Flat Ribbon Kanthal
"Ribbon" just means that the wire is flat instead of round. The primary difference between flat and round wire is the amount of surface area for a given volume.
Keep in mind that regardless of what vaping methods you use (such as drip tips, tanks, and bottom feeders), all personal vaporizers (PVs) require a heating system. Since ribbon Kanthal is used to convert electrical power from the battery into heat for vaporizing e-Juice, it can be used for modding any PV with a rebuildable atomizer.
Advantages of Ribbon Wire
How does having more wire surface area affect vaping?
Produces More Vapor
Using flat ribbon Kanthal in your PVs means you will get more vapor from each draw. This is similar to why cooking stoves have flat tops: there is more contact area between the heat source and whatever is being heated.
Eliminates Hot Spots
The most common issue people have when winding coils on their atomizers is getting areas of uneven heating called "hot spots." Hot spots will drastically shorten the life of your coil. Uneven heating causes parts of the coil to expand and contract at different rates, which wears out the coil much more quickly compared to a coil without hot spots.
Finding hot spots after taking the time to carefully wind a coil for your atomizer can also be very frustrating, especially if you keep seeing hot spots after repeated adjustments. However, hot spots are less likely to occur with flat ribbon Kanthal.
Easier to Wind
The flat shape of the wire makes it much easier to wrap around and cover the wick.
NOTE: Because of its flat shape, sharp twists in ribbon Kanthal will cause tears, rips, warping, and other kinds of mechanical damage. Thus, if you have a rebuildable atomizer (RBA), avoid twisting your ribbon Kanthal wherever possible as you are winding your coils.
The only areas where twists are unavoidable are at positive and negative screw terminals. This is because you should have your ribbon wire flat (horizontal) against the screw head, as good electrical connections require good mechanical connections. However, this means you may have to twist the wire in order to wrap it around the wick.
View our selection of flat ribbon Kanthal wire below. First time using ribbon instead of round wire? See our comparison chart below for approximate equivalent AWG sizes of ribbon Kanthal.
Look at the resistance rating (measured in Ohms) of a particular wire and understand what factors will raise or lower a conductor's resistance. An ohmmeter is useful for measuring coil resistance so you can adjust accordingly.
Lower ohm ratings will increase the amount of heat generated, thus giving you more vapor per draw. However, this means your e-Juice will not last as long, and you will need to refill more frequently. Also, wire with lower resistance draws more current from the battery and reduces battery life.
Three common factors to keep in mind when selecting and using resistance wire are the materials that make up the wire, cross-sectional area, and length.
Flat Ribbon Kanthal A-1
|Thickness x Width||Feet per Pound||Resistance
ohms/ft. @ 68°F
|Equivalent Round Wire|
|Millimeters||Inches||AWG||Ohms/ft. @ 68°F|
|0.4 x 0.1||0.0157 x 0.004||5618||11.4||32||13.1|
|0.5 x 0.1||0.0197 x 0.004||4444||9.2||31||10.6|
|0.6 x 0.1||0.0236 x 0.004||3690||7.68||30||8.36|
|0.7 x 0.1||0.0276 x 0.004||3236||6.58||29||6.55|
|0.8 x 0.1||0.0315 x 0.004||2809||5.76||28||5.27|
|0.9 x 0.1||0.0354 x 0.004||2481||5.12||27||4.15|
|Thickness x Width||Amount of Wire|
|Millimeters||Inches||25 ft.||50 ft.||100 ft.||250 ft.||500 ft.||1000 ft.||8 oz.|
|0.4 x 0.1||0.0157 x 0.004||RW0314||RW0315||RW0316||RW0317||RW0318||RW0319||RW0320|
|0.5 x 0.1||0.0197 x 0.004||RW0322||RW0323||RW0324||RW0325||RW0326||RW0327||RW0328|
|0.6 x 0.1||0.0236 x 0.004||RW0330||RW0331||RW0332||RW0333||RW0334||RW0335||RW0336|
|0.7 x 0.1||0.0276 x 0.004||RW0338||RW0339||RW0340||RW0341||RW0342||-||RW0343|
|0.8 x 0.1||0.0315 x 0.004||RW0345||RW0346||RW0347||RW0348||RW0349||-||RW0350|
|0.9 x 0.1||0.0354 x 0.004||RW0352||RW0353||RW0354||RW0355||RW0356||-||RW0357|
Even if you are set on getting ribbon Kanthal (iron-chromium-aluminium or FeCrAl alloy) you still have to decide on what kind of Kanthal you want (e.g. A-1, A, D, etc.). The difference between the types are the ratios of iron, chromium, and aluminium used. Different ratios affect the thermal characteristics of a particular alloy.
Kanthal A-1 is more resistant to oxidation and has a higher maximum operating temperature and Ohm ratings than Kanthal A or Kanthal D (see our data sheets for exact specifications).
Wire with larger cross-sections will have lower ohm ratings (less resistance) than wire with smaller cross-sections.
Longer wires (more turns in a coil) have more resistance than shorter wires (less turns).
More on Electrical Resistance
To understand why resistance wire with lower ohm ratings will actually increase the amount of heat produced it helps to look at the equations that describe the relationship between Power, Voltage, Amperage, and Resistance.
The main idea behind the following examples and derivation is to show that for a more or less fixed voltage, you increase power by reducing the resistance and increasing amperage. For PVs, the increased power translates into more heat and vapor.
Power - Watts (W)
Voltage - Volts (V or E)
Current - Amps (A or I)
Resistance - Ohms (R or Ω)
Watts (DC) = Volts * Amps (W = V * A)
Volts = Amps * Resistance (V = A * R)
Since we are keeping voltage fixed, if you have wire with lower resistance, then you will draw more current from the battery. The following two examples should help illustrate this idea.
1) A coil of wire with a measured ohm rating of 1.0 connected to a 4 volt battery will draw 4 amps.
4 = A * 1.0 and solving this equation we have A = 4
So the total power output along the coil will be 16 watts. More power, more heat, more vapor! (Again, shorter battery life though.)
2) A coil of wire with a 2.0 ohm rating connected to the same 4 volt battery will draw 2 amps.
4 = A * 2.0 and solving this equation we have A = 2.
So the power output along the coil will be 8 watts.
Instead of using two equations and going through examples like the ones above, we can make things easier to remember by combining both equations (keeping in mind that we are assuming voltage stays relatively fixed).
Doing a simple substitution for voltage, we have:
W = V * A
W = (A * R) * A
W = A2 * R
Now with this one equation and the fact that amperage increases as resistance decreases for a fixed voltage (V = A * R), we see that the square on the current means amps have a lot more impact on the total power output compared to the resistance.