Vape coil material can vary from nickel to kanthal to other types of wire. But how do you know which is best, and are there other factors that can affect how a wire performs when turned into a coil? We will answer these and more questions in the blog below.
Table of Contents
- What are Coils?
- Wire Characteristics
- Wattage Vaping VS Temperature Control
- Types of Wire
What are coils?
Coils are the heating element that vaporizes the vape juice. Find them inside the atomizer, alongside wicks. There are two kinds of coils—prebuilt and rebuildable. Prebuilt coils come already made, and all you have to do is insert them into your tank. However, with rebuildable coils, you have to do all the work, which means choosing the wire type, building them, and installing the coils in your atomizer.
In this blog, we’ll focus on rebuildable, more specifically, the different types of wires you can use to create coils, their advantages and disadvantages, and which ones you should choose. But first, let’s start with the typical characteristics all wires have.
All wires have the following characteristics:
- A Gauge
- A Resistance
- A Ramp-up Time
- And a TCR
The gauge of a wire refers to the diameter of the wire. It is expressed in a numerical value. Some of the most common "gauges" include 32, 30, 28, 26, 24, and 22. It's essential to keep in mind that the higher the gauge number, the thinner the diameter. So a 22 wire gauge is thicker than a 26 wire gauge.
The bigger the gauge's number, the higher the resistance, and the smaller the number of the gauge, the lower the resistance. A wire with a thicker gauge will have a lower resistance.
Wires also have internal resistance, which can vary depending on the type of wire. Also, the greater the length, or the more wraps you create in your coil, the higher the resistance will be.
The ramp-up time refers to when it takes the coil to reach temperatures where it will evaporate the vape juice. Since lower gauges are thicker (22, 24) and there is more space to fill, the ramp-up time is significantly lower than that of bigger gauges like (30, 28) since they are thinner and have a faster ramp-up time.
Finally, we have the temperature coefficient of resistance or TCR. Before explaining TCR, we should first clarify that most wires are used for two vaping modes; there some wires for variable wattage vaping and others for temperature control vaping. We'll explain this in more detail below, but for now, all you need to know is that TCR is the characteristic used to decide if a wire is suitable for temperature control vaping.
Technically, what TCR stands for is the resistance that occurs when the wire's temperature rises or decreases. With a temperature control mode, the mod will tell if the coil's resistance has increased, and if it has grown, it will lower the current to prevent the coil from burning. Every wire has a TCR, but it can only be measured in a couple of wires.
Wattage Vaping VS Temperature Control
If it’s modern enough, your mod will have two modes of vaping, variable wattage vaping and temperature control vaping. All you need to know is that temperature control allows you to set the perfect vaping temperature all the time, no matter how many times you press the firing button. In contrast, variable wattage only will enable you to raise and drop the wattage depending on how long you hold the firing button.
While both of these modes have their advantages and disadvantages, you should know that since the mod needs to read the TCR of the wire to adjust the temperature (in temperature control mode), only use a few wires in temperature control.
The same is true for variable wattage control; since some wires do not change their TCR, they are used exclusively for variable wattage mode.
Types of Wires
In the world of vaping, you’ll find five different vape coil metal types:
- Stainless Steel
Kanthal is the most popular type of wire for making a coil, and it is perfect for wattage vaping because it’s very malleable but retains its shape. It’s cheap, does not oxidize quickly, and is readily available. Beginners and people who don’t want to waste time making something time-consuming mostly use it. However, some of the cons of using kanthal include:
- It can’t be used with temperature control mods
- Ramp-up time is slower
- And creates dull flavor
NiChrome is a wire composed of nickel and chromium, and it’s another perfect wire for variable wattage vaping. It has incredibly fast ramp-up times, is malleable, holds its shape, and in essence is another version of kanthal wire. Nichrome comes in grades, with the most expected quality being 80%nickel and 20% chromium. However, some of the cons of using NiChrome include that:
- It has a lower melting point than kanthal, so the coils can quickly burn
- Some people have allergies to nickel
Stainless Steel is a rarity in wires since you can use it for both variable wattage mode and temperature control mode. Stainless steel is an alloy composed of nickel, chromium, and carbon. The most common grade for making coils is SS316L. Like NiChrome, stainless steel has a fast ramp-up time, has a high melting point, is malleable, and holds its shape. However, stainless steel has some cons:
- It has nickel, which some people has allergies to nickel
- If dry burn at high wattages, it can release chemicals
Nickel was the first wire in use for temperature control. Since it has a TCR of 0.006, most chips can easily read its resistance and regulate it. Nickel should only be used with temperature control because it can overheat and melt, creating dangerous chemicals, namely graphite. However, when used with temperature control, it is safe. Yet, nickel has some drawbacks:
- Some people are allergic to nickel
- It does not hold shape
- It is hard to work with
The last wire used with coils is Titanium, exclusively used with temperature control. When using this wire, users are urged to use extreme caution since this wire, when heated, can create a toxic compound called titanium dioxide, and if it catches on fire, it is tough to put it out.
While this is the most controversial of wires, technically, if you have a good mod that regulates temperature, you should not have any problem. Still, we urge you to use extreme caution when handling this wire, and most importantly, do not dry burn Titanium.
Depending on the mode you plan on vaping, whether temperature control or variable wattage, make sure you have the correct type of wire for it. Remember that Kanthal, NiChrome, and Stainless Steel are perfect for variable wattage mode, while Stainless Steel is probably the safest and best wire to use for temperature control.
DISCLAIMER: EjuiceDB articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them. Furthermore, Vaping products and nicotine use are only meant for persons over the age of 21.
Children, breastfeeding and pregnant women, persons with risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or that take medications especially for depression or asthma should not use nicotine or vaping products. Always consult a licensed physician prior to use.