July 13, 2021 11 min read
The eLiquid.com team has been going more in-depth with one of the most important components of the vaping experience: coils. Coils vaporize your favorite vape juices and produce the flavor and vapor most people (even non-vapers) associate with the vaping experience. We break down what coils are, what they do, what parts make up the coils in your vaping device, a brief history of coils, and some of the best types of coils available on the market today.
Coils and the Vaping Experience
Many members of the eLiquid.com team have turned to vaping as a viable alternative nicotine product at some point in their lives. Experimentation with different mods and coils have helped us determine what are the best coils for a certain vaping experience. From those who vape once a week to those who vape every chance they get to vape, there’s something out there for you, and coils can be the difference-maker in your vaping experience(s).
No two vapers are alike—they personalize their vaping experience through mixing and matching different coils and mods, or some even build their own coils. Those who build their own coils are called do-it-yourself (DIY) vapers. They’ll not only experiment with building coils out of certain wires that we’ll be talking about later on in this blog post, but some DIY vapers also create their own vape juice as well. The DIY community gets very granular when it comes to the vaping experience, which we will also discuss later on in this blog.
What Is A Coil?
Coils are technically the heads of the atomizer, and are a component inside of the atomizer. Those who are already vapers will know what we’re talking about, but those new to vaping and/or unfamiliar with vaping, this is essentially what defines a coil. You will see that coils are measured in resistance, particularly in ohms, and that there are many different types of coils available on the market today at varying wire gauges for a wide selection of vaping experiences that can be mixed and matched with different vape mods and vape juices. We will also discuss this further in the blog.
History of Coils
Vaping has been around in the United States since the 2000s, but coils as we know it today in vaping devices came about in 2012. Before this, coil resistance was still between 2 to 2.5 ohms, but demand for more vapor and flavor production in the vaping experience pushed resistances down further. The DIY community started creating their own rebuildable dripping atomizers (RDAs) which forced vaping hardware manufacturers to start experimenting with more complex coil setups. Single-wire builds were common before 2014.
Kanger, Joyetech, Aspire, and other brands started creating more complex coils starting from 2014 onward. Some of the most popular coil brands today which we will be talking about later on in this article include the aforementioned brands. Today, SMOK, Horizon, FreeMax, GeekVape, Voopoo, Vaporesso, and more are some big-name manufacturers of vape coils. They also manufacture their own vape mods to match the vape coils for an easier purchasing experience, and some may even be cross-compatible with one another.
What Does A Coil Do?
A coil is made up of a thin wire that is powered through either self-draw or a firing button. This is then converted to heat and vaporizes the vape juice you are vaping. Coils, as mentioned before, have a resistance that is measured in ohms. Ohms are a unit of energy measurement for coils named after 19th-century German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm’s law says that the resistance is equal to the ratio of the potential difference to current, expressed in ohms, volts, and amperes.
For the science or electronics experts out there, one ohm is equal to the resistance of a circuit in which a potential difference of one volt produces a current of one ampere. Therefore, an ohm is the voltage divided by amperes. If you’re a vaper who happens to be really into science and/or electronics and really want to get into the nuts and bolts of your vaping experience(s), a good way to do this is to start looking at the resistance of your coils and the voltage of your vape mods and how it affects your vaping experience(s)!
High resistance coils are defined in the vaping industry as any coil resistance over 1.0 ohms. These coils produce smaller clouds of vapor, use less vape juice, and are suited to most vape mods. Low resistance coils are defined as any coil resistance under 1.0 ohms and is generally referred to as “sub-ohm” vaping. These coils require higher-powered vape mods and they produce larger vape clouds. However, they also use more vape juice and are not suitable for all vape mods. You may want to check your vape mods to see what coils are supported for your device(s) and how that will affect your vaping experience(s).
What Makes Up A Coil And How Does It Work?
The atomizer head is made up of the aforementioned coil and then a wicking material. There are many different types of coils that will be mentioned below. While coils may look different on various vape mods, they essentially perform the same function. They heat and vaporize your favorite vape juice to bring you the best vaping experiences possible in the industry today.
You’ll also want to take a look at wire gauges (ga), which is defined as the diameter of the wire. The most common wire gauges are around 22ga to 32ga, with 22ga being the thickest and 32ga being the thinnest. It is not uncommon to use vape coils outside of these gauges, but these gauges are the most common.
Once again, for those interested in getting granular with their vaping experience(s), as the wire diameter increases, the wire resistance decreases. That means that 32ga vape coils will have higher resistances than a 24ga coil. If you want to put your vaping experience(s) under a microscope, you should also consider the internal resistance of coil materials (to be discussed later). Kanthal, for example, has higher resistance than stainless steel. The greater the length of your wire, the higher the resistance of your coil. If you’re into building your own coils, you might want to take a look at the material and the length of your wire.
One must also consider the ramp-up time, or the time your coil takes to reach the temperature to vaporize vape juice. If you are using more complex coils (i.e. Claptons) or single-wire coils, you will notice the ramp-up time. Lower-gauge wire, due to its increased mass, will take longer to heat, while higher-gauge (thinner) wire will quickly heat up. Other factors to consider are the internal resistances of different coil materials. Stainless steel and nichrome are considered the two wires with the fastest ramp-up time, while kanthal is significantly slower.
Lastly, the temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR) is also important. This is defined as the increase in resistance of the wire as the temperature increases. The vape mod knows the cold resistance of the vape coil and the material. When your coil rises to a certain resistance as the temperature rises, the mod also knows when the coil is too hot and reduces the current to the coil to prevent it from burning too quickly. Only certain coils are suitable for temperature control mods, so make sure you check the manual of both your mods if they support temperature control, and your coils if they can safely operate with these mods. For those who are building their own coils, pay attention to how you are building your coils and understand the science behind the materials you are using and what your vape mod can support.
What Are Some Types of Coils?
Coils are made up of the coil itself and the wicking material, as we previously talked about. There are multiple types of vape coils that you can use for your vaping experience(s). Both the coils and wicking material can be mixed and matched to facilitate a unique vaping experience. Vape coils come in five different types: kanthal (FeCrAl), nichrome (nickel + chromium), stainless steel, nickel (Ni200), and titanium (Ti).
Kanthal coils are made up of iron, chromium, and aluminum. Kanthal coils have been one of the most popular types of coils for around 10 years now. If you want a simple yet fulfilling vaping experience that can last you a long time and don’t want to break the bank, look at getting kanthal coils. Even if you are a DIY vaper and build your own coils, kanthal coils are easy to work with and widely available.
Pros:Cheap, easy to find in vape shops and online stores, works in wattage mode
Cons:Can’t be used with temperature control, flavor production low, slow ramp-up time
Nichrome coils are best suited for wattage control vaping. It is an alloy consisting of nickel and chromium. The most common alloy used in vape coils is ni80 (80% nickel and 20% chromium). Some other metals such as iron can also be included in nichrome coils. It’s more common than you think and have applications outside of vaping: they’re used for fillings in dental work and in hair dryers. It has similar properties to kanthal coils as well. However, you should be more careful when you are handling nichrome coils—they have a lower melting point. If they catch fire when you are dry burning your coils, it can negatively affect your vaping experience(s).
Pros:Quick ramp-up time, inexpensive, wattage mode only
Cons:Lower melting point, not for those with nickel allergies, not widely available
Stainless steel is another alloy used in vaping coils, generally made up of nickel, chromium, and carbon. The best part about stainless steel coils is that they can be used in both temperature control and wattage control vaping. The nickel content in stainless steel is 10-14%, which means those with nickel allergies should not risk using stainless steel coils. For those who are building their own coils, the most common grades of stainless steel coils are SS316L and SS317L, and (less commonly) 304 and 430. Just like nichrome wire, it has a fast ramp-up time due to low resistance for the same gauge. However, do not dry burn at high wattages—toxic chemical compounds could be released and that will negatively affect your vaping experience(s).
Pros:Widely available, easy to work with, fast ramp time, can work with wattage or temperature control mods
Cons:Not for those with nickel allergies, unsafe to dry burn at high wattages
Nickel coils are pure nickel, and those with temperature control mods can use nickel in their mods. The type of wire used for nickel coils is ni200. For DIY vapers, nickel can be difficult to work with as it easily loses its shape and is also an allergen. If you are into building your own coils, nickel may not be the most optimal coil type to use, but for those who use temperature control for their vaping experience(s), this is the way to go.
Cons:Allergen (100% nickel), difficult to work with
Titanium is another type of vape coil that is popular among temperature control fans. However, titanium coils are a point of debate in the vaping community. If one heats titanium above 1200°F (648°C), the highly toxic titanium dioxide is released. On top of that, titanium is also extremely difficult to put out if it is ignited. This wire may not be sold because of safety and liability reasons. If you use your temperature control mod safely, you will not have to worry about these issues. It is easy to use, but be aware of the risks if you are using titanium coils.
Pros:Easy to use, temperature control
Cons:Fire hazard, toxic if ignited, difficult to find at the local level
What Are The Best Coils For Each Coil Type?
Now that you know the types of coils and their pros and cons, what vape coils are the best in each category? It all depends on several factors: what type of mod you use, whether or not you are a DIY vaper and build your own coils, and what kind of vaping experience(s) you
want (flavor production vs. vapor production). You should evaluate your own vaping experience(s) and know what you want from them: better flavor, better vapor, or a mix of both? Vaping is a personal journey, but knowing what you want from your vaping experience(s) is an important aspect of vaping.
Kanthal - SMOK TFV8 Baby Q2 Coil 0.4ohm (5 Pack)
SMOK TFV8 Baby Q2 Coil 0.4ohm (5 Pack) is touted as one of the top-selling coils on eJuices.com. Our friends over at SMOK have produced a kanthal wire dual-coil which includes organic cotton wicking material and comes at a resistance of 0.4 ohms. This means more vapor production and higher consumption of vape juice. If you have plenty of juice on hand and are a fan of cloud chasing, this product from our friends at SMOK will definitely entice you. You can also get that flavor production due to the low ramp-up time and have a flavorful vaping experience.
What The Vapers Say:“I’ve tried almost every SMOK coil and for me, I can always count on a great cloud & deep flavor when using the Q2! Recognizing that everyone is different, this coil may not be for you BUT I would, and have recommended for my fellow vapors to try it! Never let me down! And buying from eLiquid.com saves me up to $10 on each pack of 5, which is a huge saving!” - Cathy, eLiquid.com customer
Nichrome - Aspire Nautilus AIO Salt-Nic Coil 1.8ohm (5 Pack)
For fans of nicotine salts, which contain the same great flavor as regular vape juice but with a higher nicotine content, you can purchase theAspire Nautilus AIO Salt-Nic Coil 1.8ohm (5 Pack). Our friends over at Aspire have made this nichrome coil to cater to nicotine salt vapers with its higher resistance coil. If you love nicotine salts, this product from Aspire fits in well with your vape mod. With an average rating of 4.8 stars on eJuices.com, you can tell vapers are impressed with these coils.
What The Vapers Say:“Overall I’m very happy with the flavor I get from these coils!” - Michelle, eLiquid.com customer
Stainless Steel - Uwell Crown 4 Coil (4 Pack)
Whether you like wattage or temperature control, stainless steel can do both. TheUwell Crown 4 Coil (4 Pack) is a dual stainless steel 904L mesh coil. The even heating of this product combines timely ramp-up with flavor production that will greatly enhance your vaping experience(s). Fans of stainless steel coils will be pleased to know that this coil has a 4.7 average rating on eJuices.com, making it popular with those who use stainless steel coils.
What The Vapers Say:“Uwell coils are the longest lasting coils by far. Well worth the money & great flavor. Will only buy this brand.” - Justin and JoAnne, eLiquid.com customers
Nickel - Aspire Atlantis/Atlantis 2/Triton Nickel Ni200 Replacement Atomizer Heads (5 Pack)
The Aspire Atlantis/Atlantis 2/Triton Nickel Ni200 Replacement Atomizer Heads (5 Pack) is one of the most prominent nickel coils available on the market today. For those who are using temperature control mods, this is one of the best coils available if you are using temperature control mods or if you are using nickel coils.
Titanium - Joyetech Ego One CL-Ti Titanium Replacement Coils
If you’re a fan of titanium coils or temperature control mods in general, the Joyetech Ego One CL-Ti Titanium Replacement Coils (5 Pack) is one of the most prominent titanium coils available—although it may be hard to find in stores or even online. While titanium coils can provide a good vaping experience, the number of risks that come with using them have generated debate and controversy in the vaping community.
Which Vape Coil Is Right For Me?
While each coil has their advantages and disadvantages, you now have the information on what will make the best vaping experience. For versatility, stainless steel works with both wattage control mods and temperature control mods. Want high vapor production? Use low-resistance (below 1.0 ohm) coils. Want a flavorful vaping experience? Use coils that offer faster ramp-up time, like kanthal or nichrome. Are you into temperature control? You can use nickel or titanium coils, although they might be difficult to find online and in-store. If you find something that works for you, just note it down.
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