Before we get started, we want to warn you that we’re entering into a foggy realm. On the first page of Google’s search results you’ll find no less than six different opinions on the length of life of Aspire’s Nautilus coils. Some people swear by Cleitos, others claim to have vaped for 4 and a half months on a set of Vaporessos. We’re not entirely inclined to believe them, but this is the Internet so what can ya do.
So let’s toss out the apocrypha. We’re not going to deal with brands or individual models. If you absolutely need to know what the longest-lasting individual model is, it’s probably any of the Smok V8s, since they’re the most expensive coils we sell. Go buy 600 of them.
For anyone else sticking around, let’s get into what sort of coil-bending will actually last you the longest.
A cotton affair
The most common piece of advice you’ll hear from the long-life coil gurus is to stop purchasing pre-built coils. It all comes down to the cotton.
Coils, on their own, will last a good long time. They’re made of metal, after all. And although they’re weakened by repeated heating-cooling cycles, they’ll still outlive by far the other main component of a coil: the cotton.
Cotton doesn’t handle being heated and cooled, over and over, so well. It doesn’t love being soaked in cooking sugar and vegetable glycerin. And it’s got plenty of little nooks and crannies to collect particulate left over when all the cooking’s done. The real bottleneck on the length of a coil’s life is the cotton.
Of course, the cotton can’t be replaced on pre-built coils. It’s all packed in there tight and woven in with the coils, and usually wrapped up in a metal coil head. So when the cotton has gone bad, even if the coil has some life in it left—into the bin it goes.
If you build your own coils, however, you can swap out the cotton whenever you please. What’s better that that—coils without any cotton inside are a lot easier to clean, so you can remove any gunk that’s built up, install a new cotton wick, and get back to vaping on the same coils lickety-split.
Metal coil matters
Okay so lets assume that you’ve switched over to building your own coils. Whether you bought them pre-wound or you’re winding them yourself is irrelevant—what really matters is what sort of wire you’re actually getting.
There’s a few choices—if your mod supports temperature control functions, you could buy pure nickel or titanium coils. Nickel, however, is quite soft and can deform easily, which means you’ll be replacing them more often. Titanium is much durable, but at higher temperatures it can oxidise and poison you. The science is still out, and assuming you’re controlling the temperature then it shouldn’t get that hot… but still.
If your mod doesn’t support temperature control, you could choose to go with NiChrome, the father of all high-heat metals. NiChrome’s nickel content, however, makes it slightly less durable than the current reigning champion of the coil world: Kanthal, or iron-chromium-aluminium.
Stainless steel is also a good option for those looking for temperature control support and high durability. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s durable and safe.
A relative newcomer to the scene, ceramic-wrapped coils offer a durability beyond just about any of the standard metal coils. But first…
‘Extend your coil life’ lightning round
Here are a few easy tips for extending your coil’s life, whether pre-built or build-em-yourself:
- Use a less sugary e-liquid. Dessert e-liquids in particular kill coils with their sugar content.
- Use a lower wattage. Heat is the number one enemy of a coil.
- For the same reason, don’t pull long and deep on your vape. Long pulls get your coil wicked hot.
- Make sure you’ve primed your wick properly before vaping on a new coil. Firing your coil when it’s even a little dry is a quick ticket to Oxidationtown.
The ceramic question
Everything is made of ceramic these days. It was really only a question of time before someone decided to put it into a vape.
There are two types of ceramic coils. The first is a microporous ceramic cylinder with a wire inside it. The ceramic itself is the wick: the e-liquid soaks into the ceramic’s tiny pores and is vaporised when this ceramic body gets hot. This type, however, doesn’t offer a significant bump in durability over metal coils.
The second type is a metal wire glazed, or coated, with ceramic. These still require a cotton wick, but since this nonporous ceramic is so durable, it’s barely affected by the e-liquid that it sits in. When you replace the cotton wick, clean the ceramic off and you’ll have a coil that’s like new.
The downside to these types of coils? You guessed it—very expensive. Not to mention hard to find. The current gold standard for these kinds of coils is Vaping Outlaws’ Para Tank, which, good luck finding one for sale.
In the meantime
While we’re waiting on the next big innovation in coil life length, there are a few things we can do to prolong our coils. Taking it slow, letting your e-liquid wick in, and running on a lower wattage with a new coil will go a long way to giving us a couple of extra days out of each coil we use.
In the long run, that could add up to days each year.