When vaping first hit the scene, coils were just made out of thin single-strands of metal. Since then, vapers have been coming up with innovative ways to enhance their vape experience, whether it be through bigger clouds or better flavor.
Inevitably, the Clapton coil was born. The word Clapton is often used as an umbrella term for a range of coils comprised of one or more strands wrapped inside a thinner gauge wire. They can be made with various vape wire types and gauges, most often Kanthal, stainless steel, or nichrome.
By and large, multi-strand coils like Claptons are for rebuildables—especially since mesh coils have taken the sub ohm tank market by storm. Some examples include fused Claptons, Aliens, staple coils, etc. The original Clapton was also one of the first coils to require an electric drill, which has set the standard for most exotic coil builds to follow. In this guide, we explain what a Clapton coil is, and cover some of the most popular variations of it.
A standard Clapton coil is a thinner gauge wire tightly wrapped around a thicker gauge core. Claptons have a slower ramp-up time than round wire builds but are considered more flavorful due to their texture and their increased surface area. Originally, Clapton and similar-style coils were most used for sub ohming and direct-lung vaping, but now they’re just as likely to be used in mouth-to-lung vaping. Using thinner wire and a smaller internal diameter makes it possible.
The original Clapton coil was conceived by ECF veteran mrdee3 while watching his friend playing the guitar. He created it by winding a 32-gauge strand around a 24-gauge core using an electric drill. It looks just like a guitar string and the name pays tribute to the guitarist Eric Clapton.
A fused Clapton is a thinner gauge wire wrapped around two or more thicker gauge cores. The multiple cores give fused Claptons a faster ramp-up time and arguably better flavor than non-fused Claptons, due to the increase in surface area.
The term “fused” refers to the process of wrapping multiple wires together with thinner outer wire. A fused Clapton is essentially a parallel build that’s been “Claptonized.” Most multi-strand coils like Aliens are also fused together in a similar fashion. The concept originated from a builder known as Squidoode, and it was popularized by Twisted Messes and other popular builders.
A staggered fused Clapton is a thinner gauge wire wrapped around a dual-Clapton core. The Claptonized cores and staggered outer wrap create additional texture and surface area. This gives it a slower ramp-up time, but an edge in terms of flavor over the standard fused Clapton.
The “staggered” effect is achieved by making a Clapton with two thin parallel strands, and then removing one of them, creating a Clapton with evenly spaced outer wraps. Then that Clapton is then cut in half and fused together with a thinner wire. Squidoode is credited for coming up with this coil.
An Alien Clapton, usually referred to as an Alien, is a de-cored Clapton wrapped around a multi-strand core. It is similar to a fused Clapton, except the outer wrap has a very distinct texture. Aliens have a slower ramp-up time than fused Claptons due to their larger surface area.
The textured outer wrap is achieved by building a regular Clapton, then carefully removing the inner core. Then, it’s wrapped around a multi-strand core containing the same gauge as the original core that was removed. The first builder to pull this off is known as Blueeyedgoon83.
A staple coil is a thinner gauge strand tightly wrapped around a stack of typically 8-10 flat ribbon wires. This variation of the fused Clapton has a quicker ramp-up time due to the stacked ribbon cores. The tiny grooves in between the wraps trap e-juice and contribute to its enhanced flavor.
The goal of the staple coil was to create a square-shaped coil, originally for aesthetics. The thin round strand Claptoned around a thick flat core gives it a unique ribbed texture. It was named the staple because it resembles a row of staples. It was first created by the builder Squidoode.
The framed staple is a cross between the staple and the fused Clapton. It consists of stacked ribbon wire framed by round wire, fused together, or “Claptonized” by thinner round wire. The different cores create spaces within the wire which give it better flavor than a standard staple and actually decrease ramp-up time.
The stacked ribbon core is “framed” in-between two round cores, which creates additional texture and gaps inside the coil, which also makes it a bit easier to wrap. The concept was originally invented by Squidoode, and popularized by many other builders on Instagram.
The tiger coil is simply just a twisted coil containing a single round strand and a single flat ribbon strand. Twisting two differently shaped wires gives it more pockets and grooves than a standard twisted coil. This creates more heat and denser vapor, giving it an improvement in flavor over single-strand builds.
Tiger coils also have an interesting aesthetic, they look sort of look like barbed wire and actually don’t require a ton of effort to make. They aren’t as popular today but are still used to create larger, more exotic coils. Leon Shin was credited as the first person to come up with the original concept.
The hive coil is created by creating two twisted wires, then twisting them together. It isn’t actually a real Clapton coil but serves a similar purpose and is much easier to make. It doesn’t even require the use of a drill. The hive coil utilizes the concept of a twisted coil to increase surface area, giving it an advantage over plain round wire for flavor, but can sometimes create too much spitback.
The hive coil is considered outdated these days but is still an effective and easy exotic coil to make. It evolved from the original twisted coil, which was made popular by Twisted Messes.
At the end of the day, all of these coils serve the same purpose: to produce vapor. You don’t need to take on a new hobby to enjoy vaping on some Claptons, unless you’re really into coil building. These days, you can easily find pre-made Claptons in every variation, including fused Claptons, Aliens, staggered staples, etc. You can get them on a spool, in rods, or hand-wrapped in the style and resistance of your choice.
There are also variety packs of pre-made Claptons available, so you can experiment with which one you like best. Pre-wrapped Claptons are well worth the money, considering how much effort they take to build. Keep in mind that many of these exotic coils are very low in resistance and require a good understanding of battery safety and Ohm’s law, especially if you’re using them on a mechanical mod.