Vape coils are a heating element and are an essential part of every electronic cigarette. They consist of a metal, sometimes in a coil shape, but nowadays often in a mesh (a sheet of metal with punched holes.) They are seated in the tank, pod or cartridge, and heat up the e-liquid. The e-liquid then turns into vapour, which is inhaled by the user.
When it comes to choosing coils for vaping, one of the most important things to understand is the resistance.
Coils with high resistance are used at lower power levels, and are suitable for use with starter kits and low powered devices. These coils are not suitable for use with a high VG:PG ratio (e.g. a ratio of 70:30 or 80:20). Instead, you are best using them with e-liquids with a VG:PG ratio of around 50:50 or 40:60 such as Halo Vapour Co. or Wizmix. High resistance coils are great for mouth-to-lung vaping, where the vapour is held in the mouth briefly before being inhaled.
Coils with low resistances are used at high power levels. When you vape with a coil resistance of below one ohm, you are “sub-ohming”. Low resistance coils, especially those well below one ohm, are ideal for use with high VG e-liquids (with a VG:PG ratio of 70:30 or 80:20) and are ideal for direct-to-lung vaping or cloud chasing.
Many tanks come with different coil resistances, allowing you to choose the coil which best suits your style of vaping.
Both the quality and the design of coils have improved massively over the years, but there are still a number of steps you should take to ensure your coil does not burn out and lasts as long as possible.
The first thing is to prime your coil. If you have a basic tank, pod system or all-in-one device, this simply means filling your tank before you vape it for the first time and then allowing it to sit for a few minutes before using it for the first time.
If you have a low resistance coil, it is worth going a bit further. We advise dripping a little e-liquid into coil ports before inserting the coil into the tank before leaving it to sit. You can also take a puff or two without firing up your device in order to draw e-liquid into the coil - but don’t overdo it, or you can flood the coil.
A key area of innovation in vape coil development has been increasing the surface area of the coil to the e-liquid. This has helped improve the amount and quality of vapour produced, the taste of the vapour, enabled even heating and reduced the chances of coils burning out.
Leading brands such as Innokin, Aspire and Smok are continuously innovating in this area, but one key development has been mesh coils, which are coils with hundreds of tiny holes in them.
It’s not just resistance that determines what e-liquid a coil can be used for. E-Liquid with a high VG ratio requires larger ports in the coil, as high VG e-liquid is thicker than high PG e-liquid. You don’t need to worry too much about this, though, as low resistance coils usually have larger ports, and high resistance coils, conversely, have smaller ports.
Some of the more common materials used in coils are:
Kanthal: Used in wattage mode, and can handle high temperatures.
Ni200: Used for temperature control mode.
Titanium: Used in temperature control mode, has a higher resistance than Ni200, and offers a crips, clean flavour.
Stainless steel: Can be used in both wattage and temperature control mode. Heats up quickly, delivering a more instant hit. Some vapers believe it delivers superior flavour.
For more information see our complete guide to vape coils.
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