Why Bother Rebuilding?
There’s been a lot of discussion with both newer vapers and veterans in regards to whether rebuilding atomizer coils is worth the users’ time. Many users prefer sometimes that it's easy to use and doesn’t require much maintenance, especially new vapers looking for something to replace the simplicity of normal cigarettes. Although I do miss the days where I can simply screw on a new coil head, I do not miss the money I’ve saved as well as the better quality of vaping that I now enjoy. Replacing coil heads ever now and then is okay by all means. However for someone who goes through a couple of bottles of eliquid per week, those replaceable coils won’t last as long as advertised.
Replaceable coil heads are made out of silica wick wrapped in a very thin, also known as a high gauge, nichrome wire. Your battery heats up the nichrome wire and the wick, saturated in e-liquid, vaporizes the eliquid into delicious vapor. Over time, the silica wick does go bad similar to how a sponge stops being absorbent over time after constant use. The thicker the e-liquids (and especially some of the darker eliquids), can also cause the coil heads to fail faster. When the coils go bad, your vapour production could be very weak, leaking may happen through the airholes, and the taste could be quite awful (often a burnt taste). This can be resolved by simply replacing the coil head. However, some users (like myself) get to the point where we go through a coil head once every few days. Besides the annoyance of having to replace them so often, it can be quite expensive to keep them in stock on hand.
Enter rebuilding. Rebuilding coils and wicks are not only cheaper, but also last longer as well. The wire and wick used in rebuilding would cost as much as a five pack of coil heads, but you can easily make dozens of coils over time with it. However, rebuilding does have its downfalls including time and a steep learning curve to get it perfect. You would also need to purchase additional tools such as an ohm meter (to check the resistance of the coils you are building), a multimeter (to check for potential shorts), tweezers preferably ceramic (to compress the coils), and some drill bits (to wrap the coils around). Wicking material can be an assortment of different items and not just silica. Wicks include silica (already mentioned), ekowool, cotton (everyone’s favorite), and rayon. Silica and ekowool are very similar as they are both derived from plastic materials. Both holdup for a long time but neither are very absorbent. Cotton and rayon, on the other hand, are extremely absorbent but don’t last very long. Unlike the replaceable coil heads, when replacing a rebuilt coil, if the wiring is still good and intact, the only thing that needs to be replaced is the wicking material; which can be simple as threading a small diameter ring.
The quality of rebuilt coils is actually much nicer as well. Generally speaking, thicker wire is used so the coils last much longer and because you can build a wide variety of different types of coils to meet your needs; your vape experience is built custom to you. Some coils are built to maximize vapor production (we’re talking fog machine levels of vapor) and other coils are made to intensify the flavor of your E-Liquid. But you can build coils all day long; it’s not going to matter much unless you have a good atomizer to build on. Unlike atomizer with replaceable coil heads, rebuildable atomizers for the most part are much larger so you’ll have more room to place your coils in. Rebuildable atomizers also have more airflow and some have a larger capacity tank for your E-Liquids. Some vapers do not appreciate the larger size and much rather have a smaller atomizer. They do make smaller rebuildable atomizers but none that are the size of atomizers that take replaceable coil heads. On the other hand, the replaceable coil heads could be rebuilt as well. However due to the smaller “working space” of these coil heads, rebuilding them can be a daunting task.
There are times I miss having the maintenance free replaceable coils especially if I am traveling. However, ever since I rebuilt my first coil, my vaping experience certainly has changed to replacing a bad habit to more of vaping becoming more of a hobby. Using a replaceable coil head atomizer is absolutely fine; in fact my wife even prefers it. But I feel everyone should at least experience the vaping experience tied with using a rebuildable atomizer.