Of all your vape components, the coil is the one you’re likeliest to replace – and pretty frequently, at that. But here’s the thing. Not all vape coils are created equally. Selecting the wrong type can put a serious damper on your vaping experience. Here’s how to ensure you don’t make that mistake.
No matter what kind of vape you’ve purchased, you’re going to eventually have to replace the coil. It’s almost always going to be the first component that fails (and hopefully the only one that does). And there’s honestly nothing wrong with that – vape coils are a lot like light bulbs in that eventually they wear out.
Here’s where things get a little complicated. See, finding a new coil for your vape isn’t as simple as buying the first one you see at the store. There’s actually a lot of nuances that goes into the selection process.
And if you ignore that, you’re very likely going to end up with a sub-par vaping experience. I want to help you avoid that. As such, today we’re going to talk about a few of the factors you should account for when selecting a new vape coil.
1. Pay Attention to the Type of Wiring
Generally speaking, vape coils are made from one of five different materials. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Moreover, each offers its own distinctive experience when you vape with it, impacting everything from the amount of smoke to the vape’s taste to whether you’re vaping via wattage or through temperature control.
The most common type of coil material. It heats up relatively quickly, is cheap and easy to find, and – if you’re doing a custom build – is relatively simple to work with. The drawback is that you can’t use it for temperature-controlled vaping; it’s wattage only.
Generally, this is probably the material you’ll go with for your vape coil – especially if you don’t have a modded, self-constructed model.
Similar to Kanthal, albeit with a much faster ramp-up time. NiCHROME is a material that’s relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. There are, however, a few trade-offs. In addition to having a much lower melting point than Kanthal (making is susceptible to damage through dry burns), it also contains nickel, a common allergen.
NiCHROME vapes also tend to produce a ton of smoke compared to other materials – so bear that in mind if you’re looking for a coil that’ll let you do some sweet tricks.
These wires are some of the strongest on the market and are known for producing an especially crisp, clean flavor. However, you can’t use them for wattage vaping, and they can release toxic gas if heated too high (though if you’re heating your vape to 1130 Fahrenheit, toxicity is probably the least of your concerns).
Titanium wires are also somewhat costly and hard to find.
Another temperature control material, Nickel has a fast ramp-up, good flavor, and low cost. However, it’s quite soft and doesn’t hold its shape well. More importantly, if you try using it at higher temperatures such as what you’d find with wattage-based vaping, it can produce graphite – which again, is toxic.
Last but certainly not least, stainless steel is sort of a ‘middle ground’ between the four coil materials described above. Usable in both wattage and temperature control mode, it’s got a clean flavor and a fast ramp-up time. The only real drawback is that not all stainless steel coils are created equal – there are multiple different ‘grades,’ some of which contain nickel and may have a different flavor to them.
In addition to your coil’s material, you’ll also want to pay attention to thickness, measured by the wire’s gauge. Generally speaking, most wires will have gauges from 32-22 (bear in mind that larger means thinner here). Thicker gauges mean an increase in resistance, which we’ll talk about in the next segment.
2. Understanding Ohms
One of the more confusing aspects of coil selection is the Ohm. Generally speaking, this measures a vape coil’s level of electrical resistance. Lower ohm coils offer less electrical resistance. On the one hand, this means warmer vapor and larger smoke clouds.
On the other, there’s also the increased risk of dry hits, increased e-liquid usage, and increased battery drainage.
High ohm coils, meanwhile, reduce the flow of electricity and tend to drain the battery much more slowly. They use less e-liquid and provide a cooler vapor overall. On the other hand, they produce less overall vapor than low ohm coils.
Most standard vape coils are set at 2.5 ohms. Lower ohm coils usually range from 1.5 to 1.8, while higher resistance coils have a rating of 3.0 ohm or more. Which you use is largely a matter of preference – there’s no right or wrong choice here.
3. The Difference Between Mouth to Lung and Direct Lung
In broad strokes, there are two primary ‘types’ of vape coil. Mouth to Lung coils is tighter and more restricted, with a relatively high resistance rating. These are the most common type of coil, and using them feels similar to taking a drag on a cigarette.
Direct Lung coils, meanwhile, offer lower electrical resistance, in addition to being looser and less restricted. They tend to be much more flavorful and produce a great deal more vapor. That said, as with lower ohm coils, they also tend to suck up battery life and vape juice at a much faster rate.
This is largely a choice between flavor and longevity. Do you want tastier, smokier draws, or do you want to be able to use your vape for a longer period of time without recharging the battery or replacing your juice?
4. Premade Coils vs. Rebuildable Coils
Right. You’ve decided on your material, resistance, and coil type. Your next step is to determine if you’ll be purchasing premade coils or rebuildable coils.
The differences between the two are pretty much written on the box. Premade coils are generally intended to be disposable and are tossed in the garbage once they wear out. Rebuildable coils, on the other hand, are usually intended for rebuildable atomizers and require you to either hand-construct or purchase pre-fitted vaping wire.
Obviously, rebuildable coils aren’t intended to be disposable.
Now, the bad news here is that this choice may not be entirely in your hands. Depending on where you purchased your vape, you may need to buy premade coils directly from the manufacturer – as those are what are intended to fit the tank. Even so, there are usually plenty of choices on the market (and you can probably find a DIY forum or website to help you ‘hack’ your vape to use a custom coil if you’re driven enough).
5. Don’t Forget to Prime
So, you’ve chosen a replacement coil, and it’s finally arrived. Time to start vaping with it immediately, right? Not quite.
One of the most common mistakes I see new vapers make is that they dive right into using their new coil without first priming it. Not only does this make for a rather unpleasant first few drags, it could actually end up damaging your new coil. Here’s what you need to do to avoid this:
After attaching the new coil, saturate it with whatever liquid you’ve currently got in your tank. Figure out where the juice holes are, and apply a few drops. Once the cotton on the wick stops absorbing the juice, you’re good.
Next, take a few hits from your vape without activating the battery. These are known as dry hits. At most, you should take five.
Set your coil to a lower wattage than usual. Bring it gradually up to the regular wattage as you continue to smoke.
And there you have it. You now know everything you need to about coil selection and preparation. Happy vaping!
Alex Saez is a vaping enthusiast and content creator at MistHub, a top source for vapes, electronic cigarettes, mods, tanks, coils, e-juices, and accessories.