AD – This is a collaborative guest post.
Coils, atomisers, atomiser heads…
This small element goes by many different names, but it does the same job and is central to your vaping experience, never mind device.
And it is today’s turn for this little metallic saviour to shine.
What is a Vape Coil?
A coil acts as the intermediary between the atomiser and vape battery. It is just a small piece of wire, but one which plays a very important role, nevertheless: that of heating up and vaporising e-liquid. Housed within the vape tank, most devices come inclusive of a coil. However, it needs regular changing because it is a delicate component that burns off after a certain period of use. Otherwise, it will negatively impact on your vaping experience. A vape coil is but a filament akin to that of an electric bulb. But to better understand it and its role, it is important to look at it in its entirety.
We say this because it is made up of three main parts:
- Main body – This is the outer casing that encloses the coil (and wick). It attaches directly to the base of the vape tank and connects to the battery. The more popular name for it is the atomiser.
- Coil Wire – This is the real business. It is a thin wire wrapped in the shape of a, well, coil. It is housed at the core of the atomiser. When you activate your vape device, this part heats up such that if you could see it, you would notice it glowing red. The coil wire vaporises e-liquid, albeit not directly in most devices because there is another layer that stands between the coil and e-liquid.
- Wicking Material – This is the layer between the coil and e-liquid. It is made of absorbent material, usually silica rope or natural cotton. What happens during vaping is that the coil heats up, then sucks up the e-liquid through the wicking material in some capillary action.
Coils and Resistance
It is remiss to talk about coils and fail to mention resistance. Coils have an electrical resistance value whose unit of measurement is the ohm, expressed in the symbol Ω. The amount of electrical resistance of your coil will depend on the coil’s ohm. Typically, this falls under either of two categories;
A high-resistance coil is one whose resistance is above 1.0 ohm. This is used at a lower power and is better suited for regular vaping. This is also called above-ohm vaping. These coils:
- Use less e-juice.
- Emit smaller clouds of vapour.
- Ideal for most e-cigs.
A low resistance coil is a coil with a resistance below 1.0 ohm. Better known as sub-ohm vaping, low resistance coils require more power. Here is what you can expect with low resistance coils:
- More e-liquid usage.
- Larger clouds of vapour.
- Ideal for high-performing e-cig devices (sub-ohms and mods).
Types of Coil Wire
All coils are not equal. They are cut from different wires. These are:
- Kanthal. This is one of the most popular materials in the building of vape coils. The reason is that not only is Kanthal cheap, but also easier to get a hold of. It is also easier to work with since it retains its shape better than most options available. What’s more, despite the low cost, Kanthal (an alloy of iron, aluminium and chromium) does a good job of resisting degradation by oxygen. On the downside, the fact that it’s easier to work with means it makes a simpler coil. That is why it makes for a poor material for temperature control vaping. It also takes longer to heat and discerning tongues have faulted it for resulting in duller vape flavours.
- NiChrome. Like Kanthal, Nichrome is also widely used. And just like Kanthal, it is not much different in how it behaves. However, it has one over Kanthal (two actually). First, it heats up significantly faster than Kanthal, which by extension means it can support temperature control. However, Nichrome has a lower melting point than Kanthal, which can be dangerous especially when dry burning. Nickel is also an allergen to some people.
- Stainless Steel. Stainless steel coils have a high melting point which makes them ideal for low resistance vaping. Like Kanthal, stainless steel holds its shape so coils made from this material can last a long time. Some users say this coil improves vape flavour in that the flavour comes out more fresh and crisp. As far as the downsides go, this will mostly depend on the grade of the SS. Some grades contain a lot of nickel, and this brings the shortcomings of nickel into the equation. Others are thicker and less springy, making them difficult to work with. And there is also the challenge of finding SS coils. Mostly, you have to shop for it online as you will rarely find it in vape shops.
- Nickel. Nickel has often got a lot of criticism, and in truth, it’s not without justification. For starters, it can melt when exposed to too much heat. This overheating can, in turn, cause it to release graphite which is seriously bad for your lungs. It is soft, making it a challenge to work with, and it also doesn’t retain its shape well. And then there are the nickel allergies which may affect those allergic to it. So, why use it in vape coils in the first place? Well, for one, it’s because nickel produces very good, solid flavours. It is also easy to find and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
- Titanium. These types of coils are fairly new in the market. Titanium is stronger than nickel and is a cinch to work with. It has very high resistance (so you will require less of it) and also retains its shape well. A lot of people say titanium coils have no peer when it comes to the most ideal flavour. It should, however, be used only in temperature control mode, otherwise, it could result in titanium dioxide poisoning. Good thing is, titanium dioxide is only emitted in temperatures above 600 degrees Celsius which is quite high. But it’s good to keep this in mind. Moreover, should the titanium coil ever catch fire, it would be almost impossible to quell.
And that concludes the day’s lesson on vape coils!