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Beginners Guide To Vape Coils

Published 21 October 2020, Updated 10 April 2024

Beginners Guide To Vape Coils

So we’ve covered what a vape device is and how it works, now it’s time to understand the importance of the vape coil component of vape devices. 

What is a Vape Coil?

The heating coil, often referred to as a ‘vape coil’, is the component of a vape device that heats e-liquid and converts it into vapour. Vape coils are always located inside the e-liquid tank, whether that’s a cartridge, pod or a 510 tank.

However, more on tanks in the next guide. First, how exactly does a heating coil work? 

How does a Vape Coil work?

Coils used in vape pens and other devices contain wicking material, usually made from cotton, and this material absorbs the e-liquid present in the tank.

When a user presses the power button on their vape device, the battery heats the wire in the coil which then vaporises the liquid present in the wick. This vapour then move up through the ‘chimney’ of the device, ready for the user to inhale it into their mouth or directly into lungs.

It’s extremely important to note that unlike other components of a vape device, coils need to be replaced every so often depending on the type & usage.

Types of Vape Coils

Vape coils come in many shapes and sizes depending on the vape device they are designed for, but the three main categories are:


  1. Cartridges with In-Built Coils
  2. Removable Coils
  3. Custom-Built Coils

Cartridges with In-Built Coils

This is most definitely the recommended coil-type for beginners. In-Built coils are only found in e-liquid cartridges for vape pod devices. Coils cannot be removed from the cartridges, so once the coil is worn out the entire cartridge is simply discarded and replaced.

Removable Coils

The majority of coils in vape devices can be classed as ‘removable coils’. It simply refers to the fact that the coil component can be removed & separated from the tank, meaning only the coil needs to be replaced when it is worn out. Unfortunately, this does not have any cost-saving benefits over cartridges with in-built coils, but it does allow more coils to be compatible with your device, meaning a greater level of flexibility on your choice of coil heating power.

Custom-Built Coils

Designed for professional vapers, the final type of coil is quite simply a wire that is manually twisted into a coil. These custom-built coils require a very special type of tank in order to allow it to be attached to the device, not to mention special tools used to twist the wire into the coil.

Selecting the Right Coil

Vape coils are only compatible with the device they are designed for. However, it’s very easy to find the coils that your device supports with the Vape Coil Finder.

What can get a little complicated is when a device supports multiple coils, and that’s where coil ‘power’ comes in.

Understanding Coil ‘Power’

It’s extremely important to understand that all coils have varying levels of heating power which defines what temperatures it can reach. This is how you can figure out what type of e-liquids a vape device can support; the thicker the liquid (higher the VG), the higher the coil temperature must be to vaporise it.

The important facts:


  • The ‘power’ of a coil is always measured by the ‘resistance’ value of a coil
  • Coils with lower resistance can reach higher temperatures
  • Lower resistance coils can vaporise higher VG e-liquids (thicker e-liquids)

Important: Resistance is measured in Ω (ohms)

As a beginner, all you need to remember is that in order to use e-liquids with high VG ratios (above 70VG), you’ll need a device that supports a coil resistance of less than 1 Ω (1 ohm). This is referred to as ‘sub-ohm’ vaping.

However, as mentioned in our e-liquids guide for beginners, we recommend 50VG/50PG liquids to beginners which will work with the Caliburn beginner device that we also recommended in the vape devices guide.

Coil Life & Replacing Your Coil

It’s extremely important that you replace your vape coil when it wears out.

How long they last ultimately depends on your usage. To give you a rough idea, cartridges with in-built coils can last up to a few weeks, whereas removable coils usually last up to a week. The type of e-liquid can also affect coil life. Most notably, e-liquids with higher VG ratios can reduce a coils life.

If you experience a ‘burnt’ taste when vaping, it’s a clear sign that your coil has worn out. However, as you get used to your device, you will pre-empt this simply with experience.

Vape Tanks

As mentioned, vape coils are always placed or pre-fitted into the e-liquid tank of a vape device. However, the coil is just one part of a vape tank, so let’s have a look at what else makes up a tank in the next Beginners Guide to Vape Tanks.


Beginners Guide To Vape Tanks
Beginners Guide To Vape Batteries
Beginners Guide To Vape Devices
Beginners Guide To Vaping

26 September 2020

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