What Are Mesh Coils?

By James Powley

The coil is an important part of any vape device, as this is the component that heats the e-liquid into a vapour. A coil is a small piece of metal that sits in the atomiser of a vape, surrounded by wicking material. As e-liquid is drawn to the wick, the battery of the vape works to heat the coil, which in turn heats the liquid.

Different coils can affect the vaping experience in different ways. They can impact the flavour and density of vapour produced, the speed at which e-liquid is vaporised, the temperature of the vapour, and more.

What Are Mesh Coils Made Of?

Like standard coils, mesh coils are typically made from Kanthal or stainless steel. While they are made from the same materials, mesh coils differ from standard coils in their structure. They do not take a spiral shape like their counterpart; mesh coils are a grid-like strip of metal covered in a pattern of small holes.

Are Mesh Coils New?

While using mesh as a coil is a fairly recent development in the vaping world – the actual mesh itself has been around for quite some time. Mesh sheets were originally used as wicking material in rebuildable tanks.

Nowadays, many sub-Ohm tanks will use a mesh coil, but mesh coils can also be used for Mouth-to-Lung tanks. Different mesh coils are designed for different types of vape devices, so it’s important to check what the specific coil you’re looking at is designed for.

What Are the Advantages of Mesh Coils?

Mesh coils heat up faster than standard coils, and offer a more consistent vape because of their even heat distribution. Standard coils can sometimes deliver inconsistent hits because they don’t always make full contact with the wick. The spiral design creates hotspots where the coil doesn’t touch the cotton – leading to the occasional dry hit.[1] Mesh coils, on the other hand, cover the entire wick, allowing them to offer a more consistent experience.

This larger surface area is also what allows mesh coils to deliver a stronger flavour than traditional coils. This is because a larger amount of e-liquid can be vapourised at once. For those who prefer a more intense flavour from their vapes, mesh coils may be the answer.

Mesh coils tend to last longer than traditional wire coils[2]. The even heat distribution means that there’s far less strain on a mesh coil compared to the spiral design. This means you won’t need to replace your coil as frequently.

Another advantage of mesh coils is that they’re typically used with a lower wattage than traditional coils. This means you’ll use less battery power to heat a mesh coil, making them a more efficient option in terms of their battery use. Traditional coils require more power to heat up because of their spiral shape.

What Are the Disadvantages of Mesh Coils?

Mesh coils produce a much larger amount of vapour compared to standard coils. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, but some users may find that this isn’t a pleasant vaping experience. Larger amounts of vapour might be more difficult or harsher to inhale and might take some getting used to for vapers who have recently switched from smoking cigarettes.

Standard coils can reach higher temperatures than mesh coils. If you prefer a warmer vapour, you might find that mesh coils don’t quite offer the experience you’re looking for. The difference in heat would be a downside for those who prefer a warmer, stronger throat hit.

As we’ll explore below, mesh coils have some limitations when it comes to the e-liquid you can use with them, and the amount of e-liquid they use.

What E-Liquid Can You Use with Mesh Coils?

At first, mesh coils were only used with high-VG e-liquids, but over time new designs have allowed them to be used with a larger variety. Mesh coils that are designed specifically for Mouth to Lung (MTL) vaping can be used with e-liquids that have a 50:50 VG/PG ratio.

You should be able to tell which e-liquids you should use based on the specific mesh coil you’re looking at. If it’s advertised as an MTL coil, go for a 50:50 e-liquid. If it’s a Direct to Lung (DTL) or sub-Ohm mesh coil, use a high-VG e-liquid.

Do Mesh Coils Use More Juice?

Mesh coils do use more e-liquid than traditional coils due to their larger surface area. So, if you’re using a mesh coil you can expect to have to refill your tank more frequently. This is especially true if you’re using a mesh coil with a sub-Ohm device.

The characteristics of mesh coils – like stronger flavour and faster heating – may not be possible without using a larger amount of e-liquid. So, while the coils themselves need to be replaced less regularly compared to spiral coils, this is somewhat balanced out by needing to replace e-liquid more frequently.

How Long Do Mesh Coils Last?

Exactly how long a mesh coil will last for you will depend on your vaping habits, but mesh coils are said to last significantly longer than traditional spiral coils. Spiral coils are prone to burning out and face more strain because of their hotspots, meaning they may need to be replaced much more frequently than mesh coils.

Can You Clean Mesh Coils?

Coils can be cleaned every once in a while, in order to extend their lifetime. Over time, coils can hold onto residue that can damage them and lead to an unpleasant vaping experience; a coil that’s covered in residue may negatively impact the flavour and vapour production. This is the case for both traditional spiral coils and mesh coils – the main difference is that mesh coils may actually be easier to clean because of their more manageable shape.

The process for cleaning a mesh coil follows the same steps as cleaning a traditional coil. You should start by making sure there is no cotton lingering on the coil – you may need to use tweezers to clear the area. Next, soak the coil in ethanol or vinegar for two hours at least, before rinsing it under the tap. Then, rinse it again using distilled water, and blow on the coil to push water through the small holes. Wait until the water has completely evaporated before reinserting it on your device.

Coil-Free Alternatives

If you’d prefer a smoke-free alternative that doesn’t deal with coils and e-liquid at all – heated tobacco could be an option.

The best choice for smokers is always to stop altogether, but where that’s not possible, heated tobacco provides an alternative with less intricate maintenance than vaping. Learn more about IQOS.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6066345

[2] https://nicotinepolicy.net/blogs/guest-blogs/23-miroslaw-dworniczak/138-e-cigarette-coils-from-a-chemist-s-point-of-view"

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