Coil building 101: The best tips and tricks to get you started

An introduction to coil building and some standard coil builds that you can do in your rebuildable atomizer.

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building-coil

Intro

So you want to learn how to build a coil, but you don’t even know where to begin. That’s okay, because you’re in the right place. Welcome to coil building 101: an introduction to coil building.

Building coils can help you save money, rather than buying disposable coil heads every week. It’s also a fun hobby that vapers not only take pride in, but get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The best way to get good at it is through repetition. You’ll be building and wicking in no time.

What you’ll need:

  • Resistance wire – kanthal, stainless steel, nickel, nichrome, etc.
  • Flush cutters – wire cutters that can cut close in small spaces
  • Tweezers – preferably ceramic tipped, to pinch your coils while pulsing
  • Small metal rod – a small screwdriver, or coiling tool
  • Organic cotton – or whichever wicking material you prefer
  • Scissors – to trim your cotton

Other (optional) accessories:

  • An ohm reader – or a mod that accurately detects resistance
  • A coil jig – it can make your life a little easier
  • A second vape – to vape on while you’re building those coils, silly

Micro and macro… it's not economics

building-coil

Micro and macro coils are some of the earliest and most common coil builds. They are created by taking a single piece of wire, and wrapping it around a screwdriver, drill bit or coil jig. The difference between a micro and a macro coil is the inner diameter of the coil. It’s that simple.

The part of the coil that goes directly into your atomizer’s post holes are called leads.

Micro – A micro coil build is a coil that has an inner diameter of 1-2 mm.

Macro – A macro coil build is a coil that has an inner diameter that’s larger than 2 mm.

The bigger the inner diameter of the coil, the higher its resistance, and vice versa. Likewise, the thicker the gauge of wire used, the lower the resistance will be. We recommend using some basic 26 or 28 gauge kanthal for your first few coil builds.

Twist it up!

twisted-wire

If you want to get a little bit fancy, you can always do a twisted build. This is when you simply twist two strands of wire together into one single piece of twisted wire with a drill, or by hand. Last but not least, take the twisted wire and continue building your regular macro coils with it.

Twisted wire was the original way of increasing surface area without dropping drastically in resistance. This has a positive impact on flavor, and is much easier to build than claptons.

Single or dual?

You might have noticed that many coil builds have not one, but two coils, known as dual coils. Dual coil builds obviously create more vapor than a single coil. When doing a dual coil build, it’s essential for both coils to be identical in size and form, to ensure that they heat up properly.

With two identical coils, the resistance should be exactly one half of each coil’s resistance. In other words, if you did a dual coil build using two 0.6 ohm coils, your build should be 0.3 ohms. If you take out one of those coils, your resistance will go back up to 0.6 ohms.

Coil building 101

Warning: We highly recommend being well versed in Ohm’s Law and battery safety before even attempting to do your own coil builds.

One of the best ways to learn coil building (or anything for that matter) is to watch a good video on YouTube. We’ve already found a couple of great ones that will show you how to do a basic vape coil build. Get your wire, tools and cotton out because it’s time to build some coils!

We recommend just watching them first and, then trying it out yourself. You can start and stop it as you please, or just leave it running in the background for moral support. Ok, let’s get to it…

RiP Trippers - Coil Building 101: Micro Coils, Macro Coils, Nano Coils

This is a perfect introductory video straight from the man himself, Rip Trippers. Best known for his high quality reviews and zany personality, Mr. Trippers has actually made a lot of excellent videos on coil building. In this one, he covers the most basic coil builds: micro, macro and nano. Rip Trippers shows us that with the right type of screwdriver, you can do some nice coil builds.

Ruby Roo - My Favorite Simple & Easy Build for RDAs!

Another great “how to build a coil” video by the Queen herself, Ruby Roo. She addresses a few common concerns like what direction to wrap your coil, which in her opinion is unimportant. In this video, Ruby shows how to install a dual coil build into a classic two-post style atomizer.

Zamplebox - How to Build a Basic Coil - ZB Vape School

Although Zamplebox is best known for their monthly e-juice subscription service and online community, they’ve been putting out some nice videos on YouTube lately. This one features a rundown of a basic dual coil build and installation in time-lapse, set to an extremely funky tune.

This video features an atomizer with velocity-style posts, one of the easiest decks to build on.

Zophie Vapes - Make perfect coils! Single or Parallel using a coil Jig the Kuro Koiler Macro Tutorial

In this video, Zophie Vapes uses a coil jig to make the perfect macro coil build. Some people swear by this tool, so here’s how to use it. Other vapers prefer manually wrapping their coils by hand. Leave us a comment and tell us, which method of coil building do YOU prefer?

Vape Capitol - Buildlapse with Twisted Messes - Twisted 26g Dual Coil

Twisted Messes, aka Kent is easily one of the most well-known coil builders in the world right now. Most popular for his twisted builds, which is how he got his name. In this video, Kent gives us a time lapse view of his famous twisted build while sharing his expert insight on coil building.

Conclusion

Coil building is an art form, but it doesn’t take a professional to draw a stick figure. Anyone can do a basic coil build with some practice, and don’t think you have to nail it on your first shot.

Building and vaping go hand in hand, as it has become a major element of vape culture. Now that you have a good understanding of basic coil building, get out there and build some coils!

Dave Kriegel
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dave has always had a passion for helping people quit smoking. As a former smoker himself, he knew how hard it could be. As soon as he learned about vaping, he instantly became obsessed with it and helped many people stop smoking. Vaping360 has given Dave a platform to do this on a much larger scale, by educating the public about the wonders of vaping. When Dave is not writing he is either listening to music, performing it, or cruising around on his Penny board.
  • Barry Comer

    Thank you for a good article. Over the last month, I purchased a Goon 22mm and a Kayfun Mini for different reasons. I like their unique qualities.

    While enjoying both, I quickly realized that if I built a coil for both, I could soon be saving money. Plus, I would have the satisfaction of “the build”.

    To date, I have order a Coil Master coil winding set and some Kanthal 26 gauge wire. Both are being shipped sometime this week. I reckon the 26 gauge will be fluid enough to bend and hold around the tiny Kayfun screws without losing their shape with a smaller gauge.

    This is fun and part of what attracts me to vaping. I don’t fidget with cigarettes, I mess around with prickly wires.

    Gotta love it!

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      Thanks for the comment Barry! Yes, building isn’t for everyone but there is nothing like vaping on a coil that you created yourself. Rolling cigarettes wasn’t ever this much fun…

  • Rayhan Ali

    nice article to get fear out of coils. I tried and finally settled for simple coil with slight gap. the gap ensures that I don’t have to worry about hotspots. and also that I use titanium and was concerned about heating it red. though I found it behaves much better than steel when heated. I actually liked the bluish color of titanium after it is heated slight red but I discarded it after reading about heating issues. steel 316l also develops slight patina in normal use. the other steel I got doesnt look as great so I presume it is not 316l or maybe because it is wire unlike flat strip like in premade. 316l is premade coil so no heating to remove hotspot.

    steel retains it’s springiness even when heated and thus I find it harder to work with steel. may be I will try twisted one next time. but taste wise steel is far better though tcr mode is a little struggle. I found unlocking and relocking resistance prior to each vaping session (temp, other changes) serves the purpose. temp is only a ballpark and can vary by 100 degree centigrade for same temp

    one really hard thing I find is the wicking. somehow I never get it perfect. I am using ijoy rdta and it’s cotton Wells are bigger. I struggle to get right balance between leakproof and nice wicking.

    one thing is for sure is that I am never going back to kanthal. I just love tcr mode and this was driving factor behind trying my own coils. though I did manage to get premade notch 316L steel coil that I find very convenient and cheap.

    I also loves how tcr mode ramps up.! you can drag just a fraction of second and still impress others with the sizable cloud. somehow that is never possible with normal modes… yes, you can ramp up the power and make it happen but you always have to smoke that way after that. with tcr I can make it short or long and I love the convenience.

    PS: I am just a month into vaping and gave up pack+ a day after a week into vaping.