Have you ever wondered how your vaporiser works? Keen on learning everything there is to know about vape coils? Whether you have just started using e-cigarettes to quit smoking, or already understand how to vape but seek greater clarity; there is plenty to discover from our in-depth guide on vape coils.
Let's take a look at what precisely a vape coil is, as well as the different coils available to you, and how best to maintain your equipment to find the best flavour for your vape.
What is a Vape Coil?
If you're new to vaping, the vocabulary and different terms can seem too much. Whether it's e-liquids or batteries, you'll soon understand multiple words often have the same meaning. For instance; if you're talking about an e-cig, vape pen, or vape pod, all are vaporisers intended for use with e-liquids or cartridges.
Similar to other vaping components, vape coils are just one of the names given. Also known as atomiser heads, or clearomisers; vape coils describe the element and mechanism that converts energy from your battery. The coil heats your e-liquid into a vaporised state ready for you to inhale.
Found within your e-liquid tank or the casing of a profiled e-liquid cartridge - without a vape coil, you wouldn't be able to vape. While vape coils and atomisers often refer to the same part of your device, they are actually separate. In fact, vape coils go in atomisers, which can make it confusing, but we'll attempt to explain why the words are often used in the same breath to describe the same topic.
Whether you call it a vape coil or an atomiser, the functionality of this crucial component remains relatively the same:
- Within an atomiser head, you'll find wicking material, typically made from cotton.
- This material absorbs and soaks up the e-liquid in your tank.
- The wicking material is attached to the wire coil, hence ‘vape coil’.
- When you vape, the battery heats the coil. This vaporises the e-liquid absorbed into the wicking material.
Different Types of Vape Coils
There are a variety of coils available which do the same job. However, the difference in materials potentially changes the flavour. It can vary based on the design (with mesh an example) or even by using multiple coils. The more coils there are, that increased power can be transferred from your battery to the atomiser head, and in turn your e-liquid. When you buy a vape coil, always ensure that it's compatible with your device.
Where a dual or quadruple coil will use multiple coils to heat your wicking material, mesh coils are strips of metal with tiny holes punched into them. The various holes create a larger surface area in which to heat your wicking material. This produces more vapour and enhances flavour at the same time.
Let's take a quick look at some of the materials used to make vape coils and how they might affect your vape:
- Ceramic: A porous material - ceramic coils are known to enhance the flavour of your vape compared to other materials used to produce vape coils. Smooth to vape and particularly suited to the high wattages that vape mods are capable of
- Stainless Steel: A commonly used material for vape coils, stainless steel coils are renowned for their durability and ability to last a long time. A hardy material with excellent resistance to high temperatures
- Kanthal: Made from a combination of aluminium, iron and chromium, kanthal vape coils are particularly suited to high wattage vape mods. With a super quick heat up time, expect some serious vapour production
Does It Matter What Kind Of Coil I Use?
Using the correct coils for your device and purpose will play a crucial role in your experience. If you intend to Sub-Ohm vape and cloud chase, using a coil that has a resistance of less than one ohm will set you on course to create massive clouds in an instant.
If you have a coil that has a greater resistance than one, you're likely to be huffing and puffing without the kind of vapour production expected. When it comes to brands and devices, always make sure you find out which coils are compatible with your device. Avoid buying products that aren't brand specific to prevent damaged coils.
What Do Ohms Mean?
Ohms are the units used to describe the measurement of electrical resistance between two points of a conductor. A greater resistance means less charge passing through. In simple terms, the calculation is (Volts ÷ resistance = number of Amps).
When the Voltage is higher, and the resistance (Ohms) is lower, the current is more powerful. Alternatively, when the Voltage divides by a higher number, the current is lower. The conductor is the vape coil made of stainless steel, found within your atomiser casing. A low resistance coil used for Sub-Ohm vaping will use more power, potentially impacting the battery life of your device.
Because you're using more energy, you'll consequently heat your e-liquid to a hotter temperature. This creates some fairly sizeable vapour clouds.
Does it Matter What Kind of E-Liquid I Use?
The kind of e-liquid you use with specific vape coils differs with each vaper. Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG) are the dominant liquids used as carriers for the nicotine in your e-liquid. Each has different thicknesses that will react differently to the temperatures achieved by your vape coils.
If chasing clouds is your thing, then vape coils designed explicitly for Sub-Ohm vaping is better off with an e-liquid that has a high VG content of over 70%. In contrast, a high PG content e-liquid in a Sub-Ohm vaping device may not be suitable.
Low Resistance Coils vs High Resistance Coils
The difference between low resistance coils and high resistance coils boils down to the size of vapour clouds. High resistance coils remain more common with standard e-cigarettes, with their key features being:
- They use less power, which means an extended vaping time before you have to re-charge again
- Using less e-liquid, plus you’ll not need to buy as much either
- Suitable for most e-cigs, the low temperatures that you’ll vape at will minimise the number of carcinogens released, making them less harmful than devices with a more powerful output
Devices with high resistance coils are ideal for those new to vaping and keen to discover how to curb their nicotine cravings. Inhaling a nicotine-based aerosol from your vaporiser is different from inhaling smoke from a cigarette. Therefore, it’s important to let your body adjust to this new way of absorbing nicotine. Alternatively, low resistance coils offer a different experience:
- Providing easier access for the electrical current from your battery to heat your e-liquid, low resistance coils will use more battery power to heat your e-liquid to a higher temperature
- Should you repeatedly produce vast amounts of vapour, you’ll use up your e-liquid at a much faster rate
Low resistance coils found in Sub-Ohm devices such as the XEO VOID are more suited to advanced vapers, as well as those looking for a more customised experience. Rather than the devices with high resistance coils that allow vapour to travel mouth to lung (MTL), low resistance coils provide a super-charged cloud of vapour that travels directly to your lungs (DTL). If you’re new to vaping, the latter will make you more likely to return to those nasty cigarettes.
When Should I Change My Vape Coil?
A new coil can last from anywhere between three days and two weeks subject to their usage. By looking after your coils and regularly cleaning your equipment, you'll soon find that you are replacing your coils less frequently and save some money at the same time.
There are, of course, a few telling signs that a change is due soon. If the flavour of your vape has become burnt and tastes off, then the likelihood is that it's time to change. Visually, you'll notice your burnt out coils from any stains.
Because everybody will vape differently, pinpointing an exact time and date for your coil change will vary. It’s down to how frequently you vape and the temperature that you vape at. Plus the output of watts from your device and even the kind of e-liquid you use holds importance. If you're regularly chasing clouds using a high VG content e-liquid, your wicking materials will become overused and also burn out. This means that you'll need to replace your coils sooner than those who might casually vape a few times a day.
How Do You Change a Vape Coil?
Whether you need to unscrew or pull out, coils will vary depending on the device used. However, these general rules will enable you to change your vape coil like a pro:
- Remove the e-liquid tank from the battery.
- Turn the tank upside down and unscrew the cap found on the bottom.
- Carefully unscrew the coil head from the cap and replace with your new coil.
- Prime your wicks by dripping a small amount of e-liquid onto the exposed cotton of your new coil. This initial priming will mean quicker vaping without getting a dry hit.
- Re-attach the cap and new coil to your tank and carefully fill with e-liquid.
- Check your kit to ensure no leakages or spillages.
- Give your new coil a second priming and leave your tank for five minutes, allowing the wicks to become fully saturated with e-liquid.
- If all looks ok, re-attach your tank to the battery and resume vaping.
Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt When It's a New Coil?
You've just changed your vape coil for the first time and now feel a wave of satisfaction. You promptly switch on your vaporiser and get set to enjoy your first vape with a new coil. Hastily inhaling your first puff, you notice that the taste of your vape isn't what it once was. In fact, it tastes distinctly burnt.
Deflated and left wondering how your vape experience could go from hero to zero in one vape coil change, there is a simple explanation. The reason - failing to prime your coils correctly - means your wicking material is left looking burnt and virtually unusable in its current state.
While it might seem that ordering another brand new coil is the immediate solution, don’t bin your burnt coil just yet. By cleaning your used vape coil, you could potentially remove the burnt elements of your wick and rejuvenate the taste of your vape.
How Do You Clean a Vape Coil?
Vaping has proved to be an excellent tool for many smokers to kick their bad habit. However, a lousy flavoured vape will always leave a bad taste in the mouth, and it's these little circumstances that may put off even the most mentally tough. Therefore, enjoying the new vaping experience is essential for staying smoke-free and not falling into old habits.
Ensuring that your vaping equipment is well maintained and kept clean is vital - or ends up as an afterthought once it's too late. Not only is this more beneficial in terms of flavour, but sticking with e-cigarettes provides multiple reasons to improve your health too. Getting into the routine of maintaining your equipment once a week means spending less money on replacing components.
Cleaning your vape coil is easy and will quickly restore your vape coil to a state that enables your vape to taste fresh, clean and more enjoyable. Follow the simple steps found below to regain flavour:
- Remove your vape coil, including wicking material from the coil head and place into a small bowl of warm water. This will loosen up any e-liquid residue that has built up over time.
- Remove the warm water and replace with cold water. When any burnt bits of e-juice staining your wick fall off, your coil looks almost brand new again.
- Leave to dry completely and fix back into position within the coil head.
- Once dry, ensure that you prime your coils sufficiently before vaping again to avoid going back to step one.
At the same time as cleaning your vape coil, we recommend the same for your coil head and e-liquid tank too. Add both components to a bowl of hot water and add a little lemon juice or vinegar. Wash the parts and dry each element with a paper towel before leaving to air dry for at least 15 minutes. Alternatively, another handy tip is cleaning your coils with vodka, wrapping overnight in tissue paper to dry, storing away in a cupboard. Then carefully reassemble, before reattaching your newly cleaned vape coil ready for priming and more importantly vaping.
How To Prime a Vape Coil
The taste of your vape will be determined by how well your vape coils have been primed. How you prime your vape coil is essential for avoiding a dry tasting vape, which is the result of an unusually dry wick. Another side effect of not priming your coils properly is the potential for your wick to burn, leaving it in a bad state and producing some pretty awful tasting vapes. Therefore, allow a suitable amount of time for your e-liquid to fully absorb into your wicking material. The result - you'll enjoy a far more flavoursome vape with the vapour production to match.
Priming your vape coil is easy and straightforward. Simply fill your tank with e-liquid and allow the tank to stand for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes - the longer the better! Your other option is to manually soak the wicking material through the openings in the atomiser head. A few drops should be enough. The next step is to inhale a few times without powering up the device. Give it a few more minutes and you are ready to vape.
Your e-liquid ingredients will also have some bearing on how long you should prime your coils. E-liquids with a high PG content will usually be thinner and will, therefore, absorb into the wicking material reasonably quickly. E-liquid with a high VG content will typically be thicker and will consequently require slightly longer for your wicking material to absorb the e-liquid.
How Correct Coil Temperature Increases Use
Heating a nicotine-based e-liquid into a vaporised state means that you significantly reduce the harm to your health. This is backed up by Public Health England's report claiming it's up to 95% less harmful than smoking. Where cigarettes burn at temperatures between 400 and 900 degrees centigrade, e-cigarettes and vaporisers tend to heat e-liquid to temperatures between 200C and 250C.
The key to vaping as safely as possible is for your e-liquid to be heated at the lower end of this spectrum. Any higher over 250C and you will be in danger of burning your e-liquid, and the wicking material within your coil. This ultimately poses more risk and releases the levels of carcinogens usually associated with smoking.
With this in mind, opting for a lower-powered e-cigarette is more beneficial to your health, while still providing the nicotine you need to gradually quit smoking. If you're using box mods or vape pens that enable Sub-Ohm vaping and the capabilities for cloud chasing, vape sensibly and avoid overheating your coils.