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What are Clapton Coils, Fused Claptons, Alien Coils & More

Dave Kriegel
July 27, 2023

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.

What is a Clapton coil?

Clapton Coil

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.

  • Clapton coils come in a wide array of resistances; from sub ohm to above one ohm
  • Claptons are available in diameters and resistances that fit most build decks on rebuildables (RDAs and RTAs)
  • Available in power mode (mainly Kanthal, SS, or nichrome) or temperature control wire types (mainly in SS)
  • Claptons will normally have lower ramp-up times than single-strand wire of the same resistance, but this is highly variable
  • Moderately difficult to DIY, but attainable with practice and the proper tools

What is a fused Clapton coil?


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.

  • Fused Claptons come in an array of resistances for both MTL and DL vaping
  • Fused Claptons are available in diameters and resistances that fit most modern build decks
  • They are composed of a thin wire wrapped around two or more thicker parallel cores
  • Fused Claptons generally have a faster ramp-up time than standard Claptons of the same resistance
  • They are slightly more difficult to make than a regular Clapton coil, but relatively easy once you have mastered the Clapton

What is a staggered fused Clapton?


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.

  • Staggered fused Claptons come in low resistances for direct lung vaping
  • Staggered fused Claptons are thick and require very large post holes or a clamp-style deck
  • They are made with a thin wire wrapped around two parallel Clapton cores, and have evenly spaced outer wraps
  • Staggered fused Claptons have a slower ramp-up time than fused Claptons of the same resistance
  • They are more difficult to make than fused Claptons, but easier once you have mastered the Clapton and the fused Clapton

What is an Alien / Alien Clapton?


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.

  • Alien Claptons come in low resistances for sub ohm vaping
  • Aliens are usually thick and require a deck with large post holes or a clamp-style deck.
  • They are made with a de-cored Clapton wrapped around three or more parallel cores.
  • Aliens have a slower ramp-up time than fused Claptons of the same resistance
  • They are hard to perfect and require mastery of making Claptons and fused Claptons

What is a staple coil?


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.

  • Staple coils come in low resistances for direct lung vaping
  • Staples are thick and require a deck with very large post holes or a clamp-style deck
  • They are made with a thin outer strand wrapped around typically 8-10 stacked ribbon cores
  • Staples have a quicker ramp-up time than fused Claptons of the same resistance
  • They are more difficult to make than fused Claptons but attainable with enough practice

What is a framed staple coil?


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.

  • Framed staple coils are low in resistance for direct lung vaping
  • Framed staple coils are very thick and require large post holes or a clamp-style deck
  • They contain a thin outer strand wrapped around a stack of ribbon wire sandwiched between two round cores
  • Framed staple coils have a quicker ramp-up time than regular staple coils of the same resistance
  • They are not easy to make but possible once you master the fused Clapton and the staple coil

What is a tiger coil?


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.

  • Tiger coils are low in resistance but can be used for both direct lung and MTL vaping
  • Tiger coils are a little thicker than twisted coils but fit into most standard build decks
  • They are made up of two twisted wires, a single round strand and a flat ribbon strand
  • Tiger coils typically have a slower ramp-up than single-strand coils but a quicker ramp-up than regular twisted coils because of the ribbon
  • They are very easy to make once you are good at making regular twisted coils

What is a hive coil?


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.

  • Hive coils are low in resistance and typically used for direct lung vaping, but can be used for MTL
  • Hive coils are thicker than regular round wire but still suitable for most build decks
  • They consist of two twisted wires that have been twisted together, for a total of four strands
  • Hive coils ramp up quicker than bigger exotic coils but slower than round wire
  • They are easy to make once you have mastered the twisted build, especially if you use a drill

Pre-made Claptons and exotic coils

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.

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.
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Douglas Johnson
Douglas Johnson
3 years ago

Thanks for your explanation of the different types of Clapton Coils. Well written and very clear, precise and to the point!

Kyle stoffer
Kyle stoffer
5 years ago

Would a Clapton coil be considered a metal coil on the option on the mod or is it watts

Mostafa nasser
Mostafa nasser
4 years ago

What is the best coil for flavour ?
Framed stable coil or tidal wire coil ?

Madison Fox
Madison Fox
4 years ago

Thank you so much for the great information! Sorry to ask, but does the different build of the coils effect how warm or cool the hits are? Could you possibly list the warmest hitting coils to the coolest?

4 years ago

Hey Kyle,

How do you determine how many loops do you need for your build? What are the differences between more loops and less loops?

Thank you!

4 years ago
Reply to  Ken

check out the wire wizard on steam-engine.org. this will give you a good estimation of the resistance of your given coil as well as the heat capacity (ramp up time). vape safe 🙂