Ni200 and Ni-Chrome
The reason I decided to write this new, brief, Knowledge Base piece for Spinfuel is I am continually asked about the differences between Ni200 and Ni-Chrome 80 wire used in RDA’s and RBA’s. Many vapers believe they are one in the same, but they are not. Ni200 is pure Nickel, and Ni-Chrome is 80% nickel and 20% chromium. It makes a difference, as you will soon learn… – Tom McBride
Ni-Chrome and Kanthal A1 – The Beginning
Before there was Kanthal there was Ni-Chrome. Ni-Chrome 80 has a long history (relatively speaking) in the vape world, but when Kanthal came along it quickly fell to the wayside.
There are many different types of wires that an advanced vaper can use to create a coil that offers the best vape possible. And, these wire types are no longer limited to vapers that build their own coils for RDA’s and other rebuildables. These days just about every sub-ohm tank manufacturer either includes TC sensitive coils, or offers them as an option. From Ni200 to Stainless Steel, sub-ohm users can enjoy the rich, flavorful eliquids with massive vapor clouds with an easy to use tank, without having to wrap a single coil.
Today Kanthal wire is still the best selling metal for coils, especially in sub-ohm tanks, but it is not used as a temperature control wire. Coming up from behind faster and faster is Nickel (Ni200), or Titanium (Ti), or Stainless Steel (SS), and even Ni-Chrome 80 again, an alloy made from nickel and chromium. More about Ni-Chrome below.
Here is a quick summary of the differences between Kanthal, Ni-Chrome 80, and Ni200.
Understanding Kanthal A-1
Kanthal A-1 wire is presently the most popular wire used in sub-ohm coil heads and for RDA rebuilders for non-temperature control coils. The composition and characteristics of Kanthal make it a terrific metal for all types of non-TC coil building, and for coil heads for tanks. Kanthal wire is a ferritic iron. It reigns supreme because it is flexible, stronger, and longer lasting than most other metals. It also has a ridiculous melting point of 2,730 °F. Resistance is very stable as well.
Characteristics of Kanthal A-1
Kanthal A-1 is available in an assortment of different sizes that offer different ohms’ ratings when used as coil heads and DIY builds.
The gauges that are most commonly used for RDA’s are; 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, & 32.
The higher the wire gauge the higher the resistance of the coil. The lower the gauge the lower the resistance will be. Twisting the wire will lower the resistance by half, and you will need to double the number of wraps if you want to achieve the same resistance you would with un-twisted wire.
Kanthal A-1 Wire: Gauge & Ohms Per Foot of Wire
Gauge AWG Ohms Per Foot
For sub-ohm coil heads, the most common gauge is hard to determine, and without getting too technical, the gauge of the wire plays a significant role in amperage draw. Take a look at the calculations below to get an idea of how the gauge of wires plays a part in determining which to use for what.
These calculations clearly demonstrate that the lower you go in ohms the higher the amp requirement from the battery becomes.
1.0 ohm = 4.2 amp draw
0.9 ohm = 4.6 amp draw
0.8 ohm = 5.2 amp draw
0.7 ohms = 6 amp draw
0.6 ohms = 7 amp draw
0.5 ohms = 8.4 amp draw
0.4 ohms = 10.5 amp draw
0.3 ohms = 14.0 amp draw
0.2 ohms = 21.0 amp draw
0.1 ohms = 42.0 amp draw
Kanthal is a versatile and widely used metal for all type of tanks and RDA’s. However, because of the characteristics of the metal it cannot be used, currently, with temperature control modes.
Ni-Chrome refers to any alloy of nickel, chromium, and sometimes iron (Ni-Chrome 60) Ni-chrome alloys are typically used as resistance wire. However, as a resistance wire it’s found in small appliances like hair dryers and other heating elements. As such, it was an early wire used for coil building for RBA’s.
Ni-chrome 80 is wire type was popular with vapers that build coils for RBA and RDA’s. Some vapers still like it and use it, but with Kanthal showing up the popularity waned. I won’t even bother with Ni-Chrome 60 because in my experience this compound causes most of my eliquids to taste like metallic juice. Ni-chrome 60, also known as Chromel C, is composed of 60% Nickel, 16% Chromium and 24% Iron.
Ni-chrome 80 is an alloy of nickel (80%) and chromium (20).
When compared to Kanthal, Ni-chrome is less heat resistant at 2,462 degrees Fahrenheit, though it heats up a lot faster than Kanthal. Because it does heat up faster, Ni-chrome 80 became popular with sub-ohm cloud chasers using the mini-RBA’s that come with many sub-ohm tanks. The prebuilt coil heads using Nickel use Ni200, or pure nickel, so you need to understand that when buying coil heads you’re buying Ni200, not Ni-Chrome 80. Besides, Ni-Chrome isn’t a wire used for Temperature Control, though many vapers mistakenly thought so. If you build your own coils you should buy pure nickel, or Ni200, for many reasons.
Characteristics of Ni-chrome 80
Ni-Chrome is available in numerous sizes and ohm ratings for DIY coil builders. The commonly used gauges are; 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, & 32. Ni-Chrome has a much lower resistance per foot when compared to Kanthal A-1. While it was the preferred wire among some sub ohm coil builders, due to the fast ramp up of heat, it is not the Ni200 coil wire used in many sub-ohm prebuilt coil heads.
Ni-chrome 80: Gauge & Ohms Per Foot
Gauge AWG Ohms Per Foot
Ni200 (Pure Nickel) Wire
With a heat resistance of 2624: Fahrenheit, Ni200 wire is pliable and easily moldable. It is a metal alloy that has awesome thermal and electrical properties. Funnily enough, it is not meant to be used on RBA’s as the only coil. Why? Because nickel has virtually no resistance, making it ideal for modern temperature control systems in use today on many popular mods.
Characteristics of Ni200 Wire when used in Temperature Control coils
Ni200 is widely available in the following gauges: 28, 30, & 32. Because of the Temperature Coefficient, only pure nickel wires are used in temperature control mods. Temperature Control mod chipsets can calculate the temperature of the coil build in real time by measuring the resistance of the nickel wires while the mod is being used. For decent accuracy the coil should be about room temperature before being used with a TC mod.
The confusion seen with Ni200 or Ni-Chrome is understandable. While Ni200 is pure nickel with virtually no resistance, it’s a prime metal for temperature control mods. However, Ni-Chrome 80 is a nickel/chromium compound, and it is not used in temperature control mods…not yet anyway.
While this is just my opinion based on what I have learned, I never recommend Ni-Chrome 80 just because there are other, safer, better, metals to work with. My belief is that, ultimately, Ni-Chrome 80, and especially Ni-Chrome 60, is just not safe enough.
I hope that if you found this article through a Google or Bing search you’ll come away with the understanding that Ni-Chrome and Ni200 are completely different wires used for different purposes. Ni-Chrome, despite its wicked ramp up time, should become a thing of the past.