Nickel VS Kanthal: Know The Difference


Hey there, vape fans! Nickel is becoming very popular in the industry, to the point where even starter kits come with nickel coils. Sometimes with nickel as your very first coil. It is important to know the difference between nickel and kanthal. Today we are going to talk about just that.


Kanthal is a mixture of iron, chromium, and aluminum. It has a high resistance, and was designed to heat as electricity passes through, along with durability to stand repeated use. Ni200 is pure nickel. Nickel is a metal that is softer and has a low resistance. It has a high temperature coefficient, which means that when it gets hot, its resistance changes rapidly. This property allows it to work for temperature control. I wrote a blog about this a little while back, if you’d like to know more about how it works.


It is extremely important to know the composition of your stock coil! Most companies are good about labeling them, but some are not. Some include one type in the tank, and a different type in the box, so make sure you know what you’re switching to. If you are given a stock coil that reads below .2Ω, there’s a very good chance that it’s a nickel or other temp controlled material. These coils should NEVER be fired in wattage mode. They rely on the varying wattages supplied by the temperature control mode. Putting a constant wattage through it will cause it to burn very hot, burning the cotton and possibly ruining the coil because the leads get too hot and break.


If you’re rebuilding with nickel, there are a few major differences you’ll notice. The first one is that nickel is much softer than kanthal. It bends and flexes into whatever shape you move it with very little springing back. This is generally the main complaint about it. From doing your wraps to mounting the coil, you will come to miss your trusty, rigid kanthal. Screwing down the post leads and repositioning the coil can easily warp the shape of it, at which point, there is no going back. My first time, it took me several tries to build a coil that actually looked good after mounting it, with all my preprogrammed kanthal experience. The other main difference is how low the resistance is. Assuming both are 30g, kanthal would have a resistance of 8.36Ω resistance per foot, while nickel is 0.6Ω per foot. As you can see, that’s a massive difference. The coils tend to take a LOT of wraps just to get it up to a safe resistance your mod can fire. This can be a problem if you’re using an RDA with a small deck. It can be completely impossible to fit the coil in it without touching the sides. So make sure you have a nice big RDA if you’re going to try building with nickel.


One of the last major differences is that spaced coils seem to work best. Micro coils dominated the kanthal rebuild scene, because they were easy to build and you could easily tweak them to fire evenly. For a consistent, accurate temperature, spacing out your nickel coils is best. The best way to do this: wrap your coils right next to each other and then pull the two ends apart from each other, creating a space between each one. Then you can push them back together and a small gap between each coil will remain. The other method people use it to wrap it around a screw, following the grooves. Once you’re done, you just twist the screw out, leaving the coil intact.  A closing note on this, never dry-fire your coil in wattage mode. We are all used to making our coil glow in order to make sure that it is firing correctly and evenly. With nickel, you just have to trust your build. Causing this material to glow can cause damage to the outer coating of the wire causing your coil an undue amount of stress and significantly reducing it’s lifespan.


I hope I was able to clear up any confusion and help you to better understand these two materials. As I stated in the beginning, it is very important to know the difference. Temperature control can be a great way to vape, but I don’t necessarily agree with the new trend of forcing it on newer vapers in their starter kits, due to the general lack of knowledge surrounding it. I’m hoping that articles like this will help to dispel any misconceptions and reach every vaper buying a TC kit. As always, Vape On!

Andrew Figgs

Photography Major from Western Washington University . I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

  • David says:

    I’ve tried two different nickel coils in my Atlantis tank and I find that the vapor production is not as satisfying as with the .2, .3, or .5 kanthal coils. Even at a high temp setting. Am I missing something? Maybe increasing the nic would compensate somewhat.

    • Tim Mechling says:

      It is agreed upon that nickel and kanthal coils produce different flavor. A lot of it comes with extended use, and some of it comes down to personal preference. Hope you find the perfect combination of variables!

  • vipod says:

    Well said!
    Perhaps a piece on Kanthal & SS next time.

    TC mods are adding the SS feature now, which can be used in both TC & VW mode.

  • Nick says:

    I found this helpful. Just starting thinking about giving tc a shot. Was thinking about trying the new eleaf kit you guys posted. Is the flavor general better with nickel.

  • Lisa says:

    Im glad I read this. I was under the impression that my Ni200 and Ti coils could be used in wattage and tc mode. Just that the kanthal coils couldnt be used in tc mode. Knowledge is power!

  • Ken C says:

    Good article. Could you do another one that includes stainless steel and titanium?

  • kim says:

    I am vaping on the vaporesso target pro and at first was using the nickel coil it came with and was vaping on 40w..I go to buy a new coil and the guy told me I was using the wrong setting for nickel coils (40w) and breathing in toxins. So he put a cCELL coil in and he said I shouldn’t vape over 30w…but not getting the same hit. How do I put my vape in nickel mode

  • Marshall says:

    I️ have a box with the SS, Ni and Ti setting but I️ have a tank with a kanthal coil? How exactly would I️ run this setup or is it not possible due to the box settings? Also, just for more info it’s a 100-200 watt range tank with the ohm setting at .28 as it calls for but I️ can’t figure out the best setup for the coil if it can work? A clear answer would be appreciated thank you!!

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