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WARNING: Vaping products contain Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical - Health Canada
WARNING: Vaping products contain Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical - Health Canada

Vape Coils Explained: What They Are, Why They Burn Out, & When to Replace Them


Christopher Fournier


Jan 27, 2022

Vape Coils Explained: What They Are, Why They Burn Out, & When to Replace Them


  • Vape coils are essentially spirals of wire wrapped around wicking material, often cotton. When activated, the battery heats the coil, which then heats the e-liquid until it vaporizes.
  • Different types of coils offer varying resistances (measured in ohms), affecting cloud production, e-liquid thickness compatibility, and flavor intensity.
  • Vape coils wear out over time due to repeated heating and cooling. Indicators of a burnt-out coil include a burnt taste, gurgling noises, altered e-liquid flavor, and reduced vapor production.
  • Coil lifespan varies based on usage. Coils under heavy use might need replacement weekly, while lightly-used ones can last up to a month.
  • Tips to extend coil life include priming new coils, avoiding excessively sweet e-liquids, using clear e-liquids, and maintaining an adequate e-liquid level in the device.

Vape Coils Explained: What They Are, Why They Burn Out, & When to Replace Them

Coils make it possible to vapourize the e-liquid in your vape device, but how do they actually work? Moreover, how can you tell when it’s time to replace the vape coil in your device—and what happens if you don’t?

It’s never a bad idea to learn more about the technology that makes vaping possible, and we’re here to help. Our team has spent years learning about and comparing different vape devices, so we know all about coils, how they work, and how often you need to switch them out for best results.

Read on and learn all you ever wanted to know about vape coils—then use what you’ve learned to make sure you’re keeping your device properly maintained. Ready? Let’s get started.

What Does a Vape Coil Do?

Vape coils are important, but they’re not complicated. Essentially, they’re little lengths of wire wrapped in spirals around the wicking material (usually cotton) in a given device. The ends of the wires are connected to the positive and negative terminals of the device’s battery. When the device is activated, the battery heats up the coil, which in turn heats up the e-liquid in the wicking material until it turns into vapour. Then you inhale it—easy, right?

Different Kinds of Vape Coils

Okay, but then why are there so many different types of coils—and what’s the difference between them? Not to worry; we’ve got answers to those questions as well.

Look at practically any product description for a vape device, and you’ll probably see something like this in the list of specs and features:

  • Coils
    • 1 x 0.4 Ω
    • 1 x 0.8 Ω

Nope, that’s not Greek—well, technically it is, since that symbol at the end is borrowed from the Greek letter omega. But in this context, it actually stands for ohms, and denotes the amount of resistance a given vape coil provides.

Why does that matter? Easy: the less resistance a coil offers, the more electricity passes through it. As a result, coils with less resistance can be useful for the following:

  • Greater cloud production
  • Handling thicker e-liquids
  • Producing stronger flavour

On the other hand, coils with more resistance can be used to produce milder, less-concentrated vapours and are well-suited to less concentrated e-liquids. Different vape devices are made to be compatible with different coil sizes, depending on their power output, available e-liquids, and other such factors.

Different kind of coils

Why Do Vape Coils Burn Out?

Like all good things in life, vape coils just don’t last forever. As they heat up and cool down repeatedly over time, they gradually lose their ability to conduct current. That’s how coils burn out.

Signs of a Burnt-Out Vape Coil

If you’ve ever burnt out a vape coil in your device before, you probably know. Here are some of the telltale signs that you’ve burnt out your vape coil:

  • Your vape tastes burnt: a burning taste can occur when the coil in your device wears out and begins to deteriorate. When this happens, you might find yourself inhaling trace amounts of heavy metals—so don’t keep vaping with the dead coil! Replace it as soon as possible instead.
  • Your vape is gurgling: Worn out coils may not cause the e-liquid in your device’s wick to vapourize effectively. As a result, the excess liquid can end up in parts of the device where it’s not supposed to be, causing a “gurgling” noise. If you hear gurgling when using your vape device, changing out the coil is one of the first things you should try.
  • Your flavour is weak or “wrong” somehow: Before a coil dies completely, you’ll probably notice that the flavour of your e-liquid is off to some degree. Pay attention to subtle flavour changes; they’re often a sign that the coil in your vape device is nearing the end of its lifespan.
  • You’re getting less vapour than expected: As coils deteriorate, less current can travel through them—which means it’s harder for them to vapourize the e-liquid in your device’s wick. As a result, you may experience decreasing cloud production. If you notice that your device is producing less vapour than usual, the culprit could be a dying coil. Change it out and see if the problem stops.

How Often Should a Vape Coil Be Replaced?

The frequency with which you need to replace your vape coils will depend on how you use your device, and how often. Coils that undergo heavy use must often be replaced on a weekly basis, whereas coils that are used more gently can sometimes last for up to a month. It is unlikely that a vape coil will last longer than that, unless it is being kept in mint condition or barely being used.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Vape Coils

Here are a few things you can do to help your coils last longer:

  • Prime each new coil by manually soaking the wick before you install it. Then take your first few hits on low wattage and increase gradually.
  • Avoid extra-sweet e-liquids. The high concentrations of sweeteners in these e-liquids can cause damage to your coils and cause them to burn out faster than usual.
  • Whenever possible, use clear e-liquids. These will be less likely to produce significant amounts of coil gunk—residue that is prone to forming when using thick or sweet e-liquids.
  • Keep your device filled with e-liquid to avoid letting your coil vaporise air. This is called a dry hit, and it can contribute to premature coil burnout.

Learn More about the Coils Your Device Needs

Have questions about switching or maintaining the coils in your vape device? No problem; just contact us and let one of our friendly team members answer your questions. We’re always happy to offer advice, troubleshooting, and product recommendations


Why does vape coil resistance matter?

The resistance, measured in ohms (Ω), indicates how much resistance the coil provides to the flow of electricity. Lower resistance allows more electricity to pass, leading to different vaping experiences, such as greater cloud production.

Why do some coils produce more vapor than others?

Coils with lower resistance allow more electricity to pass through, which can lead to greater cloud production, especially when paired with compatible e-liquids and device settings.

Why is it dangerous to vape with a burnt-out coil?

Vaping with a burnt-out coil can lead to inhaling trace amounts of heavy metals, which can be harmful. It's essential to replace coils showing signs of burnout for safety reasons.

Are certain e-liquids more coil-friendly than others?

Yes, clear e-liquids and those with lower concentrations of sweeteners tend to be gentler on coils. Thick or overly sweet e-liquids might accelerate coil wear and residue buildup.

How do I use the right coil for my device?

If your device can accept different coils, it's essential to consult the manual and ensure you're using compatible coils. Using the correct coil ensures optimal performance and longevity. You can also contact U Vape to find replacement coils compatible with your device!

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