Last fact-checked 25 May 2021 | Report a factual error on this article
Should you buy premade replacement coils or build your own coils with wire and wick? The replacement / rebuildable dilemma is something all vapers face at some point or another.
We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of coils over the years. In this guide, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of pre-built coils, and show you how they compare to DIY alternatives. We’ll explain why replacement coils are so popular with the majority of vapers, and give you a candid view of their downsides, too.
Pre-made coils: are they really better?
We can’t say that pre-made coils are ‘better’ than DIY coils — that’s ultimately your decision to make — but we can tell you that replacement coils outsell DIY coils by a factor of twenty to one. Before writing this article, we took a look at our own coil sales for the whole of 2020. Over a full 12 month period, 95% of coil sales were rebuildable, or pre-made, coils. DIY coils made up the remaining 5%. These are hard numbers to argue with.
Replacement coils are easier and cleaner to install than DIY coils. Factory-manufactured to precise standards, replacement coils deliver a consistent vaping experience. Pre-made coils are more expensive than rebuildable alternatives, however, and there is a trade-off in terms of both choice and control.
Keep reading and we’ll explain the best — and worst — features of replacement coils so that you can make a decision that works for you.
Pros: The Benefits of Pre-Made Coils
If the thought of sticky e-liquid leaking into your pocket or sloshing all over your countertop fills you with dread, then replacement coils are the only way to go. There’s no risk of a half-built deck toppling over with replacement coils, because you don’t have to build anything. The whole coil piece of your box mod has been precision-engineered, so e-liquid won’t leak out through a poorly-stuffed wicking hole or a badly-fitting connection.
Replacement coils are incredibly easy to replace. When one coil expires, you just take it out, clip in a fresh one, and you’re ready to go. The simplicity of pre-built coils continues throughout your vaping day. Because the coil has been factory-built and tested to match a specific Ohm rating, you can relax and trust that your vape will be consistently delicious — you won’t have to keep fussing with your settings.
DIY coil building takes time. With rebuildables, you have to personally plan, calculate, cut, coil, test, fine-tune, re-test and stuff each coil yourself. It can take a lot of time out of your day. You might be happy to tinker with your coil on the weekend, but when time is tight, it’s a different story. Replacement coils give you the freedom to just take a quick puff on a clean coil and get back to what you were doing — perfect for the working day.
With replacement coils, your wick, coil alloy and resistance have all been planned, built and tested by experts. Even the distance between the coil and vape juice reservoir has been carefully designed to give you the perfect vape. This kind of precision and consistency is out of reach for even the most talented DIY deck builders.
If you’ve recently quit smoking, you need a vaping setup that feels as simple as possible. Pre-built coils give new vapers fewer components to think about, and they protect the quality of the overall vaping experience. There’s no better option for quitters who are still learning how to vape.
There’s safety in numbers! The fact is, the vast majority of vapers use pre-made coils (95% by our last count). You don’t need to ‘open the bonnet’ of your vape device to get a really good, reliable, tasty bespoke vaping experience … and the stats prove that most of us don’t want to, anyway.
Cons: The Downsides of Pre-Made Coils
Harder to Troubleshoot
If there’s something wrong with your vape, you can’t dismantle a replacement coil and figure it out yourself. This is a minor frustration for a very small group of vapers. In reality, because replacement coils are factory-made and precision-engineered, the chances of a bad connection or a hotspot on the coil are very low — much lower than they would be with a DIY version.
Replacement coils are more expensive than DIY coils — there’s no getting around this. If you make your own coils out of spooled wire and cotton, you’ll save more money per-coil, but you’ll have to invest a lot more of your own time in the building process.
Less Fine-Tuning Freedom
It doesn’t matter if it’s coils, cakes or clothing. When you buy any product off-the-shelf, you hand over some control to the manufacturer. You have to trust that the factory can do a better job than you can do at your kitchen table. Vape coils are no exception. With replacement coils, you can’t define the exact amount of wick that stuffs your coil, and you can’t opt for an unusual or unpopular electrical resistance rating. This is a fairly small inconvenience nowadays — most coil brands offer their replacement coils in a range of Ohm ratings.
Not As Eco-Friendly
You generate more waste when you use replacement coils. Pre-built coils are usually wrapped in blister packaging, and they can’t be recycled when you’re done — you just have to throw the whole spent coil in the bin. DIY coils usually need to go straight into the bin, too, but at least they have less packaging and casing.
When you build your own DIY coil, you can choose from an almost limitless range of wire styles and alloys. From juggernaut to clapton to alien wire, there are some really exciting wires to work with. Just take a look at our Vape Coil Buyer’s Dictionary to learn more. There’s a lot of choice in the replacement coil category, but it’s still nothing like the sheer range on offer in the DIY market. Take a look at our full range of coils at https://www.gourmeteliquid.co.uk/collections/replacement-coils
If you’re a DIY vaper, chances are you’ll always be able to get some kind of wire and wick to make a rebuildable coil. With replacement coils, there’s a risk that you won’t be able to find a coil that fits your specific model of vape device. This isn’t a very common problem — it’s just a risk that you need to be aware of.
That’s it! I hope this build has given you a solid overview of the benefits and drawbacks of pre-built coils. For most vapers, most of the time, replacement coils are a better choice than rebuildables … but there’s no substitute for experience. The best way to find out if you’re a pre-built or DIY vaper is to try both options and see what works best for you.
Stay safe and happy vaping!