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I love everything about vaping and have the good fortune of working for Phoenix Vapor Café, which, in my opinion, is the number one vaping shop in the Olympia area. For years I have immersed myself in the technology of vaping and enjoy every minute of that time. It is not surprising then that I enjoy building coils for myself and for our customers or that I have developed knowledge and opinions about available coil material.
Our customers often ask me about my preference in coil wire. I will attempt to answer this question in two parts: 1) the currently available wires, and 2) which wires I like best and why.
Part 1. The wires:
Kanthal A1 Wire:
Kanthal is the trademark for a family of iron-chromium-aluminum (FeCrAl) alloys used in a wide range of resistance and high-temperature applications, including vaping devises. In fact, it was the first type of wire used for vaping, and it remains the most readily available wire for this purpose. Plus it is relatively cheap, pliable and durable. Use Kanthal with caution in Power mode (i.e. variable wattage or variable voltage) or in mechanical devices
Ni80 is an 80% nickel 20% chromium alloy and has a lower electrical resistance than Kanthal. This means that for any given wire gauge and length, it heats up faster so it produces flavor and volume faster. The advantage of building with Ni80 is that you can add a lot more wire, and therefore surface area, to your coils. As with Kanthal, use Ni80 with caution in Power mode.
Ni200 is a 99.6% pure wrought nickel alloy and has both a much lower melting point and a much lower electrical resistance than either Kanthal A1 or NI80 wire. In addition nickel wire is very soft and springy, making it more difficult coil building material. Because of its low melting point and electrical resistance you should ONLY USE Ni200 in Temperature controlled devices.
Grade 1 titanium wire is 99.5%+ pure titanium that should only be used in a temperature controlled device. It has dramatically lower resistance than Kanthal A1 wire, and as a result needs to be monitored precisely to prevent super heating or melting. When used properly, titanium coil will deliver AMAZING flavor and volume.
Stainless Steel Wire:
300 series stainless steel wire (e.g. 304, 316, and 317) has been used for commercial welding and medical purposes for years but has recently made its way into the vaping community. As the newest of the five coil materials it has had mixed reviews as people report on their early experiences. That said, stainless steel is one of the hidden gems of the vaping world. Many report that it produces cleaner tasting vapor and it is the only vape wire that can be used in ALL types of Vaping devises (temperature controlled, variable power, and Mechanical).
Enough Geek Speak, Tell us what you think already!
Here is a list of the wires I use, in preference order.
- Kanthal A1: I typically prefer to do a coil build with Kanthal A1 as it is more stable, reliable and works well on all devices. It also has been around the longest and continues to yield positive results when tested (i.e. low to no Heavy Metal content when used correctly). From a builder's point of view it also offers enough tension and pliability to create some truly beautiful and amazing coils.
- Stainless Steel: This wire comes in a close second to Kanthal A1. I rank it a little lower only because it is available in fewer wire gauges. Kanthal A1 can be readily found in 16 gauge to 32 gauge, whereas Stainless Steel is most commonly available in 24 to 28 gauge.
- Titanium: For dedicated, temperature control use my fall back is titanium wire. There are plenty of options available for coil builds, and it has enough tensile strength to ensure you’re not going to be spending most of your afternoon snapping wire in half.
- Ni80: While I have done plenty of builds with Ni80, and even used it on occasion, I fell that it falls behind Kanthal A1 in both cloud and flavor production. Ni80 does heat up faster than Kanthal but Kanthal does better once it has heated up.
- Ni200: While this material can be great in pre-manufactured coils, it can be nightmarishly difficult to build with because it is exceptionally soft and tends to easily snap or break. Because of the danger presented by nickel, as I stated above use this wire only in temperature controlled devises.
Bonus: Ceramic Coils:
Ceramic coils may be the new coil product; however Ceramic material has been in and out of the vaping industry for a few years now. Historically Ceramic coils have not produced a decent volume of vapor, and have been prone to juice splatter (e-liquid being projected at high speed off of the coil), In addition ceramic coils tend to trap heat and become unstable.
I would summarize by stating one should feel free to build coils with Kanthal A1, Stainless Steel and Titanium wire. Similarly, the use of Ni80 or Ni 200 should be used with caution, and understanding to ensure user safety. As a rule you should always ensure that neither Ni80 or Ni200 are heated above 600 degrees Fahrenheit as they can become hazardous and toxic to the user