Abstract This paper presents an experimental investigation on the axial crushing of coiled expanded metal tubes subjected to quasi-static compressive loading. The investigation aims at comparing the energy absorption characteristics between tubes fabricated with coiled expanded metal meshes and solid plates. Then, a series of quasi-static axial crushing tests were performed to obtain the structural performance on coiled tubes, and then compare these with round and square solid tubes. Coiled tubes were fabricated using circular and square geometries, as well as various cell orientations. The results showed that cell orientation enhance the energy absorption response of the coiled tubes. Regarding these responses in comparison to those of solid tubes, the results showed that for coiled and solid tubes with the same weight, the energy absorption capacity of the former is much lesser than the latter.