We can say that the coil is the heart of the atomizer. There are different coils depending on their resistance and material. For example, there are sub-ohm and ohm-coils made with Kanthal (iron-chromium-aluminum alloys) or nichrome or many other materials. Vape coils are stored inside the tank or pod and they are fitted with resistant wires and wicking materials (such as cotton, ceramic, silica etc.).
The resistant wire and the absorbent material are essential to determine the quality of the coil.
What’s the best resistant wire for you vape coil? What’s the best absorbent material? I will explain it in this blog post.
Vape Coils: Resistant Wires
There are different types of metals used for vape coils. One of the most common ones is Kanthal. Kanthal is an alloy developed by a Swedish industrialist consisting mainly of iron, chromium and aluminum.
Kanthal is very interesting as a resistant wire because alloys are known for their ability to withstand high temperatures.
Nowadays, we can find other coil wire materials such as nichrome (nickel-chrome), titanium or stainless steel.
Kanthal coils are very popular as they are easy to work with, hold shape and they are inexpensive compared to other materials.
Nichrome is also a popular wire material for vape coils. It’s also an alloy composed of nickel and chromium.
Nichrome is very similar to Kanthal, but it has a lower melting point and lower resistance. In addition, nichrome is very popular because it heats up faster than Kanthal. However, as it has a lower melting point, you need to be careful not to fire it if the wicking material is still dry.
Other Wire Materials
There are other wire materials such as stainless steel or titanium, but these materials are not as common as Kanthal or nichrome.
Furthermore, the resistance of the coil has been decreasing over time with the irruption of sub-ohm atomizers.
Stainless steel wires and nichrome wires contain nickel, which causes allergic reactions to some people. If you are allergic to nickel, Kanthal wires are a better option for you.
In addition, stainless steel shouldn’t be dry burned as it might release toxic chemicals.
There are also resistant wires made of titanium. However, the use of titanium is controversial because it might be toxic. Moreover, it’s not as easy to find as other wires such as Kanthal or nichrome.
Vape Coils: Sub-ohm and Performance
Why more vapers prefer sub-ohm coils? Because the lower the coil resistance, the more power output (wattage) and hence, vapor production. In other words, bigger clouds and more intense flavor.
However, it’s important to consider that lower resistance means also more e-liquid consumption. Moreover, if you vape nicotine e-liquids, sub-ohm devices will deliver more nicotine than atomizers with higher resistance.
Furthermore, you need to pay attention to the performance of the device. When the vaping starts to taste bad or burnt then it means it’s time to change the vape coil for a new one.
Best Absorbent Materials for Vaping
There are many options: cotton, silica, stainless steel, rayon or ceramic, for example. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, cotton is the most popular absorbent.
Like cotton, rayon wicks are very effective carriers of e-liquids. However, you will need to wrap more material around the coil for rebuildable atomizers.
It’s the most popular absorbent used for vape coils. First of all, cotton is cheap and easy to obtain. In addition, cotton is a very powerful carrier of e-juices and it does not change the e-juice flavor, which is an enormous advantage over rayon wicks.
Many consider cotton to be the best absorbent vaping material. On one hand, it has a lot of pros like: e-juice delivery, inexpensive and it doesn’t change the e-liquid’s taste. “Dry hits”. On the other hand, it can alter the e-liquid taste especially when you vape burnt cotton. In addition, cotton can get easily burnt.
These wicks last for several weeks and they don’t get burnt as easily as cotton wicks. Some vapers claim it delivers a better taste than other wicks. On the other hand, ceramic wicks are not as efficient in transporting and absorbing the e-liquid.
Since they don’t burn, silica wicks were very common. In other words, wicks from silica can last longer. Nonetheless, many vapers don’t want to vape silica cores as they are afraid they might get silica particles in the lungs. Silica particles might cause silicosis in long term users. In addition, some vapers report feeling unwell after vaping with silica cores.
Stainless Steel Wicks
Wicking materials of stainless steel are not so common nowadays. However, stainless steel wicks were quite popular at the start of the vaping era. Stainless steels are not easy to install, so, it’s not a popular choice anymore.
Vape Coils: Conclusion
Vape coils are the hearts of the atomizers. There are three important aspects to consider about vape coils: resistance, wire material and wicking material.
Resistance: the lower the resistance, the more power output it generates. Coils with a resistance lower than 1 ohm are called sub-ohm coils. In other words, sub-ohm coils can produce more vapor and flavor than ohm coils.
Wire material: there are many materials, but the most common ones are Kanthal and nichrome.
Wicking material: cotton wicks are the most popular ones followed by ceramic wicks. For some years ago, silica wicks were quite popular, however, they don’t transport the e-liquid with the same efficiency as cotton wicks and some vapers are concerned about silica and health issues.
This post was originally published on December 10, 2019. It was most recently updated on April 9, 2021.