About DIY Wire
You can't vape without coils. Coils are the part of the atomiser head that are heated by the electrical current sent by your vape's battery. When they heat up, they warm the wick which is saturated by e-liquid, causing the juice to evaporate so you can breathe it in as vapour.
Coils come in many different resistances. Coil resistance, measured in ohms (Ω), refers to how difficult it is for a current to flow through the material. The higher the number of ohms, the higher the resistance. Coil resistance depends on the material that a wire is made of as well as its size and shape. This leads us on to gauge size. Gauge refers to the thickness of diameter of a vaping wire - the wire in vape coils usually hovers at around 22-32 wire gauge. The larger the gauge of the wire, the less resistance (ohms) it will have.
There are many different types of coils. Coils differ in the type of material they're made of (Nichrome Ni80, Kanthal A1, Stainless Steel SS316, Nickel Ni200, etc.) and the way they are configured around the wick (Clapton, Juggernaut, Staple, etc.). Some, such as mesh coils, are not even made of wire.
Here are the key differences between all the different types of coils you can use with your vape.
Kanthal is one of the most popular types of wire for vaping coils. An alloy containing iron, chromium and aluminuim, kanthal can withstand high temperatures and has a slower ramp-up time which some vapers prefer. It's a popular choice among people who want to build their own coils because it is cheap and flexible, meaning it's easy to twist into coils.
Nichrome is another type of wire that is popular for vapes. Containing nickel and chromium, Ni80 wire works well in high temperatures and has a faster ramp-up time than kanthal coils because of its lower resistance.
Stainless Steel SS316
Similar to nichrome, stainless steel has a low resistance and fast ramp-up time. It's an alloy comprised of many materials such as chromium, carbon, iron, and nickel, but the key feature of stainless steel is that its 11% or higher chromium content prevents it from rusting. It's malleable and easy to create coils with. Moreover, unlike other coil materials, it can be used with both temperature control (TC mode) and variable wattage mode. However, stainless steel wire can have a small nickel content which makes it unsuitable for vapers with nickel allergies.
Unlike nichrome which contains a mix of nickel and chromium, pure nickel wires have very little resistance. This means that it's well suited to temperature control mods. However, it's often considered an advanced wire and is less common among vapers. A major drawback of nickel coils is that they cannot be used by anyone with a nickel allergy.
Although titanium is easy to build with and is good for pairing with temperature control modes, it's avoided by many vapers because of safety concerns. Wires made of titanium can release toxic compounds when heated to a very high temperature and can also lead to fires.
The material the wire is made of isn't the only variation in wires. There are different styles of arranging these wires to create different types of coil.
In contrast to your standard coil configuration, clapton coils feature one thicker gauge wire with a thinner gauge wire wrapped around it. This gives them a larger surface area.
A step up from standard clapton, coils made of fused clapton have two or more thicker gauge wires fused together with a thinner gauge wire wrapped around them.
Staple coils are similar to fused clapton but use 8-10 flat ribbon wires instead of the thick gauge wires. A thinner gauge wire is wrapped around the stack of flat wires which give the staple coil its name.
A flat ribbon wire is wrapped around two clapton wire cores in a juggernaut coil.
Twisted wire coils feature multiple wires twisted together into one strand.
Mesh coils are not made of vape wire but rather are a sheet of metal with regular holes stamped into it. These are a popular choice in sub-ohm e-cigs because of their even heating and large surface area.
Yes - building your own coils can be a cheaper option than buying pre-built coils. With spools of wire totalling only a few pounds, you can do a lot of coil building for very cheap prices. If you want low-cost but top quality vaping, rebuildable coils are a good option for you.
To use your vape's TC mode, you'll need to ensure that your wires are made of stainless steel, nickel, or titanium.
To use variable wattage mode on your vape, check that your wires use kanthal, nichrome, or stainless steel.