E-Cigarettes vs Vapes

Find out about the differences between e-cigarettes versus vapes, including information on how these devices work.

A vape’s coil - otherwise known as the atomizer’s head - is the wire that is responsible for heating and consequently vapourising e-liquid in many wick and coil devices. As a crucial part of the vapourisation process, a vape coil’s condition will typically impact the vaping experience. The coil can often be identified as the spiraling wire within a vape – see our useful vaping coil chart below for a reference of what some coils might look like in particular vapes.


Fortunately, extensive coil knowledge is not something an adult smoker or vaper needs to worry about. It is possible to enjoy a vape as an alternative to cigarettes without the same level of “know-how” as other adult vapers. Generally, vapes come with a built-in coil that has been designed specifically for that device. Using the coil as intended by the manufacturer is not only good practice, it may also help to avoid preventable problems within a vape. This also means when it comes to replacing the coil, do so like for like.

How to Look after a Vape Coil

Some coils may be maintained, usually those in vape mods and particular tank devices. Where coil maintenance is possible, a proper care routine should be a top priority to maintain the coil’s longevity. Regular cleaning is a good place to start. Vaping could result in a build-up of residue over time, which, if left unchecked, might clog up the device’s coil. In those devices where coils can be removed and cleaned, adult vapers should follow manufacturer guidance on how to clean their vape coil.

Cleaning your vape’s coil is an important first step, but maintenance should not necessarily stop there. Keep an eye out for telltale signs of coil degradation. After all, even with the best care routine, a vape’s coil is likely to need replacing at some point. Vapourisation problems, and a foul or burnt taste, can sometimes be signs that it is time to replace your device’s coil. Other issues, such as frequent crackling or gurgling sounds may also be indicative of a faulty coil [Internal link to 10.2 - All About Vape Popping & Crackling Sounds | IQOS South Africa]. It is important to only replace the coil with a like for like. Device modification that is not instructed by the manufacturer could have unintended consequences on a vape. While good maintenance of a vape coil – where possible - may prolong its lifespan, ultimately, a coil will probably and eventually need to be replaced.

How Long Do Vape Coils Last?

While there is no single answer to how long a vape coil will last, there are certain factors that could play an important role, and this includes frequency of use. Adult vapers who use their device regularly will likely find themselves replacing their coil more often. That’s because the coil is under more pressure, more often - and therefore it is unlikely to last as long as a vape that is used less. The type of e-liquid in use is another factor to consider - particular e-liquids may not last as long as others. Find more information on how long vapes last by following the link [Internal link to 12.3 -How long does a vape coil last | IQOS South Africa].
Faulty coils may be identified by noticeable symptoms like a burnt taste or poor vapourisation. While regularly changing the coil might be an inconvenient procedure, do not be tempted to persist with a faulty coil. Operating with a degraded component - whether it is a coil, tank or battery - might have a more widespread impact on a vape in the long run. Follow manufacturer guidance if you are unsure about when to change or discard a coil.

Changing a Vape Coil

A vape, or e-cig coils guide would not be complete without an explanation about why you should replace the coil. As such an important part in some vapes, the coil needs to work properly to allow such vapes to function. Leaving a worn-out coil in a device is usually a bad idea, and here’s why.
Over time the coil may burn completely and in turn, this may impact the e-liquid inside. As well as a foul-tasting vape, the cotton is likely to degrade, and may cause the device to leak. Finally, all of this could amount to lasting problems with your vape and, what might have been an easy fix, could turn into a much more challenging problem. Therefore, it is often wise to regularly replace the coil. The good news is that it is usually a relatively simple process. Read our how-to guide on replacing vape coils [Internal link to 12.10 - How to Change Vape Coils | A Comprehensive Guide | IQOS ZA]. Of course, you may not be able to replace the coil in every device. Read manufacturer’s guidance on coils for precise instructions.

With a new coil, you may be able to enjoy your vaping experience - at least until another replacement is required. Unfortunately, this practice is a common necessity in many vape devices. However, it is not the case for all of them. Some vapes do not require frequent coil replacements. Read on to discover which smoke-free alternatives come without coils. 

What Are the Types of Smoke-Free Devices without Coils?

When it comes to smoke-free devices, there are various options that could suit your preferences. Many vapes, especially older models, require frequent coil replacements. If you are an adult smoker and would like to avoid coils altogether, then heated tobacco might be a better choice for you than continued smoking. These devices should heat tobacco instead of burning it, providing a tobacco experience without relying on combustion - more on this below. Of course, the absence of combustion should be substantiated on a product-by-product basis.

Heated tobacco products are a smoke-free option that should heat tobacco instead of burning it - without the need for a coil. Unlike cigarettes, our new heated tobacco device, the IQOS ILUMA, does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke. Instead, it makes use of innovative heat not burn technology and provides real tobacco taste and satisfaction*. The accompanying TEREA sticks slot into the IQOS ILUMA device. Discover the range of TEREA, with options for every adult smoker [Internal link to https://za.iqos.com/parts/terea-flavours].

Important information: IQOS ILUMA is not risk-free, and provides nicotine which is addictive.


* Based on clinical studies, aerosol chemistry and declaration of satisfaction level from 600 adult consumers in Japan, 2022.

Vaping coils may seem complicated at first, which could be frustrating considering how important they are in many wick and coil devices. With the above vaping coils explained information and knowledge, you may be able to take care of the coil and replace it at the right time – so long as you follow manufacturer guidance for coil maintenance and replacements. Above all, you should adhere to manufacturer guidance to ensure the device continues to operate as intended.

The best decision any adult smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. IQOS products are not alternatives to quitting and are not designed as cessation aids.
This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.


See important information (Important information on IQOS and IQOS ILUMA | IQOS South Africa)

Split your purchase into equal monthly installments

Sounds good? Just select Tabby at checkout.