A ceramic coil, or more accurately, a ceramic atomizer is actually a basin made of ceramic material. They heat up more slowly than other coil types, but they are a neutral material, which means that they don’t affect the flavor of the vapor in any way. The result is that ceramic coils produce some of the purest vapor around, which is why they are often favored by extract vaping connoisseurs.
If there is a downside to ceramic coils in vape pens, besides the relatively slow heat-up time, it is that they don’t produce as much vapor as other coils. Cloud chasers may find that disappointing, but flavor chasers won’t mind. This also means that ceramic coils are great for beginners since the slow heat time and great flavor makes for an appealing first experience.
Ceramic Coil Pros
- Simple to Load – Since the ceramic coil is more of a bowl than a coil, it is easy to dab your wax into it regardless of how deep or shallow it is.
- Pure Flavor – The neutrality of the ceramic material means that the flavor of the wax is completely pure and untainted.
- Slow Heat Time – This might be a negative for some, but for many people, the slow, gradual heat time of twenty to thirty seconds creates a smooth vaping experience with no abrupt heat spikes.
- Long Heat Retention – Since ceramic retains heat for a long time, the user doesn’t have to keep firing the vape pen in order to maintain the ideal temperature. This makes the vaping experience easier and helps to preserve battery power.
Ceramic Coil Cons
- Somewhat Fragile – Ceramic can crack if it becomes overheated, this is rare, but it can happen. It can also crack if it suffers a big enough impact, so be careful.
- Slow Heat Time – Yes this can also be a con depending on the individual. Some people prefer speedy heat times and more intense vapor.
- Less Dense Clouds – The slow ramp up in temperature that you get from ceramic coils also means that they don’t produce the big clouds that you get from other coil types.
Ceramic Coil Maintenance
Cleaning and maintaining ceramic coils is simple because the coil is just a small bowl with a smooth surface. That means you can take a q-tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol and run it around the coil to remove any residue. For really stubborn residue, you can perform a burn-off. This is when you set the vape pen to its maximum temperature in order to melt any stuck-on residue.
Some vape pens with ceramic coils are: HoneyStick Stinger, Linx Hypnos Zero, Puffco Plus.
Quartz Rod Coils
This is actually a coil, specifically, it is a metal—usually titanium—coiled around a small quartz rod. Some vape pens use coilless rods, but most use the coiled variety. The number of rods in each vape pen varies, but two is typically the default. Some vape pens use more, others less, but you can always expect that the more coils, the higher the maximum temperature, and the faster the heat time.
Fast heat times are the main advantage of quartz coils, they get up to temperature very quickly, producing harsh, intense vapor and big clouds in the process. However, quartz coils have poor heat retention, so users need to keep their vape pen fired up to vape all of the wax. There is also the fact that quartz rod coils are harder to clean than other coil types. All of those factors mean that quartz rod coils are better suited for intermediate and advanced vapers rather than beginners.
Quartz Rod-Coil Pros
- Fast Heat Time – Quartz only takes about five to ten seconds to heat up so users can start vaping nearly as soon as they finish loading their vape pen.
- Flavor Purity – Quartz is also a neutral material, so it doesn’t affect the flavor of the wax, though the vapor itself can get quite intense because the wax is heated so quickly.
- Dense Cloud Creation – The fast heat time of quartz rods also leads to some rather dense vapor, so it would be the choice for cloud chasers.
Quartz Rod-Coil Cons
- Low Heat Retention – Quartz cools down very quickly so users need to keep their vape pens on for a longer time if they want to vape all of their wax.
- Harsh Vapor Isn’t for Everyone – Some people may like the intensity of the vapor, but it might be too much for those who prefer smoother vapor.
- Loading Is a Little More Difficult – Quartz rods have a small surface area, so dabbing wax onto them can be tricky. It is a little easier if they fill up all the space in the chamber.
- Higher Maintenance – Quartz rod coils can take longer to clean than other coil types, which can be a hassle for some users.
Quartz Rod-Coil Maintenance
You can use burn offs and q-tips soaked in iso alcohol to clean quartz rods, though the latter takes a longer time than it does with the other vape pen coil types. You can also take the entire coil and submerge it in iso alcohol for a few hours.
Vape pens that use dual quartz coils include: Rokin Nitro 2, G Pen Quartz, KandyPens Prism (also includes a ceramic coil)
This is a relatively new type of coil, and as the name suggests, it is a combination of the other two coil types. It is basically just a bowl made of quartz instead of ceramic. Some vape pens, like the HoneyStick Plasma GQ, use quartz bowls because, in many ways, they are the best of both worlds.
They have the fast heat times of quartz rods but are much easier to load, plus they heat up more quickly than ceramic coils do. Quartz bowls are also very easy to load and to maintain. They do have the same low heat retention as quartz rod coils of course, so if you are interested in a vape pen with a quartz bowl, make sure that it has a good battery.
Quartz Bowl Pros
- Great Flavor Quality – The neutral nature of quartz means that the flavor of the wax remains pure throughout the vaping session.
- Fast Heat Time – Quartz heats up quickly, so vape sessions start up faster, which gives vapers the freedom to take a quick hit whenever they want to.
- Easy Loading – Since they are a wide-open bowl with a large surface area, quartz bowls are very quick and easy to load.
- Simple Maintenance – Quartz bowls are as easy to clean and maintain as ceramic bowls, so the whole cleaning process doesn’t take too long.
Quartz Bowl Cons
- Low Heat Retention – As with the quartz rod coils, quartz bowls do not retain heat for a very long time. That means the battery has to work harder and longer to maintain a proper vaping temperature.
- They Can Be Fragile – Since quartz is a kind of crystal, users have to take good care of it so that it doesn’t break.
Quartz Bowl Maintenance
Quartz bowls are as easy to take care of as ceramic bowls, so q-tips, iso alcohol, and the occasional burn off are all that is necessary to keep a quartz bowl fully operational.
Some vape pens with quartz bowls include KandyPens Crystal, HoneyStick Plasma GQ, Linx Blaze (also includes a ceramic coil).