Coils: What Are They and When Do You Change Them?

Whether you’re brand new to vaping or you’ve been at it a while, you should know that once you’ve got your kit, your ongoing expenses are just coils and juices. But what are the coils? How do they work? When should you be changing them? Why are they set at different wattages? Let’s find out!

Let’s start with what they are.

In your vape at the very basic level, you’ve got a battery with a button on and your tank which has your coil and juice in, with a mouth piece on top. Your coil is connected to the top of your battery, and when you press the fire button you’re heating up the coil. The coil heats the vape juice which turns it into vapour for you to inhale.

Digging deeper now, let’s see how they work.

Your “coil” that you put into your vape is actually more than a coil. The coil refers to the wire that heats up inside of it. This coil either has cotton running inside it, or pressed around the outside of it, between the coil and the metal shell. This cotton pulls e-liquid from inside the tank and brings it to (or “wicks”) the coil.

The coil degrades over time – the constant heating and cooling of the wire degrades the wire, and the flow of juice through the cotton as well as the heat created by the coil degrades the cotton, this is why you have to replace your coils. Coil life depends on the individual coil and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but we say you’ll get between a week and a fortnight of good use out of a single coil.

So how do you know when it’s time to swap the coil out?

Towards the end of a coils life, flavour production won’t be as good as it was – your juice will start to taste blander. Right at the end of the coils life the cotton will be burnt up, and you’ll taste this. Your juice will start to taste bad because the coil won’t be bringing up enough juice to the coil and the flavour of the burnt cotton will be very apparent. It’s time to change your coil.

Are there any ways to make a coil last longer?

Absolutely! Coils burn out faster if you use them more. This is an issue we’ve experienced over lockdown especially – we’re just all sat at home vaping constantly instead of popping out for a vape break. If you’ve got a smaller kit, or one with set wattage where you don’t turn it up and down, simply not using it as much will help the coil last longer. If you’ve got an adjustable wattage kit then turning down the power slightly will help maintain your coils, try turning it down 10%, or go with the minimum wattage rated by the manufacturer and slowly bump the power up til you find a wattage that you’re comfortable with.

Watt about watts?

let’s go over why there are different wattages for different coils, and why some kits are adjustable and some aren’t.

Your ideal wattage is directly related to the Ohms of your coil. The Ohms depends on a bunch of variables within the coil itself, such as the material it’s made out of, how thick the wire is, and how much of it there is. In the coils we stock, for example, there’s everything from the 0.15ohm PnP coil for VooPoo Pod tanks, right up to GTX coils from Vaporesso which run go up to 1.8ohms.

Coils under 1.0ohm are referred to as “sub-ohm” coils, and produce more vapour when you fire them. They also run at higher wattages. For example the Valryian 2 coils will be absolutely fine running at 100w day in day out, but the Arc 5 CS coils are going to struggle once you go over around 12w-15w.

Typically, people quitting the ciggies will want something that’s high in ohms and low in wattage – this will be similar to the slow inhale of a cigarette. Low Ohms and High Wattage are for the cloud chasers unleashing plumes of fog.

Lastly, let’s talk about vape juice.

Your coil will have access holes for the juice to meet the cotton. Small and tight coils will have smaller access holes, whereas larger sub-ohm coils will have larger holes for the vape juice to easily flow around the coil.

Because of this, there are different ratios of vape juice. The difference is between amounts of VG and PG. For a run down of those you can check out our post on what they are and what they do. But basically, VG is thick, PG is thin. Juice high in VG is thicker, and is only for larger coils where it can flow quickly into coils. 50/50 ratios are what smaller coils should be going for, as the thinness allows the juice to quickly get through the smaller holes to wick the coil.

The ratios are typically 50/50, 60/40, 70/30 or 80/20. Some juices vary but this is largely what you’ll find on the shelves of vape shops. The first number typically represent the VG content, but an easy way to remember is the higher number is usually VG. Higher the number, thicker the juice.

If you’ve got a small starter kit, you’re best off going with 50/50 or 60/40. If you’re on a chunky vape pen, or something that gives big clouds, then you’re looking for ideally 70/30 or 80/20.

We hope that’s answered any questions you have about the coils in your vapes. Any other questions, feel free to leave a comment!

While you’re on our blog, you might find these articles helpful!
Nicotine Numbers and Which Strength You Need
How to clean your vape tank
How coils work and when to change them
How to make juice last longer
How to make Coils last longer
Why vape juice turns dark
MTL and DTL – What’s the difference?
Nic Salts vs Freebase: The difference and benefits
What happens when you quit smoking
Vaping: Twice as effective as patches and gum?
Using E-cigs to stop smoking
How to choose your first vape/e-cig
The Problem with Home Crew Vape Shops

Or you may like our new kit breakdown series “OUTTHEBOX” where we give in depth explanations of vape kits and an unboxing experience.

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