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What is a Coil In a Vape?

11/8/2023, 11:35:18 AM 515

What's a Coil in a Vape?

Vaping has exploded in popularity over the past decade. Millions now use e-cigs and vape pens to quit traditional cigarettes. But for new vapers, technical terms like "mods," "tanks," "RDAs," and "coils" can be confusing at first! In this article, we'll explain exactly what is a coil in a vape, different coil types, and how to pick the best coil for your setup.

what is a coil in a vape

How Vapes Work

Let's start with a quick overview of how vapes work before diving into coils specifically. E-cigarettes and vape pens have three main components:

  • The battery provides power to heat up the coil. These are usually lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
  • Next is the tank or atomizer. This holds the vape juice (e-liquid) and contains the coil. Tanks come pre-filled, while atomizers need manual filling.
  • Finally, the coil is the heating element that turns liquid into vapor when heated.

When you take a puff, a sensor triggers the battery to send power to the coil. The coil quickly heats up, turning the surrounding e-liquid into an inhalable vapor. So the coil is literally the heart of the vaporization process in any vape device!

What Exactly is a Vape Coil?

A vape coil consists of a metal wire that's been wrapped into a spring-like, spiral shape. Common coil metals include kanthal, nichrome, stainless steel, and titanium. Nickel and other specialty alloys are sometimes used as well.

This coiled wire gets placed inside the tank or atomizer in direct contact with the e-liquid. When power from the battery hits the coil, it rapidly heats up due to the metal's natural electrical resistance. This turns the liquid around the coil into vapor for you to inhale.

Some key coil terms to know:

Resistance - Measured in ohms. Lower resistance coils require more power to heat up and produce bigger vapor clouds. Higher resistance coils need less power for a given voltage.

Ramp-up time - How fast the coil reaches its optimal vaping temperature. Quicker ramp-up gives you better vapor production.

Wire gauge - The thickness of the wire used to make the coil. Lower gauges are thicker while higher gauges are thinner.

Types of Vape Coils

There are tons of different coil styles out there, each designed for different vape atomizers and vaping experiences. Let's look at some of the most common coil types:

Prebuilt Coils: Prebuilt coils are mass-produced coil heads installed in disposable tanks and pod mods. Just screw in a new coil and you're good to go - no building required! Prebuilt coils feature cotton wicks that come pre-saturated with e-juice. Popular styles include:

Sub-ohm Coils: Low resistance coils under 1.0 ohms that produce massive vapor clouds. Require high wattage mods to power properly.

Mouth-to-Lung Coils: Higher resistance coils around 1.5-1.8 ohms provide a tighter draw that mimics smoking a cigarette. Don't need as much power.

Ceramic Coils: Coils with ceramic-wrapped cores are said to produce a cleaner flavor. However, debate exists around potential health/safety issues.

RBA Coils: Rebuildable atomizer coils that come with a replaceable build deck so you can install your own coils and wick. More work but can be reused.

types of vape coils

Rebuildable Coils

For vaping hobbyists who like building their own coils, there are tons of rebuildable coil options:

Macro Coils: Simple single wire coils wrapped around a bit driver or vape jig. One of the most common rebuildable coil types.

Clapton Coils: Coils wrapped with a thinner gauge wire, increasing overall surface area for bigger vapor production.

Fused Claptons: Two or more wire cores fused together before being Clapton wrapped. Even more surface area than normal Claptons.

Alien Coils: Exotic pre-made coils featuring wavy-wrapped cores. Complex builds that maximize both flavor and vapor clouds.

Mesh Coils: Coils made from woven mesh wire instead of round wire. Great for quickly ramping up and increasing surface area. Mesh coils also wick juice more efficiently.

With so many coil options available, choosing the right type for your vaping needs can definitely be confusing!

Choosing the Best Coil

So how do you pick the perfect coil for your particular vape setup? Here are some useful tips:

  • Match the coil resistance (ohms) to your ideal wattage range based on your mod, tank, and personal vaping preferences.
  • Consider the type of tank or dripper you're using. Make sure to choose a coil specifically designed and rated for your atomizer.
  • Go for lower-resistance coils if you want to maximize vapor production and chuck big clouds. Use higher resistance coils for tighter mouth-to-lung draws.
  • Pick coils with recommended wattage ranges suitable for the power output of your specific mod. A 100+ watt coil won't perform well on a lower-powered box mod.
  • Don't use temperature control coils like nickel or titanium on regular voltage/wattage mods - these specialty coils are only for temp control devices.
  • Mesh coils and multi-wire coil builds like Clapton and aliens typically provide the best overall flavor and vapor quality.
  • Coils with more cotton (like the wicking material) tend to wick juice faster and last longer before burning out.

Finding the perfect sweet spot coil is a mix of your mod's capabilities, the type of vaping experience you want, and general performance factors like ramp-up time. Don't be afraid to experiment with different coil types and resistances to see what works best for you!

Coil Maintenance and Longevity

Coils don't last forever, unfortunately. After repeated use, gunked-up residue will accumulate on the wire affecting the coil's performance. Cotton breaks down over time and can't wick juice efficiently to the coil. So how do you make your coils last as long as possible? Follow these coil care tips:

Break In New Coils: Start vaping around 10W lower than the coil's recommended wattage range at first. Slowly work up to the higher end over a few hours to allow the cotton time to fully saturate with juice.

Avoid Burnt Hits: Don't run your coils so hot that you get a gross burnt taste! Burnt cotton dramatically accelerates coil gunking and failure.

Keep Your Tank Clean: Be sure to change your coil more frequently if the tank itself is dirty. Built-up grime on other components can foul new replacement coils faster too.

Watch Your Juice: Super sweet e-liquids or dark/caramel flavors tend to gunk up coils much quicker. Consider switching juice profiles if you have to change coils constantly.

Let Coils Soak: When swapping juices, drip some new liquid directly into the coil and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before vaping. This prevents crossover flavors from mixing together.

Taking proper care of your coils allows you to maximize their usable lifespan before needing to be replaced!

Squonk or Tank? Comparing Coil Systems

For vapers using prebuilt coil heads, one big decision is whether to use a traditional vape tank system or a bottom-feeding squonk mod. Which one is ultimately better comes down to your personal vaping preferences, but here are some key differences between the two coil-based systems:

Squonk Pros

  • Squonk bottles let you re-saturate coils manually by squeezing, allowing you to take bigger hits on demand. No need to stop and refill a tank.
  • Bottom-fed RDAs provide more intense, pure flavor since e-liquid replenishes constantly versus a finite tank capacity.
  • No tank means fewer parts to disassemble, clean, and maintain. More convenient overall.

Tank Pros

  • Tanks hold much more juice - usually around 5mL capacity - so you can vape longer without having to refill.
  • No need to carry around and refill squonk bottles all the time. Arguably more convenient overall.
  • Most prebuilt coil heads are designed specifically for standard vape tank systems. More coil options are readily available.

For hardcore flavor chasers, squonking definitely provides some advantages. But tanks hold their own in terms of convenience and e-liquid capacity for longer vaping sessions. Try out both systems to see what vaping style works best for you!

Taking It to the Next Level: Building Your Own Coils

While prebuilt coil heads offer simplicity and convenience, building your own customizable coils allows for complete control over your vaping experience. Some key benefits of making your own DIY coils include:

  • Full control over the metal type, gauge, resistance level, ramp-up speed, and other coil parameters.
  • Ability to experiment with a much wider variety of coil types and exotic builds like Clapton, aliens, and advanced mesh coils.
  • Rewick and reuse self-built coils many times instead of constant replacement of prebuilt heads. More cost-effective in the long run.
  • Gain a better understanding of how all the components work together. Learn advanced vaping skills in the process.

Of course, building your own coils takes time, practice, research, and patience to master. However having the ability to fully customize coils to precisely match your device specs, juice, and personal vaping preferences makes it a very rewarding endeavor for many hobbyist vapers. Get started by watching coil-building tutorials, investing in a coil jig kit, and stocking up on supplies from your local vape shop or online retailer. Careful research into battery safety and how to apply Ohm's law is an absolute must as well. Once you start twisting up your own crazy coil creations, you may never want to go back to prebuilt coil heads again!


FAQs about Vape Coils:

1. What are the best-prebuilt coil brands?

Some of the top prebuilt coil manufacturers include Smok, Freemax, Horizontech, Vaporesso, Voopoo, and Geekvape. For optimal performance, look for coils specifically designed and rated for the make and model of your particular atomizer and mod.

2. How long do vape coils typically last?

With proper maintenance like dry burning and avoiding burnt hits, most coils will last somewhere between 1-2 weeks for average vapers. Heavy users may need to change coils as frequently as every 5-7 days though. Sweet e-juice flavors, burnt hits, and gunked-up tanks will shorten coil lifespan considerably.

3. Why does my coil keep making popping and sputtering noises?

This is usually caused by either too much power being sent to the coil, or not enough e-liquid saturation in the wick. Try turning down the wattage, closing the tank's airflow to tighten the draw, or giving the coil more time to fully prime and soak in juice initially. Burnt cotton hits will severely (and sometimes permanently) damage coils.

4. Are fancy mesh coils really better than regular wire coils?

Mesh coils do ramp up faster and can hold more e-liquid in their woven cavities. However, some vapers claim the overall flavor and vapor quality still aren't as good as multi-wire builds like fused claptons. As always, try out both for yourself to determine your own preferences!

5. Is it safe to dry burn my coil to clean it?

Lightly "pulsing" a coil without wicking to work out hot spots and burn off gunk is generally fine. But avoid glowing coils excessively red hot for too long as this can release certain toxic chemicals in some wire types. Pulse firing in short bursts is ideal.

While vape coils may seem simple on the surface, there's an incredible diversity in terms of materials, builds, and real-world performance. Understanding the basics of how coils work along with the different types available allows you to select the perfect coil for your particular vaping needs. Prebuilt options provide convenience while rebuildable coils give you complete personalization and customization. With the ideal coil installed, you can optimize both vapor production and flavor intensity for a truly satisfying vaping experience from any e-cigarette or mod.

6. What type of coils do SKE vapes use?

SKE vapes, such as SKE Crystal Bar, SKE Crystal DUO, SKE Crystal Plus all use mesh coils. And all of them deliver an affluent flavor.

Reference: Vape coil explained