How long should a coil last?

Coils come in all varieties of shapes and sizes. They also come with a number of varying properties like the power they require to use them, the configuration of the coil itself, what the coil is made of etc etc etc. Choosing the right coil will often depend on the device you use and chances are you already know what coils will match your device but how long does a typical disposable coil last?

A definitive answer is almost impossible to give but your average coil tends to last between one to two weeks depending on usage. You can usually tell when a coil is at end of life when the flavour and vapour production drops off or it starts to taste burnt. A wide number of factors can contribute to its lifespan so let’s take a look at what you can do to get the most out of your coils.

Flavours/liquids: The flavours you vape can be one of the biggest contributing factors to how long your coils will last. Sweet flavours high in sweeteners will almost certainly gunk up coils quickly and turn your cotton black. However it’s not just sweet liquids but many dark coloured liquids can also have a dramatic impact on coil life. If you’re looking to optimize your coil life, consider vaping some liquids that are lighter in colour and don’t taste too sweet otherwise get used to changing your coils more often thank others. Many vendors cater specifically to folks who avoid sweeteners and produce sweetener free or liquids with no added sweeteners which can help a lot for folks looking to get the most out of their coils. The viscosity of the liquids also plays a role and the thicker a liquid is the slower it tends to wick. For some devices it’s really important to match the appropriate pg/vg ratio to the coil where the general rule is smaller higher resistance coils tend to prefer thinner higher pg liquid and bigger low resistance coils prefer higher vg blends.

Heat/power: The temperatures we vape at have a major impact on how quickly a coil can turn black and start tasting gross. Folks who like to vape at high wattages will probably notice they go through coils a lot quicker than their buddy who vapes at a much lower wattage. Because he’s using more power the coils run much hotter causing liquids to burn, caramelize and gunk up the coil. There are such things as temperature control mods which can help prolong life and ensure you never get a dry hit but they tend to be harder to learn and use for the average beginner. Most coils come with a recommended power range and keeping power down to the lower end of the recommended wattage for your coil can help prolong its life but performance will obviously be slightly affected.

Usage/technique: Usage is probably the biggest factor and if you vape a lot and often it will of course shorten coil life but there are some other factors to consider as well. Keeping your tank topped up will prevent the coil going dry and burning. Priming new coils by pre-soaking them with juice, basically filling the tank and letting it sit for a while will prevent any mishaps with brand new coils. It’s also recommended to start at the low end of the recommended wattage for a coil and work your way up to prevent premature burning. Keeping the airflow more open will help keep the coil cooler but can often reduce flavour. A lot of users also suggest poking some holes in the cotton with a needle can help with wicking on some stubborn coils or thicker liquids but could lead to leaking if you’re overzealous. Some atomizers require a different draw technique which can mostly be broken down to mouth to lung and direct to lung vaping. Many coils cater to one or the other so matching your coils to your preferred technique can mean all the difference in the experience and the longevity of your coils.

Weather/environment: Yes even the weather can play a role in how your coils perform and how long they last. If you live in the cold north you might have encountered some interesting challenges that come along with the weather. Cold temps can lead to liquid running thicker which can lead to dry and burnt hits. Taking time to warm your vape up slowly before going to town can make all the difference on a cold day. A warm pocket can also help avoid the impacts of the cold. Warm weather on the other hand can have it’s own challenges and leaving a device in a hot vehicle on a hot day can cause leaking and liquids to oxidize quicker and if you’re using disposable coils that oxidation can impact the taste and vapour production not to mention the longevity of your coils. Of course dust, dirt and pocket lint also play a role and some atomizers even come with slip covers to prevent grit and grime from entering your atomizers. Whatever the weather taking care of your gear will not only keep things more hygienic but can also keep things running better and longer.

At the end of the day there are plenty of reasons a coil can burn out quicker than expected but don’t let a bad experience with a coil dissuade you. Sometimes you just get a bad coil or even a batch of bad coils. If you still find you’re struggling to get your monies worth out of your device consider speaking with a knowledgeable person from your local shop or try seeking some tips online and they can probably help you figure out where things are going wrong or recommend a setup that’s better suited to your needs. Of course if you’re not afraid to tinker there’s always the option to rebuild which saves on the cost of coils and can provide even more control over your personal vaping experience. But that’s a whole other can of worms…