Types of Vaping Wire & Coil Build Styles
Vaping can be an extremely simple pleasure. Imagine this; you walk into a vape shop, buy your first mod, tank, and 15mL of vape juice.Your helpful store clerk gives you a hand with setting everything up and even tells you to come back when your coil needs changing or some other issue crops up. Voila! - all that’s left for you to is to do is press a button and vape.
However, you can choose to make it slightly more complicated (as many pro vapers do). As you get more involved in the vaping world, you will start to learn that certain practices can make your vaping experience more enjoyable - and cheaper. One of those is building your own coils. Many vapers who decide to do that become aware that there are several types of vaping wires. Some of those wires are used with wattage vaping, some with temperature control vaping, and some can be used with both.
Knowing what type of vaping wire you’re using isn’t only useful for vapers who engage in coil rebuilding. Original, premade atomizers will all contain a type of wire we’re about to discuss here. Knowing the difference will help you decide which wire works best for you. Different vaping wires deliver different flavor nuances and have different vapor production capabilities.
There are 5 different types of vaping wires: Kanthal, NiChrome, Nickel, Stainless Steel, and Titanium. Before we take a look at the differences between them, let’s check out what they all have in common.
Vaping Wire Basics
Despite their differences, all these wire types share certain commonalities when it comes to their characteristics. These commonalities are:
Gauge - actually, wire gauge is wire diameter. It’s a number that tells you how thick or ‘fat’ your wire is. Counterintuitively, as the wire gauge increases, the diameter gets smaller. So, a 32 gauge wire has a smaller diameter than a 26 gauge wire.
Resistance - resistance is most simply defined as the opposition to electric current. The process heats up the wire, allowing it to evaporate the vape juice. Higher gauge wires (30 or 32) will have a higher resistance and heat faster, which means that they deliver sufficient flavor and vapor at lower wattages. Be careful with resistance when building your own coils. You want to make sure that you’re well-versed in battery safety and use this resistance calculator to avoid potential accidents.
- Ramp up time - the simplest explanation of the ramp up time would be that it’s the time your coil takes to heat up to a temperature that’s capable of evaporating vape juice. This is most noticeable with exotic coil styles (which we will discuss near the end of this post) but also needs to be taken into account if you’re building with a high gauge wire and need more wraps from post to post. Ramp up time is determined by the length of the wire, not the gauge, though the gauge does play a role indirectly.
Whatever type of wire you decide to use, you will have to take into account these three characteristics because they always come into play, especially when you’re rebuilding coils.
5 different types of vaping wires
1.) Kanthal Vape Wire
Kanthal is ferritic iron-chromium-aluminum alloy - it’s a mouthful, right? It doesn’t really matter if you can’t pronounce it, what you need to know about Kanthal is that it’s a great starter wire. It was among the first vape wires in use and it can still hold its own, even with the appearance of (supposedly) better wires out there.
Kanthal resists oxidation pretty well and it’s easy to work with. It’s pliable enough to facilitate easy coil building but still sufficiently stiff to hold shape during numerous wick changes. This means that you will need to replace your coils less frequently, which is always a plus. That said, Kanthal wire is also the cheapest on this list and it’s easy to get to, be it in your local vape shops or on e-Bay
When it comes to flavor, some vapers are quick to point out that Kanthal falls short when compared to some other types of vaping wire. However, if you’re just starting out the difference is barely noticeable and you won’t be missing much. Keep in mind that Kanthal can be used in wattage mode exclusively, and not in temperature control mode.
Kanthal wire pros:
- Inexpensive and easy to find
- Easy to work with and keeps shape
- Variable wattage vaping
Kanthal wire cons:
- Slightly ‘dull’ flavor
- Average ramp up time
- Not compatible with TC mode
2.) Nichrome Vape Wire
NiChrome can be viewed as a step up from the Kanthal wire, at least when we’re discussing ramp up time and flavor. This wire is an alloy of nickel and chromium and, as such, it has a lower resistance and a faster ramp up time than Kanthal. What this means is that you can deliver shorter bursts of power to the coil and get a decent flavor. Since it contains little to no iron, some vapers note that NiChrome delivers a very clean-tasting flavor.
NiChrome is also very easy to work with but it’s less elastic, which means that if you bend your coil out of shape, you’re going to have problems rectifying that mistake. However, the biggest downside of NiChrome is its very low melting point. This means that you have to be very careful when dry burning it - fire it up on a high setting and it will literally catch on fire. In addition to that, some people are allergic to nickel so they need to avoid these wires. Both these reasons are enough for us to recommend using NiChrome vape wire only to experienced vapers. Also, with the appearance of SS and Titanium wires, NiChrome is slowly falling out of favor because both of these wires enhance flavor, but without the fire risk.
NiChrome wire pros:
- Easy to work with
- Fast ramp up time
- Enhanced flavor notes
- ‘Cleaner’ taste
NiChrome wire cons:
- Low melting point - potential hazard
- Potential for an allergic reaction
- Not as elastic as Kanthal
- Not easy to source
- Slowly replaced by better options (SS & Ti)
- Not compatible with TC mode
3.) Nickel Vape Wire
If you’re looking for the ultimate ramp up performer, pure nickel wire is your best bet. Also called Ni200, this vape wire has virtually 0 resistance, which means it heats up very fast. This is both a blessing and a curse because you have to be very careful when firing nickel in order to avoid melting it. Nickel can cause all sorts of problems at very high temperatures (well above 1000 C or 2500 F), such as a nickel leach, which can be fatal. That’s why it can only be safely used in TC mode (where the risk of hot spots and overheating is minimal). There’s also an issue of nickel allergy. Those suffering from it should avoid this type of vaping wire altogether.
That said, Ni200 does produce a flavorful vape. The wire itself is easy to work with - very supple and pliable. However, it doesn’t hold shape very well. After a few wick changes, it’s likely that the Ni200 wire will become completely deformed and will need to be changed. All in all, with so many options out there, there is really no need to use Ni200. If you insist on it, make sure to read up on nickel and check whether or not you’re allergic to it.
Nickel wire pros:
- Flavorful vape
- Easy to work with
- Easy to source locally
- Works with TC
Nickel wire cons:
- Nickel allergy potential
- Very low melting point
- Can’t hold shape well
4.) Titanium Vape Wire
Titanium vape wires are all the rage now that temperature control mode has been perfected. These wires are made of pure titanium and vapers who tried them swear by the flavor. They call it ‘fresh’, ‘pure’, and ‘popping’. So there you have it - if you’re looking for the ultimate performer, flavor-wise, your best bet might be a titanium wire. Another selling point of this wire is that it heats up and cools down quickly and its ramp up time is similar to that of the Kanthal wire.
However, there are a few downsides to using titanium. Most vapers agree that the wire is springy, which means that it’s difficult to work with and doesn’t hold the shape that well. Then there’s also the issue of titanium poisoning. When heated above 1200 F, Ti releases a compound called Titanium Dioxide, which is toxic and carcinogenic to humans. Also, Titanium catches fire pretty easily.
This had to be said but don’t let it scare you. Ti wires are used in TC mode, which handles them extremely well. If you use them correctly there’s no need to fear poisoning or fire. To be on the safe side, don’t fire Ti wires over 40 W and you should be golden.
Titanium wire pros:
- Great flavor
- Compatible with TC mode
- Fast ramp up time
Titanium wire cons:
- Doesn’t hold shape well
- Potential poisoning hazard
- Fire hazard
- Difficult to source locally
5.) Stainless Steel Vape Wire
Last, but definitely not the least, we have the stainless steel wire. Stainless steel wires are made from a combination of chromium, nickel, and carbon and there are many grades that are suitable for vaping. The most commonly used wire is the 316 SS, which is food-grade, which means that it can be safely used by pretty much anyone.
Stainless steel vaping wire is pretty unique as it can be used in both the wattage mode and the TC mode. It’s relatively easy to work with and holds shape well. When it comes to flavor, SS wire is a great performer - you will get a nuanced flavor, similar to that of titanium but without the risk of getting poisoned or catching on fire. Also, its ramp up time is similar to that of NiChrome, which means that it’s slightly slower than Ni200 but still a heck of a lot better than Kanthal.
SS wires are great for vapers who sometimes switch between the wattage and TC modes as they can do it without having to change their atomizer or coils. However, since it does contain nickel, SS should be avoided by vapers who are aware of their nickel allergy. Also, SS needs to be dry burned slowly - start it off at around 20 W and then push it up. If you fire it on high wattage immediately, there’s a chance that a hot spot will form and cause the wire to break.
Stainless Steel wire pros:
- Crisp flavor
- Can be used in wattage and TC modes
- Easy to work with and holds shape
- Good ramp up time
Stainless Steel wire cons:
- Limited availability
- Needs to be handled carefully
- Nickel content (allergies)
Advanced Coil Styles & Builds
Now that you know everything you need to know about the various types of vaping wire, making an educated choice on which one is best suited for you is easy. Most tank manufacturers have a pretty wide choice when it comes to premade coils - with the exception of Ni200 (and sometimes NiChrome), you will be able to find atomizers with Kanthal, SS, and Titanium wires for most of your tank purchases.
On the other hand, if you’re into coil rebuilding, we have another treat for you. Check out these awesome coil styles and try to build something exotic yourself. Sure, it might not be a total success but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a ton of fun trying! Of course, make sure that you follow all the safety procedure if you decide to try these coil styles. Vape on but safety first!
Dragon Skin Coil Style
Interlock Wire & Chain Coil Style
Arched Clapton Coil Style
UltimEight Coil Style
Tidal Wire Coil Style
NiChrome Chain Coil Style
NiChrome Tiger Coil Style
Juggernaut Coil Style
Clapton Coil Style