**Disclaimer: All vaping products are for consumers 21 years or older.
As humans, we spend our lives wanting the best – the latest trends, the best houses, and the best friends. But how do we define ‘best’ when we are flooded with thousands of products, all claiming to be the best? That being said, we can’t deny that a little indecisive procrastination is never wrong. It’s like a vacation. Only it costs less.
Although this article won’t answer all your questions, it aims at becoming your go-to ultimate vape coil guide in 2021.
Why is the vape coil critical?
The vape coil is one of the essential parts of the vape device. It takes a plunge to give the user the best escapade from ensuring you get the proper vapor and fewer heat timings. Arguably, it is the supreme part of the device. It has the same function as that of a transport you need to take for your vacation.
Before going on a trip, the most significant part is to understand the logistics of how you’d get there. Whether you are taking a bus or plane is on you, making up a considerable chunk of your adventure. Every person has a different preference on how they want to cover their journey. Choosing a coil is a similar ordeal. There is no one size that fits all rule here.
Consequently, one’s choice will be different from the next person’s, and that is fine. One shouldn’t just try a product because their best friend does it. He should stick to what makes the experience enjoyable for him because once you strip all the fancy terminology away, vaping is all about enjoying that moment through the clouds.
We have compiled the ultimate guide for you if you are bewildered by all the information out there. This guide covers all the fundamentals you need to know and more so that once you are at the site of buying, you are not confused about all the jargon and know precisely the factors that you’d want to find in your dream product.
What is a vape coil?
Think of the coil as the real reason why you get all that vapor into your lungs. Visually, it’s the connection between you and the tank, consisting of a 510 connector, resistance wire, and wicking material. When you inhale, the e-liquid that is present inside the tank is converted into vapor. Evaporation only takes place when there is heat around the liquid. The heat comes from the battery, which gradually turns electrical energy to heat up the coil.
The best way to picture a vape coil is to imagine the metal coils of a stove, except on a smaller scale. You may even go as far as to think of it as a tiny engine within your vaping device that works to heat up your e-juice and turn it into vapor. In any case, the concept is simple and easy once you get a grip on it.
There are many other words for coils, such as atomizer heads, atomizers, or simply coil. They all mean the same thing and, therefore, should not confuse a neophyte. It consists of two parts: wicking material and coil. Coil glows red when heat is provided to it and absorbs the e-liquid that is saturated on the wicking material, while wicking material has the e-juice on it and is usually made of cotton.
The amount of vapor that is formed through an atomizer depends on two factors:
· Resistance of the coil
· Heat provided to it
Resistance of the coil is measured in ohms and can only be determined when buying the coil as it is the property of the coil. Nonetheless, the heat to it can vary depending on the setting you put on your device. Apart from the basics, we will dissect more about the resistance of coils later.
Types of vape coils
There are multiple types of coils that are available in the market. Apart from being made of different materials, there are also various approaches to the coil structure, such as mesh vs. regular coils. Therefore, we’d like to break down the list to make it easier for you to choose the one according to personal preferences.
Kanthal is a mix of chromium, aluminum, and iron. It is superior to other types due to its ability to be shaped in any form easily and, therefore, is easier to make.
It also has a high degree of heat absorption, which makes it triumph over other types of materials. On the other hand, kanthal coils can only be used in wattage variable mode, not in temperature control mode, and might taste metallic in the beginning.
Nichrome is the second most favored choice for people who want to go pro when it comes to vaping. That is because of its ability to withstand high temperatures due to its formation from chromium and nickel. It is mainly used for sub-ohm vaping. A downside of it is that it is harder to find nowadays as Nichrome is a trendy material and the demand for it keeps growing.
Stainless steel Coils
This coil is the personal favorite of people who make their own devices. It takes some time to heat the steel coil, but it has a longer tenure than any other materials we mentioned above. It is also described by many as better than kanthal in terms of taste. It has both variable temperature as well as variable-wattage mode.
Titanium is an expensive material and is quite sensitive to temperatures, which makes it a rare choice. Yet, some vaping enthusiasts prefer it due to its highly flammable property. It is a rare type that can be used in temperature control mode, which is a win for users who find varying temperature easier than varying wattage.
Ceramic coils tend to give the best-tasting hit. They also do not need a wick and are best for sub-ohm tanks. Despite that, they are expensive to produce and, therefore, not as popular as others.
Coil Wicking Material
To understand which wicking material is right for you, we first need to go through all the available materials in the market.
Silica wicks were sought-after some time ago. Nevertheless, their popularity has declined over the years due to numerous issues. To begin with, they are not efficient in transporting the e-liquid to the coil. Even though they last longer, their stiffness and a long-debated chance of developing silicosis have led to Silica wicks being replaced by cotton wicks.
A blanket of insulating material made from spun ceramic fiber. Image source
Ceramic wicks are still desired today due to RDA atomizers. Their efficiency is not as good as cotton. Therefore, it takes some time to take the next puff. On the plus side, they don’t burn as easily as cotton, so a dry hit’s chances are much less.
Rayon is a synthetic fiber, which vapers claim does not have a good taste. That means that the flavor of ejuice is changed due to the effect of rayon wick. Having said that, there are more disadvantages, such as they shrink when they are wet, so they have to be wrapped much more than other wicking material types.
Stainless steel wicks
Stainless steel wicks are not common anymore as they are hard to build. They have been left in the past due to the complicated building style along with the terrible dry hits.
Cotton bacon wicks. Image source
Cotton wicks are the most marketable material for coils in the market right now. That is because of its efficiency between hits which is very high. There are different categories of cotton wicks for enthusiasts, such as tea-fiber cotton or cotton bacon. Cotton Bacon comes in strips that make it easy as they tend to strip away and offer a larger stretch. Japanese cotton comes in sheets and can be cut using scissors which makes it easier to work with. As the name suggests, the tea-fiber cotton is made from tea leaves and improves the duration of the wick.
What is coil resistance?
If you think that you are the only one who gets overwhelmed by all the physics behind vaping, then we are here to break the news: you are not. There are many people whose brain gets flustered at all the maths involved.
Coil resistance is measured in ohms. As you increase the resistance of your coil, the current flow will be less, and therefore, less vapor will be generated. Professional cloud-chasers prefer higher resistance.
If you are not into coil building, the information mentioned above is all you need, and you can skip to the next point. However, if you want to put all your effort in and build the device from scratch, you are at the right place. Anyway, before we even begin with sub-ohm vaping, we need to be familiar with our jargon.
mAH (stands for milliampere per hour) is the capacity of the vape battery. We will explore this in much detail later.
Amps (stands for ampere) is the standard way to measure current. One ampere is equivalent to one coulomb passing through a point in one second.
Voltage (measured in volts) is the amount of energy difference between two points of the circuit.
Watts refers to the consumption of power by a device.
- Resistance is the self-explanatory word that measures the resistance that will be present against the flow of current.
All this terminology brings us to that one law you will find in every conversation about vaping: Ohm’s law.
In this equation:
- I refers to current
- V refers to the voltage
R refers to resistance
On the other hand, Power is calculated as:
- P stands for Power
- V stands for voltage
- I stands for current
- R stands for resistance
Let's look at an example: If you use Kanthal Double Mesh Coil - 0.20 ohm and along with that, use a battery of 2800MAH 20A 3.7V, then that implies:
Power = 3.7 ÷ (0.20)2 = 92.4 Watts
This formula shows the output you will receive. The higher it is, the more flavor and vapor you will feel. Consequently, you need to have some knowledge of resistance and wattage to get the output you desire.
Coils are categorized in two based on their resistance :
These coils have less than 1 ohms resistance. They are perfect for cloud-chasers who’d want the right amount of direct-to-lung inhaling and those pro vapers in love with gigantic clouds. Despite that, sub-ohm vaping is usually hard to get for beginners. Therefore, it is advised to take some time to prep and read a tutorial if possible.
This is the way to go for new vapers. Plus-ohm coils do not have high vapor content in them as the resistance is higher, but on the other side, it has higher nicotine content. It is also perfect for mouth-to-lung technique. As a result, beginners should start with this kind of configuration.
Micro vs. macro coils
The difference between the micro and macro coils is not as mind-boggling as it might appear at first. This information is paramount for building your coils. The micro coils have a much smaller diameter of 1-2 mm for conducting the current, while macro coils come with a diameter of 2.5 mm or above. The bigger the diameter, the higher the resistance of the coil is.
Micro coils are preferred over macro coils as macro coils mean that more e-juice is soaked up, which might be a good thing at first, but it hinders the coil from heating up faster. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, micro coils are the go-to choice for users who want to build their own devices.
Prebuilt vs. handmade coils
Pre-built coils, as the name suggests, are readily available and can be used almost instantly. They just have to be fit in the tank, and then they are ready to use, much like a Quad Mesh Coil.
For handmade coils, there is a unique tank available known as RBA (rebuildable atomizer).
FreeMax RBA Pro Coil. Image Source
In addition to that, one needs to have all his supplies ready. For example, wicking material that is wounded by the coil. It might seem like rocket science at first, but over time, you will learn this craft as handmade coils are famous for giving the best hits with the right flavor and a fantastic amount of vapor.
RBA atomizers are available as RTA (rebuildable tank atomizers) or RDA (rebuildable drip atomizers). Overall, RTA is less vogueish than RDA among cloud-chasers as it is hard to build and doesn’t form dense clouds. With RDA, you pour the e-juice into the tank using a dripper, hence the name.
There are many tutorials and videos available which explain the basics of creating your own atomizer. But the word of advice is to be careful when you build your device and check the resistance on the ohmmeter as this might cause injury or jeopardize vape battery safety. It is usually suggested to buy pre-built coils instead of going into the territory of using your bare hands to build the coil of your dreams.
Temperature control coils
A few of the coils that are temperature control friendly are:
· Stainless Steel
When to change the coil in the vape
No mathematical formula is needed (yay!) to know that the coil is past its shelf life. Nevertheless, this again brings up the question of how to know when the time is up. Certain methods might help in digging out this information.
Check the color
What would you need in this case? Just your eyes. Peeking through the tank to check the color of your coil wick. If it is a cotton wick, it starts off as white but rusts over time to brown. That is an indication to change the coil. Furthermore, if you find that your wick is black, it is a sign to change the coil immediately. Even so, you can see this only if you can open and peek in your tank.
Check the taste
This one is pretty self-explanatory. When your vape taste is not as good as it used to be, it can either mean that your e-liquid is finished or that the coil is past its use time. If you can still detect the e-liquid, then that indicates that the coil needs to be changed.
Increase the longevity of your coil
Even though the lifespan of a vape depends on several factors such as nicotine strength, coil resistance, and type of e-liquid, there are few ideas you can try to increase the longevity of your coil. If everything is perfect, expect your coil in a sub-ohm to last for a week and plus-ohm tanks to last for two weeks if you don’t practice chain-vaping or overuse your device. If you are frustrated with how quickly your coil is up, try these methods.
Don’t be too sweet
You love your coffee with some sweetener, right? This is because, for you, it tastes better that way. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for your e-liquid. If you love sweet e-liquids with candy-like flavors, remember that they need to be vaporized together with nicotine and propylene glycol. Sucrose and stevia aren’t the best products for that; they clog up the coils, leading to a short lifetime of them.
Choose the right e-liquid
Consider the resistance of your coil to choose the viscosity of the e-liquid. If your coil has a resistance of less than 1 ohm, opt for a thick e-liquid. On the other hand, choose a high viscosity liquid for plus-ohm tanks.
Don’t exceed the wattage limit
In case you didn’t know, do not try to go beyond the wattage limits of your device or your coil. Most of the coils are equipped with a wattage stamp that states the likely wattages to stay within. Follow these guidelines not to burn your coil too quickly.
Another recommendation for using the mod is to make sure you do not use too low wattages to avoid that gurgling sound when vaping. That happens when there is too much e-liquid on the wick, and it does not evaporate properly. Therefore, it is recommended to use the right wattage and correct e-juice for the mod.
Sufficient e-liquid is needed
Always make sure you have refilled your e-liquid to the appropriate amount. If your e-liquid is drying up, the cotton wick starts burning, and nobody likes those burnt hits. Therefore, it is best to refill the e-liquid before you continue on your vaping journey.
How to prime a coil
It is exactly how it sounds. You need to prepare your device before you start the session of vaping. If you decide to refill, soak the cotton in e-liquid for a while. As with modern appliances, you do not need to take care of the wick explicitly. The only precaution required is to wait after soaking your e-juice in the tank so that it primes the coil for use. After a while, you can start using the device to reach cloud number nine.
Best vape coils for flavors
Most of the flavor-chasers will advise you to choose things based on your personal preferences and do not depend on reviews from every place to buy any part of the device.
To just begin the journey, one can buy pod-style devices as they provide a plausible flavor but it doesn’t tend to be the finest. However, once you are past the pod “game,” it’s better to invest in a sub-ohm tank. These tanks can withstand a coil of less resistance and, therefore, allow more heat and vapor to flow through, which is usually a great way to get that perfect flavor hit.
It is also recommended to go for mesh coils as they have a larger surface area, giving more flavor and vapor to the vape user.
It’s vital to understand the significance of the coil in your device. It is the part that heats up and then transports the vapor to you through the connector, which basically sums up its momentousness. The heat and temperature have to be tightly controlled to avoid any accidents. Search for the one that tastes the best so that every hit of yours is better than the one before.