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Vape Coils for Dummies

What are the different types of vape coils?

20th January 2020 – by Rachel Davies

Coils, vape coils, atomizers, atomizer heads…

Known by many different names, they all do the same job and are essential to your vaping experience.

Let’s take a peek at these little metal saviours and learn all about vape coils.

Updated: 20th Jan 2020

What are vape coils?

Although widely known as coils, they are technically atomizer heads. The coil is a component inside the atomizer. But as we know, the world of vape lingo is vast and when you say coils, we know what you mean.

If your vape mod is the body, atomizer heads are the heart, a fundamental part of your vaping experience.

Housed within the vape tank, an atomizer head contains a coil of thin wire and wicking material. We will go into the finer details a little bit later, but the atomizer creates vapour.

There are many different options to choose, depending on the type of vaping experience you want, this includes different resistances and coil materials.

Let’s break down an atomizer head

Here’s the techy bit:

An atomizer head converts energy from the e-cig battery and heats the coil inside, this then vaporises e-liquid that is soaked into the wicking material, which is then inhaled by you.

Phew. Ok let’s break atomizer heads down further.

An atomizer head consists of three main parts:

Main body

This supports the individual components of the atomizer head. It is the outer casing which attaches directly to the base of the tank and provides electrical contact to the coil.

This is thin wire, wrapped into a coil. When you press your button, it provides power to the coil. This then converts that energy to heat (If you could see your coils, they sometimes glow red when you are pressing your button), and vapourises e-liquid from the saturated wicking material.

Wicking material

This is absorbent material within the atomizer head, usually natural cotton or silica rope. It surrounds or is inserted through the coil. E-liquid is naturally drawn towards the coil from the tank by “capillary action” (basically, it sucks it up).

What is coil resistance?

Remember we said before that atomizer heads convert energy into heat? Well atomizer heads have an electrical resistance value measured in ohms (Ω).

Depending on the amount of electrical resistance will depend on what ‘ohm’ your atomizer head is.

Atomizer heads generally fall into two categories. High and low resistance.

High resistance coil

An atomizer head with a resistance above 1.0 ohm. Generally used at a lower power and are more suited for “regular” vapour production.

  • Smaller clouds of vapour
  • Uses less e-liquid
  • Suited to most e-cigs

Low resistance coil

An atomizer head with a resistance less than 1.0 ohm. Commonly referred to as “sub-ohm”. Generally, requires higher powers.

  • Larger clouds of vapour
  • Uses more e-liquid
  • Not suitable for all e-cigs

Tell me about Ohm’s law

Back in the 1800’s a German physicist ‘Georg Simon Ohm’ published his works regarding the physics of electricity. After lots of sciency things, he came up with a formula to calculate the measurement of electrical resistance.

But how does Ohm’s law relate to vaping?

The mathematical formula, known as Ohm’s law, is used to calculate the wattage that will be given out by your e-cig, depending on atomizer resistance and battery voltage.

If you vape a regulated e-cig, for example an arc 5 or Optimus, you do not need to worry about Ohm’s law as the device sorts this for you.

If you use an unregulated e-cig, such as a mechanical mod then you need to be aware of Ohm’s law and battery safety.

Why are there different types of coil wire?

Most atomizer coils are made from Nichrome or Kanthal. But there are different wire types that some vapers use.

Nickel, Titanium and Stainless Steel are also available, but less popular. These tend to be used for temperature control vaping and aren’t suited to all e-cigs. But that is for another time.

How do some vapers get huge clouds of vapour?

This is all down to the resistance of the atomizer head.

As we mentioned briefly before, the lower the resistance of the atomizer head, the more power it can accommodate, therefore more vapour is produced.

Vapers who exhale larger clouds of vapour have a sub-ohm coil in their atomizer head. This does mean that they will use much more e-liquid and their battery will drain quicker.

What coil is for me?

This will sound like a cop out, but it all depends what works for you.

Some vapers prefer an atomizer head that lasts a long time, doesn’t use much e-liquid through the day and they don’t look for larger clouds of vapour.

Other vapers are satisfied exhaling large clouds of vapour and are happy topping up with juice more frequently.

The best thing to do is experiment. Try a few different resistances and see which one works for you.

Coils, atomizers, atomizer heads… Known by many different names, they all do the same job. Read the ultimate guide to vape coils here.