Vaping Wicks: 6 Best Wicking Materials For ECigs (Updated)

Best E-Cig Atomizer Wicking Material

I recently updated this article to include some other materials I have used as e-cigarette wick and to explain e-cig wick replacement.

It’s amazing how many different materials are now being used as wick for e-cigarettes. Since I've experimented with quite a few I wrote this article to give some advice on the best wicking materials you can use and where you can buy them.


There are many kinds of material that have been used across the internet, but I’m going to go over the most common, the most popular and arguably the best wicking materials.

Different wicks offer different attributes like wicking speed, flavor, and ease of use. Each wick will also produce different kinds of vapor. Some can improve the flavor of your juice while others have a subtle “wick” taste.

Some wicking materials are easy to use while others can take extra prep time.

For example:

Steel mesh provides atomizers with crisper flavors but it can also have trouble wicking juice. After you read this article you'll know enough to choose the best wick material for yourself

The Best Vape Wick (E-cig) Materials


Silica Wick

Silica wicks are the most common e-cigarette wick and they're used in most “un-modified” electronic cigarettes. If you haven’t built your own coil you most likely have silica wick in your atomizer right now.

Silica wicks are also easy to use  —you can either build a coil and thread the silica through it or you can wrap a coil around the silica. Pushing a pin threw the silica makes it easier to wrap with a coil.

When you first try wrapping wrap wire around silica wick you may find it a bit tricky but I still think it’s a great way to start. Another huge benefit of silica is that wick can’t be over heated, so no need to worry about under dripping.

Check out this video below to learn how to wrap a silica wick​:

Silica E-Cigarette Atomizer Wick


Many people use cotton wicks for e-cigs because it's such a great wicking material but you don't use just any type of cotton.


There's more than one kind of cotton?


Yes! Make sure you avoid using cotton balls that are bleached; these destroy the flavor of your juice. You want to buy organic untreated cotton balls.

Cotton E-Cigarette Atomizer Wick

With cotton you don’t wrap your wire around it, instead you wrap a coil with a coil jig. If  you don’t have a coil jig you can always use a drill bit or something similar.

Cotton is a very popular for wicking because it absorbs e-liquid very quickly and can hold a huge amount at the same time. However it does have a “cotton” taste when vaping that some people don’t like. You can also get “dry hits” that taste horrible if the cotton isn’t fully saturated in e-liquid. I also find that to get good flavor I have to replace the cotton every couple of days.

Use the button below and you'll get our best price on Lightning Vapes' Pima and Platinum Blend Native Cotton Wicks.

Lightning Vapes' cotton is the best cotton for vaping and proudly made in the USA.

Or, if you live near a Target store, they also sell organic cotton balls for less than $10.


Cellucotton Rayon Fibers

This is my new favorite wicking material. Make sure to get the 100% Rayon Cellucotton, they also offer cotton Cellucotton but you want the Rayon kind for using as wick in your e-cigarette.

It has all the best properties of cotton without the “cotton flavor”. It wicks fast, holds a ton of e-liquid, and has almost no flavor. It’s also very cheap, you can get 10 feet for about $2 bucks at Sally’s Beauty Supply.

You can also buy it on ebay for about $4 for 15 feet with free shipping.

Cellucotton e-cigarette wick material

Japanese Organic Cotton pads (Koh Gen Do)

This is another form of cotton that you can use for e-cig wicks. The most popular brand is Koh Gen Do but there are some copycat brands. There made from cotton that has not been chemically treated, bleached, or pigmented.

The pads measure about 2.5’’ by 3’’ and can either be cut into small chunks or pulled apart and rolled up. Koh Gen Do is usually sold in packs of 60 pads but since it’s become popular in the e-cig community you can find vape shops selling it in smaller quantities.

Koh Gen Do Pads E-Cig Wicking Material

Ekowool

Even though Ekowool is made of silica fibers it's very different from Chinese-made Silica wick. One of the huge benefits of Ekowool is that it's braided, leaving a hollow tube through the center.

You can buy braided silica wick but it's not the same thing. The hollow center of allows you to stick paper clip down the center to stabilize it while you wrap your coil (great for beginner). It also sucks up e-liquid better for faster wicking.

Ekowool E-Cigarette Atomizer Wick

You can even purchase Ekowool that is made with cotton in the center, some people just thread cotton yarn through regular Ekowool for the same effect.

One downside to Ekowool is the price, it's more expensive than the other wicking materials because it's an imported brand. I started re-building Protank coils with Ekowool and I loved it. I was lucky that my local shop sold 5 feet for 5 bucks, usually it sell's for 2 - 3 bucks a foot.

Ekowool provides for better wicking, flavor, and ease of use when compared to silica wick.


Stainless Steel Mesh

Stainless Steel E-Cigarette Atomizer Wick

Used primarily for genesis-style atomizers, because it's conductive it's not recommended for Rebuild-able Dripping Atomizers.

This wick lasts a longggggg time. It requires you to oxidize it with a torch (heat it up!) but it really brings out crisp flavors. It does very well with thicker tobacco/ heavy cream juice, but it’s really good for fruit flavored e-juices (in my opinion).

This wick also won't combust if too dry, however the taste of dry stainless steel mesh is terrible.

Stainless steel mesh comes in different thread counts (generally 300,400,500) and the higher PG ratio juice (70PG/30VG) works best with higher thread counts. Higher VG ratios work best with lower thread counts.

People often also wrap stainless steel mesh wicks around cotton, or thread ekowool around it. Mixing the wicks in this way allows it to quickly wick juice for high amperage vaping. Stainless steel mesh also needs to be wrapped onto, but has lasted longer than some coil builds in my experience.


How many of these wicks have you tried? Have you experimented with any other materials you think deserve a place on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Hey, I'm a new writer for vaping cheap, and I'll be writing articles from a tech perspective. I plan to make it easy for anyone to figure out how to not only get the best out of their device, but to do it safely as well.

23 COMMENTS
  • beekersguy 04/05/2014

    *through – at least use proper spelling.

    • Nathan Shaw 04/05/2014

      We try to use proper spelling, but it’s hard to catch everything.

      • beekersguy 04/08/2014

        Oh, I see what you did there…

  • beekersguy 04/07/2014

    I love your site, you know what you’re doing!

  • Tronic Vape 04/08/2014

    Great rundown, what do you consider the best wicking material to use out of these?

    • Nathan Shaw 04/08/2014

      It all depends on preference and what device your using. I thought Ekowool was a great one to start with, the hollow center makes wrapping coils easy.

  • Donna 04/10/2014

    OK Hubby surprised me with a bag of Organic Cotton – reading the label it does say
    “Whitened with Hydrogen Peroxide”
    Boil or not to boil is my question 🙂

    • Nathan Shaw 04/11/2014

      You may want to find a different cotton.

  • Pete Petersen 07/01/2014

    “Whitened with Hydrogen Peroxide”
    aka ‘H2O2’
    Organisms naturally produce trace quantities of hydrogen peroxide, most notably by a respiratory burst as part of the immune response.

    I ‘think’ it is safe to say it’s a non-issue ..

  • Seven Peterson 11/19/2014

    Boil or no? I guess I’m asking about all except as mesh, does it need to be boiled or torched(I’ve heard torch ekowool)? And will you please add ceramic wicks to this? Very curious about porous ceramic vs ssmesh for a genesis style tank and very thick juice/oil.

    • Nathan 11/19/2014

      I torched my ekowool but it’s not required. I have not personally boiled any wick material, I just buy cotton that doesn’t need to be boiled.

  • Tyler R 12/21/2014

    boiling cotton is asking for bacteria to grow. organic or not. hydro peroxide breaks down before you even buy the cotton, into h20 and 02 so all but maybe 0.0000002% is left in your cotton ball. regular cotton balls are just as good (I.M.O) I drip about 2-3ml or more a day of strawberry ice cream from my local vape shop. I change my cotton once every other day. sometimes every day. i find leaving just a pinch (and i mean a pinch) of space or play in the cotton between the coil in an rda is best for me and flavor. if its too thick in the coil and its pressing against the coil with a little force i find it burns the cotton and turns ur coil black and cotton black faster. i have a 1.2 ohm in my DNA 30 and i have a 0.14 in my mech mod. when i wick it with cotton i like for the cotton to be rolled like a tube and have almost no resistance going through the coil. i want it to be able to pass freely through the coil but not fall out.

    I do NOT boil cotton and let it dry. i did it once and i dried it in a sterile manner by heating it in my oven at 170’F until dry. I didnt notice any change in flavor or the way it wicked. Only thing i noticed is that it lost some of its fluffiness and bounce.

    but that’s me guys. hope this helped.

  • BmanKy 01/17/2015

    Anyone tried gauze pads?

    • chris g 12/08/2015

      Ive used gauze once when my order didn’t come but new mod did. It worked but cotton is better. I havnt tried anything else yet but that’s why I’m reading here. Going to try some mesh and silica of some kind.

  • William Thornley 04/01/2015

    I’m relatively new to vapeing. I have watched quite a few shows on tanks,rebuilds,coil making, ect… Only seen one where cord wicks were involved and the fogger v4 came pre wicked. Guy never even fired them. The wrap did look pretty funky. Especially compared to all others I’ve seen. He made his own build with cotton. SEVERAL other people have told me to use cotton. Do cord wicks have more health concerns? Are they on the decline in terms of popularity? I see the industry is in a HUGE growing phase and is growing/ learning daily. Thoughts on cords?

    • Nathan 04/01/2015

      Most people just use cotton now. I think people feel its healthier and in most cases its just easier. It also wicks better than other materials.

  • Jeff Britton 04/17/2015

    Nobody going to mention XC-116, aka ReadyWick? Its basically ceramic ekowool. Looks like ekowool but the flavor is even cleaner. And it can be torched clean and re-used, lasts forever. I put it in vertical coils in veritas or Origen 2, it always wicks well and I’ve use a siingle piece for more than 6 months,. Just a periodic pull away from coil, butane torch it white, and then shove it back in., Cons: Its not cheap. Not healthy if it is not prepared right which is something like 12 hrs in 1200 degree kiln (Readywick is, even above and beyond that), and its nowhere as well known as ekowool. Looks like ekowool so you go to show off your new coil and you might get the “oh, your still using ekowool?” sneer lol ) disclaimer: I sometimes buy RBA Supplies goods but I get no financial gain from them

  • sinsin 05/19/2015

    ceramic wicking or airstone ?? IMO — certainly the very best ! — for many many reason …. thoughts ????

    • DougH 07/17/2015

      I agree sinsin. I have been vaping using ceramic for two years now. I started ceramic with sticks and moved to the braided ceramic wick. The flavor is superior to any material I have used in the past and I have tried most. The only issue is wicking. I have successfully put a ceramic braided wick in a Kangertech sub tank. The flavor is awesome. I did have to open the feed ports at the base of the tank and the wicking is now much better. I hope this helps some people. Ceramic is best for flavor…

  • Mike 08/21/2015

    COTTON BACON!! Love it

  • Jack 05/31/2017

    You think that im too late?
    This is the first time i hear about Stainless Steel Mesh lol

  • Scott Genn 01/20/2018

    No, God no! Please don’t boil.your cotton. There is no need. The whole boiling nonsense started a few years ago, when some smartasses in a Facebook group started telling every new vaper with a legit question to “boil it”, and it became a stupid joke. If your cotton is organic or made specifically for vaping (Cotton Bacon, Kendo, Native Wicks, etc.), it has been cleaned and sterilized. Boiling it does nothing besides get it wet and open up the possibly of contamination from mold and bacteria.

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