Cotton has become the universal wicking material for vapes. Vapers have experimented with silica, mesh, hemp, and rayon, but then almost universally cotton was embraced and heralded as the best. Why? It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and it has a neutral taste. Even if you’re using a tank, most pre-made coil heads come standard with organic cotton wicks.
If you are going to use rebuildables like RTAs or RDAs, cotton is by far one of the most important vape supplies in your arsenal. This list compiles the best cotton available right now for vapes and everything you need to know about wicking your atomizers.
Cotton Bacon V2
The original Cotton Bacon was the real deal, but the V2 took it one step further. You get the same 4-inch long strips of fluffy heavy cotton but with a further refined blend for better absorption and flavor. Wick N’ Vape uses US-grown cotton fiber and packs ten large strips in each bag.
COTN Threads offers a convenient way to wick. Each pack includes 20 organic cotton wicks ready for a wrapped coil. They are agleted for convenient and quick wicking. If you re-wick often or are in a hurry, COTN Threads is the way to go. It’s made from pharmaceutical cotton comparable to Cotton Bacon.
Wotofo has made the wicking process of mesh coils easier for you. This cotton comes in 3 mm and 6 mm strips, perfect for wide ID coils. Each strip has a sheath on one end similar to the aglet on a shoelace. The cotton is made with long fibers and doesn’t pull apart easily. It wicks well and delivers optimal flavor.
Coil Master Pro Cotton
Coil Master Pro is a trusted brand in the vape industry. Now they offer all-natural cotton, suitable for all your rebuildable atomizers. Each pack comes with three balls of fresh cotton, made without chemicals, colorants or bleach. It has a fine texture and is highly absorbent. Coil Master Pro cotton has a fresh taste.
Medusa Unicorn Hair
Medusa Coils now offers agleted Japanese organic cotton. Each box of Unicorn Hair includes a dozen wicks that have been pre-rolled for a 3 mm inner diameter coil. These Unicorn Hair cotton wicks can be used individually for smaller ID coils in rebuildables or doubled up for larger ID coils like in a mesh RDA.
What is vape cotton?
Vape cotton is untreated cotton, often in organic varieties that provide absorbent wicking for vape coils.
There wasn’t always a market for “vape cotton.” Originally vapers had to use the best option they could find, which was typically organic (unbleached) cotton balls from corner pharmacies. But a lot of store-bought cotton isn’t advisable to use. Much of it is processed with bleach and dyes. Previously, vapers would boil and dry their cotton, but it’s so much easier to just buy a pack of cotton designed for wicking.
Eventually, Japanese organic cotton became the gold standard. Vapers figured out they could purchase these small pads of cotton, which were inexpensive and perfect for wicking. Originally marketed for skincare purposes, it wasn’t long before Japanese cotton was being marketed to vapers.
Today there are literally dozens of brands that sell cotton specifically for vaping. Companies have been getting more creative lately with products like Cotton Bacon which come in strips that make it easier to get that perfect wick.
Now the latest trend is agleted organic cotton wicks that we have been seeing coming from Wotofo, Geekvape and COTN Threads. They are pre-measured to fit in the most popular coil sizes, with typically a 3 mm inner diameter.
How to wick a coil
- Use the right amount of cotton: if you use too much, you could get the occasional dry or burnt hit. If you don’t use enough, it can cause hot spots and inconsistent performance. The cotton strip should be in between two to three times the diameter of the coil it’s going into.
- Twist the end: if your cotton isn’t agleted, twist and roll an end tightly for easy insertion into your coil.
- Pull the cotton through: insert the cotton by the twisted end into your coil. Pull it through the other end. It should be snug, but not so much that it moves your coil when you pull it through.
- Cut the ends: make sure the cotton is centered and cut all of the ends with enough length to go into the atomizer deck without getting bunched up. The length of your wicks is determined by the type of atomizer you’re using. It will take some experimenting to find the perfect cut. If you’re using an RTA and still getting dry hits, try cutting your wicks at an angle or in a diamond shape so they’re tapered on the ends.
- Fluff your wicks: this is not a mandatory step, but fluffing will ensure that the cotton isn’t bunched up and that e-juice can flow freely. You can use a pair of tweezers or flathead screwdriver to gently fluff the wicks with a slight upward motion.
- Tuck the wicks in: tuck the ends of your cotton into the wick ports of your deck with a small pair of tweezers or a flathead screwdriver. Be sure not to stuff your cotton in, or it will not be able to wick properly.
Does the choice of cotton really matter?
You might be thinking, is it really that serious? It’s just cotton. Right? Not all cotton is the same! If you’re using low wattage MTL devices, cotton pads might work just fine for you. But if you’re using low-resistance coils, you can benefit from a more heat-resistant wick like Cotton Bacon.
In an era of pre-built Claptons, many vapers are gravitating towards pre-built cotton wicks. It just makes the process easier by eliminating the guess work. Strips and pads are a bit more cost effective, so many vapers are still doing it the old school way.
Last but not least, there’s the flavor. Everybody has a slightly different sense of taste and may prefer one brand of cotton over another. Just like e-juice, it’s very subjective, so you should experiment with a few and see which one like best.