A Closer Look at Resistance Wire

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The differences between Kanthal and Nichrome heating coils rarely come up when discussing sub-ohm tanks and standard 510 cartridges. However, it is an important factor to explore and understand, especially when you start delving deeper and deeper in to the world of vaping. Today we’re going to look at these two commonly used wire types, looking at the benefits and differences of the two.

What is Kanthal?
Kanthal is a type of iron-chromium-aluminum alloy. It’s probably the most common type of heating coil, whether you’re building your own RBA’s or simply using replaceable atomizers, you have probably used a Kanthal coil in your life-time. Kanthal is generally accepted as the industry standard for what resistance wire should be, it has a high range of temperatures that it can be used at without sustaining damage, and it heats up at a rate most would consider pleasing enough. Kanthal, in general, is also less dense than Nichrome wire, but we’ll talk more about that in a moment.

What is Nichrome?
Nicrhome is a nickel-chromium alloy. And it’s probably the second most commonly used resistance wire in the vaping industry. It’s slightly less dense than Kanthal, and unlike Kanthal, it contains no iron. It also has a slightly lower maximum temperature than Kanthal, but try not to worry as both of them can sustain temperatures high above 2000°F.

What Benefits Do these Wires Offer?
As I mentioned earlier, Kanthal is slightly thicker than Nichrome. Why is this important? Well, resistance is dependent on things like the volume, diameter, and length of the resistance wire used. The length is dependent on how you, or the manufacturer, builds the coil, but the volume is something that varies with material. With that change in resistance, comes a change in performance. For instance, Nichrome, due to its less dense composition, heats up faster than Kanthal. This is the main reason that when participating in competitions vapers generally use Nichrome wire. However, the density of the resistance wire does effect the life of your coils. Kanthal, having a higher maximum operating temperature, will actually last longer as a coil than Nichrome will.

What about the Taste?
While some would disagree, others claim that the fact that Kanthal contains trace amounts of iron affects the taste of their e-liquids. Whether or not it’s for the better or worse, that largely depends on your own taste buds. After all, Kanthal is the most widely used and accepted material available.

All in all the differences between Kanthal and Nichrome are very minimal, and most casual vapers would never notice the difference. But once you begin building your own coils or taking up vaping as more of a personal hobby than an alternative, you may find yourself becoming more and more aware of the benefits or disadvantages of each material. Overall, Kanthal is a more reliable, long lasting coil, while Nichrome is the perfect material for cloud chasers and vaping aficionados alike.

If you’re looking for a powerful tank to get you started, feel free to check out the Sub-Vers and Sub-Vers Mini. Both come prepackaged with Kanthal coil atomizers, and each are also compatible with lower ohm Nichrome coil atomizers.

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Michael Ashby

As seen in Spark Literary Anthology and Maudlin House. When I’m not procrastinating on the countless fiction and poetry projects I have, I spend my time educating customers and clients in various growing industries. I’m both the man and the rebellion. Down with corporate greed, but also please give me my paycheck. I need food.

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