Vape coils: which is the best?
On your vaping device, the coil is what makes the magic happen: it’s the small replaceable part that turns your e-juice into vapour. Whether you’re into big cloud power vaping or discrete flavoursome puffs, your choice of coil goes a long way in shaping your vape experience.
So what coil should I use? Read on for a beginner-friendly explanation of coil types, and how to choose the best one for you.
How does a coil work?
You’ll often see it called the coil, atomiser, or atomiser head, but it’s usually referring to the same thing. It is the removable metal-cased component that screws into the base of your vape tank, and connects with the battery via a metal thread.
Within the atomiser, there are two main working parts:
- Heating element: In a basic atomiser design, this consists of a single, thin coiled wire.
- Wick: The heating element is surrounded by absorbent wicking material (usually cotton), that gets soaked by the juice in your tank. Fire up your vaping device and the atomiser converts the battery’s energy to heat the wire. This heat turns the juice absorbed by the wick into vapour.
Should I go for pre-built coils or build my own?
Some vapers – especially those who are into cloud chasing – like to build their own coils. This DIY approach involves sourcing your own materials: i.e. wicking and coil wire. It can be fiddly and takes quite a bit of knowledge (along with a pair of wire cutters), but you’ll find no shortage of Youtube tutorials for help. The attraction is the ability to tailor and tweak the coil to personalise the vaping experience.
However, the majority of vapers go for replaceable, pre-made coils. As well as being convenient, modern pre-built coils are available in a range of designs to suit all vaping styles. So whatever your preferences for cloud density and flavour, you should have no problem finding a pre-built coil that’s just right for you.
The golden rule: coil compatibility
You should ensure your coil can be used safely with your vaping device, if the coil isn’t designed for the tank, it will likely leak. If it doesn’t connect correctly to the battery, it may short or simply not work at all, so is potentially more dangerous.
Tip: when you buy a tank, it should come with a list of compatible coils – and vice-versa when you’re shopping for replacement coils.
Resistance – measured in ohms – is the way of measuring how a component or material reduces the electrical current through it.
Some vaping devices are compatible with a range of coils, featuring different ohm-ratings. The lower the resistance of your coil, the higher the electric current passing through it, so the vapour gets hotter, quicker.
Here’s how ohm-ratings on coils impact your vape:
- Standard-ohm coils: These have a resistance of 2.0 to 2.8 ohms. These heat your juice slowly, vaporising relatively small amounts of juice in any one go. They’re a great option if you want your tank full of liquid and your battery to last all day.
- Low-ohm coils: These have a resistance of 1.0 to 1.9 ohms. They are a good half-way option between standard and sub-ohm coils (below). Low-ohm coils heat up significantly quicker than standard ones, resulting in bigger, denser clouds. These days, many vape kits are able to accommodate low-ohm and standard coils. This allows you to switch between the two; for instance, standard coils for work and low-ohm for bigger clouds at the weekend.
- Sub-ohm coils: These are coils with a resistance level of less than 1.0 ohms. They get hot quickly, resulting in big clouds of vapour, which makes them a natural choice for cloud chasing and direct lung (DL) vapers. You can read more about this in our guide to sub-ohm vaping.
Here’s how the material and design of a coil can impact vape performance:
The majority of coils you’ll come across will have a kanthal wire. This is an alloy made from iron, chromium and aluminium. These coils are reliable, hard wearing, and heat up relatively quickly and can give you decent cloud production, as well as delivering on flavour.
The more advanced vape kits feature a temperature control setting, allowing you to set a maximum temperature your coil will be allowed to reach when the device is firing. This temperature control (TC) vaping, helps stop coils from burning out too quickly, and also helps you vape at a temperature that best suits a particular juice’s flavour.
Nickel, titanium and stainless steel are all better alternatives to kanthal for TC vaping. This is because, unlike with kanthal, the resistance level of these three materials changes as it heats up. It means that your mod can pick up on temperature changes and work properly in TC mode.
The configuration of your coil will also impact performance.
For a beginner-friendly, moderately powerful device, you’ll probably be looking at a single coil design; i.e. incorporating a single, coiled heating wire.
To ramp up the heat (and therefore cloud volume), a dual coil might be an option; potentially twice the heat, and twice the cloud production.
You can explore more specialist coil designs, depending on device compatibility. For example, instead of strands of wire, a strip coil consists of a porous strip of kanthal that absorbs liquid faster for a really flavoursome vape. Likewise, mesh vapes work on a similar principle; they have a wide surface area and absorb lots of juice, making them a great option for cloud chasing.
How to choose your coil
Check which coils are compatible with your device. Next, think about how you want to vape and consider your coil choices accordingly. Looking to keep it simple, while relishing the flavour? A standard-ohm, single coil might suit you fine. Want to ramp up cloud production? Check out the low-ohm options with perhaps a dual coil or mesh set-up.
For lots more advice on device selection, vape styles and everything else vape-related, don’t forget to explore our blog!