The sub-ohm vape tank market is HUGE. You have literally thousands of options to choose from and this makes life tricky if you’re new to vaping. The SMOK TFV12 Prince and UWELL Valyrian are two of the most well known set-ups you can buy right now. But which is the best, overall option?
I’m not the biggest SMOK fan on the planet. Just wanted to get that out of the way up front. But I always treat each new device I test as it should be – completely without bias. I look for things, try to find out if the same issues are present, but that’s about it. Impossible not to, really. I mean, if you bought the Alien 220W and it broke, you’d be pretty focussed on that when trying a new SMOK mod, right?
My main beef with SMOK tanks isn’t the way they look, nor it is how they are designed. No, it is with the company’s coils. They suck. They’re inconsistent. And they’re expensive. I call this the unholy trinity of how to not make a sub-ohm tank very appealing. SMOK calls it business as usual.
However, I was willing to give SMOK a break with the TFV12 Prince. Maybe it learnt its lesson, maybe the coils would work in a predictable manner. Maybe…
I’ve tested both tanks out, using them extensively for long periods of time, and while I did enjoy both of them, there is a clear winner in this contest and I don’t mind calling it so early – the UWELL Valyrian is vastly superior to SMOK’s TFV12 Prince.
Read on to find out why…
SMOK TFV12 Prince vs UWELL Valyrian – Design
The SMOK TFV12 Prince is a beautiful setup, perhaps one of the best looking vape tanks on market right now. The resin drip tip it comes with, of which there are plenty of options, the styling of the tank itself, its curved glass chamber. Everything about this tank just looks impressive.
SMOK has taken what made its TFV8 and TFV12 tanks great – so, solid locking mechanisms, robust build quality, and an array of coil options – and slotted them inside a refined and exotic looking tank. The end result, from a design perspective, is very impressive. I love the way this tank looks.
The UWELL Valyrian, in contrast, is a lot more pedestrian looking. It’s handsome enough, just without being pretty like the SMOK TFV12 Prince. Kind of like Harrison Ford in the 1990s versus Johnny Depp; once’s robust, solid and reliable, the other’s a little more fancy but definitely higher maintenance.
To me, the UWELL Valyrian is what a sub-ohm tank should be. There’s no fancy bells and whistles or gimmicks. It’s just a solid-looking, reliable sub-ohm tank that will serve you consistent results day in day out. It looks great on an array of mods and, once setup up right, it vapes like nothing else.
Bottomline: I prefer the look of the SMOK TFV12 Prince, but I would 100% get the UWELL Valyrian over it every time. Why? Simple: UWELL’s coils are infinitely better than SMOK’s, which brings us to…
SMOK TFV12 Prince vs UWELL Valyrian – Coils
A sub-ohm vape tank lives and dies by the quality of its coils. Get it right and you have an instant classic that people will use until it falls to pieces. I’ve had a few of these over the years, they are rare, but they do happen. Unfortunately, the SMOK TFV12 Prince is NOT one of these tanks; its coils are simply not good enough, reliable enough, or consistent enough.
I tested every single coil SMOK makes for the TFV12 Prince and the only one’s that lasted more than a few days were the T10 type. And this type of thing, especially from a company the size of SMOK, just isn’t good enough. In fact, it’s borderline unacceptable – even more so when you factor in the $15 cost per pack of coils (with three coils inside).
During my time with the SMOK TFV12 Prince, I went through around 20-odd coils and a good 80% of them didn’t last longer than a couple of days. Do the math, this kind of thing gets very expensive over a prolonged period of time. Almost as expensive as actually smoking.
The UWELL Valyrian, by contrast, has some of the best pre-made coils I have ever used. They prime easily, the flavor they produce is amazing and, best of all, they’re reliable and consistent. In a similar usage example, while testing the UWELL Valyrian, I had maybe one dud coil the entire time I used it – 99% of the coils worked brilliantly, lasting from over a week to nine days before the flavour started nose-diving.
If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on coils, the choice is obvious – get the UWELL Valyrian.
SMOK TFV12 Prince vs UWELL Valyrian – Performance
When the SMOK TFV12 Prince is working – like when you’re running the T10 coils and you’ve primed then correctly – it vapes great, producing epic clouds and really precise flavor. For me, this is the most annoying thing about the SMOK TFV12 Prince, as it is a great tank when it wants to be; it’s just let down by poor, inconsistent coil performance.
Get the T10’s working, however, and the SMOK TFV12 Prince is hard to beat. I just wish SMOK could sort out its coils because once you’ve had three or four coils burn out in less than 24 hours, no amount of clouds or flavor is going to keep you using this tank longterm – it’s just too expensive.
And this problem is compounded even further by the UWELL Valyrian, which is an exceptional all-round vape tank. It has everything and more you could want from a sub-ohm tank. The SMOK TFV12 Prince might look swish, but it is grossly let down by its coils. Conversely, the UWELL Valyrian has great coils that are easy to live with, produce great flavor, and won’t let you down 24 hours after installing them.
SMOK TFV12 Prince vs UWELL Valyrian – FINAL VERDICT
This one’s pretty simple really. If you want the best of the best right now when it comes to sub-ohm tanks, get yourself the UWELL Valyrian. It is easily the best value sub-ohm tank on the market right now, packing in great performance, excellent coils, and tons of flavor and clouds.
I do like the SMOK TFV12 Prince, but I simply cannot recommend it to anyone, as the coils are just so bad. I don’t know what happened here either, because I never used to have issues with my SMOK TFV8. As long as they were primed correctly, they functioned great. With the TFV12 Prince, it doesn’t matter what you do to the coils… they’ll just crap out within 24 hours in most cases. And this, in my book, is just no good.