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Everything You Need to Know About Vape Coils in 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Vape Coils in 2024

Anyone who vapes is relying on a coil in order to take in rich clouds of flavorful, thick vapor.  But, a number of vapers who use coils daily aren’t necessarily fully aware of the more specific role that they play in the vaping process, or how the most seemingly minor changes in resistance level or construction can truly alter how you experience your vaping hobby.  Today, we want to go in-depth into the world of vape coils, so that enthusiasts of all levels can make the best choices for their vaping setup when it comes to purchasing new coils to install into their vape tank or pod cartridge.

Vape Coils 101

Before we get into the different kinds of vape coils out there, let’s go over what a vape coil is, and the functions that it performs.  A vape coil is a small metal structure consisting of an internal, coiled wire, and an outer metal shell that protects the wire and provides a channel for air to flow through, which is very important.  Inside of the coil is a wick, made of cotton or another fiber.

The coil sits inside of the atomizer (tank, pod cartridge, etc.), submerged in the e-liquid well.  This way, the wick is consistently saturated with e-liquid.  When a hit is fired via the battery of the device, the wire of the coil heats up, and this forces the e-liquid that has absorbed into the wick to convert into vapor, which exist through the mouthpiece and into the vaper’s mouth.

This is the general process that all coils follow, regardless of your vape setup.  Any company that produces vape atomizers and/or starter kits makes coils as well, and starter kits come with coils that are ready to be used, selected by the brand to complement the vaping device itself. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that coils do not last forever.  They must be replaced relatively frequently, as the wire eventually dies out and can no longer do its job.

The Differences in Vape Coils

Different vape coil manufacturers may have their own proprietary designs, materials, and manufacturing processes, leading to variations in performance and quality among different brands.  For example, coils are often designed for specific types of vaping, such as flavor chasing or cloud chasing.  So, let’s break it all down even further.

Ohm’s Law and Your Coil’s Resistance Level

A coil’s resistance level is measured in ohms, which’s why you will see 0.2ohm coils, 1.0ohm coils, 1.5ohm coils, etc.  This number is incredibly important to pay attention to, as each resistance level of a coil is compatible with a different output (usually wattage) range of your vaping device.

The reason why this nonuniversal compatibility exists is because of something called Ohm’s law.  Ohm’s law was first developed in 1827 by George Ohm, a mathematician from Germany who discovered a critical relationship between current, voltage, and resistance.  An “ohm” refers to a single unit of electrical resistance, and the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance looks like a triangle, in which resistance and current are at the bottom, and voltage up top.  In a vaping context, the current is the amperage between the battery and coil, the voltage is the battery’s voltage, and the resistance is the ohms of your coil. 

A vape battery’s voltage is more or less consistent, but what is a variable is wattage (or another output mode that you may be using on your device).  Ohm’s law tells us that the higher the wattage (which uses more battery voltage), the lower the resistance level of the coil must be, and vice versa, to maintain the proper current of electricity for successful vaping.  “Sub-ohm” vaping is associated with high-wattage devices, as they use a lot of voltage and therefore require a coil resistance level that’s below 1 ohm.

To sum it all up, coils with higher resistance require less power and produce less vapor, while coils with lower resistance require more power and produce more vapor.  Different resistance levels cater to different vaping preferences, such as mouth-to-lung (MTL) or direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping.

Everything You Need to Know About Vape Coils in 2024

Coil Configurations

Now that we got Ohm’s law out of the way, time to cover how and why vape coils can have different configurations, as certain configurations affect factors such as heat distribution, surface area, and vapor production:

  • Single Coil: Utilizes one coil of wire and is known for its simplicity and efficiency in battery usage. Single coils vaporize e-juice more slowly, resulting in less power, and allowing you to go through vape juice more slowly – although they produce somewhat less vapor. Still, it's great for beginners due to its ease of use and maintenance.
  • Dual Coils: Consists of two parallel coiled wires. This coil type offers increased vapor production and flavor intensity compared to single coils.  However, it consumes more battery power and e-liquid.  So, if you crave those bigger, more powerful hits, these would be the coils to turn to.
  • Triple Coils: Features three coils, further enhancing vapor production and flavor. Triple coil setups require even more power and thus deplete battery life faster.
  • Quad Coils: Incorporates four coils, maximizing vapor production and flavor delivery. These coils are best suited for high-power vaping devices and consume significant amounts of e-liquid and battery power.
  • Mesh Coil: Instead of traditional wire, mesh coils use a mesh sheet, providing a larger surface area for heating e-liquid. This results in more even heating, better flavor, and vapor production.  Mesh coils are also known for their longevity and faster heating times.
  • Clapton Coil: Features a core wire wrapped with a thinner wire, resembling a guitar string. Clapton coils offer a larger surface area, leading to enhanced flavor and vapor production. However, they may require more power and have a longer ramp-up time.
  • Alien Coil: Similar to Clapton coils but with a more complex structure, offering even greater surface area. Alien coils are known for their exceptional flavor and vapor production but can be more challenging to build.
  • Twisted Coil: Made by twisting two or more strands of wire together, increasing the surface area for improved flavor and vapor production. Twisted coils can offer a good balance between flavor, vapor, and heating time.
  • Temperature Control (TC) Coils: Made from specific types of wire like nickel, titanium, or stainless steel that allow for temperature control. TC coils provide a consistent vape temperature, reducing the risk of dry hits and offering a more consistent flavor.

Different Wire Materials and How They Impact Your Vaping Experience

Vapers choose their wire based on the desired outcome, whether it's for immense flavor, insane cloud production, or a balance of both.  This matters all the more if you’re a vaper who uses the temperature control function, or, of course, someone who builds your own coils, more on that part later.  The main types of coil wires that you will encounter in the vaping world (some more frequently than others) are:

  • Kanthal (FeCrAl): The most common type of wire used for vaping, Kanthal is praised for its durability and high resistance/ Kanthal wires consist of iron, chromium, and aluminum, and are only compatible with wattage mode (not temperature control), making them a nice choice for newbies.  They are malleable but retain their shape, and work best as single coils, all while being affordable.
  • Nichrome (Ni80): Made from nickel and chromium, Nichrome heats up faster than Kanthal and is known for its excellent flavor production. It's a preferred choice for many rebuildable atomizers and is suitable for wattage mode vaping.
  • Nickel (Ni200): Pure nickel wire is exclusively used in temperature control (TC) vaping due to its high temperature sensitivity. It's not suitable for wattage mode because of its low resistance.  Nickel is soft, and bends into a coil easily, but struggles to hold its shape.  However, it’s very inexpensive, so that’s a plus.
  • Stainless Steel (SS): Versatile and durable, stainless steel wires can be used in both wattage and temperature control modes. They are recognized for their clean flavor and are available in various grades (e.g., 304, 316, 317), but SS316L is standard.  They also hold their shape well, and ramp up faster than Kanthal, but can leech chemicals into your clouds when used in pulse mode.
  • Titanium (Ti): Titanium wire is also used for TC vaping. It heats up quickly and cools down rapidly. When vaped responsibly, it works just fine, but it can ignite if you’re vaping at excessively high temperatures, or if you’re dry-burning, which’s why many companies don’t offer titanium coils anymore.
  • Nickel-Chromium (NiCr): Similar to Nichrome but with different proportions of nickel and chromium, offering slightly varied resistance and thermal properties.

Each type of wire has its unique properties, such as resistance level, ramp-up time, and durability, which influence the vaping experience.  The wire gauge (thickness) used in a coil also affects its resistance and heating properties.  Thicker wire (lower gauge) has lower resistance and can handle higher power levels, while thinner wire (higher gauge) has higher resistance and heats up more quickly.

Wicking Materials Matter

The last thing we want to mention is that the wicking material inside of the coil can vary from one coil to the next, and it can make a big difference.  Different wicking materials offers distinct characteristics affecting flavor, vapor production, and overall coil longevity. 

  • Cotton: The most popular wicking material due to its ability to deliver a clean flavor and its ease of use. There are two divisions of cotton:
  • Organic Cotton: Derived from natural sources and is typically grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Organic cotton is often considered purer than non-organic cotton because it's grown without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.  Examples include Japanese organic cotton, which’s known for its long fibers and purity.  Organic cotton tends to have good absorbency, which is essential for e-liquid wicking in vape coils. Also, many users prefer organic cotton because they believe it provides a cleaner flavor compared to non-organic alternatives.
  • Non-Organic Cotton: May be grown conventionally using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It also might contain residues of pesticides and other chemicals used in the growing process, which some users may prefer to avoid.  However, non-organic cotton can be more readily available and less expensive compared to organic cotton.  Also, while non-organic cotton can still function as a wicking material, some users argue that organic cotton performs better due to its purity and better absorbency.
  • Ceramic: Ceramic wicks are known for their longevity and the purity of flavor they offer. They can withstand high temperatures without burning, ensuring a consistent taste over time.  However, they are less common due to their more complex manufacturing process and higher cost.
  • Tea Fiber: Tea fiber cotton is a relatively recent development in the vaping realm, used as a wicking material in vape coils. It’s derived from natural tea plant fibers, providing a unique alternative to more traditional wicking materials like organic cotton.  Tea fiber cotton is often claimed to provide a cleaner and more neutral taste compared to standard cotton, potentially enhancing the natural flavors of the e-liquid without imparting any additional taste.  Also, due to its natural fibrous structure, tea fiber cotton can wick e-liquid quickly to the coil – beneficial for avoiding dry hits and is particularly advantageous when vaping at higher wattages or with thicker e-juices.  Some users report that tea fiber cotton has better heat resistance, allowing coils to last longer before needing a replacement due to burnt tastes or decreased performance.  Given that it's derived from tea plants, tea fiber cotton might offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly option compared to conventional cotton, depending on the specifics of how it's harvested and processed.
  • Wood Pulp: Some newer coils incorporate wood pulp with cotton to enhance flavor and absorption. This combination aims to provide a balance between the natural taste of cotton and the increased wicking efficiency of wood pulp
  • Flax Fiber: Flax fiber is another material that's being combined with cotton in some modern coils. It's praised for its high liquid absorption rate and heat resistance, which can result in longer-lasting coils and cleaner flavor.
  • Stainless Steel Mesh: Although not a traditional wick material, stainless steel mesh can be used as a wicking material in certain rebuildable setups, thanks to its durability. It provides excellent e-liquid distribution and can enhance flavor.  However, mesh requires careful handling to avoid hot spots and short circuits.
  • Rayon: A semi-synthetic fiber that is highly absorbent, heat resistant, and offers a clean taste. Rayon provides a similar performance to cotton but with a faster wicking speed, which can lead to more consistent vapor production.
  • Silica: Once a standard in early vaping days, silica wicks are heat-resistant and durable, making them last longer than cotton. However, they are less popular now due to a perceived reduction in flavor quality compared to cotton.

Each material has its advantages and limitations, including differences in taste, wicking speed, and durability. Vapers should choose their wicking material based on personal preference, the type of e-liquid being vaped with, and of course, the desired vaping experience.

Pre-Made Coils vs DIY Coil Building

The debate between using pre-made vape coils and building your own coils is a significant one in the vaping community, each option offering its own set of advantages and disadvantages.  It's also worth considering that many vapers start with pre-made coils and gradually move to building their own as they become more experienced and interested in customization.

Pre-Made Coils


  • Convenience: Pre-made coils are ready to use right out of the package, making them a great choice for vapers who prefer simplicity and ease of use.
  • Consistency: These coils provide a consistent experience with a standard level of performance, flavor, and vapor production.
  • Time-Saving: There's no need to spend time building and wicking your coils, which can be particularly appealing for those with a busy lifestyle.
  • Ease of Use: Ideal for beginners or those not interested in the technical aspects of vaping, as it requires no specialized knowledge to get started.


  • Cost: Over time, buying pre-made coils can be more expensive than building your own, especially for heavy vapers who go through coils quickly.
  • Limited Customization: You're limited to the coil types and resistances that manufacturers offer, which may not meet every vaper's preference for a customized experience.

DIY Coil Building


  • Cost-Effectiveness: Building your own coils is generally cheaper in the long run, as wire and cotton are relatively inexpensive and can last a long time.
  • Customization: DIY coil building allows for customization of resistance, coil size, and wicking material, providing a tailored vaping experience. You can fine-tune your setup for the best flavor or vapor production based on your preferences.
  • Skill Development: Building coils can be a rewarding hobby that offers a sense of accomplishment. It also enhances your understanding of the mechanics behind vaping.


  • Learning Curve: There really is a significant learning curve involved. New builders need to understand Ohm's law, battery safety, and coil building basics, which can be daunting for some.
  • Time and Effort: Building coils requires time, patience, and practice, especially when trying to achieve specific resistance or coil configurations.
  • Safety Concerns: Without proper knowledge and precautions, there's a risk of building unsafe coil setups that could lead to battery failure or other hazardous situations.

What Should You Be Looking for in a Vape Coil?

When selecting a vape coil, it's important to consider your vaping style, the type of device you have, and what you value most in your vaping experience.  Also, experimenting with different coils can help you find the one that best meets your vaping needs and preferences.  Here's what to look for:

  • Resistance Level
  • Element Material
  • Wicking Material
  • Design and Build Quality
  • Compatibility
  • Lifespan and Cost
  • Brand and Reviews

The World of Vape Coils is Always Evolving

Vape coils are more advanced than ever, with all kinds of choices on the market, ranging from different builds to innovative features like mesh, dual builds, and so on.  The most important thing is to choose a coil that’s compatible with your vaping system, as the manufacturer of your hardware always knows best.
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