Choosing the Correct Vape Coil/Wire Material

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Which vape coil/wire material should I select for the VW or the TC mode?

This tutorial will tell you the characteristics and uses of different vape wires. By finishing reading this article, you will understand how to choose the right vape wires for the wattage control (VW) mode or for the temperature control (TC) mode, respectively.

The Key Message

Kanthal A1 and Nichrome 80 (NiCr 80) can be only used in wattage/variable wattage mode. Titanium, Ni200 (nickel) can only be used with Temperature Control (TC) mode. Only the Stainless Steel (SS316L) can be used for both. You have to make sure that the vape wire you select is compatible with the vape mode you set for your Mod.

Temperature control (TC) and Temperature Coefficient of Resistance (TCR)

Using Temperature Control simply means that you are keeping the vape coil at a temperature defined by the user. To achieve this goal, the Mod relies on the Temperature Coefficient of Resistance (TCR) of your vape wire to regulate its current output. Different TC wires have different TCR values. In order to use TC correctly, besides setting your Mod to the TC mode, you also need to tell your Mod the TCR values or the type of the TC wire you have installed.

Wire Material That Is Still Widely Used iIn The Vape Industry

Kanthal A1 (Iron-Chomium-Aluminum)

Kanthal is an extremely popular wire, commonly used for the wattage mode. It is easy to work with yet stiff enough to hold it’s shape when formed into coils, which comes into play when you wick your coils. It is a great place to start if you are just getting into rebuilding, dripping, etc. Kanthal A1 lasts the longest and stays conductive the longest out of all the vaping wire compounds.

  • Variable wattage
  • Easy to work with
  • Holds shape
  • Inexpensive
  • Not compatible with TC

Nichrome 80 (NiCr 80)

Like Kanthal A1, NiCr 80 wire is also used for the wattage mode. It is an alloy composed of nickel and chromium. So avoid it if you are allergic to nickel. Avid vape enthusiast within the community say Nichrome gives off a cleaner and better flavor while vaping. There are different grades of Nichrome, but Nichrome 80 is the most commonly used. NiCr 80 behaves very much like Kanthal, but has a lower resistance and heats faster than the same gauge in Kanthal. It is easy to coil and holds its shape well when wicking. Nichrome has a lower melting temperature than Kanthal. This means you need to be careful when dry burning your coils to avoid snapping a lead.

  • Slightly lower resistance than Kanthal A1
  • Easy to work with
  • Holds shape
  • Nickel content
  • Many pre-built Clapton or fused Clapton coils are made from Nichrome 80

Stainless steel (SS316L)

Stainless steel is the only material that can be used for wattage vaping or temp control vaping. Stainless steel (SS) wire is an alloy composed primarily of chromium, nickel, and carbon. The SS316 is the medical, pharmaceutical and food grade. Stainless steel is easy to form and holds its shape well. Like nichrome, it offers a faster ramp up time than Kanthal. SS316L wire will give off the cleanest flavor and best flavor.

  • VW or TC (with compatible mod)
  • Faster ramp time than Kanthal
  • Easy to work
  • Holds shape
  • Nickel content
  • More expensive than Kanthal A1

Wire Material That Is Fading Away From The Vape Industry

Nickel (Ni 200)

Nickel wire, also referred to as Ni200, is generally pure nickel. People with an allergy to nickel must avoid it. Nickel wire was the first wire used in temperature control. It can be difficult to work into uniform coils due to its softer properties. Once mounted, the coils can easily deform when wicking. Do not dry fire Ni 200 when you are building your coil. Also, it is absolutely essential to use it in temperature control mode because TC mode will not allow the wire to glow when it is fired. When Ni 200 wire glows, it starts to give off a highly toxic gas called Nickel monoxide.

  • Does TC
  • More difficult to build than using Kanthal A1, SS316L and Nichrome 80 wire
  • Doesn’t hold shape as well as the wires mentioned above
  • Contains Nickel
  • Gives off a highly toxic gas when heated to its toxicity point
  • Older form of wire when TC first came out to the market
  • Less likely to be used or sold anymore after manufacturers starter offering SS316L

Toxicity Point Temperature of Ni 200:

  • 752°F or 400°C

Titanium (Ti)

Titanium is another TC wire, composed of pure titanium. It is very hard to work with because the wire itself is very malleable and does not hold its shape well. It also cannot be dry fired to shape the coil because there is a chance that titanium dioxide will be released and essentially coat your coil in a layer of Titanium Dioxide. If you see any kind of white powder forming around your coil, please be sure to dispose of the wire and wrap a new coil. Furthermore, if titanium ignites it is extremely difficult to extinguish, in which case you have to let it burn out.

  • Hardest wire material to work with because of its Malleability
  • Holds it shape if the user knows how to build with it correctly
  • Gives off a highly toxic gas when heated to its toxicity point
  • Has a greater fire risk than any of the wire materials mentioned above
  • Older form of wire when TC first came out to the market
  • Less likely to be used or sold anymore after manufacturers starter offering SS316L

Toxicity Point Temperature of Titanium:

  • 1200°F  or 648°C

Final Tips

Firstly, make sure to select the correct wire for the Wattage or TC mode you are using. Secondly, always be cautious and aware of the following risks: nickel allergy, toxic component, being flammable at high temperature etc. Finally, when wrapping wire, always refer to Ohm’s Law and build safely!

Also, please refer to this website when building your coil if you are a beginner http://www.steam-engine.org/coil.html 

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