Probably you’ve heard many times how important it is to choose the right wick material for your vaping device. A good wick material is fundamental for a perfect e-liquid absorption. Moreover, the best wicking material for vaping needs to adapt to your personal preferences.

By far, the most popular and used wick material is cotton. This is because cotton is inexpensive and very efficient. As a result, it has become the most popular wick material.

However, cotton wasn’t always the most used and popular wick material for vaping devices. Back in old vaping days, silica wick was the most popular material. Nevertheless, it’s still used as a wick material for RDA atomizers.

I’m going to explain about the most common wicking materials used nowadays and why cotton is the most popular right now and regarded by many as the best wicking material for vaping.

Best Wicking Material for Vaping: What’s the Wicking Material?

The wicking material is just a material that absorbs e-liquid from the tank. In addition, the wicking material is designed to transport the perfect amount of e-liquid to the coil.

Nowadays, the wicking material is mostly all made of cotton because it’s inexpensive and it provides a neutral taste.

However, other wicking material are also quite popular and some vapers, specially those using RDA atomizers, use materials such as silica, ceramic, rayon or stainless steel.

Moreover, vaping sub-ohm atomizers have popularized cotton as the perfect wicking material. However, even for RDA and RTA atomizers, cotton is the most popular choice nowadays.

As a matter of fact, there are even many companies selling special cotton designed for wicking the coils. This cotton is generally untreated cotton (with no chemical treatments).

In other words, untreated cotton that won’t evaporate anything else but the e-liquid.

What Kind of Wicking Materials Are There?

There are multiple choices. For instance, cotton, silica, stainless steel, rayon or ceramic. However, as previously mentioned, the most common wick material is cotton. Nevertheless, there are also wick materials that are quite popular such as ceramic. For example, Aspire AVP AIO kit has ceramic coils.

Silica Wicks

Silica is mostly found in nature as quartz. In addition, as previously mentioned, they are mostly used in RDA atomizers.

Silica wicks were very popular because they don’t burn. In other words, silica wicks can last for a longer period.

However, its popularity has declined mainly because of two reasons:

  1. It’s not as easy to use and manipulate as cotton.
  2. It doesn’t transport the e-liquid with the same efficiency as cotton.

Therefore, cotton has replaced silica wicks as the most used and popular wick material.

Silica and Health Concerns

Some vapers are concerned about silica and silicosis, a serious respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust.

Silicosis is a serious, although rare, respiratory disease. Normally, construction workers and miners have more risks to develop silicosis because of their daily exposure and inhalation of crystalline silica.

However, when it comes to vaping, it is very unlikely to develop silicosis. In addition, chronic silicosis develops after a few decades of continuous exposure to crystalline silica.

Ceramic Wicks

Usually, even if you are a heavy vaper, ceramic wicks will last for several weeks. In other words, cotton wicks need to be replaced after several days of heavy use while ceramic ones last much longer.

Moreover, ceramic wicks don’t get easily burned as cotton does. To sum up, you don’t get dry throat hits as easily as vaping with cotton wicks.

Additionally, some vapers claim that ceramic wicks deliver a better and more powerful taste.

However, ceramic wicks have also some disadvantages. For instance, they don’t transport the e-juices with the same efficiency as cotton wicks. As a result of that, it can take a few seconds for the ceramic wick to soak again with enough e-liquid before you can take a new puff.

Furthermore, both ceramic and silica wicks can stand high temperatures.  However, if you are looking for a more efficient e-juice transportation, then ceramic wicks aren’t for you.

To sum up, the best wicking material for vaping, depends on e-liquid transportation, heat resistance and, of course, personal preferences.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel wicking materials aren’t that popular nowadays. Usually, only experienced vapers still use stainless steel mesh as a wicking material.

However, in the beginning of the vaping era, stainless steel wicks were quite popular.

Nevertheless, stainless steels are not easy to install, and it might conduct electricity. Therefore, it’s not a popular choice nowadays.

Stainless steel and hexavalent chromium

Some vapers are concerned about stainless steel and the release of hexavalent chromium if the stainless steel is corroded. However, when corrosion happens, it normally releases chromium in its trivalent state (Cr3+). Nonetheless, this state of chromium doesn’t suppose any health problems to humans.

In conclusion, stainless steel isn’t the best wicking material for vaping because of the difficulties to prepare it. On the other hand, these wicks last for a long time.

Finally, be careful with stainless steel and dry hits…The taste is terrible!

Rayon Wicks

Firstly, rayon wicks, like cotton, are very efficient e-liquid carriers. However, for rebuildable atomizers you’ll need to wrap more material around the coil. In other words, rayon in contrast to cotton, tends to shrink when it’s wet.

Another disadvantage of rayon is the taste that it delivers. For instance, some vapers claim that rayon changes the taste of the e-juice. In addition, many vapers prefer wick materials made of natural fibers (rayon is a synthetic fiber).

The best wicking material for vaping should be an efficient e-liquid carrier but also an efficient “flavor supplier”.

Cotton Wicks

By far, cotton wicks are the most popular and widely used of all the wick materials available in the vaping industry. Moreover, cotton is inexpensive and easy to get.

Furthermore, cotton is a very efficient carrier of e-juices. In other words, it doesn’t alter the taste of the e-juice, which is a huge advantage over rayon wicks.

Wicking material for a vaping device
Wicking material for a vaping device

Cotton is considered by many the best wicking material for vaping. On one hand, it has many pros such as: e-juice delivery, inexpensive and it doesn’t alter the flavor of the e-liquid.

On the other hand, “dry hits” can taste like burned and the cotton can get burned pretty easily.

Best Wicking Material for Vaping: Conclusion

The best wicking material for vaping depends on e-juice absorption and delivery, durability and taste.

The sub-ohm era has established cotton as the preferable wicking material.

Odan mesh coils with cotton as wicking material
Odan mesh coils with cotton as wicking material

Moreover, other wicking materials such as silica or stainless steel are in decline because these materials are more difficult to handle than cotton or rayon.

Finally, it also depends on your personal taste. For instance, most of RDA users can choose the wicking material of their preference. However, sub-ohm devices use mostly cotton or ceramic wicks.

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