A Beginner’s Guide to Vape Coils

If you have been vaping, then you have been using a vape coil. However, if you are using a disposable device or a prefilled pod, you may not have considered them before.

But when you switch to a refillable vape device, it is worth learning a little bit about coils.

With some basic knowledge, you can ensure that you can vape for a longer time, know when to replace the coil or pod, and even change the coils for a better vaping experience.


  • What is a vape coil?
  • Fixed v. replaceable coils
  • Key things to know
  • High v. low resistance coils: What’s the difference?
  • Matching coils to e-liquid - what you need to know
  • MTL v. DL
  • Coil resistance: A beginner’s guide
  • Coil ports: Why they matter
  • Matching power to coils
  • A quick look at coil materials and designs
  • Key takeaways on coil care and usage
  • FAQs

What is a vape coil?

A vape coil is a component of a device that is responsible for heating up e-liquid. It is made up of three parts:

1. The coil housing, which contains small openings called 'ports'.

2. An absorbent material, like cotton, that absorbs the e-liquid.

3. A wire coil.

Infographic showing the inside of a vape coil

The openings allow the e-liquid to enter the coil when it is added to a vape tank or pod. The cotton absorbs and retains the e-liquid. Power enters the coil through the fire button or inhalation, heating it up. This causes the e-liquid to heat up and evaporate as a result.

Keep in mind that coils are occasionally referred to as atomizers.

Fixed vs replaceable coils

A fixed coil pod is included with a lot of vape pod devices.

That basically implies you replace the entire pod when the coil reaches the end of its useful life.

Should your coil be changeable, you have the option to swap just the coil alone rather than the entire pod.

This produces less trash for the environment and is frequently less expensive than replacing a whole pod. It's a little less practical, but it simply takes a few seconds to switch out the coil because the majority of modern coils have a push-pull mechanism.

Key things to know

1. Prime your coil - the single most important thing you need to know

Not priming the coil is the single biggest error people make when vaping.

For devices that are entry-level, all you have to do is:

1. If the coil is a replaceable coil device, attach it to the tank or pod. 

2. Add e-liquid to the tank/pod. 

3. Wait around five minutes before consuming a vape.

Close up of a vape tank filled with e-liquid

2. Keep your tank filled to avoid burning the coil

It's critical to maintain the e-liquid level in the tank consistently above the coil's base. Fill lines can sometimes be used to show this. By doing this, you can prevent the coil from drying out and burning out.

As a little aside, we advise using clear tanks and pods so that you can easily see the amount of e-liquid in your device.

A vape tank being filled

3. Know when it’s time to change your coil

Consumable items are coils. Coils in entry-level devices typically last two weeks, but they can survive as little as a few days in high-powered devices.

The coil has to be changed if the vaporizer becomes scratchy, loses flavour, or produces insufficient vapour.

If you have a fixed coil pod, you can simply replace the whole pod. 

A coil being removed from a vape tank

High v. low resistance coils: What’s the difference?

Because the pods match the power of their compatible device, you probably won't have to worry about resistance if you're using a fixed coil device.

You might have a selection of coil resistances, though, if you choose to use a more expensive gadget.

Ohms are used to measure coil resistance. It would be a little too complicated to explain how this works in a beginner's tutorial.

To put it simply, you can produce more vapour every puff the lower the coil resistance, but you will deplete juice, battery life, and coils faster.

The key differences in performance are shown in the table below.


Low resistance

High resistance




Power needed






Coil life



Battery life



Matching coils to e-liquid - what you need to know

The majority of vapers use nicotine salts or standard 50:50 e-liquids, therefore matching coils to high VG e-liquids is not a major concern. Nonetheless, it's worthwhile to become more knowledgeable about the coils you require if you do wish to use high VG e-liquid.

High VG e-liquids 

Nicotine salts/ High PG e-liquids

Use coils:   
Labelled DL or:  
Have a low resistance and larger port holes

Use coils:  
Labelled MTL or that:  
Have a higher resistance or smaller port holes


With advanced devices, you can frequently select different coils to use with various e-liquids.

A few coils have the classifications DL (Direct-Lung) and MTL (Mouth-to-Lung).

The coil will perform best when used with nicotine salts and standard (freebase) 50-50 e-liquid if it is marked MTL. It is best used with high VG e-liquids if it is marked DL.

Man inhaling on a vape device

Coil resistance: A beginner’s guide

If you wish to swap between coils and e-liquid but the coils aren't labelled MTL vs. DL, it's worth knowing which resistances work best with which e-liquid.

For nicotine salts and ordinary (freebase) juice with an approximately equal VG:PG ratio, like 50:50, higher resistance coils work well. They strike the back of the throat harder when combined with standard e-liquid. Lower wattages are ideal for using them.

A few years ago, a low-resistance coil was defined as one that had a resistance of less than one ohm. But these days, a lot of coils that have a resistance of 0.8 or even 0.6 ohms can be used with standard e-liquids and nicotine salts.

For high VG e-liquids, such as those with a 70:30 VG:PG ratio, low resistance coils work well. They create larger, airier vapour clouds. The lowest value for these coils is 0.15 ohms.

You may personalise the vaporizer to your liking with the variety of coil resistances offered. If you're not quite happy with your vaporizer, we suggest trying out different coils to see which one works best for you.

Coil ports: Why they matter

A coil's capacity to operate with various e-liquids depends not only on its resistance but also on its coil ports. Small-port coils perform best when used with e-liquids that have a about 50:50 VG:PG ratio. Thickened e-liquids with high VG are optimised for coils featuring wider coil ports.

5 vape coils with the ports on display

Matching power to coils

These days, a lot of gadgets set the coil's wattage automatically. However, you must manually choose the appropriate power level if your device has variable power output (measured in watts).

It's possible that your gadget includes a "smart mode" that, when turned on, will choose the ideal wattage—or wattage range—for it. If you're new to vaping, this is a wonderful place to start.

In the event that your gadget lacks this feature or you prefer to manually adjust the power, the suggested wattage is typically indicated on the coil or its box. The suggested wattages are also listed on the pages of each coil on our website.

A quick look at coil materials and designs

Traditionally, coils have been available in a wide variety of shapes and materials.

These days, the majority of coils are mesh-formatted. One of the best materials for vapourizing e-liquid has been found to be this densely woven cloth.

Occasionally, a selection of stainless steel and kanthal materials may be available. Kanthal, in our opinion, has a better flavour. Stainless steel, however, typically lasts longer.

Key takeaways on coil care and usage

Let's just summarise in a few phrases because it could sound like a lot.

When it comes to coils, the most crucial things to keep in mind are to replace them when performance starts to decline, to always have your tank filled, and to let the e-liquid soak into the coil (in the tank) before using it for the first time.

Try using a lower resistance coil if you want more vapour, and reduce the resistance even further if you want to use high VG e-liquids.


How long should vape coils last?

Low-resistance coils in a high-powered device will last a few days, while vape coils in a low-powered device will usually last about two weeks. Be aware that a variety of factors affect coil life, such as the power levels utilised, the kind of e-liquid used, and the frequency and intensity of puffs.

How do you clean a coil?

Coils can be cleaned most easily by taking them out of the tank and soaking them in hot, but not boiling, water. Let it air dry completely before reusing it. It can be soaked in white alcohol as well.

How do you make a vape coil last longer?

The most crucial step is to prime the coil by letting the e-liquid seep into it.