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The Ultimate Guide to E-cigarette Wires and Coils

Fused Clapton Coil

Every component of your vaping device can affect the quality of your vaping experience. This includes your device’s coil, which heats up inside the atomiser to turn e-liquid into vapour. Change anything about your coil, such as its material or its thickness, and your overall vaping experience will change noticeably as a result.

While knowing all about the nuances of coils can seem complicated, it offers you the freedom to customise as much as you want, taking you closer to that perfect vape. Even being aware of the basics can help you make a more informed choice when it’s time to replace your coil (which tends to happen every two weeks).

Vape Tank Coils - Mouth to Lung and Direct to Lung Vapes

Type of Wire

For beginners, it’s recommended to go with pre-set coils, which may even come with the setup, while more advanced vapers can experiment and build their own coil.

Regardless of your level of vaping, it’s important to choose the right type of wire to use for your coil. This depends on what kind of vaping you’re doing. There are generally two modes: power mode and temperature control mode.

Power mode is the default setup, where you only have to control the wattage. Kanthal, nichrome, and stainless steel are the wire materials suited for this. On the other hand, the temperature control mode is more complicated. Not only can you adjust the temperature manually, you also have to be mindful of other settings such as the wattage and coil resistance. Use only stainless steel, nickel, or titanium for this.

Let’s look at each wire material:


Kanthal wire is the most common because it holds its shape well, it’s easy to work with, and pretty much most vape stores have it at affordable prices. As for the downside, it takes longer to heat up compared to other wires, and you can only use it at power mode, not temperature control mode.


Like kanthal, nichrome is accessible and easy to work with, retaining its shape well. Its main edge is that its ramp-up time is really fast. We don’t recommend it for beginners, though. It has a much lower melting point than kanthal, so if it heats up too quickly, it can catch fire. The nickel in it may also trigger allergies in some people.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the only material that can switch between power and temperature control modes. It doesn’t melt easily, which means it holds its shape well, and you don’t have to wait long for it to heat up. Another plus is that it has a clean flavour. However, since there are many grades available, choosing can be difficult, and vapers tend to have different opinions about each grade.


Nickel was the first wire chosen for temperature control. It’s cheap and common, and it heats up more quickly than kanthal. One danger is that nickel releases graphite at high temperatures, which can cause a physical condition called graphite lung, although vaping on temperature control mode should prevent this. In addition, it’s tricky to form into coils because of its softness, and some people are allergic to it.


Titanium is easy to work with and durable, and many vapers like it because it produces good flavour. On the flipside, it also draws in mixed opinions because it produces titanium dioxide, a toxic compound, when heated over 1200°F. On the chance that it ignites, extinguishing it is also difficult. As with nickel, being on temperature control mode should ward off these situations.

Dual Coil Build - RDA | RTA | RBA Vaping

Other Factors

Wire Gauge

Wire gauge refers to the inner diameter of the wire. This is expressed as a number, with the most popular being even numbers from 22 to 32. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the wire diameter, so 32 is much smaller than 22. A thicker wire has more surface area that e-liquid can come into contact with, so you end up with larger clouds. However, it’ll heat up more slowly because of the larger mass.

Number of Wraps

Coils with many wraps have greater resistance. What this means is that it’ll take less power to heat the coil, you’ll use up less e-liquid, and your battery will last longer. This will also produce fewer clouds, so it’s not meant for sub-ohm vaping.


Adjusting the airflow requires a trade-off between flavour and vapour production. With less airflow, e-liquid particles become more concentrated on the air, resulting in strong flavour. Don’t shut it off completely, though—maintain some space under the coil. If you’d rather produce big clouds, free up the airflow instead and lessen the cotton in your coil.

Coil Type

The most standard coil type is a single strand of wire. For more adventurous vapers, there are exotic coils that rely on more than one strand. For example, a Clapton coil has a wire wrapped around another wire, and a twisted coil has two wires interwoven together. The main effect of these is increasing the surface area, which boosts both flavour and vapour production. These can be very costly, though, for your battery and e-liquid.

Wick Type

Wicks can be made of Japanese cotton, ceramic, and other materials, and these can have an effect on the flavour. Japanese cotton is the standard material used in vaping wicks, but wick preferences depend on your personal taste, so feel free to try out different types.

Should You Build Your Own Coil?

Building coils should only be undertaken by experienced vapers who understand the technical aspect of vaping, including the basics of Ohm’s Law.

Here’s how it works. Before starting, you have to find out how many wraps your coil needs for your desired resistance through this calculator. The wire should be oxidised using a propane/butane torch, then wrapped around a screwdriver or coil wrapping tool to become a coil. You can then insert the coil into your RDA for testing. Check if it shows the right resistance, then turn on your RDA and make sure the coil glows evenly. All that’s left is to fit the cotton wick on, and the coil’s ready for vaping.

Without the right precautions, it can cause injury, so make sure you’ve done your research beforehand.

All About Wires and Coils

There are a lot of details and nuances involved with coils. Getting familiar with the principles takes time, and the longer you’ve been vaping, the more you’ll figure out what works for you through experience. In exchange for your effort, though, you can design your vaping better and take it to a whole new level when you tweak or even build your own coils.

If you’re looking for guidance on building your coils or simply wondering which coil works best for your purposes, we’ll be happy to assist you—just drop by our Bristol store or reach out through our contact form.

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