Vape Coils Explained - Which Vaping Coil Types Are Right For You?
This is everything you needed to know about vape coils, but were too afraid to ask. We are going to go into detail explaining what vape coils are, what they are made of, and how they work.
Not only that, but we will help guide you to the perfect vape coil for you and how you can enhance your vaping experience.
If your vape mod and tank are the body of your vape, then your coil is the heart. Responsible for producing vapour and giving you the flavour from your e-liquid. It’s time to dive into the world of vape coils.
What Are Vape Coils?
The first thing to address is that vape coils are known by different names. You might see them called coils, atomizers, atomizer heads, attys; the list goes on. But they are all the same thing.
They are an essential part of your vaping experience as they are the component in your e-cig that creates the vapour that you inhale.
While there are a mind-boggling amount of vape coils available for different e-cigs, they are all built in fundamentally the same way. They are made up of an outer casing, made from metal. Inside this casing is a wire coil and then there is wicking material; this is usually cotton and is either pushed through the coil or wrapped around it.
As you press the button on your vape battery, it delivers power to the coil. As this power is delivered through the coil, it heats up. At the same time you are drawing on your vape, which, via a capillary action, is pulling e-liquid into the wicking material. The coil is heating up and you are drawing e-liquid onto it through the wicking, this e-liquid hits the coil (which is hot) and turns into a vapour, which you then inhale.
They all work in this way. There might be differences, such as the amount of wire coils inside, what the coils are made of or how much wicking material there is, but this is how they all function. Nice and simple.
What Are Vaping Coils Made From?
The wire coil inside your vape coil can be made of any number of materials. Each of these vape differently and depending on the type of wire you might need specific features on your e-cig to use them.
This is the most common wire type, but is actually a trade name. This is an alloy of three different metals and works really well as a vape coil. Unless specified on a coils specs, your vape coil will be made of Kanthal or Nichrome (which we will discuss later). It is the most popular wire for a reason. It is consistent, takes power well and come in different sizes to really tailor the coil resistance. You don’t need any special features or settings to use a Kanthal coil.
This is very similar to Kanthal, but is composed of two metals rather than three. It is also a thinner wire and heats up quicker, so it can be used for sub-ohm coils more easily. Again, there are no special settings needed for this wire, so it is usually not specified.
Yes, stainless steel is used as a vape coil wire. It can be used in straight wattage mode, or with temperature control vaping. This wire is widely available, has a quick ramp up time and hold its shape well.
Titanium wire is thin, easy to work with and can only be used with an e-cig that has temperature control function. It will not work or perform in straight wattage modes. So if you are looking at coils and see one with Ti or any abbreviation of this and you don’t want to use temperature control vaping, avoid these coils.
This is another temp control only wire, it doesn’t work with wattage modes. It is made of just one compound, nickel. It is a thin wire that is very pliable, so if you are building your own coils it can be difficult to get uniform coils that hold their shape.
Wire Gauges for Vape Coils
A wires basic characteristic is its diameter. This is displayed as a numerical value and is essentially the thickness of the metal, it is known as a wires ‘gauge’.
The higher the numerical value, the thinner the wire is. If you see a 24 gauge wire, it is thinner than a 22 gauge, but thicker than a 26 gauge, why is this important? It is all to do with electrical resistance.
As the diameter increases, the resistance decreases. A coil made of a 34 gauge wire will be a much higher resistance than a 22 gauge wire.
A low resistance, or sub-ohm coil, has little resistance to the electricity you are putting through it when you press your button to vape. So it heats up hotter, quicker. Therefore you get more heat, more e-liquid is vapourised quicker. You in turn get more vapour production.
On the flip side if you have a higher resistance coil, as you press your button it is heating up slower and resisting the power, so you vapourise less e-liquid and get less vapour produced.
Different Types of Vaping Coils
Now we know all about the types of wire and their wire gauge, let’s take a look at the types of coil these can create. Each one gives a slight variation on your vaping experience and can really help you choose what type of vape coil to choose.
These are the most popular types of coils. It will be a singular wrap of wire, in a coil shape running from the bottom of the metal casing to the top. The wicking material will be wrapped around it so the air moves through the centre of the coil wire.
This is the same as a vertical coil, except there are two wraps of coil wire, usually side by side. When we start to move past just one wire coil, it is all about surface area. If you have double the number of coils, you have double the elements heating your e-liquid and producing more vapour.
Again, the same as a vertical coil, but there are three of them. Even more surface area, these will be sub-ohm coils and will produce large amounts of vapour.
In terms of this guide, this means more than three. Yes, there are vape coils with multiple wire coils, some eight and upwards. They have a massive surface area, will be very sub-ohm, specifically for DL vaping and will use high powers and produce huge clouds of vapour.
All of the coils we have spoken about so far are a singular strand of wire wrapped into a coil. Twisted coils have multiple strands of wire, wrapped around each other, or braided around each other, then made into a coil. Again, this is all about surface area, expect great flavour from a twisted coil.
With mesh coils we move away from strands of wire. These vape coils are wire, but not in a coil, they literally look like a piece of mesh with small holes. They have massive surface area, can be higher resistance or sub-ohm, and are great for maximum flavour.
A variation on mesh coils, these are very similar but with bigger holes so it looks like a fishing net. Again, massive surface area and great flavour and vapour.
Vape Coils for Different Tanks
Vape tanks tend to cater to different types of coils. The two main types of vape tank are high resistance and sub-ohm.
Higher resistance vape tanks, will use a high resistance coil. The airflow will be more restricted on the tank and it will have a smaller diameter mouthpiece. The coils tend to have a singular vertical coil and will be much smaller than a sub-ohm coil. These are geared towards MTL vaping and are great for new vapers or flavour chasers.
Sub-ohm tanks will have massive airflow, large diameter mouthpieces, and use sub-ohm coils. This is where you will find multiple coil builds, twisted and mesh coils. This type of tank and coil combo is aimed specifically at DL vapers and ideal for cloud chasers.
How Long Does A Vape Coil Last?
A vape coil lasts for one to two weeks. This is an average life span and other factors such as the type of e-liquid you are vaping, the power you are using, and the type of coil can affect it.
Some vapers reading this might be frustrated as they only get a day or two out of their coils before they need to change it, others will be thinking that they get weeks and weeks out of theirs. As previously mentioned, there are other factors that change the life span of your coils, let’s look at these in detail and go over some tips to extend their time in your vape tank.
When you vape your e-liquid, it leaves a film on the coil as it is vapourised, this is completely normal. If you have an e-liquid that has a high sugar or sweetener content, think a dessert flavour or very sweet flavour, then this sugar or sweetener caramelises on your coil and wicking material. It leaves a thick black film and makes your coil taste burnt. These vape juices are known as ‘coil killers’ and you will be lucky to get a few days from your coil. A lot of vapers who love these type of flavours build their own coils in RDAs or RTAs so they can quickly change the wicking or coil every day or so. Keep this in mind with your vape liquid choice, if it is very sweet or complex, it will make your coil life span much shorter. On the flip side, if you pick a simple, clean juice such as a menthol, your coils will last much longer as your coils aren’t subjected to any juice build up.
If you are using your e-cig at a very high power, it means the coil is put under more strain each time you vape. The coils will fail much quicker than if you were using a higher resistance coil at a lower power.
When you are installing a new vape coil, you must prime it properly before you take your first vape. Without a proper priming process your coils will have a much shorter life span. Priming involves making sure the wicking material and coil are saturated with e-liquid before you vape. As you are installing a new coil, before it goes in your tank, put a drop of e-liquid on each of the e-liquid inlets and one down the middle of the coil. Install your coil, fill the tank with e-liquid then leave it for at least five minutes. After you have left your coil take a few sharp puffs on your mouthpiece before you press your button. Now your coil is primed and ready to vape. Without this step there can be dry spots in your wicking material, so as you vape they are singed. Your coil is burnt before you have even finished your first vape.
When to Change A Vape Coil
Your coil will exhibit certain symptoms when it needs changing and once you learn to spot them you can make sure you have the best vaping experience at all times.
- Less flavour – If you start to get less flavour from your favourite vape juice then it might be time to pop a new coil in your vape tank. As the wicking material and coils start to fail, your e-liquid will seem to be giving you less flavour.
- Less vapour – One day you have big voluminous clouds of vapour, the next day there is hardly any. This is a sure-fire sign you need to swap your vape coil.
- Change in taste – We have spoken about less flavour, but what if the flavour alters. This is the same thing, if your vape juice doesn’t taste right, it is most likely a coil problem.
- Burnt taste – This is an obvious one, if your coil tastes burnt, change it.
- A gurgling sound – A slightly less obvious one, if you start to hear a gurgling sound when you vape it means that there is a build-up of e-liquid in your coil. This happens when your vape coil cannot properly vapourise the e-liquid you are drawing into it as it isn’t working properly.
- Vape tank leaking – A leaking tank usually goes hand in hand with a gurgling sound. Your vape coil isn’t vapourising your e-liquid properly so it builds up in the coil, there is usually only one place for that liquid to go, out of the tank through the airflow holes.
Summary of Vape Coils
This was a look at everything you wanted to know about vape coils. You should now know what type of wires are used, how to tell if your vape coil needs changing, and how long they should last.
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