilding an OCC head in the near future. Street price is about $12 for a 5 pack, so they’re slightly more expensive than the older BCC heads, but I think the improved flavor and vapor production is worth it. Still I’d like to see the price come down (ideally to ~$1/ea).

One of the biggest challenges with using cotton for wicking is that cotton burns, and once it burns the wick must be replaced (unless you like vaping disgustingly burnt cotton). Kanger realizes this and has included a printed warning to prime your OCC heads before firing your device as the very first thing you see once you open the package.

Alternatively, you could use a device with temperature control with the Ni200 OCC heads that Kanger has released.

Enter the Ni200 OCC head:

Ni200 OCC heads

Expensive but worth it.

The second I saw these I was sold on the Subtank. The best deal I could find on the Ni200 OCCs is currently $3/ea. That’s not a deal breaker, but I’d like to see these available at about $1-$1.50 each. Speaking of available, you know that Kanger has a winner here because it’s not exactly easy to find these things in stock anywhere. The tank comes with two (of the Kanthal coiled ones), and if you can recoil them that makes it kind of a non issue (I’ve no idea how well they will hold up to recoiling, but from my initial examination it looks like they’re pretty sturdy). Then again, not everyone wants to build coils.

If you don’t have any experience with Ni200 wire there is a bit of potential for major problems here. Kanger offers the standard OCC heads in either 0.5ohm or 1.2ohm varieties at the time of this writing. Ni200 OCC heads on the other hand are 0.15ohm. Potentially someone could put one of the Ni200 heads on a device like a mech and vent a battery. If you have a Subtank, you’ve got to watch out for this. If your device has temp control then it’s kind of a non issue, but if you are running a mech, a mix up has the potential to be disastrous. Always verify that your OCC is the version you think it is.

I have a bad feeling that it is only a matter of time before someone isn’t paying attention and accidentally puts a Ni200 OCC head on a mech with an inadequate battery on it and has a really bad way. I could see this happening if you’ve got multiple devices and aren’t paying attention. Unfortunately there is no good answer for potential user error at this time.

The easy way to avoid this is to put the assembled tank on a resistance checker before firing it. Kanger was thinking about this when they released the redesigned OCC heads. The original OCC heads had a white insulator on the bottom of the unit. The new ones have either a red or blue insulator:

Different OCC heads are different colors

Attention to detail

You can see from the picture above that the OCC head with the blue insulator is a Ni200 coil with the resistance and recommended wattage laser etched on one side of the unit. Kanger has done the same with the red insulator heads (coiled with Kanthal).

I switched to a temp control device last October, and I can’t recommend it enough. The major benefit for me is that I haven’t had a dry hit since. The flip side of that is the added expense of Ni200 OCCs. I’ll pay it or rebuild. I seriously can’t say enough good things about having temp control on your device.

For those of us who don’t mind coil building, the inclusion of the mini RBA base is totally awesome. It’s a small deck, but it’s basically like building on a tiny kayfun, except it’s a bit easier because the RDA screws have little ears to catch the wires under the screws (which you can kind of see in the picture of the Mini RBA base in the Maintenance section below).

Airflow control

There are apparently more than one version of the Subtank Mini airflow control out there, the primary difference being the options for airflow control. The version I have has a slot cut on either side of the airflow control ring with three options for airflow: a ~1mm airhole on either side, a ~2mm hole on either side, and wide open which is a large air slot on either side. In this image you can see slightly different options.

Subtank Mini airflow control options

Subtank Mini airflow control

There was a previous version that had an additional fully closed selection, but I assume that Kanger changed that based on customer feedback. I dunno, Since I just got mine, I would assume that it is the newest version available.

Colors

Kanger is also shipping a white and a black coated version of the Subtank Mini (I’ve no idea what they are coated with), but as far as I know those are only available with the Subox kit at this time.

Colors, take two

In my Cons section I noted visible o-rings. For me that is mostly because Kanger chose red o-rings. I’m not a fan of red, but apparently there was a method to their madness as Kanger has put out the “Colourful Silicon Seal Ring Set”:

Is that purple or pink?

Is that purple or pink?

Purple I think

Purple I think

I’ll admit I ordered one, that bluish set will look good with the blue Shark Skin on my rDNA40. I’d still prefer that they not be visible, but that’s just my personal preference.

One final thing to note that isn’t really a con, it’s just kind of silly. Kanger has decided to use a “wide bore” drip tip on this tank. Like all 510 drip tips, it still necks down where it connects to the top of the tank (and it’s not a dripper, so you’re not really going to be dripping into it), so I’m not sure why they felt the need for this. Because of the proximity of the center air channel to the coil in the Mini RBA base, it is possible that occasionally the drip tip will get… warm. Luckily for us this can be corrected by simply easing up on the subohm vaping or even switching out the drip tip for something non conductive for heat like delrin or pyrex.

I also love that they include a spare glass tank section. Thank you Kanger for paying attention. Accidents happen and nothing sucks worse than breaking your only tank when you are about to head out of the house. It’s nice that they’re giving us a mulligan.

Maintenance

The Subtank Mini is really not very different than any other Kanger tank in it’s design, but it is clear that Kanger has learned some lessons about glass tanks over the last couple of years. The basic assembly is the same as other Kanger glass tanks.

Standards disassembly

Standard disassembly

Things to be aware of:

  • When the base is removed, the glass tank is only held in place by the friction of the silicon seals.
  • Filling is just like the previous Kanger BCC tanks, don’t get the liquid in the center air channel.
  • You must prime the OCC heads with a couple drops of eLiquid before firing them or you risk burning the cotton.

 

The Mini RBA base is a bit small, though compared to rebuilding one of the OCC heads it is positively spacious. You can see in this picture that the RBA base disassembles into three pieces, and is very similar to a kayfun, in fact the easiest way to build with it is to follow the same process: coil, wick, pull the excess cotton up while screwing the chimney on, trim it to the top of the chimney, and then stuff the cotton down into the juice channels.

Mini RBA Base disassembled

Mini RBA Base disassembled

There are two things to be aware of when using the RBA base:

  1. The coil sits relatively close to where the center air channel enters the chimney. I have wrapped a 4mm diameter coil in there, but it was uncomfortably close for my tastes. I would recommend building at 3mm diameter or less.
  2. The bottom “pin” of the RBA base actually holds the insulated post to the deck. You need to make sure this pin is screwed in all the way any time you disassemble the tank. I had mine come loose a couple of times. This results in the insulated post lifting, and tilting your coil. This can lead to inconsistent connections, and potentially to a hard short if the coil were to contact the top of the chimney.

Conclusion

While writing this post I fell in love with Kanger all over again. Their attention to detail continues to show, and improve. The original ProTank was the first tank system that I really liked, and the Subtank Mini is a truly worthy successor. Most of the stuff in my list of cons is really superficial, and probably wouldn’t be considered a con by most.

I would really like to see Kanger bring down the cost of these units, and in the past they have reduced the prices on all of their tanks after release so I expect to see some reduction on these in the not too distant future. I paid $29.99 for mine on sale, so the potential is definitely there. Street price is about $35 from many online vendors, I’d expect to pay MSRP from a B&M. The inclusion of the mini RBA base makes it worth it to me, but maybe eventually we’ll see a lower cost version without it.

This is now my go to recommendation for tanks for new or inexperienced vapers. It’s easy to use, and the included mini RBA base offers an easy path for learning to build for those that are interested.

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PSA: You’re the problem.

I really didn’t want this to be my returning post after an absence, but I feel like this needs to be done.

I’m gonna piss some people off with this post, and I don’t care. I don’t care because if you’re mad about the post, you are the problem.

I spent about five hours writing and researching this post, and I did it because I love vaping and (for the most part) I love the vape community. Vaping helped me to quit smoking, helped me reclaim my health, is helping to earn my living and support my family. I love this thing, and I don’t want to see it destroyed. Least of all do I want to see it destroyed by vapers.

I’m gonna go into a bit of detail here, and it’s gonna be a long post. I’m not singling out any one vendor, there are lots of them that are guilty of this. So grab a beer, grab your vape and strap in, because I’m about to tear some people new assholes.

Earlier today I was alerted to yet another vendor bottling eLiquid that just… well here take a look for yourself:

stupid

Here’s your sign

I simply cannot believe the massive stupidity at work here.

I’m gonna ignore the whole “marketing to children” issue for a minute because I want everybody to put their big boy/girl pants on and pay attention because there is a much more serious issue with this image, and something that is endemic in the vape industry: wanton and wholesale trademark infringement.

At first I though to myself “well, this is a new industry, and it has a big chunk of very young people running businesses right now, and maybe he didn’t know he couldn’t do that.”

I thought that for about 30 seconds while I looked for the facebook page for this company.

Apparently this flavor launched two days ago, and others have tried to inform the gentleman running the page of this. His response? And I quote:

I own the name 100% πŸ»πŸ˜ŽπŸ’―πŸ’―πŸ’―

Ok, well maybe he didn’t understand what the poster was trying to say. Oh look, here is a facebooker trying to explain it in simpler terms:

Good for you. How about the extremely legible product in the background? I’m guessing you don’t own rights on that.

That’s pretty simple right? Apparently not judging by his response:

It’s defiantly not illegal to take pictures of any products lol !! Sorry but no matter how much people disagree it is legal thanks for ur concern make sure to try it the hype is defiantly real 🏻

People continue trying to explain to this person that what he is doing is wrong, and it is reflecting on the industry poorly, and this is his response yet again:

Negative ur assumption is just that which is just fine 🏻 I bring top quality Vape products to the table what I’m doing is completely legal in every way I am don’t arguing it’s a great juice there are so many major companies that are doing way worse things sorry you feel this way but I’m not going anywhere and I will always stay positive …. Positive mind equals positive outcome πŸ’―πŸ»πŸ’―

No, no it’s not.

Where do I even start?

Copyright law (and specifically Trademark law which is really the issue here) is kind of a difficult topic, maybe this guy just isn’t aware of what the law actually is regarding the use of other people’s intellectual property in images for commercial gain. It’s super hard to find anything that explains it online too.

That document pretty well covers it, but I’ll save you the time of actually reading it, here is the relevant section:

2.1 Can you freely take photographs that include trademarks?
Unlike copyright law, trademark law as such does not restrict the use of a trademark in a
photograph. What trademark law does forbid is using a trademark in a way that can cause
confusion regarding the affiliation of the trademark owner to the image. If consumers
are likely to mistakenly believe that a photograph was sponsored by the trademark owner, then
there may be trademark infringement.
Example:
Printing a photograph containing the Nike trademark on sportswear could result in
trademark infringement. In fact, by such use it would be assumed that you are trying to
appropriate some of the goodwill associated with the Nike trademark. Consumers will
presumably think that the fabrics are affiliated with the Nike trademark.
Or in this case, the Wrigley’s trademarked logos and images of their product. This is not only a crime (which has real world consequences, and I expect that this gentleman will shortly be learning that firsthand), but it’s also just plain stupid.

As an aside, the word is spelled d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y. Every browser (and nearly every phone) has autocorrect. You are running a business. You want to be treated like an adult? Act like one. “Whatever, whatever I do what I want!” is not an acceptable response when called out for doing something illegal.

This reflects poorly on all of us. it’s a very serious issue that has already been clearly identified by the FDA as something that will bring regulations to this industry that are designed to shut it down, and that the FDA will not be interested in listening to any input from the vape industry regarding those regulations if we cannot reign it in. And they’re right. This is criminal infringement of someone’s intellectual property for financial gain by another. There really isn’t any defense for that kind of behavior for financial gain.

So what can we do? Jeremy Dollar of Good Life Vapor (who recently attended a meeting with Mitch Zeller of the FDA along with other vendors) had this to say to the person running the page:

I can absolutely tell you they are shutting us down because of this type stuff. Myself and 11 other vendors sat in a 2 hour meeting with Mitch zeller and 7 of his staff and were told flat out when asked how we can help to receive fair and balanced regulations that if the marketing to kids and cartoon and candy labels don’t stop they will not only come after the industry with the intent to shut it down but they will not entertain anymore from anyone as far as negotiations for fair regulations. So you sir are part of what is killing the industry! How do you feel about that? How come you can’t allow your juice to speak for itself? Are you afraid that it’s not good enough to be sold with a less infringing and less appealing to a child label? You can’t ever advocate for vapers when you don’t care enough to save the very industry you are out advocating for

Of course there was no response, because… well what could he possibly say?

A bit further down in the comments someone remarks that it looks tasty asking where to find it, and he responds with this:

You can get it at vermillion vapor , Ajs vapor , vāpour , an more shops to come downtown Vapourium island Vape shop just to name a few…

So what can we do? Call those vape shops. Tell them in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable, and that you will not patronize them as long as they continue to support vendors doing this kind of damage to our industry for financial gain. It really is that simple.

At least one vape vendor has already taken a public stand against this kind of activity:

Correct_response

They won’t be the last.

This company is not alone in the trademark infringement (or using candy/cartoons in their marketing materials), not by a wide margin. The number of eLiquid makers that are ripping off trademarked and copyrighted images for use in selling their eLiquid is… well I can’t think of any other word than obscene. Just take a look at what your vendor of choice is selling and using for marketing materials. Then take a moment to go read the excerpt above from the paper on Copyright and Trademark Law.

We have to be the change that drives the industry to drop the childish marketing and start acting like a bunch of responsible adults conducting business, because that is precisely what most of us are.

I can give plenty more reasons why this is a really bad idea. Camel was gigged hard because they used a cartoon camel in their marketing materials, despite no actual kids cartoon using a camel. Do you really think that will be any different for a Spongebob eLiquid that features a freaking picture of Spongebob the cartoon on the product page?

This is not a garage industry anymore. The vape industry still has that “gold rush” feeling to it, and there are still plenty of opportunities for 18 year old kids to become multimillionaires virtually overnight. Precisely because the vape industry is now a multi billion dollar industry. Up to this point the copyright owners (otherwise listed as “victims” of all of the infringement that is rampant in our industry in the court documents to come) have left us alone because it just wasn’t worth their attention, I assure you that is changing.

There are billions of dollars on the table here.Wells Fargo is estimating the vaping industry to be worth $10 BILLION by 2017. That’s 18 months from now.

If you believe that the companies who have been victimized by this infringement are going to just leave that money sitting on the table when they are legally entitled to damages you are kidding yourself.

Did I mention that someone posted a screenshot of them posting a screenshot of his page with that image to Wrigley’s facebook page?

Let me take a second and break down what is very likely going to happen to this guy.

1) Wrigley’s is going to (if they’re nice) issue Cease and Desist notices to him, and takedown notices to facebook, and his webhost.

2) Since Wrigley’s is a major corporation, they’re going to sue for damages to their trademark, probably trademark infringement, and possibly a host of other things.

3) They’re going to win, because well let’s face it, this is shockingly blatant.

4) They’re going to leave a crater where this guy used to be that will be so big that no one else is even going to think about climbing the rim to even look at where he used to be. They’ll take all of the company assets, and if the guy who owns it displayed as much business acumen in starting his business as he has in running it, they’ll also take everything he owns in the world because I’m pretty confident that someone who would blatantly infringe on Wrigley’s trademark for CANDY (to use it to sell eLiquid of all things) didn’t invest the time and money to set up a proper LLC or Corporation (and/or has put so many holes in his “corporate veil” that it should properly be referred to as more of a “corpoprate sieve” at this point), probably doesn’t have liability insurance (and if he does, he won’t be able to find an underwriter who will endorse him after this little fiasco), and so will be personally liable for the damages done by his company.

Now, because our legal system is so bogged down, this will likely be after:

5) His distributors jump ship because of the pressure they are getting from all of the negative press generated by this guy’s idiotic response to people who were (for the most part) genuinely trying to help by pointing out that he was making an egregious mistake.

6) His business dries up once all of the media outlets get wind of the pending lawsuit from Wrigley’s (who sponsors lots of things covered by CNN, like baseball stadiums) and his reputation as “that guy who brought down the ban hammer” is solidified (I mean seriously, Wrigley’s? Why not just go whole hog and rip off Disney?).

7) He goes bankrupt.

I’m not saying that it will go down just like that, but I’m fairly confident that it’ll be pretty close to that.

Nick Green posted a video talking about the use of cartoon characters on eLiquid bottles earlier today, and he brings up a good point; a lot of this is due to pride and ego. I’m very proud of my juice branding. I worked my butt off to create a brand that was representative of the work that I put into creating my eLiquids. I’d go All Stop in a heartbeat if I got anywhere near as much negative feedback as was generated by the facebook post that inspired this post. Even if just long enough to assess what I was doing, and see if I needed to change. It’s just good business sense.

The pride and ego that is being evinced by a shocking number of eLiquid vendors who are blatantly ripping off the intellectual property of established companies is staggering.

The industry needs to stop, take a deep breath, and do some serious reflection on how we are conducting ourselves. 10 billion dollars a year. That’s an enormous pile of cash. I don’t want to see that pile of cash go away. More than that. I don’t want to see people go back to smoking, or never get the chance to quit as easily as I did.

Normally this is where is would leave some sort of plea for us to all come together and help make vaping better. I’m not feeling that tonight. Right now I’m feeling disgusted by the number of threads and posts I’ve seen with vapers defending this kind of thing.

And lest anyone think that I am singling any particular vendors out, I think instead I’ll just leave this post with a collection of images that I found while doing research on this article. If you reach the end of these images and don’t feel like there is a problem in our industry, you are most definitely the problem.

10262089_10203404043096615_1681999561177541361_n 10313688_10206214862672539_6309504897225284574_n 10384210_10155681664460112_5683213380540890615_n 10394038_10205676702215589_3080825949008468428_n 10458938_10203379736288960_3000467287518502711_o 10648331_10203381475132430_7199301543758953907_o 11063892_10206680933919011_2878148673173687381_n 11110209_449891955195235_7068536508391026172_o 11202578_10206352810196367_8862854815207437965_n 11219480_10203379810330811_2989429939857490287_o 11260845_10203379735888950_6321933564617496925_o 11350602_10207086262417414_1929728349631465287_n 11390252_449892541861843_7396685876220298945_n 11390285_10206675955274548_2749032905571535479_n BS_Ecto_Cooler02__59322.1427909908.1280.1280 drippin-drops images images2 images3 images4 index Juice-ejuice-Got-Milk-2 JuiceMan_15ml_group_black_1024x1024__77499.1431480523.1280.1280 jungle_juice_eliquid-250x250_0 KPBKrunch1_large lost-art-liquids-pb-krunch lushvapor30ml Muffin-Man-Top-Shelf-eliquid-ejuice Origin_Vape_OMG_Juices_All_Flavors-1200x900 s-l1000 th vape_juive_pink_milk_grande 524262_743928335733457_5131977059165416245_n 1908137_10153293147777508_37762884688713673_n

 

end