Vape Coils: Everything A Buyer Needs To Know

Last fact-checked 13 November 2020 | Report a factual error on this article

The humble, hardworking vape coil: it’s one of the smallest parts in your vape device, and it impacts every part of your vaping experience, from flavour to cloud density and battery life. There are hundreds of coils on the market, so how do you know which one is right for you? 

If phrases like quad-core, Ni200 and Clapton leave you cold, then this is the guide for you! We’ll give you a simple step-by-step process you can follow when picking your ideal vape coil, and explain all the jargon. Don’t worry — you’ll know everything you need to know about vape coils in no time!

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What does a vape coil do?

The vape coil is the small metal heating element inside your vape device’s atomiser. Traditional wire coils look like coiled springs, and mesh coils look like tiny metal fences (usually bent into tubes or semi-cylindrical tunnel shapes), but they both work in the same basic way. When you fire your vape, the coil heats up, it evaporates your e-liquid, and you get a mouthful of vapour footnote 1

How to buy a good coil

Almost every part of your vaping experience, from vapour temperature to flavour and cloud density, is affected by the vape coil. Your vaping experience changes depending on…

  • The alloy, or the metal your coil is made from, 
  • The electrical resistance of your coil wire, 
  • The surface area and shape of your coil, 
  • The sheer number of coils in your atomiser (single, dual, quad and so on).

The trick is to buy a coil that strikes the perfect balance between all of these factors.  Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert in physics or chemistry to get the best vape. Most hardware manufacturers have done the hard part for you, and have created a range of clip-in coil components called replacement coils.

Replacement coils are much simpler than rebuildable coils.
If you want to use a rebuildable coil, you have to pick your coil metal, measure the length and gauge of the coil wire, calculate the resistance, check that resistance against the power settings of your device, then cut, bend, prime, stuff
and test the coil yourself … it’s a lot to handle. With a replacement coil, all you have to do when the time comes is click in your new factory-made coil and get back to vaping.
 
Replacement coils are more popular than rebuildable coils.
We took a look at our own sales figures and we found that
95% of the vape coils we sell are replacement coils footnote 2. In other words, the vast majority of vapers use replacement coils. 

There are a couple of downsides to replacement coils, of course. They cost a little more, and you don’t get to choose your wire gauge and metal alloys. You’ll almost always get to choose the resistance of a replacement coil, and for most of us vapers, that’s the most important thing.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to buying vape coils on our site. We’ve listed each step in order of priority — if you only get half-way down this list, you’ll still end up with a great vape coil. 

Step 1: Choose Replacement or Rebuildable

The first step is to check your vape device and see what sort of coil you need to fit. If you use an RDA or RTA you may need to fit your own coil, but in most cases you just need to find your tank’s make and model name, then type this into the search bar at the top of our site. On the search results, just click on the ‘replacement coils’ listing (replacement coils usually have a picture of 3 or 5 metal components in a blister pack).
 

Step 2: Do you vape mouth-to-lung (MTL) or direct-lung (DL)?

If you’re a mouth-to-lung vaper you will want a medium or high resistance coil (anything over 1Ω is ideal). Direct-lung vapers are better off with low resistance coils (anything below 1Ω). Just above the ‘Add to Cart’ button, you’ll see a drop-down menu showing all of the different resistances we have in stock.
You’ll find that most sub-ohm replacement coils use mesh. Mesh coils are precision-manufactured and can comfortably achieve sub-ohm resistance ratings like 0.1Ω.  You can learn more in our guide to MTL and DL vaping styles
 

Step 3: Have you got a nickel allergy?

Almost 15% of Europeans suffer from a nickel allergy footnote 3. If you’re allergic to nickel, you might experience irritation when vaping off a coil made from nichrome (N80) or nickel (Ni200). Kanthal and Stainless Steel coils are ideal for vapers who suspect they have a nickel allergy. You can check the metal your coil is made out of by reading the product description before placing your order. 
 

Step 4: How much vapour do you want?

You don’t always get a choice between ‘coiled’ or ‘mesh’ when you’re buying a replacement coil, but you can usually choose how many coils your atomiser will use when you push that ‘fire’ button. With multi-coil atomiser heads, you get more e-liquid vapour at a ‘hotter’ temperature, and you get a much stronger throat hit. Most manufacturers offer Dual, Triple and/or Quadruple coil options. 
 

Step 5: What are the customer reviews?

We’re very fortunate to have a loyal body of customers who are willing to share their feedback. Nearly every product we sell on gourmeteliquid.co.uk has a star rating, with written reviews from real customers who have bought and used the product. 

If all you do is follow these five steps when you’re buying a vape coil, then you’ll end up with a great coil that you can rely on for consistent results. 

Best Selling Vape Coils

Replacement coils are cleaner, simpler and easier to replace than rebuildable coils. Not all replacement coils are created equal, however; there are market-leading brands out there. 

If you’re interested in knowing what the top 10 best selling coils are, take a look at the chart below. Just remember that you have to buy the replacement coil that matches your device type.

 

Please also bear in mind that we’re a specialist gourmet e-liquid site. Most of our customers are hobbyists and connoisseurs, so we may have a higher-than-average percentage of sub-ohm vapers footnote 4.

Vape Coil Buyer’s Dictionary

You might come across some strange terms when you’re shopping for a replacement coil. These terms usually relate to the number of coils, the gauge of the wire or the way the wire is formed and twisted. Here’s a list of the most common phrases:

    • Clapton: when one wire is wrapped tightly in another (thinner) wire, this is called ‘Clapton Wire’ (possibly because it looks like a guitar string). If two coil wires are wrapped together in a third coil wire, this is called a ‘Fused Clapton’ or ‘Dual Core Clapton’. See an example of Clapton wire here
    • Dual Coil: If you have two completely separate heating coils in the one atomiser head, this is called ‘Dual Coil’. You can also get Quad Coil decks. Learn more about dual coil vaping.
    • Dual Core: If you have two wires running through each heating coil (like in a Fused Clapton wire, for instance), then this is called a ‘Dual Core’ (because there are two wires running through the ‘core’ of the coil). You can get Triple Core and Quad Core coils, too.
    • Hive: Hive wire looks like barbed wire without the spikes. It consists of lots of coil wires (usually all the same grade), plaited together. Hive wire has lots of surface area and holds a lot of e-juice, so it’s a popular choice for RDA users.
    • Juggernaut: Two clapton wires, banded together with another flat ribbon of wire, makes a ‘Juggernaut’! These wires look cool, but they make very little difference to the flavour.
    • Macro Coil: A large, thick heating coil with a very high resistance is known as a ‘Macro Coil’. 
    • Micro Coil: This is a medium-sized heating coil made from medium-gauge wire. 
    • Nano Coil: These are small coils made from small-gauge wire. If you want to sub-ohm vape without mesh, nano coils are the way to go.
    • Parallel Coil: If you take two identical-gauge coil wires and keep them side-by-side,you can make a very long, smooth coil called a ‘Parallel Coil’. 
    • Taiji: Two pieces of wire, plaited together (resembling fusilli pasta) is called ‘Taiji Wire’. It’s like a simpler version of Hive Wire.

Finding Your Perfect Coil

Like most things in vaping, you’ve got to experiment a little to find what’s right for you. It may take a few attempts to land on a coil with the perfect resistance, the right balance of vapour and flavour. Our advice is to stick with it, and don’t be afraid to experiment. A small change of 0.05Ω could make all the difference - you never know!

If you have any questions that haven’t been answered in this article, please get in touch. We’re always happy to hear from customers and give them a bit of guidance.


Stay safe and happy vaping!

- John Boughey



Links & Citations

Footnote 1:

There is a third type of coil, called ceramic coil, which may also be available for your device. In a ceramic coil, the metal heating element is coated in a porous ceramic material which does the job of a traditional cotton or silica wick. 

Footnote 2: 

95% of our coil sales in the 90 Day Period 11 August 2020 to 8 November 2020 were for replacement coils. Rebuildable coils made up the remaining 5%. 

Footnote 3:

“Overall, the age‐standardized prevalences of sensitization to nickel, cobalt and chromium were, respectively, 14.5%, 2.1%, and 0.8%. The highest prevalence of nickel sensitization was seen in Portugal (18.5%) and the lowest (8.3%) in Sweden.” - quote taken from “Prevalence of contact allergy to metals in the European general population with a focus on nickel and piercings: The EDEN Fragrance Study”, which can be read in full at the link below:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6001707/ 

Footnote 4:

This Top 10 List is based on sales figures from our own site, gourmeteliquid.co.uk We are a connoisseur’s vaping website, first and foremost, so we may have more sub-ohm vapers than normal. Data for this Top 10 list was  taken from the 90 Day Period 11 August 2020 to 8 November 2020. 

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